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Barr issues new rules for FISA orders to politicians

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Barr issues new rules for FISA orders to politicians

Washington – Attorney General William Barr announced a series of reforms in the FBI’s process to obtain warrants for secret surveillance of elected officials, political campaigns and candidates, a move that came nearly a year after the inspector general’s report was documented. numerous failures The FBI is investigating the 2016 Trump campaign.

Barr posted the new restrictions in a couple of memorandums released on Tuesday. IN first directive authorizes the creation of an Internal Audit Office within the FBI to ensure “rigorous and reliable audit” of the bureau’s activities. IN second note establishes new procedures for supervising the execution of secret surveillance orders under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“FISA is an important tool for the safety of Americans, especially when it comes to countering terrorism. However, the American people need to be confident that the United States government will exercise its surveillance powers in a way that protects the civil liberties of its citizens.” interfere in the political process and abide by the United States Constitution and laws, ”Barr said in a statement.

“What happened to Trump’s presidential campaign and subsequent administration after the president was duly elected by the American people should never happen again,” he added.

Among the new restrictions is the requirement that the FBI director first consider providing “defensive briefing” to potential foreign government targets before seeking a surveillance warrant. This new restriction applies to potential subjects of national security investigations, including candidates for federal office, elected federal officials, their employees, or both official and informal advisers. If the FBI Director chooses not to provide such briefing, he or she must explain the reason in writing.

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The change, which comes just weeks before the 2020 election, could raise the likelihood that the FBI will alert campaigns to potential investigations of foreign interference.

Barr also set additional levels of verification for FISA claims, responding to criticism from Republicans following the Inspector General’s report on the Trump campaign investigation known as the Hurricane of the Crossfire.

Michael Horowitz, Inspector General of the Department of Justice, concluded that the FBI was acquitted and did not indicate political bias when the investigation began, but also decided Bureau made 17 “Significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the processing of FISA applications to monitor Carter Page, Trump’s former campaign assistant. In addition, Horowitz found that surveillance of Page “continued even while the FBI was gathering information that weakened the probable cause.”

In its most egregious case of abuse, an FBI lawyer was found to have modified the email to change its meaning and support the bureau’s FISA page monitoring application. Lawyer Kevin Klinsmith, pleaded guilty on one criminal charge last month.

According to the changes announced on Tuesday, FISA applications must be certified by the FBI director and approved by both the Deputy Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security. The last word when filing an application remains with the Attorney General.

All applications must also be checked for “accuracy and completeness” by an FBI agent not involved in the investigation and by FBI lawyers, who must then inform the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security of their findings.

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In response to the Inspector General’s report released last December, FBI Director Ray agreed with the findings, calling them “unacceptable,” and announced more than 40 corrective actions that his bureau will take to reform its practices. Ray expressed support for the additional procedures in a statement on Tuesday.

“The additional reforms announced today, which we worked closely with the attorney general’s office, will build on the FBI’s efforts to strengthen its compliance program,” Ray said. “FISA is an indispensable tool that the FBI uses to protect our country from national security threats, and Americans can rest assured that the FBI remains committed to continually strengthening our efforts to comply with FISA requirements and to ensure that our FISA mandate is exercised in a responsible manner.” …

An FBI spokesman said the inspector general’s verification of information included by the FBI in recent FISA filings has proven accurate. In addition to establishing the Internal Audit Service, a spokesman told CBS News that the bureau is in the process of seeking an external consultant to provide guidance on how to improve the FISA audit process.

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Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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