CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that Wikileaks is "a non-state hostile intelligence service," though on the campaign trail President Donald Trump praised the organization for publishing information undercutting Hillary Clinton. "Wikileaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service," Pompeo said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, his first public remarks since being sworn in as CIA director. Pompeo said that Wikileaks "has encouraged its followers to find jobs at the CIA in order to obtain intelligence. It overwhelmingly focuses on the United States while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations," he said. "It's time to call out Wikileaks for what it really is: a non-state hostile intelligence service often embedded by state actors like Russia." read more
What do Americans think of U.S. military intervention in Syria's civil war? The Washington Post noted yesterday that "reflective partisanship" is evident in the latest polling. "In 2013, when Barack Obama was president, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that only 22 percent of Republicans supported the U.S. launching missile strikes against Syria in response to Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against civilians. A new Post-ABC poll finds that 86 percent of Republicans support Donald Trump's decision to launch strikes on Syria for the same reason. Only 11 percent are opposed." That's an astounding shift in attitudes, and partisan instincts almost certainly explain the rapid change. Republican voters opposed Obama, so they had no use for his plan to attack the Assad regime, and Republican voters generally back Trump, so they support last week's strikes. read more
The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said. The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page's communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials. Page is the only American to have had his communications directly targeted with a FISA warrant in 2016 as part of the Russia probe, officials said. Three years before Page became an adviser to the Trump campaign, he came to the attention of FBI counterintelligence agents, who learned that Russian spy suspects had sought to use Page as a source for information. read more
Twitter on Thursday refused to reveal the user behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump's tough immigration policies and said it was challenging the demand for records by the U.S. government in court, according to a lawsuit. The lawsuit over the account @ALT_uscis, claimed to be run by at least one federal immigration employee, was filed in federal court in San Francisco, where Twitter is based. The acronym CIS refers to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the account's description refers to itself as "immigration resistance." Following Trump's inauguration in January, anonymous Twitter feeds voicing concerns at more than a dozen U.S. government agencies appeared to challenge the president's views on climate change and other issues. Trump has vowed to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and has promised to deport millions of illegal immigrants. read more
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his fellow Republicans pulled the nuclear rules trigger Thursday, ending filibusters for Supreme Court nominees after Democrats blocked President Donald Trump's conservative pick, Neil Gorsuch. He began by launching a string of procedural moves to allow a Senate majority to change longstanding rules with a simple majority, or 51 votes. "We need to restore the norms and traditions of the Senate and get past this unprecedented partisan filibuster," McConnell said, moments before rattling off procedural speak that set the rules change in motion. It normally takes a two-thirds vote, or 66 votes, to jettison Senate rules in the middle of a session. Using procedural tools to do it is a rare step that generates extreme ill-will in historically deliberative body. Gorsuch is expected to be confirmed on Friday.