Posts Tagged Obama administration

Operation Choke Point Under Scrutiny

From Electronic Frontier Foundation:

EFF recently received dozens of pages of documents in response to a FOIA request we submitted about Operation Choke Point, a Department of Justice project to pressure banks and financial institutions into cutting off service to certain businesses. Unfortunately, the response from the Department of Justice leaves many questions unanswered.

EFF has been tracking instances of financial censorship for years to identify how online speech is indirectly silenced or intimidated by shuttering bank accounts, donation platforms, and other financial institutions.  The Wall Street Journal wrote about the Justice Department’s controversial and secretive campaign against financial institutions in 2013, and one Justice Department official quoted in the article stated:

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DHS Probed Georgia’s Voting System

From The Daily Caller:

Georgian IT specialists traced 10 such scans back to a DHS IP address. DHS officials confirmed the attacks came from an unnamed contractor attached to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, a part of DHS.

FLETCO officials have refuse to identify the contractor and the agency did not respond to a DCNF inquiry about the intrusions.

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Obama Admin Drops Charges Against Arms Dealer Who Could Blow Whistle On Libyan Arms Transfer

From Politico:

Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.

The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State, and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

From Fox News:

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Blueprints Of Guns Not Allowed, Court Says

From Ars Technica:

In a 2-1 decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was not persuaded that Defense Distributed’s right to free speech under the First Amendment outweighs national security concerns.

Ordinarily, of course, the protection of constitutional rights would be the highest public interest at issue in a case. That is not necessarily true here, however, because the State Department has asserted a very strong public interest in national defense and national security. Indeed, the State Department’s stated interest in preventing foreign nationals—including all manner of enemies of this country—from obtaining technical data on how to produce weapons and weapon parts is not merely tangentially related to national defense and national security; it lies squarely within that interest.

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Bin Laden’s Arms Dealer Released From Guatanamo

Obama Administration released Bin Laden’s arms dealer on April 4 and sent him to Senegal in West Africa.

From the Department of Defense:

On Aug. 20, 2015, the Periodic Review Board consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined continued law of war detention of Umar does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Umar was recommended for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the Periodic Review Board. The Periodic Review Board process was established by the president’s March 7, 2011 Executive Order 13567.

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White House Removes “Islamist Terrorism” From French President’s Remarks

From Media Research Center:

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DHS Records Were Altered Before 2009 Christmas Day Attack

From The Hill:

Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.”  Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.

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Navy Intelligence Admiral Doesn’t Have Security Clearance, Still Has Job

From The Washington Post:

Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch has been barred from reading, seeing or hearing classified information since November 2013, when the Navy learned from the Justice Department that his name had surfaced in a giant corruption investigation involving a foreign defense contractor and scores of Navy personnel.

Some critics have questioned how smart it is for the Navy to retain an intelligence chief with such limitations, for so long, especially at a time when the Pentagon is confronted by crises in the Middle East, the South China Sea, the Korean Peninsula and other hotspots.

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Condi Rice and Bob Gates on U.S., Russia Relations

From The Washington Post:

One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.

The fact is that Putin is playing a weak hand extraordinarily well because he knows exactly what he wants to do. He is not stabilizing the situation according to our definition of stability. He is defending Russia’s interests by keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. This is not about the Islamic State. Any insurgent group that opposes Russian interests is a terrorist organization to Moscow. We saw this behavior in Ukraine, and now we’re seeing it even more aggressively — with bombing runs and cruise missile strikes — in Syria.

 

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Canceling The F-22 Was A Mistake

From Foxtrot Alpha:

As if they suddenly came to an epiphany, the United States Air Force brass is now admitting what many of us have been screaming about for so long: We didn’t build nearly enough F-22s, and the F-35 cannot simply pick up the slack. So why aren’t those who pushed so hard to cancel the F-22 program being held accountable?

At the same time that the Raptor was coming online and proving itself, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, of both the Bush and Obama Administrations, was calling for the F-22’s demise. This was said to be due to the aircraft cost and use as “only” an air-to-air, destruction of enemy air defense, and deep strike platform.

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Special Treatment May Have Been Given To Female Rangers

From People.com:

“A woman will graduate Ranger School,” a general told shocked subordinates this year while preparing for the first females to attend a “gender integrated assessment” of the grueling combat leadership course starting April 20, sources tell PEOPLE. “At least one will get through.”

Multiple sources told PEOPLE:

• Women were first sent to a special two-week training in January to get them ready for the school, which didn’t start until April 20. Once there they were allowed to repeat the program until they passed – while men were held to a strict pass/fail standard.

• Afterward they spent months in a special platoon at Fort Benning getting, among other things, nutritional counseling and full-time training with a Ranger.

• While in the special platoon they were taken out to the land navigation course – a very tough part of the course that is timed – on a regular basis. The men had to see it for the first time when they went to the school.

• Once in the school they were allowed to repeat key parts – like patrols – while special consideration was not given to the men.

• A two-star general made personal appearances to cheer them along during one of the most challenging parts of the school, multiple sources tell PEOPLE.

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Military Looks The Other Way on Afghan Pedophilia: “It’s their culture”

From The New York Times:

In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

The policy of instructing soldiers to ignore child sexual abuse by their Afghan allies is coming under new scrutiny, particularly as it emerges that service members like Captain Quinn have faced discipline, even career ruin, for disobeying it.

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NRA Stands Up For First Amendment

From NRA-ILA:

As we reported in June, the Obama Administration’s State Department (DOS) proposed a revision of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) on June 3 that would require anyone seeking to make certain types of information about firearms publicly available to first obtain government approval. Prior restraints of the sort contemplated by the proposal are among the most disfavored regulations of speech under First Amendment case law. Our original alert encouraged gunsmiths, manufacturers, reloaders, serious hobbyists, and others who rely on design, development, production or manufacturing information about firearms to file comments with the State Department opposing the rule and explaining its problems.

 

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Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government

From EFF:

Washington, D.C. ­– Academy and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. transportation security agencies today demanding they release records documenting a six-year period in which she was searched, questioned, and often subjected to hours-long security screenings at U.S. and overseas airports on more than 50 occasions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing Poitras in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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Iran Trashes United States After Nuclear Deal

From Washington Free Beacon:

Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, who was handpicked by the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader to deliver the prayers, delivered a message of hostility toward the United States in the first official remarks since a final nuclear deal was signed between Iran and world powers in Vienna last week.

A Persian-language message on the podium declared, “We will trample upon America” while the English phrase “We Defeat the United States” can be seen underneath.

 

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