Archive for June, 2014
We all read about the Target security breach that compromised tens of million of customers. Target is back in the news today.
(LA Times) Target Corp. is hiring an IT expert from General Motors Co. to beef up its data security following a massive breach that continues to weigh on its reputation.
Brad Maiorino will head up technology risk and information strategy, a newly created position.
It’s the latest move by Target to tighten security over its huge amount of shopper data. The Minneapolis company has increased monitoring of accounts and implemented new safeguards at its point-of-sale systems.
Target, the nation’s third-largest retailer, has been struggling with the fallout from its disclosure in December that hackers stole credit and debit card information from tens of millions of customers.
Its revenue dropped 5% in the crucial fourth quarter and its chief executive, Gregg Steinhafel, stepped down last month. That followed the exit of Beth Jacob, the retailer’s former chief information officer.
You may recall that the breaches, they were big news this past December, but how exactly did the theft take place?
(Bloomberg Business) The biggest retail hack in U.S. history wasn’t particularly inventive, nor did it appear destined for success. In the days prior to Thanksgiving 2013, someone installed malware in Target’s (TGT) security and payments system designed to steal every credit card used at the company’s 1,797 U.S. stores. At the critical moment—when the Christmas gifts had been scanned and bagged and the cashier asked for a swipe—the malware would step in, capture the shopper’s credit card number, and store it on a Target server commandeered by the hackers.
It’s a measure of how common these crimes have become, and how conventional the hackers’ approach in this case, that Target was prepared for such an attack. Six months earlier the company began installing a $1.6 million malware detection tool made by the computer security firm FireEye (FEYE), whose customers also include the CIA and the Pentagon. Target had a team of security specialists in Bangalore to monitor its computers around the clock. If Bangalore noticed anything suspicious, Target’s security operations center in Minneapolis would be notified.
On Saturday, Nov. 30, the hackers had set their traps and had just one thing to do before starting the attack: plan the data’s escape route. As they uploaded exfiltration malware to move stolen credit card numbers—first to staging points spread around the U.S. to cover their tracks, then into their computers in Russia—FireEye spotted them. Bangalore got an alert and flagged the security team in Minneapolis. And then …
OK, so Target blew it.
Their focus being directed at realizing sales during the year’s biggest shopping weekend, the company’s security team missed the theft of millions of credit card numbers.
How much was stolen?
Estimates has those numbers at 40 million credit card numbers, along with 70 million addresses, phone numbers and an unknown amount of card holder’s personal information simply flying out of a hacked Target server.
These were not Target credit cards.
The hackers stole every card number swiped in a Target store during 2013’s Black Friday weekend. So if you shopped at any Target store on or about last Thanksgiving, your information was very likely stolen.
Bloomberg Business goes on.
In testimony before Congress, Target has said that it was only after the U.S. Department of Justice notified the retailer about the breach in mid-December that company investigators went back to figure out what happened. What it hasn’t publicly revealed: Poring over computer logs, Target found FireEye’s alerts from Nov. 30 and more from Dec. 2, when hackers installed yet another version of the malware. Not only should those alarms have been impossible to miss, they went off early enough that the hackers hadn’t begun transmitting the stolen card data out of Target’s network. Had the company’s security team responded when it was supposed to, the theft that has since engulfed Target, touched as many as one in three American consumers, and led to an international manhunt for the hackers never would have happened at all.
They missed it not once, but twice.
Here’s a visual to help you along.
Security guru Brian Krebs (first to report the Target breach) reported that the HVAC vendor whose credentials were used by the hackers to breach the Target network was Fazio Mechanical Services, located in Western Pennsylvania. According to Fazio Mechanical’s response to the revelation of their part in the hack, their data connection to Target was used for billing, contract submissions and project management. The hackers obviously exploited weaknesses in Target’s firewalls and introduced a cloaked bad code (they used the name of a legitimate piece of software used by companies to protect card user’s information) on November 30th.
OK, so that’s the part we all may have heard about with perhaps a little more fill and color, but (as Paul Harvey may ask) what’s the rest of the story?
What do hackers do with 40 million stolen credit card numbers with billions of dollars of purchasing power?
What does McDonald’s have to do with any of this?
Here is… the rest of the story.
Welcome to the world of carding.
Krebs is now reporting on the industry behind the business of stolen credit card information.
Hang on to your socks.
Peek Inside a Professional Carding Shop
(Krebs on Security) Over the past year, I’ve spent a great deal of time trolling a variety of underground stores that sell “dumps” — street slang for stolen credit card data that buyers can use to counterfeit new cards and go shopping in big-box stores for high-dollar merchandise that can be resold quickly for cash. By way of explaining this bizarro world, this post takes the reader on a tour of a rather exclusive and professional dumps shop that caters to professional thieves, high-volume buyers and organized crime gangs.
The subject of this post is “McDumpals,” a leading dumps shop that first went online in late April 2013. Featuring the familiar golden arches and the bastardized logo, “i’m swipin’ it,” the site’s mascot is a gangstered-up Ronald McDonald pointing a handgun at the viewer.
Nevermind that this shop is violating a ridiculous number of McDonald’s trademarks in one fell swoop: It’s currently selling cards stolen from data breaches at main street stores in nearly every U.S. state.
Like many other dumps shops, McDumpals recently began requiring potential new customers to pay a deposit (~$100) via Bitcoin before being allowed to view the goods for sale. Also typical of most card shops, this store’s home page features the latest news about new batches of stolen cards that have just been added, as well as price reductions on older batches of cards that are less reliable as instruments of fraud.
These guys are brazen!
Krebs goes on.
I’ve put together a slideshow (below) that steps through many of the updates that have been added to this shop since its inception. One big takeaway from this slideshow is that many shops are now categorizing their goods for sale by the state or region of the victim company.
This was a major innovation that we saw prominently on display in the card shop that was principally responsible for selling cards stolen in the Target and Sally Beauty retail breaches: In those cases, buyers were offered the ability to search for cards by the city, state and ZIP of the Target and Sally Beauty stores from which those cards were stolen. Experienced carders (as buyers are called) know that banks will often flag transactions as suspicious if they take place outside of the legitimate cardholder’s regular geographic purchasing patterns, and so carders tend to favor cards stolen from consumers who live nearby.
This “Business” has its own unique terminology, as detailed by Krebs in the article linked.
I strongly recommend that you follow the article’s link, read the terminology, and watch the slide show.
It’s not only fascinating, but frightening as well.
Technological companies are hard at work looking for ways to secure the sensitive nature of electronic payments in a world that long ago decided that cash was a secondary mode of payment, and new software is being developed both for securing the buyer’s information at the store level, and for making payments in a more secure manner.
The past week’s launch of The Wocket, a smart wallet with a re-programmable single credit card device that operates under a secured system using biometrics, may in fact herald the dawn of a new age in personal financial transactions, as well as the beginning of the end for that ugly bulge on the seat of men’s pants where an overstuffed wallet normally resides.
That’s all good and dandy, but I keep reverting back to that old saying… crime doesn’t pay, and secured technology is only secured until it is hacked, so criminals will always find ways to not pay for stuff, or rather, to have us pay for their stuff.
I just don’t think that those boys at McDumpals, and their suppliers will simply give up on the easy money, no matter how secure we try to make our electronic money.
And that’s the last wire for Saturday, June 14, 2014.
Everything that was news before this moment, is now history.
A man was standing off the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge, obviously about to jump.
A passer-by notices the jumper and quickly decides to try and talk him down off the ledge, so he tries talking to the jumper.
“Sir, are you an American?” to which the jumper answers “yes.”
“Where are you from?” – asks the Good Samaritan. “I am from Louisiana”, responds the distraught man.
“Great! What an incredible coincidence! I am from the South as well!” – says the Good Samaritan.
The passer-by continues to engage the jumper.
“What is your political affiliation, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian or Independent?”
The jumper looks back over his shoulder and answers “I am a Republican.”
“Me too, that’s amazing!” – the Good Samaritan continues, as he slowly moves closer to the jumper. “What kind of Republican are you: Conservative, small “l” libertarian, paleoconservative, Krystolian neoconservative, or Country Club Republican?”
The jumper seems to be more engaged in the conversation at this point, visibly relaxing and responds: “I am a Conservative.”
The Good Samaritan gets excited . He is now within arm’s reach of the would-be jumper.
“Me too! Is this a small world or what?”
The would-be jumper smiles and sits on the handrail, the tension visibly leaving his shoulders.
The Good Samaritan finally reaches the man, placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Whatever it is, we can sort this out” – he tells the jumper.
“Are you a Social Conservative, or a Fiscal Conservative?” – asks the Good Samaritan, continuing to engage the jumper as he sits beside him on the handrail..
The man on the edge, now obviously more relaxed answers “Social Conservative” as a smile creeps across his face.
Now, the Good Samaritan with the jumper’s shoulder firmly in his grasp says “Me too! What kind of Social Conservative. Are you a Christian Right, or a Compassionate Conservative?”
The guy on the bridge says: “Compassionate Conservative”, and with that the Good Samaritan, becoming very angry, screams: “Die liberal!” and pushes him off the bridge.
OK… maybe not so much a joke as possibly the core reason why Democrats will continue to win elections and mold the nation’s future for years to come. The right has no greater enemy than the right.
This week, two articles caught my attention.
THE END OF GOPROUD
When we founded GOProud in 2009 people thought we were nuts. We wanted to provide a strong voice for gay conservatives and their conservative allies. We had this crazy idea that you could have a group that represented gay and straight people that was authentically conservative. We had this crazy idea that maybe there was room for one gay group that would talk about the issues that REALLY impact gay Americans–jobs, the economy, taxes, retirement security, and healthcare–and do some from a strongly conservative place.
We set out to challenge conventional wisdom and show the world that all gays aren’t left-wing liberals AND all conservatives aren’t anti-gay homophobes.
What an absolutely silly and goofy idea, thinking that conservatives these days would entertain discussing issues like jobs, the economy, taxes, retirement security and healthcare from a conservative point of view with HOMOS!
Are you kidding?
YOU CAN’T BE A CONSERVATIVE AND BE A HOMO!
You can’t even have a discussion with a homo if you’re a conservative, lest you want to risk developing an affinity for tea sandwiches and show tunes.
If you’re a homo and you want to be a conservative, or a Republican, or both, you must first book a flight to Texas in the hopes that someone in the Texas GOP will help you… or so it seems.
Draft Texas GOP Platform Swaps Antigay Language for ‘Ex-Gay’ Endorsement
A draft of the Texas Republican Party’s platform cuts language claiming homosexuality “tears at the fabric of society” but recognizes the “legitimacy” of so-called reparative therapy to “escape from the homosexual lifestyle,” according to a copy obtained by the Houston Chronicle.
The Chronicle reports that the draft has removed a declaration about the sinfulness of homosexuality that appeared in the platform in years past, abandoning an affirmation that “the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God.”
In place of that language, the draft has included an endorsement of so-called ex-gay therapy, the scientifically discredited treatment that tries to turn gay people straight through prayer and counseling. Ex-gay therapy, also known as reparative therapy, has been rejected as harmful by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, and its use on minors has been prohibited in California and New Jersey, with similar legislation recently considered in New York, Minnesota, and Illinois, though the bills failed to pass in the latter two states. (The New York bill remains pending.)
Nevertheless, the Texas GOP’s draft platform language touts the discredited practice as an effective way out of the “homosexual lifestyle,” addressing the recent increase of laws banning the therapy directly.
That last hyperlink led you to a gay political publication. If your browser had cookies enabled, you will now begin receiving Groupon “B.O.G.O.” offers to some of the best dinner-and-drag-show clubs in the nation, a free membership to the Clubhouse at RichardSimmons.com, and daily “Fabulous Thought of the Day” emails from RuPaul.
I guess I should have warned you first.
The Texas GOP believes, all available evidence to the contrary, that homosexuality can be “cured”.
This is the very same State whose legislature decided, back in 1973, that sodomy really wasn’t all that bad, an that they wanted to be able to engage in it with free conscience and with no fear of legal repercussions, so they legalized the act for themselves, but kept it illegal for homosexuals.
That’s like taking laws making ballot stuffing at elections illegal and changing them so that ballot stuffing is only illegal for libertarians and the Green Party.
Texas led the way to the overturning of all sodomy laws across the United States, making same-sex activity legal in every State of the Union and all U.S. territories.
See Lawrence v. Texas.
GOProud was trying to maintain focus on the things that conservatives are supposed to stand for, but somehow, somewhere along the way, conservatism has been hijacked by a group of people whose primary concerns seem to be to A) control the free interaction between consenting adults in the nation, and B) to set social standards for everyone in this country in accordance to their own moral values via force of government. Having the freedom to live their lives according to their own moral values apparently not being enough for them, they must now set in place the moral standards that the rest of the nation must live by.
And you are NOT a “real conservative”© unless you agree with them.
It’s the old “no true Scotsman” fallacy at play.
It goes like this:
Angus declares that Scotsmen do not pour sugar on their porridge, to which Lachlan replies by pointing out that he is a Scotsman and he pours sugar on his porridge. Furious, like a true Scot, Angus yells back that no true Scotsman sugars his porridge.
You can’t be a “real conservative”© unless you’re willing to uphold the moral and religious values of the Social Conservative wing of the GOP.
According to the Social Conservative wing of the GOP anyway.
So you can’t be a conservative if you’re gay.
Or an atheist.
Or a Buddhist.
Or a pacifist.
Or a Catholic (unless you renounce the current Pope).
And judging from the turnout in the last Presidential election, a Mormon.
I could go on with this list, but I don’t want to go there.
Like that joke at the onset of the article, defining what constitutes a “real conservative”© means engaging in a debate over an ever-narrowing definition of what conservatism means, where all parties participating in the discussion agree to jettison anyone who expresses the slightest variation on the agreed dogma at any point during the discussion. The problem with that is that there’s only one person who will completely agree with 100% of the specific, detailed political ideologies someone will hold, and that person is himself.
Here’s a visual on that last paragraph… the GOP’s “real conservative”© base:
The “real conservative”© wing of the GOP defines the GOP’s base as the narrowest and least populated point of the Party’s membership, because everyone who entertains even the slightest variation on the “real conservative”© social dogma, is a RINO, and not a a “real conservative”©.
Under this definition of what it means to be a conservative, if you believe in traditional conservative fiscal policies, in the concept that free markets make for free people, in the idea of Federalism and State’s rights, in the concept of individual responsibility, of freedom from government overreach, of smaller government, of limiting Federal powers to those strictly enumerated in the Constitution, you’re a conservative.
But the moment that you mention that Barry marrying Albert and Lisa marrying Alice isn’t something as important to you as the looming financial crash and burn of Western civilization, the death swan dive of America’s global influence, the inevitable collapse of our medical industry, and the very real possibility that we will all be speaking Cantonese soon, all your conservative ideals puff into think air like so much flash paper smoke, and someone immediately jumps up, loudly declares that you are not a “real conservative”© and pushes you off the bridge into the dark waters below.
Are you $^&%# serious?
Is this how we’re going to run this election cycle?
Are we going to continue to believe that exclusion serves some nebulous greater purpose?
Are we going to continue to argue that painting ourselves as morally superior to the rest of the people casting their votes will somehow win us their votes, out of sheer shame of being inferior?
We have the worst administration on the history of the nation in place.
Congressional approval ratings rival Niki Minaj’s ratings as an American Idol judge. The GOP could take control of both chambers in the fall.
The IRS… Benghazi… the VA… Obamacare… the number of Obama’s scandals is surpassing the number of known Paris Hilton “secret” sex tapes on the Internet.
There are millions of people who have lost all hope of being employed, millions who lost their health plans as a result of the “lie of the year“.
Million who are disenchanted with the economy and the administration’s (lack of a) foreign policy.
Millions questioning everything that the Democrats under Barack Obama stand for, but the Texas GOP thinks that “curing” homos is a really important issue on this election cycle.
When we have all those bullets in our guns to take on the Democrats, do we really to want to pivot the attention of the voters to things like same-sex marriage, homosexuality and other social issues that should be absolutely irrelevant to any government function?
Is that we we want to do?
If we do, we are abject morons.
All we have to do is convince the nation that we can run the business of the nation better. If we can do that we win, and we continue to win because the truth is that we can run the business of the nation better than Democrats.
But when you begin judging the people of the nation as being immoral, or morally inferior by arguing that we’re morally superior, we lose them. No one reacts well to being morally judged to that degree.
Raising the morality of the people of the nation is something that cannot be legislated into being, or forced on them.
Get the economy back to what has always been the American standard.
Get the government out of the way of the people and the people will push the government away from them. That is the root source of all moral behavior. People taking pride in themselves, have pride in their families, and in turn, are proud of the nation they live in.
We will never roll back the tide of social change. It will never be 1956 again. But if my neighbors take pride in their property, and they work hard, and they watch out for me and mine, as good neighbors always have, and they take pride in the community, and the nation, and they do all of that because they take pride in themselves, what difference does it make to me if my neighbors are a married couple named Barry and Albert, or Lisa and Alice?
My pocket is not picked and my leg is not broken.
The Texas GOP has just thrown a lifeline to every single Democrat running for every single office, in every single District, in every single State of the Union. Democrats don’t have to discuss any of the things they’ve done that are really screwing up the nation now… they can just talk about how Republicans hate homos.
Sadly, GOProud’s idea that they could prove that not all conservatives are anti-gay homophobes didn’t get any manner of support from conservative anti-gay homophobes, so now they’re shutting down their organization.
I don’t blame them.
It’s becoming very difficult to be proud of being a member of the GOP these days.
It’s starting to feel very much like a bad joke.
And that’s the last wire for Monday, June 9 2014.
Everything that was news before this moment, is now history.
This is the last wire for June 5, 2014.
What is now history, was news then.
This story keeps getting stranger by the hour.
(FOX News) A senior official confirms to Fox News that the conduct of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — both in his final stretch of active duty in Afghanistan and then, too, during his time when he lived among the Taliban — has been thoroughly investigated by the U.S. intelligence community and is the subject of “a major classified file.”
In conveying as much, the Defense Department source confirmed to Fox News that many within the intelligence community harbor serious outstanding concerns not only that Bergdahl may have been a deserter but that he may have been an active collaborator with the enemy.
The Pentagon official added pointedly that no relevant congressional committee has sought access to the classified file, but that if such a request were made, key committee chairs would, under previous precedent, likely be granted access to it. Separately, the Pentagon confirmed Monday that it is looking into claims Americans died during the search for Bergdahl.
The administration announced over the weekend that Bergdahl’s release had been secured, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. President Obama was joined by the soldier’s parents in making a public statement on the release Saturday evening from the Rose Garden.
“… no relevant congressional committee has sought access to the classified file.”
These guys KNOW that there is something very wrong here, and they are all but begging for anyone in Congress to ask them what that is.
Where is Congress?
These are the five Guantanamo detainees released in exchange for Bergdahl.
This is the price paid for Bergdahl.
Six soldiers died in the frantic search for Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal immediately after his mysterious disappearance five years ago, fueling the increasing backlash over the POW’s recovery.
Former platoon mates of the now-recovered serviceman accused Bergdhal of deserting his post and blamed him for the unnecessary deaths of comrades.
“I was pissed off then and I am even more so now with everything going on,” former Sgt. Matt Vierkant, a member of Bergdahl’s platoon, told CNN. “Bowe Bergdahl deserted during a time of war and his fellow Americans lost their lives searching for him.”
Accounts of Bergdahl’s disappearance on June 30, 2009, have varied wildly.
And now CNN is reporting that at least six soldiers were killed in subsequent searches for Bergdahl in rugged Paktika Province in the ensuing days and weeks.
The six men reportedly killed while searching for Bergdahl were identified as Staff Sgt. Clayton Bowen and Pfc. Morris Walker on Aug. 18, 2009; Staff Sgt. Kurt Curtiss on Aug. 26; 2nd Lt. Darryn Andrews and Pfc. Matthew Michael Martinek on Sept. 4; and Staff Sgt. Michael Murphrey on Sept. 5.
“He walked off,” said another comrade of Bergdahl’s, former Pfc. Jose Baggett.
Now, the story changes yet again with the intelligence report alluding to the possibility of Bergdahl being a Taliban collaborator.
Another administration official, whose duties are focused on counterterrorism, told Fox News when asked about the status of any investigations into Bergdahl’s initial disappearance and his conduct over the last five years: “Everybody’s looking at this. He’s not going to get a free pass” in the interrogations that Bergdahl will face during his repatriation process. “He’s going to have a lot of questions to answer — a lot. Is he a hero? No.”
Although this source had not seen the classified file described by the Pentagon source, the counterterrorism official agreed that given the high priority attached to the Bergdahl case over the last five years, the need for clarity about Bergdahl’s actions before and during his time with the Taliban “would have been a high priority for intelligence tasking.”
Asked if the process of repatriation would include questioning of Bergdahl geared towards determining whether he engaged in any forms of collaboration with the enemy, the counterterrorism official replied: “Of course. … It’s there. This is extremely untidy.”
This may not be so much a prisoner swap, this is a deserter wanting to come home and be with his family. “This is a very happy day for the Bergdahl family” said Chuck Hagel. I’m not sure what kind of a day the families of the men who died looking for this deserter feel today, but I don’t think “happy” applies.
Here’s what is disturbing, or rather one of the many disturbing things about this whole story. Bob Bergdahls speaking at one of the many press conference he’s attended these past two days. Please pay close attenuation starting at the 2:08 mark.
Here is Bob Bergdahls’s full final closing statement, no longer available in its entirety on YouTube:
“But most of all, I’m proud of how much you wanted to help the Afghan people, and what you were willing to do to go to that length. I’ll say it again: I’m so proud of how far you were willing to go to help the Afghan people. And I think you have succeeded.”
I don’t believe I am off the mark by suggesting that Bob Bergdahl’s words amount to an open admission that Bowe Bergdahl willingly deserted his post. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is what Bergdahl is saying here.
His son is a deserter, and quite possibly a traitor, and Obama’s deal wasn’t a swap, it was effectively a release of six terrorists who hate America.
Who in their right mind would believe that the Obama administration would do anything at all that would assist our soldiers?
It’s a bad deal, we lost six heroes, and released six terrorists.
It’s an Obama kind of a deal.
And that is the last wire for Monday, June 2, 2014.
Everything that was news before this moment, is now history.
Four dead Americans that Obama failed to even try to rescue.
That’s ten dead Americans, and how does Obama balance that equation?
Five terrorists back plotting to kill Americans…
One deserter who is “ashamed to be American” reunited with a father who prays to Allah and wants all the other terrorists released from Guantanamo.
And one decorated American soldier languishing in a Mexican prison for the crime of making a wrong turn, who could possible be released if our President and his staff could find enough time during a break in the negotiations with terrorists to place a call to the Mexican President.
Ten dead Americans plus one forgotten American soldier in a Mexican jail < five Taliban terrorists and one American deserter who is ashamed of the United States.
In light of everything that we know about Obama, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
This was a Special Edition of The Last Wire for Monday, June 2, 2014.
What was news before this moment, is now history.
Many Americans are lauding the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held prisoner for the past five years by the Haqqani network, an insurgent group affiliated with the Taliban, probably somewhere in Pakistan.
His freedom came about via a prisoner exchange, with the United States trading five Taliban detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay.
The Guantanamo Bay detainees released are:
- Khairullah Khairkhwa, an early member of the Taliban whose most prominent post was as governor of the Herat province from 1999 to 2001.
- Noorullah Noori, who served as governor of the Balkh province and played a role in coordinating fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance.
- Fazl Muhammad, the commander of the main force that fought against the Northern Alliance in 2001 and served as chief of army staff under the Taliban. He was also accused of war crimes during the Afghan civil war in the 1990s.
- Abdul Haq Wasiq, deputy chief of the Taliban’s intelligence service.
- Muhammad Nabi Omari, a minor Taliban official from the Khost province.
The exact details surrounding Bergdahl’s capture are sketchy, with many sources reporting that Sgt. Bergdahl was not captured by insurgents, but that he deserted his post, and willingly joined the terrorist organization that just released him. But let’s for a moment set aside Sgt. Bergdahls’s disquieting story, and pay attention to the larger story surrounding his “release.”
The Washington Post brings up some rather significant and troubling aspects of the story.
Amid jubilation Saturday over the release of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity by the Taliban, senior Republicans on Capitol Hill said they were troubled by the means by which it was accomplished, which was a deal to release five Afghan detainees from the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Top Republicans on the Senate and House armed services committees went so far as to accuse President Obama of having broken the law, which requires the administration to notify Congress before any transfers from Guantanamo are carried out.
“Trading five senior Taliban leaders from detention in Guantanamo Bay for Bergdahl’s release may have consequences for the rest of our forces and all Americans. Our terrorist adversaries now have a strong incentive to capture Americans. That incentive will put our forces in Afghanistan and around the world at even greater risk,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, James M. Inhofe (Okla.), said in a joint statement.
Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.
The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.
Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent. However, the administration and some Democrats had pressed for them to be loosened, in part to give them more flexibility to negotiate for Bergdahl’s release.
A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed. When he signed the law last year, Obama issued a signing statement contending that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers as commander in chief and that he therefore could override it.
President Obama, on the occasion of signing H.R. 4310, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013”, announced that he would refuse to abide by provisions of the law that he interpreted as being unconstitutional, because in his opinion, the duly enacted law placed unnecessary restrictions on his authority as head of the Executive Branch, and Commander in Chief of the nation’s military.
Section 1028 fundamentally maintains the unwarranted restrictions on the executive branch’s authority to transfer detainees to a foreign country. This provision hinders the Executive’s ability to carry out its military, national security, and foreign relations activities and would, under certain circumstances, violate constitutional separation of powers principles. The executive branch must have the flexibility to act swiftly in conducting negotiations with foreign countries regarding the circumstances of detainee transfers. The Congress designed these sections, and has here renewed them once more, in order to foreclose my ability to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. I continue to believe that operating the facility weakens our national security by wasting resources, damaging our relationships with key allies, and strengthening our enemies. My Administration will interpret these provisions as consistent with existing and future determinations by the agencies of the Executive responsible for detainee transfers. And, in the event that these statutory restrictions operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my Administration will implement them in a manner that avoids the constitutional conflict.
As my Administration previously informed the Congress, certain provisions in this bill, including sections 1225, 913, 1531, and 3122, could interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct the foreign relations of the United States. In these instances, my Administration will interpret and implement these provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy. Section 1035, which adds a new section 495(c) to title 10, is deeply problematic, as it would impede the fulfillment of future U.S. obligations agreed to in the New START Treaty, which the Senate provided its advice and consent to in 2010, and hinder the Executive’s ability to determine an appropriate nuclear force structure. I am therefore pleased that the Congress has included a provision to adequately amend this provision in H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which I will be signing into law today.
Certain provisions in the Act threaten to interfere with my constitutional duty to supervise the executive branch. Specifically, sections 827, 828, and 3164 could be interpreted in a manner that would interfere with my authority to manage and direct executive branch officials. As my Administration previously informed the Congress, I will interpret those sections consistent with my authority to direct the heads of executive departments to supervise, control, and correct employees’ communications with the Congress in cases where such communications would be unlawful or would reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential. Additionally, section 1034 would require a subordinate to submit materials directly to the Congress without change, and thereby obstructs the traditional chain of command. I will implement this provision in a manner consistent with my authority as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the head of the executive branch.
A number of provisions in the bill — including sections 534(b)(6), 674, 675, 735, 737, 1033(b), 1068, and 1803 — could intrude upon my constitutional authority to recommend such measures to the Congress as I “judge necessary and expedient.” My Administration will interpret and implement these provisions in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority.
Here are my concerns…. and I have several.
Are we now, under the Obama administration, redefining “diplomacy” to include conducting secret negotiations by the Executive Branch with terrorist organizations?
Who exactly did the Obama administration negotiate with? It is blatantly obvious that under Obama’s direct order, members of our military met (directly or indirectly) and negotiated terms with known terrorists, under the guise of power of the Executive.
When did any President, or in fact, any member of any branch of any of level of government in the United States, gain the power to declare a duly enacted law as “unconstitutional” by decree, invalidating the Legislative Branch’s constitutional powers by an unstained opinion and the stroke of a pen? Obama talks about the law’s “violation” of the principle of separation of powers, even as he assumes unto himself the power of the Judicial Branch to decide on the constitutionality of duly enacted laws.
His are the actions of a Supreme Leader, who sees himself as standing above any and all other sources of power and authority in the government of the nation… a Führer.
Back in 2008, Ali Sina, an ex-Muslim, warned us who and what Obama was… and we failed to listen.
Something of that nature could never happen in the U.S.
Most people, caught up in the historical significance of the term Führer, never got past the title and into the substance of the article.
Go ahead and read it, and compare it to everything that’s gone on in this country since 2008.
We have a Führer in our White House.
Call it by any other name if that one makes you uncomfortable, but the end result are the same.
We have that type of a leader in charge of our military, and he recognizes no law other than his own.
When you fall for someone to the extent that Obama’s followers have fallen for him, you surrender your reason and individuality to him willingly. When millions of people surrender their hearts and their minds to one person the result can be catastrophic. This is what happened in Germany with Hitler, in China with Mao, in the Soviet Union with Stalin, in Cuba with Castro, in Iran with Khomeini, and so on and so forth. Today, we think these men were monsters, but that was not what millions of their worshipers thought. Those people loved them. Dictators can’t dictate, unless peole are willing to be dictated.
And that’s the last wire for Sunday, June 1st, 2014.
What was news before this moment, is now history.