Our nation is getting a crash course in conspiracy theories. QAnon has been in the spotlight as the latest iteration. With the rise of social media, the messenger may be new, but the message is not. Conspiracy theories have been around for centuries, well before mass communications amplified their potency. The human desire to explain complicated events in simplistic ways often leads to blaming minorities for them, sometimes with deadly consequences. People have long attributed extraordinary power and influence to Jews, and names like “the Rothschilds” are stand-ins for an alleged global Jewish...
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FBI director should have countered 'lie' from Trump supporters saying agents 'planted evidence' at Mar-a-Lago: op-ed
In the wake of the FBI's raid on Donald Trump's Palm Beach resort searching for classified materials that he allegedly mishandled, supporters of the former president are circulating unproven claims that the FBI "planted" evidence during the raid.
In an op-ed for POLITICO, former United States Attorney and senior FBI official Chuck Rosenberg contends that FBI Director Christopher Wray didn't get ahead of the claims soon enough.
Rosenberg writes that while federal agents can't comment on ongoing investigations, Wray could have easily made an effort to counter the claims while withholding comment on the raid.
"I spent most of my professional career in federal law enforcement, including two stints at the FBI. Am I biased in its favor? Absolutely," Rosenberg writes. "But I believe to my core that it is inconceivable the FBI would have planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago. That is not the way it operates, that is not the FBI I know and admire, and it did not happen. How certain am I? Pretty damn certain. Might I be wrong? I often am, but not on this."
Rosenberg writes that false claims about planted evidence harms "the work of the FBI, the morale of the professionals at the FBI and the confidence of citizens in the remarkably important mission of the FBI," and cites the recent shooting deaths of two FBI agents in Miami.
"Is there any value to Wray categorically denying the 'planted' evidence accusation? At the very least, it would support the Miami agents who executed the search, 13,000 other FBI special agents and the remaining 24,000 professionals who work for the FBI in hundreds of offices, small and large. Is it useful to anyone else? Yes. It is the type of thing that the press and the public should hear, too, because agents did not plant evidence."
Watch live: Attorney General Merrick Garland to deliver statement in wake of FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago
Attorney General Merrick Garland is delivering a statement on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. (ET), just four days after the FBI conducted a search of Mar-a-Lago, the Florida resort and home of former President Donald Trump.
The Department of Justice has not indicated what the topic will be.
Watch live video below:
LIVE: Attorney General Merrick Garland makes statement | ABC News www.youtube.com
Trump on Monday complained that his Mar-A-Lago residence in Florida was being "raided" by FBI agents in what he called an act of "prosecutorial misconduct."
"These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents," he said in a statement posted on his Truth Social network.
"It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for President in 2024," Trump said.
"They even broke into my safe!"
Sources close to the investigation have said that agents were conducting a court-authorized search related to the potential mishandling of classified documents that had been sent to Mar-a-Lago.
The National Archives said in February it had recovered 15 boxes of documents from Trump's Florida estate, which the Washington Post reported included highly classified texts, taken with him when he left Washington following his reelection defeat.
The documents and mementos -- which also included correspondence from ex-US president Barack Obama -- should by law have been turned over at the end of Trump's presidency but instead ended up at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
The recovery of the boxes raised questions about Trump's adherence to presidential records laws enacted after the 1970s Watergate scandal that require Oval Office occupants to preserve records related to administration activity.
The Archives had requested then that the Justice Department open a probe into Trump's practices.
With additional reporting by AFP
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Thursday said it was considering adopting new rules to prohibit harmful commercial surveillance and lax data security, saying American consumers are often unknowingly giving up personal information ranging from their menstrual cycles to how they pray.
said "firms now collect personal data on individuals on a massive scale and in a stunning array of contexts."
The FTC is issuing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to address commercial surveillance, the "business of collecting, analyzing, and profiting from information about people." The FTC said companies are often incentivized "to collect vast troves of consumer information, only a small fraction of which consumers proactively share."
"Whether they know it or not, most Americans today surrender their personal information to engage in the most basic aspects of modern life," the FTC said in its notice. "When they buy groceries, do homework, or apply for car insurance, for example, consumers today likely give a wide range of personal information about themselves to companies, including their movements, prayers, friends, menstrual cycles, web-browsing, and faces, among other basic aspects of their lives."
Republican FTC Commissioner Noah Phillips, opposing the rulemaking proposal, said it "provides no clue what rules the FTC might ultimately adopt" and suggested it is a first step "to issue rules that fundamentally alter the internet economy without a clear congressional mandate."TC Commissioner Christine Wilson said she was worried that opponents of privacy legislation that is currently being debated in Congress would use the FTC proposal as "an excuse to derail" the legislation.
The proposal won praise from Democrats in Congress.
"This announced rulemaking is a tremendous win for consumers, promising strong protections for privacy rights and personal data, and accountability for violating them," said Senator Richard Blumenthal. "Big Tech’s exploitation of Americans’ private information, anti-competitive behavior, and data breaches have created a crisis that demands action."
Under the FTC's existing authority to prohibit "unfair or deceptive acts" it cannot seek fines for a first offense and it said that "may insufficiently deter future law violations" adding new rules could set "clear requirements or benchmarks by which to evaluate covered companies."
The public can offer input on the FTC notice and the commission will hold a virtual public forum on Sept. 8.
(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Mark Porter and Frances Kerry)