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American People Will Push-back on Election Day November 4 — Democrat Party Candidates Will Lose Due To Job Insecurity, The Economy, Obama-care, Amnesty for Illegal Aliens, Tax Hikes, Failed Economic and Foreign Policies in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and Scandals Including Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS, Veterans Administration and Now Ebola — Democrats On Verge of Losing Massively Including Control of The Senate — Obama is An Epic Failure and Loser That Buried The Democratic Party — Rest In Peace — Videos

Posted on October 23, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Disease, Documentary, Ebola, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Faith, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Language, Law, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 354: October 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Story 1: American People Will Push-back on Election Day November 4 — Democrat Party Candidates  Will Lose Due To Job Insecurity, The Economy, Obama-care, Amnesty for Illegal Aliens, Tax Hikes, Failed Economic and Foreign Policies in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and Scandals Including Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS, Veterans Administration and Now Ebola  —  Democrats On Verge of Losing Massively Including Control of The Senate — Obama is An Epic Failure and Loser That Buried The Democratic Party — Rest In Peace — Videos 

the failure

Obama-Failuredemocrat-economic-success-obama-politicstransformedburyObama-ScandalsCartoon - Obama Scandals and CorruptionYes-Obama-Can-Bankrupt-Americacartoon-they-opted-out-500trick or treat

 

Mid-term elections forecast

Who Will Control The Senate? Election Is ‘Neck And Neck’

Midterm Elections 2014: Here are the Key Senate Races

Ann Coulter: GOP Should Stop ‘Constantly Sucking Up’ to Hispanic Voters

New Fox Poll: 58% Say Things In World Going To Hell In A Handbasket – America’s Newsroom

Poll: Democrat Voters Less Interested In Midterm Elections – America’s Election HQ

Poll shows only 14 percent of Americans approve the way Congress handling its job

Stewart: Midterms 2014, We’ve Got Nothing To Fear, But Fear Itself, So We’re Going To Go With Fear

Which Party Should Control Congress? AP/Gallup POLL Results

 

 

Latest AP National Poll Is a Nightmare for Democrats

By Jim Geraghty

This new poll from the Associated Press is about as dire a poll as Democrats could imagine two weeks before Election Day.

Democrats are more trusted than the GOP on just two of nine top issues, the poll showed.

The economy remains the top issue for likely voters — 91 percent call it “extremely” or “very” important. And the GOP has increased its advantage as the party more trusted to handle the issue to a margin of 39 percent to 31 percent.

With control of the Senate at stake, both parties say they are relying on robust voter-turnout operations — and monster campaign spending — to lift their candidates in the final days. But the poll suggests any appeals they’ve made so far haven’t done much to boost turnout among those already registered. The share who report that they are certain to vote in this year’s contests has risen just slightly since September, and interest in news about the campaign has held steady.

Now brace yourself:

The GOP holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 percent of these voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 percent a Democratic one. That’s a shift in the GOP’s favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.

Women have moved in the GOP’s direction since September. In last month’s AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

The gender gap disappearing almost entirely would be a shocking development; at this point, it’s just one poll, but it’s something to look for in future polls. Democrats can console themselves that this is a national poll, and the biggest fights of the midterm — the Senate races — are occurring in about a dozen states. Having said that, almost all of those states are Republican-leaning ones that Romney won. If the national electorate is sour on Democrats, it’s extremely difficult to envision a scenario where Arkansas’s Mark Pryor hangs on despite the pro-GOP atmosphere,and Alaska’s Mark Begich, and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, and so on for the other endangered red-state Democratic senators. One or two might survive, but the rest . . .

The polls are grim, Mr. President.

America’s Anxious Mood and What it Means for Republicans

Obama’s Gift to Republicans

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 354

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Obama Recklessly Endangers The Health of The American People By Allowing West Africans From Ebola Infected Countries To Fly Into United States — Open Borders To Illegal Aliens Fleeing Ebola Pandemic — Obama Panics And Appoints New Ebola Czar — Another Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) Washington Insider With No Executive Leadership or Medical Experience — Videos

Posted on October 18, 2014. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, Books, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crisis, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Food, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Links, Literacy, media, Medical, Medicine, Non-Fiction, People, Photos, Radio, Radio, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Story 1: Obama Recklessly Endangers The Health of The American People By Allowing West Africans From Ebola Infected Countries To Fly Into United States — Open Borders To Illegal Aliens Fleeing Ebola Pandemic — Obama Panics And Appoints New Ebola Czar —  Another Political Elitist Establishment (PEE) Washington Insider With No Executive Leadership or Medical Experience —  Videos

BSL-4 US

stop_the_flights

Team of Fort Detrick Scientists Labored for Years to Develop Vaccine

Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory Spacesuits

Ebola_enemies

level_3_4_lab

Biosafety Level 4 Hospital Spacesuits

Ebola Americans Nebraskabiocontainment spacesuitEbola Americans Nebraska

CDC warns against travel ban on Ebola-affected countries

Bill Johnson Discusses the Congressional Ebola Hearing with Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson

Ebola outbreak: Nebraska Medical Center ready at moment’s notice

Activation- A Nebraska Medical Center Biocontainment Unit Story

NEIDL: Biosafety Level 4

A Mission of Safety

NEIDL

In the Hot Zone with Virus X – Richard Preston

Elbows-Deep in Ebola Virus – Richard Preston

CNN Reporter To WH: What Does Obama’s Ebola Czar Know About Ebola?

Dr Nicole Lurie on National Health Security and Resiliency

Nicole Lurie, HHS: Flu Pandemic Lessons for Future Biothreats

How to Prioritize Flu Vaccine in Future (Panel discussion)

How Influenza Pandemics Occur

Hospitals “Full-Up”: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic

Dr. Nicole Lurie – HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response

Ebola Czar hides away in bunker — Dr. Nicole Lurie

Weekly Examiner: Obama appoints Ebola czar

Obama Appoints Ebola ‘czar’ As Anxiety Mounts

Source: Obama to name Ron Klain as Ebola czar

President Obama appoints Ron Klain as Ebola “czar”

Remarks of Ron Klain

Actor Kevin Spacey, Georgetown’s Ron Klain Discuss Politics and Ethics

Obama’s New Ebola ‘Czar’ Has NO Health or Medical Background!

Biosafety level

Krauthammer: Obama Is a Narcissist ‘Surrounded by Sycophants’

President Obama Speaks on Ebola

Fast Facts on US Hospitals

The American Hospital Association conducts an annual survey of hospitals in the United States. The data below, from the 2012 AHA Annual Survey, are a sample of what you will find in AHA Hospital Statistics, 2014 edition. The definitive source for aggregate hospital data and trend analysis, AHA Hospital Statistics includes current and historical data on utilization, personnel, revenue, expenses, managed care contracts, community health indicators, physician models, and much more.

AHA Hospital Statistics is published annually by Health Forum, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association. Additional details on AHA Hospital Statistics and other Health Forum data products are available at www.ahadataviewer.com. To order AHA Hospital Statistics, call (800) AHA-2626 or click on www.ahaonlinestore.com.

For further information or customized data and research, contact the AHA Resource Center at (312) 422-2050 or rc@aha.org.

  Total Number of All U.S. Registered * Hospitals

5,723

         Number of U.S. Community ** Hospitals

4,999

               Number of Nongovernment Not-for-Profit Community Hospitals

2,894

               Number of Investor-Owned (For-Profit) Community Hospitals

1,068

               Number of State and Local Government Community Hospitals

1,037

        Number of Federal Government Hospitals

211

        Number of Nonfederal Psychiatric Hospitals

413

        Number of Nonfederal Long Term Care Hospitals

89

        Number of Hospital Units of Institutions
(Prison Hospitals, College Infirmaries, Etc.)

11

  Total Staffed Beds in All U.S. Registered * Hospitals

920,829

        Staffed Beds in Community** Hospitals

800,566

  Total Admissions in All U.S. Registered * Hospitals

36,156,245

        Admissions in Community** Hospitals

34,422,071

  Total Expenses for All U.S. Registered * Hospitals

$829,665,386,000

        Expenses for Community** Hospitals

$756,916,757,000

  Number of Rural Community** Hospitals

1,980

  Number of Urban Community** Hospitals

3,019

  Number of Community Hospitals in a System ***

3,100

  Number of Community Hospitals in a Network ****

1,508

 *Registered hospitals are those hospitals that meet AHA’s criteria for registration as a hospital facility. Registered hospitals include AHA member hospitals as well as nonmember hospitals. For a complete listing of the criteria used for registration, please see Registration Requirements for Hospitals.

**Community hospitals are defined as all nonfederal, short-term general, and other special hospitals. Other special hospitals include obstetrics and gynecology; eye, ear, nose, and throat; rehabilitation; orthopedic; and other individually described specialty services. Community hospitals include academic medical centers or other teaching hospitals if they are nonfederal short-term hospitals. Excluded are hospitals not accessible by the general public, such as prison hospitals or college infirmaries.

***System is defined by AHA as either a multihospital or a diversified single hospital system. A multihospital system is two or more hospitals owned, leased, sponsored, or contract managed by a central organization. Single, freestanding hospitals may be categorized as a system by bringing into membership three or more, and at least 25 percent, of their owned or leased non-hospital preacute or postacute health care organizations. System affiliation does not preclude network participation.

**** Network is a group of hospitals, physicians, other providers, insurers and/or community agencies that work together to coordinate and deliver a broad spectrum of services to their community. Network participation does not preclude system affiliation.

http://www.aha.org/research/rc/stat-studies/fast-facts.shtml

Inside The Isolation Wards That Keep Americans Safe From Ebola

Inside the Isolation Wards That Keep Us Safe From Ebola

Ebola has officially made it to the US, but there is absolutely no reason to freak out. That’s in large part thanks to Emory University Hospital’s state-of-the-art isolation ward, which is better-equipped to field Ebola cases than any ordinary hospital in the country. Here’s a look at the tech that keeps doctors and nurses safe.

Emory is one of four high-level biocontainment patient care units in the US; the others are located at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Montana, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. We spoke with Dr. Angela Hewlett, associate medical director at the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit — the largest of the four facilities — about biocontainment suits, wearing three pairs of gloves, and custom air pressure systems.

Perhaps the most comfort Hewlett was able to provide is that none of the super-fancy tech that these four high-level isolation wards have at their disposal is even necessary for Ebola. “There’s a big fear factor with this illness but really, these types of patients can taken care of at any good healthcare facility,” says Dr. Hewlett.

That’s because the Ebola virus easily dies outside of the human body, so unless you’ve been handling a sick person’s blood or feces, you are almost certainly A-OK. Ebola is pretty darn hard to get compared to an airborne disease like SARS or even the regular old flu. But with a mortality rate of up to 90 per cent — and over 50 per cent with the strain in the current outbreak — we still need to keep doctors and nurses as safe as we can. Here’s how Nebraska Biocontainment Unit keeps diseases like Ebola — and much, much worse — from spreading in the hospital.

Inside the Isolation Wards That Keep Us Safe From Ebola

Negative air pressure. As with Emory in Atlanta, the isolation unit in Nebraska is isolated from the rest of the general hospital. It runs on its own air circulation system, and the air is passed through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter before it is vented outside of the building. That’s the same kind of precautions that you would see in a biosafety level 4 lab (the highest) that works with deadly or highly contagious diseases.

In addition, the biocontainment unit has negative air pressure, which means that air pressure inside the isolation rooms is slightly lower than that outside. Essentially, air is gently sucked into the room, so particles from inside the room can’t float out when you open a door. As another line of protection, ultraviolet lights zap any viruses or bacteria in the air or on surfaces.

Inside the Isolation Wards That Keep Us Safe From Ebola

Full-body suits and THREE pairs of gloves. The Biocontainment Unit is equipped with gear that covers you head to toe, in some places three times over. That includes personal respirators, headgear, full-body suits and gloves. Healthcare workers wear three pairs, including one thick pair that protects against needle accidents, and then two pairs of ordinary gloves so they have an extra pair to work with patients.

Entering and exiting the room becomes an elaborate production because putting on and taking off all the gear can take more than 10 minutes each way. A second person assists to make sure every piece of equipment is put on right and there are no rips or tears in any of the protective gear. Afterwards, every piece of equipment is wiped down to kill the pathogen; in the case of Ebola, simple bleach is enough to do the trick. The full-body suit is discarded after each use.

Inside the Isolation Wards That Keep Us Safe From Ebola

Training and training and training. Having fancy technology is great but not if you don’t know how to use it properly. “They have to go through really extensive training,” says Hewlett of the the 30-person team that works in the unit. They get 80 hours of training before they can begin, followed by monthly meetings and quarterly drills, where the photos in this post were taken.

It’s worth reiterating that most of this equipment and these procedures go above and beyond protecting for Ebola. The air systems and full-body suits are really there to guard against possible airborne diseases, like smallpox or SARS or some highly contagious avian flu viruses that may emerge in the future.

In fact, the CDC’s current guidelines for treating Ebola in U.S. hospitals require only gloves, goggles, a facemask, and a gown in most situations. Even if someone inadvertently brings Ebola to other hospitals, it’s highly unlikely to spread in the U.S. The situation is different in Africa, where inadequate equipment and fear of healthcare workers has contributed to the worsening situation.

A State Department official did visit Nebraska to see whether the unit would be ready to accept any Ebola patients in the future, though the facility hasn’t yet been used despite being open for nine years. There hasn’t been a disease serious enough to merit it. “This is good thing,” says Dr. Hewlett, “However with world travel the way it is, it is inevitable these things are going to come eventually.” If and when Ebola does come to the U.S. again, we are definitely prepared, which is not something we can say about what else may be coming down the line.

Pictures: University of Nebraska Medical Center

Obama names Ron Klain as Ebola ‘czar’

David Jackson

President Obama tapped veteran government insider Ron Klain to coordinate his administration’s efforts to contain the Ebola virus Friday.

Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is well-known by Obama and White House aides. He was selected for his management experience and contacts throughout the government, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

“He is the right person for the job,” Earnest said, particularly the challenge of “integrating the interagency response.”

Klain’s appointment marks a swift turnabout for Obama, who until Thursday had resisted calls to appoint a single official to run the government’s response to Ebola.

Asked Thursday about the prospect of an “Ebola czar,” Obama said, “It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity, we can have a more regular process just to make sure that we’re crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s going forward.”

Obama did not mention Klain’s appointment during a speech Friday to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but he said his administration is taking an “all-hands-on-deck” approach to fighting Ebola.

The administration has come under increased pressure to name an anti-Ebola coordinator in the wake of news that two nurses in Dallas contracted the deadly virus. Both had treated a man who died of Ebola.

Klain played a high-profile file in Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign. Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey portrayed him in an HBO movie on that year’s Florida recount.

The Ebola response includes efforts to screen travelers from West African nations where Ebola has reached epidemic proportions and killed more than 4,500 people. Klain will help coordinate the assistance the U.S. military provides in West Africa.

Some Republican lawmakers criticized Obama for entrusting the job to a former government manager rather than a professional.

Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., tweeted, “Worst ebola epidemic in world history and Pres. Obama puts a government bureaucrat with no healthcare experience in charge. Is he serious?”

Members of the public health community expressed surprise.

“When are they going to stop making mistakes?” said Robert Murphy, the director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “We need a czar, but optimally a strong public health expert. I am so disappointed. This is not what we need.”

Physician Amesh Adalja, a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, said, “It’s clear that there’s a desperate desire for an organized approach to dealing with this outbreak. I don’t necessarily think we need a disease-specific czar — we have one for HIV — but more of an emerging infectious diseases/biosecurity coordinator who reports to the president.”

The Ebola position is designed to be more managerial in nature, involving an array of government agencies ranging from the Pentagon to Health and Human Services.

“This is much broader than a medical response,” Earnest said.

As for Republican criticism, Earnest joked, “That’s a shocking development.” He noted that national elections are less than three weeks away.

Klain may weigh in on another question facing the administration: the prospect of a U.S. travel ban from West African nations where there have been Ebola outbreaks.

Obama and aides have disputed the need for a travel ban, questioning whether it would work and arguing that it might create unintended problems.

Thursday, Obama said experts in infectious diseases have told him “a travel ban is less effective than the measures that we are currently instituting that involve screening passengers who are coming from West Africa.”

Klain is likely to take a low key role publicly.

Earnest said Obama wasn’t looking for an Ebola expert but “an implementation expert.”

He confirmed Klain’s title: “Ebola response coordinator.”

Klain will report to two officials involved in the anti-Ebola effort: homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and national security adviser Susan Rice.

Obama is pleased with the work of Monaco and Rice, but “given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response,” a White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The president has long known Klain, who helped prepare him for debates with Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign.

Klain has been out of government since leaving Biden’s staff during Obama’s first term.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/10/17/obama-ebola-czar-ron-klain/17429121/

Who Do They Think We Are?

By PEGGY NOONAN

The administration’s Ebola evasions reveal its disdain for the American people.

The administration’s handling of the Ebola crisis continues to be marked by double talk, runaround and gobbledygook. And its logic is worse than its language. In many of its actions, especially its public pronouncements, the government is functioning not as a soother of public anxiety but the cause of it.

An example this week came in the dialogue between Megyn Kelly of Fox News andThomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control.

Their conversation focused largely on the government’s refusal to stop travel into the United States by citizens of plague nations. “Why not put a travel ban in place,” Ms. Kelly asked, while we shore up the U.S. public-health system?

Dr. Frieden replied that we now have screening at airports, and “we’ve already recommended that all nonessential travel to these countries be stopped for Americans.” He added: “We’re always looking at ways that we can better protect Americans.”

“But this is one,” Ms. Kelly responded.

Dr. Frieden implied a travel ban would be harmful: “If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it’s going to spread to other parts of—”

Ms. Kelly interjected, asking how keeping citizens from the affected regions out of America would make it harder to stop Ebola in Africa.

“Because you can’t get people in and out.”

“Why can’t we have charter flights?”

“You know, charter flights don’t do the same thing commercial airliners do.”

“What do you mean? They fly in and fly out.”

Dr. Frieden replied that limiting travel between African nations would slow relief efforts. “If we isolate these countries, what’s not going to happen is disease staying there. It’s going to spread more all over Africa and we’ll be at higher risk.”

Later in the interview, Ms. Kelly noted that we still have airplanes coming into the U.S. from Liberia, with passengers expected to self-report Ebola exposure.

Dr. Frieden responded: “Ultimately the only way—and you may not like this—but the only way we will get our risk to zero here is to stop the outbreak in Africa.”

Ms. Kelly said yes, that’s why we’re sending troops. But why can’t we do that and have a travel ban?

“If it spreads more in Africa, it’s going to be more of a risk to us here. Our only goal is protecting Americans—that’s our mission. We do that by protecting people here and by stopping threats abroad. That protects Americans.”

Dr. Frieden’s logic was a bit of a heart-stopper. In fact his responses were more non sequiturs than answers. We cannot ban people at high risk of Ebola from entering the U.S. because people in West Africa have Ebola, and we don’t want it to spread. Huh?

In testimony before Congress Thursday, Dr. Frieden was not much more straightforward. His answers often sound like filibusters: long, rolling paragraphs of benign assertion, advertising slogans—“We know how to stop Ebola,” “Our focus is protecting people”—occasionally extraneous data, and testimony to the excellence of our health-care professionals.

It is my impression that everyone who speaks for the government on this issue has been instructed to imagine his audience as anxious children. It feels like how the pediatrician talks to the child, not the parents. It’s as if they’ve been told: “Talk, talk, talk, but don’t say anything. Clarity is the enemy.”

The language of government now is word-spew.

Dr. Frieden did not explain his or the government’s thinking on the reasons for opposition to a travel ban. On the other hand, he noted that the government will consider all options in stopping the virus from spreading here, so perhaps that marks the beginning of a possible concession.

It is one thing that Dr. Frieden, and those who are presumably making the big decisions, have been so far incapable of making a believable and compelling case for not instituting a ban. A separate issue is how poor a decision it is. To call it childish would be unfair to children. In fact, if you had a group of 11-year-olds, they would surely have a superior answer to the question: “Sick people are coming through the door of the house, and we are not sure how to make them well. Meanwhile they are starting to make us sick, too. What is the first thing to do?”

The children would reply: “Close the door.” One would add: “Just for a while, while you figure out how to treat everyone getting sick.” Another might say: “And keep going outside the door in protective clothing with medical help.” Eleven-year-olds would get this one right without a lot of struggle.

If we don’t momentarily close the door to citizens of the affected nations, it is certain that more cases will come into the U.S. It is hard to see how that helps anyone. Closing the door would be no guarantee of safety—nothing is guaranteed, and the world is porous. But it would reduce risk and likelihood, which itself is worthwhile.

Africa, by the way, seems to understand this. The Associated Press on Thursday reported the continent’s health-care officials had limited the threat to only five countries with the help of border controls, travel restrictions, and aggressive and sophisticated tracking.

All of which returns me to my thoughts the past few weeks. Back then I’d hear the official wordage that doesn’t amount to a logical thought, and the unspoken air of “We don’t want to panic you savages,” and I’d look at various public officials and muse: “Who do you think you are?”

Now I think, “Who do they think we are?”

Does the government think if America is made to feel safer, she will forget the needs of the Ebola nations? But Americans, more than anyone else, are the volunteers, altruists and in a few cases saints who go to the Ebola nations to help. And they were doing it long before the Western media was talking about the disease, and long before America was experiencing it.

At the Ebola hearings Thursday, Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) said, I guess to the American people: “Don’t panic.” No one’s panicking—except perhaps the administration, which might explain its decisions.

Is it always the most frightened people who run around telling others to calm down?

This week the president canceled a fundraiser and returned to the White House to deal with the crisis. He made a statement and came across as about three days behind the story—“rapid response teams” and so forth. It reminded some people of the statement in July, during another crisis, of the president’s communications director, who said that when a president rushes back to Washington, it “can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the American people.” Yes, we’re such sissies. Actually, when Mr. Obama eschews a fundraiser to go to his office to deal with a public problem we are not scared, only surprised.

But again, who do they think we are? You gather they see us as poor, panic-stricken people who want a travel ban because we’re beside ourselves with fear and loathing. Instead of practical, realistic people who are way ahead of our government.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/who-do-they-think-we-are-1413502475

Ron Klain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Ron Klein.
Ron Klain
Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States
In office
January 20, 2009 – January 14, 2011
Vice President Joe Biden
Preceded by David Addington
Succeeded by Bruce Reed
In office
1995–1999
Vice President Al Gore
Preceded by Jack Quinn
Succeeded by Charles Burson
Personal details
Born August 8, 1961 (age 53)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Georgetown University
Harvard University

Ronald A. “Ron” Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice PresidentsAl Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011).[1][2] He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer” White during the Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during theClarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election. On October 17, 2014, President Obama named Klain the newly created “Ebola response coordinator” (or, less officially, Ebola “czar”).[3][4][5]

Early life

Klain was born on August 8, 1961 in Indianapolis, He is a member of the DayBreak Boys Band and grew up in a Jewish home.[6] He graduated from North Central High School[7] in 1979 and was on the school’s Brain Game team, which finished as season runner-up.[citation needed] He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University in 1983. In 1987, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School,[7] where he was one of several to win the Sears Prize for the highest grade point average in 1984–85. While at Harvard Law School, Klain was also an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Career

Capitol Hill career

Klain’s early experience on Capitol Hill included serving as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Markey. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, overseeing the legal staff’s work on matters of constitutional law, criminal law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court nominations. In 1995, Senator Tom Daschle appointed him the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.

Clinton administration

Klain joined the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992. He ultimately was involved in both of Bill Clinton‘s campaigns, oversaw Clinton’s judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore’s recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath. Some published reports have given him credit for Clinton’s “100,000 cops” proposal during the 1992 campaign; at a minimum, he worked closely with Clinton aide Bruce Reed in formulating it. In the White House, he was Associate Counsel to the President, directing judicial selection efforts, and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Klain left the judicial selection role in 1994 to become Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno. In 1995, he became Assistant to the President, and Chief of Staff and Counselor to Al Gore.

Gore campaign

During Klain’s tenure as Gore’s Chief of Staff, Gore consolidated his position as the likely Democratic nominee in 2000. Still, Klain was seen as too loyal to Clinton by some longtime Gore advisors. Feuding broke out between Clinton and Gore loyalists in the White House in 1999, and Klain was ousted by Gore campaign chairmanTony Coelho in August of that year. In October 1999, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. A year later, Klain returned to the Gore campaign, once Coelho was replaced by William M. Daley. Daley hired Klain for a senior position in the Gore campaign and then named him General Counsel of Gore’s Recount Committee.

Legal career

In 1994, Time named Klain one of the “50 most promising leaders in America” under the age of 40. In 1999, Washingtonian magazine named him the top lawyer in Washington under the age of 40, and the American Bar Association’s Barrister magazine named him one of the top 20 young lawyers nationwide. The National Law Journal named him one of its Lawyers of the Year for 2000.

Lobbying

Klain helped Fannie Mae overcome “regulatory issues”.[8]Lobbying on “regulatory issues concerning Fannie Mae” in 2004, as disclosure forms indicate Klain did, involved convincing Congress and Fannie Mae’s regulators that Fannie Mae wasn’t doing anything dangerous, and wasn’t exposing taxpayers to risk. In other words, Ron Klain got paid to help fuel the housing bubble up until a couple of years before it popped.

2004-2008

During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Klain worked as an adviser to Wesley Clark in the early primaries. Later, during the General Election, Klain was heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry‘s campaign and is widely credited for his role in preparing Senator Kerry for a strong performance in the debates against President George W. Bush, which gave Kerry a significant boost in the polls.[9] He then acted as an informal adviser to Evan Bayh, who is from Klain’s home state of Indiana. Klain has also commented on matters of law and policy on televised programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Capital Report,NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Crossfire.

In 2005, Klain left his partnership at O’Melveny & Myers to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a new investment firm, Revolution LLC, launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case.[citation needed]

Obama administration

On November 12, 2008, Roll Call announced that Klain had been chosen to serve as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden, the same role he served for Gore.[10]Klain had worked with Biden previously, having served as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary while Biden chaired that committee and assisted Biden’s speechwriting team during the 1988 presidential campaign.[11]

Klain was mentioned as a possible replacement for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel,[12] but opted to leave the White House for a position in the private sector in January 2011.[2]

Klain apparently signed off on President Obama’s support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra. Despite concerns about whether the company was viable, Klain approved an Obama visit, stating, “The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012.”[13]

On October 17, 2014, Klain was appointed the “Ebola response coordinator” (or, less officially, Ebola “czar”)[3] by President Obama, to help coordinate the nation’s response to the Ebola virus.[4][5][14]

Dr. Lurie is the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The mission of her office is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters, ranging from hurricanes to bioterrorism.
Dr. Lurie was previously Senior Natural Scientist and the Paul O’ Neill Alcoa Professor of Health Policy at the RAND Corporation. There she directed RAND’s public health and preparedness work as well as RAND’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. She also served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services; in state government, as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health; and in academia, as Professor in the University of Minnesota Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Lurie has a long history in the health services research field, primarily in the areas of access to and quality of care, mental health, prevention, public health infrastructure and preparedness and health disparities.

Dr. Lurie attended college and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency and MSPH at UCLA, where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar. She is the recipient of numerous awards, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

Finally, Dr. Lurie continues to practice clinical medicine in the health care safety net in Washington, DC. She has three sons.

Nicole Lurie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H.
Nicole-lurie.jpg
Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 10,2009
President Barack Obama
Personal details
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania: M.D.
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA): Residency and M.S.P.H.

Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H., is the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).[1] Lurie is a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service.

The Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response serves as the Secretary’s principal advisor on matters related to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. The ASPR also coordinates interagency activities between HHS, other Federal departments, agencies, and offices, and State and local officials responsible for emergency preparedness and the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies.[2] The mission of her office is to lead the nation in preventing, responding to and recovering from the adverse health effects of public health emergencies and disasters. Dr. Lurie was nominated to the position by President Obama on May 12, 2009[3] and her confirmation by the U.S. Senate[4] was announced by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 10, 2009.[5]

Led by The Federalist website her absence from the media has been noted with regards to the events of the Ebola virus disease affair.[6]

Early career

Dr. Lurie has served as the Senior Natural Scientist and the Paul O’ Neill Alcoa Professor of Health Policy at the RAND Corporation.[7] There she directed RAND’s public health and preparedness work as well as RAND’s Center for Population Health and Health Disparities. She has previously served in federal government, as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services; in state government, as Medical Advisor to the Commissioner at the Minnesota Department of Health; and in academia, as Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Lurie has a long history in the health services research field, primarily in the areas of access to and quality of care, managed care, mental health, prevention, public health infrastructure and preparedness and health disparities.

Lurie has served as the Senior Editor for Health Services Research and has served on editorial boards and as a reviewer for numerous journals. She has served on the council and was President of the Society of General Internal Medicine,[8] and on the board of directors for Academy Health, and has served on multiple other national committees.

Education

Lurie attended college and medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed her residency and Master of Science of Public Health (MSPH) at UCLA, where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar.

Professional awards

Lurie is the recipient of numerous awards, including the AHSR Young Investigator Award, the Nellie Westerman Prize for Research in Ethics, the Heroine in Health Care Award, the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine.

References

  1. Jump up^ Biography of Dr. Lurie
  2. Jump up^ Emergency Support Function #8. Public Health and Medical Services Annex. Federal Emergency Management Agency
  3. Jump up^ President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
  4. Jump up^ Nominations Confirmed (Civilian) – United States Senate
  5. Jump up^ HHS Secretary Sebelius Announces Senate Confirmation of Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dr. Nicole Lurie
  6. Jump up^ http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/10/15/editor-from-the-federalist-as-ebola-outbreak-surges-on-where-is-the-secretary-for-preparedness-and-response/
  7. Jump up^ RAND Awards Paul O’ Neill Alcoa Chair to Dr. Nicole Lurie. RAND Corporation. January 3, 2002
  8. Jump up^ Past Presidents. Society of General Internal Medicine.

External links[edit]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicole_Lurie

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The Pronk Pops Show 348, October 14, 2014, Story 1: Story 1: Stop The Ebola Illegal Alien Invasion/Pandemic — Secure The U.S./Mexican Border — Videos

Posted on October 14, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Diasters, Ebola, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medical, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Science, Security, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

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Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

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Story 1: Stop The Ebola Illegal Alien Invasion/Pandemic — Secure The U.S./Mexican Border — Videos

USA Invaded by Central America….

RED ALERT: TOP GENERAL WARNS EBOLA WILL NOT STAY IN WEST AFRICA!!!!

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MicroKillers: Super Flu

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We Heard the Bells: The Influenza of 1918 (full documentary)

In 1918-1919, the worst flu in recorded history killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. The U.S. death toll was 675,000 – five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in World War I. Where did the 1918 flu come from? Why was it so lethal? What did we learn?

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SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

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\

immigrants bring in serious, contagious diseases

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Obama Spreading Communicable Diseases Across United States With Illegal Aliens in Schools and Communities– TB, Virus, Ebola — What’s Next? — Pandemic! — Videos

Posted on October 5, 2014. Filed under: Airplanes, American History, Biology, Blogroll, Business, Chemistry, Communications, Computers, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Family, Federal Government, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, liberty, Life, Links, Meat, media, Medical, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Resources, Science, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, Water, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Obama Spreading Communicable Diseases Across United States With Illegal Aliens in Schools and Communities– TB, Virus, Ebola — What’s Next? — Pandemic! — Videos

graphic_InfectiousCommunication Diseases - Dayssymptoms-bloody-noseRhoVictim.003ebola-symptoms1Ebola-outbreak-graphicWhat-are-the-symptoms-of-Ebolaillness-flu3EbolaSymptoms3ebola-united-states-dallas-texas-meme-3

symptoms of tbtuberculosis-of-the-lungsCOMMUNICABLEfunny-pictures-barack-obama-talking-about-illegal-aliens-are-now-called-undocumented-democratsobama_bull

Story 1: When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

 

Obama Just Endangered 250 Million Americans, UNBELIEVABLE!

Aerosolizing ONE DROP of EBOLA = 1/2 MILLION DEAD

NIH Wants Blood From ‘NATURALLY’ Exposed Ebola Survivors in Congo

Dallas Ebola Victim Acquired His Infection On His Aircraft +50% Probability

Pestilence : Mutating Airborne Ebola Virus Diagnosed inside the US for the first time (Oct 02, 2014)

Experts worry Ebola could mutate to spread by air | Breaking News

DALLAS EBOLA WARNING, AIRBORNE RISK HIGH.

The Secret Ebola Open Border Connection Revealed: Special Report

Saudi Arabia Stringent Ebola checks for 3 million Haj pilgrims – LoneWolf Sager

Ebola – What You’re Not Being Told

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Officials Monitor Contacts of Ebola Patient in Texas

Ebola: The Gear Worn To Prevent Infection

Up to 100 possibly exposed to U.S. Ebola patient; four isolated

Shocking! Over 80 Possible Ebola Victims in Dallas

Ebola Virus in Dallas Texas US – Ebola Patients 80 to 100 people being checks Presbyterian!!!

Ebola in Texas – Ebola outbreak 2014 Texas Ebola Patient Thomas Duncan Virus Timeline!

Ebola Virus Symptoms | Ebola Virus effects on Human Body

Ebola Unleashed: Bioweapons 101

Saudi Arabia bans Haj pilgrims from Ebola hotspots

Ebola’s spread to US “inevitable”

Patient with Ebola-like symptoms in Washington D.C. at Howard University Hospital

Ebola In D.C. Patient With Ebola Like Symptons At Howard University Hospital

Patient Showing Signs of Ebola Reportedly Quarantined in D.C. Hospital

Ebola crisis: United States patient’s flat cleaned by specialists

Washington DC hospital admits patient with possible Ebola Virus US – Ebola Patients In DC 10/3/2014!

Saudi Arabia’s first suspected Ebola victim dies, as death tolls tops 900

Ebola Outbreak: Saudi Arabia Bans Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia From Hajj

Suspected Ebola victim dies in Saudi Arabia.

Ebola-Infected Patient Escapes Quarantine In Search Of Food

U.S. Democrat Congressman Demands Travel Ban From Ebola Infected Countries

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Michael Osterholm on the Bird Flu in China

Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: Session Two: The Economics

Watch experts analyze the economic effects of pandemic influenza including on the labor force and trade.
This session was part of a CFR symposium, Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy, which was cosponsored with Science Magazine.

SPEAKERS:
Yanzhong Huang, Director, Center for Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University
Andrew Jack, Pharmaceutical Correspondent, Financial Times
Michael T. Osterholm, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota (via teleconference)
PRESIDER:
Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

 

Saudi Arabia bans Ebola-stricken countries from hajj pilgrimage

With the arrival of approximately two million people from around the world in Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage, there are a group of pilgrims who were not welcomed.

The Saudi government has banned the entry of travelers from three countries currently dealing with the Ebola epidemic: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The decision to reject visa requests from these countries has affected 7,400 people, according to the Associated Press.

Hospitals in Saudi Arabia are also preparing in the event of an outbreak by setting up isolation and surgery units as well as dispatching medical staff to airports.

Despite banning pilgrim seekers from West Africa, Saudi officials are granting visas to pilgrims travelling from Nigeria. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz International Airport has provided them with two exclusive lounges as a precaution.

“So far 118,000 pilgrims have arrived by air from Nigeria. There was not a single suspected case of the deadly virus among anyone of them,” said Abdul Ghani Al-Malki, supervisor of hajj affairs at the airport.

Saudi officials have also been closely monitoring incoming flights from Kenya, Congo and other countries with reported cases of Ebola. Al-Malki told the local Saudi Gazettethat airport’s health inspection center ensured that planes and their passengers were not only free of Ebola, but other contagious diseases as well. “We have double-checked the papers that prove the airplanes had been sprayed twice before taking off to their destinations.”

The current death toll from Ebola in West Africa rose to 3,338, according to the World Health Organization report released Wednesday.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/saudi-arabia-bans-pilgrims-ebola-stricken-countriespilgrims-ebola-stricken-countries-banned-hajj/

 

Saudi Arabia plays down Ebola concern for Hajj pilgrimage

Some in the crowd wore face masks – a possible precaution over Ebola fears

Two million Muslims have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage, a five-day ritual central to Islam.

This year there have been concerns pilgrims may spread the contagious diseases Ebola and MERS.

Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj takes place, played down fears on Ebola, having banned pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Their decision has excluded 7,400 Muslims, though it is estimated that 1.4m of the pilgrims are international.

Some of the numbers involved in 2014’s Hajj – in 60 seconds

Saudi Arabia has claimed this year’s Hajj is Ebola free as pilgrims flooded into Mina, 5km (three miles) from the holy city of Mecca, for the start of the pilgrimage.

As well as refusing visas to those from the three countries worst hit by Ebola, Saudi authorities asked all visitors to fill out medical screening cards and detail their travels over the past three weeks.

But Ebola is not the only disease concerning the Saudi government.

MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, hit Saudi Arabia badly in the spring of this year.

Since 2012, there have been more than 750 cases of MERS in the country. Of this total 319 people died, some of whom were health workers.

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The meaning of Hajj

Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, archivePilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca, the building is the most sacred place in Islam and the direction of prayer for Muslims
  • Hajj is an annual five-day pilgrimage which all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lives, if they can afford it
  • It is the fifth and final pillar of Islam and is supposed to cleanse Muslims of sin and bring them closer to each other and God
  • The pilgrims, or Hajjis, wear simple white garments called “ihram” which give them all equal status
  • Those going on the hajj are required to abstain from sex, not to argue, kill anything or hunt and to avoid shaving and cutting their nails
  • Pilgrims perform several rituals during the hajj including walking counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba in Mecca, drinking from the Zam Zam Well and performing a symbolic stoning of the devil.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29461229

Will Airborne Ebola Become A Modern Global Plague?

The last several months have led to much confusion about the spread of the Ebola virus. Health officials and governments first denied that a serious threat existed and took no significant action to prevent its spread outside of West Africa. Then, after it had made it’s way to six different countries in the region, officials at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control started to panic. Apathy gave way to the real fear that we were facing a virus on a whole different scale than ever before.

At its current rate, some mathematical models show that the virus could infect anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 by the end of the year, with over 4,000 people worldwide having been infected thus far. About 2,300 people, over 50% of those who have contracted it, have died.

Fired Up Obama to Immigration Activists: ‘No Force On Earth Can Stop Us’

‘Si se puede, si votamos! Yes, we can, if we vote!’

 BY DANIEL HALPER

A fired up President Barack Obama had a message to immigration activists at a dinner this evening in Washington, D.C.: “no force on earth can stop us.”

 

“The clearest path to change is to change [the voter turnout] number,” said Obama “Si se puede, si votamos! Yes, we can, if we vote!”

“You know, earlier this year, I had a chance to host a screening of the film Cesar Chavez at the White House, and I was reminded that Cesar organized for nearly 20 years before his first major victory. He never saw that time as a failure. Looking back, he said, I remember the families who joined our movement and paid dues long before there was any hope of winning contracts. I remember thinking then that with spirit like that, no force on earth could stop us.

“That’s the promise of America then and that’s the promise of America now. People who love this country can change it. America isn’t Congress. America isn’t Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kids a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger. America is the student who defies the odds to become the first in the family to go to college. The citizen who defies the cynics and goes out there and votes. The young person who comes out of the shadows to demand the right to dream. That’s what America is about.

“And six years ago, I asked you to believe, and tonight, I ask you to keep believing, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in your ability to bring about change. Because in the end, DREAMer is more than just a title, it’s a pretty good description of what it means to be an American.

http://engine.4dsply.com/Bridge/Index?width=850&height=650&url=%2FRedirect.engine%3FPerformanceTest%3Dnull%26MediaId%3D15307%26PId%3D17982%26MediaSegmentId%3D11932%26PoolId%3D26%26SiteId%3D523%26ZoneId%3D2029%26Country%3DUnited%20States%26Bid%3D10.57807%26MaxBid%3D16%26currentUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.weeklystandard.com%252Fblogs%252Ffired-obama-immigration-activists-no-force-earth-can-stop-us_808488.html

 

Patient Being Evaluated for Possible Ebola at D.C.’s Howard University Hospital

A patient with Ebola-like symptoms who had recently traveled to Nigeria is being treated at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., a hospital spokesperson confirmed late Friday morning.

That person has been admitted to the hospital in stable condition and is isolated. The medical team is working with the CDC and other authorities to monitor the patient’s condition.

“In an abundance of caution, we have activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including isolating the patient,” said hospital spokesperson Kerry-Ann Hamilton in a statement. “Our medical team continues to evaluate and monitor progress in close collaboration with the CDC and the Department of Health.”

Hamilton did not share further details about the patient, citing privacy reasons, but said the hospital will provide updates as warranted.

The D.C. Department of Health released a statement shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, saying that the department has been working with the CDC and Howard University Hospital to monitor “any patients displaying symptoms associated with the Ebola virus.”

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in D.C., said the statement.

At Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland, a patient is in isolation with “flu-like symptoms and a travel history that matches criteria for possible Ebola,” according to a statement from the hospital. Lab results indicate the patient has another illness.

“We are working closely with the Montgomery County Health Department and State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) as well as the CDC to manage this case and to ensure we continue to be prepared to care for patients with Ebola symptoms,” the statement said.

“We will only be making an announcement if and when there is a laboratory confirmed case, and that announcement would be made in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC,” Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Mary Anderson said.

The White House announced Friday that senior administration officials will hold a briefing on the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola pandemic at 4:30 p.m., NBC News reported.

As public health advocates had warned, the raging Ebola outbreak in West Africa has begun to affect Westerners, though the disease is difficult to spread casually.

Thursday, news broke that a freelance NBC cameraman covering the outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia had tested positive for Ebola after experiencing symptoms of the disease.

The cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, had been working with chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. NBC News is flying Mukpo and the entire team back to the U.S. so Mukpo can be treated and the team can be quarantined for 21 days.

Snyderman told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she and the rest of her crew have shown no signs of the disease and have taken precautions while covering the outbreak, including washing their hands with bleach.

The crew are quarantining themselves as a precaution.

Ebola is contagious only when infected people are showing symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who have been exposed to Ebola will show signs of it within 21 days of exposure, the CDC said.

“There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC.

On Tuesday, the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, flew from his hometown of Monrovia, Liberia, and through Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 20 before entering the United States via Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. He then traveled on to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Duncan, a Liberian man with family in the United States, first went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sept. 25 but was sent home. He returned to the hospital via ambulance Sunday.

On Friday, he was listed in serious but stable condition.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Patient-With-Ebola-Like-Symptoms-Being-Treated-at-Howard-University-Hospital-278025181.html

U.S. Ebola Screening Widens

Officials Say About 100 Individuals Will Be Monitored for Potential Exposure

The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded to approximately 100, and four members of a family close to the U.S. patient were ordered to remain in their Dallas home. (Photo: AP)

The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded Thursday to roughly 100, as health officials cast a wide net to try to prevent the one confirmed case of the disease from sparking an outbreak.

Four members of a family close to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with the virus, were ordered to remain in their Dallas home and not receive any visitors until at least Oct. 19, to pass the 21-day maximum incubation period for the often-deadly disease.

The 100 people being screened represent a “very wide net,” including some who possibly had brief encounters with Mr. Duncan, Texas health officials said. They added that the number is likely to drop as they narrow the list to those actually at potential risk of infection.

Thursday, an American freelance journalist in Liberia tested positive for the disease, his father and his employer, NBC News, said. The 33-year-old man is tentatively scheduled to be transported back to the U.S. on Sunday.

In Mr. Duncan’s case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said officials so far have identified only “a handful” of individuals who may have had close contact with him.

The public health search comes as authorities in Liberia grapple with how Mr. Duncan managed to leave their country and bring Ebola to the U.S. despite government efforts to stop transmission of the virus, a journey that took him from a neighborhood of tin-roof houses in a West African capital to an isolation ward at a Dallas hospital.

Before traveling to Texas via Belgium, Mr. Duncan escorted a woman to a treatment ward in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where she was turned away and died of the virus within hours, said Irene Seyou, Mr. Duncan’s next-door neighbor.

In a community near where U.S. victim Thomas Eric Duncan lived in Monrovia, many have died and children are worried they will be taken away. Glenna Gordon for The Wall Street Journal

On Sept. 16, several health workers arrived in Mr. Duncan’s neighborhood in Monrovia to investigate a report that a pregnant 18-year-old woman, recently sent home from a nearby clinic, had shown Ebola symptoms that included vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding, said Prince Toe and other members of the Ebola Response Team in the capital’s 72nd community.

But when the team arrived in the neighborhood, residents insisted the pregnant teenager had been in a car accident, said Mr. Toe, the unit’s supervisor. When the neighbors grew rowdy at being pressed for information, the team turned back, he said.

At Liberia’s airport, the temperatures of arriving and departing passengers are checked three times by security guards—at the entrance, before the check-in desk and at the metal detectors—to screen out those who display Ebola’s hallmark early symptom, a fever.

Passengers are asked to fill out questionnaires about whether they had been in contact with any Ebola victims. Mr. Duncan lied on those forms—and would be prosecuted for doing so if he returns to Liberia—the Associated Press reported Liberia’s government as saying Thursday.

Mr. Duncan is in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, which initially sent him home with antibiotics after he complained of illness, only to accept him on Sunday after he returned in an ambulance. Hospital officials have since conceded that they erred by not taking him in initially after he mentioned his symptoms and country of origin.

Hospital officials said Thursday that Mr. Duncan’s condition continued to be serious. Dr. Frieden of the CDC said Mr. Duncan’s physicians were discussing the possible use of experimental treatments with his family.

Edward Goodman, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s epidemiologist, said the team of doctors treating Mr. Duncan has received guidelines from the CDC but that there is no specific treatment for Ebola other than supportive measures, such as keeping the patient well hydrated to avoid organ damage and supplying oxygen.

Most of the 100 people Texas is tracking for potential Ebola exposure haven’t been ordered to stay home. Officials said they ordered four of Mr. Duncan’s family members to remain in their home because the family disobeyed their request to stay there. They said the family, which was examined Thursday, hadn’t developed any symptoms. A law enforcement official is stationed outside their apartment to make sure they don’t leave.

Ebola is a highly contagious virus, but only if you come into contact with certain bodily fluids of those infected. What do scientists know about how it’s transmitted? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the highest elected official in Dallas County, said there were no plans to issue similar orders for other people. Local and state health officials said they had delivered groceries to the family and were arranging for a contractor to clean the apartment. Mr. Jenkins said it appeared that sealed bags filled with Mr. Duncan’s belongings, including his clothes and sheets, were still inside, and that the family had pushed mattresses against the wall.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings sought to assure the public that the risk of contagion was minimal. “We’re getting the word out and people are starting to understand what has happened,” he said.

Still, at schools attended by five children who came into contact with Mr. Duncan, attendance was down to 86% from the 95% level that is normal, said Mike Miles, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, who added that custodians were doing extra cleaning.

While officials sought to control the panic over Ebola in Texas, some people who had come into contact with Mr. Duncan wondered why he hadn’t received treatment sooner.

Joe Joe Jallah said he met Mr. Duncan last week when visiting Mr. Jallah’s former wife, Louise Troh, the same woman Mr. Duncan had come to see in the U.S.

Ms. Troh declined to speak about the situation when reached by phone.

Mr. Jallah, who has a daughter with Ms. Troh, said he listened as Mr. Duncan described how dire things had become in Liberia, and how rigorous the health screenings were during his trip to the U.S.

Several days later, on Saturday, Mr. Jallah said he heard that Mr. Duncan had fallen ill at Ms. Troh’s apartment. Concerned, Mr. Jallah went back.

“He was lying down on the floor with a comforter. He said he was sick and that he had no appetite,” Mr. Jallah said.

“I said, ‘Did you go to the hospital?’ He said, ‘Yes, but they did nothing for me,’” Mr. Jallah recalled. “I said, ‘You should eat so you can gain strength.’”

The next day, Mr. Jallah said he returned after his daughter, Youngor Jallah, a nurse’s aide who visits her mother frequently, called, sounding frantic and saying that Mr. Duncan was still sick.

Ms. Jallah said Mr. Duncan had been up all night with diarrhea. His eyes were red, he seemed exhausted and had no appetite for the breakfast she made. He tried to drink some tea. Ms. Jallah took his temperature and it was 104, she said.

Ms. Jallah decided to call an ambulance. When emergency workers came, she informed them that Mr. Duncan was sick and had traveled to Dallas from a virus stricken-region in Africa. The workers put masks over their faces.

Ms. Jallah said she has since been told she and her family must stay in their home for 17 more days.

“I am concerned for myself. When I took his blood pressure, I never had no protection. I worry about my kids. My kids were over there with my mom,” she said.

“I am worried about him too,” she added.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-ebola-screening-grows-1412293227?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_health

Michael Osterholm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a prominent public health scientist and a nationally recognized biosecurity expert in the United States.[1] Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, a professor in the School of Public Health, and an adjunct professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School.[2]

Career

From 1975 to 1999, Osterholm served in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including as state epidemiologist and Chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section from 1984 to 1999. While at the MDH, Osterholm strengthened the departments role in infectious disease epidemiology, notably including numerous foodborne disease outbreaks, the association between tampons and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and the transmission of hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in healthcare workers. Other work included studies regarding the epidemiology of infectious diseases in child-care settings, vaccine-preventable diseases (particularly Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B), Lyme disease, and other emerging and re-emerging infections.

From 2001 through early 2005, Osterholm, in addition to his role at CIDRAP, served as a Special Advisor to then–HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. In April 2002, Osterholm was appointed to the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), until the eventual appointment of Julie Gerberding as director.

Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity in 2005.

Biosecurity

Osterholm has been particularly outspoken on the lack of international prepardness for an influenza pandemic.[3][4] Osterholm has also been an international leader against the use of biological agents as weapons targeted toward civilians.

Other

Osterholm serves on the editorial boards of five journals, and is a reviewer for another two dozen. He is a past president of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and has served on the CDC National Center for Infectious Diseases Board of Scientific Counselors from 1992 to 1997.

Osterholm serves on the IOM Forum on Emerging Infections. He has served on the IOM Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century and the IOM Committee on Food Safety, Production to Consumption, and he was a reviewer for the IOM Report on Chemical and Biological Terrorism. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Defense, and the CDC.

Honors

Osterholm has received numerous honors for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Luther College, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of theNational Academy of Sciences.

References

  1. Jump up^ “Plague War: Interviews: Michael Osterholm”. Frontline. PBS. 1998-10-01. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  2. Jump up^ “Global Conference 2006″. Milken Institute. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  3. Jump up^ “Renewed warning over flu pandemic”. BBC News. 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  4. Jump up^ Osterholm MT (May 2005). “Preparing for the next pandemic”. N. Engl. J. Med. 352 (18): 1839–42. doi:10.1056/NEJMp058068. PMID 15872196. Retrieved 2008-07-02.

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Measuring Body Core Temperature In Dallas School with WelloStation — In The Dallas Ebola Hot Zone — Videos

Posted on October 4, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Computers, Medicine, Video | Tags: , , , , , , |

How It Works? WelloStation

Wello is a subsidiary of FreshLoc Technologies which has been monitoring, storing, and reporting over 12 million daily measurements since 1999. Wello shares infrastructure facilities with FreshLoc and stores its data in their secure, cloud-based environment.

WelloStation Camp Screening

Wello Inc. at Camp Screening

Wello Inc. Wimberely Interviews

The WelloStation is a non-touch, non-invasive device that accurately measures your body’s core temperature. Measurement data is stored in the HIPAA compliant WelloCloud® storage system. An elevated body temperature is the number one indicator of infection. Stop contagions from entering your facility by monitoring the body temperature of those entering your facility. Visit us at http://welloinc.com/ for more information abuot WelloStation.

 

 

DALLAS SCHOOLS TO INSTALL REMOTE TEMPERATURE MONITORS TO DETECT EBOLA

Five schools to be monitored until further notice

by MIKAEL THALEN | INFOWARS.COM

Five schools in Dallas are set to install remote temperature monitors in order to detect fevers among students as the fear of an Ebola outbreak spreads among residents.

Produced by Wello Inc., the “WelloStation” devices will provide “fever surveillance” detection in order to alert school faculty to possible fluctuations in body temperatures according to the company’s website.

“The WelloStation measures your body’s core temperature using a patented, non-contact and non-invasive process,” the product description reads. “An elevated body temperature is the number one indicator of infection. WelloStation quickly screens for fevered individuals so you can either prevent them from entering or perform additional medical checks.”

The announcement follows more than a week of countless fumbles by local and federal authorities as suspected Ebola cases begin popping up across the country.

Law enforcement officers were outraged Thursday after finding out that five unprotected employees with the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department were ordered to enter the apartment of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan to present his quarantined family with a court order barring them from leaving their home.

Later that day, Americans were shocked to find an unprotected cleaning crew using pressure washers to blast potentially tainted vomit off the sidewalk outside of the Ebola patient’s home.

Texas health officials also admitted Thursday that the apartment had not yet been cleaned despite protocol. A Hazmat crew finally called out to the scene more than three days after the initial prognosis was delayed further after being ordered to obtain a permit in order to clean the apartment.

A growing number of experts including the United Nations’ Ebola response chief and professors at the University of Illinois are warning that the current situation could spiral out of control if federal authorities do not begin taking more drastic measures.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNHuZxY4tuc

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Supervolcano — Videos

Posted on September 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Business, Chemistry, Climate, Communications, Computers, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Food, Geology, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Science, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, Volcano, Water, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Naked Science – Super Volcanoes

Supervolcano (full movie)

Yellowstone Caldera : The Biggest Volcanic Eruption Ever Awaits Mankind

Supervolcano.The Truth About Yellowstone.

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Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

Posted on September 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crisis, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Films, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, Government Land Ownership, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Obamacare, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Programming, Public Sector, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Securities and Exchange Commission, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Story 1: Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
09/17/2014 12,767,522,798,389.80 4,997,219,915,398.95 17,764,742,713,788.75

 

TABLE I -- SUMMARY OF TREASURY SECURITIES OUTSTANDING, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                              By the Public         Holdings
Marketable:
  Bills.......................................        1,450,293                     1,704                1,451,998
  Notes.......................................        8,109,269                     7,365                8,116,634
  Bonds.......................................        1,521,088                        57                1,521,144
  Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.....        1,031,836                        52                1,031,888
  Floating Rate Notes  21  ...................          109,996                         0                  109,996
  Federal Financing Bank  1  .................                0                    13,612                   13,612
Total Marketable  a...........................       12,222,481                    22,790 2             12,245,271
Nonmarketable:
  Domestic Series.............................           29,995                         0                   29,995
  Foreign Series..............................            2,986                         0                    2,986
  State and Local Government Series...........          105,440                         0                  105,440
  United States Savings Securities............          177,030                         0                  177,030
  Government Account Series...................          193,237                 4,993,277                5,186,514
  Hope Bonds 19...............................                0                       494                      494
  Other.......................................            1,443                         0                    1,443
Total Nonmarketable  b........................          510,130                 4,993,771                5,503,901
Total Public Debt Outstanding ................       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
TABLE II -- STATUTORY DEBT LIMIT, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                                 By the Public 17, 2Holdings
Debt Subject to Limit: 17, 20
  Total Public Debt Outstanding...............       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
  Less Debt Not Subject to Limit:
    Other Debt ...............................              485                         0                      485
    Unamortized Discount  3...................           15,742                    12,421                   28,163
    Federal Financing Bank  1     ............                0                    13,612                   13,612
    Hope Bonds 19.............................                0                       494                      494
  Plus Other Debt Subject to Limit:
    Guaranteed Debt of Government Agencies  4                 *                         0                        *
  Total Public Debt Subject to Limit .........       12,716,386                 4,990,033               17,706,419
  Statutory Debt Limit  5.....................................................................                   0
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY
THE BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
www.TreasuryDirect.gov

Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding

The Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding includes the monthly interest for:

Amortized discount or premium on bills, notes and bonds is also included in the monthly interest expense.

The fiscal year represents the total interest expense on the Debt Outstanding for a given fiscal year. This includes the months of October through September. View current month details (XLS Format, File size 199KB, uploaded 09/05/2014).

Note: To read or print a PDF document, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader (v5.0 or higher) software installed on your computer. You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Website.

If you need help downloading…

Interest Expense Fiscal Year 2014
August $27,093,517,258.24
July $29,260,530,745.98
June $97,565,768,696.69
May $32,081,384,628.40
April $31,099,852,014.96
March $26,269,559,883.36
February $21,293,863,450.50
January $19,498,592,676.78
December $88,275,817,263.03
November $22,327,099,682.97
October $16,451,313,332.09
Fiscal Year Total $411,217,855,816.94
Available Historical Data Fiscal Year End
2013 $415,688,781,248.40
2012 $359,796,008,919.49
2011 $454,393,280,417.03
2010 $413,954,825,362.17
2009 $383,071,060,815.42
2008 $451,154,049,950.63
2007 $429,977,998,108.20
2006 $405,872,109,315.83
2005 $352,350,252,507.90
2004 $321,566,323,971.29
2003 $318,148,529,151.51
2002 $332,536,958,599.42
2001 $359,507,635,242.41
2000 $361,997,734,302.36
1999 $353,511,471,722.87
1998 $363,823,722,920.26
1997 $355,795,834,214.66
1996 $343,955,076,695.15
1995 $332,413,555,030.62
1994 $296,277,764,246.26
1993 $292,502,219,484.25
1992 $292,361,073,070.74
1991 $286,021,921,181.04
1990 $264,852,544,615.90
1989 $240,863,231,535.71
1988 $214,145,028,847.73

chart

fredgraph

fredgraph

BND-10-Year-Treasury-Yield-09122014

 JIM ROGERS Financial disaster coming – Dollar collapse – Countries Move Away From USD

US Fed signals move to normalize monetary policy

Dollar Meltdown, Massive Financial Bubble, Economic Collapse Marc Faber

Peter Schiff Iraq Crisis Threatens Global Economy

Peter Schiff – Fantasy About US Recovery Is Not Going To Materialize

Most important video Americans will see today – Doug Casey Interview

James Grant: Two Alternative Outcomes From Fed Policy – Much Higher Inflation or More Money Printing

Investor Jim Grant on Bubbles And Bargains

Jim Rogers Discusses Concern Over The Market

Jim Rogers On Economic Collapse And The US Debt‬

US Economy 2014 Collapse – *Peter Schiff* – FED will cause Huge Economic Crisis!

US ECONOMY COLLAPSE WILL LEAVE MILLIONS IN POVERTY

There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly

US Massive Financial Crisis Coming

Dan Mitchell Discussing Harvard Survey, Arguing for Growth over Class Warfare

The Coming Stock Market Crash and The Death of Money with Jim Rickards

Market Crash, Economic collapse 2014, The coming of World War 3 – Stock Market

Forbes: Obama’s Economic Reforms Are the Definition of Insanity

Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

Doug Casey-No Way Out-Stock, Bond and Real Estate Markets Will Collapse

Russia conspired to destroy US dollar with China – clip from Meltdown America documentary

http://www.caseyresearch.com/lg/meltdown-video

 

 

Here a bubble, there a bubble: Ol’ Marc Faber

Even after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at new all-time highs, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber keeps sounding the alarm.

“We have a bubble in everything, everywhere,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Faber has long argued that the Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchasing programs and near-zero interest rates have inflated stock prices.

The catalyst for a market decline, as he sees it, could be a “raise in interest rates, not engineered by the Fed,” referring an increase in bond yields.

 

Faber also expressed concern about American consumers. “Their cost of living have gone up more than the salary increases, so they’re getting squeezed. So that’s why retailing is not doing particularly well.”

A real black swan event, he argued, would be a global recession. “The big surprise will be that the global economy slows down and goes into recession. And that will shock markets.”

If economies around the world can’t recovery with the Fed and other central banks pumping easy money into the system, that would send a dire message, Faber added. He believes the best way for world economies to recover is to cut the size of government.

Read MoreBond market hears Fed hawks; stocks see doves

There’s a dual-economy in the U.S. and around the world with the rich doing really well and others struggling, he said. “[But] the rich will get creamed one day, especially in Europe, on wealth taxes.”

On the other end of the market spectrum, longtime stock market bull Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Tuesday (ahead of Wednesday’s Fed policy statement leaving interest rate guidance unchanged) that he stands by his Dow 18,000 prediction.

The Wharton School professor sees second half economic growth of 3 to 4 percent, S&P 500 earnings near $120, and the start of Fed rate hikes in the spring or summer of 2015

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102016166

 

Fed and TWTR Overvaluation, Evidence of Looming Market Crash: Stockman

The Federal Reserve Wednesday reassured investors that it will hold interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after it ends the bond-buying program known as quantitative easing in October. In response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) closed at a new record high.

Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and author of the book, The Great Deformation, David Stockman, has significant concerns about that very policy.

“I’m worried… that we’ve got the greatest bubble created by a central bank in human history,” he told Yahoo Finance.

In a recent blog post, Stockman offered a handful of high-flying stocks as evidence of what he sees as “madness.”

                                               “…Twitter, is all that is required to remind us that once

                                               again markets are trading in the nosebleed section

                                               of history, rivaling even the madness of March 2000.”

Behind the madness

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Stockman blamed Fed policy for creating that madness.

“We have been shoving zero-cost money into the financial markets for 6-years running,” he said. “That’s the kerosene that drives speculative trading – the carry trades. That’s what the gamblers use to fund their position as they move from one momentum play and trade to another.”

And that, he says, is not sustainable. While Stockman believes tech stocks are especially overvalued, he warns that it’s not just tech valuations that are inflated. “Everything’s massively overvalued, and it’s predicated on zero-cost overnight money that continues these carry trades; It can’t continue.”

And he still believes, as he has for some time – so far, incorrectly – that there will be a day of reckoning.

“When the trades begin to unwind because the carry cost has to normalize, you’re going to have a dramatic re-pricing dislocation in these financial markets.”

As Yahoo Finance’s Lauren Lyster points out in the associated video, investors who heeded Stockman’s advice last year would have missed out on a 28% run-up in stocks. But Stockman remains steadfast in his belief that the current Fed policy and the resultant market behavior can not continue. “I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”

 

 

Federal Reserve Statistical Release, H.4.1, Factors Affecting Reserve Balances; title with eagle logo links to Statistical Release home page
Release Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014
Release dates | Data Download Program (DDP) | About | Announcements | Technical Q&As
Current release  Other formats: Screen reader | ASCII | PDF (21 KB)


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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release

H.4.1

Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions and Condition Statement of Federal Reserve Banks September 11, 2014

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Reserve Bank credit 4,377,690 +    4,183 +  761,693 4,379,719
Securities held outright1 4,159,537 +    2,675 +  765,361 4,160,521
U.S. Treasury securities 2,439,657 +    2,671 +  401,376 2,440,637
Bills2          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,325,368 +    2,678 +  386,333 2,326,351
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   11,737     97,755
Inflation compensation3     16,534 -        7 +    3,306     16,531
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,868     41,562
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,317 +        4 +  386,851 1,678,322
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,963 -      219 +    5,815    208,907
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,664 +       21 -   12,958    -18,654
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0
Loans        291 -        8 +       18        352
Primary credit         10 -       18 -        8         53
Secondary credit          0          0          0          0
Seasonal credit        247 +        9 +       94        266
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility7         34          0 -       68         34
Other credit extensions          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC8      1,664 -        1 +      171      1,665
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC9         63          0 -        1         63
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC10         22          0          0         22
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC11         44          0 -       80         44
Float       -675 -       69 +       94       -627
Central bank liquidity swaps12         77 +        1 -      243         77
Other Federal Reserve assets13     26,369 +    1,784 +    3,517     27,349
Foreign currency denominated assets14     22,933 -      353 -      737     22,801
Gold stock     11,041          0          0     11,041
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0      5,200
Treasury currency outstanding15     46,103 +       14 +      820     46,103
Total factors supplying reserve funds 4,462,967 +    3,844 +  761,776 4,464,863

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions (continued)

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Currency in circulation15 1,292,467 -      442 +   84,956 1,291,993
Reverse repurchase agreements16    266,584 +      818 +  173,996    267,602
Foreign official and international accounts    102,228 -      296 +    9,640    107,303
Others    164,356 +    1,115 +  164,356    160,299
Treasury cash holdings        165 +        4 +       23        164
Deposits with F.R. Banks, other than reserve balances     52,715 -    6,170 -   19,233     53,117
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0
U.S. Treasury, General Account     39,081 -    3,787 +      530     31,872
Foreign official      5,432 -    1,134 -    3,562      5,241
Other17      8,202 -    1,248 -   16,201     16,004
Other liabilities and capital18     63,991 -        1 +      818     63,033
Total factors, other than reserve balances,
absorbing reserve funds
1,675,922 -    5,792 +  240,561 1,675,910
Reserve balances with Federal Reserve Banks 2,787,045 +    9,636 +  521,214 2,788,954

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of
the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Includes credit extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to eligible borrowers through the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.
8. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
12. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned
to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the
foreign central bank.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.  Also, includes Reserve Bank premises and equipment net of allowances for depreciation.
14. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
15. Estimated.
16. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
17. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
18. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury. Refer to table 8 and table 9.

Sources: Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

1A. Memorandum Items

Millions of dollars

Memorandum item Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Securities held in custody for foreign official and international accounts 3,338,309 -      417 +   61,832 3,343,937
Marketable U.S. Treasury securities1 3,010,563 -      456 +   86,414 3,016,027
Federal agency debt and mortgage-backed securities2    285,805 +       28 -   29,008    285,934
Other securities3     41,942 +       12 +    4,427     41,976
Securities lent to dealers     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
Overnight facility4     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
U.S. Treasury securities      9,860 +    1,721 -    1,405     10,373
Federal agency debt securities        810 -       72 -       23        750

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities and U.S. Treasury STRIPS at face value, and inflation compensation on TIPS. Does not include securities pledged as collateral to foreign official and international account holders against reverse repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve presented in tables 1, 8, and 9.
2. Face value of federal agency securities and current face value of mortgage-backed securities, which is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
3. Includes non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities, supranationals, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, and commercial paper at face value.
4. Face value. Fully collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
2. Maturity Distribution of Securities, Loans, and Selected Other Assets and Liabilities, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Remaining Maturity Within 15
days
16 days to
90 days
91 days to
1 year
Over 1 year
to 5 years
Over 5 year
to 10 years
Over 10
years
All
Loans1        118        234          0          0          0        352
U.S. Treasury securities2
Holdings          0         90      3,194 1,037,162    742,261    657,930 2,440,637
Weekly changes          0          0          0 +    1,615 -        1 +    2,037 +    3,651
Federal agency debt securities3
Holdings      1,556      1,329      3,584     32,746          0      2,347     41,562
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Mortgage-backed securities4
Holdings          0          0          0         10      4,698 1,673,614 1,678,322
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0 +      863 -      857 +        6
Asset-backed securities held by
TALF LLC5
         0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Central bank liquidity swaps7         77          0          0          0          0          0         77
Reverse repurchase agreements6    267,602          0    267,602
Term deposits          0          0          0          0

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
…Not applicable.

1. Excludes the loans from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden
Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC. The loans were eliminated when preparing the FRBNY’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation
under generally accepted accounting principles.
2. Face value. For inflation-indexed securities, includes the original face value and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the
original face value of such securities.
3. Face value.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Face value of asset-backed securities held by TALF LLC, which is the remaining principal balance of the underlying assets.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.

3. Supplemental Information on Mortgage-Backed Securities

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Mortgage-backed securities held outright1 1,678,322
Commitments to buy mortgage-backed securities2     80,643
Commitments to sell mortgage-backed securities2          0
Cash and cash equivalents3          4
1. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
2. Current face value. Generally settle within 180 days and include commitments associated with outright transactions, dollar rolls, and coupon swaps.
3. This amount is included in other Federal Reserve assets in table 1 and in other assets in table 8 and table 9.

4. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC1      1,665
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to JPMorgan Chase & Co.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On June 26, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended credit to Maiden Lane LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns and to manage those assets through time to maximize repayment of the credit extended and to minimize disruption to financial markets. Payments by Maiden Lane LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of the LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to JPMorgan Chase & Co., and interest due to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Any remaining funds will be paid to the FRBNY.

5. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane II LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC1         63
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Deferred payment and accrued interest payable to subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The deferred payment represents the portion of the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings due to subsidiaries of American
International Group, Inc. in accordance with the asset purchase agreement. The fair value of this payment and accrued interest payable are
included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On December 12, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane II LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. (AIG subsidiaries). Payments by Maiden Lane II LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane II LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, and deferred payment and interest due to AIG subsidiaries. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG subsidiaries.

6. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane III LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC1         22
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane III LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) on which the Financial Products group of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has written credit default swap (CDS) contracts. In connection with the purchase of CDOs, the CDS counterparties will concurrently unwind the related CDS transactions. Payments by Maiden Lane III LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane III LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to AIG, and interest due to AIG. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG.

7. Information on Principal Accounts of TALF LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Asset-backed securities holdings1          0
Other investments, net         44
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC         44
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Funding provided by U.S. Treasury to TALF LLC, including accrued interest payable3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) under theauthority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The TALF is a facility under which the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended loans with a term of up to five years to holders of eligible asset-backed securities. The Federal Reserve closed the TALF for new loan extensions in 2010. The loans provided through the TALF to eligible borrowers are non-recourse, meaning that the obligation of the borrower can be discharged by surrendering the collateral to the FRBNY.

TALF LLC is a limited liability company formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a TALF loan. TALF LLC has committed, for a fee, to purchase all asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in conjunction with a TALF loan at a price equal to the TALF loan plus accrued but unpaid interest. Prior to January 15, 2013, the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) committed backup funding to TALF LLC, providing credit protection to the FRBNY. However, the accumulated fees and income collected through the TALF and held by TALF LLC now exceed the remaining amount of TALF loans outstanding. Accordingly, the TARP credit protection commitment has been terminated, and TALF LLC has begun to distribute excess proceeds to the Treasury and the FRBNY. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037          0          0
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0
Coin      1,930 +        8 -       62
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements, and loans 4,351,126 +    3,534 +  756,847
Securities held outright1 4,160,521 +    3,657 +  763,739
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637 +    3,651 +  399,549
Bills2          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,326,351 +    3,661 +  385,784
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   10,546
Inflation compensation3     16,531 -       10 +    3,219
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,654
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322 +        6 +  386,844
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907 -      132 +    5,820
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654 +       19 -   12,787
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Loans        352 -       10 +       75
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC7      1,665 +        1 +      167
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC8         63          0 -        1
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC9         22          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0 -       68
Items in process of collection (0)         94 -       22 -       31
Bank premises      2,255          0 -       29
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77 +        1 -      243
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801 -      404 -      925
Other assets13     25,095 +    2,704 +    3,719
Total assets (0) 4,421,408 +    5,821 +  759,373

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes, net of F.R. Bank holdings 1,247,980 -    2,086 +   84,510
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602 +   17,296 +  175,438
Deposits (0) 2,842,072 -    8,612 +  499,663
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954 -   24,799 +  513,312
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872 +   10,836 +    1,852
Foreign official      5,241 -    1,326 -    3,524
Other15 (0)     16,004 +    6,676 -   11,978
Deferred availability cash items (0)        721 -      482 -      163
Other liabilities and accrued dividends16      6,693 -      299 -    1,529
Total liabilities (0) 4,365,067 +    5,817 +  757,919
Capital accounts
Capital paid in     28,170 +        2 +      726
Surplus     28,170 +        2 +      726
Other capital accounts          0          0          0
Total capital     56,341 +        4 +    1,454

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037        352      4,125        338        464        824      1,349        706        278        173        291        880      1,257
Special drawing rights certificate acct.      5,200        196      1,818        210        237        412        654        424        150         90        153        282        574
Coin      1,930         32         94        124        123        320        222        276         25         46        153        182        332
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements,
and loans
4,351,126     88,009 2,670,390    104,231     94,993    243,168    240,542    177,833     53,725     26,795     57,330    132,586    461,524
Securities held outright1 4,160,521     84,160 2,553,576     99,673     90,839    232,534    229,991    170,046     51,317     25,497     54,804    126,772    441,311
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Bills2          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds3 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562        841     25,509        996        907      2,323      2,298      1,699        513        255        547      1,266      4,409
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322     33,949 1,030,093     40,207     36,644     93,803     92,777     68,595     20,701     10,285     22,107     51,139    178,021
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907      4,226    128,220      5,005      4,561     11,676     11,548      8,538      2,577      1,280      2,752      6,365     22,159
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654       -377    -11,449       -447       -407     -1,043     -1,031       -762       -230       -114       -246       -568     -1,979
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Loans        352          1         44          0          0          0         34         11         61        132         20         17         33
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane LLC7      1,665          0      1,665          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane II LLC8         63          0         63          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane III LLC9         22          0         22          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0         44          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Items in process of collection         94          0          0          0          0          0         93          0          0          1          0          0          0
Bank premises      2,255        121        434         74        110        222        209        198        124         97        243        224        200
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77          4         25          6          6         16          4          2          1          0          1          1         11
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801      1,037      7,335      1,714      1,813      4,754      1,311        629        192         96        240        381      3,299
Other assets13     25,095        535     15,039        739        546      1,547      1,374      1,014        356        219        347        798      2,580
Interdistrict settlement account          0 +   10,547 -   58,585 +    2,678 +    9,252 +      197 +    8,040 -   10,297 -   10,950 -    2,083 -      134 +    2,635 +   48,701
Total assets 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974     44,572    489,349     42,766     65,118    103,568    212,875     94,569     37,360     21,242     36,783    115,911    179,862
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks    195,994      5,311     63,063      6,357      8,870     11,177     20,690     11,915      4,937      4,278      5,302     25,736     28,359
Federal Reserve notes, net 1,247,980     39,261    426,285     36,409     56,248     92,391    192,186     82,654     32,423     16,964     31,481     90,175    151,503
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602      5,413    164,244      6,411      5,843     14,956     14,793     10,937      3,301      1,640      3,525      8,154     28,385
Deposits 2,842,072     53,409 2,030,175     62,876     40,791    131,999     42,547     75,315      7,510      6,356     22,882     38,429    329,783
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954     53,397 1,977,410     62,837     40,788    131,731     42,538     75,306      7,510      6,355     22,881     38,428    329,774
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872          0     31,872          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Foreign official      5,241          2      5,214          3          3          8          2          1          0          0          0          1          6
Other15     16,004         11     15,679         36          0        260          7          7          0          0          1          0          3
Deferred availability cash items        721          0          0          0          0          0        611          0          0        110          0          0          0
Interest on Federal Reserve notes due
to U.S. Treasury16
     1,693         19      1,199         20         10         23         86         73         20         12         20         54        155
Other liabilities and accrued
dividends17
     5,000        167      2,179        211        208        544        361        282        142        118        126        208        454
Total liabilities 4,365,067     98,270 2,624,083    105,927    103,101    239,913    250,583    169,261     43,395     25,200     58,034    137,021    510,279
Capital
Capital paid in     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Surplus     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Other capital          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Total liabilities and capital 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Includes the original face value of inflation-indexed securities and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of such securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation below.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation below.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation below.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation below.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate
equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Represents the estimated weekly remittances to U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes or, in those cases where the Reserve Bank’s net earnings are not sufficient to equate surplus to capital paid-in, the deferred asset for interest on Federal Reserve notes. The amount of any deferred asset, which is presented as a negative amount in this line, represents the amount of the Federal Reserve Bank’s earnings that must be retained before remittances to the U.S. Treasury resume. The amounts on this line are calculated in accordance with Board of Governors policy, which requires the Federal Reserve Banks to remit residual earnings to the U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.
17. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation below.

Note on consolidation:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has extended loans to several limited liability companies under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. On June 26, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane LLC, which was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns. On November 25, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane III LLC, which was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations on which the Financial Products group of the American International Group, Inc. has written credit default swap contracts. On December 12, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane II LLC, which was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board authorized the FRBNY to extend credit to TALF LLC, which was formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a loan extended under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of TALF LLC, because of the two beneficiaries of the LLC, the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury, the FRBNY is primarily responsible for directing the financial activities of TALF LLC. The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of the other LLCs cited above because it will receive a majority of any residual returns of the LLCs and absorb a majority of any residual losses of the LLCs. Consistent with generally accepted accounting principles, the assets and liabilities of these LLCs have been consolidated with the assets and liabilities of the FRBNY in the preparation of the statements of condition shown on this release. As a consequence of the consolidation, the extensions of credit from the FRBNY to the LLCs are eliminated, the net assets of the LLCs appear as assets on the previous page (and in table 1 and table 8), and the liabilities of the LLCs to entities other than the FRBNY, including those with recourse only to the portfolio holdings of the LLCs, are included in other liabilities in this table (and table 1 and table 8).

10. Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes: Federal Reserve Agents’ Accounts

Millions of dollars

Federal Reserve notes and collateral Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks not subject to collateralization    195,994
Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized 1,247,980
Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes 1,247,980
Gold certificate account     11,037
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged1,2 1,231,743
Other assets pledged          0
Memo:
Total U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities1,2 4,160,521
Less: Face value of securities under reverse repurchase agreements    257,508
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities eligible to be pledged 3,903,013

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes face value of U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities held outright, compensation to adjust for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities, and cash value of repurchase agreements.
2. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.

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The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians — The War on Christians! — Videos

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Story 1: The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians —  The War on Christians! — Videos

selectcommittegowdy

obama-cia-leon-panetta-twice-denied-military-backup-us-embassy-libya-benghazi

The Tyrant’s Liars Club

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Benghazi Select Committee Holds First Public Hearing Trey Gowdy On The Record

Watch Live: Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing

President Obama announces bipartisan House and Senate support of his plan to arm rebels in Syria

Islamic State: Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels approved

Rand Paul Lambasts White House, Congress for Arming Syrian Rebels

General: Benghazi ‘Botched Arms Deal’ To Muslim Brotherhood And Al Qaeda

Chairman Gowdy’s Questioning in First Benghazi Select Committee Hearing

Trey Gowdy Demands Answers On Benghazi

Rand Paul Destroys Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi-Gate During Capitol Hill Press Conference

Chaffetz: Clinton’s Top Aides Involved In Benghazi Documents Scrub

Hillary allies secretly removed Benghazi documents damaging to her ahead of ARB probe

Obama Admin Lied To Us! They Knew Who Attack Us In Benghazi, Libya On 9-11!!

RUSH: Benghazi Cover-Up Blown Wide Open And Nobody’s Talking About It

CIA Arming Syrian Rebels With Missiles, Taxpayer Dollars

Congress Passes War Funding To Support Obama’s ISIS Fight

The Benghazi Select Committee: Many Questions Remain Unanswered

Patrick Cockburn on the rise of the Islamic State

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance

Patrick Cockburn: U.S. Turns Blind Eye As Saudis Fund Jihadists in Syrian Conflict (2 of 2)

Syria – Who are Jabhat al-Nusra? – Truthloader

Who are ISIS? – Truthloader

 

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The largest arms depot in Africa ( Alqaha)been taking over by Libyan freedom fighters

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13 Hours – Full Interview of the Three Benghazi Survivors – Fox News

Benghazi – The Truth Behind The Smokescreen – Bret Baier Reporting

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Susan Rice Caught Lying About Benghazi – Rep. Trey Gowdy Whistleblower Questioning

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CIA Pressuring Agents With Knowledge Of Benghazi To Keep Silent

SYRIA CNBC: Benghazi Is Not About Libya But An Operation To Put Arms & Men In Syria

Retired Lt Gen Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

SYRIA Rand Paul “Maybe We Were Facilitating Arms Leaving Libya Going Through Turkey Into Syria”

Rand Paul Blasts Stupid Senate for Wanting to Arm Syrian al-Qaeda Fighters

Sen. Rand Paul: ‘Worldwide War on Christianity’ Ignored by Obama, Media

House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels; CR Passes (Updated) (Video)

After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate.

House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.

A vote on the spending bill, which will continue government spending through Dec. 11 at a $1.012 trillion level, was delayed last week so lawmakers could attach a request from the president to give him Title 10 authority to fight the Islamic State group.

That authority would allow the Obama administration to equip Syrian rebels for the intended purpose of fighting ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Obama praised the House and urged the Senate to follow suit on the legislation, which he reiterated is not an authorization for the use of U.S. troops in Syria.

“Today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces,” he said in a statement

Just before the CR vote, lawmakers voted 273-156 to adopt the Syrian rebel amendment. 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voted against it.

As voting on the amendment took place, members stared at the board in the House chamber showing who was voting for the amendment and who was voting against it. Despite a tally that was never really close, it was a dramatic vote.

Much of the debate on the CR turned into a debate on the proposal to arm Syrian rebels, and, more broadly, the specter of another war in the Middle East. In fact, the CR has become such a proxy for the Syria amendment that the Club for Growth, a conservative group opposed to the spending bill, withdrew its key vote on the legislation, explaining that the vote was now largely driven by foreign policy.

But if it were true that foreign policy was driving decisions on the CR, then it was the memories of past foreign policy decisions largely driving this current debate.

Liberal Democrats and some conservative Republicans worried on the House floor that this initial authorization was the first step of a larger military entanglement.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a staunch opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said the six-hour debate on the amendment reminded her of “the failure to have a thorough and robust debate in the wake of 9/11,” which, she said resulted in an overly broad authorization that was a “blank check for perpetual war.”

Other members voted against the amendment because they worried of an opposite effect. Louisiana Republican John Fleming expressed concern that the authorization was “little more than an incremental strategy, not unlike the one used in Vietnam.”

“History warns of the dangers of such approaches,” Fleming said. “By moving hesitantly in piecemeal fashion, the enemy has more time to learn, adapt and get stronger. This is a recipe for a stalemate and failure.”

Many other lawmakers expressed concern over the stated strategy of arming the Free Syrian Army. They said there was no guarantee those rebels would always be allies of the United States, or that they wouldn’t simply use their U.S.-supplied weapons to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of ISIL.

The Obama administration says there will be a thorough vetting process before any Syrian rebel is handed a weapon, but, by Wednesday, many lawmakers remained less than convinced. California Republican Dana Rohrabacher called the administration’s plan “wishful thinking, not realistic planning.”

But congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle insisted the authority was needed.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Wednesday that Obama deserved the support of Democrats in what she acknowledged was a “war vote,” but a proposal that was “discrete” and “short-term.”

“It is not pleasant, it’s not easy,” Pelosi later said on the House floor. “It’s hard. But it really is necessary for the House to approve this.”

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said ISIL was already threatening U.S. allies in the Middle East and in Europe.  ”And if left unchecked,” he said, “it will surely threaten us here at home.”

The ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, Adam Smith of Washington, argued that arming Syrian rebels would deny ISIL a “safe-haven,” and Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, who sponsored the amendment, said there was “no doubt” that any strategy to defeat ISIL would need to include a Syria component.

The plan to arm Syrian rebels is a middle-of-the-road response to the rise of ISIL. It isn’t an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as the amendment explicitly indicates, and it won’t, by itself, dismantle terrorists in the region. But it’s not nothing.

Speaker John A. Boehner appealed to his conference by arguing this was a first step toward defeating ISIL, saying Congress had a responsibility to give the president this authority. While hetold reporters Tuesday there’s “a lot more” the U.S. needed to be doing to address ISIL, the Ohio Republican said there was “no reason not to do what the president asked us to do.”

Already, GOP leaders seem to be indicating that the House may soon consider a new authorization for use of military force for the Middle East, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthytelling reporters on Monday that, “after November,” there may be an “opportunity” to debate a larger military authorization.

As for the CR itself, the 10-week extension, if it is — as expected — agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, will force lawmakers to return after the midterm elections and begin work on a more permanent spending solution. Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he was hopeful the House and Senate could work out an omnibus package similar to the one lawmakers worked out in January 2014.

“It is my sincere hope that if this CR is enacted, we can use the coming months wisely to craft agreement on all 12 bills by Dec. 11,” said the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Nita M. Lowey of New York. “There is absolutely no reason to punt our responsibilities into the new year and new Congress.”

Conservatives had pushed for a longer CR — one that would fund the government until, say, March 1, 2015 — so that a new Congress, perhaps one with a Senate under Republican control, could set the spending levels. Conservatives also voiced concern over extending the Export-Import Bank until June 30, 2015. They wanted to simply let the credit agency expire.

But the reauthorization until June 30 seemed to scare Democrats more than Republicans. Democrats are showing unease that they won’t have a must-pass bill in June to which they can attach another extension of the Ex-Im Bank, and they worry that decoupling the agency from a spending bill will ultimately kill it.

Democrats seemed to understand, however, that holding up the CR over the length of extension on such an inside-the-Beltway issue would not be politically advantageous just before an election.

Passing the CR allows both Republicans and Democrats to get back to their districts early and campaign for about six weeks before the midterms. While the House is scheduled to be in session next week, most aides expect McCarthy to cancel the remaining legislative days before November and send everyone to the campaign trail early.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/house-votes-to-arm-syrian-rebels-passes-cr/?dcz=

Clinton insiders screened Benghazi documents before ARB probe, official says

 BY ED MORRISSEY

Just how unfettered was that “unfettered access” promised by the State Department to the Accountability Review Board in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack two years ago? According to one of the four officials punished and then cleared by State for the failures that led to the death of four men, a weekend housecleaning operation kept the ARB from seeing some of the most explosive documentation related to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Sharyl Attkisson that the operation was supervised by advisers within Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, in this Daily Signal exclusive:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. …

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Not long afterward, two people high up the State Department chain arrived to check on the operation. Attkisson describes them as “close confidants” of Hillary Clinton, probably from Maxwell’s own description, although neither are named in Attkisson’s report. Maxwell says that both of them accompanied him into another office with a fourth person, where they personally vetted more documents:

Maxwell says after those two officials arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.

“I didn’t feel good about it,” he said.

Don’t expect that this will disappear as quietly. Maxwell says that members of the select House committee on Benghazi have already deposed him on this weekend filing session, including both chair Trey Gowdy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz told Attkisson that he is “100% confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”

The ARB has insisted all along that they conducted a thorough and independent probe, a claim at which Maxwell scoffs on both counts in Attkisson’s report. This could let them off the hook, though. If State conspired to hide evidence from them, it will give the ARB an opening to withdraw their report — which would be a PR move entirely, since the ARB had no authoritative status otherwise — and give Congress even more validation for pursuing this in select-committee form. If Maxwell testifies to this in open session and the BSC finds one or more corroborating witnesses, it will put this right back front and center. And we may still yet hear from the unnamed advisers, too, as to what their orders were, and who gave them.

Benghazi Post-Attack Satellite Revelations

Benghazi, Libya showing the locations of the U. S. Consulate and CIA Annex on the outskirts of town

Perplexing questions yet remain surrounding the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Satellite images taken before and AFTER the attacks, which anyone can view on Google Earth, show evidence of the attacks at both the Consulate and CIA Annex. They help clarify conditions on the ground at the time.

Google Earth (GE) is an incredibly useful online tool. With it, armchair sleuths at home can uncover important details about news events that get overlooked by the big shot mainstream media.

Such is the case with the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Geography and News Events

Google Earth provides two unique capabilities to the armchair sleuth:

  • A scalable geographic look at any place on Earth and its surroundings
  • A history of images of that place to investigate its background and history

Most important for investigating the Benghazi attacks is that the most current GE satellite image of both the Consulate and CIA Annex were taken on 9/17/2012, just 6 days after the attack.

GE’s image history is used to go back and forth between before and after images to identify evidence of the attacks visible from space.

For the attack on the CIA Annex this is particularly important because Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed when hit by mortar fire while defending the Annex from a rooftop position.

The U.S. Consulate


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Plainly visible on the satellite image of the Consulate complex are the burned out remains of two vehicles, the charred remains of burnt furniture next to one of the vehicles and the couch and other things tossed into the swimming pool by either the terrorists or looters.

GE shows us that the U.S. Consulate is located on the outskirts of Benghazi in a very open area surrounded by an orchard and soccer field. Contrary to news reports, GE tells us it is in a narrow rectangular shaped property about 300 feet wide and 800 feet long.

The property is surrounded by trees with no visible wall. It was built as a residence. It has two gates.
The back gate has no defenses whatsoever.

The consulate has three main buildings and a guardhouse at the front gate. The front gate has been fortified with barriers since October of 2011. Those barriers are the only visible signs of increased security at the Consulate. The unprotected back gate opens onto Fourth Ring Road, one of the main streets circling Benghazi.

Its three main structures are the consulate building, a detached Ambassador’s residence with saferoom where Ambassador Stephens was found; and a nearby guard barracks near the front gate.

GE history reveals the main consulate building, detached residence and swimming pool were a lonely patch of dirt in August of 2007 and that they were under construction in June of 2009. Little has changed since then.

During the consulate attack Navy SEAL Woods and others came from the CIA Annex, fought their way to consulate, rescued staff and recovered the body of Sean Smith. They took them back to the CIA Annex from the consulate.

The CIA Annex

CIA Annex showing where mortar rounds struck building tops and grounds

Line of sight, the CIA Annex complex is located about a mile from the consulate next to what appears to be a large warehouse with many buildings.

The annex is within a thick wall surrounding a 300 X 400 foot rectangle. It is better fortified and much more defensible than the consulate. It is also closer to civilian targets.

The annex took mortar fire. Mortar strikes show up as distinct smudges on the satellite image near the red dots. Navy SEALs Doherty and Woods were killed by one of the rooftop mortar strikes.

GE history reveals the annex was built some time after June 28th, 2009.

Conclusions

From satellite images it is easy to see why Ambassador Stephens would be seriously concerned about consulate security, especially given all the al Qaeda activity in area and previous attacks.

The consulate, originally built as someone’s house, was barely modified after it was acquired by the U.S. government. It is not even clear from satellite imagery that it had a surrounding wall. Its unguarded back gate opens onto a main Benghazi street and is easily penetrable.

The Annex is better protected and was successfully defended against a physical breach, albeit at the cost of Doherty and Woods who gave their lives defending the annex from a rooftop position.

Woods and Doherty probably deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroic efforts.

Armchair sleuthing reveals this immutable fact… the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places in the world, was woefully under-protected at the time of the attacks. The warning signs of another inevitable attack were all present. Those up the chain of command had been told.

Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and the others didn’t stand a chance.
Someone MUST be held accountable!

Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away

In May CNN’s Jake Tapper argued that the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an attack on September 11, 2012, should be scrutinized.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) agreed, saying: “There are questions that must be asked of the CIA and this must be done in a public way.”

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and  of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi.

Here’s what we know:

benghaziThe attack

At about 9:40 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, a mob of Libyans attacked a building housing U.S. State Department personnel. At 10:20 p.m. Americans arrived from a CIA annex located 1.2 miles away, to help the besieged Americans. At 11:15 p.m. they fled with survivors back to the secret outpost.

Armed Libyans followed them and attacked the annex with rockets and small arms from around midnight to 1:00 a.m., when there was a lull in the fighting.

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA security contractor, was with a team of Joint Special Operations Command military operators and CIA agents in Tripoli at the time of the attack. When they received word of the assault on the mission, Doherty and six others bribed the pilots of small jet with $30,000 cash for a ride to Benghazi.

At about 5:15 a.m., right after Doherty’s group arrived, the attackers began shooting mortars at the annex, leading to the death of Doherty and fellow former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Tyrone Woods.

At 6 a.m. Libyan forces from the military intelligence service arrived and subsequently took more than 30 Americans — only seven of whom were from the State Department — to the Benghazi airport.

So the CIA’s response to go to the mission where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was located, after being held back for 20 minutes, saved American lives but also ended up exposing the annex.

And according to Paula Broadwell, the mistress of David Petraeus when he was CIA director, the CIA may have provided an impetus for the attack by holding prisoners: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back.”charlene lamb

At its heart a CIA operation’

The top-secret presence and location of the CIA outpost was first acknowledged by Charlene Lamb, a top official in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, during Congressional testimony in October.

Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Darrell Issa immediately called a point of order when Lamb exposed the location of the annex, and asked for the revelation to be stricken from the record.

“I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz. said. “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

In November The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. mission in Benghazi “was at its heart a CIA operation.”

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the CIA was leading a “concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover … MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems]” looted from the stockpiles of toppled Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The State Department “consulate” served as diplomatic cover for the previously-hidden annex.

AnnexWeapons from Benghazi to Syria

Also in October we reported the connection between Ambassador Stevens, who died in the attack, and a reported September shipment of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles (i.e. MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades from Benghazi to Syria through southern Turkey.

That 400-ton shipment — “the largest consignment of weapons” yet for Syrian rebels — was organized by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was the newly-appointed head of the Tripoli Military Council.

In March 2011 Stevens, the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan rebels, worked directly with Belhadj while he headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Stevens’ last meeting on Sept. 11 was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

Syrian rebels subsequently began shooting down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets with SA-7s akin to those in Qaddafi’s looted stock. (The interim Libyan government also sent money and fighters to Syria.)

What did the CIA know?

Collectively these details raise the question of what the CIA knew, given that Agency operatives in Libya were rounding up SA-7s, ostensibly to destroy them, while operatives in southern Turkey were funneling weapons to the rebels.

The State Department told CNN that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries, but it “can’t speak for any other agencies.”

Ambassador Stevens certainly would have known if the new Libyan government was sending 400 tons of heavy weapons to Turkey from Benghazi’s port.

Just like the CIA would know if those the weapons arrived in Turkey and began showing up in Syria.

Journalist Damien Spleeters created this sourced map, drawing info shared on social media such as YouTube, that gives an idea of the MANPADS presence in Syria.

We’ve added red tag noting the Turkish port, Iskenderun, where the massive SA-7 shipment docked.

And this map of nearby Turkish highways shows that the heavy weapons could have been transported from the port to the Syrian city of Aleppo in three hours.

syriaOther intriguing details

This week Nancy Youssef of McClatchy reported that Ambassador Stevens twice turned down offers for additional security, despite specifically asking for more men in cables to the State Department.

Right after the attack American Matthew VanDyke, who fought with Libyan rebels during their revolution, told us he suspected that extremist groups in the nearby mountains — who felt marginalized by the new Libyan government — “saw their opportunity to pounce.”

In May Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) told CNN: “I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria. … Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex? I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered.”

So now that the White House has released more than 100 pages of Benghazi emails, and the State Department’s role during and after the attack have been probed ad nauseam, the only thing to explore is “whatever [the CIA] was doing.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-cia-mission-in-benghazi-2013-8

UN has testimony showing Syrian rebels used sarin gas

WW3 UPDATE – U.S. Intelligence: Rebels Used Sarin Gas

U.N. Strong Suspicions That Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

Syria Gas Attack – ‘Eyes Twitching, Noses Foaming’ (CNN, 30Aug13)

Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Caught with Sarin Gas inside Turkey

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (1 of 2)

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (2 of 2)

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

U.S. Ship Finishes Neutralizing Syria’s Worst Chemical Arms: Pentagon

Syrian Sarin gas chemicals destroyed.

 

 

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

Obama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.

*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdoğan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

 

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.

He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability: ‘In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.’ Obama’s certainty was echoed at the time by Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, who told the New York Times: ‘No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence’ directly linking Assad and his regime to the sarin attacks.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’

The complaints focus on what Washington did not have: any advance warning from the assumed source of the attack. The military intelligence community has for years produced a highly classified early morning intelligence summary, known as the Morning Report, for the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; a copy also goes to the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The Morning Report includes no political or economic information, but provides a summary of important military events around the world, with all available intelligence about them. A senior intelligence consultant told me that some time after the attack he reviewed the reports for 20 August through 23 August. For two days – 20 and 21 August – there was no mention of Syria. On 22 August the lead item in the Morning Report dealt with Egypt; a subsequent item discussed an internal change in the command structure of one of the rebel groups in Syria. Nothing was noted about the use of nerve gas in Damascus that day. It was not until 23 August that the use of sarin became a dominant issue, although hundreds of photographs and videos of the massacre had gone viral within hours on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. At this point, the administration knew no more than the public.

Obama left Washington early on 21 August for a hectic two-day speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania; according to the White House press office, he was briefed later that day on the attack, and the growing public and media furore. The lack of any immediate inside intelligence was made clear on 22 August, when Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters: ‘We are unable to conclusively determine [chemical weapons] use. But we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened … on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.’ The administration’s tone had hardened by 27 August, when Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, told reporters – without providing any specific information – that any suggestions that the Syrian government was not responsible ‘are as preposterous as suggestions that the attack itself didn’t occur’.

On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

The Post report also provided the first indication of a secret sensor system inside Syria, designed to provide early warning of any change in status of the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal. The sensors are monitored by the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that controls all US intelligence satellites in orbit. According to the Postsummary, the NRO is also assigned ‘to extract data from sensors placed on the ground’ inside Syria. The former senior intelligence official, who had direct knowledge of the programme, told me that NRO sensors have been implanted near all known chemical warfare sites in Syria. They are designed to provide constant monitoring of the movement of chemical warheads stored by the military. But far more important, in terms of early warning, is the sensors’ ability to alert US and Israeli intelligence when warheads are being loaded with sarin. (As a neighbouring country, Israel has always been on the alert for changes in the Syrian chemical arsenal, and works closely with American intelligence on early warnings.) A chemical warhead, once loaded with sarin, has a shelf life of a few days or less – the nerve agent begins eroding the rocket almost immediately: it’s a use-it-or-lose-it mass killer. ‘The Syrian army doesn’t have three days to prepare for a chemical attack,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘We created the sensor system for immediate reaction, like an air raid warning or a fire alarm. You can’t have a warning over three days because everyone involved would be dead. It is either right now or you’re history. You do not spend three days getting ready to fire nerve gas.’ The sensors detected no movement in the months and days before 21 August, the former official said. It is of course possible that sarin had been supplied to the Syrian army by other means, but the lack of warning meant that Washington was unable to monitor the events in Eastern Ghouta as they unfolded.

The sensors had worked in the past, as the Syrian leadership knew all too well. Last December the sensor system picked up signs of what seemed to be sarin production at a chemical weapons depot. It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian army was simulating sarin production as part of an exercise (all militaries constantly carry out such exercises) or actually preparing an attack. At the time, Obama publicly warned Syria that using sarin was ‘totally unacceptable’; a similar message was also passed by diplomatic means. The event was later determined to be part of a series of exercises, according to the former senior intelligence official: ‘If what the sensors saw last December was so important that the president had to call and say, “Knock it off,” why didn’t the president issue the same warning three days before the gas attack in August?’

The NSA would of course monitor Assad’s office around the clock if it could, the former official said. Other communications – from various army units in combat throughout Syria – would be far less important, and not analysed in real time. ‘There are literally thousands of tactical radio frequencies used by field units in Syria for mundane routine communications,’ he said, ‘and it would take a huge number of NSA cryptological technicians to listen in – and the useful return would be zilch.’ But the ‘chatter’ is routinely stored on computers. Once the scale of events on 21 August was understood, the NSA mounted a comprehensive effort to search for any links to the attack, sorting through the full archive of stored communications. A keyword or two would be selected and a filter would be employed to find relevant conversations. ‘What happened here is that the NSA intelligence weenies started with an event – the use of sarin – and reached to find chatter that might relate,’ the former official said. ‘This does not lead to a high confidence assessment, unless you start with high confidence that Bashar Assad ordered it, and began looking for anything that supports that belief.’ The cherry-picking was similar to the process used to justify the Iraq war.

*The White House needed nine days to assemble its case against the Syrian government. On 30 August it invited a select group of Washington journalists (at least one often critical reporter, Jonathan Landay, the national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, was not invited), and handed them a document carefully labelled as a ‘government assessment’, rather than as an assessment by the intelligence community. The document laid out what was essentially a political argument to bolster the administration’s case against the Assad government. It was, however, more specific than Obama would be later, in his speech on 10 September: American intelligence, it stated, knew that Syria had begun ‘preparing chemical munitions’ three days before the attack. In an aggressive speech later that day, John Kerry provided more details. He said that Syria’s ‘chemical weapons personnel were on the ground, in the area, making preparations’ by 18 August. ‘We know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.’ The government assessment and Kerry’s comments made it seem as if the administration had been tracking the sarin attack as it happened. It is this version of events, untrue but unchallenged, that was widely reported at the time.

An unforeseen reaction came in the form of complaints from the Free Syrian Army’s leadership and others about the lack of warning. ‘It’s unbelievable they did nothing to warn people or try to stop the regime before the crime,’ Razan Zaitouneh, an opposition member who lived in one of the towns struck by sarin, told Foreign Policy. The Daily Mail was more blunt: ‘Intelligence report says US officials knew about nerve-gas attack in Syria three days before it killed over 1400 people – including more than 400 children.’ (The number of deaths attributable to the attack varied widely, from at least 1429, as initially claimed by the Obama administration, to many fewer. A Syrian human rights group reported 502 deaths; Médicins sans Frontières put it at 355; and a French report listed 281 known fatalities. The strikingly precise US total was later reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been based not on an actual body count, but on an extrapolation by CIA analysts, who scanned more than a hundred YouTube videos from Eastern Ghouta into a computer system and looked for images of the dead. In other words, it was little more than a guess.)

Five days later, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to the complaints. A statement to the Associated Press said that the intelligence behind the earlier administration assertions was not known at the time of the attack, but recovered only subsequently: ‘Let’s be clear, the United States did not watch, in real time, as this horrible attack took place. The intelligence community was able to gather and analyse information after the fact and determine that elements of the Assad regime had in fact taken steps to prepare prior to using chemical weapons.’ But since the American press corps had their story, the retraction received scant attention. On 31 August the Washington Post, relying on the government assessment, had vividly reported on its front page that American intelligence was able to record ‘each step’ of the Syrian army attack in real time, ‘from the extensive preparations to the launching of rockets to the after-action assessments by Syrian officials’. It did not publish the AP corrective, and the White House maintained control of the narrative.

So when Obama said on 10 September that his administration knew Assad’s chemical weapons personnel had prepared the attack in advance, he was basing the statement not on an intercept caught as it happened, but on communications analysed days after 21 August. The former senior intelligence official explained that the hunt for relevant chatter went back to the exercise detected the previous December, in which, as Obama later said to the public, the Syrian army mobilised chemical weapons personnel and distributed gas masks to its troops. The White House’s government assessment and Obama’s speech were not descriptions of the specific events leading up to the 21 August attack, but an account of the sequence the Syrian military would have followed for any chemical attack. ‘They put together a back story,’ the former official said, ‘and there are lots of different pieces and parts. The template they used was the template that goes back to December.’ It is possible, of course, that Obama was unaware that this account was obtained from an analysis of Syrian army protocol for conducting a gas attack, rather than from direct evidence. Either way he had come to a hasty judgment.

The press would follow suit. The UN report on 16 September confirming the use of sarin was careful to note that its investigators’ access to the attack sites, which came five days after the gassing, had been controlled by rebel forces. ‘As with other sites,’ the report warned, ‘the locations have been well travelled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the mission … During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.’ Still, the New York Times seized on the report, as did American and British officials, and claimed that it provided crucial evidence backing up the administration’s assertions. An annex to the UN report reproduced YouTube photographs of some recovered munitions, including a rocket that ‘indicatively matches’ the specifics of a 330mm calibre artillery rocket. The New York Times wrote that the existence of the rockets essentially proved that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack ‘because the weapons in question had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency’.

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally. He told me that it was ‘something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop’. The rocket in the photos, he added, fails to match the specifications of a similar but smaller rocket known to be in the Syrian arsenal. The New York Times, again relying on data in the UN report, also analysed the flight path of two of the spent rockets that were believed to have carried sarin, and concluded that the angle of descent ‘pointed directly’ to their being fired from a Syrian army base more than nine kilometres from the landing zone. Postol, who has served as the scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon, said that the assertions in the Times and elsewhere ‘were not based on actual observations’. He concluded that the flight path analyses in particular were, as he put it in an email, ‘totally nuts’ because a thorough study demonstrated that the range of the improvised rockets was ‘unlikely’ to be more than two kilometres. Postol and a colleague, Richard M. Lloyd, published an analysis two weeks after 21 August in which they correctly assessed that the rockets involved carried a far greater payload of sarin than previously estimated. The Times reported on that analysis at length, describing Postol and Lloyd as ‘leading weapons experts’. The pair’s later study about the rockets’ flight paths and range, which contradicted previous Times reporting, was emailed to the newspaper last week; it has so far gone unreported.

The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the US and the UN as a terrorist organisation. Al-Nusra is known to have carried out scores of suicide bombings against Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim sects inside Syria, and to have attacked its nominal ally in the civil war, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA). Its stated goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and establish sharia law. (On 25 September al-Nusra joined several other Islamist rebel groups in repudiating the FSA and another secular faction, the Syrian National Coalition.)

Two months later, a White House statement announced a change in the assessment of Syrian culpability and declared that the intelligence community now had ‘high confidence’ that the Assad government was responsible for as many as 150 deaths from attacks with sarin. More headlines were generated and the press was told that Obama, in response to the new intelligence, had ordered an increase in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. But once again there were significant caveats. The new intelligence included a report that Syrian officials had planned and executed the attacks. No specifics were provided, nor were those who provided the reports identified. The White House statement said that laboratory analysis had confirmed the use of sarin, but also that a positive finding of the nerve agent ‘does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed or who was responsible for the dissemination’. The White House further declared: ‘We have no reliable corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.’ The statement contradicted evidence that at the time was streaming into US intelligence agencies.

Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military.

On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin. A sample of the sarin that had been used was also recovered – with the help of an Israeli agent – but, according to the consultant, no further reporting about the sample showed up in cable traffic.

Independently of these assessments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assuming that US troops might be ordered into Syria to seize the government’s stockpile of chemical agents, called for an all-source analysis of the potential threat. ‘The Op Order provides the basis of execution of a military mission, if so ordered,’ the former senior intelligence official explained. ‘This includes the possible need to send American soldiers to a Syrian chemical site to defend it against rebel seizure. If the jihadist rebels were going to overrun the site, the assumption is that Assad would not fight us because we were protecting the chemical from the rebels. All Op Orders contain an intelligence threat component. We had technical analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, weapons people, and I & W [indications and warnings] people working on the problem … They concluded that the rebel forces were capable of attacking an American force with sarin because they were able to produce the lethal gas. The examination relied on signals and human intelligence, as well as the expressed intention and technical capability of the rebels.’

There is evidence that during the summer some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were troubled by the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria as well as by Obama’s professed desire to give rebel factions non-lethal support. In July, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, provided a gloomy assessment, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee in public testimony that ‘thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces’ would be needed to seize Syria’s widely dispersed chemical warfare arsenal, along with ‘hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers’. Pentagon estimates put the number of troops at seventy thousand, in part because US forces would also have to guard the Syrian rocket fleet: accessing large volumes of the chemicals that create sarin without the means to deliver it would be of little value to a rebel force. In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, Dempsey cautioned that a decision to grab the Syrian arsenal could have unintended consequences: ‘We have learned from the past ten years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state … Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.’

The CIA declined to comment for this article. Spokesmen for the DIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were not aware of the report to Shedd and, when provided with specific cable markings for the document, said they were unable to find it. Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

The administration’s public affairs officials are not as concerned about al-Nusra’s military potential as Shedd has been in his public statements. In late July, he gave an alarming account of al-Nusra’s strength at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. ‘I count no less than 1200 disparate groups in the opposition,’ Shedd said, according to a recording of his presentation. ‘And within the opposition, the al-Nusra Front is … most effective and is gaining in strength.’ This, he said, ‘is of serious concern to us. If left unchecked, I am very concerned that the most radical elements’ – he also cited al-Qaida in Iraq – ‘will take over.’ The civil war, he went on, ‘will only grow worse over time … Unfathomable violence is yet to come.’ Shedd made no mention of chemical weapons in his talk, but he was not allowed to: the reports his office received were highly classified.

*

A series of secret dispatches from Syria over the summer reported that members of the FSA were complaining to American intelligence operatives about repeated attacks on their forces by al-Nusra and al-Qaida fighters. The reports, according to the senior intelligence consultant who read them, provided evidence that the FSA is ‘more worried about the crazies than it is about Assad’. The FSA is largely composed of defectors from the Syrian army. The Obama administration, committed to the end of the Assad regime and continued support for the rebels, has sought in its public statements since the attack to downplay the influence of Salafist and Wahhabist factions. In early September, John Kerry dumbfounded a Congressional hearing with a sudden claim that al-Nusra and other Islamist groups were minority players in the Syrian opposition. He later withdrew the claim.

In both its public and private briefings after 21 August, the administration disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons. This was the message conveyed in the various secret briefings that members of Congress received in the days after the attack, when Obama was seeking support for his planned missile offensive against Syrian military installations. One legislator with more than two decades of experience in military affairs told me that he came away from one such briefing persuaded that ‘only the Assad government had sarin and the rebels did not.’ Similarly, following the release of the UN report on 16 September confirming that sarin was used on 21 August, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’

It is not known whether the highly classified reporting on al-Nusra was made available to Power’s office, but her comment was a reflection of the attitude that swept through the administration. ‘The immediate assumption was that Assad had done it,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘The new director of the CIA, [John] Brennan, jumped to that conclusion … drives to the White House and says: “Look at what I’ve got!” It was all verbal; they just waved the bloody shirt. There was a lot of political pressure to bring Obama to the table to help the rebels, and there was wishful thinking that this [tying Assad to the sarin attack] would force Obama’s hand: “This is the Zimmermann telegram of the Syrian rebellion and now Obama can react.” Wishful thinking by the Samantha Power wing within the administration. Unfortunately, some members of the Joint Chiefs who were alerted that he was going to attack weren’t so sure it was a good thing.’

The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex. Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal. Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)

The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons. It appears possible that at some point he was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans.

The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council, dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as al-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm: ‘no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer [chemical] weapons.’ The resolution also calls for the immediate notification of the Security Council in the event that any ‘non-state actors’ acquire chemical weapons. No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone. There may be more to negotiate.

 

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Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Data, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Heroes, history, Homicide, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Breaking News: Malaysian Airline Flight MH 17 Shot Down by Surface To Air Missile — 280 Passengers and 15 Crew Dead — Videos

Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Communications, Computers, Diasters, Economics, Education, Foreign Policy, Language, Law, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Technology, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

 

 

Ukraine Adviser: Malaysian Airlines Jet Shot Down By Missile Near Ukraine-Russia Border

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Mayalsia Airlines Flight crashes in Ukraine

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UPDATE Missile downs Malaysia Airlines MH17

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Malaysian Airlines plane crash: passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 295 dead

[y0utube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1iPi9wfc5Q]

Malaysia Airlines Plane Crash in Ukraine MH17 Flight Shot Down (17 July 2014)

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Malaysia Plane shot down over Ukraine Malaysia Plane crash video 295 dead 17 07 2014

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Marketing video Russian Air Defense Systems S-400, Buk M2 and Tor M2 shooting at US Air Force

US Concludes Malaysian Airline was Shot Down, Both Russia and Ukraine Deny Involvment

US Concludes Malaysian Airline was Shot Down, Both Russia and Ukraine Deny Involvment
One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. Photo:mashable.com

The United States has concluded the Malaysian airline was shot down, a senior U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr. They are analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from.

“[US intelligence has] another asset that gives them a heat signature, an infrared heat signature that tells them there was a massive event … they put both of these pieces of information together and concluded that the plane was shot down,” Starr said.

One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said.

US intelligence is reportedly still working to determine the exact location from which the missile was fired, and whether it was on the Russian or the Ukrainian side of the border.

The UN Security Council plans to hold an emergency meeting over the shooting down of Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, and the deteriorating situation in the country. The meeting was called in by the UK, Itar-tass reports.

NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also urged an immediate international investigation into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane in Eastern Ukraine, RIA-Novosti news agency reports.

“No surface-to-air systems are involved in the military operation against separatists in the east, and the plane was out of reach of other Ukrainian air defence forces,” the statement from Ukraine’s Defence Ministry added.

Yet, The Ukrainian military reportedly deployed a battery of Buk surface-to-air missile systems, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, to the Donetsk region the day before the Malaysian passenger plane crashed in the area.

Itar-Tass and Interfax news agencies are citing a source familiar with the issue, who said that another battery of Buk systems is currently being prepared for shipment to Donetsk region from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s state security chief accused two Russian military intelligence officers of involvement in the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane on Thursday. The SBU chief Valentin Nalivaychenko added they must be punished for their “crime.” The Ukrainian official said he based his allegation on intercepts of phone conversations between the two officers.

The purported telephone intercepts have been posted to YouTube (Russian), as have past recordings of alleged conversations between rebels, some of whom are accused of being agents with Russian agents.

In the recordings, men nicknamed “Demon”, “Mayor,” and “Grek” panic and curse as they realize they’ve shot down a passenger plane and killed civilians, describing to each other the “bodies of women and children”.

The authenticity of the recordings, however, cannot be confirmed.

IHS Jane’s Defense analyst, Nick de Larrinaga, shared the belief that the self-defense forces lack the capability to bring the Malaysian plane down.

“At normal cruising altitude a civilian passenger aircraft would be out of the range of the sort of manned portable air (defense) systems that we have seen proliferate in rebel hands in east Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

But the aircraft would be within range of Buk or other medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, he stressed.

“Both Russia and Ukraine have such SAM systems in their inventories,” the expert added.

It seems unlikely that the self-defense forces could’ve used Buk surface-to-air missile systems to down the Malaysian plane, retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, the director of the Defense and Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said.

“It takes a lot of training and a lot of coordination to fire one of these and hit something,” he told CNN. “This is not the kind of weapon a couple of guys are going to pull out of a garage and fire.”

According to Ryan, if the plane was really taken down then it was done by a professional military force.

http://www.independent.mk/articles/7367/US+Concludes+Malaysian+Airline+was+Shot+Down,+Both+Russia+and+Ukraine+Deny+Involvment

Ukraine Adviser: Malaysian Airlines Jet Shot Down By Missile Near Ukraine-Russia Border

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckage of the Malaysian Airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckage of the Malaysian Airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine said a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane.

As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the crash site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.

Photos: Crash Scene in Ukraine

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it received notification from Ukrainian aviation authorities that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 GMT some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50 km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border.

It said the plane had 280 passengers and 15 crew aboard a Boeing 777 that left Amsterdam at 12.15 p.m. and was to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 a.m. Friday.

CBS News had yet to confirm if the Boeing 777 was shot down.

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Interfax reports that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry says that everyone on board was killed. The Interior Ministry claims that 23 Americans were killed in the crash, according to Interfax. The State Department is looking into whether Americans were on the flight.

A source told Interfax that the plane “began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory.”

Reuters reports that body parts have been scattered seven miles within the crash site, an indication that the plane came apart mid-air. A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry official told Reuters that first responders have found at least 100 bodies.

Ukrainian pro-separatists have denied responsibility for the Malaysian Airlines civilian jet crash as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his country’s military did not shoot down the plane.

“We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” Poroshenko stated.

Poroshenko said “we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”

According to Interfax, Poroshenko called it a “terrorist act.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claims in a statement obtained by CBS News that Russia is complicit, if not responsible, for the downing of the plane.

“The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area,” the statement read.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told The Guardian that allegations that Russia was behind the crash was just sheer “stupidity.”

CBS News reports that President Barack Obama has been briefed on the crash. Obama has instructed his team to be in touch with Ukrainian authorities.

“The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet at the Russia-Ukraine border and it looks like it might be a terrible tragedy,” Obama said during an event held in Wilmington, Del., adding that the U.S. is working on confirming if Americans were on the flight.

During a phone call with Obama Thursday morning to express his dissatisfaction to the latest economic sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought up that there were early reports of a downed Malaysian Airlines jet in Ukraine, CBS News reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells CBS News that the agency prohibited U.S. carriers from flying through this region.

It was the second time that a Malaysia Airlines plane was lost in less than six months. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean far west of Australia.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said on Twitter there’s no confirmation that Thursday’s plane was shot down. He said he has instructed the country’s military to check and get confirmation.

The Donetsk region government said Thursday’s plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where the flight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.

A launcher similar to the Buk missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, which is held by pro-Russia rebels, earlier Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, adding to what Kiev says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile was forced to bail after his jet was shot down.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely

Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbor. The Russian Defense Ministry couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday about the Ukrainian jet and Russia’s foreign ministry didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory.

The Malaysia Airlines plane is a Boeing 777-200ER, which was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on July 30, 1997, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets, which sells and tracks information about aircraft. It has more than 43,000 hours of flight time and 6,950 takeoffs and landings.

If the plane was shot down, it would be the fourth commercial airliner to face such a fate. The previous three were:

- April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union. After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire.

- Sept. 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed.

- July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed

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Militarization of Police Departments and SWAT Team in America — Who is the enemy? The American People — War on Drugs — War on Terror — War on Americans — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

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Nestled awkwardly among the usual guff, the outrage website Salon this week took a welcome flyer and accorded space to something genuinely alarming. “A SWAT team,” the headline screamed, “blew a hole in my 2-year-old son.” For once, this wasn’t hyperbole.

The piece’s author, Alecia Phonesavanh, described what it felt like to be on the business end of an attack that was launched in error by police who believed a drug dealer to be living and operating in her house. They “threw a flashbang grenade inside,” she reported. It “landed in my son’s crib.” Now, her son is “covered in burns” and has “a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs.” So badly injured was he by the raid that he was “placed into a medically induced coma.” “They searched for drugs,” Phonesavanh confirmed, but they “never found any.” Nor, for that matter, did they find the person they were looking for. He doesn’t live there. “All of this,” she asks, “to find a small amount of drugs?”

 

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.”

 

Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this?

The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

Leaving aside the central moral question of the War on Drugs — which is whether the state should be responding to peaceful transactions and consensual behavior with violence — there is, it seems, considerable room between law enforcement’s turning a blind eye to the law and its aping the military in its attempt to uphold it. The cartels of Mexico and drug lords of America’s larger cities are one thing; but two-bit dealers and consumers of illicit substances are quite another. In the instance that Salon recorded, the person that authorities “were looking for, wasn’t there.” “He doesn’t even live in that house,” Phonesavanh confirmed. But suppose that he had, and that he’d been dealing drugs as charged? Does this alone make the case for the tactics? I suspect not. Instead, attempting to catch a violator in the act by releasing military vehicles full of machine-gun-wielding men, storming a home in the dead of night, and performing a no-knock raid that results in a two-year-old’s being pushed into a coma might, one suspects, be overkill — in many similar cases, literally so. The question for conservatives should be this: If cowboy poetry is no justification for federal intrusion, can drug dealing be said to serve as an open invitation for the deployment of the ersatz 101st?

In the more febrile of the Right’s quarters, the sight of MRAPs being delivered to the chief of police in Westington, Mont., has given rise to all forms of regrettable silliness — to visions of black helicopters and reeducation camps and an America on the verge of being taken by force by the gun-toting rangers of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nevertheless, a small amount of latent paranoia has served America well, and Chekhov’s advice that “one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it” should be applied to governments as rigorously as to aspiring playwrights. Once the holders of the monopoly on violence are accorded the latest weaponry, there will always be the temptation to use it. Likewise, once one has taken the mental and linguistic leap of ascribing to domestic law enforcement the imprimatur of “war,” one may be inclined to reach for the trigger that little bit more quickly. The disaster at Waco, Texas, was, it seems, more cock-up than conspiracy. But the recognition in the aftermath that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if local officers had taken the time to chat with the victims should haunt us to this day. Rushing in at 100 miles per hour rarely works out, whatever the ill that one is attempting to resolve.

The Left’s current inclination is to spin offenses out of straw — having no major battles left to fight, it seeks to detect microaggressions; with overt bigotry so thin on the ground, the dog whistles have come out; and with the barriers to the Declaration’s maxim having been largely removed, the focus has shifted to the structural and the invisible. But first-degree burns and holes in the chest are different things altogether — not to be dismissed or downplayed — and that the issue is being raised by an outlet known for its absurdity should not dull its impact. Will the Right wake up to the threat, applying its usual mistrust of power to a favored group, or will its usually alert advocates leave themselves willfully in the dark until, one day, a flashbang with their name on it is tossed through the window to wake them up with a start?

 

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 — Videos

Posted on June 9, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Computers, media, People, Programming, Raves, Tablet, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

Surface Pro 3 Review – David Pogue’s Apple-style Ad

Surface Pro 3 review

Surface Pro 3 Review

Surface Pro 3 Unboxing, Setup & First Impressions

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review | Engadget

Microsoft Surface 3 vs. MacBook Air Comparison | Mashable

 

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National Security Agency (NSA) — Who’s The Enemy? — The American People — House Judiciary Committee Guts NSA Reform Bill — USA Freedom Act — Broadly Defined Bulk Collection Will Continue — Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on U.S. Freedom Act — Videos

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Bizarre week for NSA reformers

“USA Freedom Act” Has All Oversight Of NSA Gutted By Phony Gatekeepers!

Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

U.S. Freedom act

Real Talk with Julie Borowski: Stop Snooping, NSA!

Is NSA reform being sabotaged?

 

“The USA FREEDOM Act” Congress Plan To Curb NSA Spying On American Citizens

GOP against Justin Amash The Glenn Beck Talk Show

Report exposes secret NSA snooping tool

Opposing Bulk NSA Surveillance (Rep. Justin Amash)

Rep. Justin Amash cosponsored an amendment that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s unwarranted bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. The measure failed narrowly, but has re-energized the legislative struggle for civil liberties. Amash believes that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, should be prosecuted for lying to Congress. He also says he doesn’t appreciate the “condescending” tone of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with respect to the debate over national security.

Glenn Beck Justin Amash Interview On Nsa Surveillance

Congress’s Abdication on NSA Oversight (U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI))

Justin Amash: President Obama Was ‘Highly Misleading’ In Claiming There’s No Domestic Spying Program

House committee passes NSA reform bill

The House Judiciary Committee passed the National Security Agency reforming “USA Freedom Act” 31-0 Wednesday. The first major piece of legislation seeking to curb the NSA’s collection of electronic information, the bill which has undergone major changes will now proceed to the full House of Representatives. It will be competing with another reform bill that is expected to be approved by the House Intelligence Committee Thursday. RT’s Sam Sacks breaks down the bill and the chances for instituting real reform.

“USA Freedom Act” Bill To Put NSA “Out Of Business”

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? 1 of 6

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy Controversy Not The First Time 2 of

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? Controversy? 9 11 3 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Phone Records – 4 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Edward Snowden & Security – 5 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Day Of Reckoning At Hand? – 6 of 6

C-SPAN Callers On The Future Of The National Security Agency (NSA)

James Bamford Says NSA “Exploiting” U.S. Citizens With Info About Their Online Porno Viewing Habits

 

 

 

Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

Yesterday, C4L sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act.

The original version of the act was sold to Americans as a way to rein in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and it would have been a first step towards real reform of the surveillance state since 9/11.

But, that’s seldom the way Congress works. In an effort to “pass something this year,” the Judiciary Committee watered down the legislation and it passed out of the committee unanimously.

Want proof the recent changes to USA Freedom Act make it unworthy of support from civil libertarians? Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s biggest cheerleaders in the House,just reported it out of their committee by voice vote.

What’s more likely, that Rogers and Ruppersberger had a change of heart on the NSA? Or that Judiciary watered down the USA FREEDOM Act enough to the point that its “reform” is devoid of any substantive changes?

The bill is now earning plaudits from the same guys who said the original version would “make America less safe,” and from the administration that never wanted you to know they were spying on you in the first place.

Read Campaign for Liberty’s letter to the Judiciary Committee below:

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/congress-pulls-bait-switch-usa-freedom-act/

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Surveillance reform bill designed to prevent collection of US phone data in bulk and is first to proceed onto the House floor

Jim Sensenbrenner
The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner, said the bill ‘makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.’ Photo: Chip Somodevilla /Getty

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.”

While changes to the bill now permit the government to gather call records up to two degrees of separation away from a specific target – potentially millions of records – Sensenbrenner urged his colleagues “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” expressing confidence that the revamped USA Freedom Act was on “the fast track to passage.”

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and longtime USA Freedom Act supporter, said that the new version of the bill was a “less than perfect compromise” that still makes “important, vital, substantive changes” to US surveillance.

The revised USA Freedom Act, “while still better than any other proposal on the board, is a setback from the original,” said Amie Stepanovich of Access, a human rights and digital rights advocacy group.

While the USA Freedom Act has nearly 150 House co-sponsors, and a stalled Senate companion commands 20 votes in the upper chamber, it was clear on Wednesday that the House intelligence committee will continue attempts to outmaneuvre its rival.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, until now a fervent critic of the USA Freedom Act, is now praising a bill he has long criticized, and which several congressional sources said he attempted to influence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is retiring this year, called the changes to the USA Freedom Act a “huge improvement,” adding in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that the bill’s architects have “come a lot closer [and] now we’re just trying to work out the wording.”

Rogers is scheduled to mark up his alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday, a decision USA Freedom Act supporters view as a desperation move. But on Wednesday, Rogers’ committee announced it will also mark up the USA Freedom Act on Thursday, prompting Capitol Hill speculation that Rogers will attempt to merge his bill with the Freedom Act rather than attempt to rally more votes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had earlier thrown his support behind Rogers’ bill. But now Boehner is said to be monitoring the committe process and keeping his options open. Congressional sources expected Boehner to schedule a vote on a surveillance proposal – of whatever form – as early as the week of 19 May, so the issue does not derail the annual defense budget authorization, though nothing is scheduled yet.

Both bills as originally crafted prevent the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk, as it has done in secret since 2001, a position that President Barack Obama now embraces. The major difference between the two bills remains the role of judges in authorizing data collection. The Rogers bill permits the government to collect phone and email data absent a judges’ prior order, which the revised USA Freedom Act requires in all but emergency cases.

Additionally, the revised USA Freedom Act permits the government to get phone data two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the target of the order, which can mean millions of call records reaped from a single court order. The legal standard for that order, for counterterrorism purposes, will be “reasonable articulable suspicion” of connection to an agent of a foreign power, the NSA’s desired framework.

Significantly, the new version of the USA Freedom Act all but stripped out a provision preventing the NSA from combing through its foreign communications dragnets for Americans’ information, something Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon dubbed the “backdoor search provision,” an absence that has deeply upset supporters. Those dragnets exist pursuant to a major 2008 piece of legislation, known as Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act.

Congressional sources pointed to new language tightening up prohibitions on the NSA intentionally targeting Americans’ communications at the outset as a palliative. But they conceded the absence of the backdoor search ban was a major change – one they said the NSA’s advocates fought hard for, an indication of how central the NSA considers a power it has rarely forthrightly acknowledged using. They indicated that USA Freedom Act supporters lacked the votes within the committee to pass the bill that retained the backdoor search prohibition.

An attempt by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, to restore the backdoor search provision failed Wednesday. Goodlatte said restoring it would “disrupt this bipartisan agreement.”

Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute said he was “incredibly disappointed” at the new USA Freedom Act’s effective blessing of backdoor searches.

“Especially when we’re expecting the government’s own surveillance watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, to issue a report on just that issue within a month or so, closing the door to reform on Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act would be premature,” Bankston said in a statement.

But the Judiciary Committee restored a provision initially struck from the original USA Freedom Act permitting increased transparency for companies receiving surveillance orders for their customers’ data, the absence of which had alarmed supporters.

The language, added back to the bill Wednesday by Representative Suzan Delbene of Washington, had been cut in order to codify a January deal the Justice Department reached with phone and Internet companies allowing them to list received orders only in bands of 1,000 and with a time lag. Congressional sources said companies lobbied hard to restore transparency language.

The Obama administration has withheld endorsement of either bill in public, confusing supporters. But in recent weeks, its guidance to Capitol Hill on surveillance reform included a requirement for up-front judicial authorization for data requests, which only the USA Freedom Act possesses.

“At this stage, I think I’d just say we will be watching closely as these bills go through the process,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman said shortly before the vote.

Hours after the vote, Hayden issued a statement welcoming the USA Freedom Act as “a very good first step”:

“In March the president laid out his proposal to reform Section 215, and called upon Congress to act quickly to pass implementing legislation. We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis. The Judiciary Committee passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” Hayden said.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the provision cited by the NSA and blessed by the secret Fisa Court for bulk data collection.

Some legislators, distressed by the changes to the USA Freedom Act, are considering a different option for surveillance reform.

As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat, said the USA Freedom Act was “the first, best and perhaps only chance in a decade” to constrain widespread surveillance.

“This is our chance. We have to seize it,” Nadler said on Wednesday.

Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored the USA Freedom Act in the Senate, hailed the committee vote, but said he was concerned that the text does not reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national-security letters and makes insufficient changes on transparency and to the Fisa Court.

“I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA Freedom Act this summer,” Leahy said in a statement.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/usa-freedom-act-clears-house-committee-nsa-surveillance

 

USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act, formally titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act, is a bill that was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013.

The House version, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner as HR 3361, was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations January 9, 2014,[3] and the Senate version, S. 1599, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] An amended version out of the House Judiciary Committee contained many provisions raising concerns among civil libertarians,[5] including an extension of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[6][7] The bill will be considered in the Senate through the summer of 2014.[8]

Purpose

The USA Freedom Act[9] would end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, end the secret laws created by the FISA court, and introduce a “Special Advocate” to represent public and privacy matters.[10][11][12] Other proposed changes include limits to programs like PRISM, which “incidentally” retains Americans’ Internet data,[13] and greater transparency by allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information about government demands for information.[14]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, stated that its purpose was:

To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.[10][15]

According to the bill’s sponsors, their legislation would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act to ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection,[16] while preserving “the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way.”[17] A May 2014 amended version of the bill would also extend thecontroversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[18] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19]

The bill is made up of several titles: FISA business records reforms, FISA pen register and trap and trace device reforms, FISA acquisitions targeting persons outside the United States reforms, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reforms, Office of the Special Advocate, National Security Letter reforms, FISA and National Security Letter transparency reforms, and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority.[20]

Background

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes.[21] More than 20 bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of reining in government surveillance powers.[13]

Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks to give more power to US intelligence agencies, and who has described himself as “author of the Patriot Act”,[22] declared that it was time to put the NSA’s “metadata program out of business”. With its bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, Sensenbrenner asserted that the intelligence community “misused those powers”, had gone “far beyond” the original intent of the legislation, and had “overstepped its authority”.[21][23]

An opinion piece by Leahy and Sensenbrenner, published in Politico, described the impetus for proposed changes,[24] saying:

The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform.[17]

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

In May 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee posted a “Manager’s Amendment” on its website. Title VII of the Amendment read “Section 102(b)(1) of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking “June 1, 2015″ and inserting “December 31, 2017″, extending the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[25] The Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that the Patriot Act unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[26] while the American Library Association became so concerned that they formed a resolution condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, and which urged members to defend free speech and protect patrons’ privacy against the Act.[27]

The Guardian wrote “civil libertarians on the Judiciary Committee had to compromise in order to gain support for the act. Significantly, the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion‘ – a standard preferred by the NSA – of wrongdoing, and can collect call records two degrees or ‘hops’ of separation from the individual suspected”.[5] Kara Brandeisky of ProPublica said “some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute”.[28]

The National Journal wrote “one tech lobbyist noted concern that a provision that would have allowed companies to disclose to customers more information about government data requests has been dropped. In addition, an external special advocate that would oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would no longer be selected by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Instead, the court’s judges would designate five ‘amicus curiae‘ who possess appropriate security clearances.”[29]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated it remained “concerned that this bill omits important transparency provisions found in the USA FREEDOM Act, which are necessary to shed light on surveillance abuses”. In addition, the EFF said it believed “this bill should do more to address mass surveillance under Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, a section of law used to collect the communications of users worldwide”.[30] The Open Technology Institute commented “several other key reforms—such as provisions allowing Internet and phone companies to publish more information about the demands they receive, which OTI and a coalition of companies and organizations have been pressing for since last summer—have been removed, while the bill also provides for a new type of court order that the President has requested, allowing for continuous collection by the government of specified telephone records.”[31]

Despite the criticism from civil liberties groups, Mike Rogers, a defender of the NSA‘s surveillance practices and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the amendments. Rogers, who had his own bill which would codify the NSA’s surveillance practices in to law, called the proposed amendments a “huge improvement”. Foreign Policy wrote “any compromise to the Judiciary bill risks an insurrection from civil libertarians in Congress. Michigan Republican Justin Amash led such a revolt last year when he offered an NSA amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stripped funding for the NSA’s collection program.” “Just a weakened bill or worse than status quo? I’ll find out,” Representative Amash said.[32]

After passage of the marked up bill, USA Freedom Act co-author and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy commented that he “remain concerned that the legislation approved today does not include some of the important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency. I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.”[8]

Reaction

The Act has bipartisan support, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As of May 8, 2014, it had 150 co-sponsors in the House[1] and 21 in the Senate.[2] Viewed as one of the most comprehensive of the similar bills introduced since the NSA leaks, the USA Freedom Act has support or qualified support from a diverse range of groups such as the ACLUMozilla, and the NRA.[13][33]

Representative Justin Amash, author of the narrowly-defeated Amash Amendment, a proposal that would have de-funded the NSA, backed the legislation. “It’s getting out of control” he commented, “[Courts are issuing] general warrants without specific cause…and you have one agency that’s essentially having superpowers to pass information onto others”.[23]

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, even if the Freedom Act becomes law, the NSA could continue its bulk collection of American’s phone records. He explained that “it’s going to depend on how the [FISA] court interprets any number of the provisions” contained within the legislation.[16] Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School, stated:

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.[16]

Opponents of global surveillance have called for the bill to be strengthened. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement saying “we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling”. The ACLU wrote that “although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government’s surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support.”[34][35]

International human rights groups remain somewhat skeptical of specific provisions of the bill. For example, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern that the “bill would do little to increase protections for the right to privacy for people outside the United States, a key problem that plagues U.S. surveillance activities. Nor would the bill address mass surveillance or bulk collection practices that may be occurring under other laws or regulations, such as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or Executive Order 12333. These practices affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet communications and phone calls, not just metadata”.[36] Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International‘s Security and Human Rights Program, agreed that “any proposal that fails to ban mass surveillance, end blanket secrecy, or stop discrimination against people outside the U.S. will be a false fix”.[37]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  4. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) S.1599″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  5. Jump up to:a b The Guardian: Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill
  6. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act

    Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ‘‘June 1, 2015’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2017’’.

  7. Jump up^ The Guardian: USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

    As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

  8. Jump up to:a b Office of Senator Patrick Leahy: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Action by the House Judiciary Committee to End Bulk Collection
  9. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status: 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361 CRS Summary”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  10. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan. “The USA Freedom Act: a look at the key points of the draft bill”Guardian.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Wilhelm, Alex (2013-10-29). “Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance”TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. Jump up^ ‘Patriot Act’ Author Seeks ‘USA Freedom Act’ to Rein In NSA – US News and World Report. Usnews.com (October 10, 2013).
  13. Jump up to:a b c Gallagher, Rhan. “U.S. Lawmakers Launch Assault on NSA Domestic Snooping”Slate.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  14. Jump up^ “USA Freedom Act Would Leash the National Security Agency”Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Sensenbrenner, Jim. “The USA Freedom Act”House.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Granick, Jennifer (2013-12-16). “NSA’s Creative Interpretations Of Law Subvert Congress And The Rule Of Law”Forbes. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  17. Jump up to:a b Leahy, Sen. Patrick; Sensenbrenner, Rep. Jim (29 October 2013). “The case for NSA reform”Politico. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  19. Jump up to:a b “Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions: Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations”AnalysisElectronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ “Bill Text 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361.IH”THOMASLibrary of Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  21. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan (2013-10-10). “Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection ‘out of business'”Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Editorial Board (2013-06-06). “President Obama’s Dragnet”. New York Times.
  23. Jump up to:a b Krietz, Andrew (2013-10-15). “Amash-backed bill aimed to end NSA spying programs garners even bipartisan support”. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Shabad, Rebecca (2014-01-16). “Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: ‘Baloney'”The Hill.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  25. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  26. Jump up^ James X. Dempsey“Why Sections 209, 212, and 220 Should be Modified” (undated). Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  27. Jump up^ “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users”American Library Association. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  28. Jump up^ ProPublica: What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do
  29. Jump up^ National Journal: House Panels Race Against Each Other to Reform NSA Spying
  30. Jump up^ EFF Statement on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s USA FREEDOM Act Amendment
  31. Jump up^ Open Technology Institute: OTI Statement on New Version of Surveillance Reform Bill, The USA FREEDOM Act
  32. Jump up^ Foreign Policy: Key NSA Defender: Congress ‘A Lot Closer’ On Surveillance Reform
  33. Jump up^ Handerson (2013-10-29). “The Freedom Act will Help Rebuild User Trust in the Internet”The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  34. Jump up^ Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman (2013-11-14). “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance”. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  35. Jump up^ Michelle Richardson (2013-10-29). “The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform”. American Civil Liberties Union.
  36. Jump up^ Human Rights Watch: US: Modest Step by Congress on NSA Reform
  37. Jump up^ Amnesty International: Congress Must Put Human Rights at the Center of Surveillance Reform

External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Freedom_Act

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data it collects worldwide every day. The program has been shared with other spy agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst.[1]

The program’s existence was publicly revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden in The Sydney Morning Herald and O Globo newspapers, though the codename is mentioned in earlier articles, and like many other codenames can also be seen in job postings, and in the online resumes of employees.[2][3]

The scope of XKeyscore

XKeyscore is a complicated system and various authors have different interpretations about its actual capabilities. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explained XKeyscore as being a system which enables almost unlimited surveillance of anyone anywhere in the world, while NSA said that usage of the system is limited and restricted.

According to The Washington Post and national security reporter Marc Ambinder, XKeyscore is an NSA data-retrieval system which consists of a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of data and metadata that the NSA has already collected using other methods.[4][5]

According to Snowden and Greenwald

On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:[1]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.”
“…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”

According to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, low-level NSA analysts can via systems like XKeyscore “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[6]

He added that the NSA’s databank of collected communications allows its analysts to listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future”.[6]

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

In an official statement from July 30, 2013, the NSA said there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” The NSA also states that there are “stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”[7]

The agency defended the program, stressing that it was only used to legally obtain information about “legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests. [...] XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. [...] These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad.”[8]

Workings

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the query hierarchy

An NSA presentation about XKeyscore from 2008 says that it’s a “DNI Exploitation System/Analytic Framework”. DNI stands for Digital Network Intelligence, which means intelligence derived from internet traffic.[9] In an interview with the German Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Edward Snowden said about XKeyscore: “It’s a front end search engine”.[10]

Data sources

XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[11][12][13] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[12]

According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[14]

  1. F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
  2. FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
  3. SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[15]

  1. Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
  2. Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
  3. FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  4. Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[9]

However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[16] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[17]

Capabilities

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the differences between the various NSA database systems

For analysts, XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”, which allows them to query terabytes of raw data gathered at the aforementioned collection sites. This enables them to find targets that cannot be found by searching only the metadata, and also to do this against data sets that otherwise would have been dropped by the front-end data processing systems. According to a slide from an XKeyscore presentation, NSA collection sites select and forward less than 5% of the internet traffic to the PINWALE database for internet content.[16]

Because XKeyscore holds raw and unselected communications traffic, analysts can not only perform queries using “strong selectors” like e-mail addresses, but also using “soft selectors”, like keywords, against the body texts of e-mail and chat messages and digital documents and spreadsheets in English, Arabic and Chinese.[9]

This is useful because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous” and therefore those activities can’t be found by just looking for e-mail addresses of a target. When content has been found, the analyst might be able to find new intelligence or a strong selector, which can then be used for starting a traditional search.[9]

Besides using soft selectors, analysts can also use the following other XKeyscore capabilities:[9][18]

  • Look for the usage of Google Maps and terms entered into a search engine by known targets looking for suspicious things or places.
  • Look for “anomalies” without any specific person attached, like detecting the nationality of foreigners by analyzing the language used within intercepted emails. An example would be a German speaker in Pakistan. The Brazilian paper O Globo claims that this has been applied to Latin America and specifically to Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.[11][19]
  • Detect people who use encryption by do searches like “all PGP usage in Iran”. The caveat given is that very broad queries can result in too much data to transmit back to the analyst.
  • Showing the usage of Virtual private networks (VPNs) and machines that can potentially be hacked via TAO.
  • Track the source and authorship of a document that has passed through many hands.

Most of these things cannot be detected by other NSA tools because they operate with strong selectors (like e-mail and IP addresses and phone numbers) and the raw data volumes are too high to forward them to other NSA databases.[9]

In 2008, it was planned to add a number of new capabilities in the future, like:

Significance

The NSA slides published in The Guardian during 2013 claimed that XKeyscore had played a role in capturing 300 terrorists by 2008.[9] This claim could not be substantiated as the redacted documents do not cite instances of terrorist interventions.

A 2011 report from the NSA unit in Griesheim (Germany) says that XKeyscore made it easier and more efficient to target surveillance. Previously, analysis often accessed data they were not interested in. XKeyscore allowed them to focus on the intended topics, while ignoring unrelated data. XKeyscore also proved to be an outstanding tool for tracking active groups associated with the Anonymous movement in Germany, because it allows for searching on patterns, rather than particular individuals. An analyst is able to determine when targets research new topics, or develop new behaviors.[20]

To create additional motivation, the NSA incorporated various features from computer games into the program. For instance, analysts who were especially good at using XKeyscore could acquire “skilz” points and “unlock achievements.” The training units in Griesheim were apparently successful and analysts there had achieved the “highest average of skilz points” compared with all other NSA departments participating in the training program.[20]

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

Excerpt of an NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that reveals the BND‘s usage of the NSA’s XKeyscore to wiretap a German domestic target

According to documents Der Spiegel acquired from Snowden, the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) were also allowed to use the XKeyscore system. In those documents the BND agency was described as the NSA’s most prolific partner in information gathering.[21] This led to political confrontations, after which the directors of the German intelligence agencies briefed members of the German parliamentary intelligence oversight committee on July 25, 2013. They declared that XKeyscore has been used by the BND since 2007 and that the BfV uses a test version since 2012. The directors also explained that this program is not for collecting data, but only for analyzing them.[22]

Sweden

As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of intelligence collaboration and data sharing.[23] According to documents leaked by Snowden, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been granted access to XKeyscore.[24]

 

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Posted on March 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Comedy, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, European History, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Background Articles and Videos

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
EventID: 5255
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Language: english

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