National Security

Pentagon intensifies focus on missile defense reliability after North Korea’s long-range advances

North Korea’s ballistic missile test is shining an intense spotlight on the Pentagon’s missile defenses, systems installed to protect South Korea and now the U.S. mainland. Recent results have been promising, but U.S. officials acknowledge that Pyongyang’s stunning advances this month are providing a real-world test much sooner than they had expected. The Pentagon has been touting the viability of the country’s ballistic missile systems following the apparent successful test by the regime of Kim Jong-un of a long-range missile on July 4, saying the constellation of missile interceptors and weapons now in place are fully capable of blocking any threat to American shores from Pyongyang or elsewhere. The need for reliability of the missile defense systems, including the new Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense battery installed in South Korea, soared amid calculations that the North has tested what could be its first intercontinental ballistic missile. In what Pentagon officials insisted was a previously planned exercise, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency revealed Tuesday that a THAAD system based in Alaska successfully tracked and shot down a simulated intermediate-range ballistic missile that closely resembles the ones Pyongyang is developing. The test was the first of its kind for the system against an incoming intermediate-range missile, which analysts say is harder to hit than shorter-range missiles. “This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats,” Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said in a statement. Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican whose state suddenly finds itself potentially in range of Pyongyang’s deadliest weapons, praised the test. He said it “provided further confirmation that we have the capability to defend our bases, our troops and our allies in places like Japan, South Korea and Guam against rogue nations like North Korea.” But any test falls far short of real-world conditions, when the enemy doesn’t reveal in advance where and when the missile will be launched or its intended target. “Missile defense, even if it worked perfectly, is not a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Laura Grego, a senior scientist for the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Bloomberg news service. Missile defense systems, critics note, can’t afford to have a single failure against powerful payloads likely to be loaded onto an ICBM. “The homeland missile defense system doesn’t work perfectly and hasn’t demonstrated a real-world capability,” Ms. Grego said. Even before the July 4 test, the Pentagon was poised to invest billions of dollars to boost its anti-missile technology as part of President Trump’s first defense budget. Aside from additional funding, Defense Department officials are spearheading an overhaul of missile defense strategies and tactics. In one of his first acts as Pentagon chief, Defense Secretary James Mattis initiated a departmentwide review of missile defense operations in May. The review, led by Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul J. Selva, will “identify ways to strengthen missile defense capabilities, rebalance homeland and theater defense priorities, and provide the necessary policy and strategy framework for the nation’s missile defense systems,” Pentagon press secretary Dana White said. The administration’s newfound focus on the network of land- and sea-based interceptor weapons and associated sensors comes on the heels of the first successful test of the Pentagon’s premier missile interceptor system in May. The game-changer in the debate was the successful July 4 test of the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew higher and farther than any previous North Korean long-range missile shots, theoretically placing the entire state of Alaska within range of Pyongyang’s new class of ballistic missiles.

China’s Intelligence Networks in United States Include 25,000 Spies

Beijing’s spy networks in the United States include up to 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents who have stepped up offensive spying activities since 2012, according to a Chinese dissident with close ties to Beijing’s military and intelligence establishment. Guo Wengui, a billionaire businessman who broke with the regime several months ago, said in an interview that he has close ties to the Ministry of State Security (MSS), the civilian intelligence service, and the military spy service of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). “I know the Chinese spy system very, very well,” Guo said, speaking through an interpreter, in his first American interview. “I have information about very minute details about how it operates.” Guo said he learned about Chinese spy activities from Ma Jian, a former MSS vice minister, and Ji Shengde, former PLA military intelligence chief. Ma was director of MSS’s No. 8 Bureau, in charge of counterintelligence against foreign targets—including diplomats, businessmen, and reporters—until he was swept up in a Beijing power struggle in December 2015. He was expelled from the Communist Party and imprisoned in January. Guo said Ma was imprisoned because he had uncovered details of corruption by China’s highest-ranking anti-corruption official, Wang Qishan. Ma said in a video made public by the Chinese government several weeks ago that he worked with Guo in assisting Chinese national security. Regarding, Ji, the military spy chief, Guo said he had close ties to him and turned down requests from Ji to work as a smuggler for 2PLA, as the military spy agency was known. Ji was implicated in the 1990s scandal involving Chinese funding of Bill Clinton’s presidential re-election campaign. In China, he was given a suspended death sentence by a military court in 2000 on charges of bribery and illegal fundraising. Ji and his wife currently reside in Los Angeles, and Guo said he paid money to Ji for 25 years as part of China’s use of businesses to support intelligence activities. “I know Ma Jian had been working state security system for over 30 years,” he said. “And he was responsible for sending out spies as well as for counter espionage, also vis a vis the U.S. So, Ma Jian knows everything about the United States.” Guo is a Chinese real estate investor who fled China in 2015. He currently resides in New York City and since January has become a target of a major Chinese government campaign to silence him. In May, two senior Chinese security officials traveled to the United States as part of a bid to pressure Guo into keeping silent, and not disclosing secrets about corruption among senior Chinese officials, as well as details of the intelligence activities. The two officials, Sun Lijun, vice minister of the Public Security Ministry, and an aide, Liu Yanpang, also tried to convince Trump administration officials to forcibly repatriate Guo back to China amid claims of corruption. Liu was arrested by the FBI for violating visa rules and his cell phone and laptop computer were confiscated before the Chinese official was allowed to leave the United States. The Chinese officials, during meetings in Washington and New York and by phone, threatened Guo, his family, and business associates and said that if he remained silent, the government would release assets of Guo’s that are frozen in China worth an estimated $17 billion. Over the past several months Guo, who also uses the name Miles Kwok, began posting lengthy videos on Twitter and YouTube disclosing what he knows about Chinese corruption and intelligence activities. One of the more explosive disclosures during an interview involve Wang, current head of the Chinese government’s anti-corruption campaign and a member of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee, the collective dictatorship that rules China. According to Guo, Wang secretly invested in California real estate since the late 1980s and has turned $30 million in purchases of 111 properties into an estimated $2 to $3 billion today. Guo says he plans to detail Wang’s U.S. investments in a video to be published next week. The residences include homes and apartments in Washington and Bethesda in the east, and in California in Los Angeles, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, San Carlos, and San Francisco. The video also shows a series of mansions owned by Wang family members in Saratoga, Calif. In total the residences cost $12 million and are worth some $30 million today.

Just think about that..  China has over twenty five THOUSAND spies here in the U.S.  Try to wrap your brain around that..  Anyway, to read the rest of this shocking article from veteran defense journalist and best-selling author Bill Gertz, click on the text above.  Wow..

Top Lawmaker Demands Investigation into Comey, Former Obama Officials for Leaks of Classified Intel

The chairman of the House National Security Subcommittee is calling on the Department of Justice to launch a formal investigation into former FBI Director James Comey’s alleged leak of classified information, according to an exclusive interview with the Washington Free Beacon in which the lawmaker also called on the Trump administration to purge all former Obama administration holdovers from government. Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and chair of its National Security subcommittee, is urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a full scale investigation into Comey’s handling of a series of potentially classified memos that were leaked to the press earlier this year. Comey admitted in testimony before Congress that he leaked these memos in order to spur an investigation into the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign. Reports alleging these memos contained classified information has riled congressional Republicans and spurred new calls for an investigation into Comey. DeSantis also called on the Trump administration to purge all former Obama administration officials still working in the government, claiming that the holdovers and their allies outside the White House are responsible for an unprecedented series of national security leaks aimed at damaging the Trump administration’s national security apparatus. DeSantis named Ben Rhodes—the former National Security Council official responsible for creating an in-house “echo chamber” meant to mislead reporters and the public about the landmark nuclear deal with Iran—as a primary source of these leaks and urged the House Intelligence Committee to call Rhodes and other former Obama officials to testify publicly about any role they may be playing in spreading classified information to reporters. Comey’s behavior warrants a DOJ investigation due to the former FBI director’s admittance that he disclosed private information to the public in order to damage the Trump administration, according to DeSantis. “Congress needs to press Sessions and other people to make sure they are investigating this because the American people need the truth,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview. “If he did violate any laws, he needs to be held accountable. If you’re violating laws in service of doing political warfare, that is just absolutely unacceptable, particularly for someone who held such a high position in the government.” Comey has gone on record stating that he “leaked in order to trigger a special counsel, which in some ways is pretty extraordinary,” DeSantis noted. Comey’s actions raise further questions about his ethics, DeSantis said. “Not only is he leaking this stuff, not only were the memos done in the course of his employment and likely government property, he may have disclosed classified information in this quest to basically wage a vendetta against the president because the president fired him and to try and create a special counsel,” DeSantis said. “This guy is really a creature of the swamp. He maneuvers around D.C. in ways that are very similar to how D.C. insiders operate,” DeSantis said of Comey. “He’s one of the best in those regards.” DeSantis and other lawmakers are now seeking copies of Comey’s complete memos in order to review whether classified information may have been leaked to the press in violation of U.S. law.

Drip, drip…  This story continues to develop.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Trump Administration Signals Intent to ‘Load Up’ Gitmo with Newly Captured Jihadists

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has signaled that it plans to “load up” the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with newly captured “bad dudes” linked to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and other Islamic terrorists and their affiliates. President Trump vowed to “load [Guantánamo] up with some bad dudes” before being inaugurated, and U.S. Attorney General (AG) Jeff Sessions has been an ardent supporter of that pledge. Last Friday, Sessions, his deputy Rod Rosenstein, and U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats visited the Guantánamo, commonly known as Gitmo, facility. According to Ian Prior, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the purpose of Session’s first trip to Gitmo as AG was to gain “an up-to-date understanding of current operations.” The trip was also intended to show that Guantánamo remains a “perfectly acceptable” place to house new jihadi suspects as opposed to imprisoning them on U.S. soil and trying them in civilian courts, as former President Barack Obama’s administration had suggested. “Recent attacks in Europe and elsewhere confirm that the threat to our nation is immediate and real, and it remains essential that we use every lawful tool available to prevent as many attacks as possible,” noted the DOJ spokesman. Sessions has been very vocal in his support for keeping Gitmo running. In March, Sessions told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that Gitmo is a “very fine place for holding these types of dangerous criminals,” referring to Islamic terrorists. “There’s plenty of space. We’re well-equipped for it. It’s a perfect place for it. Eventually, this will be decided by the military rather than the Justice Department, but I see no legal problem whatsoever with doing that,” declared the AG. Even as the long-time Republican Senator of Alabama, Sessions had no qualms about expressing his opposition to shutting down the prison. “We’ve spent a lot of money fixing it up,” Sessions told Hewitt. “And I’m inclined to the view that it remains a perfectly acceptable place. And I think the fact is that a lot of the criticisms have just been totally exaggerated.” Soon after Trump took office, the New York Times (NYT) indicated that the president intended to keep his pledge and keep Gitmo operating, reversing eight years of his predecessor’s policy. Former President Obama failed to keep his promise to shut down the facility, which as a candidate he claimed he would do on his first day in office. Although some of the Gitmo prisoners released by Obama have returned to terrorist activities or are suspected or doing so, the former president did not incarcerate any new jihadists at the facility.

Glad to hear we’re gonna put this perfectly good, and cost-effective, facility back to good use.  Bringing these terrorists caught on the battlefield back to the states (where they enjoy all sorts of legal protections) was the WRONG idea.  So, glad to hear that foolish decision by Obama is being reversed.  Excellent!!   To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Report: James Comey Memos Contained ‘Secret’ or ‘Confidential’ Information

More than half of the memos created by former FBI Director James Comey of his private conversations with President Trump have been found to contain classified information, according to a new report. Four of seven memos Comey created had markings making clear they contained information classified at the “secret” or “confidential” level, officials directly familiar with the matter told The Hill. The revelation that four of the seven memos included some sort of classified information “opens a new door of inquiry into whether classified information was mishandled, improperly stored or improperly shared,” it said. “This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election,” it added. Comey had called Clinton “extremely careless” for creating a private email server that stored classified information but did not recommend prosecution because he said there was no evidence of criminal intent. According to the report, congressional investigators have already begun examining whether Comey’s creation, storage, and sharing of the memos violated FBI policy. “Now, congressional investigators are likely to turn their attention to the same issues to determine if Comey mishandled any classified information in his personal memos,” it said. The report noted that the memos were shown to Congress in recent days. The report also said the FBI considers all of the memos to be “government documents,” contrary to Comey’s claim they were “personal documents.” “FBI policy forbids any agent from releasing classified information or any information from ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission, and mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property,” the report said. Comey admitted to senators last month that he leaked at least one memo to his friend Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and former prosecutor so that he could leak them to the New York Times. The memo he was referring to documented a conversation where Trump allegedly asked Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. He argued he did so as a “private citizen” and that these were his “personal documents.”

 

Trump travel ban: Supreme Court reinstates key parts of executive order

In a victory for the Trump administration, the Supreme Court on Monday lifted key components of an injunction against President Trump’s proposed ban on travel from six majority-Muslim nations, reinstating much of the policy and promising to hear full arguments as early as this fall. The court’s decision means the justices will now wade into the biggest legal controversy of the Trump administration — the president’s order temporarily restricting travel, which even Trump has termed a “travel ban.” “Today’s unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security,” Trump said in a statement. “…As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.” He added: “My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today’s ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation’s homeland.” The court made clear that a limited version of the policy can be enforced immediately with a full hearing to come in the Fall. “An American individual or entity that has a bona fide relationship with a particular person seeking to enter the country as a refugee can legitimately claim concrete hardship if that person is excluded,” the court wrote. “As to these individuals and entities, we do not disturb the injunction. But when it comes to refugees who lack any such connection to the United States, for the reasons we have set out, the balance tips in favor of the Government’s compelling need to provide for the Nation’s security.”

Excellent ruling!!  As we’ve been saying all along here at The Daily Buzz, the President has not only the statutory legal authority, but the constitutional authority to enact such a travel ban.  And, all of the lower appellate courts that denied that legal authority, did so for political reasons; NOT legal reasons.  And, they just got b_tch-slapped by the Supremes.  Be on the watch for all the hand-wringing by Democrats and the dominantly liberal mainstream media.  Excellent!!  🙂

Russian jet intercepts US bomber over Baltic Sea

A U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber flying a “routine mission” in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian jet on Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman said. The U.S. bomber was still up in the air Tuesday afternoon and the crew had not been debriefed about the incident, meaning it was not yet known exactly how close the Russian Su-27 fighter jet came to the U.S. plane, Capt. Jeff Davis said. The bomber was deployed to the U.K. from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana earlier this month, U.S. European Command told Fox News. The “vast majority” of Russian intercepts with U.S. forces are safe and professional, Davis said. But Tuesday’s intercept is just the latest example of aggressive Russian actions aimed at the U.S. military and homeland. In May, a pair of Russian Bear Bombers entered Alaska’s “air defense zone” escorted by two Russian jets. That instance followed several consecutive nights in April when Russian spy planes and bombers buzzed Alaskan airspace. In February, The Russian spy ship Viktor Leonov traversed the U.S. East Coast and approached a Navy submarine base in Connecticut. There have also been several instances of Russian jets buzzing Navy ships at sea. The U.S. bomber intercepted Tuesday arrived days ago in the region to take part in the annual Baltic training operation called “Baltops.” There are 14 allied countries participating in the annual military exercise which includes 6,000 personal, 50 aircraft, 56 ships and submarines. The exercise also includes live fire training. Some ships will be sailing from Poland to Germany.