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    national security Tag

    The Daily Caller reported that the FBI has taken the smashed hard drives from the home of Pakistani-born Imran Awan, a former IT aide that worked for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). The Capitol Police took "computer equipment tied to the Florida lawmaker." A source told The Daily Caller "that the FBI has joined what Politico previously described as a Capitol Police criminal probe into 'serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network'" by Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, and his brothers Abid and Jamal. Officials suspect these four people “accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.”

    Que Twilight Zone theme.  Scott Johnson of the conservative blog Powerline has been served a draft subpoena ordering that he preserve records of items he noted in his blog posts. Judge James Robart, presiding over the Hawaii v. Trump "travel ban" case, authorized the move. Johnson writes:
    These are strange days. I seem to have been caught up in the so-called “travel ban” litigation challenging President Trump’s executive orders “Protecting the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” Yesterday I was served with a letter and draft subpoena from one Tana Lin of the Keller Rohrback law firm’s Seattle office alerting me to my “document preservation obligations with respect to documents that are relevant or potentially relevant to this litigation.” Lin represents plaintiffs in Doe v. Trump, venued in the federal district court for the Western District of Washington.

    Just when you thought Obama's disastrous Iran deal couldn't get any worse, we learn that in order to protect the bad deal, Obama systematically disbanded units investigating Iran's terror-funding networks.  Not only that, but he also disbanded units investigating the state funding of terrorists by Syria and Venezuela. The Washington Free Beacon reports:
    The Obama administration "systematically disbanded" law enforcement investigative units across the federal government focused on disrupting Iranian, Syrian, and Venezuelan terrorism financing networks out of concern the work could cause friction with Iranian officials and scuttle the nuclear deal with Iran, according to a former U.S. official who spent decades dismantling terrorist financial networks.

    Four IT staff for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers lost their jobs in February after suspicions arose that they breached security on the House IT network. The U.S. Capitol Police named Hina Alvi, her husband Imran Awan, and his brothers Abid and Jamal "as subjects of a criminal probe." Now relatives have said that Alvi has fled the United States with her daughters and sought protection from the Pakistani government.

    A raid conducted by authorities in Ghana shut down a fake U. S. embassy that was set up and run by a crime ring who issued legitimate visas and other documents to anyone who could pay for them. It is not yet known where they got the genuine U. S. passports, birth certificates, visas, and other documents.  Such documents for other countries were also found at the site. It is also not known how many of these documents were used to illegally enter the U. S. over the past ten years.

    Earlier this month, the United States District Court in Baltimore charged ex-NSA contractor Harold Thomas Martin III with removal of classified documents and theft of government property. Officials have revealed that Martin took over 500 million pages of records and secrets over two decades. The Justice Department will probably charge Martin with other crimes, "including violating the Espionage Act." The latest DOJ document does not say if Martin shared this information, but made it known he had the ability to do so.

    The United States District Court in Baltimore has charged a Maryland government contractor with the removal of classified documents and theft of government property for allegedly possessing paper and digital classified materials, including "highly classified computer code developed to hack into the networks of foreign governments." The Washington Post reports:
    A federal contractor suspected of leaking powerful National Security Agency hacking tools has been arrested and charged with stealing classified information from the U.S. government, according to court records and a law enforcement official familiar with the case. Harold Thomas Martin III, 51, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, was charged with theft of government property and unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials, authorities said. He was arrested in August after investigators searched his home in Glen Burnie, Md., and found documents and digital information stored on various devices that contained highly classified information, authorities said.
    Martin is a "decorated former Naval officer and reservist with a broad interest in cyber issues".

    Despite France's recent acknowledgement that it fights Islamic terrorism on a daily basis and last year's warning that ISIS has targeted our refugee program, the Obama administration has announced that it is has raised the refugee target for 2017 to "at least 110,000." The Washington Post reports:
    The Obama administration will seek to accept 110,000 refugees from around the world in fiscal 2017, according to Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Kerry briefed lawmakers Tuesday on the new goal, which is an increase from 85,000 in fiscal 2016 and 70,000 in the previous three years. It represents a 57 percent increase in refugee arrivals since 2015, as ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere have spurred an exodus of migrants seeking asylum in Europe, Canada and other regions.

    The Terminator is an iconic film that helped propel former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom. The movie is also a basis for discussion about the future of military weaponry, as Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, uses the film as reference in describing autonomous weaponry systems that could be developed in the next decade.
    The nation’s second-highest ranking military officer believes that our adversaries may try to build completely autonomous “Terminator”-like systems that can conduct lethal operations on the battlefield. “I don’t think it’s impossible that somebody will try to build a completely autonomous system, and I’m not talking about something like a cruise missile … or a mine that requires a human to target it and release it and it goes and finds its target,” Selva told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. when asked about such capabilities. “I’m talking about a wholly robotic system that decides whether or not, at the point of decision, it’s going to do lethal ops.”

    Israel and the United States have signed an agreement aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation in the field of cyber defense. The Cyber Defense Cooperation Agreement penned on Tuesday, June 21, seeks to build joint infrastructure in cyber defense, create partnerships in private sector, fund research, and develop new technologies. The agreement wants to improve the existing mechanisms for sharing of operative information between U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Israeli counterparty, National Cyber Security Authority. Israel has long established itself as a technology superpower with Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as major centres for cutting edge startup innovation -- second in the world only to the Silicon Valley. In recent years, the city of Beersheba located in the middle of the Negev desert has emerged as the world leader in cyber security. Today, around 20 percent of all technology companies in Israel are working in cyber security, making it the biggest technology related sector in the country.

    Last week I wrote about the fact that Navy SEALs are forced to share combat rifles, are short on live ammo for training, and are purchasing their own gear.  This week, assistant commandant of the United States Marine Corps, General John Paxton, told Congress that he does not believe the Marines are ready for another war. The Stars and Stripes reports:
    If the Marines were called today to respond to an unexpected crisis, they might not be ready, a top Marine general told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

    Gen. John Paxton, assistant commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, testified to lawmakers that the Marines could face more casualties in a war and might not be able to deter a potential enemy.

    “I worry about the capability and the capacity to win in a major fight somewhere else right now,” he said, citing a lack of training and equipment.

    Paxton, along with the vice chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force, spoke to the Senate committee on the readiness challenges facing each service after 15 years of war and recent budget cuts.

    Whenever Obama is asked about his strategy to fight ISIS, he brags of the 66 nation coalition he's put together to fight the terror group. Unfortunately, that's not entirely accurate. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, sometimes referred to in conservative circles as President Ash Carter for dealing with real problems while Obama does puff interviews with YouTube personalities, is now complaining that our coalition partners aren't stepping up to the fight. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
    U.S. calls on slackers to do more in Islamic State war To doubters of its strategy for defeating the Islamic State, the Obama administration likes to tout its coalition of 66 nations and claim strength in numbers. But a year and a half into the war, some administration officials are acknowledging that this supposed source of strength has its own weaknesses.

    Obama's first year in office was a busy one as he worked tirelessly to hinder the government's ability to identify, locate, track, or make common sense connections between Islamists and terrorism. In April of 2009, the DHS released a now-infamous report entitled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment" and in which conservatives were labeled potential terrorists not because they are radical militants but because they are pro-life, support the Tenth Amendment, or are veterans. Michelle Malkin wrote at that time:
    It is no coincidence that this report echoes Tea Party-bashing left-wing blogs (check this one out comparing the Tea Party movement to the Weather Underground!) and demonizes the very Americans who will be protesting in the thousands on Wednesday for the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party. From the report, p.2: Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

    A security breach discovered at a California-based software and hardware company has many officials worried, including U.S. Congressman Will Hurd of Texas. Rep. Hurd expressed his concerns over the breach in a Wall Street Journal op-ed explaining that foreign hackers may "have been reading the encrypted communications of U.S. government agencies for the past three years." Juniper Networks provides network equipment and routers to the U.S. government that are believed to be used by the Defense Department, FBI, Justice Department, and Treasury Department.
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