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Tag: national security

Senate Confirms John Demers to Head DOJ’s National Security Division

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Senate on Thursday confirmed John Demers to head the Justice Department’s national security division after a Republican senator lifted a hold on his confirmation over a dispute on marijuana.

Demers, an attorney for Boeing and former member of the Justice Department’s national security division team, is set to become assistant attorney general for national security.

“John Demers was on the leadership team at the creation of the National Security Division, which today plays a crucial role in protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

“I am grateful to the Senate for confirming John and I look forward to his return to the department, where his significant experience in both the private sector and public service will most certainly benefit the American people.”

The confirmation was made possible after Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado lifted a hold on the nomination over a dispute with Sessions’ zealous crackdown on marijuana, even in states that legalized pot.

“I have decided to lift my holds on the Assistant Attorney General for National Security, United States Attorneys, and United States Marshals as an act of good faith,” Gardner said in a statement. “My holds on all other DOJ nominees will remain in place as discussions continue.”

Other Stories of Interest

Hawkish CIA Director Pompeo May Replace Tillerson As Secretary of State

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If all goes as planned, hawkish CIA Director Mike Pompeo will leave his post to become President Trump’s next secretary of state, replacing Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with the White House has become strained.

The New York Times also reports that Pompeo likely would be succeeded at the CIA by Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who has aligned himself with the president on national security issues. 

Trump has not officially approved the plan, which was pitched by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.

Pompeo, a hard-line former Congressman from the Tea Party wing of the party, has expressed more hawkish views toward Iran, North Korea and other prominent issues.

A West Point graduate, Pompeo has been unusually vociferous and political for a CIA director, soft-pedaling the link between Trump’s campaign and Russia and endorsing regime change in North Korea. 

Sen. Tim Cotton

Some questions remain about whether Cotton would be tapped to become the CIA director. He’s a strong ally on immigration and national security, but Republicans are hesitant to put a Senate seat in play during what could be disastrous mid-term elections for the party.

When asked by Fox News whether he’d take the CIA position, Cotton didn’t answer directly. 

“I’m very proud to be representing the people of Arkansas,” he said.

The New York Times reports that another potential candidate for the top CIA post is Robert S. Harward, a retired Navy vice admiral who turned down the national security position after Michael T. Flynn’s abrupt departure.

CNN Analyst: Michael Flynn May Be Cooperating with FBI’s Probe of Russia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser who resigned after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his relations with Russia, may be talking with the FBI, a CNN national security analyst believes.

Citing sources, Juliette Kayyem said “Mike Flynn is the one who may have a deal with the FBI.”

He added, “That’s why we have not heard from him for some time.”

But Kayyem later walked back some of her claims, writing on Facebook, “I did not say on this segment that I have any confirmation that he is actually cooperating or that I have talked to anyone who does.”

Kayyem said her sources “are increasingly wondering” whether Flynn is cooperating with the FBI investigation into Russian interference during the presidential election.

Lawmakers: Leak of Sensitive CIA Documents Compromise National Security

cia-lobby-sealBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The release of sensitive CIA documents by Wikileaks may have compromised national security, national officials said.

“This alleged leak should concern every single American in terms of its impact on national security,” said White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer at Wednesday’s Press Briefing, Sinclair Broadcast Group reports. 

Senators from both sides of the aisle condemned the leaks.

“For anybody who’s been under the illusion that Wikileaks is some kind of public service operation, this is a propaganda arm of the Russian government – that’s what they’re doing,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, added: “This is a devastating blow and we should have learned from the last leaked where an employee leaked reams of classified information.”

Several national security agencies are investigating the leak in hopes of identifying who provided the documents to Wikileaks.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Turns to Propaganda in Faux News Report to Pump Up Triumphs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is promoting itself using a faux journalism report on the radio that is intended to sound like a real new agency, the Daily Signal reports.

One new cast begins, “In a move demonstrating the FBI’s valuable role of protecting national security, Director James Comey creates a separate Intelligence Branch…”

Instead of using a real news anchor, the FBI is using a public affairs specialist.

The program is called “FBI This Week” and is aired regularly on the radio.

“[T]he programs that we produce are ultimately designed to aid and assist the public in protecting itself against crime,” says Susan McKee, the FBI’s chief of investigative publicity and public affairs.

New Generation of FBI Agents Adds Youth, Passion to Fight Global Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It hasn’t been long since the FBI’s primary focus was putting away bank robbers, kidnappers and gang members.

That focus has dramatically shifted in the post-9/11 era, creating a new generation of counterterrorism experts who know the ins and outs of al Qaeda and Hezbollah, Newsweek reports.

Most of the counterterrorism experts are in their mid- to late-40s – a relatively young age for agents with their responsibilities.

“The last generation was more reactive,” an intelligence expert said, “and the current guys are extremely proactive. I think they will initiate things just to find out if there’s something there, as opposed to waiting and seeing.”

Leading the group of experts is Andrew McCabe, head of the FBI’s National Security Branch. He’s 45 and rose to the top by acquiring in-depth knowledge of terrorism, Newsweek wrote.

New FBI Chief Comey Picks 25-Year Veteran to Become Deputy Director

Mark Giuliano/fbi photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the most important jobs at the FBI is the position of deputy director.

On Monday, FBI Director James B. Comey named 25-year bureau veteran Mark Giuliano to the job, which makes him responsible for overseeing all domestic and international investigations, the Washington Post reports.

He’ll begin his new duties when the current deputy Sean Joyce retires on Dec. 2.

Giuliano started his career as a special agent at the Washington Field Office and has plenty of experience in national security and counterterrorism, the Post wrote.

Tech Companies Urge Congress to Shed More Light on Secret Information Requests

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

More than two dozen companies and numerous trade groups are endorsing bills that would open more light on the government’s secret information requests, the Verge.com reports.

The businesses and trade groups are showing their support for bills that would allow them to reveal when they receive requests for national security-related data.

Among those who signed the letter to Congressional members are Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

Those same companies have been forced to turn over information without the ability to disclose it.

The argument is that barring the disclosure of information to users violates free speech rights.

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