One year ago, a team of FBI agents executed a warrant to search former Donald Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort’s storage unit.Now serving a prison sentence in Pennsylvania for fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy, Manafort had by then been under a years-long criminal investigation.When the agents got inside the storage unit, they found a pile of seven iPod Touch devices.Why would a man known for his international dealings as a lobbyist for global dictators be stockpiling iPods?There’s always something strange, almost funny whenever Apple launches a new iPod because this was a milestone tech product that changed the industry forever – about 18 years ago.What good is this thing now over a decade into the age of iPhones and Androids?
Late in the day on May 23, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum ordering the heads of the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, and the Directors of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency to give Attorney General William Barr unfettered access to information about "intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters."The memorandum gives Barr the authority to declassify or downgrade the classification of any information he sees fit as part of the investigation.Barr's investigation is not into electoral interference by foreign actors during the 2016 presidential campaign, but rather into whether US law enforcement and intelligence illegally spied on the Trump campaign.In an interview with Fox News earlier this month, Barr explained that "people have to find out what the government was doing during that period…If we're worried about foreign influence, for the very same reason we should be worried about whether government officials abuse their power and put their thumb on the scale."How they did it (and will likely try again): GRU hackers vs.The memorandum states that Barr can "declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review."
As the United States gears up for its next big presidential election in 2020, citizens can expect to keep seeing political ads on Facebook.The latest big change is that Facebook will no longer pay commissions to sales people for selling political ads.The company will continue to run political ads the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, even as it tries to move past the scandals of its social networking platforms being used to manipulate voters in major worldwide elections in recent years.Facebook is making some changes to protect its political ads from being exploited by Russians or other bad actors.That's a big about-face from 2016, when Facebook not only paid commissions but even embedded its staffers into campaigns to help them with their Facebook targeting strategies.Since Trump's campaign was smaller and less digitally savvy, Trump's campaign used this service heavily.
We've only just found out that beloved world leader Donald J. Trump is coming to the UK for a state visit, which as you can imagine was met with rapture and delight.Now, he's made himself even more welcome by rehashing "unproven and unverified" accusations that we've been spying on him.Speaking in a tweet – of course – the Great Orange One responded to an item on One America News Network, a cable channel with a conservative viewpoint, repeating an old conspiracy theory:“Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW!It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!While GCHQ doesn't usually get involved in this sort of thing because it's too busy saving the world or whatever, this time the intelligence agency issued a statement saying:
HBO is asking President Donald Trump, again, to not use Game of Thrones memes on Twitter as a way of sending political messages.Trump tweeted a meme about the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.The main font featured in the image below is lifted directly from HBO’s most popular series.This isn’t the first time Trump has used a Game of Thrones meme to address a controversy he’s involved in, but HBO has issued a statement essentially asking the president to stop.“Though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes,” an HBO spokesperson told Bloomberg.Trump’s Twitter account is often rife with memes — many of which surface on subreddits like r/The_Donald before making it to his feed — but HBO has previously requested that Trump refrain from using its show’s intellectual property for pushing a political agenda.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling was released Thursday.While parts of the 448-page report are redacted, it sheds light on the investigation, including President Donald Trump's reaction to the appointment of a special counsel in 2017.When former Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the president about the appointment on May 17, 2017, Trump responded: "Oh my God.This is the end of my Presidency.The president became angry, according to the report, and asked Sessions: "How could you let this happen, Jeff?"He continued: "Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels it ruins your presidency.
The report, which many expect to be politically explosive, was released Thursday following a press conference with Attorney General William Barr.Shortly after Barr's press conference, the president claimed victory in a Game of Thrones styled tweet.Some lawmakers remain skeptical, because of the Justice Department's role in redacting multiple pages of the document, as well as Barr's input on its release.Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a Democrat from California, invited Mueller to testify shortly after the report's release."I look forward to presenting the American people with an accounting of the facts the Committee has uncovered as we conclude our own investigation.The ongoing drama of the Mueller investigation has seized the public's attention and shone a spotlight on the ways Russia has been able to manipulate the US electoral process -- an issue companies like Facebook and Google and agencies like the Department of Homeland Security are still working to address.
The report, which many anticipated to be a political bombshell, was released on Thursday following a press conference with Attorney General William Barr.The release of the report caps off roughly a year of speculation and questions about the potential involvement between Russia and members of the Trump campaign -- including the president himself as Mueller's team ran through its investigation.The ongoing drama seized the public's attention and shined a spotlight on the ways Russia was able to manipulate our electoral process -- an issue that companies like Facebook and Google and agencies like the Homeland Security are still working to shore up.The day after, Barr provided a four-page summary of the nearly 400-page report, which Congress members criticized for its lack of details."This should never happen again to another president," Trump said in at a veterans event in the White House, calling it a "hoax."The special counsel looked at how Russian hackers infiltrated the Democratic National Committee, used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to spread disinformation and the Trump campaign's communications with Russian operatives.
On March 22, special counsel Robert Mueller turned in his long-anticipated report on Russian interference in the 2016 election—and the question of whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice.Or at least what’s left of it, after attorney general William Barr’s redactions.Barr had initially released a brief summary of the report’s key findings in a four-page letter he sent to Congress on March 24.His takeaway: The Trump campaign did not coordinate or conspire with Russia, and there was not sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice.He expanded on those initial thoughts in a remarkable press conference Thursday morning, repeatedly stating that the Mueller report "found no evidence" of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.Barr also confirmed that Trump's legal team had the opportunity to read the report in advance.
After nearly two years, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia is over, and a redacted version of the report has been released.Last month, after the conclusion of the investigation, Attorney General William Barr released a summary of the report, but lawmakers have pressed for the complete version to be released.While the nearly 400-page report is now available, it comes redacted — setting up another potential battle over whether the obscured details inside could be politically damaging to the president.While the special counsel’s investigation resulted in the indictment of former Trump advisers like Paul Manafort, the president quickly seized on Barr’s summary of the report as evidence of “no collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia.Mueller’s team also indicted several Russian citizens during the investigation, accusing them, and the country, of interfering with the 2016 presidential election.At a press conference ahead of releasing the report, Barr echoed the White House’s line, repeatedly saying Russian operatives “did not have the cooperation of President Trump or the Trump campaign.”
Before the world gets to read the Mueller report, the Justice Department offered a foreword: The Trump campaign didn't work with Russia to hack the 2016 presidential election.On Thursday morning, shortly before letting Congress and the public see special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling, Attorney General William Barr held a press conference to highlight elements of the report.ET on Thursday, and then posted publicly on the special counsel's website after that.Barr opened the press conference with statements about Russian efforts during the 2016 election campaign to spread disinformation on social media, through a company known as the Internet Research Agency, and to hack President Trump's opponents, by Russian military officials connected to the GRU intelligence operation.Among other actions, Barr said, the GRU provided stolen emails and documents to WikiLeaks, which then dumped them into public view."The Special Counsel's report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations," Barr said.
Before the world reads special counsel Robert Mueller's report, the Justice Department has a foreword: the Trump campaign did not work with Russia to hack the 2016 presidential election.On Thursday morning, just hours before Mueller's report on the Trump campaign and Russian election meddling releases to the public, Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein held a press conference to detail the report.Barr opened up the press conference with details on Russian efforts to spread disinformation on social media and hack President Trump's opponents during the election.The attorney general noted that while these efforts played a role in the election, Trump's campaign was not involved with it."The Special Counsel's report did not find any evidence that members of the Trump campaign or anyone associated with the campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its hacking operations," Barr said.He noted the same for the Internet Research Agency's activities -- the group behind disinformation plaguing Twitter and Facebook throughout the election.
The Mueller report contains new information about how the Russian government hacked documents and emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee .Netyksho is believed to be still at large in Russia.But new details in the 488-page redacted report released by the Justice Department on Thursday offered new insight into how the GRU operatives hacked.The operatives working for the Russian intelligence directorate, the GRU, sent dozens of targeted spearphishing emails in just five days to the work and personal accounts of Clinton Campaign employees and volunteers, as a way to break into the campaign’s computer systems.The GRU hackers also gained access to the email account of John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, of which its contents were later published.Using credentials they stole along the way, the hackers broke into the networks of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee days later.
After nearly two years of investigation and months of delays — not to mention partisan bickering the whole time, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the president’s campaign and Russian interference in the 2016 election is out today.We’re not a politics news site but we’re still looking into it — tech has figured more prominently than ever in the last few years and understanding its role in what could be a major political event is crucial for the industry and government both.The report and discussion thereof is bound to be highly politically charged from the get-go and the repercussions from what is disclosed therein are sure to reach many in and out of office.But there are also interesting threads to pull as far as events and conspiracies that could only exist online or using modern technology and services, and for these the perspective of technology, not politics, reporting may be best suited to add context and interpretation.What do we expect to find in the report that is of particular interest to the tech world?The topic that is most relevant and least explored already is the nature of Russia’s most direct involvement in the 2016 election, namely the hack of the Democratic National Committee email server, attributed to Russia’s GRU intelligence unit, and funneling of this information to WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.
Presidential 2020 ad nicks Dark Knight Rises soundtrackThe two-minute ad, which featured Trump walking around to a thunderous soundtrack that happens to be the score of the movie Dark Knight Rises, appeared yesterday but was swiftly taken down after the copyright owner – Warner Brothers – objected to its unauthorized use.score written by Hans Zimmer and the video also used the same font as the film.It is remarkable that the White House comms team didn't seek to license the music, perhaps because they were concerned it wouldn't be approved.As for the video itself, it is like the trailer to a new season of a White House reality TV show, reflecting the president's background.Short clips of Trump walking around factories, getting off Air Force One, attending rallies etc interspersed with snippets of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and celebrities that have been critical of Trump such as Rosie O'Donnell, Amy Schumer et al.
It hopes to do that by focusing on local election officials, Matt Masterson, a DHS senior adviser on election security, said in an interview with CNET."It may actually be the most important part of the entire infrastructure, these local county officials," said Jake Braun, executive director of the University of Chicago's Cyber Policy Initiative and co-founder of the Defcon Voting Machine Hacking Village.Before the election in 2016, the DHS didn't have an established network of election officials to work with on security issues.These cyberattacks included hacks against the Democratic National Committee and access to voter registration databases.Since then, the DHS has provided state election officials with resources like penetration testing, weekly reports on vulnerabilities and sensors that could detect hacking attempts.To do that, the DHS hired election security experts like Noah Praetz, the former director of elections in Cook County, Illinois.
The answer came in a convoluted four-page letter to Congress from newly installed Attorney General Bill Barr, who spent the weekend sorting through Mueller’s final report with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.The second part covers the president’s actions, and whether they count as obstruction.On that question, Barr writes, “the Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’”Mueller’s report appears as tenacious and thorough as was to be expected of the former FBI director and long-time prosecutor: Barr reported that Mueller’s team of 19 lawyers, alongside 40 FBI agents, analysts, forensic accountants, and other staff, issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, pulled more than 230 sets of communication records, collected details from nearly 50 pen registers used to track telephone calls, and made 13 requests of foreign governments and law enforcement agencies for additional evidence.They also interviewed around 500 witnesses, although Mueller was unable to question in person a few key figures—namely, the president as well as his children Ivanka and Don Jr.Along the way, Mueller’s team brought charges against nearly three dozen individuals—including Trump’s campaign chair, deputy campaign chair, national security advisor, and personal lawyer.
Special counsel Robert Mueller submitted his report on the Russia investigation to Attorney General William Barr on Friday, according to CBS News.The report includes findings of Mueller's investigation into whether there were connections between the Russian government and Trump campaign associates.It's not clear if the report will be made public.Barr reportedly informed chairmen and ranking members of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees about the conclusion of Mueller's investigation."The special counsel has submitted to me today a 'confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions' he has reached," Barr reportedly wrote."I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend."
Andreessen Horowitz investor and Facebook board member Marc Andreessen has denied claims he met the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie in 2016.The Observer reported that Andreessen hosted a meeting to determine how Cambridge Analytica might be misusing people's data.If true, the meeting suggests Facebook understood the extent of Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting almost two years before the scandal broke publicly.A prominent Silicon Valley investor and Facebook board member has denied claims that he met with a Cambridge Analytica representative as early as 2016.The Observer reported that Marc Andreessen, a founding partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and current Facebook board member, hosted a meeting with former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie over concerns about the way the political consultancy was manipulating people's data.The meeting, the newspaper reported, took place at Andreessen Horowitz's offices in 2016, just as Cambridge Analytica began work on Donald Trump's presidential campaign.
As part of a sweeping new investigation into what it calls "obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump," the House Judiciary Committee sent document requests to 81 people and organizations on Monday.The list includes President Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and a litany of former Trump campaign and administration officials, including former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, and former communications director Hope Hicks.Sprinkled among those names are also key players from President Trump's 2016 digital team, including his former digital director and current campaign manager, Brad Parscale, as well as several former executives of Cambridge Analytica, the now defunct consulting company, including former CEO Alexander Nix, former business development director Brittany Kaiser, and Julian Wheatland, director of Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL Group.The inclusion of these individuals and the questions asked of them suggest the committee's keen interest in digging for connections between the Trump campaign, Russia, and WikiLeaks, which published Democratic emails that were hacked by Russian state actors during the 2016 election.“We have sent these document requests in order to begin building the public record," committee chair Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) wrote in a statement announcing the investigation."This is a critical time for our nation, and we have a responsibility to investigate these matters and hold hearings for the public to have all the facts."
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