May 31, 2019
Russian trolls fueled anti-vaccination debate in U.S. by spreading misinformation on Twitter, study finds
Russian Twitter trolls have attempted to fuel the anti-vaccination debate in the U.S., posting about the issue far more than the average Twitter user last year, a study out of George Washington University has found. The “sophisticated” bots shared opinions from both sides of the anti-vaxxer debate, which took the U.S. by storm and prompted tech companies to crack down on the spread of misinformation surrounding vaccinations.
In the study, professor David Broniatowski and his colleagues say the Russian trolls’ efforts mimic those used in the past. Such trolls ramp up controversial issues in the U.S. by inflating different viewpoints, the study says.
The U.S. is in the midst of the. Health officials say misinformation and anti-vax messages have led more people to avoid vaccination, allowing the disease to spread.
“These outbreaks are due to the anti-vaccine movement,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told CBSN AM in January, when theto gain steam.
He stressed that the vaccine has been scientifically proven over many years to be safe and effective in preventing measles. However, some parents still refuse to vaccinate their kids.
One of the main reasons anti-vaxxers refuse vaccinations is that they. As part of an effort by several large tech companies to cut out the spread of vaccine misinformation, that promote supposed “cures” for autism.
Facebook also said it wouldby de-prioritizing across the platform, taking action against verifiable vaccine hoaxes, the company said. Misinformation will now appear less frequently in News Feeds, both public and private pages and groups, search predictions and recommendations, according to Facebook.
According to Axios, however, misinformation about vaccines is not the only threat, as Russia is focusing on spreading misinformation around health care issues ahead of the 2020 election.
Not only did Russia fuel the anti-vaccination debate, they have also spewed unverified information about The New York Times reports. This had a real-world effect, with smaller blogs and websites picking up RT’s false stories and sharing them as fact, the Times said.. RT, a U.S.-based Russia-backed TV network, reported that new 5G technology was linked to cancer, autism, Alzheimer’s and other health issues,
In February 2018, special counsel Robert Mueller charged 2016 election. A so-called “troll factory” in St. Petersburg was to blame, according to the indictment.with crimes related to a campaign to sow disinformation and division in the U.S. in the run-up to the
The trolls were paid to ridicule Hillary Clinton online and fan the flames of divisive issues in the U.S. While evidence suggested the troll factory’s American operations slowed down between 2016 and 2018, Broniatowski’s study suggests trolls are alive and well in Russia — and now they’re pitting Americans against each other over issues of health. Source
May 2, 2019
2016 Presidential Campaign Hacking Fast Facts
(CNN) Here’s a look at hacking incidents during the 2016 presidential campaign and Russian meddling in the election. For details about investigations into hacking and efforts to interfere with the election, see 2016 Presidential Election Investigation Fast Facts.
September 2015 – The FBI contacts the Democratic National Committee’s help desk, cautioning the IT department that at least one computer has been compromised by Russian hackers. A technician scans the system and does not find anything suspicious.
April 26, 2019
Rubio confirms Florida elections office intrusion by Russian hackers in 2016, report says
Rubio would not say who was behind the hacking, saying he was constrained by his position on the Senate Intelligence Committee, but the redacted version of the Mueller Report released April 18 stated the FBI believes “at least one Florida county” was infiltrated with malicious software sent out by Russian intelligence agents.
Rubio’s statement contradicts the Florida Secretary of State’s office, which maintained last week that its elections systems weren’t hacked. Secretary Laurel Lee also said at the time that the FBI hadn’t told the state which county they believe was compromised.
Rubio said the information was discovered through an intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation,
“Everybody has been told what it is they need to do to protect themselves from the intrusion,” Rubio told the Times. “I don’t believe the specific victims of the intrusion have been notified. The concern was that in a number of counties across the country, there are a couple of people with the attitude of: ‘We’ve got this; we don’t need your help. We don’t think we need to do what you are telling us we need to do.’”
The hackers, were “in a position” to change voter roll information, he told the Times, but it didn’t appear they did.
Last year, then U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., warned Russians had gained access to Florida voter data but declined to identify which county or counties had been penetrated, saying the information was classified. No other officials backed up Nelson’s claim, including Rubio, and his opponent, Gov. Rick Scott, and national Republicans attacked Nelson for what GOP campaign emails called his “alarming claims” and “extremely reckless behavior.”
Rubio did warn repeatedly in 2016 that “state election systems are potentially vulnerable to Russian cyber attacks.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis had said at a press conference in Orlando last week that he didn’t believe any breach would have affected vote totals.
But in Miami on Thursday, according to Politico, he was critical of the FBI, telling reporters, “They won’t tell us which county it was, are you kidding me? Why would you have not said something immediately?”
DeSantis and now U.S. Sen. Scott, who defeated Nelson, will meet with the FBI in coming weeks to discuss the Russian hacking attempts on Florida counties in 2016.
Scott’s office said the FBI has reached out to him and is working on scheduling a briefing in the next few weeks. DeSantis’ office said no date has yet been set.
The report stated that in November 2016, Russian intelligence officials “sent spearphishing emails to over 120 email accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. election.”
The emails contained an attached Word document with malicious “Trojan” software that would have permitted Russian intelligence to access the infected computer. But none of the 52 Florida counties that had contracts with VR Systems, the Tallahassee company who was allegedly impersonated, has admitted to opening that document.
Volusia County elections supervisor Lisa Lewis said Thursday the office opened one of the infected emails in 2016, but not the infected attachment. Broward County supervisor Peter Antonacci said this week the county received the email, but it was quarantined by anti-virus software and officials wouldn’t have had the opportunity to open the attachment. Source
February 21, 2019
NANCY PELOSI REVEALS HER PLAN TO DISMANTLE TRUMP’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY
The House speaker wants Congress to bring the president to heel.
Donald Trump’s emergency declaration is already facing a lawsuit filed by several states—and now, as expected, Democrats are mounting their own challenge to the president’s possibly unconstitutional measure to build his long-sought border wall. In a letter Wednesday obtained by Politico, Nancy Pelosi called on lawmakers to support a resolution by Texas Representative Joaquin Castro seeking to “terminate this emergency declaration.”
“The President’s decision to go outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process violates the Constitution and must be terminated,” Pelosi wrote to both Democrats and Republicans of the resolution, which, according to the Associated Press, is expected Friday. “We have a solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution, and defend our system of checks and balances against the President’s assault.”
The unsurprising move comes in response to Trump’s announcement last week that he would go around Congress to fund his border wall between the United States and Mexico. The resolution is almost certain to pass the Democratically controlled House, which would force a vote in the Senate, where several members of the president’s own party have voiced disapproval of the emergency declaration. “I never thought that was a good idea,” Republican Senator Pat Toomey said of the nuclear option last week. “I still don’t.”
If any four Republicans were to defect and back the Democratic resolution, the measure would pass. G.O.P. Senator Susan Collins has already lent her support to the bill on the grounds that Trump’s maneuver “completely undermines” the role of Congress. But the president would almost certainly veto the resolution if it were to pass, and it’s highly unlikely that enough Republicans would chip in to override it.
The best place to stop Trump from funding his “good old fashioned wall” is still, it seems, in court. The legality of Trump’s nuclear option was always dubious, but was further undercut by the president’s own statement during his Rose Garden announcement last week that he “didn’t need to do this”—a seeming admission that the emergency declaration was not in response to an actual emergency. California and other states have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the move, and Democrats are expected to file their own lawsuit soon. Those legal challenges are likely the best hope for those looking to stop Trump’s end around—even if Pelosi and Castro can convince a number of their colleagues to formally condemn his overreach. Source
January 10, 2019
Here’s a list of the 31 national emergencies that have been in effect for years
According to the Federal Register, 58 national emergencies have been declared since the National Emergency Act of 1976 was signed into law by President Gerald Ford.
And 31 have been annually renewed and are currently still in effect, as listed in the Federal Register.
Here’s a list of the presidents who declared still ongoing national emergencies.
President Jimmy Carter
Nov 14, 1979: The National Emergency With Respect to Iran, in response to the Iran hostage crisis.
President Bill Clinton
Nov 14, 1994: The National Emergency With Respect to the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, that combined two previous national emergencies focused on weapons of mass destruction.
Jan. 2, 1995: The National Emergency With Respect to Prohibiting Transactions with Terrorists Who Threaten to Disrupt the Middle East Peace Process placed economic sanctions in response to the Jerusalem bombing.
March 15, 1995: The National Emergency With Respect to Prohibiting Certain Transactions with Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources was an effort to prevent potential deals between oil companies.
October 21, 1995: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Assets and Prohibiting Transactions with Significant Narcotics Traffickers Centered in Colombia was declared after increased reports of drug cartels laundering money through American companies.
March 1, 1996: The National Emergency With Respect to Regulations of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels with Respect to Cuba was after civilian planes were shot down near Cuba
November 3, 1997: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Sudanese Government Property and Prohibiting Transactions with Sudan implemented economic and trade sanctions.
President George W. Bush
June 26, 2001: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Persons Who Threaten International Stabilization Efforts in the Western Balkans imposed sanctions on those aiding Albanian insurgents in Macedonia
Aug 17, 2001: The National Emergency With Respect to Export Control Regulations renewed presidential power to control exports in a national emergency since the Export Administration Act of 1979 lapsed.
Sept 14, 2001: The National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks was in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
Sept 23, 2001: The National Emergency With Respect to Persons who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism was in response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
March 6, 2003: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Zimbabwe was an effort to punish associates of Robert Mugabe.
May 22, 2003: The National Emergency With Respect to Protecting the Development Fund for Iraq and Certain Other Property in Which Iraq has an Interest was issued following the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
May 11, 2004: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons and Prohibiting the Export of Certain Goods to Syria was in response to Syria supporting terrorist activity in Iraq.
June 16, 2006: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Undermining Democratic Processes or Institutions in Belarus was in response to charges of fraud in the Belarus presidential election.
Oct 27, 2006: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was in response to violence around the Congolese presidential election runoff.
Aug 1, 2007: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon was in response to a breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon.
June 26, 2008: The National Emergency With Respect to Continuing Certain Restrictions with Respect to North Korea cited the risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material. President Trump renewed this June 22, 2018 citing the “existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat.”
President Barack Obama
April 12, 2010: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in Somalia was in respect to threats posed by Somali pirates.
February 25, 2011: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property and Prohibiting Certain Transactions Related to Libya froze the assets of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
July 25, 2011: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Transnational Criminals was in response to the rise in crime by specific organizations: Los Zetas (Mexico), The Brothers’ Circle (former Soviet Union countries), the Yakuza (Japan), and the Camorra (Italy).
May 16, 2012: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Persons Threatening the Peace, Security, or Stability of Yemen addressed political unrest within the Yemen government.
March 16, 2014: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine was in response to the Russian invasion of Crimea.
April 3, 2014: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons With Respect to South Sudan was in response to the ongoing civil war.
May 12, 2014: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Conflict in the Central African Republic was in response to violence towards humanitarian aid workers.
March 8, 2015: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property and Suspending Entry of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela was in response to human rights violations.
April 1, 2015: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities was in response to Chinese cyber attacks on the U.S.
Nov 23, 2015: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Burundi was declared after a failed coup.
President Donald Trump
Dec 20, 2017: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption imposed sanctions on the Myanmar general for his role persecuting Rohingya Muslims.
Sept 12, 2018: The National Emergency With Respect to Imposing Certain Sanctions in the Event of Foreign Interference in a United States Election attempted to prevent any meddling with the 2018 midterm elections amid the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Nov 27, 2018: The National Emergency With Respect to Blocking Property of Certain Persons Contributing to the Situation in Nicaragua was declared by President Trump in response to violence and the Ortega regime’s “systematic dismantling and undermining of democratic institutions and the rule of law” that constitutes an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” Source
STATEMENT FOR THE RECORD
WORLDWIDE THREAT ASSESSMENT
US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY
January 29, 2019
Chairman Burr, Vice Chairman Warner, Members of the Committee, thank you for the invitation to
offer the United States Intelligence Community’s 2019 assessment of threats to US national security.
My statement reflects the collective insights of the Intelligence Community’s extraordinary women
and men, whom I am privileged and honored to lead. We in the Intelligence Community are
committed every day to providing the nuanced, independent, and unvarnished intelligence that
policymakers, warfighters, and domestic law enforcement personnel need to protect American lives
and America’s interests anywhere in the world.
The order of the topics presented in this statement does not necessarily indicate the relative
importance or magnitude of the threat in the view of the Intelligence Community.
Information available as of 17 January 2019 was used in the preparation of this assessment.
Read report here
Trump can't stand being contradicted
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