national intelligence

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Constitution 1 - 0 Government: NSA Starts Winding Down Bulk Data Collection





As we detailed earlier, in a chaotic scene during the wee hours of Saturday, Senate Republicans blocked a bill known as the USA Freedom Act - backed by President Barack Obama, House Republicans and the nation's top law enforcement and intelligence officials - which would have preserved the government's ability to search phone company records for suspected spies and terrorists. As AP reports, the failure to act means the NSA will immediately begin curtailing its previously-secret bulk data collection progreams with The DoJ noting that while it will take time to taper off the collection process, that process began Friday (according to an administration official). Sen. Rand Paul called the Senate's failure to allow an extension of the surveillance programs a victory for privacy rights, adding "we should never give up our rights for a false sense of security."

 
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North Korean Defense Minister Executed With Anti-Aircraft Gun For Napping





There was some confusion what caused the fallout between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his defense minister, Hyon Yong Chol. According to Reuters Chol was charged with treason, including disobeying Kim. According to Bloomberg, his offense was more trivial: he fell asleep. The defense minister "was captured napping in video footage of the event late last month."  Whichever one is true is irrelevant, but one thing is certain: nobody will ever be caught napping at official events ever again because Chol was executed in front of an anti-aircraft gun at a firing range. 

 
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Frontrunning: May 13





  • Obama, McConnell missteps undercut trade pact in U.S. Senate (Reuters)
  • Bears Beware: Rout Puts Investors on Wrong Side of Central Banks (BBG)
  • U.S. Set to Rip Up UBS Libor Accord, Seek Conviction (BBG)
  • Greece’s Creditors Said to Seek EU3 Billion in Budget Cuts (BBG)
  • Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia, killing at least five (Reuters)
  • Oil glut worsens as OPEC market-share battle just beginning (Reuters)
  • China Stimulus Aims at Restructuring Trillions in Local-Government Debt (WSJ)
 
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Fed Agrees To Name The FOMC Leaker (As Long As Congress Keeps It Secret)





Having initially missed its deadline to provide a response to Congress with regard the 2012 leak of FOMC minutes to an external newsletter writer, The Fed reluctantly admitted that none other than Janet Yellen had met with them. Today, however, as The Wall Street Journal reports, The (unaudited) Fed has agreed to furnish a congressional panel with the names of its staffers who had contact with Medley Global Advisors in the months before the leak, “with the understanding that the names will be kept confidential." So we'll happily tell you who leaked it... as long as you don't tell the public. Audit The Fed!!!

 
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The Virtual Immunity Of The Well-Connected: Gen. Petraeus Edition





The leniency shown former CIA Director (and retired General) David Petraeus by the Justice Department in sparing him prison time for the serious crimes that he has committed puts him in the same preferential, immune-from-incarceration category as those running the financial institutions of Wall Street, where, incidentally, Petraeus now makes millions. By contrast, “lesser” folks – and particularly the brave men and women who disclose government crimes – get to serve time, even decades, in jail. Behold, the virtual immunity enjoyed by the well connected.

 
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"Above The Law" Fed Ignores Congressional Deadline On FOMC Minutes Leak Probe





In a stunning shun to Congressional lawmakers, WSJ reports that The Fed has failed to comply with a request that the bank-owned entity identify the individuals who leaked The FOMC Minutes to Medley Global Advisors a day before the official release in October 2012. Rep. Jeb Hensarling sent a letter to Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen on April 15 asking the Fed to name them by 5 p.m. EDT April 22. The deadline passed without any response by the Fed...

 
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The EMP Threat: Sending America Back To The 1800s





Previously, Elliott Management's Paul Singer has explained that he believes "there is one risk that stands way above the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence" - an electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Today we dig deeper into that risk... Why are we writing about EMP? Because in any analysis of societal risk, EMP stands all by itself.

 
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Russian Government Hacked White House Computer System, CNN Reports





A few months ago, Sony used a ridiculous "hacking" publicity stunt to generate some $40 million more in revenues for what would otherwise have been the latest Seth Rogen "comic" flop, in which the film agency blamed North Korea - which has about ten ultramodern 80386 computers in the entire country - for hacking its firewall, a hack which was subsequently revealed to be the result of disgruntled former employee. Fast forward to today, when moments ago CNN reported that Russian hackers which according to left "tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government", had penetrated the White House computer system.

 
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The Iranian Nuclear Framework Finally Exposes The War Party's Big Lie





There is virtually nothing in the substance of the deal for the War Party to attack. To defeat the deal, the War Party will have to defend its three-decade long campaign of exaggerations, distortions and bellicose animosity toward the Iranian state. But that is impossible because the axis-of-evil narrative was never remotely true. What the framework deal actually does, therefore, is to open the door to an eventual US withdrawal from its bloody, failed history of intervention in the middle east. So doing, it would pave the way for a drastic shrinkage of an obsolete war machine that has had no purpose since 1991 except to spill American blood and treasure in a region of the world  where it has no business meddling. No wonder the War Party is going hysterical.

 
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Ron Paul: "A War Based On Lies Cannot Be Fixed With Another War"





If the US intervention in Iraq created the “unintended consequences” of ISIS and al-Qaeda, how is it that more US intervention can solve the problem? A war based on lies cannot be fixed by launching another war. We must just march home. And stay home.

 
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Venezuela's Maduro Mocks Obama, Grants Himself "Special Powers" To Defend Against "Imperialist Aggression"





Perhaps because the soap-opera factor of the puppet proxy civil war in east Ukraine is dying down, it is time for another geopolitical diversion, and it appears that the administration's attention this time has fallen on Venezuela. Yesterday Obama issued and signed the executive order which declared Venezuela a national security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials. Maduro had a prompt response: "President Barack Obama, representing the US imperialist elite, has personally decided to take on the task of defeating my government and intervening in Venezuela to control it,”and "I have put together a special law that gives me special powers to preserve the peace, the integrity and the sovereignty of the country before any situation that presents itself due to this imperialist aggression.

 
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Fed Independence Is A Joke, So Why Not Audit?





Nothing says limited government and separation of powers like a bureaucracy unaccountable to the voice of the people! Then again, Yellen doesn’t care much for democratic oversight. She’s a caricature of Randian libertarianism: someone who wants to do whatever, whenever, without rulers. The problem is Yellen isn’t operating a private railroad company. She’s the figurehead for a government institution created by Congress. If democracy means anything, it’s that voters have some measure of control over political bureaucracies.

 
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