Trump nominates lawyer Christopher Wray to lead FBI — Qatar: FBI says Russian hackers ‘planted fake news story’ that led to crisis – Analysis: Contractor charged with espionage presents political minefield for Trump — Senate Confirms Trump’s Pick for CIA’s Top Lawyer
Donald Trump says he is nominating lawyer Christopher A Wray to become the new FBI director.
The post has been empty for the past month after the president fired James Comey from the role.
Mr Wray served under George W Bush as an assistant attorney general from 2003 to 2005.
He was also a lawyer representing New Jersey Governor – and Trump ally – Chris Christie during the “Bridgegate” scandal.
US intelligence officials believe Russian hackers planted a false news story that prompted Saudi Arabia and several allies to sever relations with Qatar, according to CNN.
FBI experts visited Qatar in late May to analyse an alleged cyber breach that saw the hackers place the fake story with Qatar’s state news agency, the US broadcaster said.
Saudi Arabia then cited the false report as part of its reason for instituting a diplomatic and economic blockade of Qatar, the report said. The blockade was joined by several other Gulf states and has spiralled into the worst diplomatic crisis for the region in decades.
At first sight, the case of Reality Leigh Winner, a United States federal contractor who has been charged with leaking classified information to a news outlet, is an open-and-shut case. Winner, an expert linguist with a top-secret clearance, who provided services to the National Security Agency through a private contractor, appears to have admitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that she deliberately leaked classified information without permission. She is believed to have told the FBI that she printed and mailed a single document containing classified information to a news outlet on or around May 9 of this year. (…)
To be clear, Winner’s disclosure does not provide evidence that Russian intelligence services were able to alter the outcome of the US presidential election, only that they may have sought to do so. However, given the sensitivity of the subject, and its importance in the current state of US politics, it would be wise for the US government to promptly disclose any and all documents on the topic —if only to prevent further censure from an increasingly skeptical electorate. As one American commentator noted, if “the Russians already know this information, so why shouldn’t Americans?”. Indeed. Pursuing Winner’s conviction under the Espionage Act, while at the same time refusing to address the concerns caused by her disclosure, would be the worst possible way forward for the Trump administration, as it tries to navigate the troubled waters of American politics.
WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to be the CIA’s top lawyer.
The bipartisan vote for Courtney Simmons Elwood, a former Supreme Court clerk and lawyer in President George W. Bush’s administration, was 67-33.
During her confirmation hearing in April, Elwood was questioned about the CIA’s former program to harshly interrogate terror suspects. She reassured lawmakers who worry Trump will want to resurrect the program that it would take a change in U.S. law to restart.
She also faced questions about surveillance programs, the use of contractors and the Senate intelligence committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Elwood has pledged to give the committee all the materials it needs for that investigation — as consistent with the law.
INTEL TODAY DIARY — JUNE 8 2017