Thursday, July 20, 2017

Leaks

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Dirty Pictures
"You hacked my what?!"

Former staff members for Stacey Plaskett have been found guilty of leaking nude pictures and videos of the Congresswoman and her husband.

“Juan R. McCullum, 35, of Washington, D.C., was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of cyberstalking, and a co-worker, Dorene Browne-Louis, 45, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was indicted on two counts of obstruction of justice. The indictment, which was unsealed today, was returned on July 11, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.” stated The United States Attorney’s Office.

Plaskett claims that Juan R. McCullum, a former staffer for the delegate took her iPhone in for repair. However, it has been noted that he distributed private photos and videos of the couple on the Internet using anonymous emails.

Moreover, McCullum sent out a text message to a fellow staffer, Dorene Browne-Louis mentioning what he had done and sent her a dozen of pictures and videos that were on Plaskett’s phone.

Plaskett stated, “Last year, my privacy was invaded, which was followed by an organized smear campaign and defamatory press reports concerning both me and my family.”

She added, “I was informed today that preliminary arrests had been made of individuals who were involved in those illegal acts. I am deeply grateful to the Capitol Police and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for their thorough and in depth investigating the crimes committed against me, and those who I love.”

It has been noted that McCullum had stopped working for Plaskett back in June, just a month before the leaked content made its way to the internet.

“To say my family and I are greatly upset would be a tremendous understatement,” she said at that time, adding that the dissemination of the images was “a shockingly disgusting invasion of my family’s and my privacy — not to mention criminal acts . . .” Plaskett expressed.

Media outlets highlighted that, “McCullum worked from April 2015 until June 2016 in the House member’s legislative office in Washington, D.C. Browne-Louis worked in the same office from January 2015 until April 2016.”

Sen. Ronald Russell condemned such an action made by someone within the Congress and stated, “I personally have never seen this video. However, I absolutely condemn this act. Unfortunately, we have become a voyeuristic society, where things that are done in private are released willy nilly on social media, with no sense of modesty. … Neither me nor my campaign have anything to do with the release of this or any other video.”

It is to be noted, McCullen is set to face two counts of cyberstalking, whereas Browne-Louis shall be facing two counts of obstruction of justice.

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NSA Leaker
Try 'hacking' through the bars of your prison cell, leaker!

The Department of Justice recently announced in a statement, the charges against a government contractor who allegedly leaked classified documents to the media. The statement also reveals how they eventually caught her.

“A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e),” it read.

“On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it,” the statement explained. “Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.”

The media has since noted that the government only seems to have caught her after the said news outlet asked for a comment about their story, but in an apparent mistake provided the government with the original documents.

“The U.S. Government Agency examined the document shared by the News Outlet and determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded and/or creased, suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space,” the complaint read.

Hence, because of the crease in the paper, officials knew they had to look for people who had printed the document and taken it out of the “secured space” physically. After discovering six individuals who had printed the document, they found that one had sent emails to the news outlet.

Winner was suspected to have leaked the highly classified document to The Intercept, which then ran a story based on the report, talking about how US intelligence authorities had monitored hundreds of hacking attempts before the 2016 presidential election.

“The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.”

Since taking over the White House, the Trump administration has been a victim of constant leaks that have become a major problem for the president and his agenda.

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Mueller Investigation
Are the Investigation's days numbered?

Newsmax CEO and a close friend of President Donald Trump, Chris Ruddy has said that the president is thinking about dismissing Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed just last month to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.

While speaking to Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour, Ruddy said that he thinks the president is weighing that option.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” he said. “I think he’s weighing that option. I think it’s very clear by what one of his lawyers said on television recently.

“I personally think it would be a very significant mistake,” Ruddy continued, “even though I don’t think there’s a justification … for a special counsel in this case.”

“I mean Robert Mueller, there’s some real conflicts,” he explained. “He comes from a law firm that represents members of the Trump family. He interviewed the day before a few days before he was appointed special counsel with the president who was looking at him potentially to become the next FBI director. That hasn’t been published but it’s true.”

“But I think it would be strange that he would have a confidential conversation and then a few days later become prosecutor of the person he would be investigating,” he added. “I think that Mueller should not have taken the position if he was under consideration and had a private meeting with the president and was privy maybe to some of his thoughts about that investigation or other matters before the bureau.”

CNBC journalist Kayla Tausche saw Ruddy leave the White House before making the news on Monday morning.

However, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee says, “Chris speaks for himself.”

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff (Cali.) posted on Twitter regarding the claim, “If President fired Bob Mueller, Congress would immediately re-establish independent counsel and appoint Bob Mueller. Don’t waste our time.”

Journalists and experts have also noted that Trump’s close aide Newt Gingrich has also publicly denounced Mueller after lauding him when he was initially chosen as the special counsel.

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Conway Leaks
Is that you Kellyanne?

Appearing on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends,” on Monday, Kellyanne Conway, President Trump’s special counsel, refuted claims that she was leaking sensitive White House information to reporters.

“Fox and Friends” co-host Steve Doocy brought up recent reports accusing Conway of sharing confidential information to colleagues and certain journalists at a Washington DC party last Friday night.

A Twitter account that goes by the handle @KellyanneLeaks alleged that Conway was overheard by several people, criticizing President Trump, Reince Priebus the White House chief of staff, and Marc Short, Director of White House Legislative Affairs.

The Twitter account also posted pictures of Conway talking to reporters at the party. The account also claimed that she was overheard complaining about Short.

“Honestly, what the f*** does Marc Short do all day?” she reportedly asked.

According to the account, Trump told Conway to “go out there and say that booted FBI Director ‘Jim Comey is going to have to wait and see about the tapes.’”

Other attendees also saw Conway making fun of Priebus for telling White House staff to avoid talking to the press.

Politico published a similar report on Saturday:

“Kellyanne Conway was overheard Thursday night talking about her West Wing co-workers to fellow revelers at a party. Conway was having an off-the-record conversation with a group of reporters and other attendees at the British Embassy at their election-night watch party. She said President Donald Trump told her to “go out there and say ‘Jim Comey is going to have to wait and see about the tapes.’”

“It turns out you’re the big leaker from the White House!” Doocy said about leak reports.

Conway responded: “If I were a great leaker, I would get much better press, don’t you think? Part of why I don’t is because I won’t leak confidential information.”

She also shot back, saying she never leaks any information about or from the president.

“I never divulge what the president tells me,” Conway said. “I never would.”

Despite the large number of reports stemming out of various outlets, Sean Spicer has refuted claims and allegations, especially those coming out of Twitter, and maintained that Short and Conway are “very close.”

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James Comey
You done goofed James!

Sunday morning saw President Donald Trump go on the offensive to accuse James Comey, the former director of the FBI, of being “very cowardly.” According to Trump, in what could be an illegal move, Comey acted cowardly by leaking memos of their conversations to the press, while he was serving as Director FBI.

“I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Totally illegal? Very ‘cowardly!’”

The Senate Intelligence Committee had Comey testify on Thursday, regarding his dismissal, the probe into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, and Trump’s potential obstruction of justice when he possibly directed Comey to downplay the probe into his former national security advisor General Mike Flynn.

However, one of the most noteworthy revelations from Comey’s testimony was that he admitted to leaking memos that contained his discussions with Trump while he was in office, to the press, specifically the New York Times.

On Friday, the American Center for Law and Justice’s chief counsel, wrote that Comey’s leaks were clearly illegal.

“Comey – the nation’s top intelligence official – admitted under oath that he leaked privileged documents to a friend to give to reporters at the New York Times,” Sekulow wrote in the article. “Memos that he had written in the course of his official government duties about privileged conversations with the President. The reason: Comey testified that he did so to manipulate the situation and force the appointment of a Special Counsel. (And, as we know – that’s ultimately what occurred.)”

“Comey’s admission that he is a leaker also raises serious legal questions,” Sekulow also wrote later in his article. “In my view, Comey broke the law: 18 U.S.C. § 641 provides that it is a federal crime to, without authority, convey a record of the United States, in this case an FBI record he admits under oath he leaked after being fired.”

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nsa leaker's mom
Well if her mom said so . . .

Reality Winner, the 25-year-old alleged NSA leaker, was arrested on Saturday for reportedly sharing highly confidential data with the press. Her parents spoke to Anderson Cooper Tuesday night, expressing shock that their daughter was arrested. Her parents called her a “patriot” for reportedly leaking classified information to The Intercept.

“She was very scared,” Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told Cooper. “They took her by surprise. She was not expecting any of this.”

Following her arrest on Saturday, it is being speculated that Winner could be charged with leaking sensitive information and could face up to 10 years in prison. The Department of Justice also released a statement after Winner’s arrest.

“A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).”

“On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it. Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.”

Recently, reports have also surfaced that Winner had ties to the certain Muslim civil rights’ groups and was also an active member of the “Resistance” movement.

“I didn’t know what company she worked for,” Winner-Davis told Cooper. “I don’t know what she did when she went to work.”

During the discussion with Cooper, Winner-Davis said that her daughter had called her before her arrest on Saturday and told her that she may be in trouble. She also revealed that she spoken to her after her arrest.

“She was afraid she was going to disappear, that [the government was] going to make her disappear,” Winner-Davis said. “And she felt like she needed to give them what they were asking for at the time.”

Gary Davis, her stepfather, added that the way Winner is being treated now is “disheartening.”

“She served her country, she is a veteran,” Davis said. “She’s a patriot, and to see her maligned and slandered in the media is very disheartening.”

Winner-Davis is of the belief that her daughter is “ready to pay the price” if she is guilty.

“My biggest fear in all of this is that she’s not going to get a fair trial,” Winner-Davis added. “She’s going to be made an example of … I’m terrified for her right now because of the news, the climate, the social media.”

Winner-Davis also denied she had any knowledge of her daughter’s purported ties to alt-left groups.

“She’s never ever given me any kind of indication that she was in favor of that at all,” Winner-Davis said. “I don’t know how to explain it.”

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Round 'em up!

Former speaker of the US House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, who is also a staunch supporter of President Trump, advised the president to begin tracking down the people responsible for leaking information in violation of “secrecy acts” and have them thrown in jail. According to Gingrich, this move would cause the “leaks [to] dry up dramatically.”

“I want to draw a distinction,” Gingrich told “Fox and Friends” on Sunday. “There’s political garbage, there are people who go across to the Starbucks near the White House, and they sit and they tell insider stories. That’s unfortunate, and you ought to fire them if you can find them, but that’s not the same as violating the secrecy acts. People who violate the secrecy acts ought to go to jail.”

“What happened with the Manchester information, for example, after the bombing in Manchester, undermined the British investigation, weakened our relationship to our allies, and is dangerous,” Gingrich continued. “Whoever leaked that should go to jail. Now, you start putting a few people in jail, you’ll see the leaks dry up dramatically.”

Following the terror attack in Manchester on Monday, in which 22 people were killed and 60 others wounded, leaks from the intelligence community revealed confidential information regarding the UK’s investigation of the bomber and more such threats to the country.

Later on Thursday, UK authorities temporarily suspended sharing of any intelligence with US agencies after specifics about the investigation in the UK were leaked to the media.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on Friday said that the US was ready to take “full responsibility” for the leaks.

“We take full responsibility for that and we obviously regret that that happened,” Tillerson said. “With respect to the release of information inappropriately … certainly we condemn that.”

Trump, on Sunday, took to Twitter to announce how UK PM Theresa May felt about the leaks.

“British Prime Minister May was very angry that the info the U.K. gave to U.S. about Manchester was leaked. Gave me full details!” Trump wrote.

The same day, Trump further dismissed any reports stemming from anonymous sources, saying, “Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names …. it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!”

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Are cracks forming in our relationship?

Speaking to the press outside the White House on Monday, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster denied the shocking allegations from a Washington Post article that said President Donald Trump had shared sensitive intelligence with the Russians in the meeting last week.

“A brief statement for the record,” McMaster began. “There’s nothing that the president takes more seriously than the security of the American people.”

“The story that came out tonight as reported, is false,” he said rather flatly.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time,” he emphasized, “were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

“Two other senior officials who were present, including the secretary of state,” he continued, “remember the meeting the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record account should outweigh those of anonymous sources.”

“And I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” he concluded. “Thanks everybody.”

Even though it is usually criticized and frowned upon by the Trump administration, the Washington Post report mentioned information from anonymous sources. However, sources later confirmed the legitimacy of the information to the New York Post, Buzzfeed, and Reuters.

Several journalists called McMaster’s statement to be an incomplete denial of the story. MSNBC’s Katy Tur tweeted, “McMaster saying “sources and methods” is a red herring. Article doesnt say Trump revealed sources and methods to Russians.”

Washington Post’s National Security Correspondent, Greg Miller, said that McMaster was “playing word games,” referring to the denial, as the report did not mention anything about President Trump revealing intelligence methods or sources. Miller further said that the administration was trying hard to “blunt the impact of the story.”

“Nor do any of these White House officials who are denouncing this story,” he added, “nor have any of them offered any explanation why if this was all so above board and not problematic in any way, why did the National Security Council coming out of this meeting feel it was necessary to contact the CIA director and the director of the National Security Agency to give them a heads up on what Trump had just told the Russians?”

According to Miller, the Washington Post ‘absolutely’ supports their reporting.

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Leaking

After serving as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond for 13 years, Jeffrey Lacker resigned abruptly after confessing that he leaked confidential information to an analyst of a financial firm in 2013. Since his resignation, he has been questioned by several law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.

“I crossed the line to confirming information that should have remained confidential,” Lacker wrote in a statement he issued through his lawyer, on Tuesday. His lawyer confirmed that the investigation is now complete and no charges are expected to be filed against Lacker.

“It’s a tragedy, it’s sad,” says Richard Fisher, former head of the Dallas Fed bank who served alongside Lacker. “I never dreamed Jeff Lacker would have done what he says he has done.”

Jeffrey Lacker admitted to have leaked information in 2012, when the Fed was taking extraordinary steps to allow the US economy to recover after the financial crisis of 2008. The Fed’s every move was being monitored closely by investors around the globe, who were trying to profit by finding out the specifics of the Fed’s actions.

The Fed made a decision to buy more bonds in September 2012, in order to pump more money into the economy and try to boost growth. This policy is known as quantitative easing three, or QE 3 in short. At that time, Lacker was the only person who voted against QE 3.

Lacker admits that he spoke with an analyst at Medley Global Advisors, an economic advisory firm based in New York. He shared details with the analyst on October 2, two days before the details of the Fed’s September meeting were released to the public.

According to an investigation later conducted by ProPublica, Medley Global send a report its clients, primarily hedge funds, with intricate details about the types of bonds the Fed had decided to buy. The report by Medley was sent a day before the Fed released details to the general public.

“I deeply regret the role I may have played in confirming this confidential information and in its dissemination to Medley’s subscribers,” Lacker wrote in his statement.

The Federal Bank of Richmond is one of the 12 branches of America’s central bank. Vice president Mark Mullinix is now the acting head of the Richmond Fed.

The Federal Reserve also released a statement saying that is fully committed to maintaining the security of confidential information. It reassured that the officials at the central bank “cooperated fully with the independent law enforcement investigation into an unauthorized disclosure in 2012.”

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Leaks

Donald Trump’s administration suffered a big loss when Michael Flynn had to resign his position from the National Security Administration due to leaks from the intelligence community.

The leaks are distracting the administration from executing their daily business and fulfilling campaign promises. On the other hand, the leaks are providing insight and information into the Trump White House that the public seems obsessed with right now.

So how big of a problem are the White House leaks?

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