North Korea: Trump comments amount to declaration of war
North Korea’s foreign minister said on Monday that Donald Trump’s comments over the weekend amounted to a declaration of war, according to media reports, marking the latest escalation in rhetoric between the two countries. Speaking in New York, Ri Yong …
MSNBC Leaves Out Tennessee Shooter’s Nationality
The Daily Caller
25-year-old Emanuel Kidega Samson is originally from Khartoum, Sudan and legally immigrated to the United States in the 1990s. Samson … Interestingly, the newest iteration of President Donald Trump’s travel ban eases travel restrictions on Sudan.
Trump and Trumpcare drag down the GOP
President Trump’s full impact on the fortunes of the Republican Party will get tested in the GOPmidterms in 2018. Judging by his impact so far, however, he has been the Democrats’ best ally, and not simply because he made deals with House Minority …
CNN Poll: Opinion of the Republican Party falls to all-time lowCNN
Dems’ approval is as bad as Trump’s; Congressional GOP’s even worse (POLL)ABC News
Will Trump-the-Conservative Overpower Trump-the-Republican?American Thinker
Press TV –Firstpost
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The US violent crime rate jumped last year by the largest amount in a quarter of a century, lending support to warnings by President Donald Trump and attorney-general Jeff Sessions of an epidemic of lawlessness. The annual increase was the second in a row.
The murder rate rose nearly 8 per cent last year and is 20 per cent higher than in 2014, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which on Monday released its annual compilation of national crime statistics.
“The worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident,” the bureau said.
The FBI also adjusted upward its 2015 data, saying that the violent crime rate that year had increased by 3.3 per cent rather than the originally reported 3.1 per cent.
“For the sake of all Americans, we must confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime . . . and send a strong message to criminals that we will not surrender our communities to lawlessness and violence,” Mr Sessions said.
A crackdown on violent crime has been a centrepiece of Mr Sessions’ rocky tenure as attorney-general. He has rewritten guidance for federal prosecutors, requiring them to charge suspects with the most serious offences and thus secure longer prison terms. He also has backed urban police departments that he says have been “unfairly maligned” for heavy-handed and racially discriminatory policing.
Despite the recent increase, the national rate of violent crime remains near a generational low and is roughly one-half of 1991’s modern peak. Last year, there were 386.3 crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault per every 100,000 Americans, up from 373.7 in 2015, but far below the 758.1 rate reported in 1991.
The national murder rate of 5.2 per 100,000 people also is roughly equal to where it stood in 2008. “We’re still nowhere near what these rates were in the 1990s,” said Ames Grawert, a former prosecutor now with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.
The rate of property crimes such as burglary, car theft and arson also fell in 2016 for the 15th consecutive year, a fact that the FBI did not highlight. The reason for the continuing decline is not clear, but modern policing tactics, video surveillance and security systems may be combining for better property crime prevention, Mr Grawert suggested.
Two cities — Chicago and Baltimore — accounted for 15 per cent of the two-year murder increase from 2014 to 2016, Jeff Asher, a crime data analyst in New Orleans, said on Twitter. But of the cities that reported 20 or more murders in 2014, 70 per cent saw an increase over the two years, he said.
What’s really driving Trump in his NFL feud?
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The Moscow Times
The Russia Investigation: What’s New
The Moscow Times
A U.S. Congressional investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential electionmay go beyond Facebook, a member of the committee and the top Democrat leading theinvestigation told technology news site Recode Sept. 20. “Just as the case …
Obama warned Zuckerberg on fake newsMashable
Obama tried to give Zuckerberg a wake-up call over fake news on FacebookWashington Post
Foreign minister Ri Yong-ho says the world should remember that the US ‘first declared war on our country’ as Pyongyang declares that all options are on the table in response. Ri referred specifically to a tweet from Donald Trump saying the North Korean leadership ‘won’t be around much longer’
North Korea’s foreign minister said that the U.S. had declared war after U.S. warplanes flew along the east coast of North Korea on Saturday in a show of force, the Wall Street Journal reported. Eight U.S. aircraft remained in international airspace as they flew north of the demilitarized zone close to the North Korean shoreline. Speaking at the U.N., Foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said Pyongyang has the right to take countermeasures, “including the right to shoot down U.S. strategic bombers, even if they are not yet inside the air-space border of our country.” President Trump said on Saturday that North Korea’s leaders “would not be around much longer” if they took any action against U.S. forces.
The Trump administration issued new travel restrictions that indefinitely ban most citizens of seven countries from visiting the United States, the Washington Post reported. The order includes nearly all the countries covered by the original travel ban and adds North Korea, Chad, and Venezuela to the list of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. Sudan, which was among the countries affected by Executive Order 13780, was not included in the proclamation. The new order restricts travel by country, based on compliance with Department of Homeland Security standards. Its travel sanctions range widely: The order only imposes narrow restrictions on government officials in Venezuela, while banning nearly all travel from Syria and North Korea, according to the New York Times. While the original travel ban, which was a temporary measure, expired on Sunday, the new measure has no end date. It will take effect on October 18.
President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner used a private email account for White House business on numerous occasions, Politico reported. Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump set up a private email server before starting work at the White House in January. He used the account for convenience — often while traveling. Kushner’s lawyer acknowledged the emails in a statement on Sunday, saying Kushner had sent or received fewer than 100 work-related emails using the account.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in parliamentary elections on Sunday, the Times reported. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats took a plurality of votes as the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came in third place. AfD nearly tripled its vote total from the previous election and will be the first far-right party to enter the Bundestag since 1961. Merkel will have to form a new coalition with smaller parties because her previous coalition partner, the Social Democrats, announced they would join the opposition.
Iraqi Kurdistan votes today in an independence referendum that regional powers strongly oppose, the BBC reported. Voters are expected to choose independence, despite declarations from Iraq’s government that the referendum is unconstitutional and illegitimate. While the plebiscite is non-binding, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which administers the semi-autonomous region, intends to use it as leverage in negotiations with Baghdad. On Saturday, Iran blocked flights to Iraqi Kurdistan as it conducted military exercises on the border, the Post reported. On Sunday, Iraq’s prime minister issued an order in advance of the vote saying that the KRG should transfer control of all airports and border crossings to Baghdad and transfer responsibility for all financial transactions, including oil sales, to the central government. The KRG did not respond to the order.
U.S.-backed forces in eastern Syria captured a strategically-located gas plant from the Islamic State,the Journal reported. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) seized the Conoco gas plant, which was a major source of revenue for the Islamic State and is now a source of funding for the various rebel groups and militias fighting in Deir al-Zour province. The SDF said that Russian warplanes struck their positions near the gas plant last week, days after a Russian strike hit SDF lines near the city of Deir al-Zour, according to Reuters. In northwestern Syria, Russia and the Syrian regime escalated their strikes on rebel positions in Idlib and Hama provinces in response to a jihadist offensive, Reuters also reported. The bombing campaigns disrupted the tentative ceasefire that had brought a measure of peace to heavily-populated civilian areas in the area.
The U.S. military said it carried out airstrikes against an Islamic State training camp in Libya that killed 17 fighters, the Times reported. The six strikes against a training camp south of the city of Sirte were the first American bombings in Libya since January. Last year, an extensive U.S. air campaign helped drive the Islamic State out of Sirte. Currently, the Pentagon estimates that a few hundred fighters remain in Libya’s deserts, where they take advantage of the political chaos in Tripoli to smuggle weapons and personnel in and out of the country. On Wednesday, the U.N. envoy to Libya said he would attempt to renegotiate a power sharing accord between the government and the armed factions that control large swaths of the country.
A roadside bomb killed three U.N. peacekeepers in northern Mali, the Times reported. The peacekeeping mission has suffered high casualties since its establishment in 2013. It is tasked with securing northern Mali after an armed rebellion by local ethnic Tuareg militias and Islamist groups took control of that region in 2012. The U.N. has 12,000 uniformed personnel in Mali and has suffered 133 casualties since 2013. At the U.N., Mali’s president highlighted a new counterterrorism force for region; it will be composed of troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali Mauritania, and Niger.
Iran tested an intermediate range ballistic missile on Saturday after unveiling it in defiance of U.S. condemnation, the Journal reported. Iranian media said the Khoramshahr missile is capable of traveling more than 2,000 kilometers. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that he would not “ask anybody’s permission” to defend his country after President Trump criticized Iran’s missile program and the Iran nuclear deal.
ICYMI: This weekend, on Lawfare
Vanessa Sauter posted the Lawfare Podcast, featuring audio from a lecture by Stephan Haggard on the North Korean nuclear and missile programs.
Shannon Togawa Mercer previewed the result of the German election and its implications for transatlantic relations.
Colin Clarke argued that one of the best ways to identify and disrupt returning foreign fighters from the Islamic State is focusing on their criminal activities and networks.
Matthew Kahn posted the White House’s new immigration proclamation and associated documents.
Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for additional commentary on these issues. Sign up to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our Events Calendar to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our Job Board.
Here’s how you know the investigations into Donald Trump’s scandals are reaching a point where he’s afraid of what’s going to happen to him: he and his White House are now outright refusing to cooperate with the requests of investigators, even while facing the prospect of running afoul of the law in the process. As a result, congressional committees are preparing to drop subpoenas on Trump’s head which could have unprecedented consequences.
Although Democrats like Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings are struggling to get their Republican majorities on their respected House committees to agree to subpoenas, the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are successfully moving forward. The committee chair, Republican Chuck Grassley, has confirmed to CNN that subpoenas are being drafted against the White House itself (link), and that the next steps with those subpoenas will essentially be Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein’s call.
If and when the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas Trump and his White House to turn over the documents and records in question, the nation will be facing a potential constitutional crisis if Trump still refuses to comply. The Senate could hold Trump and/or his top officials in contempt of Congress, and they could convince a judge to order the documents to be turned over. If Trump and his people refuse to honor the court order, the judge could then theoretically order law enforcement officers to enter the White White and seize the documents. Anyone in the White House who tries to block the move, short of Trump himself, could be arrested for it.
As we head into this next phase of the investigation, we’re about to come up against the kinds of lines that even Richard Nixon ultimately refused to cross once he realized his Watergate scandal was going to take him down. Now we wait to see how Donald Trump handles the realization that his own demise is inevitable. Contribute to Palmer Report
The post Congress prepares to drop the subpoena hammer on Donald Trump appeared first on Palmer Report.
‘Rock bottom’: Weiner gets 21 months in prison for sexting
Weiner’s habit led him to resign his House seat in 2011, doomed his 2013 run for mayor, and rocked Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign during the closing days of the race, when FBI agents investigating his contact with the teen came across emails on …
Weiner faces sentencing in latest chapter of sexting dramaLockport Union-Sun & Journal
Who is Anthony Weiner?MyStatesman.com
Key events in ex-US Rep. Anthony Weiner’s career, downfallSFGate
Daily Mail –USA TODAY
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New York Times
A Divider, Not a Uniter, Trump Widens the Breach
New York Times
In his brief career as president and a candidate for president, Mr. Trump has attacked virtually every major institution in American life: Congress, the courts, Democrats, Republicans, the news media, the Justice Department, Hollywood, the military …
Violent crime increased in 2016 for a second consecutive year, FBI says
Violent crime increased in the United States for a second consecutive year in 2016, remaining near historically low levels but pushed upward in part by an uptick in killings in some major cities, according to FBI statistics made public Monday. The FBI …
FBI Releases 2016 Crime StatisticsFederal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
FBI: Violent crime increases for second straight yearUSA TODAY
Violent crime rising throughout US, FBI saysFox News
BBC News –NBCNews.com
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What Is Mueller Looking for in the Facebook Russia Ads?
The Wall Street Journal and CNN recently reported that Facebook provided data about Russian advertising purchases made in the run-up to the 2016 election to Special Counsel Robert Muellerpursuant to a search warrant. According to the WSJ and CNN …
The Trump-Russia saga has more characters than War and Peace and plot twists harder to follow than Game of Thrones.
So making sense of the latest news – that the FBI had taken out not one, but two surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort – can be difficult to put into context.
But in fact, this new piece of information actually can help connect the counterintelligence and criminal investigations that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is overseeing, and show how a FISA warrant may have played a role in each.
I have already provided a detailed description of the (onerous) process of obtaining a FISA order, and the legal standards it requires. The only thing to add in Manafort’s case is that since he is a U.S. person (or USPER, in intel slang), the standards to obtain a FISA warrant on him are slightly higher than the generic process I described in my earlier piece.
First, the probable cause standard required the FBI to provide evidence that Manafort was “knowingly engaging in clandestine intelligence activities” (rather than merely being “an agent of a foreign power”)– in other words, that he wasn’t just acting on behalf of a foreign power, but that he was doing so with full knowledge that what he was doing involved spying.
Second, in order to continue monitoring Manafort, the FBI would have been required to check in with the FISA court every 90 days and show that their surveillance had, in fact, produced foreign intelligence information. Only with this continuing, additional evidence would the FISA order be renewed for an additional 90 days at a time.
Keeping these factors in mind, let’s look at what we know. We know that the FBI had one FISA surveillance order on Manafort on or about 2014. This was in relation to his consulting work on behalf of the pro-Russia ruling party in Ukraine at the time.
We also know that the surveillance ceased at some point before Manafort joined President Trump’s campaign in 2016. It then recommenced at some point after that, based on his connections with Russian intelligence and evidence suggesting that he was encouraging them to interfere in the presidential election.
That surveillance continued into at least early 2017. The “gap” covered the period of time when Manafort, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner met with Russians at Trump Tower to discuss – depending on whose version you believe – “adoptions” or incriminating information the Russians claimed to have on Hillary Clinton.
Following along so far? Good.
Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, at the Mayflower Hotel April 27, 2016 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Let’s look at the “gap.” According to reporting, the initial FISA surveillance ceased after a court found that the FBI was no longer collecting foreign intelligence based on that order. This likely would have occurred at one of the 90-day renewal points after the surveillance began.
Now, one conclusion might be that there was no foreign intelligence activity actually happening – or perhaps that the basis for this order itself was somewhat flimsy.
However, if the order had been renewed at least once since it commenced, which would be likely even if it began in late 2014 or early 2015, that was probably not the case: After all, in order to renew the order at any point prior to it ceasing, the FBI would have had to produce ongoing foreign intelligence collection.
I invite you to consider another possibility. If Manafort was already being developed by Russian intelligence since 2014, and was approached in a more concrete, operational way around summer 2016, then they would likely want him to begin communicating with them through other means than he was already using.
If this happened, collection on the lines, accounts, or facilities targeted by the initial FISA order would go dry, and would explain why the surveillance ceased. In other words, there was no longer any foreign intelligence activity happening on the first FISA – but that’s because it was happening somewhere else.
(It’s worth noting here that a FISA order would not necessarily need to cover only phone lines, or even a single mode of communication; as long as the FBI could prove that the mode of communication was being used by the target and likely to produce foreign intelligence, multiple communication channels could be authorized in the same order – you don’t need to obtain a separate FISA warrant for a phone number and an email address, for example, as long as you can demonstrate that both belong to and are used by the target.)
That the first FISA order ceased because Manafort became “operational” is admittedly purely speculative. But based on my experience working against foreign intelligence targets, this would be consistent with the timeline in several respects.
First, the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting has been characterized by many intelligence experts as a “test run” – an experiment to see how open members of the Trump campaign might be to engaging in some potentially illegal behavior in order to benefit the campaign.
Having Manafort already on board would make sense in this scenario: Even if this might have been only an initial approach to Donald Trump, Jr. and Jared Kushner, the Russians would know they had at least one person in the campaign – Manafort – at that point who was “all in,” and could make the meeting less threatening for the newbies.
Second, it helps explain why a second FISA order was brought before the FISA court. It would make sense that after the initial FISA surveillance ceased and Manafort “went dark,” the FBI would be trying to determine what he was up to. We know that in this period the FBI obtained new intelligence that Manafort was in contact with the Russians and had enough evidence to substantiate a second FISA application.
The new intelligence may have formed the basis to go back on the same lines or accounts as in the initial FISA. But if the FBI uncovered new channels or modes of communication that Manafort was using with the Russians, this could also be the reason for the second FISA warrant: Just because the FBI went up for a second time on the same target does not mean that they recommenced surveillance on the same channels as before.
(This latter possibility implies some uncharacteristic operational sloppiness on the part of the Russians, but considering that Manafort was taking notes from the Trump Tower meeting on his iPhone and emailing directly with a Russian oligarch in code about offering secret briefings on the Trump campaign, this is not necessarily a stretch.)
Third, this theory would explain Mueller’s keen interest in Manafort in particular. Mueller’s investigation is first and foremost a counterintelligence investigation. Regardless of whether Don Jr. or Jared Kushner had any subsequent meetings or contacts with the Russians or colluded with them in their active measures, the FISAs suggest that Manafort holds the real keys to the kingdom.
Namely, how was election interference plan conceived? What operational measures were involved? Was there any quid pro quo? Who else was in on it?
This is to emphasize that Mueller may be just as – if not, more – interested in Manafort spilling the identities and methods of the Russians in this whole scenario as in those of any Americans members of the Trump campaign who were involved.
After all, we know that with the Facebook search warrant that Mueller is potentially interested in pursuing Russians living in Russia who tried to disseminate disinformation in the U.S. He would surely be as interested in identifying and nailing the Russian operatives who participated in active measures to influence the election here in the States.
Which brings us to Mueller’s criminal investigation on Manafort. To get Manafort to talk, Mueller needs some, shall we say, “incentives.” The prospect of serious jail time for not cooperating is usually effective.
The problem is, that for all of Manafort’s red-flaggy behavior with the Ukranians and the Russians, there aren’t really a lot of laws against spying. There’s the Espionage Act, which relates to defense and classified information and doesn’t apply in the current scenario. And there’s the Foreign Agent Registration Act, which as Steve Vladeck explains is a procedural statute: People or entities officially designated as foreign agents must register if the Department of Justice asks them to, but as long as they comply with that request they may be out of the crosshairs of criminal prosecution.
Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent in June. Even if Mueller chose to prosecute Manafort’s failure to register earlier, FARA carries a weak penalty — only a five-year maximum — and a low likelihood of being able to prove willful evasion of the law. Because of that combination, FARA wouldn’t likely create enough leverage on its own.
Financial crimes, by contrast, carry significant penalties, particularly when multiple charges are added together. Here is where the FISA orders could have come into play again.
It’s important to emphasize that the goal of using a FISA warrant is not to collect evidence of a crime; it’s to collect foreign intelligence information. However, since 9/11 and the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, evidence of criminal activity that is obtained through the course of a FISA investigation can be used to open a criminal case, as long as a “significant purpose” of the FISA inquiry was to obtain foreign intelligence.
Here, the FISA warrants on Manafort were based on his intelligence connections. But if he was engaging in financial shenanigans, related or unrelated to his alleged intelligence activities, signs of it may have become apparent during the FISA monitoring, allowing the FBI to open a separate criminal case on Manafort – which is where we are now.
We don’t know the content of the communications monitored under the FISA orders, which might really add the missing links to what connections, if any, existed between the Trump campaign and Russia. But the existence of the FISA warrants themselves on Manafort, and their timing, gives us a way to understand the facts so far.
So even if, like me, you’ve never made it all the way through War and Peace (I don’t even watch Game of Thrones), you can still follow along with Mueller:
There’s a method to his madness against Manafort.
Asha Rangappa is the Associate Dean of Admissions at Yale Law School. She served in the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Special Agent, specializing in counterintelligence investigations in New York City from 2002 until 2005.
USA TODAY–4 hours ago
CNN International–39 minutes ago
In-Depth–Washington Post–5 hours ago
Highly Cited–FiveThirtyEight–4 hours ago
In-Depth–Vox–3 hours ago
Violent crime increased in the United States for a second consecutive year in 2016, remaining near historically low levels but pushed upward in part by an uptick in killings in some major cities, according to FBI statistics made public Monday.
The FBI’s release of the figures comes as the Trump administration has warned ominously of a dangerous crime wave. In his inaugural address, President Trump described “American carnage” in U.S. cities, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions said earlier this year he worried the crime uptick was “the beginning of a trend.”
Some experts and analysts have disputed that suggestion, noting that crime levels were much higher a quarter-century ago and pointing out that the recent increases are not universal. In some major cities, violence has surged, while in others it has declined. Chicago, a much-cited example, saw a spike in murders last year, as did Las Vegas and Louisville; killings dropped, meanwhile, in places including New York, Cincinnati and Newark.
The FBI statistics for 2016 show that the estimated number of violent crimes nationwide increased 4.1 percent over the previous year. The violent crime rate was 386.3 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, up from 373.7 a year earlier, and the highest figure since 2012. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter was up 8.6 percent over 2015, the FBI data show, and the murder rate increased to 5.3 per 100,000 people, the highest that figure has been since 2008. Firearms were once again used in most killings.
In the violent crime and murder rates alike, the numbers reported last year were well below figures seen during previous decades. Going back to the mid-1980s, the violent crime and murder rates were both consistently higher, particularly in the early 1990s. In 1991, for instance, the violent crime rate was 758.2 per 100,000 people, and the murder rate was 9.8 per 100,000 people, after which both numbers began to fall, albeit with some year-over-year increases.
The FBI considers four crimes — murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — to be violent crimes involving force or the threat of force.
Looking more recently, the statistics released Monday show that the violent crime rate in 2016 was down 18 percent from 2007, while the murder rate was down 6 percent over the same period.
Sessions, who has tied some of his policy pushes to the increase in crime, said Monday that the Justice Department would fight what he described as a “rising tide of violent crime” nationwide.
“For the sake of all Americans, we must confront and turn back the rising tide of violent crime. And we must do it together,” Sessions said in a statement. “The Department of Justice is committed to working with our state, local, and tribal partners across the country to deter violent crime, dismantle criminal organizations and gangs, stop the scourge of drug trafficking, and send a strong message to criminals that we will not surrender our communities to lawlessness and violence.”
In a news release containing Sessions’s statement, the Justice Department said that the data released Monday “reaffirms that the worrying violent crime increase that began in 2015 after many years of decline was not an isolated incident.”
Richard Berk, a professor of statistics and criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, disputed the suggestion that the national numbers suggested any sort of trend, pointing out that crime occurs on a local level.
“The fundamental thing is, national summaries are really sort of empty calories,” Berk said Monday. “There’s no real information in there to guide policy, or citizen concerns, because the action is all very local.”
Berk added: “Some cities that have more problems than others, and in those cities some neighborhoods have more problems than others, and to talk about national anything is just politics.”
The Brennan Center for Justice, a New York-based law and policy institute, said Monday that the murder rate increase was fueled by an uptick in killings in some of the country’s largest cities — with Chicago accounting for more than a fifth of the nationwide murder increase last year.
“The FBI’s data show trends similar to what we’ve found for crime, murder, and violence in 2016,” Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement Monday. “Crime remains near historic lows, with an uptick in murder and violence driven in part by problems in some of our nation’s largest cities. At the same time, other cities like New York are keeping crime down.”
The Brennan Center released an analysis earlier this month saying that the violent crime rate and murder rate are both expected to decline in 2017. The center had said that individual cities could play an outsize role in impacting the overall crime rates, saying the 2015 surge in killings was fueled by just three cities — Chicago, Baltimore and Washington. Last year, the center reported that the increased homicide rate for the country’s 30 biggest cities was in large part due to Chicago, finding that it was responsible for nearly half of this increase.
Homicides went up in last year more than three dozen of the country’s biggest cities or counties, according to data collected by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the group of law enforcement leaders. That included Chicago, which had 762 homicides in 2016, up from 482 homicidesa year earlier, along with cities such as Phoenix and Louisville.
Other cities reported declines, including New York, the country’s largest city, which reported 335 murders last year, down from 352 a year earlier and less than half the 673 murders reported in 2000. The city is continuing that this year, with 192 murders reported through Sept. 17, down from 250 at the same point a year earlier. Cities including Portland and Minneapolis were also among those reporting fewer homicides last year as well.
Across the country, leaders of law enforcement agencies have attributed the increase in violence to gang activity, opioids and heroin and “the overwhelming presence of guns,” said Darrel Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and a former Charlotte police chief.
Stephens said that Sessions’s concerns about violent crime are understandable, noting that the attorney general has met with police chiefs who have concerns about violence, including those from cities where the homicide counts have not been increasing.
“He’s heard those concerns from big city police chiefs, he’s met with them,” Stephens said Monday. “I’ve been in some of those meetings, and they do talk about that. But even in cities that aren’t having increases in violent crime, they still have a level of violent crime that they find, and most of the communities find, is not acceptable. Those violent crimes still take place in high poverty neighborhoods. It is a continued source of concern even if they’re not experiencing the big increases.”
Still, Stephens offered a note of cautious optimism for 2017, noting that data collected by the Major Cities Chiefs Association showed fewer cities were reporting homicide increases at the halfway point of the year, and some of those that were have seen smaller jumps.
“This year’s a little better so far,” Stephens said. “The increases don’t seem quite as bad as they were in the past. It’s hard to say for sure but I’m thinking that by the time we get ourselves to the end of this year, it’s not going to look like 2016, it’s going to look a little bit better.”
In a message accompanying the statistics Monday, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray focused largely on increasing transparency, particularly when it comes to how police use force, an issue that has roiled the country in recent years. He noted that the FBI had created a database to collect use-of-force statistics for law enforcement, which will include any encounter that ends with a person killed, seriously injured or when a gun is fired at them.
“Our goal is that this data will lead to more informed and accurate discussions within our communities and the media and that these discussions will foster more transparency and improve communications between law enforcement and the communities they serve,” Wray wrote.
The FBI’s statistics on deadly uses of force by police have long been known to be incomplete. The FBI reported that last year, 435 people were killed in justifiable homicides by law enforcement officers. The Washington Post’s database tracks all deadly police shootings and was launched in part due to the lack of any federal system logging such killings, found at least 963 fatal shootings carried out by police officers last year.
Sessions has tied the recent increase in violent crime to “undermined” respect for police officers and, in a recent speech, connected Chicago’s crime rates to the city’s policies on undocumented immigrants, a contention disputed by the police there.
In other categories, the FBI statistics released Monday showed positive signs. Property crimes dropped by 1.3 percent, the data show, the 14th consecutive year that figure fell. Burglary and larcenies fell, the FBI reported. But along with murder and non-negligent manslaughter, the FBI reported that rape and aggravated assault both increased in 2016.
The FBI’s data was compiled in an annual report called “Crime in the United States,” which collects information reported voluntarily by law enforcement agencies to the bureau’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
This story, first published at 9:16 a.m., has been updated with additional information.
The report showed there were an estimated 1.2 million violent crimes in the U.S. last year. Though the violent crime numbers rose from 2015 to 2016, the five-year and 10-year trends show an increase from 2012 (up 2.6 percent) and a decrease from 2007 (down 12.3 percent).
Additional statistics from Crime in the United States, 2016 include:
- Last year’s data shows there were 95,730 rapes reported to law enforcement, based on the UCR’s legacy definition. (Learn more about the updated rape definition.)
- Of the violent crimes reported to police in 2016, aggravated assault made up 64.3 percent, while robbery was 26.6 percent. Rape (legacy definition) accounted for 7.7 percent of the violent crimes reported last year, and murder made up 1.4 percent.
- About 7.9 million property crimes were reported to the UCR, with losses (excluding arson) of about $15.6 billion.
- The report estimates that law enforcement agencies made about 10.7 million arrests in 2016 (excluding arrests for traffic violations).
The 2016 report has been streamlined from 81 information tables to 29, but it still includes key data on major categories—such as known offenses and number of arrests—that researchers, law enforcement, and the public expect. Crime in the United States, 2016 also includes the additional publications Federal Crime Data, Human Trafficking, and Cargo Theft.
In his message accompanying the report, FBI Director Christopher Wray called on law enforcement agencies to continue transitioning to the more informative National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS). Use of NIBRS data, which will be the national standard for crime reporting by 2021, will provide additional transparency. Wray called for the country to “get beyond anecdotal evidence and collect more comprehensive data so that we have a clearer and more complete picture of crime in the United States.” He also noted the creation of the FBI’s database to collect law enforcement use-of-force statistics to facilitate an informed dialogue within communities.
“The more complete the data, the better we can inform, educate, and strengthen all of our communities,” Wray said.
FBI, This Week: 2016 Crime in the United States Report Released
September 25, 2017
The FBI’s 2016 Crime in the United States report shows violent crime jumped 4.1 percent and property crime decreased 1.3 percent when compared to the year before.
Mollie Halpern: The FBI’s 2016 Crime in the United States report shows violent crime jumped 4.1 percent when compared to the year before.
The report shows increases compared to 2015 in all four offenses in the violent crime category: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Murder has the largest growth at 8.6 percent.
2016 was the second year in a row for an increase in violent crime, but Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Information Services Division Douglas Lindquist says numbers for property crimes went in the opposite direction.
Douglas Lindquist: Property crimes decreased now for the 14th year in a row and have shown a 1.3 percent decrease over the 2015 numbers.
Halpern: This year’s annual report has been streamlined.
Lindquist: We’re trying to give the public, the press, Congress, everybody out there—and the law enforcement agencies—the information that they need and put it at their fingertips without them having to do unnecessary searches.
Halpern: About 16,700 local, state, tribal, college, and federal law enforcement agencies submitted the crime data to the FBI for the report. Read the report at <a href=”http://www.fbi.gov” rel=”nofollow”>www.fbi.gov</a>. With FBI, This Week, I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.
Deadly Tennessee church shooting: Sudanese immigrant arrested, FBI launches civil rights investigation
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New York Magazine
We Know a Lot About What Robert Mueller Is Doing. We Also Know Nothing at All.
New York Magazine
There’s a temptation to treat every revelation about Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election, every breadcrumb about its progress, as the missing piece bringing us closer to the undoing of the Trump administration.
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FBI opens civil rights investigation into deadly Tennessee church shooting
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The Latest On Mueller’s Russia Investigation
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National crime isn’t the epidemic the FBI would have us believe
Preliminary reports suggest the FBI’s annual crime report, expected to come out at the end of the month, will show an uptick in violent crimes for the second year in a row. Before various law-and-order pundits have a collective panic attack and declare …
Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
2016 Crime Statistics Released
Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
Violent crime increased for the second consecutive year, while property crime decreased for the 14th straight year, according to the FBI’s annual report on national crime statistics released today. There were an estimated 17,250 murders in the U.S …
FBI Releases 2016 Crime Statistics
Federal Bureau of Investigation (press release) (blog)
The estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased for the second straight year, rising 4.1 percent in 2016 when compared with 2015 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes dropped 1.3 percent, marking the 14th …
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Facebook Warned FBI About Russian Interference Before 2016 Election: Report
Facebook detected activity by Kremlin-linked hackers suspected of U.S. election interference on its platform during the presidential election and informed the FBI, according to a Washington Post report. In the months that followed, Facebook and the U.S …
FBI: Violent crime increases for second straight year
WASHINGTON – Violent crime in the U.S. ticked up in 2016 for the second consecutive year – the first time a two-year increase was recorded in more than a decade, according to the FBI. Overall violent crime was up 4.1% last year, while murder increased …
At the time, Zuckerberg admitted the social network knew about problems, but told Obama that it wasn’t widespread and that there wasn’t a lot Facebook could do in any case. In June 2016, Facebook’s security team found suspicious accounts set up by the Kremlin-backed APT28 hacking team, also known as Guccifer 2.0, the Post says.
However, it found no solid proof of Russian disinformation and turned over everything it found to the US government. Reportedly, neither US law enforcement nor national security personnel met with Facebook to share or discuss the information.
After Obama pulled Zuckerberg aside, Facebook starting taking the problem more seriously, but again failed to find clear links to Russian operatives, the WaPo says. On July 20th this year, Facebook actually told CNN that “we have seen no evidence that Russian actors bought ads on Facebook in connection with theh election.”
It finally uncovered proof of suspicious activity after tracking a firm called the Internet Research Agency, a known Russian hacking operation. By working backwards, it discovered over 3,000 ads around social and political issues it had posted between 2015 and 2017.
Right now they are operating in an arena where they have some, but very few, legal responsibilities. We are going to keep seeing examples of this kind, and at some point the jig is going to be up and the regulators are going to act.
Putin-backed Russian groups paid up to $100,000 to buy the ads, and boosted anti-immigrant rallies in Idaho, among other activities. Facebook recently turned over the ads to the US Intelligence Committee and congressional investigators, who say the findings are likely just “the tip of the iceberg.” Facebook executives will also testify before a Senate Intelligence committee.
While it appears that Facebook turned over any evidence to US law enforcement as soon as it found it, ads and fake news are filtered mostly by algorithms. Facebook’s human content gatekeepers, often contractors, are mostly on the watch for violent or sexually explicit materials, not foreign propaganda.
In response the latest report, a company spokesman says that “we believe in the power of democracy, which is why we’re taking this work on elections integrity so seriously, and have come forward at every opportunity to share what we’ve found.”
However, many observers think that Facebook can’t be trusted on the problem. “It’s rooted in their overconfidence that they know best, their naivete about how the world works, their extensive effort to avoid oversight and their business model of having very few employees so that no one is minding the store,” Professor Zeynep Tufekci from UNC Chapel Hill told the Post.
Other critics believe that Facebook is going to need much more oversight. “Right now they are operating in an arena where they have some, but very few, legal responsibilities,” Stanford Law School scholar Morgan Weiland told The Atlantic earlier this month. “We are going to keep seeing examples of this kind, and at some point the jig is going to be up and the regulators are going to act.”
New Zealand Herald
Here’s Another Man Who’d Like to Tell You Why Hillary Lost
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Anthony Weiner scandals: From politics to sexting cases
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Facebook knew about Russian meddling well before the US election
Despite once saying that it was “crazy” to believe Russians influenced the 2016 election, Facebook knew about a possible operation as early as June, 2016, the Washington Post reports. It only started taking it seriously after President Obama met …
Maureen Dowd: Prospect of President Zuckerberg is very scaryIrish Times
Focus on Facebook’s Russian Ads May Reflect on Major News Outlets’ Russian DealsThe Epoch Times
US murder rate rose in 2016 but this year’s numbers suggest decline ahead
Murders in the US rose by 8.6% in 2016 following a more than 10% increase the year before, according to new FBI statistics. The violent crime rate increased by 3.4% while property crimes dropped. … With a president and an attorney general who have …