Month: May 2017

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British Airways passengers still facing long lines, cancellations after IT failure


Thousands of angry British Airways passengers on Sunday confronted long lines, confusion and canceled flights at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports as the airline worked to fix computer systems crippled by a massive global IT failure.

British Airways said Sunday that it was still working on the massive problem, which caused the airline to cancel all flights from the two London airports.

“Work continues to restore all of our IT systems, but we expect some further disruption today,” the airline said.

The airline said that it hoped to operate a “near normal schedule” at Gatwick and the “majority of services” from Heathrow on Sunday.

Saturday’s cancellations upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy holiday weekend.

The airline offered to refund or rebook customers affected by the problem.

The airline operates hundreds of flights from Heathrow and Gatwick on a typical day — and both are major hubs for worldwide travel.

Passengers — some of whom had spent the night at the airport — faced long lines to check in, re-book or find lost luggage on Sunday. Dozens more flights from Heathrow were canceled.

“Everyone is upset. There’s people in tears,” said Melanie Ware, who flew in from Los Angeles and was trying to get to Venice on her honeymoon.

“We rebooked for Venice for tonight, which they also have canceled now,” she told Sky News. “So we have no way of getting out of Heathrow and they haven’t compensated us for anything, and we’re stuck and this is the worst honeymoon ever.

“British Airways has ruined our honeymoon.”

Tonda Sallee, who was trying to fly to Frankfurt, said she been in line for five hours, “and we have no idea how long we’ll be in line. The rest of the day I’m sure, and we probably won’t fly out today either.”

Many passengers complained about a lack of information from the airline.

“Some 80-year-old lady was standing around waiting for announcements, et cetera, and she fell over,” said Londoner Terry Page, who managed to get on one of the last flights from Heathrow to Dallas-Fort Worth on Saturday. He and other passengers arrived, but their luggage did not.

“We helped her up and she said ‘I’m just so tired,'” Page said. “It’s been a terrible, terrible day.”

A British Airways official told Fox News Saturday there was “absolutely no evidence” a cyberattack caused the global IT failurer.

BA passengers were hit with severe delays in July and September 2016 because of problems with the airline’s online check-in systems.

BA has not said what is causing the computer problem, but says it is working to resolve it as quickly as possible.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Dixon has pole, Alonso has spotlight for wide-open Indy 500 – Starting lineup for the 2017 Indianapolis 500 – What time does the Indianapolis 500 start?


One of IndyCar’s all-time greats will lead the field to green at the Indianapolis 500.

All eyes, though, will be one row behind Scott Dixon as Fernando Alonso makes his debut in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Alonso has never raced on an oval before, never raced an Indy car and hasn’t done a rolling start in 20 years — and that was in a go-kart.

So, yeah, Alonso lingered long after all the other competitors in the final driver meeting before Sunday’s race. The two-time Formula One champion peppered race director Brian Barnhart with questions for a solid 15 minutes before riding off through Gasoline Alley on his skateboard .

He’s as ready as he can possibly be, and ranked fifth — the fastest rookie — on the speed chart during the final day of practice. Alonso has enjoyed every minute at Indy , but he’s not letting the hype around his quest to win racing’s version of the Triple Crown — he’s already won at Monaco in F1 and would like to someday run Le Mans — distract him from his mission.

“There is still no emotion. Until Monday, there are no emotions allowed to enter your mind,” Alonso said. “The mind is so focused on the race. There is no space for the emotions right now.”

That’s the intensity it will take to win the 101st running of the Indy 500. Still, it is Dixon who should be the favorite to win.

The New Zealander had the fastest qualifying effort in 21 years to win the pole, and he’d like to drink the victor’s milk for the second time. Dixon won this race in 2008, he’s a four-time series champion and ranks fourth on the career win list behind only A.J. Foyt, Mario and Michael Andretti.

“In my generation, he’s the best,” said Tony Kanaan, the 2013 winner of the Indy 500 and Dixon’s teammate.

It doesn’t hurt that Dixon this year is in a Honda, which has dominated the buildup to Sunday over rival Chevrolet. The Chevy camp — particularly Team Penske — has been dramatically overshadowed so far but finally showed better speed Friday. Three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves, veteran of the Penske camp, was fastest on Carb Day .

“We keep working, digging, obviously finding a way,” Castroneves said. “We’re going to fight extremely hard out there and showing a little bit of speed certainly. We’re going for the big one on Sunday.”

Team Penske has four of the top five drivers in the IndyCar standings, has won the last three races of the season and added two-time 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya to its lineup.

Still, a win by a Chevy driver might be considered an upset based on how strong Honda has been. Although reliability on the Honda engines has been spotty — James Hinchcliffe had a failure during Friday’s practice — the speed is there and Honda won last year with Alexander Rossi, a rookie who coasted across the finish line on fumes.

Rossi is part of the massive effort from Andretti Autosport, which expanded to six cars when it took on Alonso last month. Most teams might have flinched at taking on such a heavy workload for the biggest race of the year, but the Andretti camp did not back down.

“It has to make sense from a business standpoint,” said Marco Andretti, son of the team owner and a driver eager to win his first Indy 500. “At first I was like, ‘Man, six cars?’ Then I found out who it was, and I was like, ‘Well, we have to do that.’ It’s a lot for the team. But it’s all good things, man. It’s good for the sport.”

There has certainly been a buzz around the Brickyard for Alonso, and worldwide television ratings should get a significant boost. IndyCar drivers are smart enough to understand that Alonso is good for all of them now.

With no clear favorite, questions about Honda’s reliability, Penske’s power and Alonso’s lack of experience in this race, there could be a surprise winner in a race Roger Penske believes could be even more exciting than last year’s historic 100th running.

Kanaan, a driver who had his heart broken repeatedly at Indy before his breakthrough victory four years ago, can’t predict what might happen.

“The track is a she, first of all, and she picks the winner,” Kanaan said. “I mean, look how many chances I had, not just me, but good drivers, led races. We can make a list of people who should have won this race, and then all of a sudden something happens.

“That’s why every time I drive into the track, I say, “Hello, beauty” and kind of kiss the asphalt, don’t do burnouts in the parking lot, and try to treat her nice. Every time I get to the track, I just give her a little French kiss.”



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Allman tried to keep playing music until the end, manager says


As Greg Allman neared the end of his life, he tried to maintain some privacy about what was coming.

“He kept it very private because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn’t,” said Michael Lehman, the rock star’s manager.

Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel The Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday at his home near Savannah, Georgia, at age 69, Lehman said.

Allman died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones Lehman, told The Associated Press.

He blamed liver cancer for Allman’s death.He announced on Aug. 5 that he was “under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic” due to “serious health issues,” and canceled his shows later that year. In March, he canceled performances for the rest of 2017.

Funeral arrangements had not been finalized Saturday. But Lehman said Allman would be buried alongside his late brother, founding Allman Brothers guitarist Duane Allman, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, where the band got its start nearly five decades ago.

“That’s in his wishes,” Lehman said.

Tributes to Allman poured out Saturday.

Southern rock and country musician Charlie Daniels said via Twitter, “Gregg Allman had a feeling for the blues very few ever have hard to believe that magnificent voice is stilled forever.”

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Allman was raised in Florida by a single mother. Allman idolized his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band.

The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky, blues-inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as “Whipping Post,” ”Ramblin’ Man” and “Midnight Rider” helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

In his 2012 memoir, “My Cross to Bear,” Allman described how Duane was a central figure in his life in the years after their father was murdered by a man he met in a bar. Although Gregg was the first to pick up a guitar, it was Duane who excelled at it. So Gregg later switched to the organ.

They failed to crack success until they formed The Allman Brothers Band in 1969. Based in Macon, the group featured Betts, drummers Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks and bassist Berry Oakley.

Their self-titled debut album came out in 1969, but it was their live album “At Fillmore East” in 1971 that catapulted the band to stardom. Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, just months after recording the Fillmore shows. Another motorcycle accident the following year claimed Oakley’s life.

In a 2012 interview with The Associated Press, Gregg Allman said Duane remained on his mind every day. Once in a while, he could even feel his presence.

“I can tell when he’s there, man,” Allman said. “I’m not going to get all cosmic on you. But listen, he’s there.”

The 1970s brought more turmoil: Allman was compelled to testify in a drug case against a former road manager for the band and his marriage to the actress and singer Cher was short-lived even by show business standards.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later.

Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name “Allman and Woman.” They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977.

Cher said via Twitter on Saturday, “IVE TRIED.WORDS ARE IMPOSSIBLE.”

The Allman Brothers Band split up in the 1980s and then re-formed several times over the years.

Starting in 1990, the reunited band began releasing new music and found a new audience. In 1995 the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and won a Grammy Award for best rock instrumental performance for “Jessica” the following year.

In 2000, Betts was ousted from the band via fax for alleged substance abuse and poor performance. Butch Trucks died in January 2017. Authorities said he shot himself in front of his wife at their Florida home.

Lehman said Allman had recently finished what would be his final album, titled Southern Blood and scheduled for release in September.

“He actually just listened to a few tracks of it last night and was really passionate and excited for that record to be complete,” Lehman said.

In his memoir, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s. He said that after getting sober, he felt “brand new” at the age of 50. However, he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010.

The statement on Allman’s website says that as he faced health problems, “Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul. Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.

“After the surgery, he turned music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years “Low Country Blues” in 2011.”I think it’s because you’re doing something you love,” Allman said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press.

“I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You’ve been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you’re just totally engulfed.”

The band was honored with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.



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Suspect in Utah armed robbery spree caught after cop spots him during doughnut stop


After a string of robberies at several stores along Fort Union Boulevard in Cottonwood Heights, police arrested their suspect Saturday morning.

Police said 18-year-old Zane James is suspected of multiple armed robberies.

The most recent was at a Subway sandwich shop Friday morning near 23rd East, but that was not the first robbery in which James is suspect. Police also believe he hit a GameStop and World Market in the same area.

Every time, he was caught on camera.

“Well it’s very rewarding, especially for the officers involved,” said Lt. Mark Askerlund with Cottonwood Heights Police Department. “We’ve had a handful of detectives that have been working day and night trying to catch this individual, because he’s so prolific. He has struck so many times.”

Related stories…

The break in the case was when an officer walked into Dan’s Fresh Market on Fort Union Boulevard Saturday morning to buy doughnuts for other officers on duty. Lt. Askerlund said as that officer walked in, James was walking out. The officer immediately recognized James, called for backup, and James was arrested without incident.

“It`s a big relief for us,” Askerlund said. “It’s a big relief for the victim businesses and their employees who have been traumatized. So it feels good to get him off the street.”

Read more from FOX 13 Now.



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French hostage released after kidnapping in Congo


The French president’s office has announced the release of a French hostage kidnapped on March 1 in Congo.

The brief two-sentence statement Sunday said the hostage-taking took place in the east of the central African nation, but gave no other details.

It said French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated those involved in the release, “in particular Congo authorities for their mobilization and the effectiveness of their action.”

Related stories…

The French hostage was among five workers, including Congolese and a Tanzanian, kidnapped from a gold mine operated by Canadian company Banro Mining Corp.



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Free iPhones — with a catch


As the battle for cell phone subscribers wage on between the carriers, T-Mobile has added another arrow to its quiver, encouraging Verizon customers who have an iPhone to switch networks.

As part of a new promotion starting May 31, any Verizon customer with an iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, or iPhone SE can bring their phone to a T-Mobile store and the phone will be paid off by T-Mobile. The deal is also good for Google Pixel smartphones as well.

However, Verizon customers are required to pay $15 a month for T-Mobile’s Premium Device Protection Plus insurance program. The insurance program protects the iPhone from loss, theft or damage.

The offer is only available in the U.S. and customers will get the remaining amount owed on their iPhones in a digital prepaid MasterCard in approximately 15 days after they trade in their device.

T-MOBILE’S CEO IS TROLLING VERIZON ON TWITTER AFTER ITS EARNINGS MISS

“After desperately launching unlimited, Verizon’s network choked—while our network speeds surged. Today, T-Mobile has a whopping 23% speed advantage over Verizon,” said T-Mobile CEO Legere in a statement. “So, to kick off summer, we’re going BIG right out of the gate and throwing a lifeline to millions of Verizon customers. Now, you can ditch Verizon, keep your phone, and we’ll even pay it off for you!”

Analysts believe the new marketing initiative, for which T-Mobile and Legere have become known for, will keep Verizon on the defensive and may be a precursor to other announcements.

Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson said the deal applies to Verizon because of how similar Verizon’s network is to T-Mobile’s network.

“It also helps that Verizon is doing a little better lately competitively since reintroducing unlimited services – it turned around its postpaid phone net add trend in Q1 after the move – and so T-Mobile may feel it needs to get more aggressive to redress the balance and keep its positive porting ratio versus Verizon going,” Dawson said on his Tech Narratives website.

Dawson added that T-Mobile is likely to introduce “other announcements like this over the next few weeks.”

Legere has often poked fun at his larger competitors, as they lose subscribers to T-Mobile, which has been aggressive in acquiring new subscribers through its marketing tactics.

In April, Legere needled the New York-based Verizon on Twitter after the company reported first-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street estimates. It also said retail postpaid subscribers — the most lucrative for a telecom — fell by 307,000 during the period, including 289,000 phone losses.



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Massachusetts girl holds lemonade stand to save town library


One little girl is hoping a cup of lemonade will help keep the doors open at her town library.

Mia MaGuire spent Saturday afternoon selling lemonade outside the Berkley Public Library.

There’s a budget shortfall at the library and to balance the town budget, it may have to close by the end of the year.

Once Mia heard that, she knew something had to be done.

“I’m raising money because the library might close because there’s not enough money. So, we’re donating money and giving it to the library,” said Mia.

Read more from Boston 25 News.



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Parents call on California school to 'do something' after daughter filmed urinating


The parents of a 16-year-old girl who was filmed urinating in a bathroom stall say officials at a California high school aren’t doing enough to punish the perpetrator who received a three-day suspension after she admitted to posting the video on social media.

The 17-year-old girl, a star athlete at San Ramon Valley High School in Danville, was arrested but allowed to return to school the next day, remain on her team and participate in a championship game, The East Bay Times reported.

The victim’s mom, Denise Lynch, accused school district officials of failing to properly respond to the incident by allowing the girl stay in the school. She said her daughter’s grades dropped and that she is suffering emotionally by having to face her tormentor at school.

“When it is reported to you, you do nothing, you minimize it, you sweep it under the rug,” Lynch told board members at a meeting Tuesday.

“Had my daughter not told us . or God forbid killed herself, everyone would be asking themselves: ‘What more could have been done?’ Now is the time to do something,” her husband Sean Lynch said.

The Lynches found out about the video when it was posted on Instagram in April, months after it was filmed in November by a cellphone from under a bathroom stall.

A San Ramon Valley Unified School District spokeswoman declined to discuss the district’s response to the incident, citing student privacy. She said police reported the incident to school officials, who investigated it and took disciplinary action.

In general, “the district uses progressive discipline, meaning that the type of discipline may in part depend on a student’s past behavioral history. We are also increasingly using restorative practices when possible,” Elizabeth Graswich said.

The girl was arrested and cited for invasion of privacy, which is a misdemeanor, Danville police spokesman Geoff Gillette said. Her case will be reviewed by the Contra Costa County Juvenile Probation Department, he said.



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Manchester terror attack: UK police release images of concert suicide bomber – TERROR SUSPECTS: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR


British police on Saturday released surveillance-camera images of the Manchester concert bomber on the night of the attack and asked the public for more information on his whereabouts leading up to bombing.

The photos released by police show attacker Salman Abedi on the night of the bombing, wearing sneakers, jeans, a dark jacket and a baseball cap. The straps of a knapsack are visible on his shoulders.

Greater Manchester Police chief Ian Hopkins and Neil Basu, the national coordinator of counterterrorism policing, urged people to contact police if they had information about Abedi’s movements between May 18 and Monday night.

“In the past five days, we have gathered significant information about Abedi, his associates, his finances, the places he had been, how the device was built and the wider conspiracy,” they said in a statement.

“Our priorities are to understand the run-up to this terrible event and to understand if more people were involved in planning this attack.”

Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, died in the explosion, which killed 22 others and wounded nearly 120 as crowds were leaving an Ariana Grande concert.

Police said Saturday he returned to Britain before the attack. His father has said Abedi was in Libya until earlier this month and had told family he had planned to go to Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage.

Police say they think Abedi assembled his bomb at a rented apartment in central Manchester that was raided by officers Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said “a significant amount of police activity” and several arrests had led to the level being lowered. But she urged Britons to remain vigilant and said soldiers would remain at high-profile sites throughout the weekend, and start reducing their presence beginning Tuesday.

A severe threat still means an attack is “highly likely,” according to the scale set by Britain’s Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain’s top counterterrorism police officer, said authorities have dismantled a “large part” of the network around the bomber.

But Rowley said there were still “gaps in our understanding” of the plot, as investigators probed Abedi’s potential links to jihadis in Britain, Europe, Libya and the Middle East.

“There will be more arrests and there will be more searches,” he said.

Police made two more arrests in Manchester on Saturday on suspicion of terrorism offenses, bringing the number of suspects in custody to 11. All are men, aged between 18 and 44. In addition, Abedi’s father and younger brother were detained in Libya.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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Democrats and Islamists Share the Edge of the Cliff


It was an amusing tell last week when Democrat demagogue Maxine Waters conceded it would have been fine if Hillary had been elected and fired James Comey, because he deserved it, but it was improper for President Trump to have done so. It’s less easy to dismiss the blow to the rule of law and our constitution that the Fourth Circuit dealt this week when in a lengthy opinion they said the same thing about the travel moratorium: Okay if a Democrat did it, not okay if Trump did. This will head to the Supreme Court, which unless it decides we are to become a banana republic where decisions are based on the political appetites of the judiciary instead of the law, it will be overturned. If you like this opinion — that is, to say if you are a Democrat — remember the political tilt of the federal judiciary is in the process of being altered and this precedent will work against you.

2. The Democrats’ Quixotic Effort to Create “Referenda on Trump” Fails Again

In the face of declining support in federal and state elections countrywide, the geniuses in the DNC decided on a strategy seeking to pick up seats in special elections. These elections usually involve low voter interest and turnout, and the DNC reasoned if they pumped millions into these elections they could pick up seats. Their media buddies prophesied each time that this election was going to be a “referendum on Trump.” If so, he’s continued to beat them time after time. This week it was Greg Gianforte who crushed their designated banner bearer. And he won despite a last-minute effort by a notorious political hack and provocateur; Ben Jacobs, previously with the Daily Beast, now sporting UK Guardian press credentials.

3. The President’s Splendid Foreign Adventure

Nancy Pelosi was critical of the President’s first foreign trip which began in Saudi Arabia, continued on to Israel, the Vatican City, Belgium, and Italy because it wasn’t done in “alphabetical” order. 

I am linking to the transcripts of his Saudi Arabian and Israel speeches. I urge you to read them in their entirety. If you read accounts of them in your paper or viewed them on television you will be in the dark about the earth-shattering shift in U.S. policy and the clarity this president brings to the issue of Moslem extremism and how to crush it, something distorted and concealed for at least the previous eight years of his successor and even longer in the Deep State with its Arabist slant. Compare the text, for example, with these reporters’ tweets:

Jim Acosta [CNN]@Acosta


Trump rightly asked this part of world to stiffen spine in battle against terrorism. But where was the appeal to our collective humanity?


Julie Pace‏[AP] Verified account @jpaceDC

Trump lavishes praise on “magnificent” Saudi Arabia, but stays publicly silent on human rights 

When Bob Schieffer ventured praise for Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia, the CNN host accused him of “normalizing” the president. Can’t have that on CNN apparently.

If you hope to have any understanding of what this president has to say you must simply go online and read the transcripts or watch the full video recordings. There are no reliable shortcuts, I’m afraid.

The press, doubtless hoping the President would fail, did cover the Saudi trip. When it was obvious he did not bomb, but rather acquitted himself brilliantly, they cut short coverage of the Israeli portion of the trip . Why did they do this selective coverage? As my online friend Tom Lipscomb sagely observes: “The Dems only believe what is real is restricted to what is covered by their press outlets.” Obviously, they decided he was dashing their predictions and so decided that to cover the trip in depth would only underscore their error.

4. The Massive Illegal surveillance of Americans and the Justifiable dismissal of James Comey

Honest and full coverage of the foreign trip was not the only major event airbrushed by the media this week. Several online publications fill in the blanks about the massive, illegal surveillance conducted by the Obama administration over the eight years he was in office and the deceptive, partisan, and incompetent administration of the FBI under Comey.

If you hope to understand the massive, illegal surveillance and weaponizing of intelligence against citizens by the Obama administration, you need to read three online sources, Circa, Sharyl Attkisson and National Review.

This week Circa revealed that on October 26, just weeks before the election, the Obama administration finally revealed to the FISA Court it had been ordering illegal NSA searches of Americans for years:

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.


More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.


The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.


The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.


The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

You can check the accuracy of Circa’s summation by reading the FISA court opinion. 

Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS, has prepared an extensive timeline of the Obama administration’s surveillance and weaponizing of intercepted intelligence against opponents, reporters, and even Congress. There was a consistent pattern of surveilling and leaking information about anyone who opposed anything the administration did and punishing severely whistleblowers and reporters who tried to report wrongdoing.  

It began on April 2009 within three months of Obama’s inauguration with the leaking of a conversation Congresswoman Jane Harmon with pro-Israeli lobbyists. It grew to include FBI contractor Shamai Leibowitz, “Tea Party” and “patriot” applicants for special status with the IRS, Fox news reporter James Rosen, Sharyl Attkisson herself, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Fox news reporter Mike Levine, ATF whistleblower John Dodson, CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, journalists from the AP and New York Times, reporter Audrey Hudson, Senate intelligence Committee computers, Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and  lawmakers and Jewish groups opposed to the Iran “deal.”

It was, Attkisson notes, not until this month that we learned from Circa that during the past election year 2016: ”the Obama administration vastly expanded the searches of NSA database for Americans and the content of their emails and phone calls: From 9500 searches involving 198 Americans in 2013 to 30,355 searches of 5,288 Americans in 2016.”

Circa followed up its first account with yet another — this one about how the FBI illegally shared the raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties. 

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now under new management with President Donald Trump, confirms that the 654 unmaskings reported last year for fiscal 2015 was underreported by a factor of more than three times. The correct number was actually 2,232.


So how does an agency entrusted with producing some of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence and secrets get its math so mixed up? Apparently, it was a case of providing statistics from the wrong category. [/snip] “Transparency isn’t any good if the numbers you expose aren’t correct. And there seems to have been a lot of downplaying of unmaskings so I think this a question worth exploring. Who approved the inaccurate number and was it an innocent mistake or part of a larger pattern,” said a congressional aide directly involved in the investigations, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not approved to talk to reporters.


Republicans want to question former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who originally denied know about any unmasking of identities of Trump campaign associates. But after Circa reported she had in fact requested or read several intelligence reports with the names of Trump associates unmasked, Rice reversed course and acknowledged she had done so but insisted her intentions were national security related and not political.


Rice turned down a request to testify before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing earlier this week. But expect GOP investigators to keep up their pursuit to put her under oath.


The NSA is allowed under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on foreign powers without a court warrant but the law prohibits the targeting of Americans for such surveillance. If the NSA accidentally intercepts Americans or information about them overseas, it is supposed to legally put the information in a virtual lock box.


Circa also has asked the Trump administration to declassify and make public the total number of times Americans in sensitive jobs like Congress, presidential campaigns, journalism, the medical profession, the legal profession and the federal judiciary either had their names searched in the NSA database or their names unmasked in NSA intelligence reports. 

After explaining the legal and technical aspects of NSA data collection and the handling of intercepted communications under the law, Andrew C. McCarthy looks at these disclosures and notes they create a new legacy for Obama:

The rules from 2011 forward were simple: Do not use American identifiers. Yet NSA used them — not once or twice because some new technician didn’t know better. This violation of law was routine and extensive, known and concealed. Clearly, this new scandal must be considered in context. The NSA says it does not share raw upstream collection data with any other intelligence agency. But that data is refined into reports. To the extent the data collected has increased the number of Americans whose activities make it into reports, it has simultaneously increased the opportunities for unmasking American identities. Other reporting indicates that there was a significant uptick in unmasking incidents in the latter years of the Obama administration. More officials were given unmasking authority. At the same time, President Obama loosened restrictions to allow wider access to raw intelligence collection and wider dissemination of intelligence reports. This geometrically increased the likelihood that classified information would be leaked — as did the Obama administration’s encouragement to Congress to demand disclosure of intelligence related to the Trump campaign (the purported Trump–Russia connection). And of course, there has been a stunning amount of leaking of classified information to the media. Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries.Quite the Obama legacy. 

5. Conrad Black explains why he believes the Comey firing will prove to be a decisive victory for Trump and why the “resistance” is in its death throes

Like me, he thinks Comey’s donning the mantle of an electoral college of one was a huge mistake and predicts the democrats are heading for the last round-up:

While Mueller and McCabe sort out the facts, the Supreme Court will toss out the attention-seeking antics of the West Coast flake-judges who gained their fleeting moment of gimcrack fame by challenging the president’s clear authority over immigration. The Democrats’ policy of obstruction will come crashing to ground, and the commentariat and White House press corps who are the real opposition now, will be afflicted by chronic glottal stops. The president will put through his health care and tax reforms and drive on. And the honeymoon, to which all incoming holders of great office are entitled, will finally begin.


While the Clintons and Obamas wait to see if they are in danger of indictment, with no one of either family to lead the Democrats for the first time in 25 years, the once loyal opposition have sown and they shall reap. The president has evident draw-backs, but he is trying to do what he was elected to do. Trump’s enemies right now are an abominable mélange of snobbery, hypocrisy, and psychopathic partisanship. They will be weighed in the balance and they will be found wanting. 

Like the Islamists who think they have supremacy over the Abrahamic religions which preceded them, the Democrats who imagined themselves to be the vanguard of an inevitable march of history have reached the edge of the cliff and Trump is there to kick them off it into the abyss. 

This has been such a newsworthy week that I will deal only briefly with a few items which normally would be column-worthy so I can concentrate on the blow to the Democrats and Jihadists by the President this week and the revelations about the Obama administration’s police-state tactics. 

1.The Fourth Circuit Applies the Maxine Waters Doctrine on the Law

It was an amusing tell last week when Democrat demagogue Maxine Waters conceded it would have been fine if Hillary had been elected and fired James Comey, because he deserved it, but it was improper for President Trump to have done so. It’s less easy to dismiss the blow to the rule of law and our constitution that the Fourth Circuit dealt this week when in a lengthy opinion they said the same thing about the travel moratorium: Okay if a Democrat did it, not okay if Trump did. This will head to the Supreme Court, which unless it decides we are to become a banana republic where decisions are based on the political appetites of the judiciary instead of the law, it will be overturned. If you like this opinion — that is, to say if you are a Democrat — remember the political tilt of the federal judiciary is in the process of being altered and this precedent will work against you.

2. The Democrats’ Quixotic Effort to Create “Referenda on Trump” Fails Again

In the face of declining support in federal and state elections countrywide, the geniuses in the DNC decided on a strategy seeking to pick up seats in special elections. These elections usually involve low voter interest and turnout, and the DNC reasoned if they pumped millions into these elections they could pick up seats. Their media buddies prophesied each time that this election was going to be a “referendum on Trump.” If so, he’s continued to beat them time after time. This week it was Greg Gianforte who crushed their designated banner bearer. And he won despite a last-minute effort by a notorious political hack and provocateur; Ben Jacobs, previously with the Daily Beast, now sporting UK Guardian press credentials.

3. The President’s Splendid Foreign Adventure

Nancy Pelosi was critical of the President’s first foreign trip which began in Saudi Arabia, continued on to Israel, the Vatican City, Belgium, and Italy because it wasn’t done in “alphabetical” order. 

I am linking to the transcripts of his Saudi Arabian and Israel speeches. I urge you to read them in their entirety. If you read accounts of them in your paper or viewed them on television you will be in the dark about the earth-shattering shift in U.S. policy and the clarity this president brings to the issue of Moslem extremism and how to crush it, something distorted and concealed for at least the previous eight years of his successor and even longer in the Deep State with its Arabist slant. Compare the text, for example, with these reporters’ tweets:

Jim Acosta [CNN]@Acosta


Trump rightly asked this part of world to stiffen spine in battle against terrorism. But where was the appeal to our collective humanity?


Julie Pace‏[AP] Verified account @jpaceDC

Trump lavishes praise on “magnificent” Saudi Arabia, but stays publicly silent on human rights 

When Bob Schieffer ventured praise for Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia, the CNN host accused him of “normalizing” the president. Can’t have that on CNN apparently.

If you hope to have any understanding of what this president has to say you must simply go online and read the transcripts or watch the full video recordings. There are no reliable shortcuts, I’m afraid.

The press, doubtless hoping the President would fail, did cover the Saudi trip. When it was obvious he did not bomb, but rather acquitted himself brilliantly, they cut short coverage of the Israeli portion of the trip . Why did they do this selective coverage? As my online friend Tom Lipscomb sagely observes: “The Dems only believe what is real is restricted to what is covered by their press outlets.” Obviously, they decided he was dashing their predictions and so decided that to cover the trip in depth would only underscore their error.

4. The Massive Illegal surveillance of Americans and the Justifiable dismissal of James Comey

Honest and full coverage of the foreign trip was not the only major event airbrushed by the media this week. Several online publications fill in the blanks about the massive, illegal surveillance conducted by the Obama administration over the eight years he was in office and the deceptive, partisan, and incompetent administration of the FBI under Comey.

If you hope to understand the massive, illegal surveillance and weaponizing of intelligence against citizens by the Obama administration, you need to read three online sources, Circa, Sharyl Attkisson and National Review.

This week Circa revealed that on October 26, just weeks before the election, the Obama administration finally revealed to the FISA Court it had been ordering illegal NSA searches of Americans for years:

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.


More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.


The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.


The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.


The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

You can check the accuracy of Circa’s summation by reading the FISA court opinion. 

Sharyl Attkisson, formerly of CBS, has prepared an extensive timeline of the Obama administration’s surveillance and weaponizing of intercepted intelligence against opponents, reporters, and even Congress. There was a consistent pattern of surveilling and leaking information about anyone who opposed anything the administration did and punishing severely whistleblowers and reporters who tried to report wrongdoing.  

It began on April 2009 within three months of Obama’s inauguration with the leaking of a conversation Congresswoman Jane Harmon with pro-Israeli lobbyists. It grew to include FBI contractor Shamai Leibowitz, “Tea Party” and “patriot” applicants for special status with the IRS, Fox news reporter James Rosen, Sharyl Attkisson herself, former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Fox news reporter Mike Levine, ATF whistleblower John Dodson, CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, journalists from the AP and New York Times, reporter Audrey Hudson, Senate intelligence Committee computers, Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Carter Page, and  lawmakers and Jewish groups opposed to the Iran “deal.”

It was, Attkisson notes, not until this month that we learned from Circa that during the past election year 2016: ”the Obama administration vastly expanded the searches of NSA database for Americans and the content of their emails and phone calls: From 9500 searches involving 198 Americans in 2013 to 30,355 searches of 5,288 Americans in 2016.”

Circa followed up its first account with yet another — this one about how the FBI illegally shared the raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties. 

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now under new management with President Donald Trump, confirms that the 654 unmaskings reported last year for fiscal 2015 was underreported by a factor of more than three times. The correct number was actually 2,232.


So how does an agency entrusted with producing some of the nation’s most sensitive intelligence and secrets get its math so mixed up? Apparently, it was a case of providing statistics from the wrong category. [/snip] “Transparency isn’t any good if the numbers you expose aren’t correct. And there seems to have been a lot of downplaying of unmaskings so I think this a question worth exploring. Who approved the inaccurate number and was it an innocent mistake or part of a larger pattern,” said a congressional aide directly involved in the investigations, speaking only on condition of anonymity because they were not approved to talk to reporters.


Republicans want to question former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who originally denied know about any unmasking of identities of Trump campaign associates. But after Circa reported she had in fact requested or read several intelligence reports with the names of Trump associates unmasked, Rice reversed course and acknowledged she had done so but insisted her intentions were national security related and not political.


Rice turned down a request to testify before a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing earlier this week. But expect GOP investigators to keep up their pursuit to put her under oath.


The NSA is allowed under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on foreign powers without a court warrant but the law prohibits the targeting of Americans for such surveillance. If the NSA accidentally intercepts Americans or information about them overseas, it is supposed to legally put the information in a virtual lock box.


Circa also has asked the Trump administration to declassify and make public the total number of times Americans in sensitive jobs like Congress, presidential campaigns, journalism, the medical profession, the legal profession and the federal judiciary either had their names searched in the NSA database or their names unmasked in NSA intelligence reports. 

After explaining the legal and technical aspects of NSA data collection and the handling of intercepted communications under the law, Andrew C. McCarthy looks at these disclosures and notes they create a new legacy for Obama:

The rules from 2011 forward were simple: Do not use American identifiers. Yet NSA used them — not once or twice because some new technician didn’t know better. This violation of law was routine and extensive, known and concealed. Clearly, this new scandal must be considered in context. The NSA says it does not share raw upstream collection data with any other intelligence agency. But that data is refined into reports. To the extent the data collected has increased the number of Americans whose activities make it into reports, it has simultaneously increased the opportunities for unmasking American identities. Other reporting indicates that there was a significant uptick in unmasking incidents in the latter years of the Obama administration. More officials were given unmasking authority. At the same time, President Obama loosened restrictions to allow wider access to raw intelligence collection and wider dissemination of intelligence reports. This geometrically increased the likelihood that classified information would be leaked — as did the Obama administration’s encouragement to Congress to demand disclosure of intelligence related to the Trump campaign (the purported Trump–Russia connection). And of course, there has been a stunning amount of leaking of classified information to the media. Enabling of domestic spying, contemptuous disregard of court-ordered minimization procedures (procedures the Obama administration itself proposed, then violated), and unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence to feed a media campaign against political adversaries.Quite the Obama legacy. 

5. Conrad Black explains why he believes the Comey firing will prove to be a decisive victory for Trump and why the “resistance” is in its death throes

Like me, he thinks Comey’s donning the mantle of an electoral college of one was a huge mistake and predicts the democrats are heading for the last round-up:

While Mueller and McCabe sort out the facts, the Supreme Court will toss out the attention-seeking antics of the West Coast flake-judges who gained their fleeting moment of gimcrack fame by challenging the president’s clear authority over immigration. The Democrats’ policy of obstruction will come crashing to ground, and the commentariat and White House press corps who are the real opposition now, will be afflicted by chronic glottal stops. The president will put through his health care and tax reforms and drive on. And the honeymoon, to which all incoming holders of great office are entitled, will finally begin.


While the Clintons and Obamas wait to see if they are in danger of indictment, with no one of either family to lead the Democrats for the first time in 25 years, the once loyal opposition have sown and they shall reap. The president has evident draw-backs, but he is trying to do what he was elected to do. Trump’s enemies right now are an abominable mélange of snobbery, hypocrisy, and psychopathic partisanship. They will be weighed in the balance and they will be found wanting. 

Like the Islamists who think they have supremacy over the Abrahamic religions which preceded them, the Democrats who imagined themselves to be the vanguard of an inevitable march of history have reached the edge of the cliff and Trump is there to kick them off it into the abyss. 



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