Foreign Policy

The Benghazi Cover-up and Scandal — Explosive Testimony of CIA — Americans Died — Obama Lied — False Narrative = The Big Lie — Democrat Deceivers — Tyrants Liars Club (TLC) — A Lie is A Lie is A Lie — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 234: March 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Story 2: The Benghazi Cover-up and Scandal — Explosive Testimony of CIA  – Americans Died — Obama Lied — False Narrative = The Big Lie — Democrat Deceivers — Tyrants Liars Club (TLC) — A Lie is A Lie is A Lie — Videos

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

~Friedrich Nietzsche

“Anything is better than lies and deceit!”

~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

 

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Benghazi-cartoon

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Hillary Clinton at senate hearingJay Carney on Benghazi

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April 2 Benghazi hearing with Mike Morell

Former CIA deputy director Michael Morrell denies Benghazi cover-up – Lone Wolf

Bachmann Challenges Former Acting CIA Director on Benghazi

Treason Exposed! Obama Used Benghazi Attack to Cover Up Arms Shipments to Muslim Brotherhood

House Intel CMTE Holds Hearing On Benghazi Scandal – Michele Bachmann Heated Exchange

Fox praises Thornberry’s questions at Benghazi hearing

Rep. Thornberry Questions former CIA Deputy Director about Benghazi

Rep. Thornberry questions former CIA Deputy Director about Benghazi Part 2

Political Fallout From Michael Morell’s Benghazi Testimony

Ex-CIA Acting Dir. Mike Morell: No Complaints About Susan Rice’s Talking Benghazi Points

Fox praises Thornberry’s questions at Benghazi hearing

Rogers: ‘Some Disagreement’ Between Morrell’s Prior Testimony and CIA Libyan Station Chief

Westmoreland Questions Former CIA Deputy

Director in Benghazi Hearing

A Benghazi Cover-Up? – Fmr CIA Deputy Director To Testify Today – DC Scandal – Fox & Friends

Rep. Thornberry Questions former CIA Deputy Director about Benghazi

BREAKING: CIA Deputy Resigns after 33 years Service, Replaced by WH Lawyer

Lying To Congress – Mike Morell’s Benghazi Attack

Testimony Coming Under Fire – Dc Scandal

Fox News Benghazi cover up Mike Morell’s testimony comes under fire

Benghazi Scandal Frm CIA Deputy DIR Morrell Accused Of Misleading Lawmakers On Benghazi

Rep. Peter King Reacts To Mike Morell’s Benghazi Testimony

Lying To Congress – Mike Morell’s Benghazi Attack Testimony Coming Under Fire – Dc Scandal

Rand Paul ATTACKS Gov Cover Up

RAND PAUL BRINGS IT!… Tells Hillary Clinton: YOU Are to Blame for Benghazi!

U.S. Covert War in Syria Collapsing

BENGHAZI: The Real Reason Behind Obama’s Cover-up

GOP Lawmaker Says Benghazi Investigation Will Lead to Hillary: ‘It Was Her Show’

BREAKING: Obama Dispersing Benghazi Survivors Around US and Changing their Names

TRIFECTA — The Benghazi Scandal and Cover-Up: Is the Mainstream Media Finally Taking Notice?

 

Benghazi Scandal “Phony Scandal?” – David Ubben Fought Alongside FMR Navy Seal To Protect Consulate

Pat Caddell: John Boehner “purposely” helping Obama cover-up Benghazi

Murder Of Chris Stevens In Benghazi Attack Ordered By American Military Leadership, Possibly Obama

Obama LIED About Benghazi Attack!!! (Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer Interview)

Rush Limbaugh on Benghazi Scandal: “They’re about to Blow this Sky High”; Reviews Scandal Timeline

Glenn Beck – Benghazi: Truth coming out

Glenn Beck Why Obama Hid the Truth of Benghazi

Benghazi: The Truth Behind the Smokescreen.

Things Get Tense When Bachmann Grills Former CIA Deputy Director Over Benghazi Talking Points

 

The former deputy director of the CIA insisted during a congressional hearing Wednesday that he did not alter the infamous 2012 Benghazi talking points due to political pressure, despite pointed questioning by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

“The narrative that the attack evolved spontaneously from a protest was a narrative that intelligence community analysts believed,” Mike Morell said. “That turned out to be incorrect. But that is what they believed at the time. So there is no politics there whatsoever.”

“Let me actually give you the facts,” Morell added to Bachmann, before contending the five edits that were made had nothing to do with politics, but instead involved minor stylistic changes and edits to increase accuracy.

Just four days after the attack, the former deputy director of the CIA removed references about threats from extremists tied to Al Qaeda, substituting it by saying that “there are indications extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

Bachmann argued such changes were of importance.

“You made significant, substantive changes for the White House,” she said. “Whether it was on behalf, we don’t know. But we know you are the one that made those changes.”

“Ma’am, if you look at the record, what you will see that the changes were fully consistent with what our analysts believed at the time. Period,” the former deputy director replied.

Bachmann said that those on the ground at the time of the attack were ignored and argued that there was an “intentional misleading of the public.”

Morell maintained that the changes he made to the widely debunked 2012 talking points were not for political reasons.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/04/02/things-get-tense-when-bachmann-grills-former-cia-deputy-director-over-benghazi-talking-points/

Michael Morell: No cover-up on Benghazi

By LUCY MCCALMONT

Former Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell denied Wednesday that there was any cover-up or political influence in messaging after the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

“We did not deliberately downplay the role of terrorists in the Benghazi attack in our analysis or in the talking points,” Morell said during a House Intelligence Committee hearing.

“And neither I, nor anyone else at the agency, deliberately misled anyone in Congress about any aspect of the tragedy in Benghazi,” Morell added.

(PHOTOS: 10 slams on Obama and Benghazi)

Morell was deputy director of the agency at the time of the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which led to the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Both Morell and the agency, as well as the administration, have faced criticism from the right regarding the handling of the attack, including claims that there were political motives behind the framing of the information surrounding the incident.

Many took issue with the talking points following the attack, namely the delay in calling it a terrorist attack carried out by Al Qaeda versus a spontaneous demonstration in protest of an anti-Muslim video.

Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the talking points “did not reflect the best information available” and were used by the administration “to perpetrate a false narrative about the attacks.”

Rogers also asked Morell why he did not say during a November 2012 hearing following the attack why references to Al Qaeda had been taken out of the talking points. Morell said that at the time, he did not know who took them out.

(PHOTOS: Clinton’s best Benghazi hearing lines)

“But to be fair, and, in retrospect, what I wish I would have done, was to say to you, ‘Chairman, I do not know who took Al Qaeda out of the talking points, but you should know that I myself made a number of changes to the points.’ That’s what I should have said. I didn’t,” Morell said.

Morell also said there are things that both he and the agency “should have done differently,” but he dismissed political motivations.

“There are areas where the CIA’s performance and my own performance could have been better, but none of our actions were the result of political influence in the intelligence process. None.”

Morell said he did not know that the talking points would be used by Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, in her appearances on the Sunday talk shows shortly following the attacks, which were widely criticized and, many say, cost her the secretary of state position, as she later withdrew her consideration for the spot.

“In fact, I didn’t even know she was going to be on the Sunday shows,” Morell said, adding that no one asked him or the agency to prepare Rice.

Morell said he believed that Rice, who is now national security adviser, would have had the talking points, as well as intelligence information from the days prior. However, he acknowledged that she did not have information sent by the CIA’s station chief on the ground, which concluded that the attack was possibly preplanned.

“Don’t you think that was an important document to get in the hands of someone who is going to brief the country on what was actually happening on the ground?” Rogers asked.

Morell said that the information had not been disseminated outside of the CIA and that at the time, he did not find the arguments that it was a preplanned attack “compelling.” Morell said earlier in the hearing that when the information from the station chief was first sent to analysts, they were “sticking to their judgment” that it was a protest.

“So I believed what my analysts said, that there was a protest. I also believed it to be a terrorist attack. You see, we never, we never saw those two things as mutually exclusive, and so I believed both of those at the same time,” Morell said.

Taking issue with Morell’s testimony was Rep. Devin Nunes.

”The problem is that you have all of these conflicting stories, right?” Nunes (R-Calif.) said to Morell, after questioning him on the sequence of dialogue regarding the attack.

“I read your testimony, and you have an excuse for everything,” Nunes later added. “For everything … which is fine, but when the chairman asks you about when you sat next to Director of National Intelligence [James] Clapper in November of 2012, you don’t have an excuse, you only have an apology.”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), who has been a vocal critic in the handling of Benghazi, also criticized Morell’s testimony.

“He gave a lot of excuses today and a lot of reasons,” King said Wednesday on Fox News’s “Happening Now.”

“The fact is, to believe him you have to believe, basically, everything is contradictory to the facts,” King said, adding that the administration has not told the truth on Benghazi and that Morell has been part of that process.

“Bottom line is, Susan Rice and the administration told the American people it arose out of a video and demonstration,” King said. “They never mentioned terrorism at all, and that’s the reality. They can’t rewrite history.”

Morell, during his testimony Wednesday, said, “no doubt it was a terrorist attack,” but he said the motivations of those who carried out the attack is unknown, because they have not been caught.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/michael-morrell-benghazi-cia-105290.html

CIA officer confirmed no protests before misleading Benghazi account given

Information on ground rejects protest account

Guy Taylor

 

Before the Obama administration gave an inaccurate narrative on national television that the Benghazi attacks grew from an anti-American protest, the CIA’s station chief in Libya pointedly told his superiors in Washington that no such demonstration occurred, documents and interviews with current and former intelligence officials show.

The attack was “not an escalation of protests,” the station chief wrote to then-Deputy CIA Director Michael J. Morell in an email dated Sept. 15, 2012 — a full day before the White House sent Susan E. Rice to several Sunday talk shows to disseminate talking points claiming that the Benghazi attack began as a protest over an anti-Islam video.


PHOTOS: Shocking photos reveal devastation of Benghazi attack


That the talking points used by Mrs. Rice, who was then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, were written by a CIA that ignored the assessment by its own station chief inside Libya, has emerged as one of the major bones of contention in the more than two years of political fireworks and congressional investigations into the Benghazi attack.

What has never been made public is whether Mr. Morell and others at the CIA explicitly shared the station chief’s assessment with the White House or State Department.

Two former intelligence officials have told The Washington Times that this question likely will be answered at a Wednesday hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence during which Mr. Morell is scheduled to give his public testimony.

Mr. Morell, who has since left the CIA, declined to comment on the matter Monday. He now works at Beacon Global Strategies, a Washington insider strategic communications firm.

One former intelligence official close to Mr. Morell told The Times on the condition of anonymity that “the whole question of communication with the station chief will be addressed in his testimony.”

“We’re confident that it will clarify the situation in the minds of many who are asking,” the former official said.


PHOTOS: Eye-popping excuses in American political scandals


Another former intelligence official told The Times that Mr. Morell did tell the White House and the State Department that the CIA station chief in Libya had concluded that there was no protest but senior Obama administration and CIA officials in Washington ignored the assessment.

Why they ignored it remains a topic of heated debate within the wider intelligence community.

A third source told The Times on Monday that Mr. Morell and other CIA officials in Washington were weighing several pieces of “conflicting information” streaming in about the Benghazi attack as the talking points were being crafted.

“That’s why they ultimately came up with the analysis that they did,” the source said. “The piece that was coming out of Tripoli was important, but it was one piece amid several streams of information.”

One of the former intelligence officials said the Libya station chief’s assessment was being weighed against media reports from the ground in Benghazi that quoted witnesses as saying there had been a protest. Analysts at the CIA, the source said, also were weighing it against reporting by other intelligence divisions, including the National Security Agency.

“The chief of station in Tripoli who was 600 or 700 miles away from the attacks wouldn’t necessarily have the only view of what actually went on in Benghazi,” that former official said.

U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack.

While the testimony is expected to focus on Benghazi, the hearing arrives at a time of growing tensions between Congress and the CIA over such matters as the Bush administration’s interrogation rules and mutual charges of spying and illegality between the Senate intelligence committee and the agency.

Lawmakers are likely to press Mr. Morell for a reaction to reports this week that a classified Senate intelligence report has concluded that harsh interrogation methods used in the years after Sept. 11 provided no key evidence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and that the CIA misled Congress on the matter.

The CIA disputes that conclusion. The Senate panel is expected to vote Thursday on sending the Obama administration a 400-page executive summary of the “enhanced interrogation” report to start a monthslong declassification process.

One of the key issues likely to come up during the House hearing involves what was said during a series of secure teleconferences between CIA officials in Washington and Libya from the time of the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, to the completion of Mrs. Rice’s talking points for dissemination on the Sunday talk shows Sept. 16.

Multiple sources confirmed to The Times on Monday that the station chief’s email to Mr. Morell was written after one of the teleconferences during which senior CIA officials in Washington — Mr. Morell among them — made clear to the Tripoli station chief that they were examining alternative information that suggested there was a protest before the attack.

After the exchange, Mr. Morell signed off on the CIA talking points given to Mrs. Rice promoting what turned out to be the false narrative of a protest. The development ultimately triggered an angry reaction from Republicans, who have long claimed that the Obama administration, with an eye on the November elections, was downplaying the role of terrorists in order to protect the president’s record on counterterrorism.

Documents since released by the White House show that administration officials boasted in internal emails at the time about Mr. Morell’s personal role in editing and rewriting the talking points.

Morell noted that these points were not good and he had taken a heavy editing hand to them,” an Obama administration official wrote Mrs. Rice on the morning of Sept. 15.

What is not clear is whether the email was in any way referring to the conflicting intelligence streams about a protest in Benghazi.

Alternatively, the email notes that Mr. Morell was uncomfortable with an initial draft of the talking points batted back and forth between White House and CIA officials “because they seemed to encourage the reader to infer incorrectly that the CIA had warned about a specific attack” in Benghazi.

During interviews with The Times, several former senior intelligence officials have lamented the whole “talking points” issue, saying the CIA was caught in the middle of the White HouseCongress and the reality on the ground in Benghazi while crafting the points.

The reason the CIA ended up taking the lead on the talking points was because, as news of the attack was breaking around the world, lawmakers on the House intelligence committee were seeking guidance from the agency on how to respond to media questions without revealing classified information.

Specifically, Rep. Mike Rogers, Michigan Republican and the committee chairman, and ranking Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland asked for the guidance.

One former senior intelligence official told The Times that as word circulated through the inner circles of the intelligence community that the CIA was working on the talking points, officials within the Obama administration steered the mission toward crafting something Mrs. Rice could say on national talk shows.

“In essence, the talking points got repurposed,” the former official said. “What it turned into — and I don’t think Michael ever knew this, it’s something to watch for in his testimony this week — was, ‘Let’s hand this thing to the U.N. ambassador and make it what she should say.’”

“That’s a big deal,” the former official said. “It’s one thing to prepare something for lawmakers so they don’t make a mistake or say something inaccurate. It’s quite another matter to have that feed the administration’s then-current, definitive account of what had actually happened in Benghazi.”

“There are a lot of twists and turns in this,” added another former intelligence official. “A lot of it hangs on the fact that the agency thought they were crafting these talking points for Dutch Ruppersberger and Mike Rogers, not the White House.”

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/31/cia-ignored-station-chief-in-libya-when-creating-t/?page=all#pagebreak

Former CIA official accused of misleading lawmakers on Benghazi

By Catherine Herridge

Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell is facing accusations from Republicans that he misled lawmakers about the Obama administration’s role in crafting the bogus storyline that a protest gone awry was to blame for the deadly Benghazi attack.

Among other discrepancies, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee allege Morell insisted the talking points were sent to the White House for informational purposes, and not for their input — but emails, later released by the administration, showed otherwise.

“We found that there was actual coordination which could influence then — and did influence — what CIA conveyed to the committees about what happened [in Benghazi],” Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., told Fox News.

Burr was one of six Republicans who leveled the allegations against Morell, who also served as acting director, in an addendum to a recently released Senate Intelligence Committee report. According to the claims, in late 2012, Morell testified the so-called Benghazi talking points were sent to the White House “for their awareness, not for their coordination.”

The 16-page addendum continues, “No effort was made to correct the record … the Acting Director’s (Morell) testimony perpetuated the myth that the White House played no part in the drafting or editing of the talking points.”

After Morell’s 2012 testimony, committee Republicans say they insisted on reading the raw email traffic in the days leading up to then-Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial Sunday show appearances, where she linked the attack to a protest. Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., told Fox News in a recent interview that they only got the emails between the CIA, State Department and White House because lawmakers threatened to hold up former White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director.

Once the emails were released, Republican lawmakers say the conflict with Morell’s testimony was clear. Morell, who at the time was CIA Director David Petraeus’ deputy, was at the heart of the process, cutting some 50 percent of the text — and Republicans say White House coordination began at the earliest stages.

Also in late 2012, Morell and Rice met with Sens. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. In a statement released at the time, the senators said Morell blamed the FBI for cutting references to Al Qaeda and did so to prevent compromising an ongoing criminal investigation.

“What I found curious is that he did not accept responsibility for changing the talking points. He told me the FBI had done this. I called the FBI. They went ballistic,” Graham said in a recent interview. “Within 24 hours, his statement was changed where he admitted the CIA had done it.”

Graham’s characterization of the meeting was backed up by Ayotte in a recent interview. “I was in that meeting when Susan Rice was with Director Morell when he blamed the FBI for changing those talking points, and you know then we call the FBI, the FBI goes crazy and said ‘we didn’t change the talking points.’ And so you have to wonder particularly now that we know that he may have received that email the day before what was going on.”

The email Ayotte is referring to was sent by the CIA’s top operative on the ground in Libya to Morell, and others at the CIA, one day before Rice’s Sunday show appearances. In the Sept. 15, 2012 email, first publicly documented in the bipartisan section of the Senate Intelligence Committee report, the CIA chief of station in Tripoli reported the attacks were “not/not an escalation of protests.”

One Republican lawmaker, Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, is now urging that Morell be recalled to clear up his testimony.

“I think it’s important for the integrity of the oversight,” Wolf said, adding that congressional oversight would be rendered meaningless if Morell were not recalled given the allegations against him.

Wolf, whose resolution to establish a select committee has the backing of a Republican majority in the House, recently wrote a letter to all House Republicans calling for Morell to testify again, potentially in both chambers, to address possible conflicts with previous testimony.

New details, confirmed by Fox News, suggest a similar scenario played out before the House Intelligence committee, chaired by Republican Mike Rogers.

In mid-November 2012, Morell testified along with James Clapper, the nation’s intelligence chief, and Matt Olsen, a senior counterrorism official.
When asked who was responsible for the talking points, first requested by Rogers’ committee, Clapper said he had no idea, while Morell remained silent, according to sources familiar with the testimony.

“If your silence does create a misleading impression even if you don’t have a strict legal obligation to speak up I think as a public official — somebody entrusted, infused with the public trust — you do have an obligation to speak up to make the truth known,”  Tom Dupree, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Bush administration, said.

Once the talking points emails were released, and Morell’s involvement came into sharper focus, in May 2013 he was asked to testify a second time before the House Intelligence Committee. Sources familiar with Morell’s second testimony say he admitted to changing the talking points, and he offered shifting explanations — from classification issues, to not compromising the FBI investigation — and that exposing the failure of Hillary Clinton’s State Department to act on repeated security warnings seemed unprofessional.

While two sources say Morell insisted the talking points were an afterthought at a White House meeting on Sept. 15 where the text was finalized, an email from White House adviser Ben Rhodes suggests otherwise. Late in the evening of Sept. 14, Rhodes wrote to email addresses at the FBI, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, CIA, State Department, White House and National Security Staff: “There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed … we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression. We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies.”

Dupree said lawmakers face a choice. “If you’re not getting the full truth in those questions, well then you can either abandon your oversight function or you can call those people back and press them and confront them with the facts.”

Since retiring from the CIA, Morell has taken on high-profile assignments for the administration, including the NSA review panel and the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board. He is now a paid TV commentator for CBS News, has a book deal, and works for Beacon Global Strategies, whose founder Philippe Reines has been described by the New York Times magazine as Clinton’s “principal gatekeeper.”

In an email to Fox News on Feb. 13, Morell said: “I stand behind what I have said to you and testified to Congress about the talking point issue. Neither the Agency, the analysts, nor I cooked the books in any way.”

When asked specific questions about Republican allegations he provided misleading testimony, Morell did not answer the questions, instead referring Fox News to the CIA public affairs office.

Spokesman Dean Boyd provided this statement to Fox News: “As we have said multiple times, the talking points on Benghazi were written, upon a request from Congress, so that members of Congress could say something preliminary and in an unclassified forum about the attacks. As former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell has stated publicly time and again, the talking points were never meant to be definitive and, in fact, the points themselves noted that the initial assessment may change. He has addressed his role in the talking points numerous times. We don’t have anything further to add to the large body of detail on the talking points that is already in the public domain.”

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/20/former-cia-official-accused-misleading-lawmakers-on-benghazi/

 

Mike Morell: Man in the Middle of Benghazi Talking Points Scandal

Recent reporting has centered on CIA deputy director Mike Morell as a key player in critical and misleading changes made to the Obama Administration’s Benghazi talking points. The CIA talking points were cited by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on five different national Sunday talk shows on September 16, five days after the attack. Administration officials from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on down cited them. The initial draft of the talking points was produced by the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis on September 14 at 11:15 a.m. A demonstration was mentioned, but so was al-Qaeda and Ansar-al-Sharia involvement. It referred to the CIA’s “numerous pieces on the threat of extremists linked to al Qaeda in Benghazi and eastern Libya.” National Security Council (NSC) staff edited the talking points on the 14th. But it was the State Department that had the most reservations. Hillary Clinton’s spokeswoman (and now Assistant Secretary of State for Europe) Victoria Nuland did not like the CIA’s draft—nor did her “building leadership,” as she said in an e-mail on September 14 at 9:24 p.m. She wrote to the NSC staff:

Why do we want Hill to start fingering Ansar Al Sharia, when we aren’t doing that ourselves until we have the investigation results…and the penultimate point could be abused by Members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that?… Concerned.

The next morning, September 15, at 9.45 a.m., Morell produced what became essentially thefinal version of the talking points (Senate report, p. 51), removing references to known terrorist groups and identifying a non-existing demonstration as the cause. Outrageously, the official talking points contradicted the known facts. According to the recent report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (p. 33), on September 15, the CIA’s Chief of Station in Tripoli reported in an e-mail that the Benghazi attacks were “not an escalation of protests.” Morrell completely ignored it. Below are the finalized talking points:

  • “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the US Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”
  • “The assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated.”
  • “The investigation is on-going, and the US Government is working with the Libyan authorities to bring to justice those responsible for the deaths of US citizens.”

The text was not only misleading but so pathetic that then-CIA director David Petraeus commented, “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this.” However, it was the State Department and the White House that were calling to shots, and Mike Morell played along.

http://blog.heritage.org/2014/02/11/mike-morell-man-middle-benghazi-talking-points-scandal/

 

Michael Morell

Michael Morell
Michael Morell, December 2012.JPG
Morell in December 2012
Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
May 6, 2010 – August 9, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Stephen Kappes
Succeeded by Avril Haines
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Acting
In office
November 9, 2012 – March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by David Petraeus
Succeeded by John Brennan
In office
July 1, 2011 – September 6, 2011
Preceded by Leon Panetta
Succeeded by David Petraeus
Personal details
Born Michael Joseph Morell
September 4, 1958 (age 55)
Cuyahoga FallsOhio, U.S.
Alma mater University of Akron
Georgetown University

Michael Joseph Morell (born September 4, 1958) was the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency and served as acting director twice in 2011 and from 2012 to 2013. Morell retired from his post on August 9, 2013, to devote more time to his family and to pursue other professional opportunities. As of 2014, Morell is CBS News‘ Senior Security Correspondent.

Early life and education

Morell is a native of Cuyahoga FallsOhio. His formal education includes a B.A. in economics from the University of Akron and an M.A.in economics from Georgetown University.[1] He joined the CIA in 1980. He was chief of the CIA‘s division on AsiaPacific and Latin America.[2]

Career

Most of Morell’s work in the agency was devoted to Asian projects.[1] He also managed the staff that produced the Presidential Daily Briefings for President George W. Bush. Morell was Bush’s briefer during the September 11, 2001 attacks, and has been quoted as saying, “I would bet every dollar I have that it’s al Qaeda.” Furthermore, Morell was a trusted asset to President Barack H. Obama II in the Osama bin Laden raid on May 2, 2011.[1][2] Before his 2010 nomination as deputy director, Morell served as director for intelligence, a position he had held since 2008. Before that, he served as the CIA’s first associate deputy director from 2006 to 2008.

In May 2010, Morell was sworn in as the deputy director of the CIA, succeeding Stephen Kappes.[3] From July 1, 2011, to September 6, 2011, he served his first stint as acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, following the appointment of Leon Panetta assecretary of defense.[4] On November 9, 2012, Morell once again became acting director after David Petraeus, following the sex scandal.[5] Obama chose John Brennan, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by 12 to 3 vote on March 5, 2013.[6]

Morell announced his retirement from the CIA on June 12, 2013.[7]

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

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President Obama’s Trust Gap Widens — The Unbelievable President Loses Support of American People and World Leaders — The Decline and Fall of President Obama — Lame Duck — Videos

Posted on March 31, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, history, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, National Security Agency (NSA_, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Raves, Regulations, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Vacations, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: President Obama’s Trust Gap Widens — The Unbelievable President Loses Support of American People and World Leaders — The Decline and Fall of President Obama — Lame Duck — Videos

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New Signs Obama Is Losing Public Trust Over IRS Scandal Cavuto

Rand Paul: ‘Constellation Of Scandals’ Means Obama Is Losing ‘Moral Authority To Lead The Nation’

 

Obama Admin Can Not Be Trusted!! Says Frm Head of Homeland Security Wake Up America!

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All False statements involving Barack Obama

Mistrust overshadows Obama’s Saudi trip

US President Barack Obama meets Saudi King Abdullah Friday as mistrust fuelled by differences over Iran and Syria overshadows a decades-long alliance between their countries.

Obama, who is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia late in the afternoon on a flight from Italy, is expected to hold evening talks with the monarch on a royal estate outside Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia has strong reservations about efforts by Washington and other major world powers to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear programme.

It is also disappointed over Obama’s 11th-hour decision last year not to take military action against the Syrian regime over chemical weapons attacks.

Saudi analyst Abdel Aziz al-Sagr, who heads the Gulf Research Centre, said Saudi-US relations are “tense due to Washington’s stances” on the Middle East, especially Iran.

The recent rapprochement between Tehran and Washington “must not take place at the expense of relations with Riyadh,” Sagr told AFP.

Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, long wary of Shiite Iran’s regional ambitions, views a November deal between world powers and Iran over the latter’s nuclear programme as a risky venture that could embolden Tehran.

The interim agreement curbs Iran’s controversial nuclear activities in exchange for limited sanctions relief, and is aimed at buying time to negotiate a comprehensive accord.

But Sagr said “arming the Syrian opposition will top the agenda” during Obama’s visit, his second since his election in 2009.

Analyst Khaled al-Dakhil spoke of “major differences” with Washington, adding that Obama will focus on easing “Saudi fears on Iran and on regional security.”

Saudi Arabia, the largest power in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, fears that a possible US withdrawal from the Middle East and a diplomatic overture towards Iran would further feed Tehran’s regional ambitions.

Iranian-Saudi rivalry crystallised with the Syrian conflict: Tehran backs President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while several GCC states support the rebellion against him.

- ‘Clearing the air’ -

Obama’s stances towards events reshaping the region “have strained (Saudi-US) relations but without causing a complete break,” said Anwar Eshki, head of the Jeddah-based Middle East Centre for Strategic and Legal Studies.

US security and energy specialist professor Paul Sullivan said Obama meeting King Abdullah could “help clear the air on some misunderstandings.”

“However, I would be quite surprised if there were any major policy changes during this visit. This is also partly a reassurance visit,” he added.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has said that “whatever differences we may have do not alter the fact that this is a very important and close partnership”.

However, Riyadh seems to be reaching out more towards Asia, including China, in an apparent bid to rebalance its international relations.

Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz visited China, Pakistan, Japan and India this month, reportedly to strengthen ties.

The US-Saudi relationship dates to the end of World War II and was founded on an agreement for Washington to defend the Gulf state in exchange for oil contracts.

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia is the world’s top producer and exporter of oil.

Obama and the king are also expected to discuss deadlocked US-brokered Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

They will also discuss Egypt, another bone of contention since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, who was a staunch US and Saudi ally.

The kingdom was dismayed by the partial freezing of US aid to Egypt after the army toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July — a move hailed by Riyadh.

On Thursday, Egypt’s Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi resigned as defence minister after announcing he would stand for president.

Meanwhile, dozens of US lawmakers have urged Obama in a letter to publicly address Saudi Arabia’s “systematic human rights violations,” including efforts by women activists to challenge its ban on female drivers.

And rights group Amnesty International said Obama “must break the US administration’s silence on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record by taking a strong public stand against the systematic violations in the kingdom.”

“It is crucial that President Obama sends a strong message to the government of Saudi Arabia that its gross human rights violations and systematic discrimination are unacceptable,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“A failure to do so would undermine the human rights principles the USA purports to stand for,” she added in a statement.

Amnesty also urged Obama to express “dismay” at the kingdom’s ban on women driving as his visit coincides with a local campaign to end the globally unique ban.

http://news.yahoo.com/mistrust-overshadows-obamas-saudi-trip-055623617.html

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NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos

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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Story 1: NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos

Obama: NSA Proposal Satisfies Public Concerns

 

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President Obama Names Michael Rogers As New Head Of The NSA

Background Articles and Videos

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flowchart_final_008acronyms_003130607_PRISM_ppt_1.jpg.CROP.original-original

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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

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

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Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program

The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

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Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

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Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

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AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program

The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.

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Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.[3]

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.[1] William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.[4]

There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.[4]

During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”.[2] One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.[1]

In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_Wind_%28code_name%29

PRISM

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US

Details of information collected via PRISM

PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017.[2][22] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[22]

PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Response from companies

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][1]

Initial Public Statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[25]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”[27]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[25]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[26]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[28]

Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[29]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[30] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[31]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[32] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[32] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[34]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.[35]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[37] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[37] Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[37] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[40][10] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[10]

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (referring to Edward Snowden)

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,[53]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Judicial branch

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[55] In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[55] When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[55] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.

If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.[55]

If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it.[55] A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[55]

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order.[55] The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[55]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[56]

Involvement of other countries

Australia

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[57]

Canada

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[58]

Germany

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[59]

Israel

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[60] the Business Insider article[61] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[62]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[65] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[66]

Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”[67] Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”[67] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[68]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[69] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[72] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[72][73] George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.[74]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[75]

On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.[76]

International response

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[77][78] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[81]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.[82]

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[84]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.[85]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[86][87] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[87] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[82]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[88]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[89] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[90]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[91]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[94]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[95]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

ThinThread

ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority.[2] The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]

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

Trailblazer

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.[5]

Background

Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs’” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]

Whistleblowing

According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXwwSq_me4

Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.[3][4]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.

Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).[5][6][7]

NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.[8]

Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian.[1][9] The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.[10]

Technology

According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.[11]

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.[12][13][14][15]

The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”[16]

Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.[17][18]

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

ECHELON

ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

  • the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
  • the National Security Agency of the United States,
  • the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
  • the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
  • the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
  • the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

Hardware

According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]

Name

The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

  • Hong Kong (since closed)
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
  • Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[18]
  • Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
  • GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
  • Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
  • Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
  • Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
  • GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
  • GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
  • CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
  • Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

  • Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
  • BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
    • relocated to Griesheim in 2004[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
  • Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
  • Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
  • Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
  • Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)

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

Room 641A

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.[1][2]

Description

Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T.[1] The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic[3] and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”[4] Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.[2]

The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.[1]

The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.[5] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.

Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.

Lawsuit

Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings[4]

More complicated diagram of how it allegedly worked. From EFF court filings.[3] See bottom of the file page for enlarged and rotated version.

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.

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

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Nuclear Security Summit 2014 — Loose Nuke War Game — 1 Nuclear Weapon — NYC or Washington? — You Choose — Videos

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Story 1: Nuclear Security Summit 2014 — Loose Nuke War Game — 1 Nuclear Weapon — NYC or Washington? — You Choose — Videos

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Merkel miffed at Barack Obama and David Cameron ‘nuclear war game’

World leaders played an interactive nuclear war game designed to test their responses to a terrorist atomic “dirty bomb” attack that threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of people

 

David Cameron joined Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping and other world leaders to play a “nukes on the loose” war game to see how they would cope with a terrorist nuclear attack.

The German chancellor grumbled at being asked to play games and take tests with the Prime Minister, US and Chinese presidents around a table with dozens of heads of state at a nuclear summit in The Hague.

Her complaints were overruled because Mr Obama was keen on the idea and in on the surprise.

In the war game, played out by actors in a series of short films, a terrorist attack with an atomic “dirty bomb” takes place in the financial heart of an unnamed but Western metropolis. “It could be the City of London, or Wall Street, Milan or anywhere”, summit leaders were told.

As the scenario unfolded, it emerged that the terrorists are from an unidentified global terror network and they have stolen nuclear material from an unidentified country that had poorly secured its radiological and nuclear stockpiles.

The bomb is being built in a clandestine laboratory with stolen uranium. It is an improvised explosive device but deadly and the clock is ticking, the leaders were told. Hundreds of thousands of people could be about to die.

“They had to give an answer on their own, in real time. It was like a test. It put them on the spot. Should they inform the public or keep them in the dark,” said a diplomatic source.

“Should they work with other countries or stand alone to try to thwart or minimise the attack? How should they make the cold calculation of how to get a more sustainable human cost in terms of deaths?”

Each world leader had a computer tablet with a touch screen options to make one of four responses to a series of four scenario films played by actors and mimicking the famous 1983 Cold War Hollywood thriller “War Games”, where a computer hacker triggers a nuclear missile scare.

In a competitive environment, with a ticking clock, the leaders had to make rapid choices before the results were presented to the group, anonymously stripped of their identities and followed by discussion.

Perhaps predictably at a world summit on nuclear security, the war game found that shared, collective international decisions were able to stop the terrorist network before they could actually build the dirty bomb.

US officials said that the unconventional approach had been designed to give a “scare you to death” shock to make leaders seriously think about the security of nuclear materials.

But not everyone was happy about playing the war game with the grumbling led by Mrs Merkel who was unimpressed with role-playing at such a high-powered gathering. Mr Obama, who helped plan the game, overrode the moaning. He had Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, his lead national security adviser on the issue, helpfully by his side.

“Leaders had their doubts about participation on their own without their expert civil servants. It was about discussion and problem solving without leaders relying on written statements to read out. At the end the leaders were more enthusiastic,” said a spokesman for the summit.

 

Would you survive a nuclear blast?

Nuclear Blast Mapper on the PBS “Race for the Superbomb” web site show how horribly destructive thermonuclear weapons are. The fission bomb detonated over Nagasaki had an explosive power equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT. Blast Mapper’s 1-million ton hydrogen bomb, hypothetically detonated on the earth’s surface at any location you choose, has 50 times the explosive power of that 1945 explosion. Video clips of actual A-bomb detonations and their effects can also be viewed at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/bomb

The adjoining map of the Tri-Cities, Washington, shows circles of destruction from a 1 megaton surface blast centered on Columbia Center mall.

Blast map key

NOTE: Blast pressure within the circles is greater than the indicated values and is less outside the circles. The zones of destruction in the map are broad generalizations and do not take into account factors such as weather and topography. Fatality numbers do not include the significant delayed effects of trauma, fire, or radioactivity.

12 psi (pounds per square inch), Radius: 1.7 miles

At ground zero lies a crater 200 feet deep and 1000 feet in diameter. The rim of the crater is composed of highly radioactive soil and debris. Nothing recognizable remains within about 0.6 mile from the center except, perhaps, the remains of some buildings’ foundations. At 1.7 miles, only some of the strongest buildings — those made of reinforced, poured concrete — are still standing. Ninety-eight percent of the population within this area are dead immediately.

5 psi, radius – 2.7 miles

Virtually everything is destroyed between the 12 and 5 psi circles. The walls of typical multi-story buildings, including apartment buildings, are completely blown out. The bare, structural skeletons of some buildings rise above the debris as you approach the 5 psi circle. Single-family residences within this area are completely blown away — only their foundations remain. Fifty percent of the population between the 12 and 5 psi circles are dead. Forty percent more are injured.

2 psi, radius – 4.7 miles

Any single-family residences that are not completely destroyed are heavily damaged. The windows of office buildings are blown away, as are some of their walls. Everything on these buildings’ upper floors, including the people who were working there, are thrown onto the street. Substantial debris clutters the entire area. Five percent of the population between the 5 and 2 psi circles are dead. Forty-five percent are injured.

1 psi, radius – 7.4 miles

Residences are moderately damaged. Commercial buildings have sustained minimal damage. Twenty-five percent of the population between the 2 and 1 psi circles have been injured, mainly by flying glass and debris. Many others have suffered flash burns from thermal radiation generated by the explosion.

Fallout effects

Radiation effects are for downwind areas.

Assumptions: wind speed – 15 mph, time frame – 7 days

3,000 rem*, distance – 30 miles

Much more than a lethal dose of radiation. Death can occur within hours of exposure. About ten years will need to pass before levels of radioactivity in this area are low enough to be considered safe by U.S. peacetime standards.

900 rem, distance – 90 miles

A lethal dose of radiation. Death occurs from two to fourteen days.

300 rem, distance – 160 miles

Causes extensive internal damage, including harm to nerve cells and the cells that line the digestive tract. Also results in a loss of white blood cells and temporary hair loss.

90 rem, distance – 250 miles

No immediate harmful effects, but does result in a temporary decrease in white blood cells. Two to three years will need to pass before radioactivity levels in this area are low enough to be considered safe by U.S. peacetime standards.

*rem stands for “roentgen equivalent man.” It is a measurement used to quantify the amount of radiation that will produce certain biological effects.

NOTE: This information is drawn mainly from “The Effects of Nuclear War” (Office of Technology Assessment, Congress of the United States, Washington DC, 1979).

http://www.wcpeace.org/nuc_weapons-1.htm

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The Plane — The Plane — Where is the plane? — Crashed Landed — Where? Where? — Fantasy Island! Fantasy Island? — New Reality TV Series Publicity Stunt — Reality: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Hijacked — Destination Unknown — Malaysian Prime Minister News Conference — Videos

Posted on March 15, 2014. Filed under: Airplanes, American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crashed, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Education, Faith, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, history, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Missing airliner may have flown on for 7 hours

By , and , Updated: Saturday, March 15, 12:40 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that a missing passenger jet was steered off course after its communications systems were intentionally disabled and could have potentially flown for seven additional hours.

In the most comprehensive account to date of the plane’s fate, Najib drew an ominous picture of what happened aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying investigators had determined there was “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

Najib said the investigation had “refocused” to look at the crew and passengers. A Malaysia Airlines representative, speaking to relatives of passengers in Beijing, said the Malaysian government had opened a criminal investigation into the plane’s disappearance.

(See: New map shows possible search corridors for the Malaysia Airlines flight.)

The plane’s whereabouts remain unknown one week after it disappeared from civilian radar shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur. But Najib, citing newly analyzed satellite data, said the plane could have last made contact anywhere along one of two corridors: one stretching from northern Thailand toward the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, the other, more southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the remote Indian Ocean.

U.S. officials previously said they believed the plane could have remained in the air for several extra hours, and Najib said Saturday that the flight was still communicating with satellites until 8:11 a.m. — 7 ½ hours after takeoff, and more than 90 minutes after it was due in Beijing. There was no further communication with the plane after that time, Najib said. If the plane was still in the air, it would have been nearing its fuel limit.

“Due to the type of satellite data,” Najib said, “we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.”

A U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation on Friday said the only thing the satellite can tell is how much it would need to adjust its antenna to get the strongest signal from the plane. It cannot provide the plane’s exact position or which direction it flew, just how far the plane is, roughly, from the last good data-transmission location when the digital datalink system was actually sending data up to the satellite.

The U.S. official said the search area is somewhere along the arc or circumference of a circle with a diameter of thousands of miles.

The new leads about the plane’s end point, though ambiguous, have drastically changed a search operation involving more than a dozen nations. Malaysia on Saturday said that efforts would be terminated in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, the spot where the plane first disappeared from civilian radar.

Malaysian authorities are now likely to look for help from other countries in Southeast and South Asia, seeking mysterious or unidentified readings that their radar systems might have picked up.

The plane, based on one potential end point, could have spent nearly all its flight time over the Indian Ocean as it headed to an area west of Australia. But if the plane traveled in the direction of Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan, it would present a more perplexing scenario in which it would have evaded detection for hours while flying through a volatile region where airspace is heavily monitored: Burma, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and western China are all in the neighborhood of that path, as is the United States’ Bagram air base, which is in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials in Afghanistan would not comment on the possibility that the plane had flown over that country, but that scenario seems unlikely given the tight western control over Afghan airspace.

Afghan officials said they rely on Americans on such matters. “We do not know what has happened to the plane or if it has overflown Afghan air space. We do not have a radar. Go and ask the Americans,” said a senior Afghan official.

A Pakistani official said his country has not yet been asked by Malaysia to share its radar data, but will provide them if asked.

“Given the strong radar system that we have, and also that India and other countries in the region have, it’s very difficult for a plane to fly undetected for so long,” said Abid Qaimkhan, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Malaysia has confirmed that a previously unknown radar trail picked up by its military was indeed MH370. That blip suggests the plane had cut west, across the Malaysian peninsula, after severing contact with the ground. Malaysia received help in analyzing that radar data from the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and the British Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Malaysian investigators now believe that the Boeing-777 airliner, bound for Beijing with 227 passengers, deliberately cut a series of communications systems as it headed toward the boundary of Malaysian airspace. U.S. officials and aviation experts say the plane could have been hijacked by somebody with aviation knowledge or sabotaged by a crew member.

Investigators have not yet presented a clear scenario of what could have happened on board. Reuters reported that Malaysian police on Saturday searched the home of the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, who had more than three decades of commercial flight experience. A senior Malaysian police official refused to confirm the search.

Zaharie had a flight simulator at his home, something that appeared in a YouTube video posted from his unconfirmed YouTube account. Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Friday that “everyone is free to do their own hobby” and that it isn’t unusual for pilots to have home simulators.

U.S. officials have said that the plane, shortly after being diverted, reached an altitude of 45,000 feet and “jumped around a lot.” But the airplane otherwise appeared to operate normally. Significantly, the transponder and a satellite-based communication system did not stop at the same time, as they would if the plane had exploded, disintegrated or crashed into the ocean.

Najib said Saturday that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was disabled just as MH370 reached the eastern coast of Malaysia. The transponder was then switched off, Najib said, as the aircraft neared the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.

According to the Malaysian government, a satellite that tracked the aircraft was located more than 22,000 miles above sea level. Even after the ACARS system was disconnected, the satellite still received some basic signal from the plane — what one U.S. official described as a “handshake.” Though no data was being transmitted, the satellite continued to reach out to the plane on an hourly basis and received confirmation that the plane was still flying.

“There’s no circuit breaker that would allow you to shut off the handshake,” the official said.

That satellite handshake took place on a system operated by Inmarsat, a British satellite company that provides global mobile telecommunications services.

U.S. officials declined to say how closely that handshake allowed them to track the path of the missing plane. But one U.S. official explained that the satellite wasn’t able to read the plane’s exact location or even what direction it flew. Instead, the satellite was able to determine how far the plane had traveled since the last known spot where ACARS was transmitting data. That could explain how Malaysia created two possible arcs where the plane might have traveled.

Najib said Saturday that the search for MH370 had entered a “new phase.” The U.S. Navy, already positioned to the west of the Malaysian peninsula, was planning to meet tonight to discuss whether and how to redeploy its assets, spokesman Cmdr. William Marks said.

Indian officials said Saturday morning that they were still awaiting new orders in response to the Malaysian prime minister’s statement that the official search focus shift from the South China Sea to the two “corridors” west of Malaysia.

“Nothing is certain. These are all probabilities,” said Captain D.K. Sharma, a spokesman for the India Navy. “Let the new orders come. Let’s see how we respond.”

India has now expanded its search from the area around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — where five vessels and four planes have been deployed — to the north and west, by adding four additional aircraft to scour the massive Bay of Bengal — two P-8I anti-submarine and electronic intelligence planes and three other military aircraft, including a C-130J and two Dorniers. Search teams from the Indian military had spent much of the day Friday searching the jungles on remote islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, most of which are uninhabited, but so far have come up empty.

Other nations along the Bay of Bengal are now the expanding search as well. Gowher Rizvi, an adviser to Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said that country had deployed two aircraft and two frigates in the Bay of Bengal.

Harlan reported from Kuala Lumpur, and Gowen reported from New Delhi. Liu Liu contributed from Beijing. Tim Craig contributed from Pakistan, Joel Achenbach, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz contributed from Washington and Rama Lakshmi contributed from New Delhi.

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Neocon Warmonger Senate John McCain Off To Beat The War Drums — Go Home Senator — American People Want No US Intervention Into Ukraine! — Drums Beating Along The Black Sea — Videos

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Energy, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Security, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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CIA Spied On Senate and Deleted Documents — Feinstein Hypocrit or Defender of Privacy — Stop Watching Us CIA and NSA! Video

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Climate, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Data Storage, Economics, Education, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Rants, Raves, Security, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

Stop Watching Us: The Video

Activists protest Sen. Feinstein’s ‘hypocritical’ support of NSA surveillance

 

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Feinstein: CIA Spied on Senate Committee

 

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CIA Spies on Senate Staffers: A Troubling Pattern Is Reinforced

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein—who traditionally is a stalwart defender of the intelligence community—came out swinging against them this week. While on the floor of the Senate, she laid bare a two year long struggle concerning CIA spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers investigating CIA’s early 2000s torture and enhanced interrogation techniques. The spying by CIA crosses a line when it comes to Congressional oversight of the intelligence community. And it’s an emblem of the extreme imbalance between the power of Congress and the power of the intelligence community. If the intelligence community thinks they can act in such a way towards the people who are supposed to oversee them, what else do they think they can do?

How Did This Happen?

According to Senator Feinstein, the spying occurred in a facility provided by CIA to Senate Intelligence staffers. As part of the investigation, CIA agreed to not interfere with the facility or with the Senate Intelligence staff’s computers. After the staffers found a smoking gun document (an internal CIA review) that contradicted CIA’s own conclusions, the staffers—just like with previous documents—transferred it back to their own facility in the Senate. Soon after, the CIA found out about the possession and deleted files on the Senate staffers’ computers not once, but twice. Over 800 documents were deleted. Staffers do not know what those deleted documents contained.

The Oversight Regime Must Be Fixed

Senator Feinstein’s speech is the first step to ensuring Congressional oversight prevails, but the Department of Justice, which is currently conducting an investigation, should not be the only entity to review the details. The latest breach of trust by the intelligence community must spur Congress to exert their oversight powers and begin a full investigation into these actions and the oversight regime at-large.

These are pressing topics. It’s clear that the lack of oversight was a key factor in many of the egregious intelligence activities we learned about from the documents provided by Edward Snowden. The intelligence community evaded answering questions fully, or providing key documents to the intelligence committees. CIA spying is more proof that the oversight regime needs an overhaul. First and foremost, the American people—and Congress—need an oversight regime that works.

A Long Term Pattern

Some people are aghast at CIA’s actions. Details about the spying are sparse; however, it seems CIA may be guilty—at the minimum—of obstruction laws. But we’ve seen this before from the intelligence community. And we don’t have to draw from examples in the 1960s and 70s when the intelligence community was spying on Martin Luther King Jr. or anti-Vietnam activists. All we have to do is look at the past decade.

After the attacks on September 11, it took years for Senator Jay Rockefeller—then the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Community—to get a briefing and key documents for the entire committee about intelligence community actions. More recently, we saw obfuscation by the intelligence community in 2009 when it misled the FISA court. And just last year, the Director of National Intelligence, General James Clapper, lied to Congress about collecting data on innocent Americans. We also know members of Congress describe intelligence briefings as a game of 20 questions. Despite CIA’s original cooperation, it seems clear CIA did not want the Senate staffers to conduct a full investigation.

It should be obvious to anyone that these actions paint a picture—and confirm a pattern—of out-of-control intelligence agencies. The American public is losing a tremendous amount of trust in the intelligence community—trust that is necessary for the intelligence community to conduct its job. But it’s even more dangerous to the government body that is supposed to oversee the intelligence community: Congress.

Congress Must Act

Senator Feinstein’s concern over CIA spying on her staff should extend to a concern about NSA’s collection of all Americans’ calling records. Both actions are examples of intelligence community overreach and abuse of their authorities. There are serious problems when the stalwart defender of the intelligence community takes to the Senate floor to discuss problems with the committee’s oversight.

Beyond Senator Feinstein, Congress must retake its oversight role. For far too long has the intelligence community run roughshod over the intelligence committees. Time and time again, we’ve seen the inability for the intelligence community to grapple with the behemoth of the intelligence community. This must stop. An investigation should be carried out not only into CIA spying, but into the oversight regime as a whole, the classification system, and the egregious actions by the intelligence community—including the activities of NSA. All of these topics are core problems concerning the inability for the Senate Intelligence Committee to be fully briefed—or even grasp—intelligence community actions. This week may have been a loss for Congressional oversight, but members of Congress must reassert their power. Their duty to serve as representatives of the American people demand it.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/cia-spies-senate-staffers-troubling-pattern-reinforced

 

 

Rand Paul on alleged CIA-Senate hacking: ‘This cannot happen in a free country’

By Joel Gehrke
 
 Heads should roll at the CIA if Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proves that intelligence officers hacked her staff’s computers as part of a dispute over a committee report on waterboarding, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters.”There’s an incredible arrogance to me that the CIA thinks they can spy on a committee that is providing oversight for the CIA, and I think it’s a real, very serious constitutional breach,” Paul said outside the Senate chamber on Thursday. “This cannot happen in a free country.”Feinstein took to the Senate floor Tuesday to allege that “the CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers.” CIA director John Brennan denied Feinstein’s allegations, telling NBC, “The CIA was in no way spying on [the committee] or the Senate.” That denial has some lawmakers withholding judgement on the matter, at least for now.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised Feinstein. “I tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly,” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing Thursday morning. “Not without evidence — when I say evidence, [I mean] documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

http://washingtonexaminer.com/rand-paul-on-alleged-cia-senate-hacking-this-cannot-happen-in-a-free-country/article/2545625

Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers

By , and Adam Goldman, Published: March 11// // E-mail the writers//

A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel’s multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program.Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accused the CIA of ­secretly removing documents, searching computers used by the committee and attempting to intimidate congressional investigators by requesting an FBI inquiry of their conduct — charges that CIA Director John Brennan disputed within hours of her appearance on the Senate floor.

Video

<caption> Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned whether a CIA search of congressional records might have undermined government oversight during a Senate floor speech Tuesday. </caption>

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned whether a CIA search of congressional records might have undermined government oversight during a Senate floor speech Tuesday.

Read more:

Why the CIA and lawmakers are feuding

Why the CIA and lawmakers are feuding

Adam Goldman MAR 11

What you need to know about the dispute over an investigation o the agency’s interrogation program.

 

Transcript: Feinstein says CIA searched Intelligence panel computers

Transcript: Feinstein says CIA searched Intelligence panel computers

MAR 11

“Let me say up front that I come to the Senate floor reluctantly,” she said.

 

Transcript: Brennan says his agency has done nothing wrong

MAR 11

“If I did something wrong, I will go to the president and I will explain to him exactly what I did and what the findings were,” he said.

 

Senators praise Feinstein speech, want answers from CIA

Senators praise Feinstein speech, want answers from CIA

Ed O’Keefe MAR 11

If true, “this is Richard Nixon stuff,” one senator says.

 

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<:ARTICLE>Feinstein described the escalating conflict as a “defining moment” for Congress’s role in overseeing the nation’s intelligence agencies and cited “grave concerns” that the CIA had “violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”Brennan fired back during a previously scheduled speech in Washington, saying that “when the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”

The dueling claims exposed bitterness and distrust that have soared to new levels as the committee nears completion of a 6,000-page report that is expected to serve as a scathing historical record of the agency’s use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods on terrorism suspects held at secret CIA prisons overseas after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Displaying flashes of anger during her floor speech, Feinstein said her committee would soon deliver the report to the White House and push for declassification of a document that lays bare “the horrible details of the CIA program that never, never, never should have existed.”

The latest dispute is in some ways a proxy for a deeper conflict over that document. The CIA and the committee are at odds over many of the report’s conclusions about the effectiveness of the interrogation program, but they are battling primarily over tension that surfaced during the investigation.

Feinstein’s remarks provided the most detailed account of that investigation, describing an arrangement in which the CIA set up a secret facility in Northern Virginia with computers where committee investigators were promised unfettered access to millions of operational cables, executive memos and other files on the interrogation program.

The disagreement between Feinstein and Brennan centers on whether agency employees or committee staff members — or both — abused their access to that shared network to gain an upper hand.

Feinstein implied that the CIA sabotaged the committee’s efforts from the outset, loading a massive amount of files on computers with no index, structure or ability to search. “It was a true document dump,” she said.

Over a period of years, investigators pored over more than 6.2 million classified records furnished by the CIA, using a search tool that agency technical experts agreed to install. But U.S. officials said the committee gained access to a set of documents that the agency never intended to share, files that were generated at the direction of former director Leon E. Panetta as part of an effort to take an inventory of the records being turned over to Feinstein’s panel.

The two sides have engaged in heated exchanges in recent days over the nature of those files and how they were obtained.

Referring to them as the “Panetta internal review,” Feinstein insisted that committee staff members discovered the documents during an ordinary search of the trove. She said they are particularly valuable because in tracking the flow of documents, CIA employees in some cases drew conclusions about their contents that match the subsequent interpretations made by committee staff members.

Jeremy Bash, Panetta’s former chief of staff, said Tuesday that that was never the director’s intent. Panetta “did not request an internal review of the interrogation program,” he said. “He asked the CIA staff to keep track of documents that were being provided. . . . He asked that they develop short summaries of the material, so that we would know what was being provided.”

Meanwhile, a letter that Brennan distributed to the CIA workforce on Tuesday raised questions about Feinstein’s claims and her awareness of how and when the committee obtained what she is calling the Panetta review files.

The letter, which Brennan sent to Feinstein on Jan. 27 and which was attached to a message he sent the workforce, recounts a meeting they had weeks earlier to discuss the matter. During that meeting, Feinstein said she didn’t know that the committee already had copies of the Panetta review. Brennan pushed her to explain why the panel had recently requested the files when they were already in its possession.

“You informed me that you were not aware that the committee staff already had access to the materials you had requested,” Brennan wrote, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post. Brennan urged Feinstein to work with the agency to determine how the committee had obtained the documents, a request she ultimately rejected, officials said.

The CIA began to suspect that the panel had obtained those files this year after lawmakers referred to the supposed “internal review” publicly. U.S. officials said CIA security personnel then checked the logs of the computer system it had set up for the committee, and found that the files had been moved to a part of the network that was off-limits to the CIA.

 

“They did something to get those documents,” said a U.S. official briefed on the matter. A security “firewall was breached. They figured out a work-around to get it.” The official declined to elaborate.

Feinstein said the review documents were “identified using the search tool provided by the CIA” but she was careful not to say precisely how they were obtained. “We don’t know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the CIA, unintentionally by the CIA, or intentionally by a whistleblower,” she said.

She acknowledged, however, that committee investigators made hard copies of those files and whisked them away to its offices on Capitol Hill, in part because the committee had previously seen cases in which more than 900 pages of records dis­appeared from the database with no explanation.

Feinstein expressed outrage that the CIA referred the matter to the FBI. “There is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime,” she said, describing the move as a “potential effort to intimidate this staff, and I am not taking it lightly.”

She also noted that the referral was made by Robert Eatinger, the CIA’s acting general counsel, who previously served as the top lawyer for the department that ran the CIA’s secret prisons, and who “is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study.”

Feinstein, who has been a staunch supporter of other CIA programs including its drone campaign, said the agency may have violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, as well as laws against domestic surveillance.

Although Republicans on the committee initially voted in favor of opening the investigation, GOP members abandoned the effort after it began and none has voted to endorse it.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the intelligence panel, told Bloomberg News that the dispute is “more complicated than what’s being put out there by Senator Feinstein or others. . . . I don’t think anyone has a clean hand and I think it’s important for the full truth to come out. I think people may be surprised to learn that, in this case, there were no good guys and maybe two or three bad ones.”

 

[Read a full transcript of Feinstein’s remarks.]

Brennan said he had ordered the CIA’s inspector general to review the agency’s conduct. The inspector general, in turn, has issued a separate referral seeking a Justice Department review.

Asked whether he would resign if the CIA was found to be in the wrong, Brennan said he would let the president decide his fate. “If I did something wrong, I will go to the president,” the director said. “He is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/feinstein-cia-searched-intelligence-committee-computers/2014/03/11/982cbc2c-a923-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html

 

 

 

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Senator Rand Paul Wins CPAC Poll for Second Year In A Row — Republican Candidate for President in 2016 — We Are The Champions — I Stand With Rand — Videos

Posted on March 9, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, Heroes, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, Math, media, Monetary Policy, Money, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Obamacare, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Public Sector, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Rand Paul wins CPAC 2014 Presidential Straw Poll C-SPAN

Rand Paul wins CPAC 2014 Presidential Straw Poll C-SPAN

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Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them a desire, a dream, a vison.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second

Rubio and Ryan, GOP leaders in Congress all see big drops in support

Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote — nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.

The poll also found a strong plurality of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference believe marijuana should be fully legalized, with 41 percent saying it’s time to change the law and tax it. Another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases.


SEE ALSO: CPAC 2014 straw poll results


In the presidential poll, Mr. Cruz’s 11 percent was a big improvement for the freshman senator, who won just 4 percent in last year’s straw poll. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third with 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fourth with 8 percent in results that signal growing discontent with the GOP establishment in Washington.

Indeed, CPAC voters now have an unfavorable view of Republicans in Congress, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of the job the GOP is doing on Capitol Hill. Just last year the GOP had a 54 percent approval rating, and in 2012 they held a 70 percent approval rating.

But a series of tough votes over the last few months that saw Republican leaders work with President Obama to boost spending and raised the government’s debt limit have deepened a rift between the GOP’s leadership on Capitol Hill and conservative activists around the country.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 6, 2014. Thursday marks the first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings together prospective presidential candidates, conservative opinion leaders and tea party activists from coast to coast. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Enlarge PhotoSen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual … more >

That could be one reason why Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote December’s budget deal that boosted spending in 2014 and 2015, saw his standing with CPAC voters cut in half — from 6 percent support in last year’s presidential straw poll to just 3 percent this year.

Sen. Marco Rubio suffered an even bigger drop, falling from 23 percent and second place in 2013 to seventh place, with 6 percent, this year.

“I like Ted Cruz, I like Rand Paul, I like Mike Lee. I like Rubio, but less now than I did a year ago because of immigration,” said David Fitzwilliam, 83.


SEE ALSO: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight with him for liberty


For Mr. Paul, the victory is his second in a row, and he saw his support climb from 25 percent last year to 31 percent this year.

“He is the only true liberty candidate who focuses on civil liberties more than anybody else,” said Al Seltzinger, 36, from Baltimore. “I think the way the nation is going today with the government and the president going against the Constitution that we need someone who holds strict to the Constitution and whose voting record is pretty solid when it comes to the Constitution.”

Mr. Cruz also jumped from just 4 percent last year — when he was a newly sworn-in senator — to his 11 percent this year.

Mr. Carson, who gained prominence with a 27-minute speech challenging Mr. Obama when the two appeared at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, is also on the rise. In last year’s straw poll, taken just after that speech, he garnered 4 percent of the vote, but jumped to 9 percent this year.

“I love Ted Cruz, I love Rand Paul, but Ben Carson is all of the above,” said Jean Carlton, a 71-year-old CPAC attendee who said the doctor’s lack of Washington experience was a big plus.

For his part Mr. Christie, who has faced political troubles back home in New Jersey after his staffers caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to punish a town mayor, seems to be holding steady among activists. He rose from 7 percent last year to 8 percent support this year.

In his speech to the conference on Thursday, Mr. Christie argued that the GOP needs to not only pick a conservative champion, but pick a candidate who can get elected.

“We can’t govern if we can’t win,” he said.

That resonated with some CPAC straw poll voters.

“I think he has the best chance in the general election. I am less optimistic about his chances in the primary, but he seems to be more palatable to Independents and Democrats. I think electability is the main concern,” said Matthew Smith, a 19-year-old student at Yale University.

This year’s straw poll listed 25 potential candidates, which is far more than usual. The high number signals just how wide open the GOP’s presidential contest is with two years to go before the first caucuses and primaries.

On the Democratic side, meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton easily leads the rest of her party’s field in national and state polling.

Previous versions of The Washington Times/CPAC poll showed that the audience that gathers in Washington leans younger and more libertarian than the conservative movement throughout the country, which likely gives Mr. Paul a boost with this crowd here.

Indeed, his father, then-Rep. Ron Paul, won the straw poll twice on a similar libertarian-minded message, though he struggled to translate that support into votes when it came to primaries and caucuses.

The straw poll was conducted between Thursday and Saturday afternoon, and 2,459 votes were cast.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/8/rand-paul-wins-2014-cpac-straw-poll-ted-cruz-finis/

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Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

Posted on March 7, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Energy, European History, Faith, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014 Will be posted by Friday noon.

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Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

Donald Rumsfeld on Russia, Ukraine, Obama !

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch Two)

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine (Dispatch One)

Russia fires first shots of Crimea invasion – Ukraine update – Truthloader

The Alex Jones Show(VIDEO Commercial Free) Sunday March 2 2014: Ukraine Mobilizes For War

Headlines: Hillary Clinton compares Russia’s actions in Ukraine to Nazi Germany

Obama: ‘Russia on the Wrong Side of History’

WW3 UPDATE: Ukrainian FORCES MOBILISING As RUSSIA Approves MILITARY ACTION In Ukraine

Russia Expands Its Natural Gas Infrastructure (Agenda)

Videographic: Sidestepping Russia’s gas monopoly

Ukrainian Protests and Russian Influence (Dispatch)

Crimea in the middlegaspipelines

Story 3: Diplomatic Agreement — The Budapest Memorandum — Will It Lead To US War With Russia Over Ukraine or More Obama Appeasement? — Videos

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary

Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994

Published December 5, 1994

The Presidents of Ukraine, Russian Federation and United States of America, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom signed three memorandums (UN Document A/49/765) on December 5, 1994, with the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Through this agreement, these countries (later to include China and France in individual statements) gave national security assurances to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. The Joint Declaration by the Russian Federation and the United States of America of December 4, 2009 confirmed their commitment.

Excerpt:

“Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as a non-nuclear-weapon State,

Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the cold war, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces,

Confirm the following:

1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine;

2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or

political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations;

3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind;

4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear

weapons are used;

5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclearweapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons,

except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State;

6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

This Memorandum will become applicable upon signature.

Signed in four copies having equal validity in the Ukrainian, English and Russian languages.

For Ukraine:

(Signed) Leonid D. KUCHMA

For the Russian Federation:

(Signed) Boris N. YELTSIN

For the United Kingdom of Great

Britain and Northern Ireland:

(Signed) John MAJOR

For the United States of America:

(Signed) William J. CLINTON

U.S./U.K./Ukraine Press Statement on the Budapest Memorandum Meeting

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
March 5, 2014

On 5 March 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted a meeting in Paris with the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, William Hague, and the Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Deshchytsia.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the urgent question of the Budapest Memorandum, the agreement signed by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Russia in 1994. The United States had conveyed an invitation to the Russian Federation to the meeting. We deeply regret that the Russian Federation declined to attend.

The Budapest Memorandum sets out the obligations of signatories in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons. Under its terms, the three parties commit to refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The Memorandum also obliges the UK, US and Russia to consult in the event of a situation arising where the memorandum commitments are questioned.

Ukraine voluntarily surrendered the world’s third largest nuclear weapons arsenal in exchange for these assurances. The three Governments treat these assurances with utmost seriousness, and expect Russia to as well. Russia has chosen to act unilaterally and militarily. The United Kingdom and United States will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and we commend the new Ukrainian government for not taking actions that might escalate the situation. Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity can only degrade Russia’s international standing and lead to greater political and economic consequences.

In the meeting, the Governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine discussed steps needed to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity and called on Russia to engage in consultations with Ukraine as they have committed to in the Budapest memorandum.

The United States, United Kingdom and Ukraine agreed that direct talks between Ukraine and Russia, facilitated as needed by members of the international community, are crucial to resolving the current situation. They also agreed that international observers should be deployed immediately in Ukraine, especially in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The three governments reaffirmed the importance of protecting the rights of all Ukrainian citizens, and believed that international observers would help address any concerns regarding irregular forces, military activity and the treatment of all Ukrainians irrespective of their ethnicity or spoken language.

 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2014/03/222949.htm

The Budapest Memorandum and Crimea

With tensions rising in Crimea and pro-Russian forces controlling the peninsula’s main airports, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has called on Russia to “not violate the Budapest Memorandum.” So what is the “Budapest Memorandum” and what does it have to do with Crimea?

What exactly is the “Budapest Memorandum”?

The “Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances” is a diplomatic memorandum that was signed in December 1994 by Ukraine, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document under which signatories made promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Under the memorandum, Ukraine promised to remove all Soviet-era nuclear weapons from its territory, send them to disarmament facilities in Russia, and sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Ukraine kept these promises.

In return, Russia and the Western signatory countries essentially consecrated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as an independent state. They did so by applying the principles of territorial integrity and nonintervention in 1975 Helsinki Final Act — a Cold War-era treaty signed by 35 states including the Soviet Union — to an independent post-Soviet Ukraine.

Which principles in the Helsinki Final Act, reiterated in the “Budapest Memorandum,” are relevant to the current situation in the Crimea?

In the “Budapest Memorandum,” Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States promised that none of them would ever threaten or use force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine. They also pledged that none of them would ever use economic coercion to subordinate Ukraine to their own interest.

They specifically pledged they would refrain from making each other’s territory the object of military occupation or engage in other uses of force in violation of international law.

All sides agreed that no such occupation or acquisition will be recognized as legal and that the signatories would “consult in the event a situation arises which raises a question concerning these commitments.”

Is there anything legally binding about the “Budapest Memorandum” regarding Russia’s obligations to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity?

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” says Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere.”

Kellman concludes that there are a host of other sources of international law that oblige Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity — including the provisions of the CSCE treaty and the UN Charter.

http://www.voanews.com/content/the-budapest-memorandum-and-crimea/1862439.html

: The forgotten treaty which could drag the US and UK into WAR with Russia if Putin’s troops intervene in Ukraine

  • The agreement sees signatories promise to protect Ukraine’s borders
  • It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma in 1994
  • Ukrainian parliament has now reached out directly to all the countries who signed the treaty
  • Putin currently has 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and it is reported some have crossed into the country
  • President Obama says he is ‘deeply concerned’ by the news
  • The US and Britain have both made ‘crisis calls’ to President Putin to warn him to respect territorial boundaries

By JILL REILLY and LIZZIE EDMONDS

A treaty signed in 1994 by the US and Britain could pull both countries into a war to protect Ukraine if President Putin’s troops cross into the country.

Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine – agreed to the The Budapest Memorandum as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Technically it means that if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.

The revelation comes as reports suggest the Kremlin was moving up to 2,000 troops across the Black Sea from Novorossiysk to their fleet base at Sevastopol.

At least 20 men wearing the uniform of the Russian fleet and carrying automatic rifles surrounded a Ukrainian border guard post in a standoff near the port yesterday.

Last night it was still unclear the exact scale of Russian boots on the ground in Crimea or the identity of gunmen who have taken over airports in Simferopol and Sevastopol – though reports suggest they are Russian marines or Moscow- controlled militias.

The action came as President Obama delivered blunt warnings to Moscow.

‘We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine,’ he told reporters at the White House.

‘Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,’ he said in a brief appearance.

‘The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.’

U.S. officials also said the President could scrap plans to attend an international summit in Russia and take negotiations on deepening trade ties with the country off the table in response to Russian involvement in the Ukraine.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel added: “This could be a very dangerous situation if this continues in a provocative way.”

Asked about options in a CBS News interview, he said that “We’re trying to deal with a diplomatic focus, that’s the appropriate, responsible approach.”

Both the U.S. and the UK are advising against all non-essential trips to Ukraine – especially Crimea.

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option 'if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.'

former British Ambassador to Moscow Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said in an interview that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

NATO also asked Russia not to take action that could escalate tension. However Moscow responded by telling the organization to ‘refrain’ from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its ‘non-bloc’ status.

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said that war could be an option ‘if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding.’

It promises to protect Ukraine’s borders, in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Kiev has demanded the agreement is activated after insisting their borders had been violated.

In response Mr Brenton said in a BBC radio interview: ‘If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia’.

Ukraine accused Russia of a ‘military invasion and occupation’, saying Russian troops have taken up positions around a coast guard base and two airports on its strategic Crimea peninsula.

Russia kept silent on the accusations, as the crisis deepened between two of Europe’s largest countries.

Any Russian military incursion in Crimea would dramatically raise the stakes in Ukraine’s conflict, which saw pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych flee last weekend after three months of anti-government protests. Yanukovych vowed Friday at a news conference in Russia to ‘keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ though he called any military action ‘unacceptable.’

Moscow has vowed to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians in Crimea, where it has a major naval base, and Ukraine and the West have warned Russia to stay away.

Russia did not confirm its troops were involved in Friday’s action in Crimea, which would be a major escalation.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s parliament adopted a resolution demanding that Russia halt steps it says are aimed against Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and called for a U.N. Security Council meeting on the crisis.

THE BUDAPEST REFERENDUM

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances was a international treaty signed on February, 5, 1994, in Budapest.

The diplomatic document saw signatories make promises to each other as part of the denuclearization of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

It was signed by Bill Clinton, John Major, Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Kuchma – the then-rulers of the USA, UK, Russia and Ukraine.

The agreement promises to protest Ukraine’s borders in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

It is not a formal treaty, but rather, a diplomatic document.

It was an unprecedented case in contemporary international life and international law.

Whether is it legally binding in complex.

‘It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,’ says Barry Kellman is a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law told Radio Free Europe.

‘I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation,’ Ukraine’s newly named interior minister, Arsen Avakov, wrote in a Facebook post.

The chief of Ukraine’s security council, Andriy Parubiy, seemed to strike a less strident tone later in the day, saying gunmen had tried to ‘seize’ the airports in the Crimean cities of Simferopol and Sevastopol but insisting in comments to the Interfax news agency that ‘de-facto the airports are controlled by the law enforcement bodies of Ukraine.’

Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service also said about 30 Russian marines from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – which is based in Sevastopol – had taken up position outside the Ukrainian Coast Guard base in the area. It said the marines said they were there to prevent any weapons at the base from being seized by extremists.

Russia’s defense ministry had no comment.

Yanukovych made his first public appearance since fleeing Ukraine in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, not far from the Ukrainian border. It was the first confirmation that he had left the country, and he said he was ‘forced’ to do so only after his family received threats.

‘I intend to keep fighting for the future of Ukraine,’ he said.

Yanukovych said he supports Crimea’s residents who are worried about ‘nationalists’ in Kiev and added that Russia cannot stand by while events in Ukraine unfold. He denied, however, that this amounts to a call for military intervention.

‘Any military action in this situation is unacceptable,’ he said. 

Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

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Tensions rising: A Russian soldier on an armoured personnel carrier halted on a road in Ukraine around 20 miles from Sebastapol, where there is a large Russian military presence

The prosecutor-general’s office in Kiev said it would seek Yanukovych’s extradition to Ukraine, where he is wanted on suspicion of mass murder in last week’s violent clashes between protesters and police, during which over 80 people were killed.

At the airport serving Simferopol, commercial flights were landing and taking off despite dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings patrolling with assault rifles. They didn’t stop or search people leaving or entering the airport, and refused to talk to journalists.

One man who identified himself only as Vladimir said the men were part of the Crimean People’s Brigade, which he described as a self-defense unit ensuring that no ‘radicals and fascists’ arrive from other parts of Ukraine. There was no way to verify his account.

The airport deployments came a day after masked gunmen with rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles seized the parliament and government offices in Simferopol and raised the Russian flag. Ukrainian police cordoned off the area but didn’t confront the gunmen. They remained in control of the buildings Friday.

The Russian foreign and defense ministries had no comment. Russia’s state RIA Novosti and Interfax cited an unnamed official from the Russian Black Sea Fleet denying involvement, saying Russian servicemen stationed in Crimea have not moved into the airports and denying that the Russian military was in control there.

Tensions between the two countries were high, however. Russia continued with massive combat readiness exercises involving most of its troops in western and southern Russia that it said were unrelated to the Ukraine conflict. The moves were reminiscent of Cold War brinksmanship.

Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine's new interior minister has announced branded an 'armed invasion'

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Russian military forces are blockading an airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol in Crimea, an act Ukraine’s new interior minister has announced branded an ‘armed invasion’

As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

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As events in the Crimea region heighten tensions with neighboring Russia, this morning armed men also took over the other main Crimean airport, Simferopol, according to a Facebook post by Mr Avakov

Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

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Dozens of armed men in military uniforms without markings were seen patrolling the airport in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea

The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine's new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country's new government

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The move came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukraine’s new prime minister that the U.S. welcomes the formation of the country’s new government

The Kremlin, in a statement published late Thursday, said President Vladimir Putin had instructed the government to ‘maintain contacts with the counterparts in Kiev in what concerns trade and economic ties between Russia and Ukraine.’

Moscow has been sending mixed signals about Ukraine but pledged to respect its territorial integrity. Putin has long dreamed of pulling Ukraine, a country of 46 million people considered the cradle of Russian civilization, closer into Moscow’s orbit.

Meanwhile, Swiss prosecutors announced they had launched a criminal investigation against Yanukovych and his son Aleksander over ‘aggravated money laundering.’

They said police and Geneva’s chief prosecutor conducted a search and seized documents Thursday at the premises of a company owned by Aleksander Yanukovych.

Ukraine's ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country's future

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Ukraine’s ex-President Yanukovych has made his first public appearance since being ousted, telling a news conference that he was going to fight for his country’s future

Switzerland and Austria both said they would freeze any assets Yanukovych and his entourage might have in those countries.

Ukraine’s population is divided in loyalties between Russia and the West, with much of western Ukraine advocating closer ties with the European Union while eastern and southern regions look to Russia for support.

Crimea, a southeastern peninsula of Ukraine that has semi-autonomous status, was seized by Russian forces in the 18th century under Catherine the Great, and was once the crown jewel in Russian and then Soviet empires.

It became part of Ukraine in 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred jurisdiction from Russia, a move that was a mere formality until the 1991 Soviet collapse meant Crimea landed in an independent Ukraine.

In a bid to shore up Ukraine’s fledgling administration, the International Monetary Fund has said it is ‘ready to respond’ to Ukraine’s bid for financial assistance; Ukraine’s finance ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

The European Union is also considering emergency loans for a country that is the chief conduit of Russian natural gas to western Europe.

And Putin, in his statement, asked his government to ‘hold consultations with foreign partners including the IMF and the G8 nations to provide financial aid to Ukraine.’

Associated Press journalists approaching the Sevastopol airport found the road leading up to it blocked by two military trucks and a handful of gunmen wearing camouflage uniforms and carrying assault rifles.

A car with Russian military plates was stopped at the roadblock. A man wearing a military uniform with a Russian flag on his sleeve got out of the car and was allowed to enter on foot after a brief discussion with the gunmen.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2570335/Former-British-Ambassador-Moscow-warns-Russia-invaded-Ukraine-difficult-avoid-going-war.html

Fact Check: Could a Little-Known International Agreement With Ukraine Force U.S., Britain Into War With Russia?

The United States and Britain “reaffirmed” their commitment to protect Ukraine’s borders in exchange for the nation giving up its nuclear weapons in a little-known agreement known as the “Budapest Memorandum signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.

The Daily Mail notes reports “if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.”

Sir Tony Brenton, who served as a British ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said war is certainly on the table if it’s determined that the Budapest Memorandum is “legally binding.”

According to the Daily Mail, Kiev has asked that the agreement be honored as it claims its borders have been violated.

“If indeed this is a Russian invasion of Crimea and if we do conclude the [Budapest] Memorandum is legally binding then it’s very difficult to avoid the conclusion that we’re going to go to war with Russia,” Brenton told BBC radio.

Ukraine has accused Russia of a “military invasion,” though details are still coming in.

The unsettling news comes after President Barack Obama warned Russia about military action in Ukraine on Friday.

But a closer look at the Budapest Memorandum shows the specifics might be more complex than some are assuming. Article one of the agreement states:

The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine … to respect the Independence and Sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

Reaffirming a “commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and being legally required to go to war are two very different ideas.

There will surely be much debate over whether the Budapest Memorandum is a legally binding agreement requiring action. The U.S. going to war with Russia is likely a last resort for the Obama administration.

According to rferl.org, the Budapest Memorandum is a diplomatic memorandum, not an official treaty.

Barry Kellman, a professor of law and director of the International Weapons Control Center at DePaul University’s College of Law, told the website that the answers to questions about whether the agreement is binding are “complex.”

“That’s actually a much more complex question than it may sound. It is binding in international law, but that doesn’t mean it has any means of enforcement,” he said.

“The ‘Budapest Memorandum’ follows the Helsinki Final Act and essentially reiterates its provisions. There are confidence building measures and then a host of other broader obligations – primarily negative obligations. Don’t interfere,” the professor added.

Armed men described as Russian troops took control of key airports in Crimea on Friday and Russian transport planes flew into the strategic region, Ukrainian officials said, an ominous sign of the Kremlin’s iron hand in Ukraine. President Barack Obama bluntly warned Moscow “there will be costs” if it intervenes militarily.

The sudden arrival of men in military uniforms patrolling key strategic facilities prompted Ukraine to accuse Russia of a “military invasion and occupation” – a claim that brought an alarming new dimension to the crisis.

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an 'armed invasion' of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula's main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Unidentified armed men patrol outside of Simferopol airport, on February 28, 2014. Ukraine accused today Russia of staging an ‘armed invasion’ of Crimea and appealed to the West to guarantee its territorial integrity after pro-Moscow gunmen took control of the peninsula’s main airport. (Source: AFP PHOTO / VIKTOR DRACHEV VIKTOR DRACHEV/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama urged Russia to respect the independence and territory of Ukraine and not try to take advantage of its neighbor, which is undergoing political upheaval.

“Any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing,” Obama said.

“Just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, that would invite the condemnation of nations around the world,” he continued. “The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”

He did not say what those costs might be.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/02/28/fact-check-could-a-little-known-international-agreement-force-u-s-britain-into-war-with-russia/#

Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances

The Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances is an international treaty signed on 5 December 1994, providing security assurances by its signatories relating to Ukraine‘s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Memorandum was originally signed by three nuclear-powers, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom. China and France later gave individual statements of assurance as well.[1][clarification needed]

The memorandum included security assurances against threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine as well as those of Belarus and Kazakhstan. As a result Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996.[2][3]

Following the 2014 Crimean crisis, the US stated that Russian involvement is in breach of its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum, and in clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.[4][5]


According to the memorandum, Russia, the US, and the UK confirmed, in recognition of Ukraine becoming party to the 
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in effect abandoning its nuclear arsenal to Russia, that they would:

  1. Respect Ukrainian independence and sovereignty within its existing borders.
  2. Refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine.
  3. Refrain from using economic pressure on Ukraine in order to influence its politics.
  4. Seek United Nations Security Council action if nuclear weapons are used against Ukraine.
  5. Refrain from the use of nuclear arms against Ukraine.
  6. Consult with one another if questions arise regarding these commitments.[6]

Analyse

Under the treaty, the signatories offered Ukraine “security assurances” in exchange for its adhesion to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The memorandum bundled together a set of assurances that Ukraine already held from the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) Final Act, United Nations Charter and Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Ukrainian government nevertheless found it politically valuable to have these assurances in a Ukraine-specific document. [7] [8]

The Budapest Memorandum was negotiated as a political agreement. It refers to assurances, not defined, but less than a military guarantee of intervention. According to Stephen MacFarlane, a professor of international relations “It gives signatories justification if they take action, but it does not force anyone to act in Ukraine.”[7][8]

Issues

Tuzla Island crisis

Main article: Tuzla Island

Ukraine gave up the world’s third largest nuclear weapons stockpile between 1994 and 1996 in return for “security assurances” from five nuclear powers, including Russia who was seen by Ukraine as the main threat to its territorial integrity.[2] In 2003, Russian construction efforts were seen as an attempt to annex Tuzla Island off the Crimean coast of Ukraine.[2] The Russian threat to Tuzla led to the Ukrainian leadership appealing to NATO for consultations on security, as outlined in the 1997 NATO-Ukraine Charter, without result.[2] The dispute led to negotiations over delimitation of the maritime borders. In a 2012 preliminary agreement, Ukraine and Russia agreed that Tuzla Island would be considered Ukraine’s territory.[9][needs update]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia after hosting the Budapest Memorandum Ministerial on the Ukraine crisis in Paris, France, on March 5, 2014.

2014 Crimean crisis

Main article: 2014 Crimean crisis

In February 2014, unidentified troops seized or blockaded various airports, as well as other strategic sites throughout Crimea.[10] Official Ukrainian sources have said that the troops are Russian, attached to the Russian Black Sea Fleet stationed in Crimea,[11] likely placing Russia in violation of the Budapest Memorandum. The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed the movement of armoured units attached to the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, but asserts that they are acting within the scope of the various agreements between the two countries. Other official Russian sources deny that the units in the area of Sevastopol International Airport, specifically, are attached to the Black Sea Fleet.[12]

On 1 March 2014, the White House released a press release stating that Russia had breached its obligations to Ukraine under the Budapest Memorandum:

President Obama expressed his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity, which is a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter, and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and which is inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act. The United States condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.

—Office of the Press Secretary[4]

[5]

In response to the crisis, the Ukrainian parliament has requested that the Memorandum’s signatories reaffirm their commitment to the principles enshrined in the treaty, and further asked that they hold consultations with Ukraine to ease tensions.[13]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ “Budapest Memorandums on Security Assurances, 1994″. Council on Foreign Relations. December 5, 1994. Retrieved 2014-03-02.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d The Crimea:Europe’s Next Flashpoint, By Taras Kuzio, November 2010
  3. Jump up^ [1]
  4. Jump up to:a b Office of the Press Secretary. “Readout of President Obama’s Call with President Putin”. whitehouse.gov.
  5. Jump up to:a b Washington Post Editorial Board. “Condemnation isn’t enough for Russian actions in Crimea”. Washington Post.
  6. Jump up^ Memorandum on Security Assurances [2]
  7. Jump up to:a b Are the US and the UK bound to intervene in Ukraine?france24, 03-03-2014
  8. Jump up to:a b Ukraine crisis’ impact on nuclear weapons, 4-March-2014
  9. Jump up^ http://en.ria.ru/russia/20120713/174576071.html
  10. Jump up^ Higgins, Andrew; Reevell, Patrick (28 February 2014). “Armed, masked men appear at airports in Crimea”The Boston Globe. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Booth, William; DeYoung, Karen (28 February 2014). “Reports of Russian military activity in Crimea prompts stern warning from Obama”The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  12. Jump up^ “Movement of Russian armored vehicles in Crimea fully complies with agreements – Foreign Ministry”. RT. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  13. Jump up^ “Ukrainian parliament appeals to Budapest Memorandum signatories”. Interfax Ukraine. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.

External links

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 1 of 4. From Rus to Ukraine

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 2 of 4. Ukraine or Little Russia?

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 3 of 4. Together Forever

Ukraine – The Birth of a Nation. Part 4 of 4. Independence

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The Economics of Russian Imperialism in Ukraine: Russia Goes Around Ukraine with Gas Pipelines — Videos

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Story 1: The Economics of Russian Imperialism in Ukraine: Russia Goes Around Ukraine with Gas Pipelines — Videos

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Ken Silverstein

Contributor

The Russian and Ukrainian conflict is about freedom — not just to political expression but also to explore new economic ties with the western world, which includes finding additional access to lucrative natural gas supplies.

It’s a battle that extends well beyond the walls of the former Soviet Bloc and into the heart of Europe that has long relied on Russian natural gas to provide about a quarter of its needs and which a third of it flows through Ukraine’s pipelines. Now that Russia has taken military control of the Crimean section of Ukraine, those conduits are in peril.

Russia, meantime, provides anywhere from one-third to one-half of Ukraine’s natural gas. And, since 2006, the two nations have had legitimate battles over how to value that vital product. During the early years of that dispute, Russia had wanted to quadruple prices to Ukraine. Recently, though, those natural gas prices are tied to global oil prices and have sold at much greater rates, which has cut Ukraine’s consumption of Russian natural gas.

Ukraine still subsidizes the gas that it does buy for its own citizens, noting that without such help, its already recession-ridden country would go into an economic tailspin. The International Monetary Fund is reporting that energy subsidies made up 7.5 percent of Ukraine’s 2012 gross domestic product.

“The Ukrainian economy has been in recession since mid-2012, and the outlook remains challenging. In January–September 2013 GDP contracted by 1.25 percent year-over-year, reflecting lower demand for Ukrainian exports and falling investments,” says the IMF’s December 2013 analysis.

For the moment, Ukraine — and Europe as well — have gotten a minor reprieve because each has had a mild winter. Europe is also warming to U.S. natural gas imports in the form of liquefied natural gas, which can sell for a premium there. Its also been shying away, lately, from Russian gas and using more coal.

Europe, too, has also won access to a number of new pipeline routes, or ones that are able to bypass Ukraine and enter the continent other ways. Among them: Pipelines are linking the Caspian Sea, Middle East and North Africa with Continental Europe. Algeria, for example, is increasing the capacity of its export routes that carry gas into Italy and efforts are also underway to do the same for routes into France and Germany.

Ukraine could ultimately break loose of the natural gas shackles from which Russia has help it captive. A Washington Post story says that Ukraine has signed deals with Chevron Corp and Royal Dutch Shell to invest as much as $10 billion into shale gas development in the western part of the country. ExxonMobil, meantime, wants to drill for oil and gas in the deep water of the Black Sea there — something that the paper says will have to wait given the uncertainties.

 

It’s accurate to say that the distrust that permeated during Cold War era still exists. But Russia can still be counted on — to act in its self interest. And in this case, the need to grow its own economy and to continue to market its natural gas to both Eastern and Western Europe could help soothe things.

Many Europeans say that Russia needs the revenues from selling its natural gas as much as the West needs those supplies. They maintain that the former Communist state is as reliable of a partner as the nations of the Middle East or Northern Africa. Other nations made up of mostly the former Soviet Bloc argue that Russia leverages its natural gas domination as a way to earn economic clout.

There’s no disagreement that Russia holds vast natural gas reserves. According to theU.S. Energy Information Administration, it possesses 27.5 percent of the world’s gas supply. About half of its own needs are met with natural gas while it provides about 23 percent of Europe’s demand.

Russia’s prized national asset is the natural gas company Gazprom, which is an outgrowth of the old Soviet empire. Today, though, Gazprom suffers from aging fields, state regulation and monopolistic control.

While Russia has been investing in its natural gas sector, it lacks the know-how or the capital to vastly increase its production. For that, it has been in talks with some western enterprises that consist of ConocoPhilips and Norsk Hydro of Norway to develop the gas-rich Shtokman fields in the Barents Sea. To become an energy leader, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says that between $173 billion and $203 billion must be invested in Russia’s gas sector by 2020.

Therein is the western world’s leverage with Russia, which needs the capital and technology to increase its international status. The crisis in Ukraine, however, is challenging the whole geo-political-economic paradigm. Russia needs Ukraine both culturally and economically. But it also needs to refurbish its image and to ingratiate itself with the world community.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2014/03/03/russian-ukrainian-conflict-spilling-beyond-borders-and-into-natural-gas-markets/

Russia Moves to Deploy Troops in Ukraine

In Phone Call, Obama Urges Putin to De-escalate Tensions

By

ALAN CULLISON in Sevastopol,
PAUL SONNE in Simferopol and
GREGORY L. WHITE in Moscow

The American and Russian presidents spoke on the phone for 90 minutes on Saturday after Russia’s parliament voted unanimously to deploy troops in Ukraine, defying warnings from Western leaders not to intervene.

In his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin , U.S. President Barack Obamaexpressed “his deep concern over Russia’s clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Mr. Obama urged Russia to de-escalate tensions by withdrawing its forces back to bases in Crimea and to refrain from any interference elsewhere in Ukraine.

Saturday’s developments come as Russian troops and their local allies have already largely taken control of Crimea, a restive province of Ukraine that belonged to Russia until 1954 and remains predominantly pro-Russian.

In a statement after the call between Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama, the White House said the U.S. “condemns Russia’s military intervention into Ukrainian territory.”

Mr. Putin told Mr. Obama that Russia reserved the right to intervene in Ukraine to protect its interests and those of the Russian-speaking population there, according to a statement from the Kremlin.

Mr. Putin also spoke of “provocations, crimes by ultranationalist elements, essentially supported by the current authorities in Kiev.” It wasn’t clear what incidents Mr. Putin was referring to.

n Moscow, Russian lawmakers also asked Mr. Putin to recall the country’s ambassador to the U.S. On Friday, Mr. Obama had publicly warned Russia that there would be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.

Western officials expressed alarm and cautioned Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

French President François Hollande also spoke with Mr. Putin Saturday and urged him to avoid any use of force in Ukraine. The French leader held a round of phone calls with Mr. Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel that aimed to forge a common position between the allies.

“I deplore today’s decision by Russia on the use of armed forces in Ukraine. This is an unwarranted escalation of tensions,” said European Union foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is “gravely concerned about the deterioration of the situation” in Ukraine.

In an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Saturday that the regional Crimean government had formally requested Russian military assistance to restore stability to the peninsula. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power denounced the Russian decision to intervene as “dangerous as it is destabilizing” and said it was taken without legal basis. “The Russian military must stand down,” Ms. Power said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu. U.S. defense officials wouldn’t immediately provide any details of the call and didn’t say whether Mr. Hagel delivered any warning or caution.

In Brussels, ambassadors to the main political decision-making body of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are set to meet Sunday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Afterward, the ambassadors will meet with the Ukrainian ambassador to NATO in a format called the NATO-Ukraine Council.

Meanwhile, skirmishes broke out in other regions of Ukraine, raising concern about broader unrest.

The new government in Kiev called an urgent session of its security council Saturday evening and set a special parliamentary meeting for Sunday to discuss the Russian move.

Vitali Klitschko, the former boxing champion who is one of the protest movement’s most prominent leaders, called on parliament to call a “general mobilization” to respond to the threat, apparently referring to Ukraine’s military.

Heavily armed troops, many from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, surrounded key facilities across the region in the past day. The newly installed pro-Russian leader of Crimea Saturday formally asked Russia to deploy its troops to help secure the region.

Mr. Putin’s request didn’t specify how many troops might be sent. It said they would be deployed “until the normalization of the social-political situation in the country.”

The request cited the “threat to the lives of Russian citizens” living in Crimea, as well as the personnel of the Black Sea Fleet.

The approval of Mr. Putin’s request doesn’t necessarily mean troops will be dispatched immediately, an official said.

“Having the right (to deploy forces) doesn’t mean immediately, momentarily exercising that. So we will hope that the situation will go according to a better scenario and won’t continue to be exacerbated as it is now,” presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a radio interview.

Mr. Peskov said in the interview that no decision had been made yet on deploying forces to Ukraine or on recall of the ambassador.

Sergei Aksyonov, who was appointed prime minister of Crimea after armed men took over the regional parliament this week, said troops from the Black Sea Fleet are guarding vital facilities in the region and helping with patrols to ensure public order. Mr. Aksyonov, who is pro-Russian, said he was taking command of the peninsula’s police and army.

In the economically important eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, hundreds of pro-Russian protesters massed Saturday in the main square and took over a main government administration building, and raised the Russian flag, according to local residents and news outlets. It was unclear whether the protesters were local residents. The number of protesters was also unclear; Russian and Ukrainian media had wildly different estimates of crowd strength.

The Donetsk city council issued a statement demanding a referendum over whether the mining region with strong ties to Russia should remain part of Ukraine.

By nightfall, the area around the Donetsk main square was quiet. A reporter from Ukrainian national television said that the protesters remained inside the building, drinking tea and planning new pro-Russia protests for Monday.

In Kharkiv, protests erupted Saturday between crowds of mostly young men who have been camped out at different sides of the city’s main square—Europe’s largest city square—for weeks now.

The groups, one which is pro-Kiev and the other which is pro-Moscow, are mostly local youth, some of which are supporters of the local football team, who appear to have more personal grievances with each other rather than deeply held political agendas, according to local residents who know several of the people at the demonstration.

Interfax reported that about 100 people were injured in the disorder Saturday, though that figure couldn’t immediately be confirmed.

Ukraine military bases were quickly surrounded and sealed off Saturday by Russian forces in Crimea as the Kremlin made preparations for a larger-scale landing of troops.

Russian troops were posted near the gates and around the perimeters of several bases near Sevastopol. When asked why they were there, officers replied that they were providing security to the bases, to stop any pro-Russian citizens who might try to take them.

The troops posted around the base had no markings on their uniforms. Their commander, when asked if he could reveal their nationality, said “of course not.” Others admitted they were Russian. Ukrainian officials at the base said the Russians were allowing food and provisions to be brought in.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the government in Kiev of trying to destabilize the region and directing gunmen to capture Crimea’s ministry of internal affairs building overnight. It said the attack, which couldn’t be verified, was averted with “decisive action.”

Five people who live in the buildings next to the ministry building in Simferopol said everything was peaceful Friday night and they heard nothing. There were no signs of struggle at the building complex.

Vladimir Krashevsky, a top official at the Simferopol-based division of the local berkut, or riot police, said there was no attack by Kiev-allied gunmen on the building, where he gave an impromptu news conference Saturday.

“There was no attack here and there won’t be one,” he said.

The resolution authorizing the use of force in Ukraine cited the threat to Russian citizens there, but officials in Moscow repeatedly suggested that the Kremlin was coming to the defense of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, even if they hold Ukrainian citizenship.

“There is a threat today to the lives and safety of our fellow citizens, of Russian speakers, of ethnic Russians,” Valentina Matvienko, speaker of the upper house of parliament, told reporters after the vote. “We can’t remain indifferent.”

Asked about possible western counter-intervention, she said there was no ground for it. “With all due respect to the United States, where is the U.S. located and where is Russia? This is happening on Russia’s border.”

Alexander Chekalin, a senator, spoke before the vote, saying, “we are one people, speaking one language, following one faith and sharing one history.” The eastern and southern parts of Ukraine have a large number of Russian-speakers who are members of the Orthodox church.

On Friday, armed men surrounded Crimea’s two main airports, took command of its state television network and set up checkpoints along the key roads connecting the peninsula to the rest of Ukraine. On Saturday, professional military men in unmarked green camouflage uniforms appeared outside the Crimean parliament building in Simferopol.

Ukrainian officials said the well-equipped men—many of whom carried sophisticated automatic weapons—were Russian soldiers.

The leader of the Crimean Tatars, the ethnic minority that accounts for 12% of Crimea and supports the new government in Kiev, sought to dispel the notion that the seizure of government buildings in Crimea had grown out of a citizen uprising.

“These buildings were seized by specially trained people acting on military orders,” said Refat Chubarov, the Tatar leader and deputy in the parliament, at a news conference Saturday.

Ukraine’s new prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, called the continuing militarization in Crimea a provocation intended to draw in Ukraine militarily. He demanded Russian forces return to their base in Sevastopol.

“The presence of Russian troops is nothing more than a violation of the agreement for the Black Sea Fleet to be in Ukraine,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted him as saying. “We urge the Russian government to withdraw their troops and return them to their base.”

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303801304579412380376851854

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Ukraine People vs. Russia — USA Response — Absolutely Nothing! — Videos

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Diasters, Economics, Education, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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 Story 2: Ukraine People vs. Russia — USA Response — Absolutely Nothing! — Videos

Ukraine_Political

map

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The Coming Stock Market Crash and Recession? The End of American As You Know It? — Videos

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, Climate, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Securities and Exchange Commission, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-220

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Story 1: The Coming Stock Market Crash and Recession? The End of American As You Know It? — Videos

Obama ObamaCare Economic Collapse stock-market-crash-1929 20141929-IS-A-MOLEHILL-COMPARED-TO-THIS-MOUNTAINdow-today-vs-1929-feb-5

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Senator Rand Paul Republican Party Front-Runner — A Profile in Courage — Videos

Posted on February 27, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Raves, Resources, Security, Tax Policy, Technology, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-219

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShow 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

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Story 1: Senator Rand Paul Republican Party Front-Runner —  A Profile in Courage –Videos

rand-paulRand Paul, Kelley Paul, William Paul, Robert Paul, Duncan PaulRand_Paul_family

Profile in Courage

Sen. Rand Paul : I’ll Decide in 2014 on a Presidential Run – 2/17/13

Sen. Paul: I heard Obama say `trust me` on NSA

Rand Paul’s Plan To Grow The Economy – Glenn Beck Radio 2/13/2013

Judge Jeanine Pirro Asks Rand Paul If He Will Run For President 2016

Chris Matthews: Rand Paul Will Be Republican Presidential Nominee in 2016

Rand Paul: Voters ready for Libertarian Republican in 2016

Sen. Rand Paul Defends the Fourth Amendment – February 11, 2014

Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) Announces Lawsuit Vs Pres Obama, Dirs Of NSA, FBI, DNi, FBI Named In Suit

Sen. Rand Paul Delivers Response to President’s State of the Union Address

Senator Rand Paul HUMILIATES and EXPOSES John Kerry!!

Explosive: Sen. Rand Paul To Hillary Clinton – I Would Have Fired You

Reclaiming Our Rights in the 21st Century (Sen. Rand Paul)

How Rand Paul said the ‘politically bravest thing’ in Washington

Chris Christie Ties Rand Paul for 2016 GOP Primary Lead as Ted Cruz Slips 5 Points

Rand Paul: I’m Thinking Of Running For President – Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor 2/5/2013

Rand Paul: NSA Spying Doesn’t Make Me Feel Any Safer, But I Do Feel My Privacy Is Being Intruded On

Rand Paul: Voters ready for Libertarian Republican in 2016

Sen. Rand Paul Filing Class-Action Lawsuit Against NSA

Liberty & Civil Rights speech by Senator Rand Paul Howard University

How the GOP Can Attract Young People: Rand Paul and Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck: Rand Paul On Freedom

Rand Paul Is the GOP’s Early Presidential Front-Runner

While the establishment hopes for a governor to emerge, he is quietly putting together a formidable operation.

Republican strategists like to say the party’s next nominee needs to hail from the GOP’s gubernatorial ranks. It’s a response to how unpopular Washington is—particularly the party’s congressional wing—and a reflection of the party’s strength in holding a majority of governorships. But another reason for the gubernatorial focus is to sidestep the one formidable candidate that gives the establishment heartburn: Sen. Rand Paul.

Make no mistake: The Kentuckian scares the living daylights out of many Republicans looking for an electable nominee capable of challenging Hillary Clinton. At the same time, he’s working overtime to broaden the party’s image outside its traditional avenues of support. The 2016 Republican nominating fight will go a long way toward determining whether Paul is the modern version of Barry Goldwater or at the leading edge of a new, more libertarian brand of Republicanism.

“That’s the big challenge—is America ready? I think that Rand and his small-L libertarian Republicanism can break through,” said Paul’s longtime adviser Jesse Benton. “He’s a fundamentally better messenger than Barry Goldwater—[Goldwater's 1964 campaign slogan] ‘In your heart you know he’s right’ is not very compelling. Rand is a wonderful communicator, and I think a message of individual liberty can build wide support.”

Either way, Paul’s brand of politics is a distinct departure from the party’s traditional moorings. His occasional sympathy for Edward Snowden puts him on an island within the party. His critique of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance techniques and noninterventionist views on foreign policy are gaining some conservative followers, but are still outside the party mainstream. Many conservative foreign policy hawks could sooner support Clinton than Paul in a 2016 matchup.

And he’s got a history of questionable associations and controversial comments that would make Democratic opposition researchers salivate. Whether it’s hiring a top aide who was a former secessionist talk-show host (and defending him amid controversy), questioning the legality of the 1964 Civil Rights Act during his Senate campaign, or facing allegations of plagiarism from past speeches, Paul’s got plenty of controversies poised to reemerge in a presidential campaign. Paul’s invocation of Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky to attack Hillary Clinton in recent weeks is classic Paul—throw red meat into the fire to energize the base, regardless of the political consequences.

At the same time, Paul has been doing more than almost any other Republican to expand the party’s appeal to nontraditional GOP voters—the type of activity that’s imperative for future success. He spoke at Howard University and historically black Simmons College in Kentucky (twice) as part of an outreach effort toward African-Americans. His Jack Kemp-like pitch for “economic freedom zones” has even drawn the interest of the NAACP, which invited him to speak. He’s been leading the call for reforming drug sentencing, an issue that’s won support from many young voters and minorities who disproportionately bear the burden of current zero-tolerance policy. This week, at a Missouri Republican Party banquet, he said the party needs “a more diverse party—with tattoos and without tattoos.”

Meanwhile, the politics of the 2016 Republican nomination look increasingly favorable to Paul. He is one of the top fundraisers in the field, has a ready-made base of support from his father’s presidential networks, and has proven his savvy political instincts with a made-for-TV drone filibuster and NSA lawsuit. The newly compressed Republican presidential calendar should benefit a Paul candidacy, since he’s got the grassroots support to play in the small states and the money to fight forward in the big media-market states that follow.

Paul’s mutually beneficial alliance with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who faces reelection this year, is a prime example of his political foresight. McConnell has helped him build chits with the establishment, including donors skeptical of his national viability. McConnell, meanwhile, has gotten tea-party validation to get him through a contested primary against businessman Matt Bevin. He’s also benefited from Paul’s swipes at former President Clinton, who is emerging as an important surrogate for McConnell’s Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell, if he survives the general election, could become the next majority leader. But Paul, in taming the establishment skepticism toward him, could end up with the bigger prize.

“He is the Republican front-runner,” said Republican strategist Scott Jennings, who served as deputy political director in the George W. Bush administration and is now running a pro-McConnell super PAC in Kentucky. “The political instinct of when to do things is not something you teach—you either have it or you don’t. He’s got a knack for finding populist issues showing why the government is stupid, and people like it.”

http://www.nationaljournal.com/against-the-grain/rand-paul-is-the-gop-s-early-presidential-front-runner-20140225

Rand Paul

Randal Howard “Rand” Paul (born January 7, 1963) is the junior United States Senator for Kentucky. He is a member of theRepublican Party and the son of former U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas. He first received national attention in 2008 when making political speeches on behalf of his father, who was campaigning for the Republican Party’s nomination for president. During his father’s final term in the house, he was the first United States senator to have served simultaneously with a parent in the United States House of Representatives.

A graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, Paul began practicing ophthalmology in Bowling GreenKentucky in 1993 and established his own clinic in December 2007. He remained active in politics and founded Kentucky Taxpayers United in 1994, of which he is still chairman.[2]

In 2010, Paul ran as the Republican candidate for the United States Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, defeating Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the primary. He subsequently defeated Kentucky Attorney GeneralJack Conway in the general election. A member of the Tea Party movement, he supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, the Read the Bills Act, and widespread reduction in federal spending and taxation. Unlike his more stridently isolationist, or “non-interventionist“, father, Paul concedes a role for American armed forces abroad, including permanent foreign military bases.[3][4] He has garnered attention for his positions, often clashing with both Republicans and Democrats.[5]

Rand Paul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with Paul Rand.
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Rand Paul
Rand Paul, official portrait, 112th Congress alternate.jpg
Paul in January 2011
United States Senator
from Kentucky
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Serving with Mitch McConnell
Preceded by Jim Bunning
Personal details
Born Randal Howard Paul
January 7, 1963 (age 51)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kelley Ashby Paul (m. 1990)
Relations Ron Paul (father)
Carol Wells Paul (mother)
Children William
Robert
Duncan
Residence Bowling Green, Kentucky
Alma mater Baylor University
Duke University (M.D.)
Occupation Ophthalmologist
Religion Presbyterian[1]
(baptized Episcopalian)
Website Senator Rand Paul

Randal Howard “Rand” Paul (born January 7, 1963) is the junior United States Senator for Kentucky. He is a member of theRepublican Party and the son of former U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas. He first received national attention in 2008 when making political speeches on behalf of his father, who was campaigning for the Republican Party’s nomination for president. During his father’s final term in the house, he was the first United States senator to have served simultaneously with a parent in the United States House of Representatives.

A graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine, Paul began practicing ophthalmology in Bowling GreenKentucky in 1993 and established his own clinic in December 2007. He remained active in politics and founded Kentucky Taxpayers United in 1994, of which he is still chairman.[2]

In 2010, Paul ran as the Republican candidate for the United States Senate seat being vacated by retiring Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, defeating Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the primary. He subsequently defeated Kentucky Attorney GeneralJack Conway in the general election. A member of the Tea Party movement, he supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, the Read the Bills Act, and widespread reduction in federal spending and taxation. Unlike his more stridently isolationist, or “non-interventionist“, father, Paul concedes a role for American armed forces abroad, including permanent foreign military bases.[3][4] He has garnered attention for his positions, often clashing with both Republicans and Democrats.[5]

Early life and education

Randal Howard Paul[6] was born on January 7, 1963, in PittsburghPennsylvania, to Carol (née Wells) and Ron Paul. His father is a physician and former U.S. Representative of Texas’ 14th congressional district. The middle child of five, his siblings are Ronald “Ronnie” Paul Jr., Lori Paul Pyeatt, Robert Paul and Joy Paul-LeBlanc.[7] Paul was baptized in the Episcopal Church[8] and identified as a practicing Christian as a teenager.[9] Despite his father’s libertarian views and strong support for individual rights,[9][10] the novelistAyn Rand was not the inspiration for his first name. Growing up, he went by “Randy”,[11] but his wife shortened it to “Rand.”[9][12][13]

The Paul family moved to Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1968,[11][14] where he was raised[15][16] and where his father began a medical practice and for an extent of time was the onlyobstetrician in Brazoria County.[11][14] When he was 13, his father was elected to the United States House of Representatives.[17] The younger Paul often spent summer vacations interning in his father’s congressional office.[18] In his teenage years, Paul studied the Austrian economists that his father respected, as well as the writings of Objectivistphilosopher Ayn Rand.[11] Paul went to Brazoswood High School and was on the swimming team and played defensive back on the football team.[9][15] Paul attended Baylor University from fall 1981 to summer 1984. He was enrolled in the honors program at Baylor, and had scored approximately in the 90th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test.[19] During the time he spent at Baylor, he was involved in the swim team and Young Conservatives of Texas and was a member of a secret organization known as the NoZe Brotherhood.[20] Paul left Baylor early when he was accepted into the Duke University School of Medicine, where he earned an M.D. in 1988, and completed his residency in 1993.[19]

Medical career

Paul has held a state-issued medical license since moving to Bowling Green in 1993.[21] He received his first job from Dr. John Downing of Downing McPeak Vision Centers, which brought him to Bowling Green after completing his residency. Paul worked for Downing for about five years before parting ways. Afterwards, he went to work at the Gilbert Graves Clinic, a private medical group in Bowling Green, for 10 years before creating his own practice in a converted one-story house across the street from Downing’s office.[22] After his election to the U.S. Senate, he merged his practice with Downing’s medical practice.[23] Paul has faced two malpractice lawsuits between 1993 and 2010; he was cleared in one case while the other was settled for $50,000.[22] Regardless, his medical work has been praised by Downing and he has medical privileges at two Bowling Green hospitals.[21][22]Paul specializes in cataract and glaucoma surgeries, LASIK procedures, and corneal transplants.[12] As a member of the Bowling Green Noon Lions Club, Paul founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic to help provide eye surgery and exams for those who cannot afford to pay.[24]

National Board of Ophthalmology

In 1995, Paul passed the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) boards on his first attempt and earned board-certification under the ABO for 10 years. In 1997, to protest the ABO’s 1992 decision to grandfather in older ophthalmologists and not require them to be recertified every 10 years in order to maintain their status as board-certified practitioners, Paul, along with 200 other ophthalmologists formed the National Board of Ophthalmology (NBO) to offer an alternative ophthalmology certification system.[25][26] The NBO was incorporated in 1999, but he allowed it to be dissolved in 2000 after not filing the required paperwork with the Kentucky Secretary of State‘s office. Paul later recreated the board in September 2005, three months before his original 10-year certification from the ABO lapsed. His ABO certification lapsed on December 31, 2005. Paul has since been certified by the NBO,[21] with himself as the organization’s president, his wife as vice-president, and his father-in-law as secretary.[27] The ophthalmology board is not officially recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).[21] The NBO was again dissolved on September 10, 2011.[28]

Political activism

Paul served as the head of the local chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas during his time at Baylor University. While attending Duke Medical School, Paul volunteered for his father’s 1988 Libertarian presidential campaign. In response to President Bush breaking his election promise to not raise taxes, Paul founded the North Carolina Taxpayers Union in 1991.[18] In 1994, Paul founded the anti-tax organization Kentucky Taxpayers United (KTU), serving as chair of the organization from its inception. He has often cited his involvement with KTU as the foundation of his involvement with state politics.[29] Described as “ideological and conservative” by the Lexington Herald-Leader, the group considered itselfnonpartisan,[30][31] examining Kentucky legislators’ records on taxation and spending and encouraging politicians to publicly pledge to vote uniformly against tax increases.[32][33]

The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010 that although Paul had told a Kentucky television audience as recently as September 2009 that KTU published ratings each year on state legislators’ tax positions and that “we’ve done that for about 15 years”, the group had stopped issuing its ratings and report cards after 2002 and had been legally dissolved by the state in 2000 after failing to file registration documents.[29]

Paul spoke on his father’s behalf when his father was campaigning for office,[34] including throughout the elder Paul’s run in the 2008 presidential election, during which Rand campaigned door-to-door in New Hampshire[35] and spoke in Boston at a fundraising rally for his father on the anniversary of the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.[36]

In February 2014, Paul joined the Tea Party-affiliated conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks in filing a class-action lawsuit charging that the US government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records metadata is a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.[37][38][39] Commenting on the lawsuit at a press conference, Paul said, “I’m not against the NSA, I’m not against spying, I’m not against looking at phone records…. I just want you to go to a judge, have an individual’s name and [get] a warrant. That’s what the Fourth Amendment says.”[37] He also said there was no evidence the surveillance of phone metadata had stopped terrorism.[37] Critics, including Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz[40] and Steven Aftergood, the director of the American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy,[39] called the lawsuit a political “stunt”. Paul’s political campaign organization said that the names of members of the public who went to Paul’s websites and signed on as potential class-action participants would be available in the organization’s database for future campaign use.[37][41] On the announcement of the filing of the lawsuit, Mattie Fein, the spokeswoman for and former wife of attorney Bruce Fein, complained that Fein’s intellectual contribution to the lawsuit had been stolen and that he had not been properly paid for his work.[42] Paul’s representatives denied the charge, and Fein issued a statement saying that Mattie Fein had not been authorized to speak for him on the matter and that he had in fact been paid for his work on the lawsuit.[42]

Paul is co-author of a book entitled The Tea Party Goes to Washington (2011) with Jack Hunter, also known as the “Southern Avenger.”[43][44] Paul is also the author ofGovernment Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds (2012).[45]

Paul was included in Time magazine’s world’s most influential people, for 2013.[46]

Electoral history

Primary campaign

Then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul speaking with a supporter at a healthcare rally in Louisville, Kentucky in November 2009

At the beginning of 2009, there was an online grassroots movement to draft Paul in a bid to replace beleaguered Republican Kentucky senator Jim Bunning. The news of Paul’s potential candidacy became a topic of national interest and was discussed in the Los Angeles Times[47] and locally in the Kentucky press.[48] Paul’s father remarked, “Should Senator Bunning decide not to run, I think Rand would make a great U.S. Senator.”[49]

On May 1, 2009, Paul officially confirmed that if Bunning, whose fundraising in 2009 matched his poor numbers in opinion polling for the 2010 election,[50] declined to seek a third term, he would almost certainly run in the Republican Party primary to succeed him,[51] and formed an exploratory committee soon after, while still promising to stay out of the race if Bunning ultimately decided to run for reelection. Paul made this announcement on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, though a Kentucky news site first broke the news.[52]

On July 28, 2009, Bunning announced that he would not run for reelection in the face of insufficient fundraising. The announcement left only Paul and Secretary of State Trey Grayson as the remaining candidates for the Republican nomination,[53] with Paul announcing on August 5, 2009 that he would officially run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. The announcement was made through a series of national TV events, radio, and other programs, as well as newspapers in Kentucky.[54][55][56]

Early fundraising success

On August 20, 2009, Paul’s supporters planned a moneybomb to kick off his campaign. The official campaign took in $433,509 in 24 hours. His website reported that this set a new record in Kentucky’s political fundraising history in a 24-hour period.[57]

A second “moneybomb” was held on September 23, 2009, to counter a D.C. fundraiser being held for primary opponent Trey Grayson, by 23 Republican United States Senators, 17 of whom voted for the bank bailout.[58] The theme was a UFC “fight” between Paul and “We the People” vs. Trey Grayson and the “D.C. Insiders”.[59] The money bomb ended up raising $186,276 for Paul in 24 hours on September 23;[60] bringing Paul’s Senate campaign’s total raised to over one million. Later in the campaign, Paul claimed his pledge to not take money from lobbyists and Senators who had voted for the bailout was only a “primary pledge”;[61] he subsequently held a DC fundraiser with the same Senators who had been the target of the September 23, 2009 “moneybomb”. Paul ended up raising some $3 million during the primary period.

Primary victory

Then-U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul with then-Senator Jim Bunning at a rally inHebron, Kentucky in November 2010

Although Grayson was considered the frontrunner in July 2009,[62] Paul found success characterizing Grayson as a “career politician” and challenging Grayson’s conservatism. Paul ran an ad in February that made an issue out of Grayson’s September 2008 admission that he voted for Bill Clinton when he was 20 years old.[63] James Dobson, a Christian evangelical figure, endorsed Grayson on April 26 based on the advice of what Dobson described as “senior members of the GOP”, but on May 3 the Paul campaign announced that Dobson had changed his endorsement to Paul[64] after Paul and some Paul supporters had lobbied Dobson insisting on Paul’s social conservative bona fides.[65]

On May 18, Paul won the Republican Senatorial primary by a 23.4% margin,[66] meaning he would face the Kentucky Attorney GeneralJack Conway, in the November 2 general election.[67]

General campaign

In the 2010 general election, Paul faced Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway. The campaign attracted $8.5 million in contributions from outside groups, of which $6 million was spent to help Paul and $2.5 million to help Conway. This money influx was in addition to the money spent by the candidates themselves: $6 million by Paul and $4.7 million by Conway.[68][69] On June 28, 2010, Paul supporters held their first post-primary online fundraising drive, this time promoted as a “money blast”.[70][71]

Paul’s campaign got off to a rough start after his comments on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 stirred controversy.[72] Paul stated that he favored 9 out of 10 titles of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but that had he been a senator during the 1960s, he would have raised some questions on the constitutionality of Title II of the Act.[73] Paul said that he abhors racism, and that he would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr. to repeal Jim Crow Laws. He later released a statement declaring that he would have voted for the Act and stated “unequivocally … that I will not support any efforts to repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1964″.[74][75] Later he generated more controversy by characterizing statements made by Obama Administration officials regarding the BP oil spill cleanup as sounding “un-American”.[76]

U.S. Senate career

Tenure

112th Congress (2011-13)

Rand Paul being sworn in as a senator by Vice President Joe Biden, along with his family, in the Old Senate Chamber in theUnited States Capitol building

Paul was sworn in on January 5, 2011 along with his father, marking the first time in congressional history that someone served in the Senate while their parent simultaneously served in the House of Representatives.[77] He was assigned to serve on the Energy and Natural ResourcesHealth, Education, Labor and PensionsHomeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Businesscommittees.[78] Paul also formed the Senate Tea Party Caucus with Jim DeMint and Mike Lee as its inaugural members.[79] His first legislative proposal was to cut $500 billion from federal spending in one year. This proposal included cutting the Department of Educationby 83 percent and the Department of Homeland Security by 43 percent, as well as folding the Department of Energy into the Department of Defense and eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Seven independent agencies would be eliminated and food stamps would be cut by 30 percent. Under Paul’s proposal, defense spending would be reduced by 6.5 percent and international aidwould be eliminated.[80] He later proposed a five-year budget plan intended to balance the budget.[81]

In February, Paul was one of two Republicans to vote against extending three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act (roving wiretaps, searches of business records, and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals not linked to terrorist groups).[82] In May, he remained the last senator opposing the PATRIOT Act, and was ultimately defeated on May 26.[83]

On March 2, Paul was one of nine senators to vote against a stopgap bill that cut $4 billion from the budget and temporarily prevent agovernment shutdown, citing that it did not cut enough from the budget.[84] One week later, he voted against the Democratic and Republican budget proposals to keep funding the federal government, citing that both bills did not cut enough spending. Both bills failed to pass the Senate.[85] He later voted against stopgap measures on March 17 and April 8, both of which passed the senate.[86] On April 14, He was one of 19 senators to vote against a budget that cut $38.5 billion from the budget and fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year.[87] Paul voiced opposition to U.S. intervention in the Libyan civil war and has criticized President Obama for not gaining congressional consent forOperation Odyssey Dawn.[88] During the debt ceiling crisis, the Senator stated that he would only support raising the debt ceiling if a balanced budget amendment was enacted.[89]Paul was a supporter of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which was tabled by Democratic opposition.[90] On August 3, Paul voted against a bill that would raise the debt ceiling.[91]

On September 7, Paul called for a vote of no confidence in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.[92] Later that month, Paul blocked legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines because he stated the bill was not strong enough.[93] In October, Paul blocked a bill that would provide $36 million in benefits for elderly and disabled refugees, saying that he was concerned that it could be used to aid domestic terrorists. This was in response to two alleged terrorists, who came to the United States through a refugee program and were receiving welfare benefits, were arrested in 2011 in Paul’s hometown of Bowling Green.[94] Paul lifted his hold on the bill after Democratic leaders promised to hold a Congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation on how the two suspects were admitted in the country through a refugee program.[95]

113th Congress (2013-15)

For the 113th Congress, Paul was added to the Foreign Relations committee and retained his spot on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, and Small Business committees.[96]

On March 6–7, 2013, Paul engaged in a talking filibuster to delay voting on the nomination of John O. Brennan as the Director of the CIA. Paul questioned the Obama administration’s use of drones and the stated legal justification for their potential use within the United States.

Rand Paul speaking during his filibuster

Paul held the floor for 12 hours and 52 minutes.[97] He ceded to several Republican senators and Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, who generally also questioned drone usage.[98][99] Paul noted his purpose was to challenge drone policy in general and specifically as it related to noncombatants on U.S. soil. He requested a pledge from the Administration that noncombatants would not be targeted on U.S. soil.[100] Attorney General Eric Holder responded that the President is not authorized to deploy extrajudicial punishment without due process, against non combatant citizens. Paul answered that he was “quite happy” with the response.[101] The filibuster was ended with a cloture vote of 81 to 16, and Brennan was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 63 to 34.[102]

In March 2013, Paul, with Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, threatened another filibuster, this one opposing any legislative proposals to expand federal gun control measures.[103] The filibuster was attempted on April 11, 2013, but was dismissed by cloture, in a 68–31 vote.[104]

Also in March 2013, Paul endorsed fellow Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell‘s 2014 re-election campaign.[105] McConnell had previously hired Paul’s 2010 campaign manager, Jesse Benton, as his own campaign manager.[106] Paul’s endorsement was seen as a major win for McConnell in avoiding a challenge in the Republican primary.[105] In August 2013, a phone call was released to the public in which Benton said that he was “holding his nose” in supporting McConnell in order to help a potential Rand Paul presidential candidacy.[107]

In response to Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy, Paul stated he would not allow the government to attempt to bail out Detroit. In a phone interview with Breitbart.com on July 19, 2013, Paul said, “I basically say he is bailing them out over my dead body because we don’t have any money in Washington.” Paul said he thought a federal bailout would send the wrong message to other cities with financial problems.[108] In September, Paul stated that the United States should avoid military intervention in the ongoing Syrian civil war.[109] In an op-ed, Paul disputed the Obama administration’s claims that the threat of military force caused Syria’s government to consider turning over its chemical weapons, instead arguing that the opposition to military action in Syria, and the delay that it caused, led to diplomatic progress.[110]

In October 2013, Paul was the subject of some controversy when it was discovered that he had plagiarized from Wikipedia part of a speech in support of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Referencing the movie Gattaca, Paul quoted almost verbatim from the Wikipedia article about the film without citing the source.[111][112][113] Evidence soon surfaced that Paul had copied passages in a number of his other speeches and published works nearly verbatim from other authors without giving credit to the original sources,[114][115] including in the speech he had given as the Tea Party rebuttal to the president’s 2013 State of the Union address and in a three-page-long passage of Paul’s bookGovernment Bullies, which was taken directly from an article by the conservative think thank The Heritage Foundation.[116][117] When it became apparent that an op-ed article Paul had published in the Washington Times and testimony he had given before the Senate Judiciary Committee both contained material that was virtually identical to an article that had been published by another author in The Week a few days earlier,[118] the Washington Times said that the newspaper would no longer publish the weekly column Paul had been contributing to the paper.[119] After a week of almost daily news reports of new allegations of plagiarism, Paul said that he was being held to an “unfair standard”, but would restructure his office in order to prevent mistakes in the future, if that would be what it would take “to make people leave me the hell alone”.[120]

Committee assignments

Current
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Political positions

A member of the Tea Party movement,[121][122] Paul has described himself as a “constitutional conservative”[123] and a libertarian.[124] The National Journal rated him the sixth most conservative senator based on votes cast in 2012.[125]

He supports term limits, a balanced budget amendment, and the Read the Bills Act, in addition to the widespread reduction of federal spending and taxation.[5] Unlike his more stridently “non-interventionist” father, Paul concedes a role for American armed forces abroad, including permanent foreign military bases.[126]

Paul describes himself as “100% pro life”.[127] Paul opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest.[128] He has been a sponsor or co-sponsor of several legislative measures to effectively ban all abortions, except possibly in cases in which the mother’s life is at risk.[128] He believes legal personhood begins at fertilization.[129][130][131]

He opposes same-sex marriage, but believes the issue should be left to the states to decide.[132][133] He has argued that Congress’ political position is “ten years behind the American public.”.[134]

He has criticized mandatory minimums that have led to unreasonably harsh sentences for repeated offenders. He has highlighted the case of Timothy L. Tyler as particularly unfair.[135]

Rand Paul speaking at the 2013Conservative Political Action Conference(CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland on March 14, 2013

In a January 2013 interview, he spoke of a possible 2016 presidential candidacy. While not promising a run, he stated the decision would be made within the next two years. He also indicated his intention to shape GOP politics regardless of a run.[136]

He delivered the Tea Party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address on February 13, 2013,[137] while Marco Rubio gave the official Republican response. This prompted some pundits to call that date the start of the 2016 Republican primaries.[138]

He spoke at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. on March 14, 2013.[139] Two days later he won the 2013 CPAC straw poll with 25% of the votes cast.[140] At a Christian Science Monitor sponsored breakfast on April 17, 2013, he reaffirmed that he was considering a 2016 run for the presidency and said no decision would be made before 2014.[141]

He won the Pennsylvania Leadership Conference poll, held April 19–20, 2013, with 39% [142] and the Tennessee Republican Assembly straw poll, also held on April 20, with 58%.[143] His 2013 itinerary reportedly included trips through several early primary states.[144]

Personal life

Paul is married to Kelley (née Ashby) Paul. They live in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where she is a freelance writer and manages payroll and marketing communications for his ophthalmology practice.[145] They have three sons: William, Duncan and Robert. Paul wears hearing aids in both ears

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Obama’s Era of Austerity is Over — Let The Big Spending Beginning — President Is Delusional Suffers From Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2014. Filed under: Agriculture, American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Education, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Math, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Resources, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 176: November 27, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 175: November 26, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 174: November 25, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 173: November 22, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 172: November 21, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 171: November 20, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 170: November 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 169: November 18, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 168: November 15, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 167: November 14, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 166: November 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 165: November 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 164: November 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 162: November 7, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 161: November 4, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 160: November 1, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-216

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

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Story 1: Obama’s Era of Austerity is Over — Let The Big Spending Beginning — President Is Delusional Suffers From Spending Addiction Disorder (SAD) — Videos

 Congressional Budget Office’s newest reports

45086-land-Figure1

In the past few years, debt held by the public has been significantly greater relative to GDP than at any time since just after World War II, and under current law it will continue to be quite high by historical standards during the next decade. With debt so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially as interest rates rise to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the capital stock and wages will be smaller than if debt was lower. In addition, lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Finally, such a large debt poses a greater risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.

http://cbo.gov/publication/45086

Federal Budget Deficits Are Projected to Decline Through 2015 but Rise Thereafter, Further Boosting Federal Debt

posted by Barry Blom & Leigh Angres on february 20, 2014

CBO recently released The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024. In that report, CBO projects that if current laws remain in place, the federal budget deficit will total $514 billion in fiscal year 2014. That deficit will be $166 billion smaller than the figure posted in 2013 and down sharply from the shortfalls recorded between 2009 and 2012, which exceeded $1 trillion annually. At 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), this year’s deficit would be near the average experienced over the past 40 years and about 7 percentage points lower than the figure recorded in 2009.

Today’s post summarizes CBO’s assessment of the budget outlook over the next decade. Three more posts—to appear over the next several days—will provide more detail about the outlook for spending, revenues, and the economy. One more post will expand upon CBO’s economic forecast, explaining the reasons behind the slow recovery of the labor market.

Under Current Law, Federal Debt Will Grow to 79 Percent of GDP at the End of 2024, CBO Estimates

CBO constructs it baseline projections of federal revenues and spending over the coming decade under the assumption that current laws generally remain unchanged. Under that assumption, revenues are projected to grow by about 1 percentage point of GDP over the next 10 years—from 17.5 percent in 2014 to 18.4 percent in 2024. But outlays are projected to rise twice as much, from 20.5 percent of GDP in 2014 to 22.4 percent in 2024. The increase in outlays reflects substantial growth in the cost of the largest benefit programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—and in payments of interest on the government’s debt; those increases would more than offset a significant decline in discretionary spending relative to the size of the economy.

Although the deficit in CBO’s baseline projections continues to decline as a percentage of GDP in 2015, to 2.6 percent, it then starts to increase again in 2016, reaching 4.0 percent of GDP in 2024. That figure for the end of the 10-year projection period is roughly 1 percentage point above the average deficit over the past 40 years relative to the size of the economy.

That pattern of lower deficits initially, followed by higher deficits for the remainder of the projection period, would cause debt held by the public to follow a similar trajectory (see the figure below). Relative to the nation’s output, debt held by the public is projected to decline from 74 percent of GDP in 2014 to 72 percent of GDP in 2017, but to rise thereafter, to 79 percent of GDP at the end of 2024. (As recently as the end of 2007, debt held by the public was equal to 35 percent of GDP.)

Federal Debt Held by the Public

In the past few years, debt held by the public has been significantly greater relative to GDP than at any time since just after World War II, and under current law it will continue to be quite high by historical standards during the next decade. With debt so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially as interest rates rise to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the capital stock and wages will be smaller than if debt was lower. In addition, lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Finally, such a large debt poses a greater risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates. (For a discussion of the consequences of elevated debt, see CBO’s December 2013 report Choices for Deficit Reduction: An Update.)

Projected Deficits Reflect Substantial Growth in the Cost of the Largest Benefit Programs

Projected deficits and debt for the coming decade reflect some of the long-term budgetary pressures facing the nation. The aging of the population, the rising costs of health care, and the expansion in federal subsidies for health insurance that is now under way will substantially boost federal spending on Social Security and the government’s major health care programs by 2 percentage points of GDP over the next 10 years (see the figure below). But the pressures of aging and the rising costs of health care will intensify during the next few decades. Unless the laws governing those programs are changed—or the increased spending is accompanied by corresponding reductions in other spending relative to GDP, by sufficiently higher tax revenues, or by a combination of those changes—debt will rise sharply relative to GDP after 2024. (For a more detailed discussion of the long-term budget situation, see CBO’s September 2013 report The 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook.)

Spending and Revenues Projected in CBO's Baseline, Compared With Levels in 1974

Moreover, holding discretionary spending within the limits required under current law—an assumption that underlies these projections—may be quite difficult. The caps on discretionary budget authority established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25) and subsequently amended will reduce such spending to an unusually small amount relative to the size of the economy. With those caps in place, CBO projects, discretionary spending will equal 5.2 percent of GDP in 2024; by comparison, the lowest share for discretionary spending in any year since 1962 (the earliest year for which such data have been reported) was 6.0 percent in 1999. (Nevertheless, total federal spending would be a larger share of GDP than its average during the past 40 years because of higher spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, other health insurance subsidies for low-income people, and interest payments on the debt.) Because the allocation of discretionary spending is determined by annual appropriation acts, lawmakers have not yet decided which specific government services and benefits will be reduced or constrained to meet the specified overall limits.

The Budget Outlook for the Coming Decade Has Worsened Since May 2013

The baseline budget outlook has worsened since May 2013, when CBO last published its 10-year projections. A description of the changes in CBO’s baseline since May 2013 can be found in Appendix A of the report. At that time, deficits projected under current law totaled $6.3 trillion for the 2014–2023 period, or about 3 percent of GDP. Deficits are now projected to be about $1 trillion larger. The bulk of that change occurred in CBO’s estimates of revenues: The agency has reduced its projection of total revenues by $1.6 trillion, mostly because of changes in the economic outlook. A decrease of $0.6 trillion in projected outlays through 2023 partially offset that change.

Barry Blom is an analyst in CBO’s Budget Analysis Division and Leigh Angres is special assistant to the CBO Director.

how_congress_spends_your_money

Bar Chart Data Source: Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) published by the U. S. Treasury Department. WE DON’T MAKE THIS UP! IT COMES FROM THE U. S. GOVERNMENT! NO ADJUSTMENTS.

The MTS published in October, reports the final actual expenditures for the previous FY. This chart shows FY2013 actual spending data. Here is the link to download your own copy from the Treasury Department web site.

The chart normally shows the proposed budget line for the next fiscal year (FY2014 started 1 October 2013), but the two-year deal for 2014-2015 signed in December 2013, has so few details that showing a “budget” for 2014 or 2015 is no possible. And now Congress has passed the Appropriations (spending) bill that funds the budget through end of FY2014. The details are in a 1500+ page bill that no one in Congress read. But you CAN read it. Here it is H.R.3547 – Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014. (it’s a large pdf document … give it time.)

But we may have an option; we will use the historical tables published by the OMB, about mid-FY2014, take the data from the “estimated” 2014 column. Look for it later.

The Congressional Budget Office reported on the Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis in this report on the non-budget.

Look at the bar chart to find items that are growing and items that are being reduced. The largest growth is at the Department of Agriculture; it handles Food Stamps (SNAP). You pay taxes, your money is paying for food stamps.

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Here is a MUST SEE … The Budget in Pictures!

NDAC studies the Budget Proposals submitted to the U.S. Senate each year by the President of the United States and the House of Representatives. One of the documents that goes along with the budget proposals, “Historical Tables“, is published by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Our analysis is discussed on the home page of this web site.

http://www.federalbudget.com/chartinfo.html

Out-of-Control Spending Is to Blame for America’s Deficit Problem

Federal spending is projected to grow at a rapid pace beyond the 10-year budget window. Without reforms, spending on interest on the debt, health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, etc.), and Social Security will reach unsustainable levels. As a result, these spending levels will cause exploding deficits as tax revenues will be at their modern average level (1952-2008).

americas-deficit-federal-spending-680

Where Does All the Money Go?

In 2012, the major entitlement programs-Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care-consumed 45 percent of all federal spending. These programs, and interest on the debt, are on track to consume an even greater share of spending in future years, while the portion of federal spending dedicated to other national priorities will decline.

SHARE OF FEDERAL SPENDING IN 2012

where-did-your-tax-dollar-go-680

Entitlement Program Spending Is Massive

Annual spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs is massive compared to other federal spending priorities. There is too much waste and inappropriate spending in the discretionary budget as well, but Congress will not be able to rein in spending and debt without reforming the entitlement programs.

ESTIMATED ANNUAL SPENDING IN 2014

spending-cuts-680

Publicly Held Debt Set to Skyrocket

Runaway spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will drive federal debt to unsustainable levels over the next few decades. Total national debt comprises publicly held debt (the most relevant to credit markets) and debt that one part of the government owes to another, such as the Social Security Trust Fund.

national-debt-skyrocket-680

All Tax Revenue Will Go Toward Entitlements and Net Interest by 2030

In less than two decades, all projected tax revenues would be consumed by three federal programs (Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, which includes CHIP and Obamacare) and interest on the debt. Entitlement reform is a must.

entitlements-historical-tax-levels-680

What if a Typical Family Spent and Borrowed Like the Federal Government?

Families understand that it is unwise to repeatedly spend much more than they take in. But Washington continues its shopping spree on the taxpayer credit card with seemingly no regard to the stack of bills the nation has already piled up.

typical-family-spent-like-government-680

debt-limit-by-president-680

The Beatles – Taxman

How Obama could kill the Democratic Party

The Price of a U.S. Credit Rating Downgrade

U.S. deficit to decline, then rise as labor market struggles: CBO

Top 10 MILITARY BUDGETS

America : DHS preparing for possible Riots / Martial Law on Nov 1st over Food Stamps

With 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to era of austerity

By Zachary A. Goldfarb

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections.

As part of that strategy, Obama will jettison the framework he unveiled last year for a so-called grand bargain that would have raised taxes on the rich and reined in skyrocketing retirement spending. A centerpiece of that framework was a proposal — demanded by GOP leaders — to use a less-generous measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits.

The idea infuriated Democrats and never gained much traction with rank-and-file Republicans, who also were unwilling to contemplate tax increases of any kind. On Thursday, administration officials said that the grand-bargain framework remains on the table but that it was time to move on.

“Over the course of last year, Republicans consistently showed a lack of willingness to negotiate on a deficit-reduction deal, refusing to identify even one unfair tax loophole they would be willing to close,” said a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe the budget before its official release. “That is not going to stop the president from promoting new policies that should be part of our public debate.”

Republicans said emerging details of the president’s budget prove he was never serious about addressing the nation’s long-term debt problems.

“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said in a statement. “The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans.”

The new budget request, due out March 4, comes during a relative lull in Washington’s lengthy budget wars. Late last year, Congress approved a two-year spending plan negotiated by the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that would ease automatic cuts, known as the sequester, that were eating away at agency spending. And this month, Congress agreed to forgo another battle over the federal debt limit, voting to suspend its enforcement until March 2015.

The lack of conflict is due in part to the collapse of the deficit as a political issue. While annual budget deficits remain high by historical standards, they have shrunken rapidly over the past few years as the economy recovered and Congress acted to cut spending.

The latest estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office show the deficit falling to$514 billion this year and to $478 billion in fiscal 2015 — well below the trillion-dollar deficits the nation racked up during the recession and immediately afterward. But the CBO warned that deficits would start to grow again in a few years.

n recognition of that fact, Obama would retain some parts of his grand-bargain framework, including a proposal to require wealthy seniors to pay more for Medicare benefits than they do now. White House officials said the president continues to believe that entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security must be reformed to be sustainable.

Meanwhile, Obama would fully pay for proposed new spending in his budget request, administration officials said, including $56 billion for what they called “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative.” The package, which would be split between domestic programs and defense, will include fresh cash for 45 new manufacturing institutes; a “Race to the Top” for states that promote energy efficiency; new job training programs and apprenticeships; and expanded educational programs for pre­schoolers.

White House officials declined to say Thursday how they would fund the initiative. But Obama has in the past proposed limiting the value of income-tax deductions for wealthy households and closing a variety of corporate tax breaks.

A senior administration official said the budget would also propose new corporate tax rules aimed at preventing companies from moving profits overseas to avoid U.S. taxes. For instance, the rules will seek to limit a company’s ability to borrow domestically — and take large tax deductions on the interest — and then invest the money overseas.

Prohibiting corporations from gaming the tax code has been a popular issue among Senate Democrats and would help emphasize bread-and-butter themes in a year when Democrats will also be focusing on raising the minimum wage and other populist measures.

“President Obama’s budget will be a powerful statement of Democratic principles,” Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said in a statement.

Senior administration officials said they decided to chart a more partisan, aspirational path after Republicans failed to respond to the olive branch offered last year. Then, after two years of near-misses on the budget in negotiations with Boehner, Obama still believed a deal was possible.

Now, they said, the president is not so optimistic. And he believes it is up to Republicans to make the next move.

At the same time, the nation’s debt problem has become markedly less urgent, they said, leading the president to back away from the most controversial part of his debt-reduction framework — the proposal to adopt a new measure of inflation known as the chained consumer price index, or chained CPI.

Although other cost-cutting proposals could yet cause tensions within his party, Obama’s decision not to include chained CPI in his budget request immediately won praise from Democrats.

“I applaud President Obama for his important decision to protect Social Security,” Sen. Bernard Sanders, the liberal independent from Vermont, said in a statement. “With the middle class struggling and more people living in poverty than ever before, we cannot afford to make life even more difficult for seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in America.”

Officials said Obama’s budget request will include other nuggets of note. For example, it assumes that an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws will pass Congress despite deep divisions in Republican ranks. It also assumes that a sharp, but somewhat mysterious slowdown in health-care spending will continue throughout the next decade.

As a result, the White House projects that annual budget deficits will fall below 2 percent of gross domestic product by the end of the decade. That outlook is much rosier than CBO projections, which show the deficit rising to 4 percent of GDP in 2024.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/with-2015-budget-request-obama-will-call-for-an-end-to-era-of-austerity/2014/02/20/332808c2-9a6e-11e3-b931-0204122c514b_story.html

Obama’s “End of Austerity” Budget Is Incoherent

Kevin Glass

President Obama’s legally-required but constantly-delayed official budget request to Congress will be on Capitol Hill soon. The Washington Post reportsthat “Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency.” There is much wrong with this worldview.

The only coherent way in which “austerity” has defined much of President Obama’s presidency is one in which America faced a once-in-a-generation economic crisis that President Obama himself responded to by massively ramping up federal spending over the course of his first few years in office. That increase in federal spending was combined with below-average tax revenue to create massive budget deficits that everyone, including President Obama, agreed were a problem.

In accordance with the general principles of Keynesian economics, Barack Obama enacted policies that cut the deficit as we continue to climb back out of the 2008 recession. Now, though, President Obama thinks the deficit is no longer a problem – so it’s time to increase it.

If I were a self-absorbed “fact checker” I’d rate this claim half-true. We’ve largely tamed the medium-term deficit through a mixture of tax hikes and spending cuts. Taming the deficit doesn’t mean that it won’t be a problem in the future – and indeed, the Congressional Budget Office’s newest reports confirm that the deficit should still rate highly on the problems that policymakers should be looking to solve.

The CBO’s long-term budget report finds that the deficit will dip in 2014 and 2015 but then will start rising – and will never stop due to our increasing health and retirement obligations. The CBO reports on why that’s bad:

In the past few years, debt held by the public has been significantly greater relative to GDP than at any time since just after World War II, and under current law it will continue to be quite high by historical standards during the next decade. With debt so large, federal spending on interest payments will increase substantially as interest rates rise to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing generally reduces national saving, the capital stock and wages will be smaller than if debt was lower. In addition, lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unanticipated challenges. Finally, such a large debt poses a greater risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis, during which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates.

It’s absurd that anyone would need to have a refresher on this, but apparently it’s needed: more debt is worse than less debt!

The CBO also confirms what has become even more apparent in the wake of Obamacare: the federal government is becoming less of a traditional government and more of a social insurance state, as more and more spending will go toward health and retirement entitlements, as well as the mere cost of servicing debt:

As Jonathan Chait points out, as a practical political reality, fighting the rise of our retirement obligations has about a ten-year lag time. It’s impractical to change the structure of retirement benefits – both Social Security and Medicare – for current and near-future beneficiaries. We need to get started on reforms now.

President Obama may want to put an end to the “era of austerity,” but it’s an era that he explicitly pushed for through his rhetoric, his desire for tax hikes and his compromises on spending cuts. The medium-term deficit might be under control, but that doesn’t mean fighting future deficits should no longer be a priority for policymakers.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/kevinglass/2014/02/21/obamas-end-of-austerity-budget-is-incoherent-n1798636

Obama budget declares end to … austerity?

Say, did you know that we are living in the age of austerity budgets in Washington? This year’s budget will spend more than last year’s $3.44 trillion, but not as much as Barack Obama requested for FY2014, which was an apparently austere $3.778 trillion. Nevertheless, the Washington Post reports that a newly-emboldened President will demandan end to an “era of austerity” that we haven’t seen in decades with his new FY2015 budget proposal:

President Obama’s forthcoming budget request will seek tens of billions of dollars in fresh spending for domestic priorities while abandoning a compromise proposal to tame the national debt in part by trimming Social Security benefits.

With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans. Instead, the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections. …

Republicans said emerging details of the president’s budget prove he was never serious about addressing the nation’s long-term debt problems.

“This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), said in a statement. “The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans.”

The new budget request, due out March 4, comes during a relative lull in Washington’s lengthy budget wars. Late last year, Congress approved a two-year spending plan negotiated by the chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), that would ease automatic cuts, known as the sequester, that were eating away at agency spending. And this month, Congress agreed to forgo another battle over the federal debt limit, voting to suspend its enforcement until March 2015.

So what will be the top-line number for the FY2015 budget that will end this “era of austerity”? Actually, the Post doesn’t report the top-line outlay number, and the OMB doesn’t have the budget request available on the White House portal yet. One presumes that ending austerity means a demand north of the $3.498 trillion that House Republicans proposed in their budget plan from late last year. It may just be an additional $56 billion over the actual FY2014 levels, which would make it far below his FY2014 proposed budget.

Let’s take a look at all that austerity in the Obama presidency, shall we? Heritage produced this handy graphic in the middle of last year, but it’s very useful now:

heritage-fed-spending

Outlays for FY2014 authorized in the recent budget deal are still a bit ambiguous in the reams of data from both Congress and the White House, but CBO estimates it at $3.54 trillion. At that level, we are spending 9.3% more in FY2014 than in FY2008, the last budget signed by George W. Bush (Democrats stalled the FY2009 budget with continuing resolutions until Obama signed an omnibus bill in March 2009 to complete that budget).If the new budget ends “austerity” by returning to Obama’s original top-line outlay demand of last year’s budget request, that will mean an additional increase of federal spending of 6.7% in just one year. If it’s just $56 billion more than the actual FY2014 outlays, then the notion that this ends “austerity” is doubly laughable.

The notion that we’ve been laboring under an “era of austerity” is as ridiculous and out of touch as … well, as most of Obama’s budget requests during his presidency. This one has just as much chance of being enacted, too. The Post suggests that Democrats can use this to beat up Republicans on the campaign trail, but the GOP can easily parry that with this question: “Do you really believe Washington deserves a 6.7% raise after ObamaCare?” Good luck winning on this issue.

http://hotair.com/archives/2014/02/21/obama-budget-declares-end-to-austerity/

Obama budget could be costly to Dems

By Chris Stirewalt

OBAMA BUDGET COULD BE COSTLY TO DEMS
The White House is teasing the president’s soon-to-be released blueprint for the next federal fiscal year. In a nod to his core liberal supporters, the president has dropped a prior nod to entitlement fixes, so-called “chained CPI,” a change in how to calculate the size of future increases to Social Security and other programs. The president is sucking up to his political base, the members of which consider the current trajectory for future hikes to be sacrosanct. That’s pretty good politics, especially since Obama did not seem particularly enthused about the idea before and that there is zero chance that this budget or any budget will be passed this election year. Republicans may be harrumphing about the president’s “unserious” approach to the debt, but it’s not like they thought otherwise before. Nor will the House GOP budget be anything more than pipe dreams. Poof!

You call that austerity? - Many pixels are being slaughtered to discuss the president’s irrelevant budget. Why? Partly, it’s because reporters salivate over anything that looks exclusive or new in a city where governing goes to die. Here in the great gridlock desert, this stuff may pass for news. But also because liberals are excited to see their champion drop the smokescreen of deficit concern. The prevailing Democratic wisdom is that deficits don’t matter and that Republicans ought to shut up about them. The WaPo enthused: “With the 2015 budget request, Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans.” Austerity? The federal government continues to spend way more than it takes in and outlays in the Obama era have increased. From 2009 through 2012, the administration spent about $3.5 trillion a year. The approximate federal spending for the fiscal year that ended in October was $3.62 trillion. The estimate for the current year: $3.78 trillion. The Greeks would love to get some austerity like that.

Unicorns, rainbows and midterms - The WaPo goes on to say that instead of worrying about deficits, “…the president will focus on pumping new cash into job training, early-childhood education and other programs aimed at bolstering the middle class, providing Democrats with a policy blueprint heading into the midterm elections… The lack of conflict is due in part to the collapse of the deficit as a political issue. While annual budget deficits remain high by historical standards, they have shrunken rapidly over the past few years as the economy recovered and Congress acted to cut spending.” Wait. What? A Fox News Poll at the end of January showed that more voters said the federal deficit and Social Security outranked terrorism, foreign policy, guns and immigration as the most important issues for the government. Only the economy and health care were higher on the list of voter concerns. Nothing come close to those two, but do Democrats really think that they are off the hook for being the party of more borrowing and spending? Just because Republicans scampered away from the last debt limit lift fight doesn’t mean this isn’t potent stuff. If Democrats believe that borrowing more than half-a-trillion dollars can be turned into a political plus, they must be back to smoking Hopium. And remember, we haven’t even heard about all of the new taxes that the president will propose. Democrats are marching forward with the banner of bigger government aloft at precisely the moment Americans are fed up with ObamaCare the last big government initiative the Obama Democrats bequeathed them.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/21/obama-budget-could-be-costly-to-dems/

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Snowden Used Automated Web Crawler To Scrap Data From Over 1.7 Million Restricted National Security Agency Files — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 163: November 8, 2013

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Story 2: The Pronk Pops Show 207, February 10, 2014, Story 1: Snowden Used Automated Web Crawler To Scrap Data From Over 1.7 Million Restricted National Security Agency Files — Videos

Snowden Used Common, Low-Cost Tool To Get NSA Files: Report

Edward Snowden, v 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

Dick Cheney ‘This Week’ Interview – Former Vice President on NSA Spying Revelations and GOP Politics

A Massive Surveillance State Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

Web Crawler – CS101 – Udacity

Web scraping the easy way

Python Web Scraping Tutorial 1 (Intro To Web Scraping)

Web Scraping Techniques

Web scraping: Reliably and efficiently pull data from pages that don’t expect it

2014 Best Scraper pro gold email and phone extractor harvestor review- website scraping lead

Lecture -38 Search Engine And Web Crawler – Part-I

Lecture -39 Search Engine And Web Crawlers: Part-II

Web Scraping Review 1

Web Scraping Review 2

Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.

By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT

Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.”

The findings are striking because the N.S.A.’s mission includes protecting the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence computer systems from cyberattacks, especially the sophisticated attacks that emanate from Russia and China. Mr. Snowden’s “insider attack,” by contrast, was hardly sophisticated and should have been easily detected, investigators found.

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Officials say Mr. Snowden used “web crawler” software. Channel 4/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Moreover, Mr. Snowden succeeded nearly three years after the WikiLeaks disclosures, in which military and State Department files, of far less sensitivity, were taken using similar techniques.

Mr. Snowden had broad access to the N.S.A.’s complete files because he was working as a technology contractor for the agency in Hawaii, helping to manage the agency’s computer systems in an outpost that focuses on China and North Korea. A web crawler, also called a spider, automatically moves from website to website, following links embedded in each document, and can be programmed to copy everything in its path.

Mr. Snowden appears to have set the parameters for the searches, including which subjects to look for and how deeply to follow links to documents and other data on the N.S.A.’s internal networks. Intelligence officials told a House hearing last week that he accessed roughly 1.7 million files.

Among the materials prominent in the Snowden files are the agency’s shared “wikis,” databases to which intelligence analysts, operatives and others contributed their knowledge. Some of that material indicates that Mr. Snowden “accessed” the documents. But experts say they may well have been downloaded not by him but by the program acting on his behalf.

Agency officials insist that if Mr. Snowden had been working from N.S.A. headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., which was equipped with monitors designed to detect when a huge volume of data was being accessed and downloaded, he almost certainly would have been caught. But because he worked at an agency outpost that had not yet been upgraded with modern security measures, his copying of what the agency’s newly appointed No. 2 officer, Rick Ledgett, recently called “the keys to the kingdom” raised few alarms.

“Some place had to be last” in getting the security upgrade, said one official familiar with Mr. Snowden’s activities. But he added that Mr. Snowden’s actions had been “challenged a few times.”

In at least one instance when he was questioned, Mr. Snowden provided what were later described to investigators as legitimate-sounding explanations for his activities: As a systems administrator he was responsible for conducting routine network maintenance. That could include backing up the computer systems and moving information to local servers, investigators were told.

But from his first days working as a contractor inside the N.S.A.’s aging underground Oahu facility for Dell, the computer maker, and then at a modern office building on the island for Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology consulting firm that sells and operates computer security services used by the government, Mr. Snowden learned something critical about the N.S.A.’s culture: While the organization built enormously high electronic barriers to keep out foreign invaders, it had rudimentary protections against insiders.

“Once you are inside the assumption is that you are supposed to be there, like in most organizations,” said Richard Bejtlich, the chief security strategist for FireEye, a Silicon Valley computer security firm, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “But that doesn’t explain why they weren’t more vigilant about excessive activity in the system.”

Investigators have yet to answer the question of whether Mr. Snowden happened into an ill-defended outpost of the N.S.A. or sought a job there because he knew it had yet to install the security upgrades that might have stopped him.

“He was either very lucky or very strategic,” one intelligence official said. A new book, “The Snowden Files,” by Luke Harding, a correspondent for The Guardian in London, reports that Mr. Snowden sought his job at Booz Allen because “to get access to a final tranche of documents” he needed “greater security privileges than he enjoyed in his position at Dell.”

Through his lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Snowden did not specifically address the government’s theory of how he obtained the files, saying in a statement: “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”

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The headquarters of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of Edward J. Snowden’s former employers, in McLean, Va. He had broad access to National Security Agency files as a contractor in Hawaii. Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

The N.S.A. declined to comment on its investigation or the security changes it has made since the Snowden disclosures. Other intelligence officials familiar with the findings of the investigations underway — there are at least four — were granted anonymity to discuss the investigations.

In interviews, officials declined to say which web crawler Mr. Snowden had used, or whether he had written some of the software himself. Officials said it functioned like Googlebot, a widely used web crawler that Google developed to find and index new pages on the web. What officials cannot explain is why the presence of such software in a highly classified system was not an obvious tip-off to unauthorized activity.

When inserted with Mr. Snowden’s passwords, the web crawler became especially powerful. Investigators determined he probably had also made use of the passwords of some colleagues or supervisors.

But he was also aided by a culture within the N.S.A., officials say, that “compartmented” relatively little information. As a result, a 29-year-old computer engineer, working from a World War II-era tunnel in Oahu and then from downtown Honolulu, had access to unencrypted files that dealt with information as varied as the bulk collection of domestic phone numbers and the intercepted communications of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and dozens of other leaders.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0

Officials say web crawlers are almost never used on the N.S.A.’s internal systems, making it all the more inexplicable that the one used by Mr. Snowden did not set off alarms as it copied intelligence and military documents stored in the N.S.A.’s systems and linked through the agency’s internal equivalent of Wikipedia.

The answer, officials and outside experts say, is that no one was looking inside the system in Hawaii for hard-to-explain activity. “The N.S.A. had the solution to this problem in hand, but they simply didn’t push it out fast enough,” said James Lewis, a computer expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has talked extensively with intelligence officials about how the Snowden experience could have been avoided.

Nonetheless, the government had warning that it was vulnerable to such attacks. Similar techniques were used by Chelsea Manning, then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted of turning documents and videos over to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Evidence presented during Private Manning’s court-martial for his role as the source for large archives of military and diplomatic files given to WikiLeaks revealed that he had used a program called “wget” to download the batches of files. That program automates the retrieval of large numbers of files, but it is considered less powerful than the tool Mr. Snowden used.

The program’s use prompted changes in how secret information is handled at the State Department, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, but recent assessments suggest that those changes may not have gone far enough. For example, arguments have broken out about whether the N.S.A.’s data should all be encrypted “at rest” — when it is stored in servers — to make it harder to search and steal. But that would also make it harder to retrieve for legitimate purposes.

Investigators have found no evidence that Mr. Snowden’s searches were directed by a foreign power, despite suggestions to that effect by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, in recent television appearances and at a hearing last week.

But that leaves open the question of how Mr. Snowden chose the search terms to obtain his trove of documents, and why, according to James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, they yielded a disproportionately large number of documents detailing American military movements, preparations and abilities around the world.

In his statement, Mr. Snowden denied any deliberate effort to gain access to any military information. “They rely on a baseless premise, which is that I was after military information,” Mr. Snowden said.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, told lawmakers last week that Mr. Snowden’s disclosures could tip off adversaries to American military tactics and operations, and force the Pentagon to spend vast sums to safeguard against that. But he admitted a great deal of uncertainty about what Mr. Snowden possessed.

“Everything that he touched, we assume that he took,” said General Flynn, including details of how the military tracks terrorists, of enemies’ vulnerabilities and of American defenses against improvised explosive devices. He added, “We assume the worst case.”

ttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0

Web Crawler

A Web crawler is an Internet bot that systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of Web indexing.

A Web crawler may also be called a Web spider,[1] an ant, an automatic indexer,[2] or (in the FOAF software context) a Web scutter.[3]

Web search engines and some other sites use Web crawling or spidering software to update their web content or indexes of others sites’ web content. Web crawlers can copy all the pages they visit for later processing by a search engine that indexes the downloaded pages so that users can search them much more quickly.

Crawlers can validate hyperlinks and HTML code. They can also be used for web scraping (see also data-driven programming).

Overview

A Web crawler starts with a list of URLs to visit, called the seeds. As the crawler visits these URLs, it identifies all the hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to visit, called the crawl frontier. URLs from the frontier are recursively visited according to a set of policies.

The large volume implies that the crawler can only download a limited number of the Web pages within a given time, so it needs to prioritize its downloads. The high rate of change implies that the pages might have already been updated or even deleted.

The number of possible URLs crawled being generated by server-side software has also made it difficult for web crawlers to avoid retrieving duplicate content. Endless combinations of HTTP GET (URL-based) parameters exist, of which only a small selection will actually return unique content. For example, a simple online photo gallery may offer three options to users, as specified through HTTP GET parameters in the URL. If there exist four ways to sort images, three choices of thumbnail size, two file formats, and an option to disable user-provided content, then the same set of content can be accessed with 48 different URLs, all of which may be linked on the site. This mathematical combination creates a problem for crawlers, as they must sort through endless combinations of relatively minor scripted changes in order to retrieve unique content.

As Edwards et al. noted, “Given that the bandwidth for conducting crawls is neither infinite nor free, it is becoming essential to crawl the Web in not only a scalable, but efficient way, if some reasonable measure of quality or freshness is to be maintained.”[4] A crawler must carefully choose at each step which pages to visit next.

Crawling policy

The behavior of a Web crawler is the outcome of a combination of policies:[5]

  • a selection policy that states which pages to download,
  • a re-visit policy that states when to check for changes to the pages,
  • a politeness policy that states how to avoid overloading Web sites, and
  • a parallelization policy that states how to coordinate distributed web crawlers.

Selection policy

Given the current size of the Web, even large search engines cover only a portion of the publicly available part. A 2005 study showed that large-scale search engines index no more than 40-70% of the indexable Web;[6] a previous study by Steve Lawrence and Lee Giles showed that no search engine indexed more than 16% of the Web in 1999.[7] As a crawler always downloads just a fraction of the Web pages, it is highly desirable that the downloaded fraction contains the most relevant pages and not just a random sample of the Web.

This requires a metric of importance for prioritizing Web pages. The importance of a page is a function of its intrinsic quality, its popularity in terms of links or visits, and even of its URL (the latter is the case of vertical search engines restricted to a single top-level domain, or search engines restricted to a fixed Web site). Designing a good selection policy has an added difficulty: it must work with partial information, as the complete set of Web pages is not known during crawling.

Cho et al. made the first study on policies for crawling scheduling. Their data set was a 180,000-pages crawl from the stanford.edu domain, in which a crawling simulation was done with different strategies.[8] The ordering metrics tested were breadth-first, backlink count and partial Pagerank calculations. One of the conclusions was that if the crawler wants to download pages with high Pagerank early during the crawling process, then the partial Pagerank strategy is the better, followed by breadth-first and backlink-count. However, these results are for just a single domain. Cho also wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Stanford on web crawling.[9]

Najork and Wiener performed an actual crawl on 328 million pages, using breadth-first ordering.[10] They found that a breadth-first crawl captures pages with high Pagerank early in the crawl (but they did not compare this strategy against other strategies). The explanation given by the authors for this result is that “the most important pages have many links to them from numerous hosts, and those links will be found early, regardless of on which host or page the crawl originates.”

Abiteboul designed a crawling strategy based on an algorithm called OPIC (On-line Page Importance Computation).[11] In OPIC, each page is given an initial sum of “cash” that is distributed equally among the pages it points to. It is similar to a Pagerank computation, but it is faster and is only done in one step. An OPIC-driven crawler downloads first the pages in the crawling frontier with higher amounts of “cash”. Experiments were carried in a 100,000-pages synthetic graph with a power-law distribution of in-links. However, there was no comparison with other strategies nor experiments in the real Web.

Boldi et al. used simulation on subsets of the Web of 40 million pages from the .it domain and 100 million pages from the WebBase crawl, testing breadth-first against depth-first, random ordering and an omniscient strategy. The comparison was based on how well PageRank computed on a partial crawl approximates the true PageRank value. Surprisingly, some visits that accumulate PageRank very quickly (most notably, breadth-first and the omniscient visit) provide very poor progressive approximations.[12][13]

Baeza-Yates et al. used simulation on two subsets of the Web of 3 million pages from the .gr and .cl domain, testing several crawling strategies.[14] They showed that both the OPIC strategy and a strategy that uses the length of the per-site queues are better than breadth-first crawling, and that it is also very effective to use a previous crawl, when it is available, to guide the current one.

Daneshpajouh et al. designed a community based algorithm for discovering good seeds.[15] Their method crawls web pages with high PageRank from different communities in less iteration in comparison with crawl starting from random seeds. One can extract good seed from a previously-crawled-Web graph using this new method. Using these seeds a new crawl can be very effective.

Restricting followed links

A crawler may only want to seek out HTML pages and avoid all other MIME types. In order to request only HTML resources, a crawler may make an HTTP HEAD request to determine a Web resource’s MIME type before requesting the entire resource with a GET request. To avoid making numerous HEAD requests, a crawler may examine the URL and only request a resource if the URL ends with certain characters such as .html, .htm, .asp, .aspx, .php, .jsp, .jspx or a slash. This strategy may cause numerous HTML Web resources to be unintentionally skipped.

Some crawlers may also avoid requesting any resources that have a “?” in them (are dynamically produced) in order to avoid spider traps that may cause the crawler to download an infinite number of URLs from a Web site. This strategy is unreliable if the site uses a rewrite engine to simplify its URLs.

URL normalization

Main article: URL normalization

Crawlers usually perform some type of URL normalization in order to avoid crawling the same resource more than once. The term URL normalization, also called URL canonicalization, refers to the process of modifying and standardizing a URL in a consistent manner. There are several types of normalization that may be performed including conversion of URLs to lowercase, removal of “.” and “..” segments, and adding trailing slashes to the non-empty path component.[16]

Path-ascending crawling

Some crawlers intend to download as many resources as possible from a particular web site. So path-ascending crawler was introduced that would ascend to every path in each URL that it intends to crawl.[17] For example, when given a seed URL of http://llama.org/hamster/monkey/page.html, it will attempt to crawl /hamster/monkey/, /hamster/, and /. Cothey found that a path-ascending crawler was very effective in finding isolated resources, or resources for which no inbound link would have been found in regular crawling.

Many path-ascending crawlers are also gallery — from a specific page or host.

Focused crawling

Main article: Focused crawler

The importance of a page for a crawler can also be expressed as a function of the similarity of a page to a given query. Web crawlers that attempt to download pages that are similar to each other are called focused crawler or topical crawlers. The concepts of topical and focused crawling were first introduced by Menczer[18][19] and by Chakrabarti et al.[20]

The main problem in focused crawling is that in the context of a Web crawler, we would like to be able to predict the similarity of the text of a given page to the query before actually downloading the page. A possible predictor is the anchor text of links; this was the approach taken by Pinkerton[21] in the first web crawler of the early days of the Web. Diligenti et al.[22] propose using the complete content of the pages already visited to infer the similarity between the driving query and the pages that have not been visited yet. The performance of a focused crawling depends mostly on the richness of links in the specific topic being searched, and a focused crawling usually relies on a general Web search engine for providing starting points.

Academic-focused crawler

An example of the focused crawlers are academic crawlers, which crawls free-access academic related documents, such as the citeseerxbot, which is the crawler of CiteSeerX search engine. Other academic search engines are Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search etc. Because most academic papers are published in PDF formats, such kind of crawler is particularly interested in crawling PDF, PostScript files, Microsoft Word including their zipped formats. Because of this, general open source crawlers, such as Heritrix, must be customized to filter out other MIME types, or a middleware is used to extract these documents out and import them to the focused crawl database and repository.[23] Identifying whether these documents are academic or not is challenging and can add a significant overhead to the crawling process, so this is performed as a post crawling process using machine learning or regular expression algorithms. These academic documents are usually obtained from home pages of faculties and students or from publication page of research institutes. Because academic documents takes only a small faction in the entire web pages, a good seed selection are important in boosting the efficiencies of these web crawlers.[24] Other academic crawlers may download plain text and HTML files, that contains metadata of academic papers, such as titles, papers, and abstracts. This increases the overall number of papers, but a significant fraction may not provide free PDF downloads.

Re-visit policy

The Web has a very dynamic nature, and crawling a fraction of the Web can take weeks or months. By the time a Web crawler has finished its crawl, many events could have happened, including creations, updates and deletions.

From the search engine’s point of view, there is a cost associated with not detecting an event, and thus having an outdated copy of a resource. The most-used cost functions are freshness and age.[25]

Freshness: This is a binary measure that indicates whether the local copy is accurate or not. The freshness of a page p in the repository at time t is defined as:

F_{p}(t)={\begin{cases}1&{{\rm {if}}}~p~{{\rm {~is~equal~to~the~local~copy~at~time}}}~t\&{{\rm {otherwise}}}\end{cases}}

Age: This is a measure that indicates how outdated the local copy is. The age of a page p in the repository, at time t is defined as:

A_{p}(t)={\begin{cases}0&{{\rm {if}}}~p~{{\rm {~is~not~modified~at~time}}}~t\\t-{{\rm {modification~time~of}}}~p&{{\rm {otherwise}}}\end{cases}}

Coffman et al. worked with a definition of the objective of a Web crawler that is equivalent to freshness, but use a different wording: they propose that a crawler must minimize the fraction of time pages remain outdated. They also noted that the problem of Web crawling can be modeled as a multiple-queue, single-server polling system, on which the Web crawler is the server and the Web sites are the queues. Page modifications are the arrival of the customers, and switch-over times are the interval between page accesses to a single Web site. Under this model, mean waiting time for a customer in the polling system is equivalent to the average age for the Web crawler.[26]

The objective of the crawler is to keep the average freshness of pages in its collection as high as possible, or to keep the average age of pages as low as possible. These objectives are not equivalent: in the first case, the crawler is just concerned with how many pages are out-dated, while in the second case, the crawler is concerned with how old the local copies of pages are.

Two simple re-visiting policies were studied by Cho and Garcia-Molina:[27]

Uniform policy: This involves re-visiting all pages in the collection with the same frequency, regardless of their rates of change.

Proportional policy: This involves re-visiting more often the pages that change more frequently. The visiting frequency is directly proportional to the (estimated) change frequency.

(In both cases, the repeated crawling order of pages can be done either in a random or a fixed order.)

Cho and Garcia-Molina proved the surprising result that, in terms of average freshness, the uniform policy outperforms the proportional policy in both a simulated Web and a real Web crawl. Intuitively, the reasoning is that, as web crawlers have a limit to how many pages they can crawl in a given time frame, (1) they will allocate too many new crawls to rapidly changing pages at the expense of less frequently updating pages, and (2) the freshness of rapidly changing pages lasts for shorter period than that of less frequently changing pages. In other words, a proportional policy allocates more resources to crawling frequently updating pages, but experiences less overall freshness time from them.

To improve freshness, the crawler should penalize the elements that change too often.[28] The optimal re-visiting policy is neither the uniform policy nor the proportional policy. The optimal method for keeping average freshness high includes ignoring the pages that change too often, and the optimal for keeping average age low is to use access frequencies that monotonically (and sub-linearly) increase with the rate of change of each page. In both cases, the optimal is closer to the uniform policy than to the proportional policy: as Coffman et al. note, “in order to minimize the expected obsolescence time, the accesses to any particular page should be kept as evenly spaced as possible”.[26] Explicit formulas for the re-visit policy are not attainable in general, but they are obtained numerically, as they depend on the distribution of page changes. Cho and Garcia-Molina show that the exponential distribution is a good fit for describing page changes,[28] while Ipeirotis et al. show how to use statistical tools to discover parameters that affect this distribution.[29] Note that the re-visiting policies considered here regard all pages as homogeneous in terms of quality (“all pages on the Web are worth the same”), something that is not a realistic scenario, so further information about the Web page quality should be included to achieve a better crawling policy.

Politeness policy

Crawlers can retrieve data much quicker and in greater depth than human searchers, so they can have a crippling impact on the performance of a site. Needless to say, if a single crawler is performing multiple requests per second and/or downloading large files, a server would have a hard time keeping up with requests from multiple crawlers.

As noted by Koster, the use of Web crawlers is useful for a number of tasks, but comes with a price for the general community.[30] The costs of using Web crawlers include:

  • network resources, as crawlers require considerable bandwidth and operate with a high degree of parallelism during a long period of time;
  • server overload, especially if the frequency of accesses to a given server is too high;
  • poorly written crawlers, which can crash servers or routers, or which download pages they cannot handle; and
  • personal crawlers that, if deployed by too many users, can disrupt networks and Web servers.

A partial solution to these problems is the robots exclusion protocol, also known as the robots.txt protocol that is a standard for administrators to indicate which parts of their Web servers should not be accessed by crawlers.[31] This standard does not include a suggestion for the interval of visits to the same server, even though this interval is the most effective way of avoiding server overload. Recently commercial search engines like Google, Ask Jeeves, MSN and Yahoo! Search are able to use an extra “Crawl-delay:” parameter in the robots.txt file to indicate the number of seconds to delay between requests.

The first proposed interval between successive pageloads was 60 seconds.[32] However, if pages were downloaded at this rate from a website with more than 100,000 pages over a perfect connection with zero latency and infinite bandwidth, it would take more than 2 months to download only that entire Web site; also, only a fraction of the resources from that Web server would be used. This does not seem acceptable.

Cho uses 10 seconds as an interval for accesses,[27] and the WIRE crawler uses 15 seconds as the default.[33] The MercatorWeb crawler follows an adaptive politeness policy: if it took t seconds to download a document from a given server, the crawler waits for 10t seconds before downloading the next page.[34] Dill et al. use 1 second.[35]

For those using Web crawlers for research purposes, a more detailed cost-benefit analysis is needed and ethical considerations should be taken into account when deciding where to crawl and how fast to crawl.[36]

Anecdotal evidence from access logs shows that access intervals from known crawlers vary between 20 seconds and 3–4 minutes. It is worth noticing that even when being very polite, and taking all the safeguards to avoid overloading Web servers, some complaints from Web server administrators are received. Brin and Page note that: “… running a crawler which connects to more than half a million servers (…) generates a fair amount of e-mail and phone calls. Because of the vast number of people coming on line, there are always those who do not know what a crawler is, because this is the first one they have seen.”[37]

Parallelisation policy

A parallel crawler is a crawler that runs multiple processes in parallel. The goal is to maximize the download rate while minimizing the overhead from parallelization and to avoid repeated downloads of the same page. To avoid downloading the same page more than once, the crawling system requires a policy for assigning the new URLs discovered during the crawling process, as the same URL can be found by two different crawling processes.

Architectures

High-level architecture of a standard Web crawler

A crawler must not only have a good crawling strategy, as noted in the previous sections, but it should also have a highly optimized architecture.

Shkapenyuk and Suel noted that:[38]

While it is fairly easy to build a slow crawler that downloads a few pages per second for a short period of time, building a high-performance system that can download hundreds of millions of pages over several weeks presents a number of challenges in system design, I/O and network efficiency, and robustness and manageability.

Web crawlers are a central part of search engines, and details on their algorithms and architecture are kept as business secrets. When crawler designs are published, there is often an important lack of detail that prevents others from reproducing the work. There are also emerging concerns about “search engine spamming“, which prevent major search engines from publishing their ranking algorithms.

Crawler identification

Web crawlers typically identify themselves to a Web server by using the User-agent field of an HTTP request. Web site administrators typically examine their Web servers‘ log and use the user agent field to determine which crawlers have visited the web server and how often. The user agent field may include a URL where the Web site administrator may find out more information about the crawler. Examining Web server log is tedious task therefore some administrators use tools such as CrawlTrack[39] or SEO Crawlytics[40] to identify, track and verify Web crawlers. Spambots and other malicious Web crawlers are unlikely to place identifying information in the user agent field, or they may mask their identity as a browser or other well-known crawler.

It is important for Web crawlers to identify themselves so that Web site administrators can contact the owner if needed. In some cases, crawlers may be accidentally trapped in a crawler trap or they may be overloading a Web server with requests, and the owner needs to stop the crawler. Identification is also useful for administrators that are interested in knowing when they may expect their Web pages to be indexed by a particular search engine.

Crawling the deep web

A vast amount of web pages lie in the deep or invisible web.[41] These pages are typically only accessible by submitting queries to a database, and regular crawlers are unable to find these pages if there are no links that point to them. Google’s Sitemaps protocol and mod oai[42] are intended to allow discovery of these deep-Web resources.

Deep web crawling also multiplies the number of web links to be crawled. Some crawlers only take some of the URLs in <a href="URL"> form. In some cases, such as the Googlebot, Web crawling is done on all text contained inside the hypertext content, tags, or text.

Strategic approaches may be taken to target deep Web content. With a technique called screen scraping, specialized software may be customized to automatically and repeatedly query a given Web form with the intention of aggregating the resulting data. Such software can be used to span multiple Web forms across multiple Websites. Data extracted from the results of one Web form submission can be taken and applied as input to another Web form thus establishing continuity across the Deep Web in a way not possible with traditional web crawlers.

Pages built on AJAX are among those causing problems to web crawlers. Google has proposed a format of AJAX calls that their bot can recognize and index[43]

Web crawler bias

A recent study based on a large scale analysis of robots.txt files showed that certain web crawlers were preferred over others, with Googlebot being the most preferred web crawler.[citation needed]

Examples

This article may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing less pertinent examples. See Wikipedia’s guide to writing better articles for further suggestions. (May 2012)

The following is a list of published crawler architectures for general-purpose crawlers (excluding focused web crawlers), with a brief description that includes the names given to the different components and outstanding features:

  • Yahoo! Slurp was the name of the Yahoo! Search crawler until Yahoo! contracted with Microsoft to use bingbot instead.
  • Bingbot is the name of Microsoft’s Bing webcrawler. It replaced Msnbot.
  • FAST Crawler[44] is a distributed crawler, used by Fast Search & Transfer, and a general description of its architecture is available.[citation needed]
  • Googlebot[37] is described in some detail, but the reference is only about an early version of its architecture, which was based in C++ and Python. The crawler was integrated with the indexing process, because text parsing was done for full-text indexing and also for URL extraction. There is a URL server that sends lists of URLs to be fetched by several crawling processes. During parsing, the URLs found were passed to a URL server that checked if the URL have been previously seen. If not, the URL was added to the queue of the URL server.
  • PolyBot[38] is a distributed crawler written in C++ and Python, which is composed of a “crawl manager”, one or more “downloaders” and one or more “DNS resolvers”. Collected URLs are added to a queue on disk, and processed later to search for seen URLs in batch mode. The politeness policy considers both third and second level domains (e.g.: http://www.example.com and www2.example.com are third level domains) because third level domains are usually hosted by the same Web server.
  • RBSE[45] was the first published web crawler. It was based on two programs: the first program, “spider” maintains a queue in a relational database, and the second program “mite“, is a modified www ASCII browser that downloads the pages from the Web.
  • WebCrawler[21] was used to build the first publicly available full-text index of a subset of the Web. It was based on lib-WWW to download pages, and another program to parse and order URLs for breadth-first exploration of the Web graph. It also included a real-time crawler that followed links based on the similarity of the anchor text with the provided query.
  • World Wide Web Worm[46] was a crawler used to build a simple index of document titles and URLs. The index could be searched by using the grep Unix command.
  • WebFountain[4] is a distributed, modular crawler similar to Mercator but written in C++. It features a “controller” machine that coordinates a series of “ant” machines. After repeatedly downloading pages, a change rate is inferred for each page and a non-linear programming method must be used to solve the equation system for maximizing freshness. The authors recommend to use this crawling order in the early stages of the crawl, and then switch to a uniform crawling order, in which all pages are being visited with the same frequency.
  • WebRACE[47] is a crawling and caching module implemented in Java, and used as a part of a more generic system called eRACE. The system receives requests from users for downloading web pages, so the crawler acts in part as a smart proxy server. The system also handles requests for “subscriptions” to Web pages that must be monitored: when the pages change, they must be downloaded by the crawler and the subscriber must be notified. The most outstanding feature of WebRACE is that, while most crawlers start with a set of “seed” URLs, WebRACE is continuously receiving new starting URLs to crawl from.

In addition to the specific crawler architectures listed above, there are general crawler architectures published by Cho[48] and Chakrabarti.[49]

Open-source crawlers

  • DataparkSearch is a crawler and search engine released under the GNU General Public License.
  • GNU Wget is a command-line-operated crawler written in C and released under the GPL. It is typically used to mirror Web and FTP sites.
  • GRUB is an open source distributed search crawler that Wikia Search used to crawl the web.
  • Heritrix is the Internet Archive‘s archival-quality crawler, designed for archiving periodic snapshots of a large portion of the Web. It was written in Java.
  • ht://Dig includes a Web crawler in its indexing engine.
  • HTTrack uses a Web crawler to create a mirror of a web site for off-line viewing. It is written in C and released under the GPL.
  • ICDL Crawler is a cross-platform web crawler written in C++ and intended to crawl Web sites based on Website Parse Templates using computer’s free CPU resources only.
  • mnoGoSearch is a crawler, indexer and a search engine written in C and licensed under the GPL (*NIX machines only)
  • Norconex HTTP Collector is a web spider, or crawler, written in Java, that aims to make Enterprise Search integrators and developers’s life easier (licensed under GPL).
  • Nutch is a crawler written in Java and released under an Apache License. It can be used in conjunction with the Lucene text-indexing package.
  • Open Search Server is a search engine and web crawler software release under the GPL.
  • PHP-Crawler is a simple PHP and MySQL based crawler released under the BSD License. Easy to install it became popular for small MySQL-driven websites on shared hosting.
  • tkWWW Robot, a crawler based on the tkWWW web browser (licensed under GPL).
  • Scrapy, an open source webcrawler framework, written in python (licensed under BSD).
  • Seeks, a free distributed search engine (licensed under Affero General Public License).
  • YaCy, a free distributed search engine, built on principles of peer-to-peer networks (licensed under GPL).

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

Web scraping

Web scraping (web harvesting or web data extraction) is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites. Usually, such software programs simulate human exploration of the World Wide Web by either implementing low-level Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), or embedding a fully-fledged web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

Web scraping is closely related to web indexing, which indexes information on the web using a bot or web crawler and is a universal technique adopted by most search engines. In contrast, web scraping focuses more on the transformation of unstructured data on the web, typically in HTML format, into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a central local database or spreadsheet. Web scraping is also related to web automation, which simulates human browsing using computer software. Uses of web scraping include online price comparison, contact scraping, weather data monitoring, website change detection, research, web mashup and web data integration.

Techniques

Web scraping is the process of automatically collecting information from the World Wide Web. It is a field with active developments sharing a common goal with the semantic web vision, an ambitious initiative that still requires breakthroughs in text processing, semantic understanding, artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions. Web scraping, instead, favors practical solutions based on existing technologies that are often entirely ad hoc. Therefore, there are different levels of automation that existing web-scraping technologies can provide:

  • Human copy-and-paste: Sometimes even the best web-scraping technology cannot replace a human’s manual examination and copy-and-paste, and sometimes this may be the only workable solution when the websites for scraping explicitly set up barriers to prevent machine automation.
  • Text grepping and regular expression matching: A simple yet powerful approach to extract information from web pages can be based on the UNIX grep command or regular expression-matching facilities of programming languages (for instance Perl or Python).
  • HTTP programming: Static and dynamic web pages can be retrieved by posting HTTP requests to the remote web server using socket programming.
  • HTML parsers. Many websites have large collections of pages generated dynamically from an underlying structured source like a database. Data of the same category are typically encoded into similar pages by a common script or template. In data mining, a program that detects such templates in a particular information source, extracts its content and translates it into a relational form called a wrapper. Wrapper generation algorithms assume that input pages of a wrapper induction system conform to a common template and that they can be easily identified in terms of a URL common scheme.[1]. Moreover, some semi-structured data query languages, such as XQuery and the HTQL, can be used to parse HTML pages and to retrieve and transform page content.
  • DOM parsing: By embedding a full-fledged web browser, such as the Internet Explorer or the Mozilla browser control, programs can retrieve the dynamic content generated by client-side scripts. These browser controls also parse web pages into a DOM tree, based on which programs can retrieve parts of the pages.
  • Web-scraping software: There are many software tools available that can be used to customize web-scraping solutions. This software may attempt to automatically recognize the data structure of a page or provide a recording interface that removes the necessity to manually write web-scraping code, or some scripting functions that can be used to extract and transform content, and database interfaces that can store the scraped data in local databases.
  • Vertical aggregation platforms: There are several companies that have developed vertical specific harvesting platforms. These platforms create and monitor a multitude of “bots” for specific verticals with no man-in-the-loop,[clarification needed] and no work related to a specific target site. The preparation involves establishing the knowledge base for the entire vertical and then the platform creates the bots automatically. The platform’s robustness is measured by the quality of the information it retrieves (usually number of fields) and its scalability (how quick it can scale up to hundreds or thousands of sites). This scalability is mostly used to target the Long Tail of sites that common aggregators find complicated or too labor-intensive to harvest content from.
  • Semantic annotation recognizing: The pages being scraped may embrace metadata or semantic markups and annotations, which can be used to locate specific data snippets. If the annotations are embedded in the pages, as Microformat does, this technique can be viewed as a special case of DOM parsing. In another case, the annotations, organized into a semantic layer,[2] are stored and managed separately from the web pages, so the scrapers can retrieve data schema and instructions from this layer before scraping the pages.
  • Computer vision web-page analyzers. There are efforts using machine learning and computer vision that attempt to identify and extract information from web pages by interpreting pages visually as a human being might.[3]

Legal issues

Web scraping may be against the terms of use of some websites. The enforceability of these terms is unclear.[4] While outright duplication of original expression will in many cases be illegal, in the United States the courts ruled in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service that duplication of facts is allowable. U.S. courts have acknowledged that users of “scrapers” or “robots” may be held liable for committing trespass to chattels,[5]