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Why Russian Spies Really Like American Universities

Reprinted with permission from ProPublica.

Why Russian Spies Really Like American Universities

Under the alias Cynthia Murphy, Russian spy Lydia Guryeva attended Columbia Business School, and ingratiated herself with a key fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. Guryeva’s instructions from Moscow, according to a 2010 FBI complaint, were to “strengthen…ties w. classmates on daily basis incl. professors who can help in job search and who will have (or already have) access to secret info” and to report “on their detailed personal data and character traits w. preliminary conclusions about their potential (vulnerability) to be recruited by Service.”

Now another graduate student at an urban East Coast university, who similarly cultivated powerbrokers and political operatives, is accused of being a Russian spy and taking orders from high-ranking officials in her homeland. Maria Butina, who received a master’s degree in international relations this past spring from American University in Washington, D.C., courted the National Rifle Association’s top guns and sought access to Republican presidential candidates Scott Walker and Donald Trump. She pleaded innocent last week to charges of conspiring to act as a foreign agent.

If the charges against Butina are accurate, she’s only the latest in a long line of Russian agents to infiltrate U.S. universities. Dating back to the Soviet era, Russian spies have sought to take advantage of academia’s lax security, collaborative, global culture, and revolving door with government. Russian intelligence understands that today’s professor of international relations may be tomorrow’s assistant secretary of state, and vice versa. Although cyber-spying and hacking offer opportunities to glean secrets at less personal risk, the traditional strategies of human espionage persist, and sending a spy to school is prominent among them.

In that respect, little has changed since 1938, when Semyon Markovich Semyonov became the first Soviet agent to enroll at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and made contacts vital to stealing scientific secrets. Or since 1958, when KGB officer Oleg Kalugin entered Columbia’s journalism school. After graduation, posing as a Radio Moscow correspondent at the United Nations, Kalugin attended events at Columbia and reported back on them to Moscow. His report on a speech about U.S.-Soviet relations by Zbigniew Brzezinski, then a Columbia professor and later national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, earned kudos from the Communist Party’s Central Committee.



U.S. universities, ever-sensitive to their finances and global relationships, have largely ignored the threat of foreign espionage: They’re ramping up enrollment of full-paying international students as well as opening campuses abroad, which are often subsidized by the host countries. Columbia didn’t revoke Murphy’s diploma after she turned out to be a spy named Guryeva — though Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government did rescind the degree of another “illegal,” Andrey Bezrukov, who had posed as a Canadian named Donald Heathfield. Story declined to say whether, if Butina is convicted, the university will take away her degree.

Leader of the Persistence Elizabeth Warren's full-body fight to defeat Trump.

The Cut

By Rebecca Traister
Photographs by Andres Kudacki
JULY 22, 2018 9:05 PM

It was unremittingly hot at the farm in Natick, Massachusetts, where 1,500 people had gathered on the Sunday after the Fourth of July. Remarkably, this crowd had assembled under a blistering sun not for a free concert, or outdoor theater, or even a protest, exactly. They’d come for an open-air town hall with their sitting senator, a 69-year-old woman widely expected to win reelection to her second term this fall. Standing at the back of the sweaty throng, I’d seen her introduced from the stage, then heard cheers greeting her entrance, but couldn’t for the life of me lay eyes on her. Not until I climbed onto the seat of my folding chair in the press section. There she was, jogging 75 yards down a hill in open-toed mules, her aqua cardigan flying behind her.

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren is in constant motion. She often takes stages at a run, zigzagging around the edges of crowds, waving and giving high fives like Bruce Springsteen. Speaking to groups of supporters, she rocks on her feet, or rises to her tiptoes, with feeling; occasionally she tucks her mic under her arm to clap for herself or cuts the air in front of her with her flat palm. She’ll beat her chest for emphasis, speak so passionately that she gets winded, and throw a fist in the air as a symbol of defiance and determination. One afternoon in Nevada, perched on a punishingly high stool in front of several hundred people at a brewery, she kicked her feet out in front of her with such force that I feared she’d tip over backward.

Watching Warren this steamy summer as she works to move her party through the perilous wilderness of the Donald Trump administration, through the midterms and her own reelection to the Senate, and then perhaps toward a run for the presidency, she appears to have committed her whole body to the effort. Like if she stops moving, the whole world will end.

In recent months, she has hopped not just between Washington, D.C., and her home state but also to Reno and Las Vegas to campaign alongside a slate of Nevadan candidates; to Denver and Salt Lake City to fund-raise; to the Texas border to visit family-detention centers; to Iraq with Senator Lindsey Graham. Within an hour of Trump’s announcing his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace retiring justice Anthony Kennedy, she was striding purposefully toward the Supreme Court steps, where a knot of furious protesters gathered in the dark were bellowing, “Hell no, Kavanaugh! Hell no, Kavanaugh!”


Manchin to sit down with Kavanaugh next week

Source: Politico

By BURGESS EVERETT 07/23/2018 05:33 PM EDT Updated 07/23/2018 05:48 PM EDT

Brett Kavanaugh will meet with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) next week, signaling the Supreme Court nominee is beginning to woo Democrats in his confirmation bid.

Kavanaugh will meet with Manchin next Monday, according to a Manchin aide. Manchin is considered one of the Democrats most likely to back Kavanaugh, along with Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Those three red-state Democrats voted to confirm Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch last year.

Several other moderate Democrats are also angling to meet with Kavanaugh, even though Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has yet to meet with the nominee. A Heitkamp aide said she is working to set up a meeting with Kavanaugh but it hasn’t been finalized.

Typically rank and file members have waited for the party leader to secure a meeting with a Supreme Court nominee, though Schumer is already vowing to try to defeat Kavanaugh.

Read more: https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/23/manchin-kavanaugh-supreme-court-736246

November 2018 cannot get here fast enough.......................vote

Duck Boat Pulled from the Missouri Lake

Support For Roe V. Wade Reaches New Heights In NBC/WSJ Poll

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Matt Shuham | July 23, 2018 6:49 pm

Support for Roe v. Wade has reached a high point since the the Wall Street Journal and NBC News began asking about the decision in 2005, NBC News reported Monday.

Seventy-one percent of Americans are opposed to Roe being overturned, a record high since 2005, while just 23 percent say it should be overturned, a record low for the poll.

Eighty-eight percent of Democrats, 76 percent of independents and 52 percent of Republicans support Roe, according to the recent poll results.

Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and, potentially, the scale-tipping vote necessary to overturn Roe, has the support of 32 percent of Americans, according to the poll, compared to 26 percent who oppose his confirmation.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/support-for-roe-v-wade-reaches-new-heights-in-nbc-wsj-poll

Accidentally-released documents show Interior agency prioritized industry over public lands

Interior officials worked to bury benefits of national monuments in order to bolster fossil fuels and logging.

JUL 23, 2018, 3:59 PM

Documents released by the Department of the Interior — and then retracted a day later — reveal that agency officials dismissed evidence that public lands provide numerous benefits in favor of prioritizing fossil fuel interests, along with ranching and logging.

Thousands of emails sent between Interior Department officials last year dismissed the benefits of establishing National Monuments, the Washington Post first reported Monday, including evidence of an uptick in tourism and archaeological discoveries.

Under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the agency intentionally tailored a survey of protected sites, emphasizing instead the value of fossil fuel extraction and other industry endeavors.

The Interior Department released the documents last week in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, sending them to journalists and advocacy groups on July 16. The agency removed the communications a day later, saying they had been posted in error.



“The fact that the Trump administration places no value on the booming recreation economy that generates over $887 billion annually is no surprise to those of us who have been watching their shameful record of exploiting our public lands over the last two years,” said Cantwell.

Research has shown that counties around monuments often benefit economically and culturally after federal designation. But under Zinke, the Interior Department has worked to scale them back regardless, seemingly thanks to industry lobbying.

The Beltway news cycle is burying the horrifying details of the Ohio State sex abuse scandal

This is not actually a story about partisan politics, or Jim Jordan.

JUL 23, 2018, 12:57 PM

It’s been 20 days since reports first surfaced about Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) ignoring allegations of sexual abuse when he was an assistant coach for the Ohio State wrestling team. Because of the trumped-up nature of these modern times, most reporters who are tied to the political news cycle have moved on, resigned to the fact that Jordan will remain in his prominent leadership position within the Republican Party.

With each new revelation about Dr. Richard Strauss’s decades of abuse during his time as a team doctor at Ohio State, the story is framed in one of two ways: Either as “bad news for Jordan,” by those inclined to believe survivors, or as the work of the “deep state” by those on the far right.

But this is not a story about politics. And it is absolutely not a story that should be viewed through the distortion of a partisan lens.

Yes, Jordan should be held accountable for any abuse his silence helped enable. But if we don’t look at this story systematically, we’re missing the entire point.




New revelations about Maria Butina's funding shine light on why Russia targeted NRA

ThinkProgress talks to Mark Galeotti about oligarchs, infiltration, and the blurred line between lobbying and espionage.

JUL 23, 2018, 6:48 PM

One week after the Department of Justice laid out its official complaint against Maria Butina — namely, how the Russian national managed to build up a network of contacts in the Republican Party and National Rifle Association (NRA) alike — a number of questions remain. Who, for instance, is the unnamed second American who helped Butina coordinate her efforts? Which other Republicans did she manage to meet with? And what was Butina’s ultimate aim in cultivating her NRA contacts?

New revelations from the weekend brought an answer to one of these lingering questions. On Sunday, a person familiar with Butina’s testimony before Senate investigators told the Washington Post that she’d been financed by Russian billionaire Konstantin Nikolaev. A governmental document supporting Butina’s current detention noted evidence that Butina’s “Twitter messages, chat logs, and emails refer” to Nikolaev, whom Butina described as her “funder.”

Nikolaev, worth an estimated $1.2 billion, isn’t nearly as prominent as other Kremlin oligarchs — or even some of the so-called “minigarchs” attempting to climb into Russia’s upper crust — nor has he been on the receiving end of previous U.S. sanctions, despite revelations that he has worked closely elsewhere with Kremlin insiders like Arkady Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko. (For good measure, Nikolaev’s son, Andrey, worked as a volunteer with Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016.)

The news of Nikolaev’s role in Butina’s infiltration efforts, however, follows on the heels of other oligarch-linked revelations, ranging from a coup attempt in Montenegro to protests in Macedonia, funded or brain-stormed by Russian oligarchs.


Malcolm Nance refers to this in his new book...................

Rand Paul Wonders, Sans Evidence, If John Brennan Is 'Divulging Secrets' To Media

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Matt Shuham | July 23, 2018 12:26 pm

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wondered aloud Monday, without offering any evidence, whether former CIA Director John Brennan was using his security clearance to spill state secrets to media outlets.

Paul said he would ask President Donald Trump, frequently the target of Brennan’s criticisms, to revoke his security clearance.

Paul’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

Brennan, who served in various positions in the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations and is frequently the target of progressives’ criticism, has attacked Trump repeatedly in recent months.

Last week, he said Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,’” adding that it was “nothing short of treasonous.”

Paul unsuccessfully filibustered Brennan’s nomination to lead the CIA in 2013.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/rand-paul-wonders-sans-evidence-if-john-brennan-is-divulging-secrets-to-media

You do realize that what you are saying is that this man may be committing crime....................without any evidence.........

And have you for example wondered out loud why, one Jared Kusher can still not be given top secret clearance and others in the present white house staff....................why do think the reason is behind that ....................have you wondered about this out loud.........

November 2018 cannot get here fast enough....................we need paper ballots.....................vote

Trump Attempts To Calm Fears: 'I Gave Up NOTHING' To Putin

Source: Talking Points Memo

By Nicole Lafond | July 23, 2018 9:13 am

President Donald Trump on Monday morning attempted to combat reports of growing concerns about what Trump and Vladimir Putin discussed during their closed-door meeting a week ago.

“I gave up NOTHING” to Putin, he tweeted Monday calling reports on verbal agreements between the two parties “Fake News.”

Russia’s ambassador to the United States told the media in Moscow on Wednesday that Trump and Putin had reached several “verbal agreements” on weapons treaties and Syria, but U.S. officials are still scrambling to determine what those agreements might have been.

Putin also told the media over the weekend that he and Trump had discussed a referendum on Ukraine, which the White House swiftly denounced.

Read more: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-attempts-calm-fears-gave-putin-nothing

Okay zippy the traitor..............lets have a public hearing with the translator, that sat in with you and the fucking murder............problem solved...........................Adam Shiff and Eric Swalwell and Ted Lieu have it right......................

November 2018 cannot get here fast enough....................vote
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