U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump on North Korea and Iran – By Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger – The New York Times

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By Julian E. Barnes and David E. Sanger
Jan. 29, 2019

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WASHINGTON — A new American intelligence assessment of global threats has concluded that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” all of its nuclear stockpiles, and that Iran is not “currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activity” needed to make a bomb, directly contradicting two top tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy.

Daniel R. Coats, the director of national intelligence, also challenged Mr. Trump’s insistence that the Islamic State had been defeated, a key rationale for his decision to exit from Syria. The terror group, the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment” report to Congress concluded, “still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” and maintain eight branches and a dozen networks around the world.

via U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump on North Korea and Iran – The New York Times

Meet the KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News – By Adam B. Ellick- Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel – The New York Times

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Meet the KGB Spies Who Invented Fake News

By Adam B. Ellick, Adam Westbrook and Jonah M. Kessel

via Breaking News, World News & Multimedia – The New York Times

David Lindsay:

This is an excellent video piece about the KGB’s Disinformation work in the 1980’s.

It is unfortunate that the jounalists badly overreach, in suggesting that the KGB invented Fake News in the Cold War. Fake News, or disinformation and propaganda,  was referenced and esteemed in The Art of War by SunTsu over a  thousand years ago.

Stanley McChrystal: Save PBS. It Makes Us Safer. – by Stanley McChrystal – NYT

“I like to say that leadership is a choice. As our leaders in Washington confront tough decisions about our budget priorities, I urge them to continue federal funding for public broadcasting. Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice.”

Read DOD report: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap | TheHill

This is the source of the link to Scribd.com, which has the document available to download for a fee.

“The Pentagon is integrating climate change threats into all of its “plans, operations, and training” across the entire Defense Department, signaling a comprehensive attempt to tackle the impacts of global warming.In a 20-page report released on Monday, the Pentagon details its strategic blueprint to address climate change, calling it a “threat multiplier” that has the power to “exacerbate” many of the challenges the U.S. faces today, including “infectious diseases and terrorism.”Read DOD report: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap”

Source: Read DOD report: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap | TheHill

Read DoD report: 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap | Climate

This is the document I found reference to, the link of which, at the DoD, has died. The Government sites no longer seem to have this document available.

“Department of Defense FY 2014 Climate Change Adaptation RoadmapClimate change will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the Nation and poses immediate risks to U.S. national security. The Department is responding to climate change in two ways: adaptation, or efforts to plan for the changes that are occurring or expected to occur; and mitigation, or efforts that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap (Roadmap) focuses on the Department’s climate change adaptation activities1. The Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan (SSPP) articulates the Department’s sustainability vision to maintain our ability to operate into the future without decline in the mission or the supporting natural and man-made systems. The actions set forth in this Roadmap will increase the Department’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, which is a key part of fulfilling this vision.”

The Real Threat to National Security: Deadly Disease – The New York Times

“While the Trump administration is proposing significantly increased military spending to enhance our national security, it seems to have lost sight of the greatest national security threat of all: our fight against infectious disease.

We already spend far more on our military than any other country in the world. To help pay for the increases, President Trump wants to cut back many federal programs, including those that prepare us to wage war against microbes, the greatest and most lethal enemy we are ever likely to face. This is where “defense spending” needs to increase, significantly.

President Trump’s budget would cut funding for the National Institutes of Health by 18 percent. It would cut the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, a key vehicle for preventing and responding to outbreaks before they reach our shores, by 28 percent. And the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would kill the billion-dollar Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to fight outbreaks of infectious disease. (While the budget also calls for the creation of an emergency fund to respond to outbreaks, there is no indication that it would offset the other cuts, or where the money would come from.)”

 

Excellent op-ed.  Here is comment I recommendedd:

Alison

Colebrook, CT 8 hours ago

The author mentions Zika and Ebola as examples of diseases that are new to the U.S. Everything the authors have written is certainly true. What is not mentioned is that climate change is also a factor that needs to be recognized. In addition to influenza and bacterial diseases, a greater diversity of tick borne diseases have been found in the Northeast possibly due to shorter winters. We have recognized Lyme disease for decades, but more recently when symptoms warrant, doctors are also screening for a larger number of diseases associated with tick vectors. Some of these diseases are quite serious if not diagnosed and treated.

Flooding and drought can impact disease in areas where temperatures are rising. Air quality may be impacted as temperatures rise changing the incidence of respiratory illnesses. This information can be found on the CDC’s website at:

https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/effects/default.htm

The Trump budget slashes the budget for the EPA and much government funded scientific research. Cutting funding for the NIH is indeed irresponsible, but without adequate funding for climate science, we will be unable to study how our climate is being impacted and to determine how to prepare and ideally moderate the consequences. The NIH, the EPA and the CDC are all a part of our country’s defense along with the military, CIA, and Homeland Security.

However Much Trump Spends on Arms- We Can’t Bomb Ebola – Nicholas Kristof – NYT

“One can’t help wondering: If U.S. aid programs had invested in education in Yemen, might we have reduced today’s terrorism and violence? One study found that a doubling of primary school enrollment in a poor country halves the risk of civil war.Education is no panacea, but it is a bargain: For the cost of deploying one soldier abroad for a year, we can start about 40 schools.”

Excellent column and good comments. My favorite so far:

Christine McM

is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 2 hours ago

“Terrorists understand what most threatens them, but I’m not sure we do.”

Nick, this is one of your finest columns. Well reasoned, well argued. Which is why it won’t be on DT’s reading list, or even on his radar.

You see, you can’t prance and preen by starting schools in the Middle East or working reasonably with neighbors and allies to sustain the good will to galvanize support in the face of a crisis. Solutions like more diplomats, more foreign aid (not less), and great investment in cultivating current and future friends for future health crises just aren’t sexy.

This president only appears to appreciate the flashy, the symbols of strength. Not the hard, behind-the-scenes investments that can help him rally major support for handling life and death problems like health outbreaks.

The next time Trump rails at how America’s image in the world has worsened, I hope somebody (other than Bannon) pulls him aside and explains why.

The Spy Revolt Against Donald Trump Begins | John Shindler – Observer

“In a recent column, I explained how the still-forming Trump administration is already doing serious harm to America’s longstanding global intelligence partnerships. In particular, fears that the White House is too friendly to Moscow are causing close allies to curtail some of their espionage relationships with Washington—a development with grave implications for international security, particularly in the all-important realm of counterterrorism.

Now those concerns are causing problems much closer to home—in fact, inside the Beltway itself. Our Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration—not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump—that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust.

That the IC has ample grounds for concern is demonstrated by almost daily revelations of major problems inside the White House, a mere three weeks after the inauguration. The president has repeatedly gone out of his way to antagonize our spies, mocking them and demeaning their work, and Trump’s personal national security guru can’t seem to keep his story straight on vital issues.”

“Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.

What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.”

Source: The Spy Revolt Against Donald Trump Begins | Observer

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. – The New York Times

 

WASHINGTON — When Special Agent Adrian Hawkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation called the Democratic National Committee in September 2015 to pass along some troubling news about its computer network, he was transferred, naturally, to the help desk.

His message was brief, if alarming. At least one computer system belonging to the D.N.C. had been compromised by hackers federal investigators had named “the Dukes,” a cyberespionage team linked to the Russian government.

The F.B.I. knew it well: The bureau had spent the last few years trying to kick the Dukes out of the unclassified email systems of the White House, the State Department and even the Joint Chiefs of Staff, one of the government’s best-protected networks.”