Cruz to Trump: Name John Bolton as national security adviser
Washington (CNN)Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is urging President Donald Trump to name John Bolton as his national security adviser, a move that would win conservative support but would anger other Republicans over the former United Nations ambassador’s role during the Iraq War.
Trump to interview trio of candidates to replace Flynn
Similar to the manner in which Trump conducted interviews during his transition, the president asked all three men to meet at Mar-a-Lago for separate sit-downs with him and his aides to discuss the position, according to an administration official.
Those invited include former UN Ambassador John Bolton, retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Kellogg was spotted boarding Air Force One with Trump on his way to his beachside club in West Palm Beach, Fla. and was praised by the president in a tweet early Friday morning.
Bolton was thrown into the mix on Friday after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz floated his name in an interview with CNN. The former Bush administration official had previously been under consideration for secretary of state.
Give us Kim family’s DNA or no body, Malaysian police tell North Korea
- North Korea says it will reject autopsy results
- Three arrests have been made after Kim’s death but no autopsy results
Selangor Police Chief Abdul Samah Mat said without DNA from a next of kin, they won’t hand over Kim Jong Nam’s body or release the autopsy report, which could reveal the cause of death.
France vows to retaliate if Kremlin meddles in its elections as presidential candidate is forced to deny he’s gay following Russian media ‘smear campaign’
- French Foreign minister says France ‘won’t accept any interference’ in elections
- Jean-Marc Ayrault warned of ‘retaliatory measures’ in event of Russian influence
- Comes after a leading candidate in elections accused Moscow of cyber attacks
- Warnings come amid heightened tensions between Vladimir Putin and the West
Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault threatened ‘retaliatory measures’ in the event of interference in upcoming presidential elections in April.
His warning comes after American intelligence accused Moscow hackers of helping Donald Trump win the US presidency.
Trump’s choice to replace fired Mike Flynn TURNS HIM DOWN as national security advisor position remains vacant for now
- Robert Harward was Donald Trump’s pick to succeed Mike Flynn
- ‘Harward is conflicted between the call of duty and the obvious dysfunctionality’
- Said to be concerned about reports Flynn’s deputies were told they could stay
The man President Donald Trump has chosen to be his national security adviser isn’t eager to accept the offer.
Robert Harward, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and a long-time special forces veteran, is Trump’s pick to succeed retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, whom he fired on Monday.
But Financial Times reported Thursday afternoon that Harward has said no.
Citing two unnamed sources, the newspaper published a story describing Trump in crisis mode, trying to persuade Harward to take over a National Security Council left in limbo with Flynn’s unexpected departure.
The American predicament in Afghanistan is at once ridiculous and tragic. More than 8,000 U.S. troops remain in the country, prosecuting the longest war in our nation’s history. Overlapping networks of insurgent groups—most prominently the Taliban—had a good year in 2016, seizing terrain and conducting terror strikes to destabilize the U.S.-backed Kabul government. The American commander in the country wants a “few thousand” more troops. Despite the supporting role that the U.S. contingent is meant to play, casualties are still being sustained, sometimes in places with depressingly familiar names—as in Sangin, seized from the Taliban a few years ago at the expense of gallons of British and U.S. Marine blood. Two Americans were wounded there last week.
February 16, 2017 4:15 pm
U.S. adversaries are rapidly catching up to America’s fifth generation fighter aircraft capabilities—a risk that has exacerbated given ongoing cyber vulnerabilities in the F-35 fighter jet program, according to an Air Force major general.
Maj. Gen. Jerry Harris Jr., the vice commander of Air Combat Command at the Langley, Va., base, said Thursday that while the United States maintains an advantage in the stealth and weapons capacities inherent in fifth generation fighter aircraft models, adversaries are “quickly closing the gap.”
“We are trying to maximize our ability to procure fifth generation airplanes and go from a 100 percent fourth generation fleet to a significant mix of fifth generation [planes] so that we have the opportunity to operate in these hostile environments against these threats that are catching us faster than we thought they would,” Harris testified before the House Armed Services Committee.
CIA Director Pompeo denies agency hides intelligence from Trump
CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday denied allegations that the agency was hiding intelligence from President Trump.
Pompeo called reports that the agency was keeping intelligence from Trump “dead wrong.” He added that the reports damage the “integrity of thousands of professional intelligence officers.”
“The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the president, period. We are not aware of any instance when that has occurred,” Pompeo said in a statement Thursday in an attempt to dispute reports that the spy community is withholding information from the commander in chief.
Pentagon found no documents approving Flynn’s pay for Russia TV appearances
The Pentagon hasn’t found any documents indicating that Mike Flynn received authorization to accept money from a foreign government before traveling to Moscow in 2015 for a paid Russian state TV event, according to a letter from the acting Secretary of the Army.
The Pentagon finding came after lawmakers raised questions about whether the former White House national security adviser and retired U.S. Army general violated Pentagon rules that require retired officers to report income from foreign states.
Mr. Flynn accepted an invitation to Moscow in late 2015 to give a paid, sit-down interview with Russian state television network RT and to attend the channel’s 10-year anniversary gala, where he sat beside President Vladimir Putin.
EU must not let US push it to increase military spending – Juncker
“It [increasing military spending] has been the American message for many, many years. I am very much against letting ourselves be pushed into this,” Juncker said, speaking on the sidelines of the international Munich Security Conference on Wednesday.
Juncker added that he does not like “our American friends narrowing down this concept of security to the military.”
“China’s inner circle of government is highly nervous about this,” said Wang Weimin, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs at Fudan University in Shanghai.
“Kim Jong Nam’s assassination makes China more aware of how unpredictable and cruel the current North Korean regime is, as well as Kim Jong Un’s willingness to abandon China and sell it for his own benefit at any second.”
As it speeds through the air, the pilot twists the jet with chilling manoeuvres as blasts through the air.
As the jet touches down a parachute shoots out to help it slow after reaching speeds of up to 1,500mph in the sky.
The jet has the ability to rip through the air at around 1,500mph
Turkey says almost taken Syria’s Bab, war monitor cites heavy toll
Turkey’s military said on Friday it was close to taking Syria’s al-Bab from Islamic State, but a war monitor said the jihadists still controlled 90 percent of the town itself and that shelling and air strikes had killed dozens of civilians in recent days.
Al-Bab, an Islamic State stronghold 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, has been a prime target since Turkey launched an incursion last August to push the jihadists from its frontier and prevent gains by a Kurdish militia also fighting them.
Taking control of the town would deepen Turkish influence in an area of Syria where it has already effectively created a buffer zone and allow Turkish forces to press on towards Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital in Syria.
“The operation to gain complete control of the al-Bab region has neared its end and the resistance of the Daesh terror group has largely been broken,” the Turkish military statement said, using an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.
However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organization that monitors the war using a network of contacts, said Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” forces had not made much progress.
Islamic State still controls 90 percent of al-Bab town itself and Turkish shelling and air strikes had killed 45 civilians, including 18 children, during the past 48 hours, the Observatory said.
Details of the deal remain opaque at this stage and it is not clear who it has been signed with or when it will come into force. However, it is likely to be just the first of several large contracts in the coming weeks and months.
Tehran has signed deals for 100 planes from Airbus, a further 80 from Boeing and 40 turboprops from French/Italian manufacturer ATR. Local airlines have also held discussions with Russia’s Sukhoi and Brazil’s Embraer. All of the deals need to be financed in some way.
The comments by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah marked the first time his group explicitly threatened to target the reactor in the southern Israeli town of Dimona.
Israel and Hezbollah battled to a stalemate during a month-long war in the summer of 2006. The war broke out after Hezbollah gunmen crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers. The ensuing conflict killed about 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis before ending in a United Nations-brokered cease-fire.
The attack campaign started in July and continues to date, according to researchers from antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, who cooperated in the investigation with the IDF Information Security Department.
The Israeli soldiers were lured via Facebook Messenger and other social networks by hackers who posed as attractive women from various countries like Canada, Germany, and Switzerland. The victims were tricked into installing a malicious Android application, which then scanned the phone and downloaded another malicious app that masqueraded as an update for one of the already installed applications.
Grenade-dropping jihadist death drones are ‘insidious’ threat in Iraq – general
As the intense fighting to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul continues, Major General Rupert Jones has warned of the “insidious” threat posed by the low-tech aerial attacks employed alongside more conventional methods.
“The enemy has tried unsuccessfully to infiltrate back into the east of the city and has indiscriminately fired mortars, rockets and artillery into liberated areas on more than 300 occasions in the last week with a characteristic disdain for human life,” he said in a briefing from Baghdad seen by the Daily Mail.
“This tactic, together with their continued use of off-the-shelf commercial drones is all they have left with which to attack the east as they await their fate.
Will the US leave Syrian Kurdish partners for Turkey?
U.S. Chief of Joint Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford is set to visit Turkey on Feb. 17. Following the Feb. 9 visit of CIA head Michael Pompeo, Dunford is the second high-ranking U.S. official’s visit to Turkey, as part of a Middle Eastern tour.
As Pompeo’s visit was announced after a telephone conversation between President Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump, the Dunford visit was announced after a meeting between Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Feb. 15 on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels.
After Dunford’s discussions with Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar on Feb. 18, more high-ranking discussions are expected to take place between the two NATO allies: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to meet in Munich on Feb. 18 during the annual Munich Security Conference.
There is one single issue in common in all those meetings. The Turkish government wants to convince the U.S. administration to change its fighting partner in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) before Trump announces his country’s new strategy on it. Trump has given a 30-day deadline to the Pentagon to draft a new anti-ISIL strategy, with the date set to expire on Feb. 28.
Turkey says the fighting partner of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), the Democratic Union Party (PYD), is the Syrian sister of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. for many years. It was thanks to CIA support that the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was able to capture the PKK’s founding leader, Abdullah Öcalan, in 1999. Now Ankara is telling Washington that it was “wrong to fight a terrorist organization with the help of another one” and that if they end the collaboration with the PYD, the Turkish army and the Turkey-backed Free Syria Army (FSA) will join the U.S. to deliver a coup de grace to ISIL at their headquarters in Raqqa.
German parents told to destroy Cayla dolls over hacking fears
An official watchdog in Germany has told parents to destroy a talking doll called Cayla because its smart technology can reveal personal data.
The warning was issued by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), which oversees telecommunications.
Researchers say hackers can use an insecure bluetooth device embedded in the toy to listen and talk to the child playing with it.
Manufacturer Genesis Toys has not yet commented on the German warning.
The Vivid Toy group, which distributes My Friend Cayla, has previously said that examples of hacking were isolated and carried out by specialists. However, it said the company would take the information on board as it was able to upgrade the app used with the doll.
Turkish imam spy affair in Germany extends across Europe
A German investigation into Turkey’s religious officials collecting information on its enemies may be the tip of the iceberg. DW has obtained several documents revealing Turkish activities in Germany and European states.
German police on Wednesday raided the homes of four imams alleged to have spied on the opposition for the Turkish government. The police action is part of an investigation into what documents obtained by DW show to be a broader Turkish effort to collect information across Europe on supporters of the religious movement Ankara blames for last July’s failed coup attempt.
The raids targeted the homes of four Turkish imams affiliated with the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), Germany’s largest Islamic umbrella group with over 900 mosques tied to the Turkish government’s Directorate of Religion, or Diyanet.
The Federal Prosecutors Office (GBA) said in a statement no arrests were made in the raids in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Rhineland-Pfalz, which aimed to collect evidence into imams conducting alleged espionage against supporters of the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for last July’s failed coup attempt.
The prosecutor’s office said the reason for the raids was related to a September order from Diyanet, a religious body tied to the Turkish prime ministry, for imams to pass information to diplomatic missions on Gulen supporters.
NATO: Russia targeted German army with fake news campaign
Emails accusing German soldiers stationed in Lithuania of rape were sent to local news outlets and the parliamentary president. NATO officials allege that Russia is targeting the military alliance.
German soldiers stationed in Lithuania have been the target of false rape claims, German news magazine “Spiegel” first reported on Thursday. NATO diplomats told Spiegel that they viewed this as an attack aimed at undermining the presence of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Eastern Europe, likely perpetrated by Russia.
Emails claiming that German soldiers had raped an underage Lithuanian girl were sent to the president of the Lithuanian parliament and various Lithuanian media outlets on February 14.
Lithuanian authorities investigated the charges and found no evidence that any of the claims made in the emails were true. “To our knowledge, Lithuanian police investigations came to the conclusion that there were neither a victim nor possible witnesses nor any perpetrators”, a spokesperson for the German ministry of defense said.
Some smaller local news outlets reported on the charges, according to Spiegel, but Lithuanian officials quickly discounted the accusations.
Lithuanian police is investigating the incident. The address from which the emails accusing the soldiers were sent no longer exists, according to the German defense ministry, but authorities are looking to track the IP-address.