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National Security Turmoil

flynn

By Debbie Gregory.

The Trump administration, just three weeks in, seems to be an exercise in chaos.

Michael T. Flynn has resigned his post as the national security adviser after it emerged that the Justice Department informed the White House that it believed Flynn could be subject to blackmail.

The resignation also came after previous disclosures that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other senior officials about his communications with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Pence repeated the misinformation in television appearances.

“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian Ambassador. I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology,” Flynn said in his resignation letter.

Flynn does have supporters, however, with some Russian lawmakers coming to his defense.

Alexey Pushkov, a senator with the United Russia party, which supports President Vladimir Putin, said Flynn was “forced to go” because of “paranoia.” Pushkov also labeled the incident a “witch hunt.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee — which is investigating the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia — said Flynn’s resignation was “all but ordained the day he misled the country about his secret talks with the Russian ambassador.”

According to a White House official, Trump was informed more than two weeks ago that Flynn had not told the truth about his interactions with Russia’s ambassador.

Retired Army Gen. Keith Kellogg, a top policy adviser for Trump’s campaign, was appointed acting national security adviser while a search is conducted for a permanent replacement for Mr. Flynn. The top choice, according to administration officials, is retired Vice Admiral Robert S. Harward.

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Military Connection: Did Petraeus Betray his Office?

Petraeus

On Friday, January 9, 2015, a news story broke saying that federal prosecutors would be recommending criminal charges be brought up against retired Army General David Petraeus for allegedly passing classified information to his former mistress, Paula Broadwell.

At the time of the four-star general’s retirement in August 2011, Gen. Petraeus was arguably the most recognizable individual in the U.S. military. In 2003, as a major general, Petraeus commanded the 101st Airborne in Iraq. In 2004, Petraeus was promoted to lieutenant general, and named the first commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq. In 2007, he was promoted to general, and became the head of all coalition forces in Iraq when he was made commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq (MNI).  As he was in the process of retiring from the Army, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate for the position of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2011. In November 2012, Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA when his affair with Broadwell became known.

Broadwell was the principle biographer for Petraeus’ autobiography, titled All In. The two engaged in an affair for several months, which reportedly ended in the summer of 2012. Shortly thereafter, Broadwell allegedly began sending anonymous threatening emails to Petraeus’ family friend, Jill Kelley. Kelley reportedly alerted the FBI when the emails began threatening her family. The FBI linked the emails to Broadwell, exposing her affair with Petraeus.

Now, more than two years after his resignation as director of the CIA, the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors are accusing Petraeus of providing classified information to Broadwell during the course of their relationship. They are recommending that felony charges be brought against the former military leader.

The new accusations are derived from an investigation focusing on Petraeus’ affair with Broadwell, and whether or not the retired general ever provided her with classified information while he was head of the CIA. It has been reported that FBI investigators found classified documents on Broadwell’s computer.

The findings coincided with President Obama’s statement, at the time Petraeus tendered his resignation, that there was no evidence that Petraeus had disclosed information that would endanger national security. But the findings did reportedly uncover evidence of a possible breach in security from one of our country’s most crucial intelligence positions. Officials at the justice department contend that many other individuals in much lower profile positions have been prosecuted for less.

The decision on whether or not to prosecute is now up to Attorney General Eric Holder, who was expected to make a decision on this matter by the close of 2014. Holder has already tendered his resignation from his office pending confirmation of his successor. Holder is keeping his cards close to the vest on the matter, not revealing his intentions on the matter, if any.

What is your opinion on the matter? Should Petraeus be brought up on felony charges? Did Petraeus betray his office and country? Or are politics playing too big of a factor in this situation?

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Military Connection: Did Petraeus Betray his Office? By Debbie Gregory

 

Military Connection: Navy Engineer Turned Spy: By Debbie Gregory

Shipyard Spy

On December 10, 2014, a federal judge denied bond for a man who attempted to sell technical plans of the U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier to foreign agents.

Mostafa Ahmed Awwad was arrested on December 5th for stealing schematics for the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, and attempting to sell them to who he thought was an Egyptian intelligence officer.

Awwad, 35, currently resides in Yorktown, Virginia. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Awwad immigrated to the U.S. in 2007, and became a citizen in 2012. Awwad graduated from Old Dominion University in 2013, and began working at the Norfolk Naval Shipyards as a Navy civilian engineer in the shipyard’s nuclear engineering and planning department.

The charges against Awwad state that in late October, he attempted to steal technical data of the designs of the USS Gerald R. Ford. Awwad also provided computer drawings downloaded from the Navy to an undercover FBI agent, posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer. The undercover agent speaking in Arabic contacted Awwad in September, and got Awwad to meet him at a park the next day. At the meeting, Awwad declared his intention to use his position of trust with the Navy to obtain military technology and then pass it on to the Egyptian government.

Awwad and the undercover FBI agent met again in October. During this meeting, the engineer is alleged to have described a plan to circumvent Navy computer security by installing software enabling him to copy documents, without tripping a security alert. Awwad reportedly gave the undercover agent drawings of the aircraft carrier, marked with warnings that foreign distribution could result in criminal prosecution. Awwad indicated to the agent that he understood the computer drawings would be used in Egypt. He also agreed to provide the agent with passport photos to produce a fake Egyptian passport so Awwad could travel without alerting U.S. government officials. The affidavit also claimed that Awwad asked the agent for $1,500 to buy a tiny camera which would enable him to photograph restricted material around the shipyard.

The FBI has evidence of Awwad completing a cloak-and-dagger drop that was coordinated with the undercover agent. On October 23rd, Awwad stashed an external hard drive and two passport photos on a secluded area of a hiking trail, in exchange for $3,000 in cash that was left at the site.

The information that Awwad was trying to sell would have put the USS Gerald R. Ford’s future crew of 4,000 sailors at risk. It is also alleged that Awwad told the agent that he would be able to plant tracking devices on American submarines. If all of his claims are true, and evidence points to that likelihood, Awwad was a serious threat to the U.S. Navy.

Given the enormity and seriousness of the charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas Miller denied bond for Awwad, which would not allow the engineer out of prison pending trial. Awwad faces up to 40 years in federal prison.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Navy Engineer Turned Spy: By Debbie Gregory