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The Intercept said investigators have relied on data \'dumps\' from cell phone towers in the D.C. area to map out who was there. 

From there, they are able to trace call records - but not the content of the conversations - from phones. 

\'The data is also being used to map links between suspects, which include members of Congress,\' The Intercept said.    

A number of Democrats suggested after the MAGA riot that some of their Republican colleagues may have been involved.

GOP lawmakers have denied these allegations.  

A 2007 corruption case against former Rep. William Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat, reinforced protections against the executive branch sweeping up records from Congress.  

An appeals court ruled the FBI improperly seized material from Jefferson\'s office. 

In a statement released on January 11, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse warned the Justice Department against investigating members of Congress\' role in the attack, saying that the Senate should do so instead. 

\'Separation of powers principles generally, and the speech and debate clause particularly, restrict the executive branch’s ability to investigate members of Congress. That\'s why the Constitution puts the houses of Congress in charge of disciplining their members,\' Whitehouse elaborated to the Intercept. 

\'In the case of the January 6 insurrection, I’ve asked the Senate ethics panel to take a hard look at certain members’ behavior, including whether they coordinated or conspired with, aided and abetted, or gave aid and comfort to the insurrectionists,\' the Rhode Island Democrat continued. 

In the original statement, Whitehouse suggested that the Senate Judiciary and perhaps Homeland Security Committees probe colleagues\' role in the insurrection. 

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Whitehouse also said that Republican Sens. Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson need to be removed from the committees investigating the insurrection. 

Hawley and Cruz were among the GOP senators to back a House GOP effort to challenge Electoral College vote counts in certain states during the January 6 joint session to certify that President Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election.

Senator Josh Hawley objects to the verification of ballots

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A U.S. senator has to sign on to a House challenge in order for it to be debated. 

Their actions gave what Democrats call \'the big lie\' - that President Donald Trump was cheated out of a second term due to widespread voter fraud - more weight. 

Since the insurrection, Johnson has downplayed the assault. 

The FBI refused to comment to the Intercept on specific tools investigators were using in the probe of the January 6 insurrection, except to say the bureau received more than 200,000 tips. 

The Justice Department declined to comment. 

\'As with all our operations, the FBI conducts itself according to our legal requirements and established policies,\' the FBI told The Intercept.   

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\nOpinion | The U.S. should reveal its intelligence about the Wuhan laboratory\n

Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump missed no opportunity to bash China over the virus, trying to divert attention from Mr. Trump’s disastrous pandemic response. Setting aside this scapegoating, the origins of the coronavirus remain unknown. Did the virus leap directly from an animal host in nature to humans, which many scientists believe is highly likely, or from an inadvertent leak or accident at a Chinese laboratory, possibly the WIV? The answers will be important to prevent a future pandemic and must be pursued vigorously, even though China covered up the early stages of the pandemic and has advanced dubious theories to suggest it originated beyond China’s borders.

Mr. Pompeo issued a statement and fact sheet on Jan. 15 claiming the U.S. government “has reason to believe that several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019, before the first identified case of the outbreak, with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses.” Mr. Pompeo does not categorically claim the workers had covid, only raising the possibility of that or seasonal illnesses, such as influenza. Both are respiratory illnesses.

If true, it would be useful to know if any workers were quarantined or if there is cellphone mobility data to track what happened to them.

Mr. Pompeo said the U.S. information “raises questions” about Chinese denials that the laboratory was the source. A senior researcher at the WIV, Shi Zhengli, was working on “gain of function” experiments, which involve modifying viral genomes to give them new properties, including the ability to infect lung cells of laboratory animals that had been genetically modified to respond as human respiratory cells would. Mr. Pompeo noted that China “prevented independent journalists, investigators, and global health authorities from interviewing researchers at the WIV, including those who were ill in the fall of 2019.” Matthew Pottinger, who was deputy national security adviser under Mr. Trump and is a China specialist, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday the Jan. 15 statement was “very carefully crafted” and “scrubbed” by the administration. The statement also claimed the WIV had been engaged in secret projects with China’s military involving laboratory animal experiments.

When a World Health Organization team recently wrapped up its initial investigative visit to Wuhan, the team leader said the laboratory leak scenario was highly unlikely. However, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Feb. 9 that the Biden administration would “draw on information collected and analyzed by our own intelligence community to evaluate the report” from the WHO. Mr. Price emphasized the need for “full transparency.”

Full transparency is needed from China but also from the United States. The intelligence behind Mr. Pompeo’s statements should be declassified, with proper protection for sources and methods. The truth matters, and the United States should not hide any relevant evidence.

\nWhy New Yorks Last COVID Surge Was Far Less Deadly Than Its First\n

For those who find themselves stuck inside worrying about the new variants of COVID-19 going around, the second wave of the virus in New York City might feel like deja vu.

Yet in some ways, this new surge has been much milder than the first. Far fewer New Yorkers have been hospitalized or died from COVID-19 this fall and winter than last spring, even though the number of total cases over the last three months was 40% more than the opening stanza of the pandemic. As the winter wave overwhelmed hospitals nationwide and thrust America\'s death toll toward 500,000, medical centers in New York have been able to handle the surge.

So, what has changed? The fact that severe outcomes are less common raises thoughts of the city nearing herd immunity, but hospital leaders and infectious disease experts say the life-saving switch is due to more testing, better knowledge of the disease, and stronger preparation.

Better Medicine

“We look at it in our breakdown of data as three phases,” said Dr. David Reich, president and chief operating officer of Mount Sinai Hospital. Spring saw a massive surge of COVID-19 patients before cases slowed--but didn’t cease--over the summer. October ushered in a second flood of cases that began cresting in early January.

But mortality rates in New York City steadily declined after peaking in May at 11%. The case-fatality rate kept dropping even during the last surge, and by early February, was down to 4%.

“There are a few possible reasons for that,” Reich said. “The first is that in the spring there was just nothing in the way of therapeutics and we had no idea what to do. People were given drugs that turned out to be useless like hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin and a few others.”

Now, Reich said, health care providers have a better sense of what works, even though research on certain practices and medicines remain ongoing. For instance, Mount Sinai has started giving some patients blood thinners because its staff observed clotting in a portion of COVID-19 patients.

“Even though the literature is still evolving, it looks like at least a subset of patients do better with anticoagulation,” Reich said. Similarly, he said, “The drugs people commonly refer to as steroids...seem to be effective to a certain extent in patients who are more advanced in the disease.”

Better Preparation

Another factor in improved outcomes is that hospitals are less overwhelmed this time around because they are better prepared.

Per state criteria, hospitals had to maintain a certain number of empty beds in order to have surge capacity for a second wave. And hospital systems have also implemented new plans for moving patients between facilities in order to balance the patient load.

NYC Health + Hospitals, the city’s public hospital system, transferred nearly 500 patients among its 11 hospitals between November and the end of January.

This “steady movement of patients has helped the system manage capacity as facilities convert units to COVID-19-only units or move into the additional surge spaces that are part of our plan,” Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, wrote in a January 28th report to the hospital system’s Board of Directors.

“[In the spring], there weren’t enough critical care facilities in many circumstances to take care of acutely ill patients, so on top of everything else, the overwhelming of the hospital system was one of the contributing factors [in patient outcomes],” Reich said.

Katz noted that the city health system didn’t see the same spike in COVID-19 patients as it did in the spring, but rather a steady increase over recent months, which “has made this surge much different and more manageable.”

Patients arriving at the hospital are also generally less sick than they were at the start of the pandemic, Katz said. He noted that this, “combined with new therapeutics and other interventions, has reduced mortality significantly.”

Widely available testing for COVID-19 has likely made a difference in transmission and hospitalization rates.

“It’s the first step to actually interrupting further spread,” Dr. David Chokshi, the city health commissioner, said in December, adding, “Once someone tests positive, we very quickly help them isolate.”

A much smaller share of COVID-19 tests are coming back positive now than in the spring, although that figure is impacted by the fact that, early on, the few tests that were available were primarily given to people who were already experiencing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Herd Immunity? Not quite yet.

Fewer positive tests and lower rates of severe symptoms raise the question of whether the New York region is close to achieving herd immunity. The more immune systems build defenses against COVID-19, the closer a community comes to interrupting the coronavirus’s ability to cause worse outcomes or spread from person to person. The vaccine campaign is aiding this quest, but a number of New Yorkers gained immunity last spring when the virus swept through essentially unimpeded.

“If there were no immunity by natural infection, we would be seeing a lot more people who have already been infected getting infected again,” said Jeffrey Shaman, an infectious disease specialist at Columbia University.

It’s still unclear exactly how much natural immunity comes with a coronavirus infection, or how long that immunity lasts. But so far, reinfections have been extremely rare, with one recent large-scale study of U.K health care workers reporting a rate of 1%. Among this group, the researchers estimated that prior infection reduced the odds of a second bout by 83%. While there have been documented instances of people getting reinfected with COVID-19, for the most part people getting sick now did not have it before, experts say.

As of February 19th, about 684,630 people have had confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York City, but Shaman and other infectious disease experts say these diagnostic tests likely only capture a fraction of total cases. Based on a predictive model Shaman developed with other researchers at Columbia University, the total number of cases in New York City may be five times that amount.

That would mean some 2.8 million people in the city, or about a third of the population, have already been infected. Viviana Simon, a professor of microbiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says her research lab also reports an estimate in that ballpark, with between 20% and 25% of city residents infected. Add another 400,000 city residents who’ve been fully vaccinated as of February 22nd, and you’re only tacking on another 3 percent or so.

“That’s not enough for herd immunity. It needs to be at least 75% to 80% for herd immunity, so vaccines will be essential for us,” Simon said.

\n\n\n \"People\n
\n\n
\n \n arrow\n \n\n\n\n \n

\n \n People line up for the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination site outside St. Luke\'s Episcopal Church in the Bronx.\n \n \n \n Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock\n\n\n

\n\n
\n

Simon and Shaman attribute the milder second surge primarily to an increased volume of testing, meaning cases can be caught earlier before the disease spreads, and clinical interventions at hospitals. Better compliance with measures like social distancing and mask wearing may also have made a difference.

“The problem is that in winter the virus is more transmissible,” Shaman said. “It innately appears to transmit more efficiently in drier, colder air and people are indoors more and may be more complacent with controls.”

He said it’s still unclear whether COVID-19 will end up being a seasonal virus like the flu or follow another pattern.

Reich said that while the second wave hasn’t been as bad and Mount Sinai’s surge has already plateaued, it hasn’t been a picnic either. He added that more research on effective treatments is still needed because it is “still a scary disease” that kills one of every 10 hospitalized patients. “I wouldn’t want to take those odds for anyone I love,” Reich added.

“It’s hard on staff because it’s just such a long marathon for them,” he said. “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel just yet.”

\n3:49 PM 2/22/2021 - OpinionHow will we look back on the Capitol breach?\n

3:49 PM 2/22/2021

Michael Novakhov\'s favorite articles on Inoreader
Opinion—How will we look back on the Capitol breach?
In twenty years, thirty years, how will we look back at the beginning of 2021? I think the breach of the U.S. Capitol will be one of the most significant ... police or other law enforcement officers who attended the demonstration on Jan. ... Each of the rioters will continue to be under investigation until they are ...
ReutersVideo\'s YouTube Videos: Garland to oversee DOJ at \'existential moment\'
posted at 20:36:56 UTC by ReutersVideo via Video News
From: ReutersVideo
Duration: 01:59

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin said that Merrick Garland, the nominee for attorney general, if confirmed, would oversee a Justice Department at an \'existential moment’ after it became the ‘Trump Department of Justice’ in the last four years.

#Garland #USPolitics #News

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AG nominee Garland vows Capitol riot will be top priority
posted at 20:35:35 UTC via Google Alert - Capitol Riot
Judge Merrick Garland, President Joe Biden\'s pick to be attorney general, arrives on Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing, in Washington, Monday, ...
Garland Vows to Prioritize Capitol Riot Investigation
posted at 20:35:35 UTC via Google Alert - Capitol Riot
At his confirmation hearing on Monday, Judge Merrick B. Garland promised to focus on prosecuting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot attack with the same ...
What’s the Justice Department Actually For?
posted at 20:26:35 UTC by David A. Graham via Master Feed : The Atlantic

This time around, Judge Merrick Garland is getting his hearing.

Not only is President Joe Biden’s nominee for attorney general receiving a Senate audience, but his confirmation seems very likely, a second difference from his 2016 nomination to the Supreme Court, which was stymied by then–Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But there’s still an important question at stake in Garland’s nomination, and if confirmed, in his work as attorney general. The Trump presidency has both underscored and made more urgent a running debate over what exactly the U.S. Department of Justice is for.

“I think being attorney general has got to be the toughest job in the United States government, because you serve at pleasure of president, but you also have an obligation … to equal justice and impartial enforcement of the law,” Senator John Cornyn, the Republican from Texas, told Garland during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning.

[Jane Chong: Donald Trump’s strange and dangerous “absolute rights” idea]

That neatly frames the dilemma. For years, the department has veered, sometimes aggressively, between being more or less in thrall to the White House. Under President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr, the department was arguably less independent than at any time since John F. Kennedy’s brother led it. Trump asserted an “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” Barr, a long-time proponent of presidential power, generally endorsed and enabled Trump’s moves. Biden has promised to restore a greater degree of independence, and Garland’s prepared opening statement reads as an extended subtweet of the Trump-Barr Justice Department.

Trump complained that he didn’t “have an attorney general” when Jeff Sessions, his first pick for that role, recused himself from the Russia investigation. Trump also told The New York Times, “I don’t want to get into loyalty, but … I will say this: [Attorney General Eric] Holder protected President Obama. Totally protected him.” (Holder disputed this, saying, “I had a president I did not have to protect.”) But Garland, for his part, said that “the president nominates the attorney general to be the lawyer—not for any individual, but for the people of the United States.”

Garland’s statement also praised “policies that protect the independence of the Department from partisan influence in law-enforcement investigations; that strictly regulate communications with the White House; … that respect the professionalism of DOJ’s career employees; and that set out principles of federal prosecution to guide the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.” These are all areas where Trump far overstepped norms—if not necessarily the law—in meddling with the department.

Garland told senators that he believes (and says Biden has pledged) that prosecutions and investigations should be handled independently of the White House, but policy questions are dictated by the president (as long as they are constitutional, he was quick to point out). As to whether a president could order an investigation to be opened or closed, Garland said: “This is a hard question of constitutional law, but I do not expect it to be a question for me.”

[David A. Graham: Bill Barr’s departure reveals the hollowness of Trumpism]

If the new job might allow Garland to sidestep tough constitutional-law questions, it will present plenty of challenges of its own. Justice Department independence has always been more of a political continuum than a clear binary. Janet Reno, who served as Bill Clinton’s attorney general, got drawn into highly political fights, such as the one over Elián González, the boy whose mother died while attempting to escape Cuba with him, and who was ultimately returned to his father on the island. Under George W. Bush, the Justice Department fired seven U.S. attorneys for insufficient political fealty, and stocked the Civil Rights Division with political hacks. Investigations concluded that while inappropriate, neither of these moves was illegal. Moreover, the interference in both cases was not directly in the realm of investigations or prosecutions, where Garland drew his line.

Garland is looking further back for a predecessor who can be a role model: Edward Levi, whom Gerald Ford appointed attorney general after the Watergate scandal. Levi was viewed as a paragon of integrity and independence who did not bow to political pressure and who restored the department’s standing. He also instituted many of the norms for insulating the department that Trump shredded. Garland cited Levi when Biden nominated him, and he is touting endorsements from Levi’s sons, both accomplished lawyers in their own right.

A different way to think about Garland’s vision for the role is that he’d be somewhat akin to the head of an independent federal agency. There are a number of commissions and other bodies where the president appoints a leader and the Senate confirms her, but once she’s in office, she serves a set term rather than at the pleasure of the president, and is not subject to presidential direction.

“I do not regard myself as anything other than the lawyer for the people of the United States,” Garland said. Noting that some senators had asked why he’d leave a lifetime appointment on the federal bench to become attorney general, he explained the decision as one designed to serve the long-term interests of the department’s work: “This is an important time for me to step forward because of my deep respect for the Department of Justice and its critical role in ensuring the rule of law.”

This idea of the role is naturally similar to being a federal judge. After nearly 25 years on the bench, Garland isn’t accustomed to working for anyone or having to worry about political considerations. (Garland worked at the Justice Department under Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and was an assistant U.S. attorney in D.C.)

But politics will intrude, and soon. The second questioner at today’s hearing was the ranking member Chuck Grassley, who asked Garland for assurances that he wouldn’t meddle with John Durham, a U.S. attorney appointed to investigate the origins of the FBI’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Garland said he had no plans to meddle, but wouldn’t commit.) Garland also faced questioning about how he would handle White House pressure about an investigation into Hunter Biden, the president’s son. (Garland said Joe Biden had assured him it would be up to the Justice Department.)

Senator Ted Cruz complained during today’s hearing that under President Barack Obama, “the Department of Justice was politicized and weaponized in a way that was directly contrary to over a century of tradition of the Department of Justice being apolitical, and not a partisan tool to target your opponents.” It is rich to hear such complaints from Cruz and other Republicans who tacitly or explicitly endorsed Trump’s handling of the department, especially Trump’s efforts to get friends such as Roger Stone and Paul Manafort off the hook from prosecution. (Is there any doubt that Trump would have tried to intervene if his children had been the target of a Justice Department investigation? And does anyone think most Republican senators would have publicly objected?)

But Cruz’s remarks hint at where Garland’s vision of the department might run into friendly fire. While Garland has pledged to aggressively prosecute those involved in the January 6 insurrection in Washington, the anti-Trump “Resistance” wants to see the Justice Department forcefully pursue Trump, his family, and his cronies. Biden has already renounced any role in making such decisions, leaving the matter to his attorney general—which means that it will be Garland who has to grapple with demands for these politically incendiary moves.

Meanwhile, the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party has raised questions about Garland’s bench record on civil liberties, deeming him too friendly to law enforcement, and about whether he is sufficiently committed to an expansive approach to voting issues. (The picks of Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke, who have strong progressive records on these issues, for top DOJ jobs may ease those worries.) More broadly, there’s been a movement in progressive circles toward a new vision of prosecutors who are more politically engaged and working for social justice. While that effort has been focused mostly at the local level, Garland’s old-school approach to prosecution is not in step with it.

[David A. Graham: Joe Biden’s restoration campaign]

More broadly still, questions about the role of the Justice Department serve as a proxy for questions among Democrats about how government should work. On one side are those who believe that Biden’s administration should strive to return to the pre-Trump status quo. On the other are those who despise Trump’s policies but believe that going back to the supposedly good old ways will just enable the next Trump. Instead, they contend, Democrats should seek to wield the same tools Trump did, only for good. Anything less amounts to unilateral disarmament.

Biden has staked his place in the first camp. He managed to defeat a more forward-looking Democratic field on that promise, then won the presidency on it. It stands to reason that he’d pick an attorney general who agrees. But Biden is already facing pressure from restive parts of his coalition, and if he’s confirmed, Garland will also face demands to be more political and to get his hands dirtier.

“I do not plan to be interfered with by anyone,” Garland told the Judiciary Committee today. No attorney general does, though. The question is how he reacts when the plan falls apart.

\"\"
Supreme Court won\'t halt Trump tax record turnover - kwwl.com
posted at 20:26:42 UTC via trump - Google News
Voting machine company sues pro-Trump pillow man over false election claims - ABC News
posted at 20:26:42 UTC via trump - Google News
US supreme court paves way for release of Donald Trump\'s tax returns - TimesLIVE
posted at 20:28:40 UTC via \"michael german fbi\" - Google News
A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - The New York Times nytimes.com/interactive/20…
posted on Feb 21 2021 09:23:17 UTC by Michael Novakhov via Tweets by ‎@mikenov
A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - The New York Times nytimes.com/interactive/20…
What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot?
posted on Feb 20 2021 09:23:49 UTC by Michael_Novakhov via Saved Stories - None
\"\"

What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - GS

Oath Keepers - GS

Retired FBI agents and Oath Keepers - GS

Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and Oath Keepers - GS

_______________________

Russia says it\'s open to better ties with EU despite chill - Martinsville Bulletin
posted at 20:25:27 UTC via \"germany ukraine relations\" - Google News
skynews\'s YouTube Videos: COVID-19: PM: \"We\'re now travelling on a one way road to freedom\"
posted at 20:36:56 UTC by skynews via Video News
From: skynews
Duration: 17:13

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson claims \"there is light ahead, leading us to a spring and a summer full of hope,\" in his latest government briefing.

He re-iterated the roadmap out of lockdown that he set out in the House Of Commons earlier.

Sky News videos are now available in Spanish here/Los video de Sky News están disponibles en español aquí https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzG5BnqHO8oNlrPDW9CYJog

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\"1020003\" skynews\'s YouTube Videos
Democrats lost Texas because of Covid and Republican voter drive, report finds - The Guardian
posted at 20:38:50 UTC via Top stories - Google News
Treasury\'s Yellen criticizes bitcoin again as \'inefficient\' and highly speculative - MarketWatch
posted at 20:38:50 UTC via Top stories - Google News
EXCLUSIVE: Mother of hero cop Brian Sicknick believes her son died of a fatal stroke following ...
The family of US Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick is still awaiting ... to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the US Capitol and was injured ... Investigators consider whether an adverse reaction to bear spray may have ...
skynews\'s YouTube Videos: BREAKING: PM \'can\'t guarantee\' there won\'t be another COVID-19 lockdown
posted at 20:36:56 UTC by skynews via Video News
From: skynews
Duration: 03:01

Boris Johnson is asked whether he would resign if he has to impose a fourth coronavirus lockdown.

The prime minister says his \'intention\' is for the easing of lockdown to be \'irreversible\' - but he \'can\'t guarantee\' it.

He says the five-week interval between each stage of the lockdown lifting plan will allow the government to \'look at the data\' and \'proceed cautiously\'.

\nM.N.: Und what would ZIZ mean? Any Interpretations? | Аргументы и Факты: Путин и Лукашенко покатались на лыжах и снегоходах в Красной Поляне posted at 16:23:49 UTC\n

M.N.: Und what would ZIZ mean? Any Interpretations? 

Аргументы и Факты: Путин и Лукашенко покатались на лыжах и снегоходах в Красной Поляне

posted at 16:23:49 UTC by Michael_Novakhov via Russia News and News In Russian from Michael_Novakhov (57 sites)
После прогулки в горах главы государств пообщались в неформальной обстановке – за обедом.

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Brooklyn News Review from Michael Novakhov on Inoreader
NPR News: 02-22-2021 11AM ET
posted at 16:37:58 UTC by NPR via NPR: Hourly News Summary Podcast
Feed Store Fire | SAN BERNARDINO, CA 2.19.21
posted at 16:35:22 UTC by LOUDLABS NEWS via LOUDLABS NEWS

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA - On Friday morning, February 19, 2021 the San Bernardino County Fire Department responded to reports of a commercial structure fire at a pet store. The fire was reported around 1:33am at Granero\'s Feed & Pet store in the 1300 block of W. 9th Street. The first arriving engine company reported heavy smoke and fire coming from the single story commercial building. Firefighters made an aggressive fire attack however, the fire was able to spread to a nearby appliance store. Unconfirmed reports indicated at least one dog was found alive and several animals may have perished in the fire. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

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DTLA Crash Traps | LOS ANGELES, CA 2.20.21
posted at 16:35:22 UTC by LOUDLABS NEWS via LOUDLABS NEWS

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Four cars crashed at the intersection leaving two drivers trapped in their cars. The two drivers, in a blue hatchback and silver pickup truck, were extricated out of their cars and transported to the hospital with one reportedly in critical condition. Two others were also transported to the hospital. It is not known how the crash occurred. The Metro Red line has been shut for an unknown amount of time, as the crash ended up on the tracks.

\n8:30 AM 2/21/2021 - What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - M.N. | A Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - NYTimes\n

8:30 AM 2/21/2021 - What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - M.N. | A Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - NYTimes


What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot?

posted on Feb 20 2021 09:23:49 UTC by Michael_Novakhov via Saved Stories - None
\"\"

What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot? - GS

Oath Keepers - GS

Retired FBI agents and Oath Keepers - GS

Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and Oath Keepers - GS

_______________________

A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - The New York Times nytimes.com/interactive/20…
posted at 09:23:17 UTC by Michael Novakhov via Tweets by ‎@mikenov
A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack - The New York Times nytimes.com/interactive/20…
VOAvideo\'s YouTube Videos: A Newsstand\'s Last Stand ino.to/h626Cwn
posted at 12:22:13 UTC by Michael Novakhov via Tweets by ‎@mikenov
VOAvideo\'s YouTube Videos: A Newsstand\'s Last Stand ino.to/h626Cwn
apnews.com/article/us-cyb…
posted at 11:53:13 UTC by Michael Novakhov via Tweets by ‎@mikenov
apnews.com/article/us-cyb…
Michael Novakhov retweeted: Brexit is hindering London’s efforts to compete with New York as the world’s top financial center trib.al/M27cplO
posted at 09:23:17 UTC by Bloomberg via Tweets by ‎@mikenov
Michael Novakhov retweeted:
Brexit is hindering London’s efforts to compete with New York as the world’s top financial center trib.al/M27cplO


Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠ | In Brief | 

Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks \"\"
Suspected Russian hack fuels new US action on cybersecurity
A Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack
2:50 AM 2/21/2021 Tweets by @mikenov
An attempt by domestic terrorists to try to overturn the results of an election
JUST IN: Austin Calls for More NATO Help in Countering China - News Channels
Europe applauds Biden\'s approach, stresses cooperation
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In new defense, dozens of Capitol rioters say law enforcement let us in to building | Connect FM | Local News Radio
What role did the retired FBI agents play in Capitol riot?
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9:02 AM 2/18/2021 - McConnell\'s plan to deal with Donald Trump: Ignore him

Suspected Russian hack fuels new US action on cybersecurity

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Jolted by a sweeping hack that may have revealed government and corporate secrets to Russia, U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses and recognizing that an agency created two years ago to protect America’s networks and infrastructure lacks the money, tools and authority to counter such sophisticated threats.

The breach, which hijacked widely used software from Texas-based SolarWinds Inc., has exposed the profound vulnerability of civilian government networks and the limitations of efforts to detect threats.

It’s also likely to unleash a wave of spending on technology modernization and cybersecurity.

“It’s really highlighted the investments we need to make in cybersecurity to have the visibility to block these attacks in the future,” Anne Neuberger, the newly appointed deputy national security adviser for cyber and emergency technology said Wednesday at a White House briefing.

\nSuspected Russian hack fuels new US action on cybersecurity\n

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jolted by a sweeping hack that may have revealed government and corporate secrets to Russia, U.S. officials are scrambling to reinforce the nation’s cyber defenses and recognizing that an agency created two years ago to protect America’s networks and infrastructure lacks the money, tools and authority to counter such sophisticated threats.

The breach, which hijacked widely used software from Texas-based SolarWinds Inc., has exposed the profound vulnerability of civilian government networks and the limitations of efforts to detect threats.

It’s also likely to unleash a wave of spending on technology modernization and cybersecurity.

“It’s really highlighted the investments we need to make in cybersecurity to have the visibility to block these attacks in the future,” Anne Neuberger, the newly appointed deputy national security adviser for cyber and emergency technology said Wednesday at a White House briefing.

The reaction reflects the severity of a hack that was disclosed only in December. The hackers, as yet unidentified but described by officials as “likely Russian,” had unfettered access to the data and email of at least nine U.S. government agencies and about 100 private companies, with the full extent of the compromise still unknown. And while this incident appeared to be aimed at stealing information, it heightened fears that future hackers could damage critical infrastructure, like electrical grids or water systems.

President Joe Biden plans to release an executive order soon that Neuberger said will include about eight measures intended to address security gaps exposed by the hack. The administration has also proposed expanding by 30% the budget of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, or CISA, a little-known entity now under intense scrutiny because of the SolarWinds breach.

Biden, making his first major international speech Friday to the Munich Security Conference, said that dealing with “Russian recklessness and hacking into computer networks in the United States and across Europe and the world has become critical to protecting our collective security.”

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for expanding the size and role of the agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in November 2018 amid a sense that U.S. adversaries were increasingly targeting civilian government and corporate networks as well as the “critical” infrastructure, such as the energy grid that is increasingly vulnerable in a wired world.

Speaking at a recent hearing on cybersecurity, Rep. John Katko, a Republican from New York, urged his colleagues to quickly “find a legislative vehicle to give CISA the resources it needs to fully respond and protect us.”

Biden’s COVID-19 relief package called for $690 million more for CISA, as well as providing the agency with $9 billion to modernize IT across the government in partnership with the General Services Administration.

That has been pulled from the latest version of the bill because some members didn’t see a connection to the pandemic. But Rep. Jim Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, said additional funding for CISA is likely to reemerge with bipartisan support in upcoming legislation, perhaps an infrastructure bill.

“Our cyber infrastructure is every bit as important as our roads and bridges,” Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, said in an interview. “It’s important to our economy. It’s important to protecting human life, and we need to make sure we have a modern and resilient cyber infrastructure.”

CISA operates a threat-detection system known as “Einstein” that was unable to detect the SolarWinds breach. Brandon Wales, CISA’s acting director, said that was because the breach was hidden in a legitimate software update from SolarWinds to its customers. After it was able to identify the malicious activity, the system was able to scan federal networks and identify some government victims. “It was designed to work in concert with other security programs inside the agencies,” he said.

Full Coverage: Technology

The former head of CISA, Christopher Krebs, told the House Homeland Security Committee this month that the U.S. should increase support to the agency, in part so it can issue grants to state and local governments to improve their cybersecurity and accelerate IT modernization across the federal government, which is part of the Biden proposal.

“Are we going to stop every attack? No. But we can take care of the most common risks and make the bad guys work that much harder and limit their success,” said Krebs, who was ousted by then-President Donald Trump after the election and now co-owns a consulting company whose clients include SolarWinds.

The breach was discovered in early December by the private security firm FireEye, a cause of concern for some officials.

“It was pretty alarming that we found out about it through a private company as opposed to our being able to detect it ourselves to begin with,” Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, said at her January confirmation hearing.

Right after the hack was announced, the Treasury Department bypassed its normal competitive contracting process to hire the private security firm CrowdStrike, U.S. contract records show. The department declined to comment. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has said that dozens of email accounts of top officials at the agency were hacked.

The Social Security Administration hired FireEye to do an independent forensic analysis of its network logs. The agency had a “backdoor code” installed like other SolarWinds customers, but “there were no indicators suggesting we were targeted or that a future attack occurred beyond the initial software installation,” spokesperson Mark Hinkle said.

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the hack has highlighted several failures at the federal level but not necessarily a lack of expertise by public sector employees. Still, “I doubt we will ever have all the capacity we’d need in-house,” he said.

There have been some new cybersecurity measures taken in recent months. In the defense policy bill that passed in January, lawmakers created a national director of cybersecurity, replacing a position at the White House that had been cut under Trump, and granted CISA the power to issue administrative subpoenas as part of its efforts to identify vulnerable systems and notify operators.

The legislation also granted CISA increased authority to hunt for threats across the networks of civilian government agencies, something Langevin said they were only previously able to do when invited.

“In practical terms, what that meant is they weren’t invited in because no department or agency wants to look bad,” he said. “So you know what was happening? Everyone was sticking their heads in the sand and hoping that cyberthreats were going to go away.”

___

Suderman reported from Richmond, Va.

\nGermany, Once a Model, Is Swamped Like Everyone Else by Pandemics Second Wave nytimes.com/2021/02/20/wor\n
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Germany, Once a Model, Is Swamped Like Everyone Else by Pandemics Second Wave nytimes.com/2021/02/20/wor

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\n Posted by\n \n Michael Novakhov (mikenov)\n on Sunday, February 21st, 2021 9:03am
\n
\n
\n
\nA Small Group of Militants Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack\n
\"\"

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Military veterans

charged with conspiracy

Charged with conspiracy,

no known military service

Veterans charged with

crimes other than conspiracy

Charged with crimes other than conspiracy,

no known military service

\"\"

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Veterans charged

with conspiracy

Charged with

conspiracy, no known

military service

Veterans charged

with crimes other than

conspiracy

Charged with crimes

other than conspiracy,

no known military service

\"\"

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers,

Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Veterans

charged with

conspiracy

Charged with

conspiracy,

no known

military service

Veterans

charged

with crimes

other than

conspiracy

Charged with crimes

other than conspiracy,

no known military service

\"\"

Affiliated With the Oath Keepers,

Proud Boys or Three Percenters

18 charged with conspiracy

Veterans

charged with

conspiracy

Charged with

conspiracy,

no known

military service

Veterans

charged

with crimes

other than

conspiracy

Charged with crimes

other than conspiracy,

no known military service

\n Notes: The people shown here include those identified by law enforcement, family members or themselves as being affiliated with the militant group. Those wearing their group’s paraphernalia are also included. People who only briefly referenced support for or awareness of the group are excluded.\n

\n\tAs federal prosecutors unveil charges in the assault on the Capitol last month, they have repeatedly highlighted two militant groups — the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys — as being the most organized, accusing them of planning their strategy ahead of time and in some cases helping escalate a rally into an attack.\n

\n\tThe two organizations stand in contrast to a majority of the mob. Of the more than 230 people charged so far, only 31 are known to have ties to a militant extremist group. And at least 26 of those are affiliated with the Oath Keepers or the Proud Boys.\n

\n\tThe groups differ in their focus and tactics: The Oath Keepers are part of an anti-government militia movement that emphasizes military-style training, while the Proud Boys espouse an ideology of male and Western superiority, with members often expressing white-supremacist and anti-immigrant views. But the groups have been united in their allegiance to former President Donald J. Trump.\n

\n\tConspiracy charges, among the most serious levied so far, indicate that members of these groups may have worked together and planned their activities, potentially in ways that made them more dangerous than other rioters. Federal prosecutors have said that some members used teamwork to help people escape arrest and to direct and provoke protesters to overwhelm police defenses.\n

\n\tOf the 22 people charged with conspiracy crimes by mid-February, 18 were known to have ties to one of those two groups.\n

\n\tAnother likely factor in the groups’ activities: More than a third of the militants were also known to have military experience, a far higher proportion than in the crowd as a whole.\n

\n\t“Right-wing groups targeted military veterans for having the skill sets that they were looking for,” said Peter D. Feaver, a political science professor at Duke University who specializes in military-civilian relations. “They weren’t recruiting from among the Columbia Journalism School.”\n

\n\tAlthough militants were a small part of the mob, their organizational tactics could have influenced others’ behavior and made the riot more violent, said Cynthia Miller-Idriss, the director of the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab at American University. Some extremist far-right groups, particularly in Europe, have recently used larger protests as cover for more violent activities, she said.\n

\n\tThe groups’ role in the Capitol riots helps shed light on their tactics, and it also highlights important differences among elements of the sprawling far-right landscape.\n

\n\t

A group of nine that ‘put into motion the violence’

\n

\n\tFederal prosecutors have said members of the Oath Keepers militia group planned and organized their attack and “put into motion the violence that overwhelmed the Capitol.”\n

\n\tTen people affiliated with the group have faced federal charges so far, and the F.B.I. has said it is seeking information about others seen on video wearing tactical gear and moving in formation with other members.\n

\n\tOn Friday, the federal government announced conspiracy charges against six people prosecutors said were members of the group who stormed the Capitol in a military-style “stack.” Earlier, prosecutors had charged three other people they said conspired with those six.\n

\"\"

Affiliated With Oath Keepers

Charged with conspiracy together

Broke into the west side of the Capitol.

Broke into the east side along with other Oath Keepers.

Recruited by Ms. Watkins.

Members of the Florida Oath Keepers chapter.

Sprayed police officers with pepper spray.

\"\"

Affiliated With Oath Keepers

Charged with conspiracy together

A large group of nine Oath Keepers is charged with conspiring together and breaking into the Capitol from two different directions.

Sprayed police officers with pepper spray.

\n\tUnlike the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers are a more traditional militia group, focused on military-style training and with a largely anti-government stance. Federal prosecutors said members of the group “believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”\n

\n\tThey focus more than other militant groups on recruiting people with military and law enforcement experience; of the nine people affiliated with Oath Keepers and charged with conspiracy crimes, four were military veterans.\n

\n\tTypically, such right-wing extremists are more likely to be involved in protests against what they view as federal overreach. Mr. Trump’s presidency turned that on its head, leading the Oath Keepers to support at least one aspect of the federal government: Donald J. Trump himself.\n

\n\tAccording to court documents, Oath Keepers members discussed bringing “heavy weapons” to Washington after the election. Jessica Watkins, who described herself as leader of an Oath Keepers contingent called the Ohio State Regular Militia, said the group was “awaiting direction” after the election from Mr. Trump, then the president.\n

\n\tOther members said they planned to bring mace, gas masks, batons and armor to the Capitol but were not bringing guns because of local laws. Instead, they would have a “quick reaction force” with weapons several minutes away, according to court documents.\n

\n\t

Three sets of conspiracy charges among Trump’s most vocal supporters

\n

\n\tOf all the militant groups on the far right, the Proud Boys is perhaps the one most associated with Mr. Trump, and thus it is not surprising that it appears to have had a large role in the siege at the Capitol, which grew out of his false claims that he won re-election. At least 16 people with ties to the organization are facing federal charges in the attacks. That’s the most of any known entity.\n

\n\tAs of mid-February, three separate groups of Proud Boys members faced conspiracy crime charges, with the government saying they worked together during different parts of the riot. In each of these groups, former military members played a prominent role, including in leading other members of the mob, prosecutors said.\n

\"\"

Affiliated With Proud Boys

Charged with conspiracy together

Ethan Nordean, Seattle Proud Boys leader

Joseph Biggs,

Proud Boys organizer

These four led a large group of Proud Boys during the Capitol riot. Mr. Pezzola was filmed using a police shield to smash through a window to breach the Capitol.

The group tried to prevent the arrest of a rioter and stopped the police from closing barriers under the Capitol.

The pair defaced government property by scrawling the words “Murder the Media” on the Memorial Door of the Capitol.

Others have been arrested on charges like trespassing but are not known to have worked together.

\"\"

Affiliated With Proud Boys

Charged with conspiracy together

Seattle Proud Boys leader

These four led a large group of Proud Boys during the Capitol riot. Mr. Pezzola was filmed using a police shield to smash through a window to breach the Capitol.

The group tried to prevent the arrest of a rioter and stopped the police from closing barriers under the Capitol.

Founder of Hawaii Proud Boys Chapter

The pair defaced government property by scrawling the words “Murder the Media” on the Memorial Door of the Capitol.

Others have been arrested on charges like trespassing but are not known to have worked together.

\n Note: The Proud Boys has long prohibited membership by women, but Felicia Konold, Cory Konold’s sister, said she had been recruited by a chapter of the organization, according to court documents.\n

\n\tThe Proud Boys, a far-right nationalist organization with several chapters across the United States, vocally tied itself to Mr. Trump’s presidency and has attempted to influence mainstream Republican politics, even as it has regularly engaged in violent skirmishes with left-wing activists.\n

\n\t“The Proud Boys believe the way you change a society is through its culture,” said William Braniff, a professor at the University of Maryland and director of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. “They are less disciplined than militia groups but more emotive.”\n

\n\tThe group was recently designated a terrorist organization in Canada, where the government said its members “espouse misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and/or white supremacist ideologies and associate with white supremacist groups.”\n

\n\t“They are a group that will get in people’s face because they want to get attention, and they want to be provocative,” Mr. Braniff said.\n

\n\tOn the day of the riots, Proud Boys leaders used megaphones to lead a group of at least 100 people from Mr. Trump’s speech to the Capitol, prosecutors said. Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member, was among the first people to break into the Capitol building, using a stolen police riot shield to bust out a window and allow members of the mob to flood in, according to video footage and court documents.\n

\n\t

Militants not charged with conspiracy

\n

\n\tMembers of other far-right extremist groups, including the anti-government Three Percenters militia, as well as neo-Confederate and white supremacist entities, were also present at the Capitol on Jan. 6. So far, these people have not been charged with conspiracy crimes, and their numbers indicate they are unlikely to have had an organized role in the attack.\n

\"\"

Affiliated With Three Percenters

Charged with assaulting police officers.

Entered Capitol with Mr. Pezzola, a Proud Boy.

Threatened to kill his family if they turned him in.

Charged with trespassing.

\"\"

Affiliated With Three Percenters

Charged with assaulting police officers.

Entered Capitol with Mr. Pezzola, a Proud Boy.

Threatened to kill his family if they turned him in.

Charged with trespassing.

\n\tOf the 31 people with militant ties who have been charged so far, at least 11 had a military record. Although people with extremist ideologies represent a small fraction of military veterans, far-right organizations heavily recruit them because of their skills, Dr. Feaver said.\n

\n\tGoing forward, the military and federal law enforcement seem poised to take far-right extremism more seriously, domestic terrorism experts said. To do so, they will need to deal not only with the groups that played an important role in the events of Jan. 6, but also with organizations that were not involved, and even more loose affiliations of like-minded people.\n

\n\t“The traditional way of interrupting extremism is by infiltrating groups and interrupting plots,” Dr. Miller-Idriss said. “We see that with some organizations it is possible to do this. But in many cases, it is not.”\n

\n2:50 AM 2/21/2021 Tweets by @mikenov\n

How is President Biden\'s COVID relief bill like the Patriot Act? j.mp/3d0iMEu #CatoCOVID\n

\"View
\nAn attempt by domestic terrorists to try to overturn the results of an election\n

The Senate impeachment trial that ended in Donald J. Trump\'s unjust acquittal established convincingly that the former president bore responsibility for the deadly attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 by his supporters. But questions remain about the origins of the attack, the apparent failure of security officials to prepare adequately for it and the response once the Capitol was breached.

For those reasons, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right on Monday to call for an independent commission to investigate the attack, its origins and its aftermath. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., is supporting the idea as well.

\"Supporters

Various congressional committees have already launched investigations into the events of Jan. 6, but — like the impeachment process — it will be difficult to keep partisanship out of those inquiries. A better instrument would be an independent commission created by Congress with distinguished members from across the political spectrum that would sift evidence about the origins and aftermath of the attack and the conduct of public officials, including but not limited to Trump and congressional leaders.

Among the questions to be answered: Did the warnings about a looming attack on the Capitol go unnoticed or unheeded? Did the police guarding the Capitol make choices that aided the rioters, inadvertently or not? Were the rioters helped by members of Congress or their staffs?

Plenty of fingers are already being pointed. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund told The Washington Post that he had sought permission from House and Senate security officials on Jan. 4 to ask the D.C. National Guard to stand by. Sund said he was turned down and that the House sergeant-at-arms expressed discomfort about the \"optics\" of declaring an emergency before the demonstrations took place.

On Monday four House Republicans, including Trump favorites Jim Jordan of Ohio and Devin Nunes of California, wrote to Pelosi saying that \"many important questions about your responsibility for the security of the Capitol remain unanswered.\" Another Republican, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, made the idiotic observation in an interview that the attack on the Capitol \"didn\'t seem like an armed insurrection to me.\"

Fortunately, there are signs of bipartisan support for a bipartisan commission empaneled by Congress. Even Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally and apologist, said Trump\'s behavior after the election was \"over the top\" and that the country needs a 9/11-style commission \"to find out what happened and make sure it never happens again.\" President Joe Biden also supports creation of a commission, his press secretary said on Tuesday.

Mercifully, the siege of the Capitol by pro-Trump fanatics was not as deadly as the 9/11 attack, but in its own way it was just as shocking: an attempt by domestic terrorists to try to overturn the results of an election. It too demands a dispassionate and far-reaching investigation.

Los Angeles Times

\nJUST IN: Austin Calls for More NATO Help in Countering China - News Channels\n
\"\"Royal Danish navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes, right, the underway replenishment oiler USNS Patuxent, center, and the Royal Netherlands navy frigate HNLMS Van Speijk, left, transit the Atlantic Ocean during NATO exercise Cutlass Fury 2019.
\n

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cameron Stoner

\n

The United States needs its NATO allies to invest more in their military capabilities and help the Pentagon address the growing threat posed by China, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III said Feb. 19.

\n

Austin attended a virtual NATO ministerial meeting with his alliance counterparts earlier this week. Discussion topics included a resurgent Russia, disruptive technologies, climate change, the war in Afghanistan, terrorism and “an increasingly aggressive China,” he told reporters during his first Pentagon press briefing since taking office.

\n

“I made it clear that the United States is committed to defending the international rules-based order, which China has consistently undermined for its own interests,” he said, describing the rival nation as the Defense Department’s “primary pacing challenge.”

\n

“We believe NATO can help us better think through our operating concepts and investment strategies when it comes to meeting that challenge,” he added.

\n

NATO was formed in the early years of the Cold War to help defend Western Europe and North America against the Soviet Union. However, since the end of the Cold War, the alliance has pivoted to combating other threats such as international terrorism. NATO is expected to produce a new “Strategic Concept” as part of a series of reform efforts, which may include a greater focus on addressing China’s growing military capabilities.

\n

Austin noted that more and more NATO allies are now meeting their commitments to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense, including 20 percent of that amount on modernization. But, like many previous U.S. defense leaders, he pressed for other NATO countries to do more burden sharing.

\n

“We must each of us do our part to procure, prepare and provide ready forces and capabilities,” he said. “Now we’re into our seventh year of steady defense spending increases, and naturally we want this trend to continue and we want to see every member of the alliance contribute their fair share.”

\n

The Biden administration has identified strengthening alliances and partnerships as a key pillar of its foreign policy.

\n

Non-NATO partners including Finland, Sweden and the European Union also participated in the ministerial, and offered their perspectives about China, Austin noted.

\n

The Biden administration recently began its own deep dive on these issues. On Feb. 10, just three weeks after President Joe Biden was sworn in, it set up a new China Task Force led by Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense Ely Ratner. It includes representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the military services, combatant commands and the intelligence community.

\n

“This initiative will provide a baseline assessment of DoD policies, programs and processes on China-related matters and provide the Secretary of Defense recommendations on key priorities and decision points to meet the China challenge,” according to a Pentagon fact sheet.

\n

The task force is expected to address: strategy; operational concepts; technology and force structure; force posture and force management; intelligence; U.S. alliances and partnerships; and defense relations with China.

\n

Its findings and recommendations are due by mid-June.

\n

During the press briefing, Austin was asked if he sees any areas where the United States and China could potentially cooperate or collaborate on international security issues.

\n

“There no doubt are some areas where we will see common interests and there may be an opportunity to engage,” Austin said.

\n

“Now having said that, from a Department of Defense standpoint … my No. 1 concern and my No. 1 job is to defend this country and protect our interests,” he added. “And so we in this department are going to do everything possible to ensure that we have the right operational concepts, the right plans in place, and that we have resourced those plans with the right capabilities to present a credible deterrent, not only to China [but] any other adversary who would want to take us on.”

\n
\n

Topics: DOD LeadershipInternation Cooperation

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