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SECRECY & THE SECURITY STATE

Court Rules President’s Words Have Little Meaning, War is Raging in Afghanistan

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A prisoner’s bid to end a fifteen-year stint at Guantanamo Bay, by arguing that the war in Afghanistan was over, had his hopes dashed in a federal court this week. Moath al-Alwi, captured in 2001, argued that statements made by the previous administration, suggesting hostilities in Afghanistan had ceased, meant that prisoners of war from that conflict should be freed, in accordance with long-established law of war principles. Alwi’s legal team specifically cited statements made by former President Obama in 2015. One was made during his annual State…

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ATF Made Millions in “Off-the-Books” Cig Smuggling Op

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Another Department of Justice informant program is under scrutiny following a New York Times report disclosing the existence of an undercover financing operation–this one involving illegal cigarette sales. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) enlisted the help of a Virginia tobacco distributor in 2011, to swindle a farmers’ cooperative out of $24 million. Some of the money was then used to finance ATF undercover activities, including $1 million payments each to two owners of the distribution company. The Times expose was…

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Racist Evidence, Incompetent Lawyers Lead to Supreme Court Death Sentence Stay

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to put on hold a death sentence that had been upheld twice in lower federal circuits. Duane Buck was granted the temporary reprieve after six justices decided an appellate court had not properly adjudicated his claims of having an incompetent lawyer. The Sixth Amendment guarantees “the Assistance of Counsel for…defense.” Buck had been sentenced to death in Texas, after his own attorneys said he was more likely to re-offend on the account of his race. Buck is black. “No…

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Trump’s Anti-Immigration Regime Takes Shape

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Homeland Security chief John Kelly issued a memo to department leadership Monday, outlining how agencies will implement anti-immigration executive orders given last month by President Trump. The guidance broadens the criteria of individuals eligible for removal from the country. It also loosens restrictions on immediate deportations, and orders Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offices to reallocate funding away from immigration advocacy programs. The move also allows for the hiring of 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and for the dismantling of safeguards erected for undocumented immigrants during…

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Government Has Yet to Implement Roughly 1,000 Cyber Security Recommendations

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A report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Tuesday revealed that federal agencies are dragging their feet establishing necessary safeguards against cyber attacks. The government watchdog noted that it has over recent years made about 2,500 recommendations to agencies to bolster their cyber defenses. “As of February 2017,” the report went on to state, “about 1,000 of our information security-related recommendations had not been implemented.” Federal information security, protecting critical infrastructure, and defending the government’s store of personally identifiable information are all listed as “high…

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Michael Flynn

In Wake of Flynn Resignation, Dems & GOP Spar Over Broadening Russian Probes

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The fledgling Trump administration is already dealing with a high-profile resignation. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn stepped down on Monday night, amid reporting that he broke the law during a December phone call with a Russian ambassador, and then lied about it. In his resignation letter, Flynn admitted only that he “inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information.” As late as Monday afternoon, it had appeared Flynn’s job might be safe. White House advisor Kelly Ann Conway claimed on MSNBC that…

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Trump Declares “New Era of Justice” as Session Takes Oath

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Violent crime rates are at a near 20-year low, but the President of the United States tasked his newly sworn-in Attorney General to get a hold of the “gang members and drug dealers terrorizing” the nation. Former Sen. Jeff Session (R-Ala.) was sworn in during a ceremony in the Oval Office on Thursday. Afterward, President Trump signed three executive orders that he described as “designed to restore safety in America.” One measure directs the Department of Justice to create a task force on reducing violent…

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DHS Chief John Kelly

D.H.S. Chief Kelly Floats Making Visitors to U.S. “Give Us Your Passwords”

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Appearing before a congressional panel on Tuesday, the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly proposed requiring foreign travelers to the US to provide immigration officers with social media account log-ins. Kelly faced questioning on the issue from Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.), who urged the department to “increase its efforts to dig into” social media activity of visa applicants. The DHS chief concurred, stating that he was looking into “enhanced” screening, regardless of the current order blocking implantation of President Trump’s Muslim ban. “If someone wants to…

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Sean Spicer

White House Admits Yemen Raid Not 100% Success, Insiders Describe a Disaster

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Days after President Donald Trump authorized his first secret military operation—a counter-terror intelligence raid in Yemen—the Pentagon is admitting that civilians were likely killed in the firefight. US Central Command acknowledged in a statement Wednesday night that the Seal Team 6 raid on a remote village in central Yemen on Sunday resulted in noncombatant casualties, which “may include children.” Also killed in the operation was Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens. Three other service members were wounded. And a $75 million helicopter had…

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State Dept. Employees Dissent Over Trump Muslim Ban Amid “Constitutional Crisis”

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An executive order signed by President Donald Trump last Friday that has sparked protests around the country has now created unrest within the US State Department. Career Foreign Service officers at the department submitted a memo through an official channel raising their objections to the administration’s decision to ban travelers, including refugees, from seven majority-Muslim nations from entering the United States. “This ban stands in opposition to the core American and constitutional values that we, as federal employees, took an oath to uphold,” the diplomats…

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Trump Takes Fox News Lead to Attack Chelsea Manning

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In what is quickly becoming a ritual of his presidency, Trump unleashed a Twitter rant on Thursday morning—this one aimed at Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, calling her a “traitor.” The timing of the President’s tweets corresponded with a segment that aired on Fox News minutes earlier, which was also heavily critical of Manning. “Ungrateful TRAITOR Chelsea Manning, who should never have been released from prison, is now calling President Obama a weak leader. Terrible!” Trump tweeted shortly after 6am. As CNN’s Brian Stelter reported, Trump’s message…

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