We begin with the hyperbolic, via the Guardian:
US intelligence chief warns Congress of danger of failing to renew Patriot Act
- Congress must accept responsibility if ‘untoward incident’ occurs
- James Clapper also discusses Syria, Russia and North Korea
If Congress fails to renew a controversial provision of the Patriot Act by June, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, says opponents of the bill on Capitol Hill should bear the blame if an otherwise preventable terrorist attack happens afterwards.
In a question-and answer-session at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Clapper reiterated his support for renewing Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the FBI and NSA to collect domestic phone records in bulk, is set to expire on 1 June. He expressed this support strongly and pointed a finger at opponents of the legislation on Capitol Hill. Clapper, America’s top-ranking intelligence official, said if Congress decides not to renew the legislation and an “untoward incident” occurs as a result, he hopes “everyone involved in that decision assumes responsibility” and doesn’t just blame the intelligence community.
However, Clapper did indicate his support for the reforms proposed to Section 215 by Senator Patrick Leahy last year, which shift responsibility for retaining phone records to individual phone companies from the FBI. This proposal failed to receive the needed supermajority in the Senate for a final vote in 2014 on a near party-line vote where 41 Republicans and one Democrat opposed it.
From the Intercept, cognitive dissonance:
Bush White House’s Repeated Torture Denials Led CIA Torturers to Seek Repeated Reassurances
The Bush administration was so adamant in its public statements against torture that CIA officials repeatedly sought reassurances that the White House officials who had given them permission to torture in the first place hadn’t changed their minds.
In a July 29, 2003, White House meeting that included Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet went so far as to ask the White House “to cease stating that US Government practices were ‘humane’.” He was assured they would.
The memo describing that meeting is one of several documents that were unclassified last year but apparently escaped widespread notice until now. Georgetown Law Professor David Cole called attention to the trove of documents on the Just Security blog.
The documents were apparently posted in December at ciasavedlives.com, a website formed by a group of former senior intelligence officials to rebut the newly released Senate report that documented the horrors that CIA officers inflicted upon detainees and the lies about those tactics’ effectiveness that they told their superiors, would-be overseers and the public.
VICE News reminds:
Violence Caused by Far-Right Extremists Has Surpassed That Caused by Domestic Jihadists, Study Says
Since the September 11 attacks, the notion of terrorism has looked somewhat one-dimensional in United States public discourse, with the majority of Americans coming to think of political violence as the acts of organized, foreign groups — from al Qaeda in the early 2000s to Islamic State (IS) today.
This frequently one-dimensional understanding in the US of terrorism has led both the public and law enforcement to overlook a very different kind of homegrown threat — one posed by antigovernment radicals, white supremacists, and other domestic and far-right ideologues.
In both cases — radical Islamism and far right extremism — a majority of terrorist attacks on US soil have been at the hands of individual “lone wolves” acting outside established groups. But violence caused by far right extremism has surpassed that caused by domestic “jihadis,” according to a study published last month by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
From the Los Angeles Times, no comment needed:
‘Jihadi John’ suspect took anger management classes, says teacher
The British-educated Muslim man now believed to be the notorious Islamic State killer “Jihadi John” reportedly took anger management classes as a student.
A teacher at Mohammed Emwazi’s high school told the BBC he used to get into fights as a teenager and had difficulty keeping his emotions in check.
“We would find that he would get very angry and worked up and it would take him a long time to calm himself down,” the teacher said, speaking on condition of anonymity for security sake, according to the BBC. “We did a lot of work as a school to help him with his anger and to control his emotions and it seemed to work.”
From the London Daily Mail, conclusion about biased cops behaving badly:
‘Racially biased’ Ferguson police sent emails laughing at black people and ticketed African Americans to make money before Michael Brown shooting, Justice Department report to reveal
- Justice Department report due to be released later this week
- Will find some white officials targeted black people in Ferguson, Missouri
- Traffic tickets were used to boost police department’s coffers, officials say
- Will also feature a racist joke circulated by officers via email
- Expected to say attitude was ‘avoidable’ and created racial tension
- Reached a climax when Michael Brown was fatally shot in August 2014
From the Associated Press, Attica! Attica!:
3 Attica guards plead guilty as assault trial about to begin
Three Attica prison guards charged with beating a jewelry thief until bones in his face and legs broke in 2011 pleaded guilty Monday in an agreement that will spare them jail time.
Keith Swack, Sean Warner and Matthew Rademacher admitted to misdemeanor charges of official misconduct as jury selection was about to begin for their trial in Wyoming County Court.
The guards, who had been suspended without pay since 2011, were given conditional discharges and agreed to resign.
“This is the first time in New York state history that a correction officer has been prosecuted and pleaded guilty to committing an unauthorized violent act to an inmate while on duty,” Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen said at a news conference.
A corporate media hack in Canada, via SecurityWeek:
Rogers Says Hackers Accessed Small Number of Business Accounts
A hacker group called TeamHans has leaked hundreds of megabytes of data allegedly stolen from the systems of Canadian communications and media company Rogers.
According to DataBreaches.net, the attackers leaked sensitive corporate information such as contracts, emails, documents, and even VPN data. TeamHans said it gained access to the information on February 20 after tricking support staff into changing the password for an employee’s email account.
The information found in the targeted employee’s email account led TeamHans to an online tool used by Rogers to manage contracts.
Hackable Microsoftness from SecurityWeek:
Internet Explorer Exploit Added to Angler Kit: FireEye
Hackers have modified an exploit for a vulnerability in Internet Explorer fixed last October and added it to a notorious exploit kit.
The vulnerability is a use-after-free issue patched in MS14-056, which fixed a total of 14 IE bugs altogether. According to FireEye Staff Research Scientist Dan Caselden, the exploit has been added to the Angler exploit kit. Angler is often associated with exploits for Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight.
“The Angler Exploit Kit (EK) recently implemented a modified version of k33nteam’s exploit targeting the same patched vulnerability,” Caselden blogged. “This is interesting because it is the first instance we’ve seen of an attack in the wild targeting IE deployments that are using Microsoft’s new MEMPROTECT mitigations. It shows that exploit authors are still interested in attacking IE.”
MEMPROTECT (Memory Protector) was introduced by Microsoft in July to make it difficult for hackers to execute use-after-free attacks. While the mitigations are not unbeatable, they increased the difficulty for exploit authors developing new IE exploits as evidenced by the absence of new IE exploits discovered in the wild, Caselden blogged.
Beheadings and burnings as bad fund-raising PR, via the London Telegraph:
Donations dry up for Islamic State, says US spy chief
- Brutal beheadings have shocked Middle East and many donors have withdrawn support
Donations to Islamic State jihadists have dramatically declined in the wake of brutal executions by the group that have shocked public opinion in the Middle East, the chief of US intelligence said Monday.
“I think there is change afoot in the Mideast,” said James Clapper, director of national intelligence, referring to perceptions of the IS group in the region.
“It’s not going to occur overnight. But I think these brutalities, publicized brutalities by ISIL (IS), beheadings, immolation and the like, have really had a galvanising effect even in the Mideast,” Clapper said at an event in New York organized by the Council on Foreign Relations.
As a result, donations to the extremists in Islamic countries were dropping off, according to Clapper. “There’s been a big decline,” he said.
From the New York Times, Clintonism at work:
Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules
Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, State Department officials said, and may have violated federal requirements that officials’ correspondence be retained as part of the agency’s record.
Mrs. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act.
It was only two months ago, in response to a new State Department effort to comply with federal record-keeping practices, that Mrs. Clinton’s advisers reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department. All told, 55,000 pages of emails were given to the department. Mrs. Clinton stepped down from the secretary’s post in early 2013.
After the jump, Isis threatens Twitter over blocks, the battle for Tikrit commences, more Aussie troops on the way, Saudi terrorist prisons a suite deal, Pakistan stages an Afghan mass expulsion, an ominous North Korean hint to Washington’s master spy, Pyongyang fires off demonstrative missiles, A Red Army military crackdown, Shinzo Abe spells out a Japanese foreign military agenda, and allegations of massive U.S. military rapes in Germany as World War II drew to a close. . . Continue reading