July 31, 2017

In the last year, the United States has arrested at least five Russian hackers while they were vacationing abroad, snatching up the accused criminals in Barcelona, Prague, Latvia, and Greece, The Associated Press and Axios report.

"We are still not really good at [arresting Russian hackers]," the Center for Strategic and International Relations' Jim Lewis told Axios, noting that it is difficult to "deal with a state when they are a proxy for a criminal."

"But one tactic that works is snatching Russians when they are dopey enough to take a vacation," Lewis added.

While the hackers have not been tied to Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election, "the arrests are intended as a U.S. message that Russia's increasingly intelligent cyberwar cannot be carried out with impunity," Axios writes. Jeva Lange

July 17, 2017

On Monday, President Trump defended Donald Trump Jr.'s decision to meet with a Russian lawyer in 2016 for info on Hillary Clinton as being what "most politicians" would have done in a similar situation. In doing so, Trump unraveled his own long-held argument that he had "NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA."

As former Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski pointed out:

File "meeting with Russian lawyer for dirt on your opponent" to the Trump Glossary as a "non-dealing." Jeva Lange

October 6, 2016

Donald Trump has made a lot of remarks on The Howard Stern Show over the years that he might regret, but perhaps no comment has come back to bite him as much as his admission of support for the Iraq War during an interview in 2002. Though Trump has regularly tried to say in the 2016 presidential election that he has always opposed the invasion of Iraq, audio of Trump telling Stern otherwise has prevented him from getting away with that claim.

A Politico story published Thursday revealed how Stern got that answer out of Trump, masterfully moving the interview from a cursory discussion about the housing market into vastly different territory:

Bored, Stern smartly steered Trump back into douchebag mode, with a nice assist from his deceptively gentle co-host Robin Quivers, a nurse and onetime second lieutenant in the Air Force who also works with the United Nations to help exploited girls around the globe. As Quivers oohed and ahhed cartoonishly at Trump's BMOC routine, like a sweetheart with the Fonz, she got him to reflect nauseatingly on how on 9/11 compromised the view from his penthouse apartment: "I have two windows that are focused on the building. … You can't believe that, after looking for 20 years at the World Trade Center, you can't believe they're not there."

But Stern and Quivers in that interview were only softening Trump up for the rope-a-dope moment that has been so consequential in the 2016 election. Probing Trump's thoughts on 9/11, they got him to complain that "we really don’t know the enemy." Fair point, but it was the days of drumbeats: The hawks were gunning for war in Iraq. Confused about that enemy, Trump suddenly seemed perilously close to teeing up an emasculated antiwar position. Stern saw an angle. "Are you for invading Iraq?" Stern asked. "Yeah … I guess so," Trump said. Without assenting, he would have been stuck making the case for diplomacy or police action — something consistent with an inchoate enemy — which is discourse way too subtle to interest Stern or, as the world now knows, Trump. [Politico]

That was far from the first — or last — time Stern managed to butter Trump up before hitting him with a question that would produce an infamous soundbite. Read about some of the other moments over at Politico. Becca Stanek

January 8, 2016

Approximately six months after he escaped a maximum-security prison through a mile-long tunnel, the infamous Mexican drug kingpin known as "El Chapo" has been recaptured, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on Twitter Friday. El Chapo, whose real name is Joaquín Guzmán, was caught by the navy in the northern city of Los Mochis, Vice reports. The navy said they found El Chapo after an anonymous tip led them to a residence filled with gunmen; one official was wounded in the kingpin's apprehension.

El Chapo had previously spent 14 years on the run after escaping from prison in 2001; he was recaptured in February 2015. Jeva Lange

August 18, 2014

Attendees of last year's Boston Calling music festival were — without their knowledge — test subjects for the Boston Police Department's new facial recognition software. The IBM program — which also analyzes each individual's build, clothes, and skin color — captured video of thousands of people, 50 hours of which is still intact.

When Boston's Dig website found data, documents, and more from the facial recognition project carelessly left available to the public online, Boston PD denied all involvement, saying, "BPD was not part of this initiative. We do not and have not used or possess this type of technology." However, the Dig reporters also uncovered photos showing Boston PD officers actively using the monitoring software with guidance from IBM staff.

Use of facial recognition programs by local and state government has come under criticism in other areas, like Ohio, where some 26,000 police officers and other state employees were allowed to use the program at will. And the FBI has worried civil liberties advocates with its plans to have biometric data on as many as 52 million people by 2015.
Bonnie Kristian

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