Links for 12-6-2017

Links for 12-5-2017

Links for 12-4-2017

Links for 12-2-2017

  • A top FBI agent assigned to Robert Mueller’s investigation, Peter Strzok, was removed from that position because he sent anti-Trump texts to another FBI employee. Then it gets worse:

    Peter Strzok, as deputy head of counterintelligence at the FBI, was a key player in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to do government work as secretary of state, as well as the probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

    During the Clinton investigation, Strzok was involved in a romantic relationship with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who worked for Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to the people familiar with the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

    The extramarital affair was problematic, these people said, but of greater concern among senior law enforcement officials were text messages the two exchanged during the Clinton investigation and campaign season, in which they expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.

    Note that the Andrew McCabe mentioned in that quote is married to a strong Clinton supporter himself.

  • Someone associated with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leaked to Bloomberg that Jared Kushner is working with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a plan to create and fund a Palestinian state. According to this account, Kushner isn’t keeping the State Department informed about these discussions.

  • The warhead on North Korea’s new Hwasong–15 missile failed to survive re-entry, which is a small, likely temporary blessing.

  • Honduras imposed a curfew after protests against presidential election results (or lack thereof) turned violent. So far three people have died and hundreds of people have been arrested.

Links for 11-24-2017

Links for 11-12-2017

  • Anne Hendershott wrote a great article for City Journal on how most Catholic colleges and universities are no longer Catholic:

    Nowadays, however, rather than embracing the good, the true, and the beautiful, Catholic universities have adopted the same curricular fads as their secular peers, hosting departments of gender studies, black studies, ethnic studies, and gay and lesbian studies. Campus leaders claim that Catholic universities’ “commitment to social justice” differentiates them from non-parochial colleges, but they neglect to mention that they have defined the term “social justice” so broadly that campuses now welcome chapters of the pro-abortion Law Students for Reproductive Justice. Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who became a celebrity in promoting the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, was president of Georgetown’s LSRJ chapter.

    Later:

    Meantime, professors who support Catholic teachings have come under siege on their own campuses, usually with little support from their academic administrations. Esolen’s case was typical. His willingness to criticize identity politics at Providence made him the target of campus progressives, who wanted to move the curriculum away from a focus on Western civilization to an emphasis on race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. But the progressives’ goals are broader than that, Esolen believes. “The dirty not-so-secret,” he said before he left the school, “is that the same people who for many years have loathed our Development of Western Civilization program—the focus of curricular hostility—also despise the Catholic Church and wish to render the Catholic identity of the college merely nominal.” That goal extends far beyond the campus of one Catholic college in Rhode Island.

  • A New York Times article claims the leaking of hacking tools and techniques from the NSA has crippled the agency:

    Fifteen months into a wide-ranging investigation by the agency’s counterintelligence arm, known as Q Group, and the F.B.I., officials still do not know whether the N.S.A. is the victim of a brilliantly executed hack, with Russia as the most likely perpetrator, an insider’s leak, or both. Three employees have been arrested since 2015 for taking classified files, but there is fear that one or more leakers may still be in place. And there is broad agreement that the damage from the Shadow Brokers already far exceeds the harm to American intelligence done by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who fled with four laptops of classified material in 2013.

    Mr. Snowden’s cascade of disclosures to journalists and his defiant public stance drew far more media coverage than this new breach. But Mr. Snowden released code words, while the Shadow Brokers have released the actual code; if he shared what might be described as battle plans, they have loosed the weapons themselves. Created at huge expense to American taxpayers, those cyberweapons have now been picked up by hackers from North Korea to Russia and shot back at the United States and its allies.

    Later:

    Inside the agency’s Maryland headquarters and its campuses around the country, N.S.A. employees have been subjected to polygraphs and suspended from their jobs in a hunt for turncoats allied with the Shadow Brokers. Much of the agency’s cyberarsenal is still being replaced, curtailing operations. Morale has plunged, and experienced cyberspecialists are leaving the agency for better-paying jobs — including with firms defending computer networks from intrusions that use the N.S.A.’s leaked tools.

  • Northrup Grumman is adding space to a factory in Palmdale, California and rapidly hiring people to build the U.S. Air Force’s B–21 bomber. This is the same factory that built the B–1 and B–2 bombers.

  • Lockheed Martin won a contract to develop a laser weapon for fighter planes.

  • Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said he would return to Lebanon from Saudi Arabia within two or three days, and hinted that he could rescind his resignation.

  • An earthquake in Iraqi Kurdistan killed at least four people and injured dozens; the worst hit area was the town of Darbandikhan, near the border with Iran. An Iranian official said 30 people were killed.

Links for 11-11-2017

  • Liberal lobbying firm the Podesta Group will reportedly shut down by the end of the year, a victim of its entanglement with Paul Manafort, Ukraine, and Russia. The CEO of the Podesta Group, Kimberly Fritts, intends to start a new lobbying firm and will re-hire many of her former employees.

  • For some reason the American embassy in Moscow hired a company owned by a former head of the KGB’s counter-intelligence service to provide local guard services. You’d think such a move would have intelligence implications.

  • Reuters claims to have the inside story on what happened to former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri after his plane landed in Saudi Arabia:

    Sources close to Hariri say Saudi Arabia has concluded that the prime minister – a long-time Saudi ally and son of late prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005 – had to go because he was unwilling to confront Hezbollah.

    Multiple Lebanese sources say Riyadh hopes to replace Saad Hariri with his older brother Bahaa as Lebanon’s top Sunni politician. Bahaa is believed to be in Saudi Arabia and members of the Hariri family have been asked to travel there to pledge allegiance to him, but have refused, the sources say.

    Later:

    Hariri went to his Riyadh home. His family made their fortune in Saudi Arabia and have long had properties there. The source close to Hariri said the Lebanese leader received a call from a Saudi protocol official on Saturday morning, who asked him to attend a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

    He waited for about four hours before being presented with his resignation speech to read on television, the source said.

  • The U.S. conducted another drone strike against al Shabaab in Somalia.

  • Happy Veterans Day: