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Government leakers are ‘enemies to our state,’ White House official says

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Individuals who steal classified information from the U.S. government are “enemies to our state” and must be punished forcefully, the White House’s homeland security adviser said on Wednesday.

Tom Bossert, in remarks that were among the first he has made publicly since becoming the White House homeland security adviser, characterized cyber security in the U.S. government and around the world as being in general disarray.

“We need to find the people who do it and hold them accountable and be absolutely unwavering in doing so,” Bossert said in remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, D.C.

“People who have taken things that they should not have taken, like Snowden and others, are absolute enemies to our state. Period,” Bossert said. “They need to be caught, punished, and treated as such.”

He was referring to Edward Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor whose leak of classified information in 2014 triggered an international furor over the reach of U.S. spy operations.

Bossert, whose role includes special emphasis on cyber security, made his remarks a week after WikiLeaks published documents related to secret CIA hacking tools.

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Investigators believe the documents were likely provided by a contractor or CIA employee, two U.S. officials told Reuters last week. It would be the third high-profile public case in recent years in which an insider pilfered a large tranche of secrets from a U.S. intelligence agency.

The recent CIA leak shows that intensified U.S. government efforts to prevent leaks by “insider threats” have largely failed, according to cyber security professionals and intelligence officials.

In January former President Barack Obama shortened the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. military intelligence analyst who leaked hundreds of thousands of State Department cables to WikiLeaks in 2010

Manning, now due for release in May, had served seven of her 35-year sentence, and Obama defended his leniency by saying justice had been served. But he drew criticism from Republicans who said the move could embolden other potential leakers.

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Bossert said agencies and companies have a responsibility to institute controls and continuous employee screening and monitoring systems to guard against insider threats.

As he characterized cyber security as being in general disarray, Bossert said the Obama administration did not do enough to forcefully combat and deter growing criminal and nation-state threats.

“I feel like I have re-awoken from a long eight-year nap and I found a world that is on fire,” Bossert said.

President Donald Trump’s annual budget proposal, expected to be released on Thursday, would reflect the White House’s plan to prioritize cyber security across the federal government, Bossert said.

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He also confirmed media reports that Rob Joyce, the National Security Agency’s top hacker, is joining the White House as cyber security coordinator.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Trump spokesperson goes down in flames up against progressive reporter: ‘All you do is lie!’

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President Donald Trump's spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany went down in flames up against Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks during a CNN panel Wednesday.

McEnany went on to try and spin the president as some sort of great leader for Black Americans. She said that the campaign is very "proud" of the president's record on issues involving people of color.

"He also just said he wouldn't change his position on the Central Park Five," cut in Cuomo.

McEnany tried to cut in, but Cuomo cut in. "Now, he said we'll leave it at that. Come on."

"Chris, you come — come on, you," McEnany shot back. "We've been talking about the Central Park Five and racism and all of these things going back to the 2016 election, problem -- American people didn't believe it."

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‘It’s just insane’: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow breaks down the Trump administration’s latest Russia scandal

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On Wednesday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow delved into the latest stunning revelations surrounding Maria Butina, the admitted Russian agent at the heart of a plot to infiltrate the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party — and the connections to a high-ranking State Department official in charge of arms negotiations with Russia.

"Josh Rogin at the Washington Post reports tonight that Maria Butina also turned up at the wedding of Mike Pence's national security adviser," said Maddow. "Mike Pence's national security adviser, Andrea Thompson, got married that summer of 2017, first summer of the Trump Administration. She's got that awesome new job. Getting married and Maria Butina was at the wedding. Why was she at the wedding? U.S. Person One, her boyfriend, Paul Erickson, was officiating the wedding. Oh. It also turns out that the man who Mike Pence's national security adviser, the man who Andrea Thompson was marrying at the wedding that day, he had recently given Paul Erickson $100,000."

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Fox News’ Hannity has to stop and remind Trump to use anti-FBI propaganda in the middle of an interview

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The president seemed to short-circuit in his interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.

President Donald Trump began speaking about the report from special counsel Robert Mueller, repeating "no collusion, no obstruction." He then went off on a tangent about the dossier from Christopher Steele and whether or not he was spied on as a candidate in 2016.

"If they spied on my campaign and they may have, it will be one of the great revelations in history of this country," Trump told Hannity. "I will tell you, it’s going to be very interesting, I think we are going to find out. Can you imagine if it were the other way around and I spied on President Obama’s campaign? Can you imagine what the repercussions would be? Or I spied on cricket Hillary’s campaign. Can you imagine with the repercussions would be?"

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