1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “putin and trump” – Google News: Putin must be very pleased – News – fosters.com – Dover, NH – Foster’s Daily Democrat

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Putin must be very pleased – News – fosters.com – Dover, NH  Foster’s Daily Democrat

To the Editor:I listened with dismay to Trump’s recent pronouncements, in which he called a legitimate investigation “an attempted coup” and the legally …

“putin and trump” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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“wilbur ross” – Google News: Commerce Department Denies Tariff Exclusions for NLMK – businessjournaldaily.com

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Commerce Department Denies Tariff Exclusions for NLMK  businessjournaldaily.com

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The U.S. Department of Commerce has denied NLMK Pennsylvania exclusions from the Trump administration’s tariff policy that took …

“wilbur ross” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “calls for Comey’s resignation” – Google News: Rod Rosenstein is leaving as a diminished man and shamed lawyer – SFGate

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Rod Rosenstein is leaving as a diminished man and shamed lawyer  SFGate

The Washington Post reports on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s resignation letter submitted Monday, effective May 11: “Rosenstein’s resignation …

“calls for Comey’s resignation” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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“Manafort” – Google News: Bernie Sanders: Everyone deserves to vote, even felons like Paul Manafort & Michael Cohen – USA TODAY

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Bernie Sanders: Everyone deserves to vote, even felons like Paul Manafort & Michael Cohen  USA TODAY

Committing a serious crime shouldn’t strip people of their basic right to be a citizen and active participant in our democracy.

“Manafort” – Google News


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“Trump Investigations” – Google News: Incoming NY AG Plans Major Investigations Into Donald Trump Dealings – Sara A. Carter

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Incoming NY AG Plans Major Investigations Into Donald Trump Dealings  Sara A. Carter

Incoming New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James, a democrat, says she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family.

“Trump Investigations” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Just Security: JFK Records Suit Tests CIA Secrecy on Assassination

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On April 29, my attorney Dan Hardway filed a petition for certiorari asking the Supreme Court to review my case, Morley v. CIA. When I filed this Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit 16 years ago, I sought certain files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

The JFK story still resonates, albeit more faintly than it once did. Kennedy was a popular liberal president who, at the time of his death, was challenging the country to embrace civil rights and “a strategy for peace” to end the Cold War. Detested in the Pentagon and CIA as a weakling and traitor, Kennedy was shot dead as his open-air motorcade passed through downtown Dallas on a sunny day in November 1963.

I never expected the case would take so long or rise so high. Yet I am not surprised. I always believed FOIA litigation could shed new light on the causes of JFK’s assassination, a national trauma on par with 9/11 for the next generation. I anticipated new information would clarify long-standing questions about America’s most enduring murder mystery. And I expected the CIA would resist full disclosure. The federal courts have been divided on the merits of my case, leaving the Supreme Court as the final arbiter.

My lawsuit, filed in December 2003, sought records to clarify the CIA’s response to JFK’s murder. After Kennedy was killed, the Dallas police department immediately picked up an ex-Marine named Lee Harvey Oswald and claimed he shot the president. Oswald denied the charge and was killed in police custody the next day. A year later, a commission of Washington insiders concluded Oswald acted “alone and unaided.” JFK’s death was not politically motivated, it was proclaimed.

As the biographer of two top CIA operations officers who were deeply knowledgeable about the events of 1963, I don’t find the official story of a “lone gunman” to be credible. The CIA men I wrote about did not believe it, not in the privacy of their thoughts and actions. They knew far more about Oswald, the supposed assassin, before JFK was killed than they disclosed to investigators. Declassified records and interviews demonstrate that the agency settled on the story of a “lone gunman” in order to conceal its deep pre-assassination interest in Oswald from law enforcement, Congress, and the American people.

With the help of Jim Lesar, a veteran FOIA litigator, I sought to learn more via a request for information about a Miami-based CIA operative named George Joannides who handled sensitive matters for senior officials in Langley. The request turned into a long-running lawsuit. Thanks to a unanimous December 2007 appellate court decision, issued over strenuous CIA objections, I obtained more than a thousand pages of material.

‘Presumed Assassins’

The redacted Joannides files illuminated two previously unknown aspects of the JFK story.

The first was Joannides’ role in an authorized and deniable CIA psychological warfare operation that generated propaganda about Oswald. A job evaluation from 1963 revealed Joannides ran a CIA-funded anti-Castro student group, the Cuban Student Directorate, known by the code name AMSPELL. Within 48 hours of Kennedy’s death, Joannides’ agents published the first JFK conspiracy theory, claiming Oswald and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, were “the presumed assassins.”

The second story revealed by my lawsuit was Joannides’ obstruction of a congressional investigation. In 1978, after the Watergate-era revelations about CIA abuses, Congress re-opened the JFK probe by creating the House Select Committee on Assassination.  The agency called Joannides out of retirement to serve as liaison with the Committee investigators. He shut down their inquiries. Even under direct questioning, he did not disclose the Oswald-AMSPELL activity. A 1979 job evaluation praised Joannides as “the perfect man” for dealing with the Committee. In 1981 he received the agency’s Career Intelligence Medal for “exceptional achievement.”

Intrigued, I sought to obtain another 330 records about Joannides that the agency withheld on grounds of “national security.” In June 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected my arguments and said the CIA had complied with the FOIA. The substantive part of the case was over.

I then asked the court to order the government to pay for cost of my litigation, namely Lesar’s fee for hundreds of hours of time he spent crafting the arguments that freed the Joannides files. Under the FOIA, the government is required to pay court costs if the plaintiff has “substantially prevailed.”

The law is designed to incentivize the government to follow the FOIA and to compensate citizens, reporters, and whistleblowers who seek information in the public interest. One of the four factors in awarding legal fees is whether the information sought has the potential to benefit the public.

I thought I cleared that bar easily. The New York Times, Fox News, Associated Press, Politico, and USA Today covered Morley v. CIA. The Washington Post and two dozen other mainstream news sites published the AP story. The Times and other sites published a photo, obtained via FOIA, which showed Joannides receiving his medal.

In December 2011 District Court Judge Richard Leon dismissed my request for legal fees, asserting the litigation had uncovered little of substance. I appealed. In June 2013 the Court of Appeals reversed Leon’s decision. In July 2014, Leon threw out my case on different grounds. In January 2016, the appellate court reversed him again.

Throughout this legal slog, the CIA and Justice Department’s lawyers have insisted there is no public benefit to the disclosure of Joannides’ JFK-related activities. Move along, says the CIA. There’s nothing to be learned in the Oswald-AMSPELL story or in the ancient Joannides files that contain sensitive valuable “national security” secrets.

Last July, on a fourth hearing, a divided three-judge panel dismissed my case. Now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in his last decision before he joined the high court, assessed the value of my FOIA lawsuit as “small.”

Judge Karen Henderson, the senior judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals, issued a stout dissent, saying I clearly deserved to have my court costs paid. Kavanaugh’s decision, she declared, “ignored our precedent and misapplied our mandate.”

Findings

What has Morley v. CIA revealed about JFK’s assassination?

For 16 years, I resisted definitive conclusions about Joannides’ role in the events that led to JFK’s death. I truly wasn’t sure. I wanted to see all of the CIA’s records on the subject first.

I awaited the promise of the JFK Records Act of 1992: full disclosure. The law, passed unanimously by Congress, mandated the release of all of the government’s JFK files within 25 years, that is to say, by 2017.  The promise, alas, was betrayed by President Trump. He used the one loophole provided in the law, allowing for continued postponement of release of assassination records. Trump, the conspiracy theorist, certified that disclosure would cause “an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement, or conduct of foreign relations” and that “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

In his October 2017 White House directive, Trump stated he had “no choice” (curious phrase) but to allow federal agencies to continue to withhold thousands of JFK assassination files from public view– including the Joannides files. In April 2018, the National Archives reported that 15,834 assassination records remain redacted, most of them by CIA and FBI. These files will remain sealed until April 2021 at the earliest, 

‘No-Brainer’ on Secret JFK Files

The continuing secrecy around thousands of JFK files surprises Judge John Tunheim, former chair of the Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB). The ARRB was a civilian review board that declassified hundreds of thousands of JFK files in the mid-1990s.

“My assumption was that all the remaining records would simply be released in 2017,” Tunheim, now the senior federal judge in Minnesota, told me in an interview. “At that point in time [1998], our thinking was there is no legitimate reason to withhold information about how we collected information fifty years ago, that there would be no legitimate reason for protecting things that were that old.”

The agency’s stance on the Joannides files is particularly obtuse, Tunheim said. In 1998, the JFK review board asked the agency to provide relevant Joannides files. The agency handed over exactly 11 pages of material. The CIA “fooled’ the board about the extent of the Joannides files, Tunheim said. “We would release them in full today without a moment’s hesitation,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Of course, the fact that the CIA is sitting on thousands of JFK files in 2019 does not necessarily mean the U.S. government is hiding evidence of a conspiracy in 1963. As President Obama said in a 2009 memorandum, “the problem of overclassification” is endemic in the federal government. I’m pretty sure that 95 percent of the still-secret JFK files are historically irrelevant. It’s the remaining five percent, however, that interests historians, researchers, journalists and students.

The files I sought in my lawsuit are a case in point. They do not contain evidence that Joannides plotted against JFK’s life. They contain plenty of evidence that he abetted those who did, after Kennedy was dead. He wasn’t in Dallas when JFK was killed. He helped run the coverup in Miami and Langley afterwards. He died in March 1990.

‘We Were Used’

I did not take my case to the Supreme Court to vindicate any conspiratorial interpretation of JFK’s death. I pursued new information to fill out the fact pattern around the assassination with confidence that people can make up their own minds about what it shows.

My reading of the evidence conforms with that of knowledgeable observers. Attorney General Robert Kennedy concluded his brother was ambushed by enemies in his own government. So did the widowed First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.

Two astute contemporaries, Fidel Castro and Charles DeGaulle, also believed that Kennedy fell victim to a conspiracy emanating from within U.S. security forces. Castro was a battle-hardened Marxist revolutionary. DeGaulle was a continental conservative snob. They knew, as well as anyone, the workings of American power and the machinations of the CIA. More recently, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a retired CIA station chief and Just Security editor, told a conclave of retired spies that he believes if the CIA were responsible for JFK’s murder, it was likely certain rogue CIA officers in Miami.

Morley v. CIA produced documentary evidence consistent with the Castro-DeGaulle-Mowatt-Larssen interpretation of November 22, 1963. The Joannides’ files laid bare agency operations around Oswald. Joannides’ propaganda agents among anti-Castro Cuban students created a plausible public record—in intelligence parlance, a “legend”—that Oswald was a leader of a pro-Castro group called Fair Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC) in New Orleans. The FPCC was a popular socialist organization with 30 chapters on college campuses that defended Castro’s revolution, which had abolished racial segregation and redistributed land to poor people.

The CIA operation that monitored and manipulated Oswald emerged from a joint CIA-FBI program known as COINTELPRO. Short for Counterintelligence Program, COINTELPRO sought to undermine and destroy civil rights and antiwar organizations from 1958 to 1974. According to this declassified memo, the CIA was conducting a secret operation against the FPCC as of mid-September 1963.

Joannides was involved. Within hours of Oswald’s arrest, his AMSPELL agents in the Cuban Student Directorate fed reporters the story that the president had been killed by a leader of the FPCC.

One of those AMSPELL agents was Jose Antonio Lanuza. A retired school teacher in Miami, Lanuza served as spokesman for the CIA-funded Cuban Student Directorate in 1963.  According to a JFK Library memo, the Cuban students received $51,000 a month from the CIA.

On the night of November 22, 1963 Lanuza recalls the group communicated with the group’s CIA handler, Joannides, whom he knew as “Howard.” Lanuza also recalls speaking with a dozen local and national reporters about the connection of Kennedy’s accused killer to the pro-Castro FPCC. The next day, the AMSPELL information fueled headlines that the American president had been killed by a “pro-Castro assassin.”

“We were used by the people who wanted to make Oswald take all the blame for killing Kennedy,” Lanuza said in an interview. “We were ideal cover for using the theme of Oswald being a Castro supporter. Somebody wanted to build up that story. That’s where we came in.”

The first-day AMPSELL publicity blitz did much to convince the public that a liberal president had been killed by a communist.

But was it true? Under interrogation, Oswald denied shooting Kennedy. He told reporters that he was a “patsy.” The next day he was shot dead in police custody by a Dallas nightclub owner with organized crime connections. These shocking and baffling events gave birth to a thousand conspiracy theories.

I took my case to the Supreme Court to bypass the theories and get the facts: to complete the historical record of a critical moment in which American democratic institutions were attacked, a record that the American people do not yet fully possess.

CIA Medal

Perhaps the biggest single revelation generated by Morley v. CIA was the medal given to Joannides. Inside the agency, one might say that Joannides protected the agency’s “sources and methods” around the Oswald/AMSPELL/FPCC operation. Outside the agency, you could say he was honored, at least in part, for perpetuating the JFK cover-up.

House Select Committee on Assassination general counsel G. Robert Blakey, now emeritus professor at Notre Dame law school, told PBS Frontline that Joannides had obstructed Congress’ investigation, a felony. Was he concealing the existence of a CIA operation to falsely blame Oswald for killing JFK? Or just CIA incompetence? Absent full disclosure, definitive conclusions are elusive. 

Morley v. CIA fell short of getting the whole story. The agency identified but never released 330 Joannides files I sought. These include 44 documents from 1963 and 1978, which concern Joannides’ cover and “intelligence methods.” They are key to the JFK story. I suspect they identify the senior agency officers who authorized psychological warfare operations that linked Oswald to Castro’s Cuba before and after JFK was killed.

According to the agency, not a single word contained in these antique records – even with any potentially appropriate redactions for sources and methods – can be made public in 2019 without threatening “national security.”  Given that most of the records in question are more than 50 years old, the claim seems far-fetched, if not suspicious. Nonetheless, the federal courts agree it is accurate.

‘Entirely Unreasonable’

The question now before the Supreme Court is not conspiracy. The issue is accountability and how the FOIA seeks to insure it. In the July 2018 majority opinion, Kavanaugh ruled the CIA acted “reasonably” in spurning my JFK queries. Judge Henderson countered that the government’s actions were “entirely unreasonable” and I should be awarded court costs.

The high court now has the opportunity to decide. The answers are a long time coming.

IMAGE: Picture dated 22 November 1963 of US President John F. Kennedy’s murderer Lee Harvey Oswald during a press conference after his arrest in Dallas. Lee Harvey Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby on 24 November on the eve of Kennedy’s burial. (Photo by STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

The post JFK Records Suit Tests CIA Secrecy on Assassination appeared first on Just Security.

Just Security

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “Trump demands victory to be handed to him” – Google News: Dan Baer on Growing Up Gay and His Challenge to Cory Gardner – Westword

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Dan Baer on Growing Up Gay and His Challenge to Cory Gardner  Westword

The former U.S. ambassador and Littleton native gets personal about how his past informs his present.

“Trump demands victory to be handed to him” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump as danger to National Security” – Google News: Militias, Militarism, and Masculinity at the Border: ‘This Is a Story That Dates Much, Much Further Back’ Than Trump – Jezebel

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Militias, Militarism, and Masculinity at the Border: ‘This Is a Story That Dates Much, Much Further Back’ Than Trump  Jezebel

Earlier this month, an armed militia group patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border made headlines when they posted a series of videos that showed members, decked …

“trump as danger to National Security” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “US elections and russia” – Google News: Warren Buffett: ‘Cyber poses real risks to humanity’ – Yahoo Finance

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Warren Buffett: ‘Cyber poses real risks to humanity’  Yahoo Finance

Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett says that cyber attacks are as dangerous as nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.

“US elections and russia” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Persistent Engagement, Agreed Competition and Deterrence in Cyberspace

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Michael P. Fischerkeller and Richard J. Harknett have recently produced excellent writing on persistent engagement, a central element of U.S. Cyber Command’s (USCYBERCOM’s)—and the nation’s—strategy for cyberspace. Fischerkeller and Harknett’s Lawfare post on persistent engagement provides an in-depth explanation of USCYBERCOM’s vision of seizing and maintaining the initiative in cyberspace by continuously engaging and contesting adversaries and causing them uncertainty wherever they maneuver. We believe that they and USCYBERCOM hit the mark conceptually—and if recent press reports that the U.S. disrupted the Russian Internet Research Agency’s (IRA’s) ability to intervene in the 2018 U.S. elections are accurate, it appears that USCYBERCOM has applied this strategy.

However, we believe Fischerkeller and Harknett missed the mark in their recent Lawfare post adapting Herman Kahn’s concept of an “agreed battle” to a cyberspace-only “agreed competition.” Here, we aim to outline the pitfalls of this approach, including that the U.S. should (and indeed did) describe actions such as Chinese cyber theft of intellectual property and Russian cyber-enabled meddling in U.S. elections as neither “agreed” nor “competition” but, rather, as unacceptable hostile acts for which the U.S. needs (and can achieve) a stronger deterrence posture. Our critique differs from the recent Lawfare commentary by Max Smeets, as does our recommendation regarding the term, which Smeets accepts while suggesting that “the space for agreed competition is very small.” Rather, we propose repurposing the term “agreed competitions” as activities by the U.S. and its competitors qua adversaries that actually fit the term: elements of competitions in the economic, diplomatic, informational and military spheres where cyber plays a role but is not the only tool of statecraft. It is at least tacitly agreed that neither side will treat a wide range of actions (inside and outside of cyberspace) as hostile acts. And we argue that operations in cyberspace should be part of an integrated national campaign to address these cross-cutting issues and bolster the U.S. competitive posture. After all, on the internet, nobody knows if you’re an economist, a diplomat, a spy or a soldier.

Persisting With Persistent Engagement

A much more active day-to-day U.S. posture in cyberspace is the essence of persistent engagement. This makes good sense and is overdue. We strongly endorse Fischerkeller and Harknett’s point that denial of the adversary’s objective should be a key operational element of persistent engagement: The U.S. should aim to inhibit an adversary’s attempts to widen, compound or intensify its cyber operations against the U.S. and allies, through a combination of “resiliency, the notion of ‘defend forward,’ and contesting cyber operations.”

The recently reported USCYBERCOM disruption of the Russian IRA is a prime example of defending forward and contesting cyber operations. By public reports, it appears that USCYBERCOM’s forward defense reduced the IRA’s and Russia’s ability to cause mischief in the 2018 U.S. elections. It is possible that this purported action will strengthen deterrence of future cyberattacks, and it is conversely possible that Russia will “up its game” and make deterrence even more challenging in the future. But the first-order issue is that risks to the U.S. in the 2018 election cycle appear to have been reduced, with no apparent blowback or other immediate downsides. As Jason Healey wrote recently about this takedown: “The debate on cyber conflict has gotten so locked into deterrence, escalation, coercion, and signaling we pundits often forget that conflict is sometimes straight forward and you just have to stop adversaries from punching you.”

The United States is on the right track with persistent engagement in cyberspace. There are risks, and there will be mistakes. There will be cases where, in retrospect, USCYBERCOM may have been overly aggressive. There will also no doubt be cases where, in retrospect, USCYBERCOM may have done too little and/or acted too late. Important to the success of this approach will be a continuous net assessment process, with active red teaming to anticipate and—where possible—block or deter adversary responses. It is not possible to get everything exactly right at the outset, and the U.S. must learn and adapt over time.

Persistent engagement has the major upside of encouraging adaptive learning by U.S. adversaries in cyberspace. As the USCYBERCOM vision statement notes, “Through persistent action and competing more effectively below the level of armed conflict, we can influence the calculations of our adversaries, deter aggression, and clarify the distinction between acceptable and unacceptable behavior in cyberspace.” U.S. adversaries will also make mistakes—overreacting to U.S. actions, underestimating U.S. resolve or simply being slow to learn from experience. However, this learning process can help mitigate the larger risk in cyber conflict of escalation to armed conflict via a fundamental lack of understanding among adversaries about what targets and attacks are acceptable in cyberspace. Miscalculation—for example, underestimating how highly an adversary values a target that is attacked via cyberspace—will remain a risk and could lead to unintended escalation. However, the process of adaptive learning, explicit communication of limited intent, and effective signaling through military actions and inaction in other domains (e.g., avoiding contemporaneous large-scale military exercises near the adversary’s border, or increased nuclear alert levels) should ultimately reduce the risk for dangerous escalation.

Fischerkeller and Harknett’s explanation of persistent engagement not only accounts for learning by the U.S. and others, but it also explicitly aims to promote such learning through tacit bargaining, supplemented where advantageous with explicit communications. As the authors note, this approach has value for the U.S. as well as for other nations that support a free, open, secure and stable internet: “An intentional adoption of a tacit bargaining approach to guide the type and timing of U.S. cyber operations should be pursued to enhance the prospect of a more stable and secure cyberspace.”

Disagreement on a Cyberspace-Only “Agreed Competition”

In their more recent Lawfare piece, which proposes that there is an agreed competition in cyberspace, Fischerkeller and Harknett aim to “repurpose and operationalize” Herman Kahn’s concept of an agreed battle into an agreed competition conducted wholly within cyberspace. The gist of Kahn’s agreed battle is that, at any given level of escalation, both adversaries may have strategic rationales not to escalate further. As each side demurs from further escalation and sees the other side do the same, there may be an implicit agreement to avoid further escalation; if so, an agreed battle has been (at least for a time) established. Fair enough. Fischerkeller and Harknett’s repurposing to a cyberspace-only arena of agreed competition suggests that each side can undertake “continuous action for seeking strategic advantage short of armed conflict,” without much if any risk of escalation given that “cyber actors appear to have tacitly agreed on lower and upper bounds of the cyber strategic competitive space short of armed conflict.” This concept of an agreed competition within cyberspace, however, has four fundamental flaws.

First, by focusing exclusively on cyberspace, this concept provides only a very limited description of the actual dynamics of competition and conflict in cyberspace, and the extent to which they are functions of a geopolitical context. Real-world instances of cyberattacks or cyber-enabled attacks on the United States are best understood in the broader context of international relations: Most activities in a cyber competition, as with most other kinds of strategic competition, are driven by broader geopolitical imperatives within contests and politics among nations. China’s ongoing cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, for example, is part of a broader Chinese campaign to bolster economic growth through legitimate and illegitimate tools ranging from front companies, research partnerships, coercive trade practices and human agents, most times necessarily at the expense of their nation-state competitors. Russia’s continued cyber-enabled social media campaign is part of a broader disinformation campaign, involving Russian state-owned media and Russian diplomacy, to sow division within and between the United States and its NATO allies. Iran’s 2012-2013 attacks on Saudi Aramco, Qatar’s RasGas, the International Atomic Energy Agency and various Western banks were part of broader foreign policy responses to a range of geopolitical issues, from Stuxnet’s attack on their nuclear program, to sanctions levied against their oil trade, to Saudi decisions to increase oil production in order to offset the impact of Iranian sanctions on oil price volatility. North Korea’s 2014 cyber attack on Sony Entertainment was a response to a U.S.-made film portraying an assassination attempt on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and was accompanied by threats of physical violence against theater operators and patrons. And so on.

In principle, the term “agreed competition” could be used to describe jockeying for tactical advantage in the daily noise of cyber espionage and engagement, including activities such as reconnaissance and gaining access to targets for potential later attack. However, although this activity might be considered “agreed,” it does not constitute much of the overall competition. (On this point, we agree with Smeets’s recent critique that, when reviewing major cyber intrusions and attacks against the U.S. and allies, “it is hard to see what exactly would be deemed as acceptable behavior.”) In order to consider the competition that matters most—which involves the pursuit of strategic gains and dynamic interactions carrying vertical and horizontal escalation risks—one must consider the broader context. In the end, if “agreed competition” in cyberspace meant only those areas where both (or all) sides agree (or may soon agree) that there is no possibility of horizontal or vertical escalation, it would be a very limited space that does not provide any insight into actual competitive and conflict dynamics. It is perhaps of note that the 44-rung escalation ladder in Herman Kahn’s seminal 1965 On Escalation work includes “political, economic, and diplomatic gestures” (rung 2), “legal harassment” (rung 7) and “provocative breaking off of diplomatic relations” (rung 10).

Second, and related, Fischerkeller and Harknett’s conception of cyberspace-only agreed competition would serve as a poor guide for policymakers. Treating cyberspace apart from other dimensions of international competition and conflict (economic, diplomatic, informational, legal and military) would inappropriately focus U.S. policymakers on cyber-only responses to cyber-related actions by adversaries, resulting in artificially constrained and inadequate actions. Plausible responses to cyberattacks include diplomatic demarches, economic sanctions, information campaigns, criminal indictments and civil suits, and where necessary military actions outside of cyberspace (which could range from signaling via movement of forces or conduct of exercises, to subtle actions by special forces, and in extreme cases to selective military strikes). Moreover, U.S. policymakers should not be surprised if and when adversaries respond to U.S. offensive cyber actions outside of cyberspace.

In attempting to distinguish cyberspace from other domains (air, sea, land and space), Fischerkeller and Harknett emphasize the interconnectedness of cyberspace; to wit: “due to interconnectedness, the core structural feature of cyberspace, strategic targets are accessible in, through and from cyberspace via cyber operations or campaigns short of armed conflict.” This point is debatable—both in terms of whether it is technically correct and in terms of whether it is truly a distinguishing feature of the domain. For example, there are areas of cyberspace that already see significant segmentation (e.g., classified networks, operational technology vs. information technology, the Great Firewall of China, evolving efforts to Balkanize national segments of the internet or even normative segmentation such as electoral systems). And if anything, the air, sea and space domains are more clearly continuous than is cyberspace. But the more important point is that one should not falsely ascribe to cyberspace a materially novel characteristic that is neither material nor novel, a common pitfall in some strategists’ descriptions of cyberspace as a domain. Cyberspace is as interconnected as other competitive domains, integral to global diplomacy, economics and information flows. If actions within cyberspace stayed within cyberspace—and so did not have economic/financial, political, perceptual, legal or military operational impacts—they would largely be irrelevant.

Third, the concept of a cyber-only agreed competition will confuse U.S. allies and adversaries alike, to the detriment of U.S. national security. Fischerkeller and Harknett acknowledge explicitly that the U.S. has by no means agreed that cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, or cyber-enabled manipulation of social media to undermine democracies, or other cyberattacks, are acceptable. It is far from helpful to describe something as “agreed” behavior when a more accurate term would be “egregious.” Nor is it helpful, as Fischerkeller and Harknett do, to describe such actions as competition, which implicitly validates them as being part of an acceptable game. Such cyber-enabled attacks are hostile acts, and the U.S. will be better able to win the argument that they are unacceptable by avoiding a moral equivalence of all cyber actions and, instead, making absolutely clear that hostile acts are neither “agreed” nor (implicitly acceptable) “competition.” The U.S. Justice Department has played an important supporting role by issuing indictments of Chinese, Russian and Iranian state-affiliated parties, irrespective of any realistic chances of extradition from those countries—such indictments are another tool to draw normative lines in the sand and build coalitions in cyberspace. If the concept of a cyberspace-only agreed competition were adopted in the U.S. lexicon, it would undermine the ability of the U.S. to lead coalitions in cyberspace and to deter untoward actions by adversaries in cyberspace. To that point, Fischerkeller and Harknett acknowledge that their agreed competition is not actually agreed. They confront the dilemma by “proposing that we are in the early stages of an agreed competition: The structural boundaries are already tacitly understood, but mutual understandings of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are still being developed through competitive interaction.”

However, we believe this is a flawed assumption, and this points to a fourth flaw that we believe lies in their arguments. One might agree with our critique of agreed competition so far but argue that we are being short-sighted because a steady and safe state of “agreed competition” might be achieved over time. It is indeed possible that nations will move beyond today’s apparent understanding that hacking to gain intelligence and to prepare for possible future attack does not warrant an escalatory response within or outside of cyberspace. For example, an agreement between the U.S. and Russia not to interfere in the other side’s domestic politics, or an(other) agreement between the U.S. and China not to steal intellectual property, is possible in principle.

But these examples highlight two key points. First, such agreements (or an agreement not to attack critical infrastructure, as some have proposed) will need to extend beyond cyberspace in order to be effective; such agreements are no good if Russian operatives or paid insiders sabotage U.S. elections through physical means, or if China steals intellectual property by coercing companies. Second (and the reader should now brace for a statement of the obvious), Russia, China and other states may cheat; thus, even when they agree on paper, they may not agree in practice. Consider how Chinese cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property continues apace years after President Xi Jinping agreed to stop. Taking an example from other domains, Russian ships and aircraft have undertaken unsafe maneuvers at sea and in the air, despite Russia’s continued participation in the bilateral 1972 Incidents at Sea agreement, which explicitly prohibits such actions.

The U.S. needs to bolster deterrence of such actions, not accept them as inevitable, and all tools of national power must be on the table to do so. Fischerkeller and Harknett claim that “deterrence does not align either empirically or logically with the structural features of the cyber strategic competitive space short of armed conflict.” But effectively removing noncyber tools from the U.S. declaratory and response toolkit for hostile acts in cyberspace, and potentially by reducing the role of cyber tools to deter and respond to hostile acts outside of cyberspace, adoption of “agreed competition” as the framework for U.S. cyber policy would make this claim a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Fischerkeller and Harknett reject the role of deterrence in cyber competition short of armed conflict, suggesting instead that a coercive approach toward deterrence, using threats of retaliation and escalation, does not align well with competition in cyberspace short of armed conflict. However, the reality is that strong cyber responses (which carry risk of vertical escalation) and noncyber responses (which constitute horizontal escalation) will affect the other side’s perception of costs and risks. The result may be a dampening of tensions or a spiral of escalation, and it would be wildly imprudent of policymakers not to consider these possibilities in formulating declaratory policy, developing cyber and noncyber capabilities, working with allies and partners, and actually responding to hostile acts below the level of armed aggression. The game is on, and it would be a-strategic, and indeed reckless, to pretend otherwise.

Moreover, deterrence strategy should seek to influence a competitor’s decision-making by denying it the gains of its actions, irrespective of any retaliation or escalation (and USCYBERCOM’s vision statement notes the importance of increased cyber resilience in bolstering the U.S. deterrence posture). Deterrence strategy thus calibrated can be effective, not just in preventing escalation but also in influencing adversaries’ decisions on targeting and operational choices. It is important to formulate this fact in both strategy and actions to shape adversarial decision-making.

This isn’t to say deterrence will put an end to cyberattacks, whether in peacetime, “gray zone” competition or the run-up to armed conflict. Rather, deterrence can shape the other side’s conduct during a period of persistent engagement by imposing costs (and threatening to impose more costs if unacceptable actions are taken) at key strategic points in the contest. As Fischerkeller and Hunter argue, denial of the adversary’s objective is a key element of persistent engagement, empowered by resilience among other elements. Indeed, recent developments in the private sector are positive, with new emphases on resilience as an element at least as important as prevention and compliance. I


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “2016 elections anxiety” – Google News: US Bus Driver Raped A 14-Year-Old. He Won’t Spend A Day In Prison – NDTV News

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US Bus Driver Raped A 14-Year-Old. He Won’t Spend A Day In Prison  NDTV News

The day of reckoning inside an Upstate New York courtroom did not go as planned – at least for prosecutors and the victim’s family.

“2016 elections anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): Palmer Report: Everything hits the fan

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Whatever this is all shaping up to be, it’s happening. We’ve got resignations, subpoenas, high stakes showdowns, last ditch legal efforts, and a series of cascading chess matches all nearing checkmate at nearly the same time. This week might go down in the history books – not as a positive one, but perhaps a pivotal one that finally sent this cautionary tale of a presidency on a path toward its downfall.



The President of the United States just filed personal lawsuits against two of his own banks, in an effort at preventing them from turning over his financial records as evidence in a potential impeachment effort, and that may not even be the biggest story of the day. Even as Donald Trump goes to desperate lengths to prevent Deutsche Bank and Capital One from giving him up, Trump’s Attorney General is left trying to decide just how much further down the rabbit hole he’s willing to go for Trump, and whether he’s willing to risk criminal consequences for himself.



Maybe William Barr will show up and testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, where he’ll face a hired prosecutor looking to expose his obstruction of justice antics, or maybe he’ll skip out and do whatever it is that a cretin like William Barr does when he’s trying to relax. If Barr does bail, he’ll either be subpoenaed, or House Democrats will jump straight to holding him in contempt of Congress. Either way, Barr’s testimony (or non-testimony) will open the door for the Democrats to bring in the witnesses that they – and Americans – want to hear from.


Even as this plays out, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just resigned, while handing in a resignation letter that reads more like a love letter to Donald Trump. That’ll come back to bite him. After William Barr makes his decision about whether to play contempt roulette, Rosenstein will be hauled in as well. But that’s a matter for next week. For now, there’s enough hitting the fan at once as it is.



The post Everything hits the fan appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “2016 elections and mental health” – Google News: Cuts in Community Mental Health funding draws crowd – Monroe Evening News

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Cuts in Community Mental Health funding draws crowd  Monroe Evening News

About 100 people attended a Monroe Community Mental Health Authority meeting Monday to discuss a trend in state funding cuts that is now affecting local …

“2016 elections and mental health” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump anxiety” – Google News: Joe Biden is the ‘Friends’ of 2020 – Pajiba

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Joe Biden is the ‘Friends’ of 2020  Pajiba

In times of great stress and anxiety, what do you do when you come home from work after a hella sh*tty day at the office? Do you crack open a beer and say to …

“trump anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News: Police continue investigating deadly officer-involved shooting, stabbing in SE Portland – KATU

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Police continue investigating deadly officer-involved shooting, stabbing in SE Portland  KATU

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland police released the names of the officers involved in a deadly officer-involved shooting Monday afternoon. Police say the officers …

“2016 Presidential Election Investigation” – Google News


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“Trump Investigations” – Google News: Biden: Congress has “no alternative” but impeachment if Trump blocks investigations – Axios

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Biden: Congress has “no alternative” but impeachment if Trump blocks investigations  Axios

He thinks Congress needs to explore issues “left undone” in the Mueller report.

“Trump Investigations” – Google News


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“russian facebook ads” – Google News: Op-Ed: Every American should read the Mueller report – Bucks County Courier Times

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Op-Ed: Every American should read the Mueller report  Bucks County Courier Times

Robert Mueller’s report landed with an anticlimactic thud. It seems to have changed no one’s mind or made anyone particularly happy. If you believed that …

“russian facebook ads” – Google News


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Russian propaganda on social media from Michael_Novakhov (5 sites): “Anonymous Online Political Ads” – Google News: Opinion | These Ads Think They Know You – The New York Times

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Opinion | These Ads Think They Know You  The New York Times

We bought some ad space and targeted readers using the invisible technology of the Internet.

“Anonymous Online Political Ads” – Google News

Russian propaganda on social media from Michael_Novakhov (5 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “Trump, Putin and organized crime” – Google News: Tuesdays letters: Trump, Democrats, Amendment 4, more – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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Tuesdays letters: Trump, Democrats, Amendment 4, more  Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Democrats want to waste more money on inquiriesHow much more time and taxpayer dollars do the Democrats want to waste on this, besides the two years and …

“Trump, Putin and organized crime” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “trump russian money” – Google News: Explainer: Probes spawned by Mueller target Trump business, others – KFGO News

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Explainer: Probes spawned by Mueller target Trump business, others  KFGO News

(Reuters) – Numerous investigations spun out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are still alive and kicking, presenting potential ongoing legal and …

“trump russian money” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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“Manafort” – Google News: Explainer: Probes spawned by Mueller target Trump business, others – Reuters

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Explainer: Probes spawned by Mueller target Trump business, others  Reuters

Numerous investigations spun out of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are still alive and kicking, presenting potential ongoing legal and political risk …

“Manafort” – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites): “2016 elections anxiety” – Google News: For 2020 Democrats, It Should Still Be the Economy – The New Republic

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For 2020 Democrats, It Should Still Be the Economy  The New Republic

The grotesqueries of Trump are a tempting target, but the economic anxiety evident in the 2016 campaign has been exacerbated by his policies.

“2016 elections anxiety” – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (197 sites)


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