Wednesday, July 5, 2017

923 Deep State: Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling the strings

Deep State: Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are
pulling the strings

Newsletter published on 20 June 2017

(1) Subpoenas require NSA, FBI & CIA to disclose political intelligence
gathering by Obama admin
(2) U.N. ambassador Samantha Power sought info on Trump team
(3) Deep State WSJ: Liberal activists in the Bureaucracy work to
undermine Trump
(4) American deep state powered by intelligence leaks - Business Insider
(5) Far-left Green groups invited to advise EPA on scientific integrity
(6) Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling
the strings
(7) Edward Snowden: NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threaten lives of
  hospital patients

(8) Cyberattack Hackers use flaws NSA knew about, but used for spying

(1) Subpoenas require NSA, FBI & CIA to disclose political intelligence
gathering by Obama admin

House Subpoenas Elevate Probe Into Improper Intelligence Surveillance

UN Ambassador Samantha Power sought names of Americans hidden in
communications intercept

BY: Bill Gertz

June 2, 2017 5:00 pm

A House investigation into improper intelligence gathering gained
momentum this week after subpoenas were issued for records on three
Obama administration political appointees.

U.S. officials said the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
this week ordered the National Security Agency, FBI, and CIA to produce
records on all requests made by the three senior officials for the names
of Americans redacted in electronic intercepts of conversations of
foreign officials, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The newest target of the investigation that began in March is former
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, a long-time Obama

The other two being probed as part of the committee's investigation into
potentially improper political spying are former CIA Director John
Brennan and former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

Power declined to comment through a spokesman. Rice and Brennan did not
return emails seeking comment.

The subpoenas were issued Wednesday by Committee Chairman Rep. Devin
Nunes (R., Calif.), who in April revealed that "dozens" of classified
intelligence reports appeared to have improperly unmasked the names of
Americans inadvertently spied on during foreign intelligence
surveillance operations.

Nunes was sidelined from the committee's Russia inquiry after a leftist
media monitoring group alleged he disclosed classified information. The
House Ethics Committee has launched an inquiry into the allegation.
However, the ethics panel so far has ignored similar allegations lodged
against the committee's ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.),
who appears to have disclosed classified information in public
discussion of former White House National Security Adviser Michael
Flynn’s intercepted conversation with the Russian ambassador.

The committee wants the three agencies to disclose the details about the
three former officials' requests of the agencies to provide the hidden
identities of the Americans who were caught in electronic surveillance.

The investigation into unmasking activities of Americans was initially
part of the intelligence oversight panel's investigation of Russian
political influence operations during the 2016 election.

In addition to the subpoenas for unmasking request records, the
committee also issued four related to the Russia aspect of the probe.
They include notices to former White House National Security Adviser
Flynn and Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer.

The issuing of subpoenas related to the disclosure of Americans'
identities are a sign that the probe into the potential political spying
by the Obama administration has been elevated.

The NSA, FBI, and CIA have provided some cooperation to the committee
but so far have not provided details sought by investigators. The
subpoenas are meant to compel the three agencies' cooperation on the matter.

Procedures for electronic intercepts that incidentally spy on Americans
require blacking out the names of the Americans in a bid to protect
privacy rights.

In cases usually limited to those involving terrorists or foreign
intelligence operatives communicating with Americans, senior government
officials can request that hidden names contained in raw transcripts be
revealed in order to better understand the context of conversations. The
unmasking is restricted to officials with a need to know and the
dissemination of the revealed names is supposed to be limited within
intelligence and government agencies.

House investigators believe the Obama administration sought to exploit
the intelligence reports by first obtaining the masked names and then
widely disseminating the reports in a bid to make identifying any leaks
to the press more difficult.

"It's clear that people on the Hill have found indications that
high-level officials of the Obama administration weaponized American
intelligence," said a senior U.S. official.

The officials said the probe into possible political intelligence
gathering by the Obama administration is now a separate inquiry from the
Russia probe that has been dominating major news outlets' coverage over
the past several weeks.

By contrast, the improper unmasking activities have been largely ignored
by most news media that have instead focused extensive coverage on the
Russian collusion allegations.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating the matter but
its inquiry appears to be limited to the Russia allegations. Former FBI
Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump in part for
continuing the Russian counterintelligence investigation, is set to
testify before the Senate panel Thursday.

Trump, who has called the collusion allegations "fake news," joined the
fray on Thursday, tweeting, "The big story is the ‘unmasking and
surveillance' of people that took place during the Obama Administration."

Indications of a political spying operation against Trump and his
associates first surfaced in March when intelligence officials told the
New York Times that during the last days of the Obama administration,
White House officials had "scrambled to spread information" about
Russian hacking and collusion with Trump campaign officials.

The March 1 report said American intelligence agencies had eavesdropped
on communications of Russian officials, including some inside the
Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump aides.

House investigators' concerns also were raised by earlier press
disclosures revealing the contents of an intercepted phone call between
Flynn and Moscow's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak,
discussing U.S. sanctions on Russia. Flynn later resigned as White House
national security adviser as a result of the disclosures.

Power, the former UN ambassador targeted by the unmasking investigation,
worked as an aide to Obama in the Senate and then on the White House
National Security Council staff from 2009 to 2013. She became U.N.
ambassador in 2013 and was a key figure in advocating U.S. military
intervention in Libya.

The United Nations is a major U.S. intelligence target for the NSA, FBI,
and CIA and investigators believe it is unusual for Power to have asked
for the identities of Americans in late 2016 and early 2017.

Rice, the former White House adviser, earlier this month told CNN she
would not testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating the Russia.

Rice called allegations she misused intelligence "absolutely false."

"I did my job which was to protect the American people and I did it
faithfully and to the best of my ability," she said. "And never did I do
anything that was untoward with respect to the intelligence I received."

On May 23, Brennan revealed in House testimony that he had made
unmasking requests during his tenure, but did not ask for the names of
Americans in classified intelligence reports on Jan. 20, the day he left

"No, I was not in the agency on the last day I was employed," Brennan
said. "I definitely know that on the last day I was employed I
definitely did not make such a request."

Brennan, a career CIA analyst who also worked closely with Obama in the
White House before moving to CIA, disclosed during his testimony that he
requested that the FBI investigate Trump associates during the 2016
presidential campaign after intelligence reports indicated ties between
campaign aides and Russians.

Critics have charged Brennan with politicizing the CIA during his tenure
as director, limiting the agency's espionage capabilities.

Brennan said he asked the FBI to investigate because he was worried by
intelligence reports of contacts between Russians and Americans he did
not identify in the May 23 testimony. "And so therefore I felt as though
the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into
those issues," he said.

On March 20 during testimony before the House intelligence panel,
then-FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers both testified
they had no information supporting claims by Trump that the Obama
administration had conducted political surveillance of him and his aides.

Days later, Nunes said he has been shown dozens of classified
intelligence reports that appeared to contradict the two officials'

"What I've read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps
legal, but I don't know that it's right and I don't know if the American
people would be comfortable with what I've read," Nunes said.

The intelligence reports included transcripts of communications,
including communications directly from Trump based on a foreign
electronic spying operation between November and January—the period when
the transition team was operating, mainly from Trump's New York
residence, Trump Tower.

Nunes has said the apparent political spying activities were based on
intercepts of a foreign target and were not related to the Russia inquiry.

(2) U.N. ambassador Samantha Power sought info on Trump team

New surprise suspect in Obama spy scandal

Why would U.N. ambassador be seeking info on Trump team?

Published: 05/31/2017 at 8:25 PM

WASHINGTON – The inquiry into whether the Obama administration spied on
the Trump campaign and transition team has a new surprise suspect:
former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.

The House Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday it was submitting
subpoenas as part of its ongoing investigation into any Russian meddling
during the 2016 presidential election campaign, and sources gave more
details to the Wall Street Journal.

Buried inside the paper’s account was a potentially bombshell
development: The committee is seeking information from the FBI, CIA and
NSA on unmasking requests made by Power.

Unmasking is the revealing of names within the intelligence community of
U.S. citizens gathered in foreign surveillance.

The new subpoena immediately raises the question: Why would Power be
seeking such information?

Why would a diplomat care about Trump officials?

It would hardly seem to have any obvious relevance to her job as U.N.

She was, however, a close confidant of President Obama, and she served
him as a foreign-policy adviser when he was a senator.

And members of the intelligence committee have previously shown concern
about Obama officials unmasking Trump associates.

Sources told Fox News that Power’s role is now under increasing scrutiny
by the intelligence committee.

Republicans on the Intelligence Committee want to know if the Obama
administration spied on the Trump campaign for political purposes, as
the president has charged.

It has already been established that the Obama administration collected
surveillance information on Trump associates during the campaign, and on
the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, during
the transition.

The Obama administration claimed it was investigating possible collusion
between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. However, in the
seven months since the investigation was launched, no evidence of such
collusion has ever emerged, as even all of the top Democrats involved in
the inquiry have had to admit.

The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas Wednesday. Three
of them, signed by chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., explicitly asked
the FBI, CIA and NSA for information on unmasking requests involving
three top officials of the Obama administration: former ambassador
Power, former White House national security adviser Susan Rice and
former CIA Director John Brennan.

Brennan admitted to the House Intelligence Committee during testimony
Tuesday that he instigated the investigation into whether the Trump
campaign colluded with Russia even though he had seen no evidence of that.

Brennan claimed he had seen some contacts between Trump associates and
Russian officials, and he was worried that might lead to collusion. So
he referred the matter to the FBI, which launched an investigation.
Former National Security Adviser Susan RIie, former Secretary of State
John Kerry and former President Barack Obama

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former Secretary of State
John Kerry and former President Barack Obama

The other four subpoenas issued by the Intelligence Committee on
Wednesday were requested by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam
Schiff, D-Calif., and seek information on Trump attorney Michael Cohen
and on Flynn. Democrats are still hoping to find some evidence of
collusion between the Trump team and Russia.

Flynn was fired as national security adviser three weeks into the job
after his name was unmasked by someone in the Obama administration and
then leaked to the press.

Anonymous sources claimed Flynn discussed inappropriate topics before
the inauguration with the Russian ambassador, such as possible sanctions
relief. Trump said Flynn had not discussed anything inappropriate but
was fired for not telling Vice President Mike Pence the whole truth.

Speaking to MSNBC in April, Rice did not deny unmasking the identities
of Trump associates collected in foreign surveillance.

She implicitly acknowledged and explicitly defended unmasking by
claiming: "It was not uncommon. It was necessary at times to make those

But speaking to PBS on March 22, Rice had denied any knowledge of such
unmasking after it was revealed by House Intelligence Chairman Nunes.

She told PBS, "I know nothing about this," and "I was surprised to see
reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today."

So, by her own admission, Rice was not telling the truth on March 22.

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Rice tried to defend her actions by telling MSNBC she did nothing
inappropriate and that she sometimes sought the names of people in
intelligence reports, as part of her job.

But, if that was true, why did she not tell the truth to PBS on March 22?

In her defense, Rice merely asserted to MSNBC that she did not leak
unmasked names to the press and that the unmasking wasn’t politically

The big questions now are whether those statements are true.

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, one of the nation’s top legal
minds, cast serious doubt on Rice’s veracity in comments made to WND and
in a column in National Review.

Rice had told MSNBC the unmasking of any names of Trump associates in
intelligence reports was not done to spy on them "for any political

"This is not anything political, as has been alleged," she said. "The
allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized
intelligence for political purposes. That is absolutely false."

McCarthy pointed out that can’t be the case.

"The national-security adviser is not an investigator," he wrote. "She
is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of
intelligence, not a generator or collector of it."

Therefore, "If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill
an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a
political desire based on Democratic Party interests."

In other words, her actions contradicted her explanation.

Requesting the unmasking, according to McCarthy, could have had no
purpose other than politics because she was not an investigator.

"The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do
investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence
investigations," he wrote.

"There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for
identities to be unmasked," McCarthy added. "If there had been a real
need to reveal the identities – an intelligence need based on American
interests – the unmasking would have been done by the investigating

Therefore, McCarthy deduced, there could be but one conclusion: "Her
interest was not in national security but to advance the political
interests of the Democratic Party."

Of particular importance is that Rice focused her defense not on denying
unmasking, but on denying she was the leaker of unmasked names,
specifically denying she leaked the name of Mike Flynn, President
Trump’s former national security adviser.

"I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would," said Rice.

However, it was the unmasking that made the leak possible.

The unmasking was the crucial part.

The leak could have been committed by any of the dozens, perhaps
hundreds, of intelligence officials who could see the intelligence after
Flynn’s name was unmasked.

That was because of the executive order Obama issued in the waning days
of his presidency relaxing the rules on the sharing of information
within the intelligence community.

The New York Times reported Jan. 12, "[T]he Obama administration has
expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally
intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other
intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections."

That was eight days before the end of the Obama administration.

(3) Deep State WSJ: Liberal activists in the Bureaucracy work to
undermine Trump

Anatomy of a Deep State

The EPA’s ‘Science Integrity Official’ is plotting to undermine Trump’s

By Kimberley A. Strassel

May 25, 2017 7:07 p.m. ET

On May 8 a woman few Americans have heard of, working in a federal post
that even fewer know exists, summoned a select group of 45 people to a
June meeting in Washington. They were almost exclusively representatives
of liberal activist groups. The invitation explained they were invited
to develop "future plans for scientific integrity" at the Environmental
Protection Agency.

Meet the deep state. That’s what conservatives call it now, though it
goes by other names. The administrative state. The entrenched governing
elite.  Lois Lerner. The federal bureaucracy. Whatever the description,
what’s pertinent to today’s Washington is that this cadre of federal
employees, accountable to no one, is actively working from within to
thwart Donald Trump’s agenda.

There are few better examples than the EPA post of Scientific Integrity
Official. (Yes, that is an actual job title.) The position is a legacy
of Barack Obama, who at his 2009 inaugural promised to "restore science
to its rightful place"—his way of warning Republicans that there’d be no
more debate on climate change or other liberal environmental priorities.

Team Obama directed federal agencies to implement "scientific integrity"
policies. Most agencies tasked their senior leaders with overseeing
these rules. But the EPA—always the overachiever—bragged that it alone
had chosen to "hire a senior level employee" whose only job would be to
"act as a champion for scientific integrity throughout the agency."

In 2013 the EPA hired Francesca Grifo, a longtime activist at the
far-left Union of Concerned Scientists. Ms. Grifo had long complained
that EPA scientists were "under siege"—according to a report she helped
write—by Republican "political appointees" and "industry lobbyists" who
had "manipulated" science on everything from "mercury pollution to
groundwater contamination to climate science."

As Scientific Integrity Official, Ms. Grifo would have the awesome power
to root out all these meddlesome science deniers. A 2013 Science
magazine story reported she would lead an entire Scientific Integrity
Committee, write an annual report documenting science "incidents" at the
agency, and even "investigate" science problems—alongside no less than
the agency’s inspector general.

And get this: "Her job is not a political appointment," the Science
article continues, "so it comes with civil service protections." Here
was a bureaucrat with the authority to define science and shut down
those who disagreed, and she could not be easily fired, even under a new
administration. [...]

(4) American deep state powered by intelligence leaks - Business Insider

'This gets to the fabric of the nation': Inside the dark conspiracy that
made its way from the fringe to the White House

Sonam Sheth

May 7, 2017, 12:31 AM

The modern history of the "deep state" in American politics — real or
imagined — starts with real leaks of classified information and ends as
a conspiracy theory on popular yet dubious websites.

And how it got there raises serious questions about whether the
intelligence community is trying to subvert a new president or whether
it’s a convenient scapegoat for an administration that’s had its share
of early foibles.

A deep state is a network of influential members of a government’s
agencies or military who operate against a democratically elected
government. It might work to undermine an elected president’s authority
or legitimacy and has been common in countries such as Egypt and Turkey.

The concern in the US started shortly after Donald Trump took office. In
early February, The New York Times and The Washington Post published a
series of explosive reports about the intelligence community’s
investigations into the Trump campaign’s communications with Russian
officials during the 2016 election.

The reports, citing anonymous officials, revealed that then
national-security adviser Michael Flynn had discussed US sanctions on
Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office,
despite Flynn’s claims that he and Kislyak had not discussed anything
sensitive during their phone calls.

The next day, The Times broke a story on what it said were "repeated
contacts" that Trump associates had with Russian officials during the
campaign. CNN published another report that night in which sources said
communication between Trump associates and Russian officials during the
campaign was "constant."

Flynn resigned a short time later.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions later had to recuse himself from any
Department of Justice investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to
Russia after additional leaks revealed that he had also had contact with
Russian officials during the campaign.

An American deep state?

The steady drip of classified leaks about President Trump’s young
administration has led some to speculate about the beginnings of an
American deep state. [...]

But soon after the possibility of the beginnings of an American deep
state was first raised by the mainstream media, the idea took hold of
the far-right media, quickly reaching a fever pitch.

"The Deep State Bumps off General Flynn. Who’s Next?" blared a February
Breitbart headline after the resignation of Flynn. The article pointed
to the mainstream media as an arm of the deep state, saying that the
"ultimate target, of course, is Trump himself."

InfoWars editor at large Paul Joseph Watson recorded a segment posted to
YouTube in early March titled "The Deep State War on Trump."

"Purge your administration of this globalist fifth column. There can be
no compromise. These people literally want to overthrow a democratically
elected government," Watson said.

 From the fringe, the idea of a deep state working against the Trump
administration made its way to the mainstream conservative media.

Fox News host and ardent Trump supporter Sean Hannity reiterated
Watson’s words during a segment that aired a week after Watson’s video
was posted on YouTube. "Tonight, it’s time for the Trump administration
to purge these saboteurs before it’s too late," Hannity said, referring
to "deep-state Obama-holdover government bureaucrats who are hell bent
on destroying this president."

And from there, the fears of an American deep state powered by
intelligence leaks, which started out as mild speculation and reached
the heights of conspiracy theory, made their way to the halls of Washington.

Trump has repeatedly and emphatically expressed his belief that there
has been a concerted effort, fuelled by politicians, those within the
intelligence community, and the "fake news" media, to undermine his
presidency and policy agenda.

He notably accused the former president, without evidence, of personally
ordering the surveillance of phones at Trump Tower. Trump likely made
the accusation based on a monologue by far-right radio talk-show host
Mark Levin and a Breitbart write-up of Levin’s belief that there is a
"silent coup" underway to overthrow Trump. Trump’s cold war with the
intelligence community

The president has also publicly castigated the media and the
intelligence community.

"Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in
Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologise!"
Trump tweeted in February, shortly after Flynn resigned. "The spotlight
has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!" he said.

In a meeting later with several members of Congress, he added: "We’re
going to find the leakers, and they’re going to pay a big price."

As the media continued publishing classified information, Trump tweeted
that "information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes &
@washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like

"The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given
out by ‘intelligence’ like candy," he continued. "Very un-American!"

Trump’s loyalists quickly followed his lead, pointing to the
intelligence leaks as a key piece of evidence they say supports the
existence of an American deep state. They have also consistently singled
out Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, as a source of
knowledge on the American deep state.

Bannon is the former head of Breitbart, a largely Trump-friendly outlet
that has published a slew of articles asserting the existence of an
American deep state.

"We are talking about the emergence of a deep state led by Barack Obama,
and that is something that we should prevent," Iowa Rep. Steve King told
The New York Times. "The person who understands this best is Steve
Bannon, and I would think that he’s advocating to make some moves to fix

Echoing Hannity’s and Watson’s words, King later said that Trump "needs
to purge the leftists within the administration that are holdovers from
the Obama administration, because it appears that they are undermining
his administration and his chances of success."

Trump adviser and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also believes in
the deep state and said he discussed the concept with Bannon. "Of
course, the deep state exists. There’s a permanent state of massive
bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to
attack the president," Gingrich told the Associated Press in March.

"This is what the deep state does: They create a lie, spread a lie, fail
to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie," Gingrich
said. [...]

(5) Far-left Green groups invited to advise EPA on scientific integrity

Far-left green groups invited to advise EPA on scientific integrity

by Philip Wegmann | May 18, 2017, 2:14 PM

The leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency changed when Trump
took office, but much of the old guard remains at their posts. And many
of those Obama-era public employees have fervently resisted the efforts
of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to depoliticize the agency.

One of those employees seems to be Francesca Grifo. As the EPA's
scientific integrity official, she's responsible for keeping politics
from polluting environmental research. Recently, though, Grifo seems to
be going in a different direction, inviting numerous far-left political
groups to advise the EPA on its scientific standards.

"It is my pleasure to invite you to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency's Scientific Integrity Annual Stakeholder Meeting," Grifo wrote
in an email obtained by the Washington Examiner.

"At this meeting, as the EPA Scientific Integrity Official," she
continued, "I will answer your questions, share current scientific
integrity initiatives, and discuss future plans for scientific integrity
at EPA."

Clearly an exclusive invite, the list includes academic institutions
such as George Washington University and research leaders such as the
American Chemical Society. Their acknowledged authority earns them a
seat at the table. But progressive political groups seem like they're
crashing the party by comparison.

For instance, what can the EPA hope to learn from a dark-money group
such as Demos, whose president recently testified against Judge Gorsuch
during his confirmation hearings? How could Public Citizen, the
brainchild of Ralph Nader, be considered an authority? And why would the
Natural Resources Defense Council, which is actively suing President
Trump, even be invited?

An incredulous Grifo wouldn't offer any answers when reached by phone,
referring the Washington Examiner to the agency's public relations
office instead. "Good luck with that," Grifo said before hanging up. An
EPA spokesman later followed up but didn't respond to questions.

It's still not known why those political groups were invited to EPA
headquarters or on whose authority the stakeholder meeting was called.
But it's obvious that their missions run counter to the efforts of Pruitt.

The conservative environmental administrator has turned his focus back
to conservation, specifically toward enforcing the agency's original
clean air and water standards. "It's so important to focus on the core
of our mission," he told Fox News on Wednesday, reiterating that his
goal was "actually doing things to clean up the environment."

Sadly, it seems that some in the EPA would rather play politics than
join with Pruitt to fight pollution.

(6) Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling
the strings

Donald Trump: Is there a 'deep state' in America and is it trying to
take down the President?

By Michael Collett

Updated 11 Mar 2017, 8:29am

If you've been following US politics (and who hasn't been over the past
few months) you may have come across the term "deep state".

The idea is that unelected members of America's security agencies (the
intelligence community or IC) and bureaucracy are secretly pulling the
strings of government.

And according to Washington Post political reporter Robert Costa, it's
an idea that has become popular within the Trump camp: External Link:
Robert Costa tweet: "A phrase I keep hearing from Trump ally after Trump
ally: 'deep state.' Growing belief inside WH that elements of I.C.
aligned against them."

Some of the President's political enemies have also alluded to the
existence of a deep state, including influential neoconservative Bill

The question is whether the conspiracy is real or just an
unsubstantiated theory.

Where does the term 'deep state' come from?

The Oxford Dictionary says the term was first used in reference to Turkey.

And there was good reason to believe a deep state really did exist there.

While it's not fully understood what the Turkish deep state was and how
it operated, King's College London lecturer Simon Waldman says people
were given a glimpse of it in the aftermath of a car crash in 1996.

The bodies of a senior police official, a former leader of a
ultra-nationalist paramilitary group and a hit woman were found in the
wreckage, while the lone survivor was a state-supported Kurdish warlord.

As Dr Waldman wrote for The Conversation:

     "The question on everyone's lips was, no doubt: 'What were these
people doing together?'"

However, he says it's likely Turkey's deep state apparatus was dissolved
or became inactive after this scandal.

Many also believe a deep state exists in Egypt and this can be seen in
the vast power wielded by its military, which has produced many of that
country's leaders and which was also responsible for the 2013 coup.

Why do people think there's a deep state in America?

Breitbart News is one media organisation that's giving a voice to what
it calls "deep state-gate".

If that name sounds familiar to you, it's probably because Breitbart is
the far-right website where Steve Bannon was executive chairman before
he became Donald Trump's chief strategist.

Breitbart commentators point to the leaks of national security
information to the media in order to damage the White House as evidence.

The resignation of national security adviser Mike Flynn was the "first
great success" of this campaign of destabilisation, according to
"several intelligence insiders" who were cited in an article published
in February under the headline "Insiders: Obama Holdover 'Shadow
Government' Plotting to Undermine Trump".

The idea that government officials are working against the White House,
and that Barack Obama is encouraging this, has gathered pace since then.

LA attorney Robert Barnes told Breitbart News Daily on March 3:

     "This is an effective de facto coup attempt by elements of the deep

Last week, Breitbart's senior editor-at-large Joel B Pollak laid out
conservative radio host Mark Levin's case that a "silent coup" was
taking place.

The article claimed the Obama administration ordered surveillance on Mr
Trump prior to the election:

     In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually
obtained, authorisation to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued
monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found;
then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within
the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the
conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.

Soon after Levin made his claims, Mr Trump himself stated as fact that
Mr Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election campaign.

The White House has also called for a congressional investigation into
whether the Obama administration abused its investigative powers in 2016.

However, the claims regarding surveillance by the Obama administration
remain unverified and unsubstantiated. Is there anything in the idea of
a deep state?

Nicole Hemmer, an academic at the University of Virginia and the
University of Sydney's US Studies Centre, says the use of the phrase
"deep state" has been more rhetorical than descriptive:

     "Are there ways people within the intelligence community and
federal bureaucracy are trying to slow down the Trump administration?
Sure. Is that some shadowy government that secretly runs the country?
Not at all."

She says the idea of there being a "shadow government" suggests a level
of autonomy, secrecy and coordination that doesn't exist.

But that's not to say a deep state like those found in Turkey and Egypt
couldn't exist in America.

"The current threat to American democracy resides in the Oval Office,
not a deep state," Ms Hemmer said.

"One could imagine a scenario where the executive grows so out of
control that the intelligence community and bureaucracy more fully moves
against him and takes the reins of power, but there would have to be a
much deeper crisis in democracy for that to happen."

And even then, Ms Hemmer argues "the longer history of American
democratic institutions, coupled with the relative weakness of the US
federal government, comes into play here, as does the fact that there is
a significant portion of the intelligence community and bureaucracy that
are fine with Trump".

Meanwhile, it's not just Trump supporters who have talked about there
being a deep state.

A recent article in the London Review of Books referred to "the
dangerous fantasy" among liberals that "the deep state might rescue us"
from the Trump presidency.

Ms Hemmer says these people should be careful what they wish for if
they're hoping the deep state will remove Mr Trump from power or
otherwise thwart his agenda.

"It would be a disturbing state of affairs if FBI influence (via Jim
Comey's letter in the closing weeks of the campaign) helped swing the
election toward Trump, and then members of the intelligence community
helped bring down the Trump administration," she said.

     "That's not democracy — it's something much more troubling."

First posted 9 Mar 2017, 8:14am

(7) Edward Snowden: NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threaten lives of
  hospital patients

Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked documents exposing US surveillance
programs, said on Twitter NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threatened
lives of hospital patients.

In March, WikiLeaks released thousands of "Vault 7" documents that
revealed the CIA knew about several flaws in Apple, Google and Samsung
software but did not tell the companies about them because it wanted to
use them for spying.

Across the US Federal Government, about 90 per cent of all spending on
cyber programs is dedicated to offensive efforts, including penetrating
the computer systems of adversaries, listening to communications and
developing the means to disable or degrade infrastructure, senior
intelligence officials told Reuters in March.

(8) Cyberattack Hackers use flaws NSA knew about, but used for spying

Cyber expert warns against supporting criminal syndicates amid global

By Katri Uibu, wires

Updated yesterday at 4:14pm

Companies affected by global ransomware attacks should not pay the
ransom so as not to feed into the growing business of organised cyber
crime, a security expert warns.

Key points:

     Over 57,000 infections in 99 countries have been detected;
Ransomware attacks happen every day in Australia, they just don't get
reported, expert says;     UK doctors have turned away chemotherapy
patients due to not being unable to access medical records

Attackers have used encryption algorithms to lock files, which owners
cannot access unless they pay a ransom.

Over 57,000 infections in 99 countries have been detected, with Russia,
Ukraine and Taiwan being top targets, security software maker Avast said.

The attacks have led to hospitals and doctors in England turning away
patients after they were unable to view their medical files.

But director for Centre for Cyber Security Research at Deakin
University, Professor Yang Xiang, has strictly warned against giving in
to criminal syndicates in order to have data unlocked. [...]

Professor Yang, who daily works on detecting possible ransomware, said
cyber security had been a "number one problem" in Australia for years,
and urged government agencies, companies and individuals to prepare for
future attacks.

     "Australia has a very similar situation because it heavily relies
on internet," he said.

"We have seen a lot of ransomware attacks in companies and government

"It actually happens every day, it just didn't get reported."

While he could not say which specific institutions had been targeted, he
did reveal the mining industry was under attack.

Ransomware encryptions are strong. Once the data has been locked, it is
extremely difficult to regain access to it.

Professor Yang calls for the Federal Government not to downplay the
threat of cyber attacks and to treat this as a priority.

"We just got some news that Government is cutting funding for
universities. I think it is important to keep supporting research,
support cyber security industry and provide more funding to innovation
and research in this area," he said.

Companies leave themselves open to attacks

One of the more reported victims of the latest attack has been Britain's
National Health Service.

Doctors in the UK have been forced to turn away even chemotherapy
patients due to being unable to access their medical records. External
Link: Edward Snowden: "If NSA had privately disclosed the flaw used to
attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, this may not
have happened"

But just days before the attack, a UK doctor warned about hospitals'
software being targeted, saying "more hospitals will almost certainly be
shut down by ransomware this year".

Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital
for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, said in the British Media
Journal health facilities left themselves open to hacks by using ancient
operating systems.

But some have cast blame on the United States' National Security Agency
(NSA) and other countries' intelligence services for hoarding software
vulnerabilities for offensive purposes, rather than quickly alerting
technology companies to such flaws. Cyber security incidents increasing

The nation's top spy agencies warn that the number of cyber security
threats facing Australia is growing by the day.

Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked documents exposing US surveillance
programs, said on Twitter NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threatened
lives of hospital patients.

In March, WikiLeaks released thousands of "Vault 7" documents that
revealed the CIA knew about several flaws in Apple, Google and Samsung
software but did not tell the companies about them because it wanted to
use them for spying.

Across the US Federal Government, about 90 per cent of all spending on
cyber programs is dedicated to offensive efforts, including penetrating
the computer systems of adversaries, listening to communications and
developing the means to disable or degrade infrastructure, senior
intelligence officials told Reuters in March.

     "These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be
exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and
criminals around the world," Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney with the
American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.

The NSA did not respond to a request for comment.


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