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Archive for the ‘2 – Capitol Hill News’ Category

Secretary of State Pompeo Blasts John Kerry’s ‘Unseemly and Unprecedented’ Behavior

Secretary of State Pompeo Blasts John Kerry’s ‘Unseemly and Unprecedented’ Behavior

Mike Pompeo/John KerryMike Pompeo/John Kerry (Mark Reinstein / Shutterstock; Sergey Starostenko / Shutterstock)
By Jack Davis   September 15, 2018 at 10:14am


Cory Booker Hit with Ethics Complaint for Violating Senate Rules

By Savannah Pointer
September 14, 2018 at 4:42pm

An ethics complaint has been delivered to the chairman and co-chairman of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics against Sen. Cory Booker.  The accusation against the New Jersey Democrat was made by Judicial Watch, and the group announced Wednesday in a news release that it had “hand-delivered a letter” to the leaders of the committee.
Their complaints against Booker stem from his unsolicited confession that he broke Senate rules while handling documents in the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.  Booker openly told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would be breaking their rules, noting that he would accept the consequences of that choice.
The reasons Booker gave for this choice included his belief that the system was not functioning correctly, and he didn’t see that there was any good reason for the documents to be listed as classified.  The letter sent by Judicial Watch cited social media posts by Booker, where he openly bragged about breaking the committee rules, both on Twitter and Facebook.
In his Facebook post, Booker not only admitted to the violations but objected to the rules themselves, saying, “The classification of many documents as ‘Committee Confidential’ is a sham.”  Booker went on to acknowledge the possible repercussions of his actions:
“Senator Cornyn of Texas threatened me with expulsion during the hearings. Now he is threatening ethics charges. As I said then, I say it now: Bring it.”  “But he won’t,” Booker said. “He knows this is a sham process that can’t be defended. In this, he is all bluster, or as they say in his state of Texas: He is all hat and no cattle.”  Judicial Watch’s letter provided a portion of the Standing Rules of the Senate as the foundation for their belief that Booker’s actions are an ethics violation.
“By publicly releasing Committee Confidential records, Sen. Booker appears to have violated provisions 5 and/or 6 of Rule 29 of the Standing Rules of the Senate (Rev. Jan. 24, 2013), which stipulate:
“5. Any Senator, officer or employee of the Senate who shall disclose the secret or confidential business or proceedings of the Senate, including the business and proceedings of the committees, subcommittees and offices of the Senate shall be liable, if a Senator, to suffer expulsion from the body; and if an officer or employee, to dismissal from the service of the Senate, and to punishment for contempt.
“6. Whenever, by the request of the Senate or any committee thereof, any documents or papers shall be communicated to the Senate by the President or the head of any department relating to any matter pending in the Senate, the proceedings in regard to which are secret or confidential under the rules, said documents and papers shall be considered as confidential, and shall not be disclosed without leave of the Senate.”
Booker’s actions regarding the rules and regulations of the Senate prompted Judicial Watch to make this request of the ethics committee:
“We hereby request that the Senate Ethics Committee conduct a preliminary investigation into whether Sen. Booker violated Senate Rules by releasing Committee Confidential records through his social media accounts.”

U.S. efforts to crack down on foreign cyberattacks – North Korea in the Cross hairs.

Charges against North Korea mark
new phase in cyber crackdown


Charges against North Korea mark new phase in cyber crackdown

Department of Justice (DOJ) officials have unsealed a massive, 179 page-long complaint against a North Korean hacker, marking a significant benchmark in U.S. efforts to crack down on foreign cyberattacks.
The document alleges that a North Korean programmer, alongside others, executed major attacks with the backing of Kim Jong Un’s government. And DOJ officials are touting the findings as an example of their willingness to go after foreign cyber actors who engage in cyberattacks against the U.S. and its allies.
“The charges reflect the department’s determination and ability to follow the facts and the law, and to hold individuals and nations accountable for their crimes,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers told reporters on Thursday.  The allegations date back to 2014, a sign that officials are not willing to let past attacks slide as they attempt to guard against foreign efforts to influence the November midterm elections.
Demers noted during a press call with reporters that with the complaint against North Korea, DOJ has now retaliated against four nations believed to be hostile cyber actors; the others are Russia, China and Iran.  He said that when the U.S. began issuing the charges, starting with those against Chinese nationals in 2015, U.S. officials “made clear that working with a foreign government does not immunize criminal conduct.”  The complaint goes into great detail about how the cyberattacks, believed to be backed by the North Korean government, were carried out. The 2014 hack on Sony, the theft of about $81 million from the national bank of Bangladesh and last year’s WannaCry ransomware attack are all described in the documents.
Experts say that lengthy and specific complaints like the one issued this past week help reveal the strategies and techniques used by hackers, while demonstrating that the U.S. is making strides in how it cracks down on malicious cyber actors.  Eric Chien, the technical director of cybersecurity firm Symantec’s Security Response, said that the continuing U.S. actions against hostile nation states shows a high-level of commitment on the part of the federal government.
“I think the U.S. has demonstrated they’re willing to invest and go after these attacks and they’re not just going to let them slide,” he said, citing the similar cyber charges against Russia, China and Iran.  Symantec had been tracking the North Korean hackers and was referenced in the complaint.
Chien said that while the immediate impact of the complaint is unknown, “it’s pretty clear the U.S. is intent on taking steps to demonstrate that these types of actions aren’t acceptable.”Richard Harknett, a cybersecurity researcher and head of the political science department at the University of Cincinnati, said that the complaint shows that the U.S. has some “sophisticated forensic capabilities” in tracking the actions of foreign hackers, and it serves as a warning to those targeting the U.S. that their American operations aren’t “as opaque as they think it.”
The programmer named in the indictment, Park Jin Hyok, allegedly worked for a group on behalf of North Korean intelligence that was tasked with generating revenue. Several of the group’s hacks focused on financial institutions.
Harknett noted that the motivations of the North Korean hackers differed from those of other countries who usually engage in other cyber crimes. For example, special counsel Robert Mueller charged about a dozen Russian military intelligence officers with the 2016 hack of the Democratic National Committee.



Washington Examiner

‘We are not making sufficient progress’:
Trump directs Pompeo to cancel North
Korea trip


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