The possible sale of nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia was discussed in the Oval Office just last week. The meeting included Energy Secretary Rick Perry, representatives from the NSC and State Department, and a dozen nuclear industry chief executives, one of the people present told The Washington Post.
None of these activities are necessarily illegal, making it even more difficult to understand why there was an apparent need to cover them up.
„This is the million-dollar question in the entire investigation,“ Rep. Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican who’s a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN’s „Cuomo Prime Time.“ „You just have to start asking yourself, why did all of them lie about their connections to the Russians?“https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/13/politics/paul-manafort-donald-trump-russia-probe/index.html
Manafort’s lies, the judge found, included “his interactions and communications with [Konstantin] Kilimnik,” a longtime aide whom the FBI assessed to have ties to Russian intelligence.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District said Manafort also lied to the special counsel, the FBI and the grand jury about a payment from a company to a law firm — which he previously characterized as a loan repayment — and made false statements that were material to another Justice Department investigation whose focus has not been described in public filings in Manafort’s case.
(15.5.2018) A second Obama administration program, „Timber Sycamore,“ was started by the CIA in late 2012 with the similar aim of arming rebels. This particular operation was active along the Turkish border to Syria’s north, and a Jordanian crossing in the south, referred to as the “Southern Front.”
But Syrian opposition figures say this program was also compromised, with arms falling into the hands of ISIS or Al Nusra.
The program initially supplied light weapons. But as the Syrian civil war intensified, the U.S. strengthened its commitment by providing selected rebels with American “tune-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided” antitank missiles, better known as BGM-71 TOWs.
(2. Aug 1981) Others, including the C.I.A.’s critics, warn that if these restraints are loosened, the United States may well find itself slipping back to the situation that prevailed in the 1960’s, when the agency was virtually unbridled, when assassination of inconvenient foreign political figures was an acceptable technique, and when top officials cultivated a deliberate fuzziness that obscured the line of command from the President to the Director of Central Intelligence and on down to the operatives in the field. These critics fear that if the C.I.A. is given too much leeway in the means it employs, it may once again be tempted to interpret a President’s wishes in a way that will damage the good name and long-range interests of the United States.
(10. Aug 2000) The evidence comes in a previously unpublished 1975 interview with the minute-taker at an August 1960 White House meeting of Eisenhower and his national security advisers on the Congo crisis.
The minute-taker, Robert Johnson, said in the interview that he vividly recalled the president turning to Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, „in the full hearing of all those in attendance, and saying something to the effect that Lumumba should be eliminated“.
Mr Johnson recalled: „There was stunned silence for about 15 seconds and the meeting continued.“
Bezos’s accusation last night that National Enquirer owner American Media Inc. is trying to blackmail him had everything: Extortion, murder, politics, a billionaire’s private parts. It inspired both HuffPost and the elder Post to write the mathematically perfect tabloid headline, which I will not reprint in this wholesome family newsletter. More seriously, this is the latest and weirdest front in a clash of titans pitting the President of the United States against the World’s Richest Man.
A White House official not authorized to publicly discuss personnel issues says Trump considers Jackson a trustworthy medical adviser and physician.
(30. März 2015) Also in Jordan is a U.S.-led multinational effort named Operation Gallant Phoenix, aimed at tracking the foreign fighter flow into Iraq and Syria. Begun as an initiative under Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which controls the military’s most elite special operations units, and JSOC’s higher administrative headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command, it has expanded to include participation by U.S. Central Command and U.S. European Command, said the senior special operations officer. Although sometimes referred to as the “foreign fighter task force,” Gallant Phoenix doesn’t have troops of its own to send out on raids or direct assaults and instead passes on the information it receives to allied countries.
(7. Januar 2014) As Special Operations Command chief Admiral William McRaven put it in SOCOM 2020, his blueprint for the future, it has ambitious aspirations to create “a Global SOF network of like-minded interagency allies and partners.” In other words, in that future now only six years off, it wants to be everywhere.
While Congressional pushback has thus far thwarted Admiral McRaven’s efforts to create a SOCOM satellite headquarters for the more than 300 special operators working in Washington, D.C. (at the cost of $10 million annually), the command has nonetheless stationed support teams and liaisons all over the capital in a bid to embed itself ever more deeply inside the Beltway. “I have folks in every agency here in Washington, D.C. — from the CIA, to the FBI, to the National Security Agency, to the National Geospatial Agency, to the Defense Intelligence Agency,” McRaven said during a panel discussion at Washington’s Wilson Center in 2013. Referring to the acronyms of the many agencies with which SOCOM has forged ties, McRaven continued: “If there are three letters, and in some cases four, I have a person there.“
(25. Mai 2010) Gen. Stanley McChrystal, at the time the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised President Obama to allow combatant commanders more latitude to combat terrorism using task forces. Coming from McChrystal, it was a surprising endorsement of a policy that would shift responsibility for unconventional warfare from JSOC, which he had commanded, to the combatant commanders.
(24. Mai 2010) The order, which an official said was drafted in close coordination with Adm. Eric T. Olson, the officer in charge of the United States Special Operations Command, calls for clandestine activities that “cannot or will not be accomplished” by conventional military operations or “interagency activities,” a reference to American spy agencies.
While the C.I.A. and the Pentagon have often been at odds over expansion of clandestine military activity, most recently over intelligence gathering by Pentagon contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan, there does not appear to have been a significant dispute over the September order.
A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to confirm the existence of General Petraeus’s order, but said that the spy agency and the Pentagon had a “close relationship” and generally coordinate operations in the field.
(1. Dezember 2009) The military at large has also felt the growing influence of JSOC. Indeed, General Stanley McChrystal, now the top military commander in Afghanistan, led JSOC from 2003 to 2008. McChrystal’s extensive special operations in Iraq, credited as crucial in the country’s stabilization, earned both him and JSOC wide support in the military and in Washington. In his high-powered role in Afghanistan, McChrystal is increasingly turning to his old command. Spencer Ackerman reports that JSOC’s current leadership is „playing a large and previously unreported role in shaping the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy.“ That new influence includes strategic decision-making and direct involvement in the more traditional warfare conducted by the conventional military. Ackerman writes:
„In his Afghanistan review, McChrystal said that a key goal for him would be to increase coordination between his NATO command and the independent command of JSOC, which suggested that the dichotomy between using Special Operations Forces for counterterrorism and conventional forces for counterinsurgency was eroding.“
(16. November 2009) An American former senior intelligence official said that a team that has trained for years to remove or dismantle parts of the Pakistani arsenal has now been augmented by a unit of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the élite counterterrorism group. He added that the unit, which had earlier focussed on the warheads’ cores, has begun to concentrate on evacuating the triggers, which have no radioactive material and are thus much easier to handle.
“The Pakistanis gave us a virtual look at the number of warheads, some of their locations, and their command-and-control system,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “We saw their target list and their mobilization plans. We got their security plans, so we could augment them in case of a breach of security,” he said. “We’re there to help the Pakistanis, but we’re also there to extend our own axis of security to their nuclear stockpile.” The detailed American planning even includes an estimate of how many nuclear triggers could be placed inside a C-17 cargo plane, the former official said, and where the triggers could be sequestered.
(23. November 2009) “I think Cheney and Rumsfeld went directly into JSOC. I think they went into JSOC at times, perhaps most frequently, without the SOCOM [Special Operations] commander at the time even knowing it. The receptivity in JSOC was quite good,” says Wilkerson. “I think Cheney was actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions.” He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld “built up initially because Rumsfeld didn’t get the responsiveness. He didn’t get the can-do kind of attitude out of the SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to the horse’s mouth. At that point you had JSOC operating as an extension of the [administration] doing things the executive branch–read: Cheney and Rumsfeld–wanted it to do. This would be more or less carte blanche. You need to do it, do it. It was very alarming for me as a conventional soldier.”
(19. August 2009) The C.I.A. this summer conducted an internal review of the assassination program that recently was presented to the White House and the Congressional intelligence committees. The officials said that the review stated that Mr. Panetta’s predecessors did not believe that they needed to tell Congress because the program was not far enough developed.
The House Intelligence Committee is investigating why lawmakers were never told about the program. According to current and former government officials, former Vice President Dick Cheney told C.I.A. officers in 2002 that the spy agency did not need to inform Congress because the agency already had legal authority to kill Qaeda leaders.
(11. Juli 2009) The Central Intelligence Agency withheld information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years on direct orders from former Vice President Dick Cheney, the agency’s director, Leon E. Panetta, has told the Senate and House intelligence committees, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saturday.
The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.
(31. März 2009) AMY GOODMAN: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh created a stir last month when he said the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to Vice President Dick Cheney. Hersh made the comment during a speech at the University of Minnesota on March 10th.
SEYMOUR HERSH: Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination wing, essentially. And it’s been going on and on and on. And just today in the Times there was a story saying that its leader, a three-star admiral named McRaven, ordered a stop to certain activities because there were so many collateral deaths. It’s been going in — under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving.
AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, CNN interviewed Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser, John Hannah. Wolf Blitzer asked Hannah about Sy Hersh’s claim.
WOLF BLITZER: Is there a list of terrorists, suspected terrorists out there who can be assassinated?
JOHN HANNAH: There is clearly a group of people that go through a very extremely well-vetted process, inter-agency process, as I think was explained in your piece, that have committed acts of war against the United States, who are at war with the United States, or are suspected of planning operations of war against the United States, who authority is given to the troops in the field and in certain war theaters to capture or kill those individuals. That is certainly true.
WOLF BLITZER: And so, this would be, and from your perspective — and you worked in the Bush administration for many years — it would be totally constitutional, totally legal, to go out and find these guys and to whack ’em.
JOHN HANNAH: There’s no question that in a theater of war, when we are at war, and we know — there’s no doubt, we are still at war against al-Qaeda in Iraq, al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and on that Pakistani border, that our troops have the authority to go after and capture and kill the enemy, including the leadership of the enemy.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s John Hannah, Dick Cheney’s former national security adviser. Seymour Hersh joins me now here in Washington, D.C., staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. His latest article appears in the current issue, called “Syria Calling: The Obama Administration’s Chance to Engage in a Middle East Peace.”
(30. März 2009) A Special Operations Command spokesman rejected Hersh’s report, saying their forces operate under established rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict. He adds that the vice president has no command-and-control authorities over the U.S. military. Two former Cheney aides also reject the claim, as does the former Bush homeland security adviser, now a national security analyst. Hersh did not disclose any sources in the speech or in the CNN interview, nor was he asked about sources.
The assassination of political leaders has been banned since 1976 – but suspected terrorists are a different story.
(11. März 2009) “In many cases, they were the best and the brightest. Really, no exaggerations. Really fine guys that went in to do the kind of necessary jobs that they think you need to do to protect America. And then they find themselves torturing people.
“I’ve had people say to me — five years ago, I had one say: ‘What do you call it when you interrogate somebody and you leave them bleeding and they don’t get any medical committee and two days later he dies. Is that murder? What happens if I get before a committee?’
“But they’re not gonna get before a committee.”
(Juli 2008) The covert operations set forth in the Finding essentially run parallel to those of a secret military task force, now operating in Iran, that is under the control of JSOC. Under the Bush Administration’s interpretation of the law, clandestine military activities, unlike covert C.I.A. operations, do not need to be depicted in a Finding, because the President has a constitutional right to command combat forces in the field without congressional interference. But the borders between operations are not always clear: in Iran, C.I.A. agents and regional assets have the language skills and the local knowledge to make contacts for the JSOC operatives, and have been working with them to direct personnel, matériel, and money into Iran from an obscure base in western Afghanistan. As a result, Congress has been given only a partial view of how the money it authorized may be used. One of JSOC’s task-force missions, the pursuit of “high-value targets,” was not directly addressed in the Finding. There is a growing realization among some legislators that the Bush Administration, in recent years, has conflated what is an intelligence operation and what is a military one in order to avoid fully informing Congress about what it is doing.
(23. Januar 2005) As part of the extraordinary army of 13,000 troops, police officers and federal agents marshaled to secure the inauguration, these elite forces were poised to act under a 1997 program that was updated and enhanced after the Sept. 11 attacks, but nonetheless departs from how the military has historically been used on American soil.
These commandos, operating under a secret counterterrorism program code-named Power Geyser, were mentioned publicly for the first time this week on a Web site for a new book, „Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operation in the 9/11 World,“ (Steerforth Press). The book was written by William M. Arkin, a former intelligence analyst for the Army.
The precise number of these Special Operations forces in Washington this week is highly classified, but military officials say the number is very small. The special-missions units belong to the Joint Special Operations Command, a secretive command based at Fort Bragg, N.C., whose elements include the Army unit Delta Force.
(21.12.2018) Complaining to them doesn’t usually do much good, but when Donald Trump does something right and important like order troops out of Syria and some out of Afghanistan, he needs to be told that the American people out here in the country agree and support this decision. Especially when all of TV is against it.
Just think, what if all he hears is complaints from the war party and crickets from the people? It would be a catastrophe…
Hey and why not add you’d like to see the troops home from Yemen, Somalia and Iraq too.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Qatari Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah in Washington over a US plan to create a NATO-like Arab military alliance as Washington pushes for an end to a diplomatic rift between Doha an a Saudi-led quartet in favor of an alliance against Iran.
In a 21-77 vote on Thursday, the Senate rejected a bill from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) aiming to block a $300 million arms sale to Bahrain. The bill was heavily opposed by the White House.
Ricardel remained at work on Tuesday as Bolton objected to her ouster and was reportedly at the office on Wednesday before her transition was announced.
Bolton brought Ricardel on board in May to serve as his No. 2 on the National Security Council. She earned a reputation as an enforcer and fierce bureaucratic infighter, clashing with White House chief of staff John Kelly and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
Hours later, the White House said that Ms. Ricardel was indeed leaving her post but that she would still work in the administration — just not under the first lady’s roof.
“Mira Ricardel will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement.
The paper added that the first lady’s office suspects Ricardel of leaking negative stories about the first lady and her staff.
The Journal also reported that Ricardel has sparred with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis over policy differences and staffing decisions. The Washington Post, citing three current and two former White House officials, reported that Ricardel had berated people in meetings and spread rumors about Mattis. The paper also reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has sought Ricardel’s ouster for months.
With Sessions out as attorney general as of Wednesday afternoon, Whitaker is now poised to take over for Rosenstein in the investigation’s top spot.
It is unclear whether Acosta will be turned away again on Thursday. It also remains to be seen whether White House reporters will walk out, or show solidarity with Acosta and CNN in other ways.
Acosta is CNN’s chief White House correspondent. He was trying to reenter the White House grounds for a live shot on „Anderson Cooper 360“ when he was stopped by Secret Service officers.
The reasons Sanders gave for pulling Acosta’s press pass were clearly fabricated.
She claimed in a statement that Acosta placed “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern,” which resulted in the decision to suspend Acosta’s access to the White House until further notice. Video replays of the interaction showed that this was clearly not the case.
President Donald Trump defended his characterization of the migrant caravan as an „invasion“ before attacking CNN’s Jim Acosta, calling him a „rude, terrible person.“
(18.10.2018) The three people said Mr. Kelly and Mr. Bolton were sparring over an issue that has frequently angered the president and has often prompted him to lash out at Kirstjen Nielsen, who succeeded Mr. Kelly as the secretary of homeland security after serving as his deputy chief of staff in the White House. Mr. Bolton was siding with the president, who has angrily blamed Ms. Nielsen for failing to stanch the flow of migrants across the border, while Mr. Kelly, who is fiercely protective of his protégé, defended her, the people said.
The Republican Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte asked Rod Rosenstein for a meeting to discuss a report that the deputy attorney general said he was willing to secretly record President Donald Trump.
The report The New York Times published on September 21 cited sources who said Rosenstein wanted to expose the chaos in the White House and potentially build a case for invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Rob Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General whose job hangs in the balance, had been expected to learn his fate Monday, but NBC News reports the meeting with President Trump has been postponed until Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C..
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer discusses the statement released by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after the New York Times reported that he discussed secretly recording President Trump in 2017 and discussed plans to use the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.
After Mr. McGahn was initially interviewed by the special counsel’s office in November, Mr. Trump’s lawyers never asked for a complete description of what Mr. McGahn had said, according to a person close to the president.
Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck, gave the president’s lawyers a short overview of the interview but few details, and he did not inform them of what Mr. McGahn said in subsequent interactions with the investigators, according to a person close to Mr. Trump.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo provides an update on North Korea during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on June 21, 2018.
As the top official for Asia on President Donald Trump’s national security council, Pottinger had briefed dozens of reporters about North Korea two days before Trump angrily tweeted that a New York Times article citing his remarks had relied on an official who “doesn’t exist.” The president was furious that the Times had paraphrased Pottinger, who spoke on background and thus could not be identified in its story, as saying it would be “impossible” for Trump to go forward with his June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un because there wasn’t enough time to prepare.
President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser is visiting Washington to discuss matters related to the upcoming summit between the US and North Korea, Cheong Wa Dae confirmed Friday.
Chung Eui-yong, chief of the presidential National Security Office, traveled to Washington on Thursday at the request of the White House National Security Council, according to an official at the presidential office.
05/03/2018 01:19 pm ET Updated 8 hours ago
U.S. officials told NBC News that Cohen was actually being monitored via pen register.
(05.03.18 3:02 PM ET) “Us lawyers have talked about it, we don’t believe it’s true,” Giuliani told The Daily Beast. “We think it’s going to turn out to be untrue because it would be totally illegal.“
It is not clear how long the wiretap has been authorized, but NBC News has learned it was in place in the weeks leading up to the raids on Cohen’s offices, hotel room, and home in early April, according to one person with direct knowledge.
At least one phone call between a phone line associated with Cohen and the White House was intercepted, the person said.
The White House published a statement about the Iranian nuclear program on Monday night that contradicts the official position of the U.S. Intelligence community, and later changed the phrasing of the statement on its website. The statement, attributed to U.S. President Donald Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, included a sentence saying that currently „Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people.“
US President Donald Trump has invited his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a phone conversation for a meeting at the White House.
The White House on Thursday said national security adviser John Bolton and Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov agree that both nations want to have a better relationship, but cautioned that Bolton said such an improvement will only occur if Russia address „concerns“ about interference in 2016 election and its actions in Ukraine and Syria.
AMIR AL THANI: I’m very happy and honored to be here, and thanks for this invitation. Our relationship between Qatar and the United States has been more than 45 years. It’s a very strong, solid relationship. Our economic partnership is more than $125 billion, and our aim and goal is to double it in the next coming years.
Our military cooperation is very solid, very strong. As everybody know, that the heart of fighting terrorism is from Al Udeid Base. And, thank God, it’s been a very successful campaign against the terrorist groups around our region.
Lately, before I come here, I was in Tampa. I visited the CENTCOM, and we met with the generals. And it was a very important visit, and it shows how strong our cooperation is between the armed forces.
Of course, we speak today and we see the suffering of the Syrian people. And me and the President, we see eye to eye that this matter has to stop immediately. We cannot tolerate — with a war criminal, we cannot tolerate with someone who killed more than half a million of his own people. And this matter should end immediately.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.
President Donald J. Trump spoke today with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom. Both leaders condemned Syrian President Assad’s vicious disregard for human life. The President and Prime Minister agreed not to allow the use of chemical weapons to continue.
President Donald J. Trump spoke today with President Emmanuel Macron of France to continue their coordination on responding to Syria’s atrocious use of chemical weapons on April 7.
Trump had said he “probably won’t do it” in an interview on the “Bernie and Sid” radio show on 77 WABC Radio taped Thursday and aired Friday. Calling the media “so bad” and “so fake,” Trump said: “I want to get it straightened out with the press before I do it.”