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Posts Tagged ‘Homeland Security’

In Washington, China is a four-letter word and the excuse for everything

Posted by M. C. on May 3, 2023

Lawmakers have introduced nearly 275 measures this session, while bureaucrats are busy using the CCP to justify ballooning budgets.

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C. ): They are centralized; we are decentralized. They are closed; we are open. They suppress free speech and human dignity; we embrace it.”  

Say What?

Written by
Blaise Malley

The 118th Congress has been underway for about three months, and at least one thing is already clear — across both parties, many committees, and a whole host of issues touching virtually all aspects of American life — China is the hottest issue on the Hill right now.

The first hearings of the session are often indicative of overarching priorities for the upcoming term. In 2023, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Financial Services Committee, and the House subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, part of the Judiciary committee, all held their initial hearings on some aspect of strategic competition with China. Within a week of their swearing-in, a large majority of members voted to establish the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, to much media fanfare.

Since then, subcommittees in HFAC, as well as Homeland Security, Coronavirus, Ways and Means, and Oversight committees have followed suit, in one way or another, in raising the China specter. 

Not surprisingly, many of these hearings have been full of fear-mongering, depicting the Chinese Communist Party as an existential threat rather than actually grappling with the genuine challenges and legitimate concerns now facing the U.S.-China relationship.

“China is not an ally or a strategic partner. They are our competitor and pose the single greatest threat to America’s global standing,” charged Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C. ) during the Financial Services committee’s first hearing. “The juxtaposition between the United States and China could not be more clear. They are centralized; we are decentralized. They are closed; we are open. They suppress free speech and human dignity; we embrace it.”  

The chairman of the subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), declared during his hearing that  “America’s national security is at risk because of China’s government’s quest to achieve superiority using both internal and externally gotten technology. They will use both legal and illegal means in order to gain technology.” 

Other hearings have veered off course from their official agendas into unrelated attacks on Beijing, as when Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) — during a hearing on PRC influence in the Indian Ocean — wondered, in a reference to China’s treatment of Uyghurs and ambivalence towards the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, “how effective have we been in letting the Muslim populations from Indonesia to Egypt know what China is doing and making them pay a price?” None of the witnesses felt they had sufficient expertise to answer this question. 

A search of the congressional record shows that in the first three months of the 118th Congress, lawmakers have introduced 273 bills or amendments that contain some variation of the word “China.” The terms  “CCP,” “PRC,” “Beijing,” or “Taiwan” add a handful more. This marks a significant uptick in China-related legislation in recent Congresses. This session’s total is already more than any congressional session before the 114th (2015-16). Since then, the number has increased from 288 in the 115th (2017-2018) to 627 in the 116th (2019-2020) to 1,323 in the 117th Congress (2021-2022). 

Like the recent congressional hearings, these bills touch on almost every aspect of American life. 

At a time of intense partisan polarization, bashing China is one issue on which both parties can’t get enough. Republicans sense that China’s rise — and the supposed American decline that accompanies it — serves as a useful political weapon against President Joe Biden. 

“The second thing that’s happening, and that’s more concerning for me,” Michael Brenes, Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute, told Responsible Statecraft, “is that the Biden administration is pursuing a policy where it believes the China threat can be served to revive or renew American democracy and American foreign policy, in a post war on terror era.” Meaning, he added, that everything from domestic renewal to industrial policy to foreign policymaking is being justified on that basis. 

As a result, heads of various government agencies have made cases for increasing their budgets based on the need to combat the China threat. Testifying in front of the House Appropriations Committee in late April, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that bureau agents were outnumbered “at least 50 to 1” by Chinese hackers looking to attack critical U.S. infrastructure. 

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Homeland Security Reorganizes, Appearing to Scrap Last Remnants of Ill-Fated “Disinformation Governance Board”

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2023

After an ugly congressional hearing and months of bad press for censorship advocates, a Homeland Security advisory panel undergoes sweeping changes

Matt Taibbi and Susan Schmidt

The Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to present a less Orwellian exterior to the public took a big step forward this week, as it disbanded a key subcommittee linked to the Department’s ill-fated Disinformation Governance Board, announced last year and quickly “paused” amid public outcry.

Jen Easterly, head of the DHS’s cyber division — the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA — this week convened the agency’s influential Cybersecurity Advisory Committee (CSAC), which is made up of senior executives from organizations like Twitter, Amazon, and the Stanford Internet Observatory. The agency announced an expanded roster, adding 13 new members to CSAC, including chief cybersecurity officer for General Motors Kevin Tierney and Cathy Lanier, the chief security officer for the NFL. The full CSAC now contains 34 members.

However, amid the additions, CISA also shuffled responsibilities, making a key change. In particular, its “MDM” advisory subcommittee, for “Misinformation, Disinformation and Malinformation,” was scrapped.

The subcommittee’s leaders, including chairperson Kate Starbird of the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public (CIP), and Vijaya Gadde, a former top Twitter executive who was fired last year when Elon Musk took over the company, were shifted to other advisory roles.

A spokesman for the agency said the change appeared in an unpublicized summary of a Dec. 6 advisory board meeting. The summary provided to Racket states Easterly decided late last year that the subcommittee had fulfilled its tasks and would “stand down”:

But that notice appears to have only been posted on the agency website recently (the Wayback Machine captured a first image of it in late February). CISA’s unique approach to website maintenance has drawn attention of late. Last week, Mike Benz of the Foundation for Freedom Online reported that CISA scrubbed key sections of its web page about its campaign against “Misinformation, Disinformation, and Malinformation.” Crucially, the agency appeared to remove references to “domestic threat actors” as purveyors of “MDM.”

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‘It Should Be A No!’: Congressman Explodes After Wray Refuses Question On FBI, January 6

Posted by M. C. on November 16, 2022

‘It Should Be A No!’: Congressman Explodes After Wray Refuses Question On FBI, January 6

The new revelation raises questions about what the FBI knew in the weeks and days leading up to the January 6 riot, and why the bureau wasn’t able to prevent the event using information given to it by the Proud Boys informants.

By  Tim Pearce

FBI Director Chris Wray refused to say Tuesday whether FBI sources had dressed as Trump supporters and entered the U.S. Capitol ahead of protesters on January 6, 2021.

Wray testified in front of the House Homeland Security Committee alongside Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and National Counterterrorism Center Director Christine Abizaid. During the hearing, Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins (R) questioned Wray on the extent of the FBI’s involvement in the January 6 riot.

“Did the FBI have confidential human sources embedded within the January 6 protesters on January 6 2021?” the Louisiana congressman asked. Confidential human sources are not FBI agents; they are typically insiders in a group or well-connected individuals who have agreed to feed information to the FBI through handlers.

The FBI director said he has to be “very careful” about “when we do and do not and where we have and have not used confidential human sources.”

“To the extent that there’s a suggestion for example that the FBI’s confidential human sources or FBI employees in some way instigated or orchestrated Jan 6, that’s categorically false,” Wray said.

Higgins pressed Wray on if any FBI confidential human sources were dressed as supporters of former President Donald Trump and positioned in the U.S. Capitol “prior to the doors being open[ed].”

Wray began his response reiterating his previous answer when Higgins exploded: “It should be a no! Can you not tell the American people, no, we did not have confidential human sources dressed as Trump supporters positioned inside the Capitol on January 6?”

Wray responded as Higgins time for questioning expired, saying, “You should not read anything into my decision to not to share information related to confidential human sources.”

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The Department of Homeland Security is an Enemy of The People and Must Be Disbanded Immediately

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2022

Dr. Joseph Sansone

Recently leaked information obtained by The Intercept has validated the fact the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is engaged in illegal activities designed to censor and deny the basic human right of free speech. DHS is engaged in an operation to influence social media to remove and censor content that runs contrary to its views. Facebook even created a direct portal to allow DHS to pull down truthful information, that would be information the DHS deems false. Censorship targeted information related to the Afghanistan withdrawal, election integrity, and information related to the apparent Covid 19 bioweapon, and Covid gene therapy shots, which also appear a biological weapon unleashed on humanity.

As The Intercept points out even Tom Ridge, former head of DHS, has stated that the United States government routinely lies whether it is about the Vietnam or Iraq wars, or the origination of Covid 19. DHS coordinated with Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking platforms. It is unclear of the level of interaction between DHS and other government agencies, and other private sector companies, although, based on the sudden engagement in politics and censorship by corporations, it is a safe bet that the DHS and other agencies are integrated with them.

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Watch “Blockbuster Report: Homeland Security Colluding With Social Media To Silence Americans” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on November 2, 2022

An amazing investigative report from The Intercept has brought “the receipts” proving the deep – and corrupt – relationship between the US Department of Homeland Security and social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter. Government agents actually had special access to directly request takedowns of any posts at odds with Biden Administration policy on a range of issues from Covid to Afghanistan to Ukraine. Will the next Congress investigate this shocking attack on the First Amendment?

Tom Ridge’s DHS protecting government and it’s cronies from You. What! You thought the DHS was meant to protect you!

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Watch “Busted! Homeland Security Secretary Lied To Senate About Disinfo Board!” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on June 14, 2022

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Going Full Orwell: Homeland Security To Launch ‘Disinformation Governance Board’

Posted by M. C. on April 29, 2022

The US Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday that it is creating a “Disinformation Governance Board” to fight “disinformation.” Heading up the new outfit is, not surprisingly, a highly political Democratic Party operative who is herself a spreader of disinformation. What could go wrong? Also today: Germany caves to EU on Russia oil embargo and…another day another aid package to Ukraine: Biden asked for $33 billion!!!

Who decides what is truth? AOC?

Thank you Tom Ridge

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Meet the Capitol Police’s New Spy Chief › American Greatness

Posted by M. C. on January 29, 2022

Capitol police, acting as the Stasi of the Democratic Party, will collect dirt on Republicans under the pretense of national security then leak gossipy details to an always-compliant news media.

By Julie Kelly

hen most Americans hear the term “Capitol Police,” they likely conjure visions of uniformed officers manning metal detectors at the numerous congressional buildings or helping tourists navigate the sprawling Capitol grounds: a D.C. version of a mall cop.

That imagery, however, is in stark contrast to reality as Democrats have weaponized yet another federal agency to target their political enemies on the Right. 

After January 6, 2021, Capitol Police officials announced plans to expand beyond the legislatively authorized purview of the agency and open offices in Florida and California, as well as in other states. Congress overwhelmingly supported a bill last year to fork over $2.1 billion in new funding to the Capitol Police. Now flush with cash and immune from any serious public oversight, the agency is returning the favor by spying on dissidents of the Biden regime.

According to Politico, Capitol Police investigators are preparing secret dossiers on lawmakers, congressional staff, donors, and even constituents who visit their representatives in public or in private. 

“After the Jan. 6 insurrection (sic), the Capitol Police’s intelligence unit quietly started scrutinizing the backgrounds of people who meet with lawmakers,” reporters Betsy Woodruff Swan and Daniel Lippman wrote. “Several Capitol Police intelligence analysts have already raised concerns about the practice to the department’s inspector general,” one source told Politico.

Investigators are asked to scour social media accounts and even examine “tax and real estate records to find out who owned the properties that lawmakers visited.” In one example, Capitol Police analyzed a fundraiser held in a private home for Senator Rick Scott (R-Fla.). Donors to House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who was shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter in 2017, also are under Capitol police scrutiny.

Far from ensuring the safety of legislators and their staffs, the underlying political motive is obvious to anyone who’s been paying attention the past several years: the Capitol Police, acting as the Stasi of the Democratic Party, will collect dirt on Republicans under the pretense of national security then leak gossipy details to an always-compliant news media.about:blankReport Adabout:blankReport Ad

Journalists will then source the leaks to anonymous “intelligence officials” to legitimize any incriminating disclosures, which in turn will prompt Democrats to call for immediate investigations and criminal referrals—see the January 6 select committee for how this successful formula works.

In fact, an official from the Obama Administration, the birthplace of Russiagate and other political espionage efforts, is heading up the new endeavor. 

“Major changes in the Capitol Police intelligence unit started in fall of 2020, when the department brought on former Department of Homeland Security official Julie Farnam to help run its intelligence unit, which is housed in its Intelligence and Interagency Coordination Division,” Politico confirmed.

Who is Julie Farnam? In October 2014, Farnam was hired by the Obama Administration to serve as the acting chief of staff for the Homeland Security department’s field operations in Washington, D.C. The following year, Farnam was promoted to senior advisor on immigration issues. According to her LinkedIn profile, Farnam represented the Customs and Immigrations Services at “high-level meetings within the Agency, Department, other Federal agencies, and the White House.” She also “briefed senior officials on matters with national impact or controversy.”

One senior official with whom Farnam presumably worked at the White House would have been Lisa Monaco, Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor during his second term. Herself a key architect of Russiagate and an unabashed partisan, Monaco now serves as the deputy attorney general, responsible for the Justice Department’s sprawling and punitive investigation into January 6. Monaco’s prosecutors are handling at least 730 criminal cases related to the Capitol protest, with new arrests announced every week.about:blankReport Ad

Monaco’s street cred as a political operative is stellar. Chief of staff to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Monaco is moving at open throttle not just to round up trespassers who objected to Joe Biden’s election but to hand down criminal indictments against Trump loyalists such as Steve Bannon and investigate alleged “fake electoral slates” in seven states sent to the National Archives in December 2020

Farnam seems to be following in Monaco’s footsteps—or taking her marching orders—to whip up frenzy about the imaginary threat posed by Trump voters. 

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Watch “Should We Blame Biden For Afghan War Loss?” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on August 18, 2021

The race is on to blame Biden for the dramatic fall of Saigon…er…Kabul over the weekend. Politicos who’ve been most responsible for the 20 year disaster continuing are now pointing fingers elsewhere. The truth is there is plenty of blame to go around…but will we finally learn the lessons? Also today, new threats according to Homeland Security…you’ll never guess what they are?

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Feds turn to social media to identify conspiracies

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2021

“Critics worry about tracking Americans”. The author seems to think we don’t realize this has been happening for decades. Terrorists being someone anti-war, had a Bob Barr bumper sticker or just did something a government brownshirt didn’t like.

“The government’s approach to analyzing social media posts will focus less on trying to find a person who might commit domestic terrorism and more on the narratives and themes that are setting online communities alight, the DHS officials said.”

So what is a bad narrative? Who decides what and who are bad? Kamala or more likely someone nameless, faceless, unaccountable minion in the White House basement?

Critics worry about tracking Americans

Will Carless


Since 2018, at least three white supremacist mass shooters in America have referred to the “Great Replacement” theory, a conspiracy claim that white people are being replaced in the U.S. and elsewhere by immigrants of color.

That’s the narrative Robert Bowers alluded to on social media before 11 people were killed at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018. Patrick Crusius, accused of killing 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, less than a year later, was inspired by the racist trope. So was John Earnest, who is accused of killing one person and injuring three others in a shooting in Poway, California.

Had federal law enforcement agencies known this conspiracy theory was spreading fast on social media, they might have been better able to prepare for these attacks, and perhaps even stave them off.

At least, that’s the argument made by senior Department of Homeland Security officials who outlined a new effort to analyze public social media posts in an effort to better understand extremist narratives and movements.

The new effort, which draws from research conducted by nonprofits, academia and the department itself, aims to identify narratives and campaigns that could lead to domestic terrorist attacks or violent incidents like the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Officials stressed that the goal is not to monitor specific individuals or chill free speech, but rather to build an early warning system for dangerous events.

“This is so we can have a greater unmestic derstanding of the threat environment as it evolves and then think through what steps we can take, working with state and local authorities and community groups to mitigate the risk posed by those threats,” a senior Homeland Security official said in an interview. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to freely discuss the program.

But extremism experts, academics and former Homeland Security officials question how much is actually new about the effort and raised concerns about the specter of a massive federal security agency gathering information about U.S. citizens.

They pointed out that domestic terrorists don’t plan their attacks on publicfacing social media and questioned whether monitoring movements online can be effective without identifying individuals. And they worry the Department of Homeland Security might engage public sector “experts” to monitor do- extremism who don’t actually have the expertise needed for such complicated work.

“This effort could provide a clue about something thematically – sort of a mood or a sentiment that is out there, but for the most part, it’s not going to point you in the direction of specific plots,” said Javed Ali, senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council in 2017 and 2018.

“I saw the results of this cottage industry explosion post-9/11 when everyone was an international terrorism expert,” he said, “and if we’re not careful, we’re going to do the same dumb thing on domestic terrorism.”

The government’s approach to analyzing social media posts will focus less on trying to find a person who might commit domestic terrorism and more on the narratives and themes that are setting online communities alight, the DHS officials said.

The social media monitoring idea is part of a reorientation by the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the Jan. 6 riot. BRENT STIRTON/GETTY IMAGES

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