2018年1月31日 星期三

News Alert: Trump sticks to his guns on immigration agenda

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The Memo: Trump sticks to his guns on immigration agenda
Donald Trump is going full-steam ahead with his immigration agenda, catering to his base with tough talk and trying to force a difficult choice on Democrats who have promised to protect immigrant communities.

Trump’s State of the Union speech was notable for its emphatic rhetoric on illegal immigration and for the significant time devoted to the topic. 

The president offered little by way of an olive branch to Democrats, instead repeating an existing White House proposal and — in the single most memorable line of the night — insisting “Americans are dreamers too.”
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Overnight Cybersecurity: GOP, FBI clash over FISA memo | Uber breach under Senate scrutiny | Upcoming House cyber diplomacy hearing

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Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you're a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we're here to give you …


--GOP, FBI CLASH OVER CONTROVERSIAL FISA MEMO: In a rare public statement on Wednesday, the FBI said it has "grave concerns" about a Republican-crafted memo alleging corrosive abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department that is expected to be released in the coming days.

"With regard to the House Intelligence Committee’s memorandum, the FBI was provided a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it," the bureau said. "As expressed during our initial review, we have grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy."

Intelligence committee Republicans, led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), voted to release the document over the strident objections of committee Democrats, who say it is a cherry-picked set of inaccurate accusations designed to kneecap special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign. The decision to release the document now rests with President Trump, who has five days to decide whether or not to allow its publication. He is widely expected to overrule the concerns of senior Justice Department officials who have been lobbying him to keep it under wraps.

--CAUGHT ON HOT MIC on Tuesday night, Trump promised Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) that he would "100 percent" release the memo. The White House has insisted the document will go through a normal multi-agency review process to ensure its release will not jeopardize national security. Trump's chief of staff John Kelly on Wednesday indicated the White House plans to release the memo soon.

“It will be released here pretty quick, I think, and then the whole world can see it,” Kelly said during an interview on Fox News Radio. “This president wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds.”

Wednesday's unusual statement from the FBI — one of the most media-averse institutions in Washington — is just the latest sign that the Nunes memo has inflamed tensions between Trump and his own Justice Department. Senior Justice Department officials, including Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray, warned Kelly against making the document public in a last-ditch effort just before the Intelligence Committee vote to declassify it, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

To read more of The Hill's coverage, click here and here.

--NO CYBER DURING TRUMP SOTU ADDRESS: President Trump delivered his first State of the Union address Tueaday evening, but made no mention of cybersecurity or digital threats during his speech. Trump also did not mention Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, an issue that has dogged his administration in its first year amid the special counsel investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow. Unsurprisingly, Trump took some heat from Democrats who called him out for not mentioning Russia’s election meddling during the address, which focused heavily on domestic issues like job creation and infrastructure as well as immigration.

“Waiting for the President to state that he will #ProtectOurDemocracy from future cyber threats,” tweeted former DNC interim chair Donna Brazile.

“How can he not talk about the reality that Russia, through cyberwarfare, interfered in our election in 2016, is interfering in democratic elections all over the world, and according to his own CIA director will likely interfere in the 2018 midterm elections that we will be holding?” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said during his own rebuttal.

For more of The Hill's SOTU coverage, here are five takeaways from the president’s speech.


SENATE PANEL CALLS HEARING ON UBER DATA BREACH: John Flynn, Uber’s chief information security officer, will appear before a Senate Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday. The hearing will focus on the breach and Uber’s reported payoff to the hacker responsible through its “bug bounty” program, which is meant to reward researchers for discovering vulnerabilities in the company’s infrastructures.

"We have worked closely with the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Innovation, & Data Security and look forward to participating in their hearing," an Uber spokesman said in a statement.

In November of last year, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced a breach had taken place before his arrival at the ride-hailing company as well as the number of users affected by it.

Reuters and The New York Times later detailed how Uber had paid the hacker responsible for the breach $100,000 to destroy the stolen information.

The Senate panel plans to grill Flynn on the incident and bug bounty programs in general.

To read more from The Hill's piece, click here.


A Lighter CLICK: Check out Amazon’s Super Bowl ad for Alexa. (Tech Crunch)



“ZOMBIE” MALWARE GROWING MORE POWERFUL: Security firms are tracking a malicious software that can seize control of devices that are internet-connected and effectively turn them into an army of “zombies,” in which hackers can remotely control the devices all at once, according to a new report

Those who created the malware, called Satori, appear to be making the malware more sophisticated — advancing it from being able to impact only handful of devices to a much more devastating effect, Technology Review reported Wednesday.

Researchers have been tracking the zombie software since December. It is able to produce a massive slew of e-mail spam, disable corporate websites, or even affect the wider internet, according to the report.

Some of Satori’s source code appears to be linked to the 2016 Mirai distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack in which it flood the servers of some key U.S. internet infrastructure with an overwhelming level of data traffic, the report found.

This attack leveraged scores of vulnerable connected devices including routers, security cameras, and DVRs to bring down a number of prominent sites for companies like Twitter, The New York Times and Airbnb.


HOUSE PANEL TO HOST CYBER DIPLOMACY HEARING: A key House panel has scheduled a hearing to explore the U.S. government’s cyber diplomacy efforts after the State Department shuttered a standalone office responsible for engaging with other nations on cybersecurity policy.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ed Royce (R-Calif.) on Wednesday announced the hearing for next week to “explore foreign threats to the internet and the important role diplomacy plays in addressing them.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s decision to close the Office of Cybersecurity Coordinator has been met with broad criticism in Congress. Tillerson notified Congress last August that he would shuffle the office’s responsibilities under a bureau focused on economic and business affairs.

Tillerson’s move resulted in the elimination of the cybersecurity coordinator position, which was held by Chris Painter for more than six years. Painter led the federal government’s efforts promoting U.S. cybersecurity interests abroad.

Painter, who left his position at the end of July, will appear at the Foreign Affairs hearing next week, alongside other non-government experts.

“Authoritarian regimes and foreign actors are working overtime to impose more control online, including through censorship,” Royce said in a statement Wednesday.

Earlier this month, House lawmakers passed legislation sponsored by Royce that would restore an office at State to handle cyber diplomacy efforts that would be led by an official with the rank of ambassador.

To read the rest of The Hill's piece, click here.


Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

Trump officials take heat for declining Russia sanctions. (The Hill)

Trey Gowdy, chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee, says he will not seek reelection. (The Hill)

Lawmakers worry digital currency is helping human traffickers avoid detection. (The Hill)

OP-ED: Digital privacy shouldn't be optional on the US border. (The Hill)

OP-ED: To regulate or not to regulate? Cryptocurrencies beg question. (The Hill)

Utah’s government hit by as many as 900 million cyberattacks daily. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

The U.S. government is turning terrorists’ phones against them. (USA Today)

Trump is expected to pick the head of Army cyber command as his NSA chief. (Politico)

Experts at the Heritage Foundation make the case for private companies to engage in "active cyber defense." (Heritage)

Strava’s heat map PR nightmare shows why users can’t rely on fitness apps to protect privacy. (Technology Review)

CIA director Mike Pompeo is said to have met with Russian spies. (CNN)

States are partnering with a research institute to get girls interested in cybersecurity careers. (Government Technology)

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Overnight Energy: EPA moves to delay Obama water rule two years | Greens sue over Alaska refuge road | Trump official pledges to be coal’s advocate

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EPA FINALIZES WATER RULE DELAY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing back by two years implementation of an Obama administration rule redefining the federal government’s power over small waterways.

The Trump administration is working to repeal the rule, dubbed the Clean Water Rule or Waters of the United States (WOTUS), as it formally proposed to do last year. 

EPA head Scott Pruitt said the Wednesday action is meant to stop confusion over the application of the Clean Water Rule. A Supreme Court decision last week had overturned a federal appeals court’s halt on the rule.

“Today, EPA is taking action to reduce confusion and provide certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers,” Pruitt said in a statement.

“The 2015 WOTUS rule developed by the Obama administration will not be applicable for the next two years, while we work through the process of providing long-term regulatory certainty across all 50 states about what waters are subject to federal regulation.”

The EPA is taking the action alongside the Army Corps of Engineers, which also has responsibility for enforcing the Clean Water Act.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said the delay puts significant water supplies at risk, and said it would sue to stop the delay.

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is racing the clock to deny protections for our public health and safety. It’s grossly irresponsible, and illegal — and we’ll challenge it in court,” said Jon Devine, the group’s senior attorney.

Read more here.

GREENS SUE OVER INTERIOR'S KING COVE DECISION: A group of nine environmental groups are suing the Trump administration for authorizing the exchange of wildlife refugee land to allow Alaska to build a road through a previously protected preserve.

Defenders of Wildlife, the Wilderness Society and other environment groups filed a joint lawsuit against the federal government Wednesday challenging the legality of selling the lands in King Cove, Alaska.

The groups claim the land exchange, which reverses former President Obama's decision, was an example of wheeling-and-dealing behind closed doors.

“The Trump administration’s illegal backroom deal to force a road through Izembek is unconscionable. President Trump and his administration plan to rip irreplaceable federal wildlands from public ownership to satisfy commercial interests," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, in a statement. "We will not wait for the bulldozers to destroy Izembek’s wilderness wetlands and threaten the species that depend on them for survival."

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke advanced plans for the land transfer early last week. The transfer will allow the Alaskan community to build the road through designated wilderness wetlands in Izembek National Wildlife Refuge.

Read more here.

TRUMP OFFICIAL PLEDGES TO BE COAL ‘ADVOCATE’: A senior Trump administration official in the Energy Department told a coal industry gathering Wednesday that he aims to be a strong advocate for coal.

“The good news is I'm with the federal government and I'm here to help,” Doug Matheney, a special adviser in the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, said at the West Virginia Mining Symposium, according to S&P Global.

“I went to Washington, D.C., for one purpose and that was to help create coal jobs in the United States. That's my total purpose for being there,” he said. “I’m not a researcher, I'm not a scientist, I'm an advocate for the coal industry.”

Matheney, who once worked for the industry-backed Count on Coal initiative, told attendees that he hoped to continue Trump’s aggressive deregulatory agenda.

He also said that the Energy Department is working on a new plan to boost coal as a replacement to the failed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposal to require higher electricity payments to coal and nuclear power plants.

Read more here.

OHIO LAWMAKERS WANT TO REVERT DENALI TO MT. MCKINLEY: GOP lawmakers from Ohio are pressing President Trump to uphold a promise to reverse former President Obama's decision and rename the Alaskan mountain Denali to its old name, Mt. McKinley.

In a letter to Trump, the 11 lawmakers say it was "disrespectful" for Obama to change the name of the mountain, which had been named after William McKinley, a former president from Ohio. The mountain was named after the 25th president in 1896, a change from the name used by native Alaskans.

"President William McKinley's legacy should not be compromised by a political stunt," the letter signed by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) and other lawmakers stated.

"Mr. President, we appreciate your comments opposing the Obama administration's actions and stand ready to work with you to preserve William McKinley's legacy by restoring President William McKinley's name to the Alaska mountain."

In 2015 Trump tweeted in response to Obama's decision to change the mountain's name, "President Obama wants to change the name of Mt. McKinley to Denali after more than 100 years. Great insult to Ohio. I will change back!"

Read more here.


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is launching an investigation into deaths of minke whales along the East Coast in recent months, the Associated Press reports.

A Florida utility plans to use treated sewage to fix the canals for a nuclear power plant’s cooling system, the Miami Herald reports.

Domestic oil production exceeded 10 million barrels per day in November for the first time ever, CNBC reports.


Katie Tubb of the Heritage Foundation advocates for a “pro-science approach” to Yucca Mountain, saying Congress should appropriate the funds for the licensing program.

Three leaders in the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis say deregulation didn’t help coal in 2017, so it won’t help it in 2018.


Check out Wednesday’s stories …

-Greens sue over Interior plans to build road through Alaska refuge

-The American Meteorological Society asks Trump to check government agencies for climate change information

-Trump official tells coal group he’s "an advocate for the coal industry"

-White House to ask for 72 percent cut in renewable energy programs

-Puerto Rico says FEMA will continue to provide aid to communities in need

-EPA delays Obama water rule

-GOP chairmen ask Interior for more staff out West

-Ohio lawmakers urge Trump to change Denali's name back to Mt. McKinley

-Green group backs Baldwin, Nelson for reelection

-Rubio: ‘We have to do more’ to help


Please send tips and comments to Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com, and Miranda Green, mgreen@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @Timothy_Cama, @mirandacgreen, @thehill

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