Technology

Netanyahu following his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry ‘This Is a Bad Deal–a Very, Very Bad Deal’

“I met Secretary Kerry right before he leaves to Geneva,” said Netanyhau. “I reminded him that he said that no deal is better than a bad deal. That the deal that is being discussed in Geneva right now is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. Iran is not required to take apart even one centrifuge. But the international community is relieving sanctions on Iran for the first time after many years. Iran gets everything that it wanted at this stage and it pays nothing. And this is when Iran is under severe pressure. I urge Secretary Kerry not to rush to sign, to wait, to reconsider, to get a good deal. But this is a bad deal–a very, very bad deal. It’s the deal of a century for Iran; it’s a very dangerous and bad deal for peace and the international community.”

 

Transcript copied from The Weekly Standard

Saudi could have Pakistani-made atom bombs upon request

Saudi could have Pakistani-made atom bombs upon request

Saudi Arabia has reportedly financed Pakistani-developed nuclear weapons, and the kingdom devises Islamabad will provide it atomic bombs upon request, the BBC reported Wednesday night. The Gulf states have been concerned about Iran and its mission to extend its influence throughout the region. The worry has increased alongside the continued debate on the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities…. Read more →

Iran demands right to expand nuclear program: Enrich Uranium

Iran demands right to expand nuclear program: Enrich Uranium

Despite a softening tone from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the regime’s illicit nuclear program, the Islamic Republic is hardening its position on the right to enrich uranium. An analysis by Fars News Agency, the Revolutionary Guards’ media outlet, said that Iran not only has the right to continue its nuclear program but to expand it dramatically to fulfill its… Read more →

NSA and other U.S. intelligence agency are angry at President Obama for denying knowledge of the spying

President_and_First_Lady_Obama_with_Chancellor_Merkel

WASHINGTON – The White House and State Department signed off on surveillance targeting phone conversations of friendly foreign leaders, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said Monday, pushing back against assertions that President Obama and his aides were unaware of the high-level eavesdropping.

Professional staff members at the National Security Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies are angry, these officials say, believing the president has cast them adrift as he tries to distance himself from the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have strained ties with close allies.

The resistance emerged as the White House said it would curtail foreign intelligence collection in some cases and two senior U.S. senators called for investigations of the practice.

France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Sweden have all publicly complained about the NSA surveillance operations, which reportedly captured private cellphone conversations by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among other foreign leaders.

On Monday, as Spain joined the protest, the fallout also spread to Capitol Hill.

Until now, members of Congress have chiefly focused their attention on Snowden’s disclosures about the NSA’s collection of U.S. telephone and email records under secret court orders.

“With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of U.S. allies — including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany — let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed,” said Sen.Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers,” she said in a statement.

Feinstein said the Intelligence Committee had not been told of “certain surveillance activities” for more than a decade, and she said she would initiate a major review of the NSA operation. She added that the White House had informed her that “collection on our allies will not continue,” although other officials said most U.S. surveillance overseas would not be affected.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), ranking minority member of the Armed Services Committee, said Congress should consider creating a special select committee to examine U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders.

“Obviously, we’re going to want to know exactly what the president knew and when he knew it,” McCain told reporters in Chicago. “We have always eavesdropped on people around the world. But the advance of technology has given us enormous capabilities, and I think you might make an argument that some of this capability has been very offensive both to us and to our allies.”

In Madrid, Spanish Foreign Ministry officials summoned the U.S. ambassador to object to the alleged NSA communications net in Spain. Citing documents leaked by Snowden, El Mundo, a major Spanish daily, said the U.S. spy agency had collected data on more than 60 million phone calls made in just 30 days, from early December 2012 to early January 2013.

Precisely how the surveillance is conducted is unclear. But if a foreign leader is targeted for eavesdropping, the relevant U.S. ambassador and the National Security Council staffer at the White House who deals with the country are given regular reports, said two former senior intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in discussing classified information.

Obama may not have been specifically briefed on NSA operations targeting a foreign leader’s cellphone or email communications, one of the officials said. “But certainly the National Security Council and senior people across the intelligence community knew exactly what was going on, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.”

If U.S. spying on key foreign leaders was news to the White House, current and former officials said, then White House officials have not been reading their briefing books.

Some U.S. intelligence officials said they were being blamed by the White House for conducting surveillance that was authorized under the law and utilized at the White House.

“People are furious,” said a senior intelligence official who would not be identified discussing classified information. “This is officially the White House cutting off the intelligence community.”

Any decision to spy on friendly foreign leaders is made with input from the State Department, which considers the political risk, the official said. Any useful intelligence is then given to the president’s counter-terrorism advisor, Lisa Monaco, among other White House officials.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said Monday that Obama had ordered a review of surveillance capabilities, including those affecting America’s closest foreign partners and allies.

“Our review is looking across the board at our intelligence gathering to ensure that as we gather intelligence, we are properly accounting for both the security of our citizens and our allies and the privacy concerns shared by Americans and citizens around the world,” Carney said.

National_Security_Agency.svgCaitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council, said the review would examine “whether we have the appropriate posture when it comes to heads of state, how we coordinate with our closest allies and partners, and what further guiding principles or constraints might be appropriate for our efforts.”

She said the review should be completed this year.

Citing documents from Snowden, the German news magazine Der Spiegel reported last week that the NSA’s Special Collection Service had monitored Merkel’s cellphone since 2002. Obama subsequently called Merkel and told her he was not aware her phone had been hacked, U.S. officials said.

Intelligence officials also disputed a Wall Street Journalarticle Monday that said the White House had learned only this summer — during a review of surveillance operations that might be exposed by Snowden — about an NSA program to monitor communications of 35 world leaders. Since then, officials said, several of the eavesdropping operations have been stopped because of political sensitivities.

 

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NSA stores data to target any citizen at any time - Greenwald

NSA stores data to target any citizen at any time – Greenwald

The current revelations on the NSA’s spying are just the tip of the iceberg and affect “almost every country in the world,” said Glenn Greenwald. He stressed the NSA stores data for “as long as it can,” so they can target a citizen whenever they want. Glenn Greenwald, the man behind the reports on the NSA global spy program, spoke… Read more →

Wall Street Journal reports the president didn’t know the size and scope of the operation for years.

The first nuclear submarine fleet from PLA North China Sea Fleet carried out a military drill as shown by footage released lately. The drill was aimed at testing the maneuver capability of the fleet in deep-sea navigation, long-distance operation, submarine communication and coordination with other battleships. Other than nuclear-powered submarines, a wide range of destroyers, frigates, depot ships and military helicopters were also engaged in the drill, according to military officers in the drill.

Germany and France united in fury over U.S. spying accusations

Germany and France united in fury over U.S. spying accusations

(Reuters) – German and French accusations that the United States has run spying operations in their countries, including possibly bugging Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone, are likely to dominate a meeting of EU leaders starting on Thursday. The two-day Brussels summit, called to tackle a range of social and economic issues, will now be overshadowed by debate on how to… Read more →

Obama’s DHS pick is ex-Pentagon attorney: Specialties include cybersecurity and drone strikes

President Obama plans to nominate former Pentagon attorney Jeh Johnson as the next secretary of Homeland Security, a White House official said Thursday.

Johnson, general counsel for the Defense Department during Obama’s first term, will be introduced by the president at a ceremony on Friday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would replace Janet Napolitano, who left the administration to run the University of California education system.

“The president is selecting Johnson because he is one of the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders, having served as the senior lawyer for the largest government agency in the world,” the official said.

The official said that during his tenure at the Defense Department, Johnson exhibited “sound judgment” and provided “prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the president and secretary of Defense.”

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because Obama has not yet made his public announcement.

Johnson would be the fourth head of the Department of Homeland Security, created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The White House official described Johnson as “a critical member of the president’s counterterrorism team,” and someone who worked closely with Homeland Security officials during his years at the Pentagon.

His specialties include cybersecurity, the official said. He played a key role in repealing the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned openly gay servicemembers.

Johnson, who left his Pentagon post in 2012, also provided legal guidance in the use of unmanned drones against terrorism suspects overseas, and in the use of military commissions — rather than civilian courts — to try suspects.

The Homeland Security nominee also led a crackdown on unauthorized news leaks at the Defense Department, including a warning to a former Navy SEAL who wrote a book about the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

During a speech at Britain’s Oxford University last year, Johnson said that the nation’s war on terrorism should not be endless, and the focus should shift to law enforcement and intelligence operations.

“War must be regarded as a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs,” Johnson said. “In its 12th year, we must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the new normal.”

These and other subjects could well surface at a Senate confirmation hearing.

Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First, said Johnson “grappled with the challenges of protecting national security while respecting human rights and upholding American ideals” during his time at the Pentagon.

“These are key issues in the Department of Homeland Security, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with him should he be confirmed to lead DHS,” she said in a statement.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., criticized Obama for nominating a “loyalist and fundraiser” to lead what he called a “mismanaged” department.

“This is deeply concerning,” Sessions said. “This huge department must have a proven manager with strong relevant law enforcement experience, recognized independence and integrity, who can restore this department to its full capability.”

An early political supporter of Obama, Johnson — a native of Wappingers Falls, N.Y. — also served as general counsel to the Air Force during President Clinton’s administration.

 

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Netanyahu: Yom Kippur War taught us preventive strike always an option

Netanyahu: Yom Kippur War taught us preventive strike always an option

Knesset holds special ceremony to mark 40th anniversary of the war; PM says Israel has emerged stronger in 40 years since war broke out; says nuclear Iran would threaten any peace deal reached with Palestinians. As world powers met with Iranian officials in Geneva on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a veiled reference to his often-repeated warning that a preemptive strike… Read more →