President Joe Biden’s executive order against “the full scope of Russia’s harmful foreign activities” was not a true statement, but was a “technicality” or a “legality” that will give him the emergency powers to take action on the SolarWinds hacking into U.S. government and corporate computer systems, Sen. Marco Rubio said Thursday.
“I’m pretty certain the reason you do an executive order, or you issue that emergency declaration is it now opens up extraordinary powers on the executive branch to take specified action that might not otherwise be there,” the Florida Republican said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.” “We’ve seen these things invoked in the past to allow the impositions of sanctions that might not be statutorily, so my guess is that is what it is.”
In the SolarWinds breach, Russian hackers are believed to have used malicious code to infect software used by many businesses. That also allowed the hackers to access networks for at least 9 government agencies. U.S. officials believe the operation was aimed at mining the government’s secrets.
“It’s not just the Russians,” Rubio said. “The Chinese are involved in this, the Iranians want to do these things. This is going to be an ongoing threat that impacts every part of the economy and vulnerabilities in the country, not just elections but water systems, and critical infrastructure, utilities, power plants, and things of this nature. It is a serious situation.”
The administration also announced the expulsions of 10 Russian diplomats and the imposition of sanctions against almost 3 dozen people and companies in a move to hold the Kremlin accountable for interfering in the 2020 presidential election hacking of federal agencies.
“Today, we announced actions to hold the Russian Government to account for the SolarWinds intrusion, reports of bounties on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan, and attempts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
U.S. officials also last month accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of having authorized influence operations to help former President Donald Trump in his reelection bid. However, there is not evidence of whether Russia manipulated the outcome or changed any votes.
Sanctions announced Thursday target 6 Russian companies that support the country’s cyber activities, along with 32 individuals and entities who are accused of attempting to interfere with the election, including by spreading disinformation.
The White House Thursday also released a letter to Congress to announce the executive order which declares “a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by specified harmful foreign activities of the Government of the Russian Federation.”
The letter added that Russia had attempted to “undermine the conduct of free and fair democratic elections,” engaged in “malicious cyber-enabled activities,” violated international law, and targeted journalists and dissenters outside of its borders.
Biden is also using diplomatic, military, and intelligence channels in a response to reports that Russia encouraged the Taliban to attack U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan.
“The safety and well-being of U.S. military personnel, and that of our allies and partners, is an absolute priority of the United States,” the White House said Thursday.
It has not been made clear if any other actions are planned against Russia at this time.
Last month, the United States also sanctioned seven Russian officials and more than a dozen government entities after the nerve-agent attack on opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his imprisonment.
This Anti-Trump Republican is About to Go Down
Members of the G.O.P. are scheduled to vote tomorrow to expel Conference Chair Liz Cheney from the No. 3 leadership post. The Wyoming Republican, daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, is a vocal critic of Donald Trump even though they belong to the same party. This move to get her out of her position is a huge sign that Trump still has a powerful grip on the Republican Party.
Cheney’s problems with her party sprouted from the January 6 Capitol riots, wherein a throng of Trump supporters mobbed the Congress. A few days after that chaotic event, Liz Cheney was among the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection. The impeachment was unsurprisingly supported by the Democrats but the Republican-dominated Senate acquitted then-president Donald Trump.
House Republicans tried to unseat Cheney from her post as party conference chair but the Republican’s main guy in the lower chamber, Kevin McCarthy, advised members to keep her in that position. Ms Cheney would eventually stay due to a unanimous vote and since then her lambasting of Donald Trump continued for months.
Last week however, Cheney published an anti-Trump article on Washington Post which seemed to annoy McCarthy himself. He thought that the party would be able to move forward after helping to retain Cheney, but because of her continued divisive actions, McCarthy lost his confidence in her, eventually prompting him to take the necessary steps to try to remove her from power.
This development will thrust Liz Cheney into the Never Trump spotlight further and will make her the face of that leaderless movement. The divided faction has already lost Arizona Senator John McCain when he died in 2018. Meanwhile, centrist Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney of Utah, with all their waning popularity, don’t seem all-in in the fight against Donald Trump.
Even though the voting is yet to take place, it is most likely that Liz Cheney will be unseated from her post. In fact, the party has already been considering a replacement. Only 36 years young, rising star Elisa Stefanik used to be a staunch Trump critic but went on to become an ally and even defended the former president in his 2019 impeachment trial. She also heavily endorsed Donald Trump during the 2020 campaign, stating that Trump is the “only candidate who is capable of protecting the American Dream”. Upon replacement of Liz Cheney, Elise Stefanik is expected to bring in a much-needed new voice in the House of Representatives.
The White House Condemns Hamas Attacks On Tel Aviv
Palestinian militants have launched thousands of rocket attacks on Israel since 2001 and the victims are mostly innocent civilians. These assaults were labelled as terrorism by the United Nations, European Union and Israel. On the other hand, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch classify the violent acts as war crimes.
Recently, Palestinian militant nationalist organization Hamas attacked Tel Aviv with rockets, causing renewed conflict within the already-chaotic region. The U.S. government has condemned the attacks and called for a halt to the unnecessary mayhem that has left nothing but destruction and has already claimed many lives from both sides.
In an interview with the press, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated that President Biden is being briefed regularly on the situation in Jerusalem and Gaza. The president’s team is communicating consistently with Israeli and Palestinian officials, along with other leaders in the Middle East, to try to de-escalate the ongoing attacks.
“The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waiver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including against Jerusalem. We also stand against extremism that has inflicted violence on both communities,” Psaki said.
During a briefing with reporters last Tuesday, State Department spokesman Ned Price stated “The loss of life of innocent Palestinian civilians, innocent Israelis, is something we deeply regret. It is precisely why we are doing everything we can, we are doing everything we can in coordination with our international partners to put an end to a cycle of escalation and a cycle of violence.”
The fighting has been brewing for many days until it escalated into a full blown attack by Hamas, which led to retaliatory strikes from Israel. There would’ve been more destruction in Tel Aviv, but fortunately they have intercepted some of the rockets in the sky, before they reach their targets.
National Security adviser Jake Sullivan has kept in touch with some allies in the Egyptian government and his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne informed the media that Sullivan sent a message that expressed support and encouraged peace.
“He conveyed the President’s unwavering support for Israel’s security and for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, while protecting civilians. He also conveyed the United States’ encouragement of steps toward restoring a sustainable calm. They agreed to continue to stay in close touch,” Horne told reporters.
Pentagon Advances Probe Into UFO Sightings
he theory that other life forms exist across the universe is nothing new to American society, modern or otherwise. However, throughout decades of pursuit by scientists and fanatics, there has been very little evidence that they exist. Thankfully, the military has the means to observe alien phenomena. They have the technology to fly in the sky on any given day and provide the surveillance needed.
Recently the Pentagon is investigating the military on their policies regarding the way they handle UFO sightings. This conduct evaluation was deemed necessary especially when the Pentagon recently confirmed the veracity of three leaked video footages, including one that featured a flying triangular object that was captured by a Navy pilot back in 2019.
The leaked videos prompted the Department of Defense to establish the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF) back in August 2020. The Pentagon stated “The Department of Defense established the UAPTF to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins of UAPs. The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.”
“The Department of Defense and the military departments take any incursions by unauthorized aircraft into our training ranges or designated airspace very seriously and examine each report. This includes examinations of incursions that are initially reported as UAP when the observer cannot immediately identify what he or she is observing,” the Pentagon added.
The 2021 Intelligence Authorization Act that was passed back in December 2020, commands intelligence agencies and the Defense Department to craft a report on what they know about unidentified aerial phenomena. This piece of information will then be submitted to the lawmakers for further scrutiny.
Science fiction fans must be really excited for the past few years for these revelations. The fact that UAPs are already being taken seriously by the Pentagon and other agencies is a huge development. However, we must remember that this is not proof that we have visitors from other planets. In fact, we are nowhere close to uncovering alien activity.
With the technology that we have today, there are possibilities that those flying objects were just manmade. Regular citizens like you and I can afford to buy drones and capture footage of our world. So it is not surprising to know that what we have seen could just be some type of unmanned aircraft. The bigger concern of the government and the military right now, is that these UAPs might be deployed by rival superpowers to spy on American offensive and defensive capabilities.
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