Posts tagged with "FBI"

FBI carries out predawn raid, arresting Roger Stone and searching his home

January 28, 2019

In a predawn video by CNN, armed FBI agents and local police were shown arriving at the home of longtime Trump adviser and associate Roger Stone to arrest him—in a marked departure from how Special Counsel Robert Mueller is known to have handled other players tied to the Russia probe.

According to CNN reporters stationed outside of Stone’s residence in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the authorities announced their presence while knocking on the door. The FBI agents also reportedly said they had a warrant to search the home.

President Donald Trump commented on Twitter, “Greatest Witch Hunt in the History of our Country! NO COLLUSION! Border Coyotes, Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers are treated better. Who alerted CNN to be there?”

And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN, “This has nothing to do with the president and certainly has nothing to do with the White House. This is something that has to do solely with that individual.”

Meanwhile, CNN clapped back, tweeting, “CNN’s ability to capture the arrest of Roger Stone was the result of determined reporting and interpreting clues revealed in the course of events. That’s called journalism.”

Based on the same report, former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram commented,”There’s a reason” why the FBI arrested former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone “at the crack of dawn with agents fully armed,” even if the reason for that is unknown as of now. 

“This is a standard procedure to arrest someone when you don’t have a belief that they’ve come in voluntarily,” Milgram told CNN’s “New Day” on Friday morning. “… they clearly wanted the element of surprise.” 

A copy of the indictment by the Grand Jury for the District of Columbia was posted on The Hill. Stone is facing seven charges, including five counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, and one count of witness tampering.

“It’s clear that the Trump campaign was acting in a coordinated fashion to try to undermine this election and to try to get this information into public circulation,” Representative Dan Kildee (D-Michigan) told CNN’s Jim Sciutto.

“It’s pretty stunning to read these indictments … and compare them to the constant pronouncements the president has made. Clearly he has a distant relationship with the truth, but in this case he’s getting his wall: Unfortunately, it’s the wall that’s being built around him,” Kildee added.

Stone is the sixth associate of President Trump to be charged in connection with Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

A federal magistrate ruled that Stone could be released on a $250,000 signature bond. CNN reported that Stone told the judge that he does not have a current passport.

In a statement following the indictment, Stone said that would not plead guilty to the charges and believes that they are politically motivated. He also reinforced that he would not testify against the president.

Research contact: @davidgshortell

Is the POTUS ‘obstructing justice’ by demanding declassification of Mueller probe documents?

September 19, 2018

The POTUS is treading a thin line, between obstruction of justice and presidential privilege.

On September 17, President Donald Trump directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice to immediately declassify portions of the June 2017 FISA court application regarding former Trump campaign adviser Carter W.Page, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

The president also demanded the public release of text messages exchanged by former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Trump’s defenders on Capitol Hill and in the conservative media have routinely used the Strzok-Page text messages to undermine the Mueller probe and suggest that the FBI is biased against Trump, the news outlet said.

In immediate response to the order, Representative Adam Schiff (D-California-28th District), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent out a tweet at 8:08 p.m. on September 17, remarking: “President Trump has intervened again in a pending investigation by ordering the selective disclosure of classified materials he believes to be helpful to his defense. The DOJ and FBI have previously informed me that release of some of this information would cross a ‘red line.’”

In a statement picked up by MSN, Schiff characterized the president’s order as “a clear abuse of power,” suggesting that Trump  “has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative.”

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia-11th District) also came out against the release of documents, tweeting shortly after 8 p.m. on September 17, “More obstruction from the President.”

And Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) tweeted on September 18,”The President is trying to undermine an active investigation through reckless declassification. We need an independent DOJ to do everything possible to protect sources and methods.”

The FBI previously had released a heavily redacted version of the Page FISA application in July. Trump also ordered the public release of texts messages sent by former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. The president also ordered the release of notes on meetings with Ohr, who relayed information to the FBI collected by former British spy Christopher Steele about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

According to the Huffington Post, a Justice Department spokesperson said late on September 17 that the DOJ and FBI were “already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order.”

The president’s order, the spokesperson said, triggered “a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests.”

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70% of power pros fear hacks could cause a ‘catastrophic failure’

April 20, 2018

Last month, a joint technical alert issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security put Americans on notice that Russia has hacked into critical U.S. energy infrastructure—and is capable of bring the grid down, at a time of its own choosing.

Just how concerned are energy security professionals? To find out, Dimensional Research conducted a poll on behalf of Tripwire among 151 IT and operational technology security professionals at energy and oil and gas companies.

The responses to the poll are scary enough to keep both energy professionals and the American public up at night: Close to all participants said they feared operational shutdowns and threats to their employees’ safety at 97% and 96%, respectively.

What’s more, fully 70% percent of these security professionals feared more dire consequences like an explosion and other “catastrophic failures.”

But they are on the case: 59% of those polled said their companies already have begun to increase security investments because of Incident Command System (ICS)-targeted attacks like Trisis/Triton, Industroyer/CrashOverride and Stuxnet. However, many feel they still don’t have the proper level of investment to meet ICS security goals.

Disturbingly enough, more than half (56%) of respondents to Tripwire’s survey felt it would take a significant attack to get their companies to invest in security properly

This may be the reason why just 35% of participants are taking a multilayered approach to ICS security – widely recognized as a best practice. Thirty-four percent said they were focusing primarily on network security; and 14%, on ICS device security.

Tim Erlin, vice president of Product Management and Strategy at Tripwire, is troubled by these findings. “It’s concerning,” he say, “that more than half would wait for an attack to happen before investing properly given what’s at stake with critical infrastructure. The energy industry should invest in establishing more robust cybersecurity strategies with a proper foundation of critical security controls and layers of defense.”

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America’s meanest streets

March 13, 2018

Monroe, Louisiana, is the most dangerous city in the United States, according to a report released by the website, NeighborhoodScout, on March 6.

Filling out the rest of the top ten (from most dicey to least) for this year are Bessemer, Alabama; East St. Louis, Illinois; Camden, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri; Wilmington, Delaware, Alexandria, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and West Memphis, Arkansas.

The list of the top 100 most dangerous American cities compares the safety of municipalities with populations of 25,000 or more, based on the number of violent crimes (murder, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault) reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and the population of each city, divided by 1,000. This calculation provides a rate for violent crime per 1,000 residents—offering an accurate, normalized comparison of cities of different sizes.

Monroe is representative of a number of communities on the list: It is a medium-size city (population: 49,297) located about 100 miles away from two larger cities—Shreveport (population 194,920) to the west; and Jackson (population 169,148) to the east.

Compared to the rest of the nation, Monroe is lower-middle-income and has a high number of people living in poverty. The lack of a large business and economic center within decent commuting distance means that residents have difficulty finding well-paying jobs.

These factors contribute to the city’s above-average housing vacancy rate and low public school quality indices—which, in-turn, reduce economic activity and can make it challenging for a community to attract jobs that require high skills and pay good salaries. A similar scenario plays out in Chester, PennsylvaniaHomestead, Florida, and other medium-size communities nationwide.

“We continue to see a number of smaller, industrial-satellite communities struggle with crime,” said Dr.Andrew Schiller, CEO and Founder of Location, the parent company of  NeighborhoodScout. “Limited economic opportunity plays a role in such communities and highlights the divide between the safe bedroom communities within large metro areas near major urban centers like Boston, Chicago and New York, and the high-crime industrial-satellite communities.”

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As White House scandals pile up, so does women’s disapproval

February 14, 2018

The most recent Washington Post-ABC poll, released February 10, has found that President Donald Trump’s approval from white women has fallen since his first 100 days. While most white women voted for Trump in 2016, his approval rating among that demographic has declined by 10 points—and strong disapproval of the president by this group has increased by 12 points, from 39% to 51%.

The women with whom Trump resonated most were white, without college degrees. Many of these women found his message championing traditional values and an economic message benefiting working-class families in Middle America more attractive than Hillary Clinton’s progressive promise to continue the Obama legacy, the researchers said.

However, as the number of scandals in the White House surges—with two resignations for spousal abuse just last week by Staff Secretary Rob Porter and Speechwriter David Sorenson—the women who supported Trump are fleeing in droves.

Yet, on February 9, a “tone-deaf” Trump defended Porter, saying, “He did a very good job while he was in the White House.”

He told reporters, “We found out about [the allegations from Porter’s ex-wives] recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that.”

The POTUS did not directly address the statements of the ex-wives, as reported to the FBI staff that had conducted their security clearance interviews.

And despite former Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway’s attempts to divert attention by lauding the increase in jobs for white women under the Trump administration, nearly half (47%) of white women without degrees view the nation’s economy as not so good or poor, the poll found.

Most (65%) of these women do not believe that Trump is the “very stable genius” that he says he is. And the overwhelming majority (79%) of these women think sexual harassment of women in the workplace is a problem in America, the Post reported.

The most recent reports follow the scandal that surface in January, when headlines worldwide announced that Trump had carried on an affair with an adult film actress shortly after his wife, Melania, gave birth to son Barron—and had paid the woman hush money to deny the allegations.

Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel delivered senior White House staff a memo at the end of 2017 showing how poorly the GOP was doing with women, the Post reports. These latest events will not reverse that trend.

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Whom do you trust? American voters are not so sure

February 8, 2018

Americans are languishing in a “Great Divide” and—following the release of the latest Quinnipiac University National Poll, on February 7—Tim Malloy, assistant director of the research organization, confirmed it.

“Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not out to get President Donald Trump, American voters say, but they do feel [that] the President is out to get Mueller,” he commented, adding, “And almost half of voters think Republicans in Congress are trying to obstruct the Russia investigation.”

Indeed, the recent poll found that 50% of U.S. voters think that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is legitimate, even as 42% say it is a “political witch hunt.”

While there is an obvious partisan divide on these questions, Independent voters say:

  • 56%-37% that Trump is attempting to derail the Russia investigation;
  • 49%-42% that Republicans in Congress are trying to derail the Russian probe; and
  • 54%-39% that the investigation is legitimate rather than a witch hunt.

What’s more, the FBI is not biased against Trump, voters say (55%-33%).

“Despite the beating they’ve taken from the White House, the judiciary and the intelligence communities are considered [to be] a lot more trustworthy than the Oval Office and the Fourth Estate,” said Malloy.

Finally, based on the research, voters trust the U.S. court system (67%- 28%) to do what is right, as well as the U.S. intelligence agencies (61%-31%).

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