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Posts tagged ‘New York Times’

Grimm’s Re-election in Doubt as Federal Probe Continues.


Image: Grimm's Re-election in Doubt as Federal Probe Continues

 

By John Gizzi

The profane outburst at a TV reporter Tuesday by Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York has focused new attention on the recent indictment of one of his top fundraisers for campaign finance violations which, along with an ongoing federal investigation, has raised questions about the congressman’s re-election this year.

Were Grimm’s sole problem this lone outburst, his political problems would be minimal.

But what prompted the question from NY1 cable news reporter Michael Scotto following the State of the Union address concerned the investigation resulting in the Jan. 13 indictment of his longtime fundraiser Diana Durand of Houston on charges she tried to evade federal limits on campaign donations.

And looming large in the background is an FBI probe into whether Grimm accepted illegal donations — including large amounts of cash from foreigners in his first race for Congress in 2010.

The case involves Israeli Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who has congregations in Israel and Manhattan, and who has agreed to testify for the FBI.

Durand, frequently referred to in press reports as a former girlfriend of Grimm’s, is charged with reimbursing two co-workers for donations to someone the FBI complaint refers to as “Congressman A” — and who The New York Times identifies as Grimm.

According to the complaint, Durand, who had already given the legal limit of $4,800 to Grimm, wrote both of the co-workers by email, saying, “I still have to make the deposit but I can write you both a check, or I can get your account numbers and do a transfer, whatever works for you.”

The Durand case is currently being handled by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Asked by Newsmax if Grimm was a target of any investigation, spokesman Robert Nardoza of the U.S. Attorney’s office said, “I can’t say, and I won’t confirm or deny that.”

The FBI probe involving Grimm and Pinto is more complex and potentially more devastating to the only Republican member of Congress from New York City.

Ofer Biton, a former top aide to Pinto, is alleged to have raised more than $500,000 for Grimm in 2010 from wealthy members of the rabbi’s congregation, including amounts of cash over the legal limit as well as donations from foreigners, which is illegal in federal races in the United States.

At the same time, Biton is also accused of embezzling millions of dollars from Pinto’s congregation, and last August pleaded guilty to visa fraud.

Rabbi Pinto is also alleged to have attempted to bribe Ephraim Bracha, a senior police official in Israel, who promptly reported the matter to superiors.

The Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva reported this month that “Rabbi Pinto has reportedly leveled his own charges against Grimm, claiming that Grimm’s associates attempted to blackmail him if he did not encourage his followers to donate to Grimm’s campaign.” The nature of the blackmail has not been disclosed publicly.

Grimm, a former FBI agent, has denied any knowledge of the financial schemes. But the recent indictment of Durand suggests that the feds may be tightening a noose around Grimm.

No leaders of either the Republican Party or the New York Conservative Party, whose ballot line the congressman carried in his two winning races, would speak on the record to Newsmax about Grimm facing further trouble or the possibility of a primary challenge.

Privately, however, there is growing concern among both GOP and Conservative chieftains in the Empire State that if there is more controversy ahead for Grimm, opposition might emerge out of fear that the 43-year-old congressman could be defeated.

Two years ago, Grimm defeated Democrat Mark Murphy — an aide to then-public advocate and now mayor, Bill de Blasio — with about 53 percent of the vote.

This year, the Democratic nominee is expected to be former City Councilman Domenic Recchia of Brooklyn.

The New York press has speculated that the former popular conservative Republican congressman from Staten Island, Vito Fossella, may challenge Grimm. Fossella has denied such plans, but an online poll conducted by the Staten Island Advance had more than 80 percent of respondents encouraging him to make a bid.

King County (Brooklyn) Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar told Newsmax that a committee met with Grimm and “we discussed his case. He may not like talking about it with reporters but he had no problems taking questions from us about it. He said he anticipates a conclusion of his discussions with federal government officials and nothing new will come up.”

As to whether Grimm is having political problems in New York’s 11th District, which includes Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn, Kassar said, “Any time some clouds appear, there is always a chance of a storm. But so far, this seems a case of guilt by association. We have confronted him directly about this and he has adequately responded to our questions.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Obamacare Delivers Staggering Knockout Blow To Middle Class.


“And here’s what you need to know. First, I will not sign a health care plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period” – Barack Obama, September 9, 2009

The hard, cold reality of Obamacare is that it adds $6,200,000,000,000.00 to our national deficit. One of the largest, most impactful laws ever to be passed in American history, and it is 100% based upon a lie.

The Week: ObamaCare has delivered another sucker punch to the middle class. This time it’s sticker shock. Now that most people can get past the tech problems of HealthCare.gov and actually see the real cost of insurance plans available, they are finding that Affordable Care is a big hit to the family budget. And when the family budget gets hit in the solar plexus, guess what happens to consumer spending and the economy?

obamacare-sticker-shock-obama

In California, policies for about 900,000 Californians are being canceled because of ObamaCare’s mandates, and about two-thirds of these do not qualify for subsidies, according to The Chicago Tribune. The result: These folks will be paying higher premiums.

In Alabama, premiums have doubled for some middle-class families, like that of Courtney Long, a stay-at-home mother of four. She told WHNT News, “It’s devastating. I started crying.”

“I mean, we have worked so hard to get out of credit card debt, get ahead on the car loan, transfer our mortgage to a 15- from a 30-year mortgage… and for what?”

In Tennessee, GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander issued an analysis of a White House report and found the following:

    • Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month. On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month — a 190 percent increase.
    • Today, a 27-year-old woman in Nashville can also buy a plan for as low as $58 a month. On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month — a 97 percent increase. Even with a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month, almost twice what she could pay today.
    • Today, women in Nashville can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchange will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.
    • In Nashville, 105 insurance plans offered today will not be available in the exchange.

In Washington state, ObamaCare will increase the underlying cost of individually purchased health insurance by 34 to 80 percent on average, according to Forbes.

The list goes on and on and includes Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Georgia, and North Carolina. But premiums are just the beginning. The deductibles are outrageous, too.

A recent article in The New York Times tells the story of Doug and Ginger Chapman, ages 55 and 54, a middle-class couple “sitting on the health care cliff.” Their annual income of around $100,000 a year makes them ineligible for a subsidy in New Hampshire (if they earned under $94,000, it would cut their costs by half). They have to replace their family insurance which includes the two of them and their two sons. The premium cost alone, not including any deductible, is $1,000 a month, or 12 percent of their income.

The Times‘ analysis found the following:

The cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s. In some places, prices can quickly approach 20 percent of a person’s income. Experts consider health insurance unaffordable once it exceeds 10 percent of annual income. By that measure, a 50-year-old making $50,000 a year, or just above the qualifying limit for assistance, would find the cheapest available plan to be unaffordable in more than 170 counties around the country, ranging from Anchorage to Jackson, Miss. [The New York Times]

The other group that gets disproportionately hit is the young, according to Forbes. For a 40-year-old, the 2013 average deductible was $4,045, and the monthly cost increased 29 percent to $309. For a 64-year-old man, the monthly cost of a plan with a $3,494 deductible increased 64 percent to $806.

If even a fraction of the middle class and upper middle income earners divert some of their discretionary dollars to pay for health care, it will have a significant impact on consumer spending. What will that mean for the economy? Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the nation’s GDP, although experts say that number is likely to decline.

The top 20 percent of income earners account for about 40 percent of all spending in the U.S. When you increase the costs of health care and the new taxes associated with ObamaCare, you can hear the wallets closing. source – The Week.

by NTEB News Desk.

Boehner: Immigration Reform Will Be Tackled ‘One Step at a Time’.


House Speaker John Boehner is expected to back step-by-step measures to revamp the country’s immigration laws in a way that non-tea party conservatives can live with, The New York Times reported.
He previously signaled that he would take positions — on the budget and immigration — opposed by the tea party faction saying that it had “lost all credibility.”
Boehner is still against the Senate’s immigration bill as too sweeping a way to address the presence of all 11 million illegal immigrants, according to the Times.
“The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be,” he said. “The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time.
“I think doing so will give the American people confidence that we’re dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and a deliberative way,” Boehner said.
Boehner lately hired immigration specialist Rebecca Tallent who had worked for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., an advocate of immigration reform.
Non-tea party Republicans could back a series of individual bills — after the 2014 primary season — that would grant legal status to, among others, agricultural laborers and those who were brought to the United States illegally as minors by their parents, according to the Times.
House Republicans will discuss immigration reform at a retreat later in January.Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, architect of the budget deal, is expected to play a key role in articulating a Republican immigration strategy, the Times reported.

Immigration reform could help Republicans make inroads in the sizable bloc of Hispanic voters which Mitt Romney overwhelmingly lost to President Barack Obama, the Times reported.
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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Elliot Jager

Michael Moore: ‘Awful’ Obamacare is Liberals’ ‘Dirty Little Secret’.


Image: Michael Moore: 'Awful' Obamacare is Liberals' 'Dirty Little Secret'

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2007 documentary “Sicko” slammed the health care industry, blasted Obamacare Wednesday as “awful.”

“That is the dirty little secret many liberals have avoided saying out loud for fear of aiding the president’s enemies, at a time when the ideal of universal health care needed all the support it could get,” Moore — whose “Bowling For Columbine” won an Academy Award — wrote in an op-ed piece for The New York Times.

On the day millions got coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the documentary filmmaker blasted the troubled law as a “pro-insurance industry plan” badly implemented by President Obama “who knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go.”

“… Obamacare’s rocky start — clueless planning, a lousy website, insurance companies raising rates, and the president’s telling people they could keep their coverage when, in fact, not all could” was all the result of that “one fatal flaw,” he wrote.

Obama, he charged, took “Romneycare, a program designed to keep the private insurance industry intact, and just improved some of its provisions.”

He also laid into the law’s affordability, saying it’s akin to “a cruel joke” — using the example of a 60-year-old couple making $65,000 a year who’d be stuck with premiums of nearly $12,000 a year and a deductible of $12,600 a year.

“If both become seriously ill, they might have to pay almost $25,000 in a single year,” he wrote.

Moore touted Vermont’s single-payer plan, starting in 2017, saying it “will change everything, with many states sure to follow suit by setting up their own versions.”
“Obamacare can’t be fixed by its namesake,” Moore concluded. “It’s up to us to make it happen.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Chinese Recycling Tycoon Wants to Buy New York Times.


Image: Chinese Recycling Tycoon Wants to Buy New York TimesChinese billionaire and philanthropist Chen Guangbiao jumps on the roofs of new cars which he bought in Beijing as presents to the 43 owners of Japanese cars that were damaged during nationwide anti-Japan protests.
An eccentric Chinese recycling magnate said on Tuesday he was preparing to open negotiations to buy the New York Times Co..Chen Guangbiao, a well-known philanthropist, is something of a celebrity in China. During a particularly murky bout of pollution in January, the ebullient and tireless self-promoter handed out free cans of “fresh air”.But Chen says he is perfectly serious in his bid to buy the Times, which he said he had been contemplating for more than two years. He said he expected to discuss the matter on Jan. 5, when he is due to meet a “leading shareholder” in New York.

“There’s nothing that can’t be bought for the right price,” Chen told Reuters.

It is unlikely that the Times, which has long been controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, would sell to Chen.

A spokeswoman for the New York Times, contacted after initial Chinese media reports about Chen’s offer, said the company did not comment on rumours.

The company’s chairman, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., said recently that the Times was not for sale.

Chen believes the Times is worth $1 billion, but said he would be willing to negotiate.

He said that because his funds were limited, he had persuaded a Hong Kong tycoon to put in $600 million while he would pay the rest. He said the tycoon was not ready to reveal his identity.

“If we act in sincerity and good faith, I believe the Times chairman will change his way of thinking,” he said.

Chen said if he was unable to buy the New York Times, he would settle for becoming a controlling stakeholder, and failing that, would simply buy a stake.

Hurun’s Rich List of China’s super-wealthy put the magnate’s wealth at about $740 million in 2012. Chen said he would not hesitate to sell off most of his assets if it enabled him to buy the Times.

Chen said his aim was not to push any political agenda, but rather his personal ideals of “peace on earth, protecting the environment and philanthropy”.

He attracted attention in August 2012 when he bought a half-page advertisement in the New York Times stating that an island chain at the centre of a dispute with Japan had belonged to China since antiquity.

“After that, I realised that the Times’ influence all over the world is incredibly vast,” he said. “Every government and embassy, all around the world, pays attention to the New York Times.”

The Times earned the ire of the Chinese government in 2012 with a report about the wealth of former Premier Wen Jiabao. The Times website has been blocked since then.

Chen said it was natural for the government to block the site because the report on Wen “contained biased and negative things that were not verified”.

“If I acquire the Times, the paper will only report the truth and must verify all information,” he said, adding that he would like every Chinese household to subscribe to the paper.

If his offer failed, Chen said he would extend offers to CNN, the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal.

“As long as they have some influence, I’m still willing to consider buying lesser media outlets,” he said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

2013 Marked a Comeback for al-Qaida.


Image: 2013 Marked a Comeback for al-QaidaAl-Qaida claimed responsibility for a Dec. 5 attack on the Yemeni defense ministry that killed 52 people, saying the complex hosted U.S. personnel behind drone strikes against its militants.

By Lisa Barron

As controversy continues to swirl around the New York Times’ report claiming al-Qaida was not behind the Benghazi attacks, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the terrorist organization and its affiliates were responsible for some of the deadliest violence of 2013.

The resurgence of the group founded by Osama bin Laden was so pronounced that the Obama administration stepped back from its assertions that his death spelled the end of it, saying instead that only the core leadership in Pakistan had been contained, reports Politico Magazine

The year started with a jihadist retaliation for France’s military intervention in northern Mali, an operation that led to the death of at least 39 foreign hostages at Algeria’s In Amenas gas complex, notes the publication.

The following day, Jan. 17, a series of explosions on buses in predominantly Shiite areas of Iraq killed 19 people and injured more than 100.

Al-Qaida in Iraq has in fact accelerated the pace of its attacks since the pullout of U.S. troops at the end of 2011, culminating in a surge of violence in mid-2013 that has led to roughly 800 civilian deaths a month, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

At the same time, the group has spread into neighboring Syria, where it calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, fighting against both the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and other opposition factions, according to the council.

And a report published this month by the International Center for the Study of Radicalism indicates there are up to 11,000 foreign fighters from 74 nations involved in the Syrian conflict.

“The concern is that the al-Qaida networks of the future are being created in this jihadist melting pot,” Paul Cruickshank, a terrorism analyst who has specialized in studying al-Qaida, told CNN.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, headquartered in Yemen, is thriving as well, reports the network, which said it has learned about recent intercepts of messages between senior operatives in that country.

“There are multiple indications that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is plotting attacks both within Yemen, against U.S. and Western structures, and overseas,” Seth Jones, an analyst at Rand Corp., told CNN.

The al-Qaida faction in Somalia, al-Shabab, also had a prolific year, most notably carrying out a bloody assault in September on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall that killed 67 and injured at least 175.

Al-Qaida’s future capabilities have been helped in part by a series of jailbreaks in three different countries, the most significant one taking place on July 21 at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison that freed about 500 jihadist prisoners, reports Politico magazine.

A week later, prison riots and an outside attack freed more than 1,100 inmates from Benghazi’s Kuafiya prison, while some 250 prisoners escaped during a jailbreak in Pakistan on July 30.

As for the implications for Americans, the leaders of both the House and Senate intelligence panels maintained earlier this month that the country is not as safe as it was a year ago.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Nation,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said, “I think terror is up worldwide, the statistics indicate that, the fatalities are way up.

“The numbers are way up. There are new bombs, very big bombs, trucks being reinforced for those bombs. There are more groups than ever and there’s huge malevolence out there.”

Asked whether he thought so as well, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, said, “Oh, I absolutely agree that we’re not safer today for the same very reasons.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Chaffetz: Hardly Anyone Believes Video Prompted Benghazi.


Rep. Jason Chaffetz says only a small minority believe the Benghazi attack was fueled by an anti-Muslim video: former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and a New York Times reporter.

“The only ones that believe that are evidently Susan Rice and the author of this article, for a grand total of two people in this country,” Chaffetz said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”

Rice was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the time, and appeared on all five Sunday-morning talk shows days later saying the attack was the result of a spontaneous street protest, much like protests that had happened in Egypt.

The Sept. 11, 2012, attack left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

The debate over who was behind the Benghazi attack and why the United States was unprepared for it was rekindled over the weekend when The New York Times published a story by reporter David Kirkpatrick saying the video was indeed the impetus.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee, including Democrat David Schiff, have said the attack was planned and was linked to al-Qaida. Kirkpatrick told CNN on Monday that the truth is in the middle. The video did prompt the attack, but the attack was planned by local people.

Chaffetz told “Hannity” guest host Katie Pavlich that he went to Libya about three weeks after the attack and that no one he talked to about it brought up the video.

Neither has anyone else he has talked to, he said, including former AFRICON leader Gen. Carter Ham and the Accountability Review Board.

Chaffetz said the administration is not pursuing the Benghazi attackers with the same tenacity it used in hunting the Boston Marathon bombers earlier this year.

“These people are still out there,” Chaffetz said of the Benghazi attackers. “Are they going to do it again? I worry that they might.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

NY Times Reporter: No Attempt to Clear Hillary on Benghazi.


Image: NY Times Reporter: No Attempt to Clear Hillary on BenghaziSecretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on Jan. 23, 2013 before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

By Greg Richter

New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick called accusations “preposterous” that his controversial story on Benghazi was written to boost Hillary Clinton’s presidential hopes.

The story does not reflect well on the administration of President Barack Obama, Kirkpatrick said Monday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.” 

Though Kirkpatrick concludes that the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was caused by an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States, he says he doesn’t think the attack started spontaneously from a street protest, as then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice asserted on all five Sunday morning news shows days after the incident.

“Her statements clearly were misleading,” Kirkpatrick told CNN. A lot of the confusion and misinformation that have proliferated since were a result of Rice’s initial misstatements, he said.

“It was not a street protest. It was clearly an attack that began very deliberately and very suddenly. There was certainly some planning,” Kirkpatrick said. “There is evidence there was surveillance earlier that morning, he said.

But Rice’s initial misstatements set up a “false dichotomy” that either it was a spontaneous street protest or it was a planned al-Qaida attack, he said. Neither of those extremes is true, he says.

“In fact, it was an attack, in response to this movie, by local militants,” he said.

It’s pretty easy to find out who was involved, Kirkpatrick said. “This is not like someone secretly planted a car bomb under a car.” It was a “mob attack” that happened “in broad daylight” with a large crowd of people watching.

It also isn’t difficult to find out that Ahmed Abu Khattala, a local militia leader for the group Ansar al-Sharia, was a significant and central player, as was his group, Kirkpatrick said.

“They’re well known. They’re local people with friends and neighbors and histories,” he said.

But Abu Khattala isn’t a member of al-Qaida, he said. “He’s an anti-Western, anti-democratic, Islamic militant.”

One could stretch the term and call Abu Khattala part of al-Qaida, but he’s not part of the al-Qaida organization founded by Osama bin Laden, Kirkpatrick said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary.


Image: Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary

By Greg Richter

 

Rep. Trey Gowdy says a New York Times article that concluded al-Qaida was not involved in last year’s Benghazi attacks never mentioned then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Gowdy had no problem quoting her to make a point of his own.

“First of all, I want to congratulate The New York Times. It only took 15 months for them to figure out how to spell Benghazi,” Gowdy, R-S.C., said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” 

“So, in another 15 months, maybe their reporting will actually catch up with the truth,” Gowdy said.

The Times concluded there was no evidence that al-Qaida was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. It also said the attacks were not meticulously planned, as House Intelligence Committee members have said, but was a reaction to an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States.

“Whether it was al-Qaida or a subsidiary or a holding company or a limited partnership, to quote Hillary Clinton, ‘What difference does it make?'” Gowdy told Fox News. “Who cares whether it was al-Qaida proper or a subsidiary? Four Americans are dead, and it wasn’t a spontaneous reaction to a video. It was planned.”

Intelligence Committee members Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., both agreed on “Fox News Sunday” that al-Qaida was in some way involved and that there was planning.

People should believe Rogers, who is a former FBI agent, and Schiff, who is a former federal prosecutor, over The New York Times, Gowdy told guest host Dana Perino. Both men have dedicated their professional lives to following evidence wherever it leads, he said.

Gowdy also took issue with the assertion that the anti-Muslim video caused the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The video in question was translated into Arabic in early September 2012, Gowdy said, just days before the fatal attack.

That couldn’t explain a prior attack on the U.S. consulate or the attempted assassination of the British ambassador or attacks on the International Red Cross in Benghazi, he said.

“I thought we had no business being in Benghazi. We were the last flag flying in Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “But that begs a bigger question: Why were we there? Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi that night?”

Gowdy didn’t explain whether he had any suspicions, but Sen. Rand Paul and others have suggested Stevens was in Libya because the CIA was using the area to run guns to Syrian rebels.

Gowdy did make clear that he suspects The Times published the article to bolster the expected presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton, as secretary of state, came under fire after Benghazi for reportedly ignoring requests from Stevens for additional security.

“I’ve read this New York Times article, Dana, six times,” Gowdy told Perino. “I want you to read it six times and tell me if you can tell who the secretary of state was when Benghazi happened.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe.


Image: Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe

By Greg Richter

Former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden says he is surprised people are surprised at the detailed spying the National Security Agency is able to do.

German magazine Der Spiegel published a story on Sunday that laid out the NSA’s ability to hack into the computer systems and phones of its targets, and even to stop computer equipment mid-shipping to install spyware.

The article says current NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander and his crew are “pretty good at this. And that’s good news for the American people,” Hayden said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report.” 

Traditional signals intelligence used to be passive and “midpoint,” Hayden explained. If someone being targeted decided to send a message, spy agencies tried to get between points A and B and intercept the communication.

With the digital age, he said, spies have gone to “active” signals intelligence. They don’t just intercept at the midpoint, but go to the endpoint, he said.

“Go to a point where sometimes they have not even yet decided to transmit,” he said.

Hayden called the new collection methods “a good thing for American security and American liberty.”

Der Spiegel’s article no doubt damaged the NSA’s abilities, Hayden said. Now, legitimate foreign intelligence targets will read such reports and begin to take action to get around the methods, and that will make the United States less safe, he said.

Hayden told Fox News he read the article in Der Spiegel with his “antennae up” to see whether there was anything that should concern the U.S. public, but said he couldn’t find it.

The targets discussed were legitimate foreign intelligence targets, he said.

Hayden also said he was pleased that U.S. companies are surprised their products were  hacked by the NSA. They should be surprised, Hayden said, because they had nothing to do with it; it was all the NSA.

Turning to the New York Times story on Saturday that said al-Qaida was not involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Hayden compared the argument to medieval theological discussions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Hayden said it was reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s parsing the meaning of the word “is.”

Whether the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks was also linked to the Benghazi attacks “depends on your meaning of the word ‘al-Qaida’,” he said.

There are three levels to the group, he explained: “al-Qaida prime, al-Qaida-affiliated, and groups who are like-minded.” Within days of the attacks, he said, he termed them “either high-end like-minded or low-end affiliated.”

So, while al-Qaida probably did not directly order the attacks, they were carried out by people under its influence, he said.

“No one has suggested that somebody with a Motorola Push to Talk in the Hindu Kush was sending detailed instructions to somebody in Benghazi,” he said.

Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee have called the Times report “misleading.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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