Tag Archives: rogers

Read the US Intelligence Report on Russian Hacking

Mother Jones

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The Office of the Director of National Intelligence on Friday released its declassified report on Russia’s efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election by hacking Democratic outfits during the campaign.

The report comes a day after top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the issue. During the hearing, Clapper said the intelligence community has grown more “resolute” in its assessment that Russian intelligence was involved in the hacks aimed at the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. On Friday, Clapper, Rogers, FBI Director Jim Comey, and CIA Director John Brennan briefed President-elect Donald Trump on the classified evidence linking Russia to the hacks and the leaking of the swiped emails. After the briefing, Trump released a statement noting that Russia is one of many actors that try to hack US targets, but the statement did not acknowledge the US intelligence community conclusion that Moscow had mounted the cyberattack against the United States as part of an operation to help elect Trump president.

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ICA 2017 01 (PDF)

ICA 2017 01 (Text)

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Read the US Intelligence Report on Russian Hacking

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Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary Doesn’t Want to Combat Climate Change

Mother Jones

On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump has chosen Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference, to be his Secretary of Interior. The Interior Department is responsible for three quarters of the nation’s public lands, and includes under its umbrella agencies like the National Parks Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation—all which are on the front lines of the fight against climate change.

But if her record in Congress is any indication, don’t expect McMorris Rogers to make climate science or conservation a priority. In 2008, after Al Gore earned a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, she dismissed the former vice president’s warnings about global warming. “We believe Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing,” she joked.

One year later, McMorris Rodgers sang a slightly different tune, telling a group of students from her district that “we should be taking steps to reduce our carbon emissions”—but that’s been the extent of her climate awakening. In 2010, she earned plaudits from the Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity for opposing a cap-and-trade carbon-pricing system aimed at reducing emissions. In 2011 she voted three times against a resolution acknowledging that “climate change is happening and human beings are a major reason for it.” More recently, she co-sponsored the House bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (which is not part of Interior) from regulating carbon emissions; EPA carbon regulations form the core of President Barack Obama’s climate policy.

McMorris Rodgers has explicitly voted against letting the Interior Secretary consider climate change when setting policy. In 2014, while supporting legislation designed to protect hunters’ access to public lands, she opposed an amendment stipulating that, “Nothing in this Act limits the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to include climate change as a consideration in making decisions related to conservation and recreation on public lands.”

Even the firsthand effects of climate change on her district have done little to spur the congresswoman to action. When forest fires swept through Eastern Washington in August, the state’s Democratic governor, Jay Inslee, argued that the fires, aided by tree-killing bugs and dry conditions, were a problem that would only get worse due to climate change—a position shared by the US Forest Service. McMorris Rodgers declined to make that connection when asked by reporters about Inslee’s comments, instead urging authorities to simply focus on “better forest management.”

McMorris Rogers, who has a four-percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters, has taken concrete steps to curb the power of the department she’s now set to run. She’s repeatedly backed legislation that would limit the president’s authority to protect public lands under the Antiquities Act, which President Barack Obama and his predecessors have used to create marine sanctuaries and to set aside large chunks of the West as national monuments. (The impetus for the most recent push was Obama’s creation of Basin and Range National Monument, to be run by the Bureau of Land Management, in central Nevada.) She also backed a proposal loosen environmental laws in national parks and wildlife refuges within 100 miles of the US–Mexican border. That’s not a good sign for fragile desert ecosystems—but it might come in handy when construction starts on Trump’s wall.

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Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary Doesn’t Want to Combat Climate Change

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No, Vladimir Putin Is Not a Cunning Geopolitical Chess Player

Mother Jones

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From House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers:

Putin is playing chess and I think we are playing marbles, and I don’t think it’s even close. They’ve been running circles around us.

This kind of knee-jerk reaction is unsurprising, but it’s also nuts. Has Rogers even been following events in Ukraine lately? The reason Putin has sent troops into Crimea is because everything he’s done over the past year has blown up in his face. This was a last-ditch effort to avoid a fool’s mate, not some deeply-calculated bit of geopolitical strategery.

Make no mistake. All the sanctions and NATO meetings and condemnations from foreign offices in the West won’t have much material effect on Putin’s immediate conduct. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about this stuff: he does, and he’s been bullying and blustering for a long time in a frantic effort to avoid it. Now, however, having failed utterly thanks to ham-handed tactics on his part, he’s finally decided on one last desperation move. Not because the West is helpless to retaliate, but because he’s simply decided he’s willing to bear the cost.1 It’s a sign of weakness, not a show of strength. It’s the price he’s paying for his inability to control events.

1This is why a strong response from the West is a good idea even though it won’t have much immediate effect. Having decided that he’s willing to pay the price for his action, Putin now has to be sent the bill. It will pay dividends down the road.

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No, Vladimir Putin Is Not a Cunning Geopolitical Chess Player

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