Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Leaks

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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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