Stories We’re Watching
It’s Bigger than Marriott: China Steps up Attacks on American Civilians
Earlier today US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed China’s role in the Marriott hack, which collected personal details of 500M guests. The accusation comes amid strained relations between the two countries over trade, the detention of a Chinese executive, and intellectual property theft. The hack started in 2014, the same year China hacked the US Office of Personnel Management to get security clearance data on tens of millions of US citizens and breached Anthem insurance, stealing data of 80 million people. Cybersecurity experts say that the Marriott attack was part of a broader Chinese intelligence operation to gain sensitive, personal data about American civilians. The Department of Justice is planning indictments against state-sponsored Chinese hackers.
- WIRED: If China Hacked Marriott, 2014 Marked a Full-on Assault
- New York Times: Marriott Data Breach Is Traced to Chinese Hackers as U.S. Readies Crackdown on Beijing
- Politico: Pompeo says China hacked Marriott
- Wall Street Journal: Senate Sifts Evidence of Chinese Cyberespionage
PM Theresa May Faces Vote of Confidence Today after Protracted Brexit Struggle
After a months-long protracted struggle to get support for her Brexit deal, Prime Minister Theresa May faced a vote of no-confidence from members of her own party earlier today. At issue are certain terms in the Brexit deal which concern the Northern Ireland backstop issue and customs border checkpoints. The UK is expected exit–deal or no deal—on March 29, 2019, less than four months away. Most of the difficulties have centered around the Northern Ireland backstop issue and customs border checkpoints.
- Vox: The no-confidence vote against Theresa May, explained
- Financial Times: What next for Brexit after Theresa May’s confidence vote?
- Bloomberg: Britain Gets a Second Brexit Referendum (by Proxy)
- Forbes: No One Ever Said Brexit Was Going to Be Easy
- BBC: Brexit: Irish election ruled out to avoid ‘London chaos’ spreading
President SHUTDOWN: President Trump Threatens Government Shutdown in Dramatic, Televised Pop-Up Office Meeting
Yesterday, President Trump held a dramatic, televised meeting in the Oval Office with House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The two congresspersons met with the president to inform him that he did not have enough congressional support to pass funding for a border wall, one of many campaign promises President Trump has made repeatedly. Instead of a border security solution, the meeting ended with the president agreeing to ‘take credit’ for a newly branded Trump Shutdown.
- Business Insider: Mike Pence stayed silent and looked uncomfortable
- NPR: Trump Threatens Government Shutdown Over Border Wall Funding
- Vox: How Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer got Trump to own a government shutdown
Are we all just part of Trump & Xi’s long con? Huawei Exec Granted $10M Bail, Trump Says He “Would Certainly Intervene” as he Praises China’s Soybean Purchases
Huawei’s global financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was granted $10M bail yesterday but still faces extradition to the US on charges of alleged Iran sanctions violations. Shortly after the bail hearing, President Trump said he would intervene in the DOJ case against Meng to secure a trade deal or to serve national security interests.Chinese state media have reported that trade talks between the US and China had resumed. Industry analysts have pinned market turmoil to uncertainty over the trade war truce reached by Presidents Trump and Xi 2 weeks ago. Analysts say that the ‘Huawei issue’ is about more than trade and intellectual property; instead, they point to the larger issues of US sanctions, Iran, and US dollar-denominated trade and finance.
- Bloomberg: Trump Says He Would Meet Xi Again, Hails China Soybean Purchases
- Reuters: China-based oil firm settles Iran sanctions violations, US says
- Telegraph: Huawei chief financial officer seeks bail on health grounds
- Financial Times: Donald Trump willing to intervene in Huawei CFO arrest case
Michael Cohen Sentenced to Three Years in Prison
Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal lawyer, has been sentenced by a federal judge to 36 months in prison for tax evasion, campaign-finance violations, and lying to Congress. Earlier this year, Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including violating campaign-finance laws by paying hush money to one of President Trump’s mistresses. He’s also been ordered to pay $500K in forfeiture and $1.4M in restitution. Tomorrow, Russian agent Maria Butina is expected to plead guilty to charges of conspiracy in a plea agreement. Analysts expect Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn’s sentences to follow early next year.
- New York Times: Michael Cohen Sentenced to 3 Years After Implicating Trump
- FiveThirtyEight: What Trump’s Attorney General Pick Could Mean For The Mueller
- VICE: Mike Flynn thinks the FBI tricked him into lying about Russia
- Lifehacker: Try Robert Mueller’s Party Hack at Your Next Gathering
Erdogan Announces Military Operation Against US-backed Syrian Kurds
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced a new military operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the US-backed Syrian Kurdish militia in Northern Syria. Turkey has labeled the YPG a terrorist organization and insists on a connection with Turkey’s own PKK, an outlaw Kurdish political party which has engaged in acts of domestic terror. Erdogan claims that the YPG is a threat to national security and has accused the forces of seizing hundreds of kilometers of along the Turkish-Syrian border. The US says that YPG is a critical ally in the fight against Daesh. Both Turkey and the US are members of NATO. Military analysts say the new operation builds on a larger Turkish campaign to oust the YPG from territory Turkey seeks to control.
- BBC: Syria war: Turkey warns of fresh anti-Kurd offensive in north
- Voice of America: Dozens Arrested in Raids on Kurdish Party Headquarters in Turkey
- Hurriyet Daily News: Turkey will launch new military operation in Syria
- The Jerusalem Post: US reaches out to Turkey to discuss eastern Syria
From Deep State Radio
ICYMI: THE MOST DANGEROUS MOMENT IN HALF A CENTURY: A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID SANGER
David Sanger of the New York Times discusses how the Trump Administration’s decision to pull out of the INF Treaty because of Russian non-compliance may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the unwinding of the foundational nuclear agreements of the past several decades. He describes why the INF was widely regarded as a successful agreement and why the rise of new powers may make it hard to put back together again. And then he discusses how its undoing might also lead to the end of the key ICBM-related treaty our countries have. And for good measure we chat about the latest in Trump-Russia and the oddity of a president who can’t seem to get anyone to accept what is often considered the second most powerful job in Washington. Tune in!
ICYMI: TRUMP MUST BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE: UNDERSTANDING THE SCOPE OF THE MOST SWEEPING HIGH LEVEL SCANDAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY
So, in the wake of today’s revelations via new court filings by federal prosecutors, we know this: Russian government representatives reached out to the Trump campaign in 2015 and undertook multiple initiatives and had multiple points and series of contacts with Team Trump for the next couple years.
It’s not just the Trump Tower meeting. It’s not just the interactions with Wikileaks. It’s not just the Russian ties to Cambridge Analytica. It’s not just Konstantin Kiliminik, a Russian agent working hand in hand with campaign chair Paul Manafort. CONTINUE