Mark's Feed
Feb 19, 2014

For Ukraine rivals, no let up in Washington lobbying

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three prominent Washington, D.C. lobbying outfits, representing rival political factions in Ukraine, continued lobbying for their Ukrainian clients through the last quarter of 2013, the most recent reports filed recently with Congress show.

Two of the companies, the Washington-based Podesta Group Inc and the Mercury public relations firm, have been registered with Congress for the last two years as lobbyists for the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, a Brussels group whose financial backing is obscure.

Feb 13, 2014

NSA memo confirms Snowden scammed passwords from colleagues

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A National Security Agency civilian employee resigned last month after telling the FBI he had inadvertently let former contractor Edward Snowden use his password to access information he was not authorized to see, according to a NSA memo sent to Congress.

The NSA told the Senate Judiciary Committee in the memo that two other workers affiliated with the NSA, including an active duty military member and an unidentified contractor, had also been “implicated” in the matter.

Feb 11, 2014

Hillary Clinton faces new barrage from the right over Benghazi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Establishment Republicans and a right-wing group of former spies and special forces operatives that says it is nonpartisan but has historical Republican ties are raising a ruckus over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s handling of the 2012 assault on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya.

The criticism of Clinton over the deadly attacks appears to be a preview of what the former secretary of state can expect should she pursue a presidential bid in 2016.

Feb 7, 2014

Leaked call on Ukraine made on unencrypted cellphones: U.S. officials

By Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – A senior U.S. State Department officer and the ambassador to Ukraine apparently used unencrypted cellphones for a call about political developments in Ukraine that was leaked and touched off an international furor, U.S. officials said in Washington on Friday.

In the call, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland used an expletive in apparently disparaging the idea of relying on help from the European Union in negotiating a political solution in Ukraine.

Feb 6, 2014

U.S., European security officials worry about Sochi-related attacks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Intelligence agencies believe attacks by militants during the Sochi Winter Olympics are highly likely, but will probably be aimed at “softer” targets elsewhere in Russia, such as public transportation or other civilian venues, U.S. and European officials said.

Several U.S. and European security officials said that last-minute intelligence reports about possible Olympics-related attacks have continued to flow into Western agencies and that U.S. and European agencies take them very seriously.

Feb 6, 2014

Target vendor says hackers breached data link used for billing

WEDNESDAY, Feb 6 (Reuters) – The Target Corp hackers
managed to break into its payments network by first breaching a
“data connection” between the U.S. retailer and its heating and
ventilation systems contractor, a representative for the
contractor said on Thursday.

The data connection was used by the vendor, Fazio Mechanical
Services, to bill Target and exchange contract and project
management information with the retailer, according to Dick
Roberts, a public relations representative for Fazio.

Feb 5, 2014

U.S. Secret Service visits refrigeration company in Target probe

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret
Service visited the office of a Pennsylvania-based refrigeration
contractor, Fazio Mechanical Services, in connection with an
investigation of the Target Corp consumer data breach, a
spokesman for the agency said on Wednesday.

Fazio is the largest refrigeration contractor in the Western
Pennsylvania region, and Target is one of its clients, according
to the Sharpsburg-based company’s website.

Feb 4, 2014

U.S. says no evidence Obamacare software written in Belarus

WASHINGTON Feb 4 (Reuters) – U.S. health officials have
investigated whether some of the software used in computers at
the heart of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform was
written in Belarus, but have found no evidence of that being the
case, a White House official said on Tuesday.

A report of the probe, first published by the conservative
Washington Free Beacon website late Monday, was seized on by
Republicans who are campaigning to scuttle the reforms and say
the website remains vulnerable to hackers four
months after its botched roll-out on Oct. 1.

Feb 4, 2014

U.S. probed if Obamacare software written overseas; no sign from Belarus

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. health officials have investigated whether some of the software code underlying Obamacare’s technology infrastructure was produced by people connected to the government of Belarus, but so far have found no evidence of that being the case.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies recently retracted a report that questioned whether some of the software connected to the health reform law was developed in Belarus and could contain malicious code.

Jan 31, 2014

U.S. government names Navy man to head beleaguered NSA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama nominated on Thursday the U.S. Navy’s top cyber warrior to head the National Security Agency, a move seen as a vote of confidence in a unit that is under fire for spying on Americans and their allies.

Navy Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, a cryptologist and head of U.S. Fleet Cyber Command, is not expected to immediately make major changes to the NSA, shaken by revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden.