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Revealed: CIA plans to increase spying on Facebook, Twitter

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Buried in a news article Tuesday is a nugget of a story that could send privacy advocates reeling: the CIA is planning to increase spying on Facebook pages and tweets.

What’s more, the plan to increase cyber espionage has set of an intradepartmental feud. According to the Washington Post, the head of the agency’s clandestine service recently resigned, in part over objections to the plan. CIA director John Brennan “quickly replaced him with a longtime officer who had led an internal review panel that broadly endorsed [his] reform agenda.”

The CIA has long spied on Facebook and Twitter in its research on foreign governments and potential terrorists. The agency’s cyber espionage arm employs staff with master’s degrees in library science and languages who try to detect trends of public opinion; reportedly they caught whiff of the recent Egyptian uprising before it occurred. It also oversees the “Open Source Center,” which is charged with scouring publicly available data.

Yet, while the CIA (like its brother, the National Security Agency) isn’t supposed to spy on Americans, it certainly does, according to its own data. A report provided to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in 2013 remarked:

In calendar year 2013, CIA conducted fewer than 1900 queries of Section 702-acquired communications using specific U.S. person identifiers as query terms or other more general query terms if they are intended to return information about a particular U.S. person. Of that total number approximately 40% were conducted as a result of requests for counterterrorism-related information from other U.S. intelligence agencies. Approximately 27% of the total number are duplicative or recurring queries conducted at different times using the same identifiers but that CIA nonetheless counts as separate queries. CIA also uses U.S. person identifiers to conduct metadata-only queries against metadata derived from the FISA Section 702 collection. However, the CIA does not track the number of metadata-only queries using U.S. person identifiers.

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Is this CIA’s focus potential terrorists? Yes. But if their past practices are any example — that of the Nixon era, for example, or more recently their “work” with alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and other foreign jails — their increased focus on Twitter and Facebook shouldn’t be written off.


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GUILTY: Jury rules Michael Flynn’s former business partner is guilty of lobbying for Turkey

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Michael Flynn's former business partner Bijan Kian was found guilty by a jury for illegally lobbying for a foreign country.

The information was uncovered as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and as the Justice Department's crackdown on illegal foreign lobbying, CNN explained.

Flynn has had a difficult go in his court case, but information Flynn gave was helpful, according to the DOJ.

Kian is an Iranian-American businessman who was charged with conspiring to hide his lobbying work for Turkey without registering as a foreign agent for the Turkish government.

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House Democrats forced to apologize for Trump after he screws up another meeting with foreign leader

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President Donald Trump humiliated himself again when meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday. In a meeting, Trump bragged about a conversation he had with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“I was with Prime Minister Modi two weeks ago, and we talked about this subject. And he actually said, ‘Would you like to be a mediator or arbitrator?'” Trump said, noting that Modi specifically talked about Kashmir as what he'd be mediating.

The problem is that India came out saying Trump was lying, as BeltwayBreakfast reported.

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Trump is a ‘chaos agent’ whose luck is due to ‘run out’: political scientist

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Brian Klaas, an assistant professor of global politics at University College London, thinks that President Donald Trump has been incredibly lucky so far in his presidency -- but he warns that luck is due to run out in the near future.

Writing in the Washington Post, Klaas points out that Trump has not experienced anything like the major crises that have plagued other presidents during their tenures in office and has instead only faced crises of his own making.

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