LBN- Special Report- Friday December 16, 2016

Obama Vows to Retaliate for Russian Hack:

President Barack Obama has promised to “take action” against Russia for its alleged hacking campaign during the U.S. presidential election. In excerpts of an interview with NPR released Thursday night, Obama said he’s already spoken toRussian President Vladimir Putin about revelations of Russia’s meddling in the U.S. presidential election. “I think there is no doubt that when any foreign government tries to impact the integrity of our elections that we need to take action and we will,” promising to strike back “at a time and place of our own choosing,” Obama said. “Some of it may be explicit and publicized. Some of it may not be.… But Mr. Putin is well aware of my feelings about this because I spoke to him directly about it,” he said. Obama’s comments come after intelligence officials were quoted saying Putin was likely directly involved in the cybercampaign against U.S. institutions. Obama has ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to conduct a full probe into Russia’s involvement before Jan. 20.

Podesta Points Finger at FBI’s Hacking Response:

In a Friday opinion piece for The Washington Post, former Clinton campaign chief John Podesta railed against the FBI’s response to the cyberattacks that led to his and the DNC’s emails being publicly released in the run-up to Election Day. “I was surprised to read in The New York Times that when the FBI discovered the Russian attack in September 2015, it failed to send even a single agent to warn senior Democratic National Committee officials,” he wrote. “Instead, messages were left with the DNC IT ‘help desk.’” Podesta described the “infuriating” comparison between the FBI’s “seemingly lackadaisical response” to Russian hackings and the agency’s “massive response to the overblown email scandal”—a juxtaposition that is “particularly troubling because of [the FBI’s] power and responsibility.” He also reiterated calls for the Obama administration to declassify information about the hackings; for the administration to brief electors on the extent of the Russian hacking; for a congressional panel like the 9/11 Commission to further investigate; and for Congress to determine why the FBI acted so “insufficiently” in its response to the hacks. “What’s broken in the FBI must be fixed and quickly,” Podesta concluded.

WHO READS LBN? – Legendary attorney Robert Shapiro:

U.S. Faces Tall Hurdles in Detaining or Deterring Russian Hackers: 

The United States has few options for responding to Russian hacking. Russia does not extradite its citizens and has shown that it will not easily be deterred through public shaming. At times, the American authorities have enlisted local police officials to arrest suspects when they leave Russia — for vacation in the Maldives, for example. But more often than not, the F.B.I. and Justice Department investigate and compile accusations and evidence against people who will almost certainly never stand trial.

Trump Names David Friedman as Ambassador to Israel:

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday named far-right Israel supporter David Friedman as his pick for U.S. ambassador to Israel, a move that angered liberal U.S. Jewish groups. In a statement announcing his decision, Trump said he was confident Friedman would “maintain the special relationship between our two countries.” Friedman, a Long Island bankruptcy lawyer who has no previous diplomatic experience, has previously likened liberal American Jews to Jews who helped the Nazis during the Holocaust and advocated for Israel to annex the West Bank and expand Jewish settlements there. In accepting the offer, Friedman said he was “deeply honored and humbled” by the decision and then added that he looked forward to working in the “U.S. embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem”—hinting that Trump would relocate the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv, a provocative move that would exacerbate tensions with Palestine and the Muslim world. The nomination of Friedman was condemned as “reckless” by J Street, a liberal Israel advocacy group. The nomination puts “America’s reputation in the region and credibility in the world at risk,” the group said in a statement. “Senators should know that the majority of Jewish Americans oppose the views and values this nominee represents.”

Russia Blamed for Devastating 2015 Cyberattack on Joint Chiefs:

A retired top Pentagon official said Thursday that Russian hackers seized complete control of an unclassified email system in a devastating 2015 cyberattack thought to be revenge for U.S. sanctions. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey told CBS News that the cyberattack caused chaos in the Pentagon, with hackers taking over an entire email system in less than an hour. Hundreds of senior officers had their passwords stolen and the network had to be taken down, Dempsey said. Since the email system was unclassified, officials now believe Russia was not seeking to get valuable intelligence but to wreak havoc at the Pentagon in retaliation for U.S. sanctions over Russia’s occupation of Crimea. According to Dempsey, it took the Pentagon about two weeks to rebound from the attack and replace the system’s hardware and software.


Gregg Popovich Gives Heartbreaking Response to Sager’s Death:

When San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich found out Thursday evening about longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager’s death, he refused to take questions or talk basketball. “On a day like this, basketball has to take a backseat as we all think about somebody who was very unique, very special,” a visibly shaken Popovich told reporters prior to the Spurs’ game against the Phoenix Suns. “Whether you really knew Craig or not, you got the feeling that he was a special person in a lot of different ways. And right now, I just feel for his family. To talk about him being a professional and good at what he did is a tremendous understatement.” He continued: “The most amazing part of him is his courage. What he’s endured, the fight that he’s put up, the courage that he’s displayed during this situation is beyond my comprehension. If any of us could display half the courage he has to stay on this planet—to live every life as if it’s his last—we’d be well off.” Sager died this week at the age of 65, after a long, public battle with leukemia.

LBN-BUSINESS INSIDER:   ***Some time around August 2013, hackers penetrated the email system of Yahoo, one of the world’s largest and oldest providers of free email services. The attackers quietly scooped up the records of more than 1 billion users, including names, birth dates, phone numbers and passwords that were encrypted with an easily broken form of security. The intruders also obtained the security questions and backup email addresses used to reset lost passwords — valuable information for someone trying to break into other accounts owned by the same user, and particularly useful to ahacker seeking to break into government computers around the world: Several million of the backup addresses belonged to military and civilian government employees from dozens of nations, including more than 150,000 Americans. No one knows what happened to the data during the next three years. But last August, a geographically dispersed hacking collective based in Eastern Europe quietly began offering the whole database for sale, according to Andrew Komarov, chief intelligence officer at InfoArmor, an Arizona cybersecurity firm, who monitors the dark corners of the internet inhabited by criminals, spies and spammers. Three buyers — two known spammers and an entity that appeared more interested in espionage — paid about $300,000 each for a complete copy of the database, he said.

Mexican Report Says Investigators Botched Search for 43 Students:

The Mexican government has refused to release an internal review that found investigators broke the law in their search for43 missing students, a conclusion that threatens the legal foundations of a case that has roiled Mexico. The report says crucial suspects were arrested and moved illegally, throwing into question any evidence they provided. The investigators’ conduct, in the words of the government report, violated “the right to truth” and damaged the victims’ right to justice. The students’ disappearance from the southern city of Iguala in September 2014 remains an open wound in Mexico, evidence of the country’s failure to protect its citizens and impunity within a corrupt criminal justice system. Now the report provides the first evidence from inside the attorney general’s office showing how the case was mishandled.

Dylann Roof Found Guilty in Charleston Church Massacre: 

Dylann S. Roof, a self-radicalized young white supremacist who killed nine black parishioners last year when he opened fire during a long-planned assault on Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, was found guilty by a federal jury here on Thursday. Mr. Roof, 22, stood, his hands at his side and his face emotionless, as a clerk read the verdict aloud in Federal District Court, where he had been charged with 33 counts, including hate crimes resulting in death.

LBN-HEALTH WATCH:   ***As concern rises over the effect of continuous use of headphones and earbuds on hearing, a new paper by federal researchers has found something unexpected. The prevalence of hearing loss in Americans of working age has declined. The paper, published on Thursday in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery, used data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey, which periodically administers health tests to a representative sample of the population. The investigators, led by Howard J. Hoffman, the director of the epidemiology and statistics program at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, compared data collected between 1999 and 2004 with data from 2011 and 2012, the most recent available.

LBN-NOTICED:   ***Could the fifth time be the charm for Christie Brinkley and David Foster? The supermodel and the music hit-maker — who both are single after having been married four times each — were spotted on a date at Ralph Lauren’s Polo Bar in NYC on Wednesday night. The burgeoning couple were such a hit that they even caught the attention of Hillary Clinton, who was dining nearby in an intimate powwow with Lauren. “Christie and David were on a date, and Hillary came over and greeted them. She gave Christie a warm hug,” a spy said.   ***Robert De Niro and Grace Hightower seeing Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s new work “r-Evolution, Dream” in NYC.   ***Arnold Schwarzenegger at Nello in NYC for lunch. When told by the manager he’d “just missed Ivana Trump by five minutes,” Arnold replied, “It’s all right. I will see Donald soon”.   ****Woody Allen running into Parker Posey at the opening of chef Dan Kluger’s Loring Place. Allen was dining with wife Soon Yi, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond and his wife, Peggy, investors in Kluger’s new venture .

LBN-R.I.P.:   ***Craig Sager, an exuberant sideline reporter for National Basketball Association television broadcasts who was as well known for his outlandishly garish outfits as for the questions he asked coaches and players, died on Thursday in Atlanta. He was 65. The cause was leukemia, according to a spokesman for Turner Sports. After receiving the diagnosis in 2014, Mr. Sager continued to work occasionally during what became a highly public illness. He received blood transfusions to be strong enough to travel to some games, and returned to a hospital after others.

LBN-COMMENTARY by Tim Egan: You would think forcing Mitt Romney to eat frog legs, while swallowing his dignity, would have been enough humiliation during the dinner segment of his failed tryout for secretary of state. You would think. But the president-elect wanted more. Romney was a “choker,” in Donald Trump’s earlier put-down; that, and he walked “like a penguin.” If Romney could take his flightless bird-in-a-tuxedo-act outside and apologize for calling Trump a fraud, then maybe the job was his. Romney would waddle no further. Apologize? Cripes, the title of his book is “No Apology.” Still, high-five! For Trump, the debasement of Romney was just another hit of dopamine — the neurotransmitter once called the Kim Kardashian of molecules. He needs a jolt several times a day. But in turn, he gives it back to you, the millions in his personality cult, and certainly the click-bait web and cable press, who need it just as much. Earlier this month, Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of Washington, took to the floor of the House to plead for one thing from the incoming leader of the free world: “Stop tweeting, Mr. President-elect.” Not a chance. His tiny fingers can launch 140 predawn characters from the fortress of his gilded tower and mighty Boeing will lose more than a billion dollars in stock value a few hours later.

LBN-OVERHEARD:   ***That could be one rocky confirmation hearing.President-elect Donald Trump is reportedly considering actor Sylvester Stallone to chair the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).Trump has not officially offered Stallone the position but reports indicate the actor could be “positively disposed to the idea.”


LBN E-Lert Edited By Addison Beaulieu

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