February 2017: Russian Jets Buzz US, White House Loses National Security Adviser And Ex-Obama Admin ‘Confidantes’ Apparently Still Micro-Managing Things

Ben Rhodes

Take a breath, but now the world is suddenly looking even more explosive this month.

As the Russians have been accused by the departing Obama Administration of tampering with US elections last year (per the Inquisitr story I did on the last day of 2016), and they are now reported by the UK’s DailyMail to be flying military aircraft over a US Navy destroyer at high speed and making low passes, another story comes from the Free Beacon and writer Adam Kredo regarding the untiring efforts of former Obama Administration officials on a “secret, months-long campaign” meant to “handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House…,”

Former policy guy for President Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, had his name come up in the news from the Washington Free Beacon. Per the details, there has been an ongoing “behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media,” and the effort is said to include “a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding [President Donald Trump’s National Security guy Mike Flynn’s] credibility, multiple sources revealed.”

The undermining of Trump’s White House, as Kredo’s sources point out in the story quotes, state while Flynn took responsibility on Monday for “missteps” regarding initial contact with Russian officials in his resignation statement, “multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.”

The source is quoted in Kredo’s story is said to be a “veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House” and goes on with the information.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him. This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

 

Mike Flynn seemed to be on some folk’s radars last year, as revealed previously by the Powerline blog.

“Mike Flynn is the other key appointment for purposes of airing Obama’s Iran secrets. [Eli] Lake points out that in 2011 General Flynn ran a team at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that reviewed the troves of material captured in the 2011 Osama bin Laden raid,” the post states.

But it goes on about Flynn.

“Under Obama, only a small fraction of these documents have been declassified and released. After he retired from the military, Flynn charged that the disclosures were selective. ”

Flynn likely seemed very scary to the previous Administration, per this Powerline post.  Furthermore, Flynn is said to have noted that “… some documents captured in the bin Laden raid show a much tighter relationship between Iran and al-Qaeda than previously disclosed.”

Mike Flynn has not been shy about speaking his mind on the Obama Administration’s Iran policy. Powerline cites the words of Flynn in The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies.

Flynn states in that work, per Powerline:

“One letter to bin Laden reveals that al-Qaeda was working on chemical and biological weapons in Iran.”

Previously in 2015, complaints surfaced about the micro-managing efforts of some Obama Administration officials, reported on here.

Obama’s Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, in that previous story, was told that “all three of your Obama Administration predecessors have complained openly about White House aides micromanaging military operations,” by Congressman Mac Thornberry.

And an opinion piece in the Washington Times has mentioned Ben Rhodes last year as well, stating then “Ben Rhodes must account for the lies about the Iranian negotiations.”

Partisanship in D.C. is nothing new, of course, but this is looking very, very bad for everyone.

And So 2017 Begins: Hacking Accusations, Pope Francis Suggests ‘We Need the Lord’

As the newest year begins and people are still making important resolutions, here are a few of my first stories for 2017.

From YahooNews, the “Russia Hacked” US issue rages on.

“White House officials addressed U.S. cyber insecurity issues and the response being taken on Russian diplomats in retaliation for what has been called Russian interference in the recent American elections.

“’It is a fact that Russia interfered in our democratic election,’ according to a senior Obama administration official during a conference call with the press on Thursday as many in the public debate the issue.

“The White House press call regarding the cybersecurity issues and Russian hacking concerns makes very clear the position of the Obama administration on this matter.”

“There’s no debate in the U.S. administration about the fact — and it is a fact — that Russia interfered in our democratic election. We’ve established that clearly to our satisfaction. I would never expect Russia to come out with their hands up and acknowledge what they did. They don’t do that.”

Journalist Glenn Greenwald was dubious about the White House accusations.

Pope Francis, 80, gave a New Year’s Message to Earth’s people, as my post from the Inquisitr relays. Re-examining the “logic of the manger” is considered as a way to perhaps better understand the unseen God.

Pope Francis, in his new year messages at St. Peter’s Basilica suggested that ‘we should acknowledge that we need the Lord to enlighten us’ to the faithful and the tourists who came to celebrate together and hear his message.

“In general, reviewing the various messages in recent days from this pontiff, it seems Francis wanted to express hope and encouragement to the people who came to share, worship and celebrate with him at the Vatican.

 “And Pope Francis clearly sees new opportunities for improvement with the arrival of a new year, per the report from Crux. He added we should consider the infant born in Bethlehem to learn something more about God. As the pontiff points out in his message, there was a plan.

God wanted to be close, in the flesh, to those who feel lost, hurt, discouraged, afraid, inconsolable, or who feel burdened by loneliness so that sin, despair and exclusion [wouldn’t have the final word.] ”

 

DNC Chair Race: Proxy Battle Rages On Despite Agreement Not To Attack Each Other

Senator Bernie Sanders 2017

The Democratic National Committee leadership race is apparently an ongoing proxy war which rages just below some media radars, likely because there is an “agreement not to attack” between the seven major candidates to succeed Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile at that post-2016 election top spot.

Or so writes Jonathan Easely over at The Hill recently, describing some festering wounds perhaps re-opened by 2016 Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in his backing of one of the DNC leadership candidates for the position.

From that article, Senator Sanders is choosing to support Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota for the DNC chair position, while the former Vice President under ex-President Barack Obama is choosing to back Tom Perez, described as also being “a top contender for Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman.”

Appearing on Sunday morning’s “State of the Union” news show at CNN, Bernie Sanders addressed the fight.

Host Jake Tapper asked Senator Sanders about former Labor Secretary Perez being endorsed for the job by ex-VP Biden over Ellison.

Tapper quoted a Sanders’ statement from a February Facebook reaction about whether or not the DNC will “stay with a failed status quo approach or do we go forward with a fundamental re-structuring  of the Democratic Party?”

Sanders replied to it.

“Look, I like Joe [Biden] and I certainly have enormous respect for President Obama. But the facts are that despite the reality that we have an extreme right-wing Republican Party, which is way out of touch with the American people on every issue, they now control the White House, the Senate, the House and two-thirds of the Governors’ chairs.”

Former VP Biden was quoted over at CBS News online by Emily Schultheis on his choice of who to support for DNC chair, seeming to take a swipe at people who don’t know “what it means to be a Democrat.”

“I’ve known Tom Perez for a long time. He’s a man of integrity and vision. And he knows what it means to be a Democrat—that we are a party that fights for economic fairness for working families and believes that everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or who they love.”

In the Facebook statement, Sanders also wrote this:

“I say we go forward and create a grassroots party which speaks for working people and is prepared to stand up to the top 1 percent. That’s why we have to support Keith Ellison.”

Biden, however, feels people are being treated as children by the Sanders-Ellison wing of the fight. To underscore that, the former VP also stated in the CBS piece that Perez “… knows how to talk to people, not down to them.”

So, the battle is raging on for the soul of the Democratic Party.

[Featured image by Carla Miles/cmilesmedia]

Recap: 2016 US Election, Politics

Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Presidential-level political drama: The leaking, hacking, etc. stories of 2016 kept voters on their toes as they looked for the truth and what was actually happening. Here are a few excerpts of the big-interest stories done by me. (Click on hyperlinks to read further or visit websites.)

The July 2016 DNC Walkout of “disgusted” Sanders’ supporters, from the Inquisitr:

“Philadelphia was the scene of a Democratic uprising, a DNC walkout peacefully accomplished, but nevertheless, an ingrown portent perhaps of a bad moon rising over the Party one protestor/Sanders’ delegate called the ‘Hillary party.’

“An estimated 1,800 disgusted Bernie Sanders’ supporters and delegates walked out of the Democratic National Convention’s ‘Hillary Party’ on Tuesday in Philadelphia, and that occurred, according to various media reports, soon after the non-neutral DNC’s favorite candidate, Hillary Clinton, ‘won’ the roll call.”

 Nevada Accusations Of Election Fraud from a congressional candidate also from the Inquisitr. This was posted in September 2016.

“More shocking allegations of Nevada election fraud, including accusations of Democrats using a preferred technology provider that can override state voter registration data files and collusion with the Nevada Democratic Party by persons supporting Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, were explained in a video message by a former congressional candidate in Nevada’s fourth district, Dan Rolle.”

“It was all a coverup. It was all a little game.”

Another political post at Inquisitr’s website, this one also from September 2016 as some voters pondered why Senator Sanders opted to support his rival, DNC-favorite, Clinton in the general election after the big WikiLeaks revelations.

Democratic establishment bias is on the minds of some voters, who also wonder what provoked Senator Bernie Sanders to roll over at the very contentious Philadelphia national convention this summer, even after the WikiLeaks DNC email dump proved DNC bias for Hillary Clinton, and his sudden throwing of support behind the politician/rival he had been hammering away at for many months previously.

“It is no surprise to some that Senator Sanders has called for Clinton to sever all her ties with the Clinton Foundation, the organization which is tagged as being either ‘pay-to-play’ or ‘philanthropic,’ depending upon what each voter has read and does believe this year about the organization and Clinton’s time as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.”

During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s time in the Obama Administration, 13 Mobile Devices were lost and apparently could not be found per an FBI report. An excerpt of the Inquisitr story I did is below.

“The Federal Bureau of Investigation report on Hillary Clinton reveals the former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama not only lost 13 mobile devices, which meant these could not be checked forensically, but the former appointee in the Obama Administration was also making important communication decisions based on her own comfort and convenience and not the priority of safeguarding of communications for the Department of State.”

“Under a heading of ‘Clinton e-mail investigation mishandling of classified – unknown subject or country (SIM),’ the FBI Vault report on Clinton begins by stating when they began looking into possible criminal conduct. The information presented indicates that the FBI began their criminal investigation on July 10, 2015 ‘… based upon a referral received from the US Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG)….’

“That USIG referral came on July 6, 2015, and focused upon’“… the potential unauthorized transmission and storage of classified information on the personal e-mail server of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Clinton).’”

Just before the general election in November, it was clear American voters were miserable over their choices for President, and I did another story posted at the Inquisitr November 5. Government dysfunction and international instability were troubling people.

“American voters feeling ‘miserable’ as the big November general election approaches should know they are not alone this year, even as political scientists studying these things are of the opinion it is a good thing.

“Pollster Margie Omero is one who says American voters are feeling ‘miserable,’ according to the VOA news article by Cindy Saine. Omero, working for Purple Strategies public research firm in Virginia, has more details on the national mood.”

“People are feeling a little bit better economically, at least that hasn’t worsened, but you’ve seen economic anxiety replaced by worries about government dysfunction and international instability – ISIS or Ebola or international volatility, school violence, school shootings, crime.”

But it was also stated by experts that “partisan ambivalence” might actually translate into something good.

It “… may mean they are ready to rely on real, factual information for their choices this time through the election cycle,” and not simply vote for their party candidate.

And as one point of view reflected upon Clinton’s winning of the popular vote, while Donald Trump won the more legally important electoral vote to succeed Barack Obama into the Office of the President, the FederalistPapers website reported that “Hillary’s Popular vote win came ENTIRELY from California.”

Ted Cruz refuses to endorse GOP nominee in prime time RNC convention speech

Ted Cruz, refuses to endorse GOP candidate Donald Trump.

Looking for all the world like a “sore loser,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz refused to endorse the 2016 Republican presidential winner Donald J. Trump tonight at the RNC convention in Cleveland.

Even though Newt Gingrich tried to soften the spectacle, by “explaining” away the obvious non-endorsement of the GOP winner Trump by Cruz, many were not buying it.

As the hashtag #TedCruz began, the reactions of upset or support began to the Senator’s otherwise well-received speech on Wednesday. Some thought it was gutsy for Cruz to do. Not everyone, however, thought so.

From fellow Texan, radio host Mark Davis, there was clearly some disgust, however:

And then later, there was this from the Texas talk show host watching the drama unfold Wednesday night before an obviously torn crowd:

Mike Huckabee reacts

A former 2016 Presidential candidate and former Governor of Arkansas, taking to Facebook to publicly react, had strong words.

“The question was whether Cruz would make his speech about HIS future or the future of the country,” Huckabee wrote. “And that question was answered when Ted Cruz chose to not keep his word that he (along with me and every other GOP candidate) gave one year ago in that very arena where tonight he put his own ambitions above country. Donald Trump did something no previous nominee has done—he allowed Ted Cruz to speak without his promising to support the nominee.”

The former governor had more to say. “I’ve spoken at every convention since 1992, and I can attest to the fact that no one got near that stage without supporting the nominee. Trump trusted Ted and was rewarded with a betrayal, but the delegates in that arena booed Cruz off the stage and out of Cleveland.”

Security Concerns: Wright State University bails on hosting first 2016 U.S. Presidential debate; Hofstra University steps up for it

Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Wright State University officials are bailing out on the honor of hosting the very first 2016 U.S. Presidential debate due to “safety” and financial costs, according to the announcement posted on their website.

The Wright State Board of Trustees fully supports their president, David R. Hopkins, on the decision to cancel, said board Chair Michael Bridges. Chairman Bridges believes that this is “the responsible thing to do.” Bridges added the main issue then, per the post.

“While the community has been overwhelmingly supportive of Wright State hosting the debate, the safety and security of the campus and community is of paramount importance.”

“Hosting the debate was expected to cost Wright State between $3 million and $5 million and as much as $8 million,” according to officials. Wright State President Hopkins sees this as a bigger financial burden on the university.

“We have a responsibility to our community both safety-wise and financially to do the right thing,” said Wright State President Hopkins.

‘a growing crescendo’

“This is a very difficult decision, [but] there has been a growing crescendo of concern about what it would take to guarantee the safety and security of the campus and the community. The expense would be daunting,” said Wright State President Hopkins.

As noted also in the announcement, Wright State “… cannot restrict public access to its campus, which adds to security challenges.” Private Universities hosting debates in the past apparently are allowed to restrict access from the public.

“We were fully aware of the challenges and were prepared to meet them when we decided to host the debate, but things have changed,” said Hopkins. “The current national environment has made security even more critical.”

Hofstra University will host Sept. 26 debate

The honor of hosting this first Presidential debate goes to Hofstra University, according to the information over at the 2016Debate website.

The nonpartisan, nonprofit Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has announced the formats for the three scheduled presidential debates.

“The formats for the 90-minute debates are designed to facilitate in-depth discussion of the leading issues facing the nation,” the CPD information states. “The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.”

One vice presidential debate is also scheduled for the fall as well. As in the presidential debates, the formats “… are designed to facilitate in-depth discussion of the leading issues facing the nation.”

RNC Convention begins: Expect some fireworks with immigrant Melania Trump, the not shy retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and some midwestern sensibility on security

Melania Trump

The speakers for the first night’s program for the 2016 Republican National Convention have been announced and may indicate to the rest of the world just what  issues the Party intends to confront during this 2016 election cycle.

The lineup of Convention speakers in Cleveland tonight includes Melania Trump, Lieutenant General (ret.) Michael Flynn, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke and possibly others unlisted.

From the RNC2016 Cleveland page, however, the theme for the first night will be “Make America Safe Again,” and there is a desire to focus not just on the domestic attacks.

“From attacks on our own soil and overseas to the tragedy in Benghazi, the policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have left us vulnerable. Our immigration system is broken, leaving our country open to security threats and the negative consequences of illegal immigration. A Donald Trump administration will listen to and learn from our nation’s heroes who have put themselves in harm’s way and pursue a national security strategy and foreign policy that will strengthen our military and make America safe again,” reads the GOP information page.

Melania Trump/Louisa Adams – immigrant spouses:

Described as being a “very significant” and “very historic” potential First Lady by historian Jane Hampton Cook on Fox News Monday, Melania Trump may be one of the few individuals who may be able to actually connect to those immigrants who have desired to enter the country and start working on their own so-called “American Dream.” The last immigrant First Lady in the United States was Louisa Johnson, the wife of John Quincy Adams, Cook explained, and she was born in London in the 1700s.

Possible points to be made are the fact that Melania, unlike former First Lady Hillary Clinton, speaks many other languages. Imagine what an asset this could be when addressing Eastern and Western European officials in their own preferred languages.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn

Reporters Shane Harris and Nancy Yousseff, writing over at the DailyBeast, observed that retired Lt. General Flynn had something to say in regards to “… that ‘political correctness’ which has prevented the U.S. from confronting violent extremism….”

Flynn is described in the story as a “well-known critic” of the Obama Administration’s campaign against ISIS and foreign policy too. The writers state also that Flynn sees this violent extremism as being a “cancerous idea that exists inside of the Islamic religion.”

It seems no surprise that the presumptive nominee Donalt Trump has looked to this military man’s experience on national security already. So, of course, expect some strong words in this speech from someone who is focused on keeping the nation safe from that violent extremism.

Mid-western sensibilities

As for the Congressional aspects on what is popularly called “good sense,”  U.S. Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana will also be addressing the crowd on Monday night.

The line up of speakers are being called “unconventional,” over at the wnyt page online. The most interesting news on Zinke is reported on over at kfbb online.

“U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke told The (Billings) Gazette that he still plans to give a speech Monday to the convention about national security,” reads the news from kfbb. “But he says he’s withdrawing as a delegate because the GOP platform is ‘more divisive than uniting.'”

In the GOP platform, draft language exists apparently which is calling upon Congress “to pass legislation that would shift some federally controlled public lands to the states,” states the report. “This has been a major issue in Montana’s House race. Zinke says he supports better management but not transfer to the states.”

Paul Manafort says Trump picked Pence as VP for ‘party unity’ and ‘to help build a program that could get through Congress and become law in first 100 days’

Gov. Mike Pence.

Splashing lots of common sense this weekend on the choice of Indiana Governor Mike Pence to be 2016 Presidential presumptive nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort explained in an interview with Chris Wallace of “Fox News Sunday” that while the two men are not expected to “see eye-to-eye on everything,” Pence was chosen for three big reasons.

Manafort cited “the mess that has been created by the people in Washington,” and stated that they need to be removed. He also revealed that Trump asked Pence to be the Vice Presidential running mate on Wednesday and Pence had gone to New York not for shopping but to be announced as such by Trump. However, Trump and Manafort were in California and because of the “tragedy” in the world they held off on the political announcement, which some took to mean Trump was not sure about his choice.

Pence could become President on ‘Day One’

Pence was not in New York to go shopping, Manafort told host Wallace. And in fact, Trump chose Pence not just for “party unity,” he said, but for three other important reasons. The first reason being Pence will be able to be “President on day one” if need be, and two being that the Indiana Governor could help build a program that could “get through Congress and become law in the first 100 days.”

The third criteria, revealed Manafort, was that Pence understands and has been inside of “the system.” That seems important because clearly Trump has been in business for most of his life.

Regarding Trump’s “temperament,” Manafort answered that Trump is clearly “upset” about “failed” leadership. On the question of the two men being so different on social issues, and what could be said to moderates and liberals in the expanding Republican Party, Manafort stated that Pence “is a man of principle.” (Note: Pence was listed over in an Esquire article from 2008 for running against “the oily John Boehner” and being “one of the most principled members, from either party.”)

Times have changed of course, but some history may be pertinent for the choice of Mike Pence this year. William Kristol, over at the NationalReview in 2009, once touted Pence as a person to challenge Indiana Senator Evan Bayh in a 2010 race, saying Pence “could make the race competitive.” When Representative Mike Pence challenged John Boehner for the minority leadership position in 2006, he lost, per the story at NBC from that year.

Manafort now says Pence is somebody who believes in “using the U.S. Constitution to defend the rights of all people,” and further, Manafort believes Pence and Trump agree that the “system” is “rigged” and this is a serious issue for many Americans.

‘Huh, what?’

Regarding the general “Huh, what?” reaction to Pence, Manafort said what Trump observed in Governor Pence  was “exactly the kind of leadership” that Trump wants to bring to Washington. “So, Governor Pence complements Donald Trump.”

The question arose of the Governor’s initial reaction to Trump’s proposed Muslim immigration ban and Manafort played that one down, saying the men do agree there is a crisis, Manafort said.

“They both agree there needs to be a ban on terrorist countries until we figure things out, but on the issues you’re raising they are not disagreeing on fundamental things.”

NAFTA was supposed to be reviewed

On the issue of free trade, Manafort stated that “Pence agrees on fair and free trade.” But he pushed back on the media notions regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement which was a deal signed for Canada, Mexico, and the United States and took effect in 1994.

NAFTA is a situation that needs to be reviewed, according to Manafort. He then informed Wallace that there are “clauses in the law,” which state there are supposed to be “review periods, and they’ve never been reviewed.”

And, finally, as writer Robert Costa sums up perfectly on the subject, over at the WashingtonPost, “[i]n Pence’s favor is that, as a low-key Midwesterner and seasoned Republican, he would give Trump someone with governing experience and a running mate who presented voters with a temperamental and ideological contrast. A former talk-radio host and evangelical Christian who reveres Ronald Reagan, Pence has long couched his politics in the cadence of movement conservatism. Over the past decade, he has twice considered running for the White House before ultimately deciding against it.”

‘Washington has misled the American people about foreign sponsorship of 9/11,’ says author Paul Sperry

redacted, newly released 9/11/01 pages.

Previously kept secret from the public, information from the congressional investigation regarding the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001  have been vetted, released and the previously redacted “28 pages” are now posted online.

Via the Washington Post and the Congressional Intelligence Committee, the pages have been available since Friday for more public review  and scrutiny, and they are receiving scrutiny, even as more terror attacks occur and as one U.S. ally, Turkey, seems to be still reeling from a military coup.

As Paul Sperry states in his NYPost opinion column on the subject, it seems that “… Washington has misled the American people about foreign sponsorship of 9/11. For 15 years, we’ve been told that al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors. We were led to believe that 15 Saudi nationals who barely spoke English received no help while in America; that they operated in isolation, like visitors from outer space.”

Sperry sums it all up for readers, however. “It was all a monstrous lie.”

Last year, in a report on the subject from Eugene Kiely over at FactCheck, under the headline “Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks,” the writer quotes from a Times story on the deposition given by Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted 9/11 co-conspirator.

According to Kiely in his 2015 report, “Zacarias Moussaoui, a convicted 9/11 co-conspirator, says members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family helped finance al Qaeda in the years just prior to the 2001 terrorist attacks. The Saudi government says that ‘there is no evidence to support Moussaoui’s claim,’ citing U.S. government investigations.”

And then Kiely wonders. “Who’s right?”

The information cited by Kiely, included this bit on the deposition given in prison:

Feb. 3, New York Times: He said in the prison deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of donors to the group. Among those he said he recalled listing in the database were Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to the United States; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many of the country’s leading clerics.

“Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money,” he said in imperfect English — “who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad.”

Mr. Moussaoui said he acted as a courier for Bin Laden, carrying personal messages to prominent Saudi princes and clerics. And he described his training in Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.

Sperry writes in his column that “FBI files show Saudi agent Omar al-Bayoumi provided ‘substantial assistance’ to Saudi hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi after they arrived in San Diego in February 2000. Hazmi was the leader of the cell that attacked the Pentagon, while Mihdhar was one of that cell’s muscle hijackers. …. At the same time he was aiding the hijackers, Bayoumi was getting large salary increases from a Saudi defense front company tied to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, where he worked as a ghost employee. Another alleged Saudi intelligence officer who handled the hijackers, Osama Bassnan, worked closely with Bayoumi.”

But the Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubier, is quoted over in a New York Daily News story on the newly-released documents. Minister al-Jubier said he was happy the pages were out. “The surprise in the 28 pages is that there is no surprise.”

CIA Director talks about ‘ungoverned spaces and of the digital revolution’

Director Brennan, CIA.

Terrorism and instability rock the nations of our 21st century world, and as people watch demented, fanatical men and women with black flags trying to establish their very own “global Islamic caliphate” and killing every person they don’t like in the meanwhile, it may comfort some to understand that there are people who think about fighting these terrorists and look forward to thwarting them and killing them, too in defense of Western civilization.

The challenges of “ungoverned spaces and of the digital revolution,” according to the current Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John O. Brennan, are “two defining features of global instability that keep us quite busy at Langley.”

Speaking recently before a crowd at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. recently, (see CIA website speech text here), Brennan also believes that technology has transformed human interaction.

The ‘unstable world’

“Beyond the challenge of ungoverned spaces, the digital revolution is perhaps the defining feature of our unstable world, in both the most positive and negative ways,” Brennan said. “The cyber realm and information technology have fundamentally transformed the most prevalent means of human interaction. These technologies have given rise to new information-based industries that have displaced older ones, sometimes deepening gaps within societies and between the developed and underdeveloped worlds. They enable social interaction that can be swift and destabilizing, as we saw with the so-called Arab Spring. And they invest individuals with unprecedented influence and even power—for better or worse.”

Enemies can now utilize new tools of technology without ever needing to travel to this country, Brennan tells the crowd. “Cyber makes it possible for our adversaries to sabotage vital infrastructure without ever landing an agent on our shores. And we have seen how our own citizens can be indoctrinated by terrorist groups online to commit terrible acts of violence here at home.”

Directorate of Digital Innovation

In addressing the issues confronting the nation’s security, Brennan announces a new CIA Agency directorate called the “Directorate of Digital Innovation.” It is the first new addition in over a half-century, he said, and it is created in an “effort to hasten the adoption of digital solutions into every aspect of our work. It is accelerating the integration of our digital and cyber capabilities across all our mission areas—espionage, all-source analysis, open-source intelligence, liaison engagement and covert action.”

During his remarks , Director Brennan also mentioned the turmoil people are seeing in 2016. (The headlines this Friday are about a possible coup in Turkey from theGuardian, and another horrific terror attack in France reported over at wbtv.)

2016 ‘instability’ costs

“Clearly, the world in 2016 is witnessing a significant amount of instability,” stated Brennan, “and has been for some time. Instability is a vague and antiseptic term, but we all know that it carries some very real costs—especially in terms of humanitarian suffering, rising extremist violence, and diminishing freedom throughout the community of nations.”

Reports come in about the decline of freedom, he said. “For instance, Freedom House this year reported an acceleration in a decade-long slide in democracy around the world. The number of countries showing a decline in freedom for the year—72—was the largest since the downward trend began.”

Furthermore, Brennan said, “[t]he challenges we face today are unprecedented in both their variety and complexity. They are highly fluid, constantly shifting and taking on new dimensions. And they are increasingly interconnected, testing our ability to anticipate how developments in one realm will shape events in another.When CIA analysts consider the trends that are shaping the coming decade, they look at dynamics such as rapid population growth and urbanization in the developing world. They look at technological advances that vastly outpace the ability of governments to manage them, as well as at low economic growth globally.”

‘daunting array of 21st century challenges’

The nations of the world are experiencing greater and greater stress, Brennan observes. “If these trends hold, we could see greater volatility and increased demands on nation-states, which are already under the greatest stress we have seen in many years, perhaps going back to the period after the First World War. Governments worldwide have found that handling the daunting array of 21st century challenges on their own—those related to economics, security, technology, demographics, climate change, and so on—is increasingly difficult, if not impossible.”

Director Brennan mentions the practical side of his work, in thwarting groups and individuals intent upon doing evil. “… it means that our operations officers must be able to maintain their cover in a dynamic digital environment and collect in it as well. It means that our analysts must be able to quickly process and analyze enormous volumes of data. And it means that our IT experts must be able to harden our networks against intrusion and better protect our sources and methods.”

He calls for national discourse on the issues. “Some 85 percent of the internet is owned and operated by the private sector, which is why we need to have an honest, vigorous dialogue between public and private sector stakeholders about government’s proper role in the cyber domain. In that vein, we need to have a more robust and comprehensive national discourse about how the government and the private sector must work together to safeguard the security, reliability, resilience, and prosperity of the digital domain.”

 

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