TBR News June 13, 2016

Jun 13 2016

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. June 13, 2016:” Whether the Orlando shooter had direct connections to Muslim terror groups is open to question. What is disturbing is that he was known to express violent thoughts, hated gays, was questioned several times by the FBI, cleared and allowed to purchase firearms. Much has been said about growing government civil control but this appears to be more of encouraging mental defectives to talk about terrorist acts and then arrest them and make profound announcements at press conferences about the brilliant FBI’s breaking of a serious terrorist group. The two brothers in Boston were known to the FBI and yet nothing was ever done to neutralize them before they wounded hundreds.”

 The Müller Washington Journals   1948-1951

At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.

His name was Heinrich Müller.

Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.

This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.

When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.

Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.

The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.

Wednesday, 11 October 1950

Have now learned how to fall off a horse (lean forward, grab the neck, swing off to one side and let go quickly!) Also how to post. My ass and legs are so sore, I spent an hour soaking in a very hot tub.

Wisner is back at work but very much subdued. He came by and gave me the two death notices (I managed to get the out of town one after all) and looked very ill. I told him to keep them as a remembrance of things past, but he has obviously never read Proust so he missed the joke. He did take my point, however, and has been very quiet in the office for the past few days.

Of course, we have that awful Walter Smith as head of the CIA now. The Admiral wasn’t a bad person but Smith is a professional asshole. He had a pleasant talk with me, at least what passes for a pleasant talk with that perpetually angry and sour idiot. I won’t have any trouble with that one at all but he is trying to run the kindergarten like an army training camp and no one likes him. Smith glares at everyone and is constantly “shaping things up” which is bad for morale. I wrote up an account of his pant shitting in Sicily and personally posted it where it could be seen. He spent the day having all of the typewriters in the office checked to find the culprit, then came into my office with this and asked me to find the villain! I shall investigate myself at once! A stimulating prospect.

Smith was a guest at the wedding. I had a nice chat with him, all about Wisner who I told Smith was suffering from serious mental problems caused by overwork. “The fucker doesn’t work hard enough!” was Smith’s witty and perceptive reply.

Saturday, 14 October 1950

I got an interesting memo from Hoover’s office today. Earl Warren, Governor of California, has signed a law which states saboteurs will be executed. That’s a strange state. Hoover also sent over a long report on Warren, the gist of which I will copy here because the file has to be returned.

The actual family name is Varren. The father of the Governor was a Norwegian who ran a whorehouse in a California city. The son was politically ambitious and was state Attorney General. He wanted to run for higher office but was afraid the opposition would find out about his father’s whorehouse.

He visited the old man and demanded that he give up the place so that there would be no problems. The father, a typical stubborn Norwegian, refused. He said that he had put his son through law school with the proceeds of the place and would be damned if he would sell it off. The neighbors heard a terrible quarrel and the father was found, beaten to death with an iron frying pan.

Hoover at once offered to have the FBI investigate the crime but Warren said that he knew who the criminal was; an ex-convict who knew his father. He said he would take care of it and the FBI was not wanted. No arrests were ever made and Earl became Governor. Now he wants to execute “saboteurs” whatever that might constitute.

If a man accidentally drops a shoe into some factory machinery, does that constitute sabotage? I wonder what Warren had to do with the deportation of the Japanese-Americans at the beginning of their war? Such civilized people!

Eisenhower is being mentioned as a Republican candidate for president in 1952. Truman told me quite a bit about him, and of course, I also know quite a bit. He was never a combat general but a boot-kisser. He was a social secretary to MacArthur and he must have done some outrageous kissing of Roosevelt’s flabby ass because he jumped up over the heads of all kinds of really competent officers to be the Supreme Commander. Marshall, who at least saw combat and is a very competent executive, was passed over by Eisenhower. The excuse Roosevelt put out was that Marshall was much better as the Army Chief of Staff.

Eisenhower was so sycophantic towards that nasty little Churchill that Smith once said that if C. ever stopped walking quickly, “Ike” would be picking shit out of his nose for a week. There is some truth to this, but what annoys me is that E. hates all Germans because of his family background (they were Jews from Pirna in Saxony originally) and that he set out to allow all of our western front prisoners of war to die from disease and starvation. If it weren’t for Truman, who found out about this, the death toll would have been terrible.

Now, of course, when one talks of Ike, one is reverential in the extreme. His Army nickname was the “Swedish Jew” but of course he was German in background.

Taft from Ohio is mentioned as another candidate. He is a spiteful man but not the monster Ike is.

Friday, 20 October 1950

There is to be a large roundup of top communists either tomorrow or the next day. Hoover’s men will pick up about eighty who are aliens and they will be deported. They are making a great deal of play with this. A provision of the new law. Elections throughout the country will be held early next month. McCarthy is planning to extend his vendetta into the realm of science very soon. He has found out that various prominent scientists have had communist connections in the past. Now he is getting into serious business. Who cares about a pack of fairies in the State Department? Scientists are quite another matter. Of course no one can shut him up. He is like a car without brakes roaring downhill towards a schoolyard full of children.

Most of these connections are really only that many people attended meetings of the hundreds of front groups the communists set up in this country in the 1930s, and I seriously doubt if joining some International Peace Club proves that the member was sending carrier pigeon secret messages to Josef in the Kremlin.

The Los Alamos business is coming to a head now. I am told that some of the members of this ring are “far too important to national defense” to permit their being arrested. This makes sense and let us hope McCarthy doesn’t get wind of it.

No one will dare go after him but eventually, after he has had his day, his own people will sit on him. Truman says someone should shoot him but I have turned a deaf ear to that one, and Hoover actually approves of most of what he is doing.

I told Viktor that I would introduce him to M. just for fun and he thought it would be indeed amusing. We will have to do this next week or so.

  1. will be having lunch with a high-level NKVD specialist and will not even know it. Viktor and I spend a good deal of time making fun of various prominent intelligence people, both here and in Russia. He particularly loathes Beria who he says is a murderer of young children and a psychopathic monster. We don’t have anybody that evil here but not for want of their trying.

If my CIA friends ever found out about him, there would be trouble and he says that he would be recalled to Moscow at once if they ever found out about me.

Philby came to lunch the other day and I had Viktor there. So much entertainment was to be had! P. assumed that I did not know who Viktor really was and spent the entire lunch babbling away about the Korean war.

British intelligence knows more about what MacArthur is doing than we do here, and of course, all of it goes to Russia. Short of raiding their Embassy and shooting everybody, I can’t see any way to stop it. If I can find out how they are getting their information from Tokyo, I will put a stopper in that leaking bottle at once. P. has reluctantly agreed to look into this. Sometimes he is not happy with me but in the end, we always manage to work out our differences.




Microsoft to buy LinkedIn

Software giant Microsoft is set to take over professional networking site LinkedIn for $26.2 billion (23.3 billion euros) in a deal expected to be completed this year, the two companies have announced.

June 13, 2016


“Just as we have changed the way the world connects to opportunity, this relationship with Microsoft, and the combination of their cloud and LinkedIn’s network, now gives us a chance to also change the way the world works,” LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement Monday.

LinkedIn, primarily used by jobseekers and those wanting to build professional contacts, has more than 433 million registered users, according to the company’s corporate website. It also has 105 million unique visiting members per month.

The companies were quick to state that LinkedIn wasn’t facing radical change, saying in the statement that the website “will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence,” with Weiner remaining CEO.

Waiting for regulatory approval

The transaction is expected to be completed by this year, but is still pending the approval of LinkedIn’s shareholders, and regulatory approval.

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s board chairman and controlling shareholder, called the acquisition a “refounding moment” for the website.

The move comes as Microsoft seeks to expand from being a purely software-producing firm, and as LinkedIn seeks new growth opportunities.

Pulse nightclub attack: questions over how suspect on FBI’s radar could buy guns

Omar Mateen was investigated at least twice for suspected terrorist sympathies but no evidence of wrongdoing was found

June 13, 2016

by Ed. Pilkington and Richard Luscombe

The Guardian

Orlando, Florida-A day after the deadliest mass shooting in US history, questions are mounting over why the shooter Omar Mateen was legally able to buy an assault rifle and handgun despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies.

Mateen, 29, launched his attack on Pulse club, an LGBT venue in downtown Orlando celebrating its popular Latin dance night, at 2.02am on Sunday morning.

Twenty minutes into the spree he took the bizarre step of making a 911 call in which he reportedly referred both to Islamic State and the Tsarnaevs, the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.

Sunday’s attack – which left 49 clubgoers dead and 53 injured – was launched by Mateen using a .223-caliber assault rifle and 9mm semi-automatic pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition that had been purchased quite lawfully in the week before the rampage using Mateen’s firearms license. Mateen was shot dead by police.

He also held a permit to work as a security guard, which he did at a courthouse in Port St Lucie, Florida, even though he was interviewed three times by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 following separate reports of extremist behavior and connections to terrorism that were in the end deemed insubstantial.

The revelation that the bloodiest mass shooting in history had been carried out by an American-born individual on the FBI’s radar is likely to reignite the debate over the country’s lax gun laws with regard to people under investigation for terrorism.

New York City’s police commissioner, Bill Bratton, fiercely criticized the National Rifle Association, the most powerful gun lobby in the country, that has campaigned to prevent people named on the US government no-fly list from being barred from purchasing guns

“The idea we have a terror-watch list, a no-fly list, and someone on that list can buy a gun – that’s the highest level of insanity,” Bratton told CNN. He added that the probe into the Orlando shooter would have to take in whether “there was anything from the FBI investigations that might have stopped him being able to acquire a firearm. I don’t hold out much hope for that: obviously the United States is too afraid of the NRA at this time.”

Within hours of the shooting a fuller picture of Mateen and his life began to emerge.

His former wife spoke in Colorado on Sunday afternoon revealing the shooter’s history of domestic violence and suspected mental health issues.

“A few months after we were married I saw his instability, I saw his bipolar, and he would get mad out of nowhere, and that’s when I started worrying about my safety,” Sitora Yusifiy said.

“Then after a few months he started abusing me physically, very often, and not allowing me to speak to my family, and keeping me hostage from them.”

Her family “literally rescued” her from the marriage after four months, she said, recalling Mateen’s “emotional instability, sickness … He was mentally unstable and mentally ill [and] obviously disturbed, deeply, and traumatised”.

Yusifiy said her former husband – whom she “cut off” in 2009 and formally divorced two years later – had aspired to be a police officer and “did follow religion”, but had shown no radical inclinations.

As night settled over Orlando, bringing a semblance of calm to the rattled city, the extent of the trauma inflicted on it had only begun to emerge. Vigils were held in various locations across the city on Sunday night, but with a single theme: the defiant belief that love would in the end conquer hate.

Barbara Poma, who founded the Pulse Club in honour of her brother John who died in 1991 of Aids, said in a statement: “From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community.”

Orlando-area blood donation centers were so overwhelmed by donations on Sunday that some would-be donors were turned away and asked to return in the next few days. However, there was one group particularly keen to donate who were unable to.

Congressman Jared Polis, a Democrat from Colorado, condemned the national regulation prohibiting sexually active gay men from donating blood. Polis is one of the only openly gay men in Congress.

“I’m … hopeful that we can remove the ban that the FDA has on gay people donating blood, because guess what? Many of the spouses and loved ones of the victims who need blood can’t even donate blood right now,” Polis told Denver news channel 9News. “It’s just a double tragedy that so many are facing the shortage of blood.”One of the survivors of the Pulse rampage was invited to speak at a vigil held in memory of the dead at the Joy Metropolitan Community Church, part of the historic network of LGBT places of worship set up in the wake of the 1969 Stonewall riots.

Only his first name was given – fittingly it was Orlando – as he addressed the congregation from the front pew of the tiny Joy MCC church, his shoulders slumped and medical plasters still visible on both arms from the hospital treatment he had received.

Orlando could barely speak for shaking. He described having been held hostage in the bathroom of the Pulse for almost three hours, from soon after the shooting began until at 5am a police Swat team let off diversionary controlled bombs and burst through a wall of the club using an armored vehicle.

In the ensuing firefight, Mateen was killed while 30 club goers, Orlando included, were brought to safety.

He said that he had gone to the club that night just to have a good time. “We were all there, everyone, to have a good time, to respect each other in joy.”

When he heard a loud noise he thought it was the thud, thud of the dance music. “Then I realized it was shooting.”

Other survivors from the carnage owed their lives to having crawled out of the club through an air-conditioning vent, while one woman was reported to have hidden under dead bodies.

According to Orlando police chief John Mina, officers brought what he described as a “barricaded hostage situation” to an end by smashing a hole in the building using a Bearcat armoured truck.

Mateen was holding about 15 people hostage in one club bathroom, while another 15-20 were hiding out in another of the buildings bathrooms, Mina said. Negotiators were in communication with the gunman, Omar Mateen, during the hostage situation but did not hear shots fired during those calls.

Mina said Mateen was “cool and calm” during discussions with negotiators. However, police decided to break into the building after deciding that “loss of life was imminent”.

“We were able to rescue dozens and dozens of people who came out of that hole,” Mina said. The suspect also emerged from the hole, armed and shooting, Mina said. He was killed by officers’ return fire.

As families of victims wake up on Monday morning, several will still be in the dark about the fate of their loved ones. With 53 injured and in hospital, on top of the 50 dead, the job of identifying those deceased and those still clinging to life has been difficult and painfully slow

Dozens of friends and relatives of those wounded or missing are expected to spend a second day waiting for the news. On Sunday, family members, some wrapped in blankets and many of them in tears, were guided into an emergency reception centre set up at a Hampton Inn one block south of the Orlando Regional Medical Centre.

Pastor Kelvin Cobaris was one of several religious leaders who offered counseling to families as they waited to news of their relatives. He told the Guardian that he sat for hours as families waited hours patiently in the hope of being brought good news, but then watched in dismay when the news they dreaded was delivered.

“When they heard that their loved one had gone some people screamed. Others were angry, because they wanted answers.”

Brian Vieoma spent much of Sunday texting and calling his brother Luis’s mobile phone. For hours he had no news, and a sense of dread descended on him.

“He came over for Latin Night, Venezuelans love to go dancing,” Vieoma told the Guardian about his brother Luis, 22, a worker at Universal Studio’s Harry Potter theme park who had been visiting the Pulse club from Sanford, a city north of Orlando.

Late on Sunday, Luis Vieoma was added to the official list of the dead. Police have so far named 33 of Mateen’s 49 victims. They are: Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34; Stanley Almodovar III, 23; Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20; Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22; Luis S. Vielma, 22; Kimberly Morris, 37; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Darryl Roman Burt II, 29; Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32; Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21; Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35; Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50; Amanda Alvear, 25; Martin Benitez Torres, 33; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37; Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35; Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25; Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31; Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26; Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25; Miguel Angel Honorato, 30; Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40; Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32; Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19; Cory James Connell, 21; Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37; Luis Daniel Conde, 39; Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33; Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25.

As the human tragedy continues to unfold in Orlando, its political fallout will also deepen in Washington and across the nation. In his carefully-calibrated address to the nation on Sunday, President Obama placed the Pulse massacre politically at the intersection between the battle against terrorism and the fight for civil rights: he called it an “act of terror and an act of hate”.

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, used the tragedy to prop up his controversial call for a ban on all Muslims entering the US, in a tweet in which he said: “What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough.”

Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, emphasised Pulse as a hate attack on the LGBT community, but also applied the label terrorism and said “we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad.”

How the already febrile debate develops in coming days, intertwining with the equally feverish presidential debate, may have much to do with what information emerges about the shooter. He remains for now a classic so-called “lone wolf” – a self-radicalised, angry individual of the sort that is very difficult to pinpoint and pre-empt.

But the FBI will now be looking to see whether the links that they investigated in 2013 and 2014, only to dismiss, were more concrete than they originally thought.

The AR-15: the most popular rifle in the US

Omar Mateen used one of the estimated 3.3 million AR-15 assault rifles in the US to kill 50 people in an Orlando gay club. A laywer suing manufacturers for negligence has called it “the gold standard” for mass murder.

June 13, 2016


Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino and now Orlando – in each of these places, an assailant wielding an AR-15 rifle has claimed the lives of school children, moviegoers, people celebrating Christmas or a night out.

Designed by ArmaLite for the US army and originally produced by Colt in the 1960s, the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the United States, according to the National Rifle Association (NRA). The semi-automatic weapon is prized for being lightweight, its capability of holding high-capacity magazines and its relatively easy customization.

Newtown lawyer: ‘the gold standard’

For a decade, it was effectively illegal to purchase a new AR-15 under statutes of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB). Following the 1989 death of five children and injuries to more than 30 people including a teacher in Stockton, California at the hands of a man wielding an AK-47 semi-automatic rifle, the US government sought to prevent the kind of mass shootings that the accuracy and speed of guns like the AR-15 and AK-47 can facilitate.

President Bill Clinton signed the AWB into law in 1994 as part of a larger crime bill. The ban on assault weapons was given an initial time frame of ten years, and in 2004 the US Congress failed to renew it.

Since retaining its full legal status, it has become the “gold standard for the mass murder of innocent civilians,” according to a lawyer representing the families of victims who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, who are suing the gun’s manufacturers for negligence.

In light of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, in which 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children, six staff members and himself in December 2012, the AR-15 cannot be sold in Connecticut, New York, and Maryland, among other states.

While the National Rifle Association has argued that the AR-15 is useful as a hunting rifle, according to a host of both anti- and pro-gun websites, most hunters eschew it as unhelpful in the pursuit of game at a distance.

Terrorists urge followers to commit shootings

Terrorist groups including the “Islamic State” (IS) have called on their followers to take advantage of lenient US gun laws to launch attacks. According to media reports, shooter Omar Mateen vowed loyalty to IS before killing at least 50 people and wounding 53 others at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning before he was shot dead by police.

According to family members, Mateen was enraged after seeing two men kiss a few months before the attack

Despite being targeted by an FBI investigation in 2013 for terrorist ties, Mateen was later dismissed as not constituting “a substantive threat.” He legally purchased his weapons, at least one of them an AR-15, a few days before the shooting.

According to USA Today, during its 2013 address to US Congress the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimated that between 5 and 8.2 million assault-style rifles are privately owned across the country. When online magazine Slate conducted a survey in 2012, it surmised that some 3.3 million of those were AR-15.

The Orlando Horror

Terrorism is a reality – but endless war is not the answer

June 13, 2016

by Justin Raimondo


As I write this (it’s Sunday morning, 5:00 a.m. PST) the news is breaking that an Orlando gay nightclub has been attacked by a gun-wielding 29-year-old son of Afghan immigrants, Omar Mateen, who appeared to “’have leanings towards’ radical Islamist ideology,” according to the FBI.” At least twenty people are dead, and forty-two are wounded. Mateen died in a gun battle with police.

One can easily imagine what will be – and already is – happening in the wake of this horrific tragedy: the War Party will be quick to jump on this as proof that we must go abroad in search of monsters to destroy, and carry on the endless “war on terrorism” to the very ends of the earth. Donald Trump’s followers will be quick to pounce on this as evidence that their surrealist program of not allowing Muslims into the country must be implemented immediately: it doesn’t occur to them that they are already here – and they aren’t going anywhere.

Although Mateen’s parents came from Afghanistan, he was born here in 1986 and was an American citizen. Unless Trump and his followers are saying we have to deport all Muslims – a proposal that not even The Donald has floated – Trumpism appears to offer no solutions. The San Bernardino shooter was also an American citizen, born and raised here. And as I have pointed out before, there is no way to establish a religious test for entry into the US for the simple reason that there is no way to tell who is a Muslim: does it really need to be said that a potential terrorist isn’t going to answer truthfully?

We don’t yet know what Mateen’s motives were: his father, interviewed by NBC News, says he was angered by seeing two men kissing in Miami recently. That may or may not have anything to do with his religious beliefs; and yet even if the sight of two men kissing did violate the gunman’s religious sensibility to the point that it sparked the worst mass shooting in American history, in the end it matters not at all. The US has a little over 3 million Muslims within its borders, most of them citizens. This isn’t going to change. And the idea that “fifty percent” of them “want to replace the Constitution with sharia law,” as one Fox News “expert” asserted on television hours after the shooting, is just making stuff up.

Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, is a political figure of some note in Afghanistan, or at least in the Afghan diaspora. Although a US resident, and apparently a citizen, he is a declared candidate for the Afghan presidency. His party, known as “Durand Jirga,” recently merged with the “Greater Afghanistan” movement, and demonstrated in front of NATO headquarters calling for “heavy armaments” for the Afghan military and sanctions on Pakistan. Candidate Mateen regularly denounces Pakistan, and claims that the Northwest Frontier Province – source of much of the radical Islamist activity in the region – really belongs to Afghanistan and must be returned. This piece in the Washington Post asserts that Seddique Mateen is pro-Taliban, but that is very likely a misconception: his politics are pretty clear if we look at this photo taken at a demonstration in Washington, D.C., in which he stands in front of a poster proclaiming “Long live the USA! Long live Afghanistan!”

If Mateen was in any way influenced by his father’s political views, it’s doubtful he was sympathetic to ISIS, the Taliban, or any other Islamist group. His ex-wife says he wasn’t particularly religious.

We are now hearing that Mateen was “on the radar” of law enforcement “for some time,” although what this means exactly is not at all clear. Apparently Mateen was “well-organized and well-prepared,” which raises the as yet unproven possibility that he may have had international connections. There are reports that Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, possibly during the shooting, as well as in a 911 call made the night of the shooting. NBC is reporting that he referenced the Tsarnaev brothers during the shooting.

If Mateen was “on the radar,” then this suggests a situation similar to the pre-9/11 warnings of impending disaster – which were ignored or downplayed by the authorities for reasons best known to themselves. George W. Bush ignored repeated warnings in the months prior to the 9/11 attacks that indicated al-Qaeda was actively pursuing plans to strike at the US. FBI agents received pertinent information that never made it up the pipeline.

There is no doubt that the War Party is going to make the case that this incident means we have to launch new attacks in the Middle East in order to wipe out the terrorist base established by ISIS. And yet given what we know about Mateen, this make absolutely no sense – for even if we nuked ISIS tomorrow, and even if Mateen was motivated by their ideology, you can’t kill an ideology with bombs. As Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman put it: “Fighting the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here doesn’t seem to be working too well.”

Americans like instant solutions, and they inevitably turn to government for easy answers. Yet there are none: indeed, there may not even be difficult answers. The United States is a multinational, multicultural empire: this is simply a fact of reality that has been true since the end of World War II. And there is no way to go back in time and repeal that reality.

What this means is that we are going to have to live with this – the probability of future horrific attacks equal to if not worse than the Orlando incident – for the indefinite future. This is the new normal, and it will persist regardless of how many Muslim countries we level to the ground and no matter how high we build our walls. And it is sheer fantasy to imagine otherwise.

This is grim news indeed, but I’m pledged to telling my readers the unmitigated truth, no matter how hard it is. My hope is that the country will not succumb to mindless demagoguery and simplistic non-solutions that will only make the problem worse.

After all these years, we are still feeling the aftershocks of 9/11, and they will continue for quite some time. The task of libertarians and other advocates of civil liberties and a noninterventionist foreign policy is to resist the forces of unreason to the best of our ability, without hesitation or compromise – no matter which way the winds of public opinion are blowing – while still defending the security of the country and its citizens.

UPDATE: ISIS is now taking responsibility for the Orlando attack through its news agency Amaq. Whether this is just an opportunistic attempt to claim credit, or not, remains to be seen, but in any case the above still applies. Fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here doesn’t look like a particularly effective plan.

SECOND UPDATE: As more information comes out, it turns out that they interviewed Mateen on no less than three occasions: twice over alleged “inflammatory remarks” he made to co-workers, and once in connection with his links to Moner Mohammad Abusalha, who lived thirty miles from Mateen and attended the same mosque.

For almost a decade, Mateen worked for G4S Security, a British-based multinational private security agency that often does work for the US government. He was interviewed in 2013 “when he made inflammatory remarks to coworkers alleging possible terrorist ties.” This may be what a former co-worker, Daniel Gilroy, is talking about when he tells the local Florida media:

“Gilroy, a former Fort Pierce Police officer, said Mateen frequently made homophobic and racial comments. Gilroy said he complained to his employer G4S Security several times but it did nothing because he was Muslim. Gilroy quit after he said Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages – 20 or 30 a day. He also sent Gilroy 13 to 15 phone messages a day, he said.

“’I quit because everything he said was toxic,’ Gilroy said Sunday, ‘and the company wouldn’t do anything. This guy was unhinged and unstable. He talked of killing people.’”

However, the Wall Street Journal reports that the FBI says that “ultimately, we were unable to verify the substance of his comments and the investigation was closed.”

The third interview occurred in 2014, when Mateen was suspected of being in contact with Moner Mohammad Abusalha, the American suicide bomber who had traveled to Syria and joined Jabhat al-Nusra the al-Qaeda affiliate, and returned to America before he blew himself up. The FBI interviewed Mateen, and concluded that his contact with Abusalha had been “minimal.”

So there were all these warning signs – which were summarily dismissed. It’s clear that the Florida office of the FBI with jurisdiction over was too busy entrapping a mentally challenged homeless Miami man to competently deal with an actual terrorist.

The Doomsday Clock

Nuclear Weapons, Climate Change, and the Prospects for Survival

by Noam Chomsky

Tom Dispatch

[This essay is excerpted from Noam Chomsky’s new book, Who Rules the World? (Metropolitan Books).]

In January 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists advanced its famous Doomsday Clock to three minutes before midnight, a threat level that had not been reached for 30 years. The Bulletin’s statement explaining this advance toward catastrophe invoked the two major threats to survival: nuclear weapons and “unchecked climate change.” The call condemned world leaders, who “have failed to act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe,” endangering “every person on Earth [by] failing to perform their most important duty — ensuring and preserving the health and vitality of human civilization.”

Since then, there has been good reason to consider moving the hands even closer to doomsday.

As 2015 ended, world leaders met in Paris to address the severe problem of “unchecked climate change.” Hardly a day passes without new evidence of how severe the crisis is. To pick almost at random, shortly before the opening of the Paris conference, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab released a study that both surprised and alarmed scientists who have been studying Arctic ice. The study showed that a huge Greenland glacier, Zachariae Isstrom, “broke loose from a glaciologically stable position in 2012 and entered a phase of accelerated retreat,” an unexpected and ominous development. The glacier “holds enough water to raise global sea level by more than 18 inches (46 centimeters) if it were to melt completely. And now it’s on a crash diet, losing 5 billion tons of mass every year. All that ice is crumbling into the North Atlantic Ocean.”

Yet there was little expectation that world leaders in Paris would “act with the speed or on the scale required to protect citizens from potential catastrophe.” And even if by some miracle they had, it would have been of limited value, for reasons that should be deeply disturbing.

When the agreement was approved in Paris, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who hosted the talks, announced that it is “legally binding.” That may be the hope, but there are more than a few obstacles that are worthy of careful attention.

In all of the extensive media coverage of the Paris conference, perhaps the most important sentences were these, buried near the end of a long New York Times analysis: “Traditionally, negotiators have sought to forge a legally binding treaty that needed ratification by the governments of the participating countries to have force. There is no way to get that in this case, because of the United States. A treaty would be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill without the required two-thirds majority vote in the Republican-controlled Senate. So the voluntary plans are taking the place of mandatory, top-down targets.” And voluntary plans are a guarantee of failure.

“Because of the United States.” More precisely, because of the Republican Party, which by now is becoming a real danger to decent human survival.

The conclusions are underscored in another Times piece on the Paris agreement. At the end of a long story lauding the achievement, the article notes that the system created at the conference “depends heavily on the views of the future world leaders who will carry out those policies. In the United States, every Republican candidate running for president in 2016 has publicly questioned or denied the science of climate change, and has voiced opposition to Mr. Obama’s climate change policies. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, who has led the charge against Mr. Obama’s climate change agenda, said, ‘Before his international partners pop the champagne, they should remember that this is an unattainable deal based on a domestic energy plan that is likely illegal, that half the states have sued to halt, and that Congress has already voted to reject.’”

Both parties have moved to the right during the neoliberal period of the past generation. Mainstream Democrats are now pretty much what used to be called “moderate Republicans.” Meanwhile, the Republican Party has largely drifted off the spectrum, becoming what respected conservative political analyst Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein call a “radical insurgency” that has virtually abandoned normal parliamentary politics. With the rightward drift, the Republican Party’s dedication to wealth and privilege has become so extreme that its actual policies could not attract voters, so it has had to seek a new popular base, mobilized on other grounds: evangelical Christians who await the Second Coming, nativists who fear that “they” are taking our country away from us, unreconstructed racists, people with real grievances who gravely mistake their causes, and others like them who are easy prey to demagogues and can readily become a radical insurgency.

In recent years, the Republican establishment had managed to suppress the voices of the base that it has mobilized. But no longer. By the end of 2015 the establishment was expressing considerable dismay and desperation over its inability to do so, as the Republican base and its choices fell out of control.

Republican elected officials and contenders for the next presidential election expressed open contempt for the Paris deliberations, refusing to even attend the proceedings. The three candidates who led in the polls at the time — Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson — adopted the stand of the largely evangelical base: humans have no impact on global warming, if it is happening at all.

The other candidates reject government action to deal with the matter. Immediately after Obama spoke in Paris, pledging that the United States would be in the vanguard seeking global action, the Republican-dominated Congress voted to scuttle his recent Environmental Protection Agency rules to cut carbon emissions. As the press reported, this was “a provocative message to more than 100 [world] leaders that the American president does not have the full support of his government on climate policy” — a bit of an understatement. Meanwhile Lamar Smith, Republican head of the House’s Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, carried forward his jihad against government scientists who dare to report the facts.

The message is clear. American citizens face an enormous responsibility right at home.

A companion story in the New York Times reports that “two-thirds of Americans support the United States joining a binding international agreement to curb growth of greenhouse gas emissions.” And by a five-to-three margin, Americans regard the climate as more important than the economy. But it doesn’t matter. Public opinion is dismissed. That fact, once again, sends a strong message to Americans. It is their task to cure the dysfunctional political system, in which popular opinion is a marginal factor. The disparity between public opinion and policy, in this case, has significant implications for the fate of the world.

We should, of course, have no illusions about a past “golden age.” Nevertheless, the developments just reviewed constitute significant changes. The undermining of functioning democracy is one of the contributions of the neoliberal assault on the world’s population in the past generation. And this is not happening just in the U.S.; in Europe the impact may be even worse.

The Black Swan We Can Never See

Let us turn to the other (and traditional) concern of the atomic scientists who adjust the Doomsday Clock: nuclear weapons. The current threat of nuclear war amply justifies their January 2015 decision to advance the clock two minutes toward midnight. What has happened since reveals the growing threat even more clearly, a matter that elicits insufficient concern, in my opinion.

The last time the Doomsday Clock reached three minutes before midnight was in 1983, at the time of the Able Archer exercises of the Reagan administration; these exercises simulated attacks on the Soviet Union to test their defense systems. Recently released Russian archives reveal that the Russians were deeply concerned by the operations and were preparing to respond, which would have meant, simply: The End.

We have learned more about these rash and reckless exercises, and about how close the world was to disaster, from U.S. military and intelligence analyst Melvin Goodman, who was CIA division chief and senior analyst at the Office of Soviet Affairs at the time. “In addition to the Able Archer mobilization exercise that alarmed the Kremlin,” Goodman writes, “the Reagan administration authorized unusually aggressive military exercises near the Soviet border that, in some cases, violated Soviet territorial sovereignty. The Pentagon’s risky measures included sending U.S. strategic bombers over the North Pole to test Soviet radar, and naval exercises in wartime approaches to the USSR where U.S. warships had previously not entered. Additional secret operations simulated surprise naval attacks on Soviet targets.”

We now know that the world was saved from likely nuclear destruction in those frightening days by the decision of a Russian officer, Stanislav Petrov, not to transmit to higher authorities the report of automated detection systems that the USSR was under missile attack. Accordingly, Petrov takes his place alongside Russian submarine commander Vasili Arkhipov, who, at a dangerous moment of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, refused to authorize the launching of nuclear torpedoes when the subs were under attack by U.S. destroyers enforcing a quarantine.

Other recently revealed examples enrich the already frightening record. Nuclear security expert Bruce Blair reports that “the closest the U.S. came to an inadvertent strategic launch decision by the President happened in 1979, when a NORAD early warning training tape depicting a full-scale Soviet strategic strike inadvertently coursed through the actual early warning network. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was called twice in the night and told the U.S. was under attack, and he was just picking up the phone to persuade President Carter that a full-scale response needed to be authorized right away, when a third call told him it was a false alarm.”

This newly revealed example brings to mind a critical incident of 1995, when the trajectory of a U.S.-Norwegian rocket carrying scientific equipment resembled the path of a nuclear missile. This elicited Russian concerns that quickly reached President Boris Yeltsin, who had to decide whether to launch a nuclear strike.

Blair adds other examples from his own experience. In one case, at the time of the 1967 Middle East war, “a carrier nuclear-aircraft crew was sent an actual attack order instead of an exercise/training nuclear order.” A few years later, in the early 1970s, the Strategic Air Command in Omaha “retransmitted an exercise… launch order as an actual real-world launch order.” In both cases code checks had failed; human intervention prevented the launch. “But you get the drift here,” Blair adds. “It just wasn’t that rare for these kinds of snafus to occur.”

Blair made these comments in reaction to a report by airman John Bordne that has only recently been cleared by the U.S. Air Force. Bordne was serving on the U.S. military base in Okinawa in October 1962, at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a moment of serious tensions in Asia as well. The U.S. nuclear alert system had been raised to DEFCON 2, one level below DEFCON 1, when nuclear missiles can be launched immediately. At the peak of the crisis, on October 28th, a missile crew received authorization to launch its nuclear missiles, in error. They decided not to, averting likely nuclear war and joining Petrov and Arkhipov in the pantheon of men who decided to disobey protocol and thereby saved the world.

As Blair observed, such incidents are not uncommon. One recent expert study found dozens of false alarms every year during the period reviewed, 1977 to 1983; the study concluded that the range is 43 to 255 per year. The author of the study, Seth Baum, summarizes with appropriate words: “Nuclear war is the black swan we can never see, except in that brief moment when it is killing us. We delay eliminating the risk at our own peril. Now is the time to address the threat, because now we are still alive.”

These reports, like those in Eric Schlosser’s book Command and Control, keep mostly to U.S. systems. The Russian ones are doubtless much more error-prone. That is not to mention the extreme danger posed by the systems of others, notably Pakistan.

“A War Is No Longer Unthinkable”

Sometimes the threat has not been accident, but adventurism, as in the case of Able Archer. The most extreme case was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the threat of disaster was all too real. The way it was handled is shocking; so is the manner in which it is commonly interpreted.

With this grim record in mind, it is useful to look at strategic debates and planning. One chilling case is the Clinton-era 1995 STRATCOM study “Essentials of Post-Cold War Deterrence.” The study calls for retaining the right of first strike, even against nonnuclear states. It explains that nuclear weapons are constantly used, in the sense that they “cast a shadow over any crisis or conflict.” It also urges a “national persona” of irrationality and vindictiveness to intimidate the world.

Current doctrine is explored in the lead article in the journal International Security, one of the most authoritative in the domain of strategic doctrine. The authors explain that the United States is committed to “strategic primacy” — that is, insulation from retaliatory strike. This is the logic behind Obama’s “new triad” (strengthening submarine and land-based missiles and the bomber force), along with missile defense to counter a retaliatory strike. The concern raised by the authors is that the U.S. demand for strategic primacy might induce China to react by abandoning its “no first use” policy and by expanding its limited deterrent. The authors think that they will not, but the prospect remains uncertain. Clearly the doctrine enhances the dangers in a tense and conflicted region.

The same is true of NATO expansion to the east in violation of verbal promises made to Mikhail Gorbachev when the USSR was collapsing and he agreed to allow a unified Germany to become part of NATO — quite a remarkable concession when one thinks about the history of the century. Expansion to East Germany took place at once. In the following years, NATO expanded to Russia’s borders; there are now substantial threats even to incorporate Ukraine, in Russia’s geostrategic heartland. One can imagine how the United States would react if the Warsaw Pact were still alive, most of Latin America had joined, and now Mexico and Canada were applying for membership.

Aside from that, Russia understands as well as China (and U.S. strategists, for that matter) that the U.S. missile defense systems near Russia’s borders are, in effect, a first-strike weapon, aimed to establish strategic primacy — immunity from retaliation. Perhaps their mission is utterly unfeasible, as some specialists argue. But the targets can never be confident of that. And Russia’s militant reactions are quite naturally interpreted by NATO as a threat to the West.

One prominent British Ukraine scholar poses what he calls a “fateful geographical paradox”: that NATO “exists to manage the risks created by its existence.”

The threats are very real right now. Fortunately, the shooting down of a Russian plane by a Turkish F-16 in November 2015 did not lead to an international incident, but it might have, particularly given the circumstances. The plane was on a bombing mission in Syria. It passed for a mere 17 seconds through a fringe of Turkish territory that protrudes into Syria, and evidently was heading for Syria, where it crashed. Shooting it down appears to have been a needlessly reckless and provocative act, and an act with consequences.

In reaction, Russia announced that its bombers will henceforth be accompanied by jet fighters and that it is deploying sophisticated anti-aircraft missile systems in Syria. Russia also ordered its missile cruiser Moskva, with its long-range air defense system, to move closer to shore, so that it may be “ready to destroy any aerial target posing a potential danger to our aircraft,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced. All of this sets the stage for confrontations that could be lethal.

Tensions are also constant at NATO-Russian borders, including military maneuvers on both sides. Shortly after the Doomsday Clock was moved ominously close to midnight, the national press reported that “U.S. military combat vehicles paraded Wednesday through an Estonian city that juts into Russia, a symbolic act that highlighted the stakes for both sides amid the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.” Shortly before, a Russian warplane came within seconds of colliding with a Danish civilian airliner. Both sides are practicing rapid mobilization and redeployment of forces to the Russia-NATO border, and “both believe a war is no longer unthinkable.”

Prospects for Survival

If that is so, both sides are beyond insanity, since a war might well destroy everything. It has been recognized for decades that a first strike by a major power might destroy the attacker, even without retaliation, simply from the effects of nuclear winter.

But that is today’s world. And not just today’s — that is what we have been living with for 70 years. The reasoning throughout is remarkable. As we have seen, security for the population is typically not a leading concern of policymakers. That has been true from the earliest days of the nuclear age, when in the centers of policy formation there were no efforts — apparently not even expressed thoughts — to eliminate the one serious potential threat to the United States, as might have been possible. And so matters continue to the present, in ways just briefly sampled.

That is the world we have been living in, and live in today. Nuclear weapons pose a constant danger of instant destruction, but at least we know in principle how to alleviate the threat, even to eliminate it, an obligation undertaken (and disregarded) by the nuclear powers that have signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The threat of global warming is not instantaneous, though it is dire in the longer term and might escalate suddenly. That we have the capacity to deal with it is not entirely clear, but there can be no doubt that the longer the delay, the more extreme the calamity.

Prospects for decent long-term survival are not high unless there is a significant change of course. A large share of the responsibility is in our hands — the opportunities as well.

Gun Industry Saw Sales Shoot Up After Recent Massacres, Was Ramping Up for Election-Related Surge

June 13 2016

by Lee Fang

The Intercept

In recent corporate presentations, leading gun makers celebrated the fact that consumers bought more firearms because of the December terrorist attack in San Bernardino. And, prior to the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando on Saturday night, executives were telling investors to expect another big bump — because of the upcoming elections.

The surge in sales after mass shootings, as we’ve reported, is nothing new: Mass shootings lead to talk of gun control; the National Rifle Association — the gun advocacy group funded significantly by gun and ammunition manufacturers – uses its influence in Congress to block any legislative action; but gun owners irrationally terrified that the government will restrict or ban firearms rush out to buy more guns and ammo.

Sturm Ruger & Co. chief executive Michael Fifer, speaking at his company’s annual meeting in May, noted that his company — the largest handgun manufacturer in the U.S. — saw a spike in demand that “was strongly correlated to the tragic terrorist activities in Paris and San Bernardino.” Sales eventually slowed down, but Fifer called that a “big opportunity for the distributors to step up and take on inventory” to be ready for election-related sales.

In February, on an investor conference call, Fifer had predicted that “we’ll see a step up of demand if a Democrat wins” the presidency. And if Democrats win control of the Senate, he added, gun sales will increase dramatically based on fears that a more liberal Supreme Court might restrict gun rights.

Stephen Nolan, executive vice president of Vista Outdoors, a gun distributor, said the election cycle might drive a “mini surge” in sales. Nolan, speaking at the RBC Capital Markets conference earlier this month, noted that “political reaction to the tragedy in San Bernardino” and the talk of “further gun control,” appeared to drive recent sales.

Smith & Wesson chief executive James Debney, speaking at the UBS Global Consumer Conference in March, explained that recent terrorist attacks had pushed firearms “back into the world of politics, talking about increasing legislation in gun control” which “no doubt” encouraged “a very strong buying period.” He speculated that the election cycle might be having an effect as well.

Following the mass killing on Saturday evening, a number of legislators stepped up calls for gun control legislation. “Congress has become complicit in these murders by its total, unconscionable deafening silence,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., in a statement.

But there is little hope for meaningful gun control legislation this year.

Meanwhile, as CNBC reports, “Shares of gunmakers Smith & Wesson and Sturm Ruger rose 9.8 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively, in premarket trading Monday following the massacre in Orlando, Florida.”

U.S. probes whether gunman in nightclub massacre had help

June 13, 2016

by Letitia Stein and Jarrett Renshaw


ORLANDO, Fla.-U.S. authorities on Monday were investigating whether a gunman who killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando and declared his allegiance to Islamic State militants had received any help in carrying out the massacre.

The FBI and other agencies were looking at evidence inside and in the closed-off streets around the Pulse nightclub, where New York-born Omar Mateen perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, and the worst attack on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001.

Mateen, 29, the son of Afghan immigrants, was shot and killed by police who stormed the club with armored cars early Sunday morning after a three-hour siege.

Law enforcement officials were looking for clues as to whether anyone had worked with Mateen on the attack, said Lee Bentley, the U.S. attorney for the middle district of Florida.

“There is an investigation of other persons. We are working as diligently as we can on that,” Bentley said at a news conference. “If anyone else was involved in this crime, they will be prosecuted.”

Officials stressed they believed there had been no other attackers and had no evidence of a threat to the public.

FBI Director James Comey said authorities still were trying to determine Mateen’s motives but there was no indication he was part of an organized terror network, although he may have been inspired by them.

“There are strong indications of radicalization by this killer and of potential inspiration by foreign terrorist organizations,” Comey told reporters in Washington. “We’re highly confident this killer was radicalized at least in some part through the internet.”

Mateen’s rampage began about 2 a.m. Sunday (0600 GMT) when the club was packed with some 350 revelers. Many fled as the gunman raked the crowd with bullets from an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle and a pistol.

An initial wave of officers charged into the club and trapped Mateen in a bathroom, Orlando Police Chief John Mina told reporters. That allowed many patrons to flee, although others were trapped in the restroom with Mateen, leading to the standoff.


“We were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people,” Mina said. Police negotiated with Mateen for about three hours before breaking a hole in the wall, which allowed hostages to escape.

Mateen also emerged from the hole and was shot dead by officers, police said.

Officials said on Sunday the death toll was 50. On Monday they clarified that the figure included Mateen. Some 53 people were wounded and 29 remain hospitalized at Orlando Regional Medical Center, the hospital said on Twitter.

By Monday morning, all but one of those killed had been identified and about half the families of the dead had been notified, officials said.

Other family members were desperate for news about their missing loved ones.

Julissa Leal, 18, and her mother drove to the Florida city from Lafayette, Louisiana, in search of her brother, 27-year-old Frank Hernandez. They knew he was at the club with his boyfriend, who lost him in the chaos.

“We haven’t heard anything, don’t know anything,” Leal said, fighting back tears. “I’m going to see him again. I’m going to see him again.”

During phone calls with authorities in the middle of the rampage, Mateen mentioned support for the leader of Islamic State, the Boston Marathon attackers and a Florida man who became an al Nusra Front suicide bomber in Syria, Comey said. Al Nusra is an al Qaeda offshoot at odds with Islamic State.

Mateen’s father said his son was not radicalized but indicated the gunman had strong anti-gay feelings. His ex-wife described him as mentally unstable and violent toward her.

Islamic State reiterated on Monday a claim of responsibility but that did not mean it directed the attack because it offered nothing to indicate coordination with the gunman.

Hired hackers find over 100 bugs in Pentagon computer systems

June 13, 2016


Hackers contracted by the Defense Department to test the security of its less-sensitive computer systems have found more than 100 vulnerabilities, the Pentagon admitted.

The “Hack the Pentagon” program has exceeded expectations, with 1,400 certified hackers helping find unnoticed security issues in the DoD’s networks, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a Washington, DC tech forum on Friday.

The Defense Department had said previously that it planned to award bounties of upwards to $15,000 to individuals who could find security flaws in Pentagon systems, so they could be fixed before bad actors exploit them.

“They are helping us to be more secure at a fraction of the cost,” Carter said Friday. “And in a way that enlists the brilliance of the white hatters, rather than waits to learn the lessons of the black hatters.”

Individuals who have passed a vetting process would engage in “controlled, limited duration program that will allow them to identify vulnerabilities on a predetermined department system,” Carter said in March, when the program was launched.

Critical and highly-sensitive Pentagon networks, however, remained off-limits to these helpful hackers.

The Pentagon took a cue from Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Google, who have been putting out millions of dollars in similar bounties for years.

“Why hasn’t anybody in the federal government done that?” Mr. Carter said at Friday’s event. “There’s not a really good answer to that, right? It’s a pretty successful thing.”

Back in March, the Pentagon created the Defense Innovation Advisory for the purpose of keeping the Defense Department’s bureaucracy in pace with the private sector. The group is being led by Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Secretary Carter announced in his Friday address that more industry leaders have been added to the board to help the Pentagon, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. More experts are expected to be added to the board in the future.

“We’ve got some additional amazing innovators lined up, so stay tuned there also for who else will be joining,” he said.

The issue of cyber security in federal agencies has come to the forefront in recent years, thanks to attacks being carried out on government networks. Last year, the Office of Personnel Management suffered a hack that resulted in the stolen records of 21.5 current and former government employees, marking one of the largest breaches of government data in US history.

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