For the first time, the U.S. government has publicly acknowledged the existence in Washington of what appear to be rogue devices that foreign spies and criminals could be using to track individual cellphones and intercept calls and messages. The use of what are known as cellphone-site simulators by foreign powers has long been a concern, but American intelligence and law enforcement agencies — which use such eavesdropping equipment themselves — have been silent on the issue until now. In a March 26 letter to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that last year it identified suspected unauthorized cell-site simulators in the nation’s capital. The agency said it had not determined the type of devices in use or who might have been operating them. Nor did it say how many it detected or where. The agency’s response, obtained by The Associated Press from Wyden’s office, suggests little has been done about such equipment, known … [Read more...] about U.S. suspects cellphone spying devices in D.C.
Washington — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos came here from the Grand Rapids area to reform education and expand alternatives to traditional public schools, but her agenda has been rebuffed by a Republican-led Congress and stymied by the polarized climate surrounding her tenure. Education experts say her Department of Education has few policy wins to tout after more than a year, and a series of stumbles in high-profile forums — from her confirmation hearing to a mid-March CBS “60 Minutes” interview — hurt her ability to effectively harness the bully pulpit. “She has learned quite a bit on the job,” said Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a policy group in Washington that supports school choice. “This is a whole new kind of role for Betsy DeVos. She was used to being somebody who was a strategist in the background, and wasn’t someone who was out front giving a lot of speeches. She wasn’t … [Read more...] about Hard lessons for Betsy DeVos in D.C.
After moving out of the Capitol Hill condo apartment he rented for $50 a night last summer, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt appears to not have maintained a Washington residence for a month, instead traveling extensively for work and remaining for weeks at his Tulsa, Okla., home.Pruitt ended his housing arrangement with lobbyist Vicki Hart on Aug. 4. At that point, he already had embarked on a more than weeklong trip across five states to visit with elected officials and farmers about the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda, with a weekend at home in Tulsa along the way.He then took an extended vacation, according to agency records, during which time officials said that he underwent knee surgery and recuperated at home while receiving staff briefings. After another round of meetings in Oklahoma and a visit to Texas to survey the damage from Hurricane Harvey, Pruitt returned to EPA headquarters Sept. 5, according to his public calendars. Members of his … [Read more...] about After leaving $50-a-night rental, EPA’s Scott Pruitt had no fixed D.C. address for a month
Earlier today, Environmental Protection Agency Chief Scott Pruitt, a man singularly obsessed with plunging Miami into the sea, got caught living in a home owned by the wife of a prominent energy industry lobbyist. ABC News found that for much of 2017, Pruitt resided in a townhouse owned by Vicki Hart, wife of J. Steven Hart, the CEO of D.C. lobbying firm Williams & Jensen, which caters to oil and energy companies.Naturally, the lobbying firm has taken gobs of money from NextEra Energy, the parent company of Florida Power & Light. According to lobbying records from the Center for Responsive Politics, FPL and NextEra paid the firm a combined $1 million from 2002 through 2014. From 2002 through 2008, the company funneled $520,000 to the firm as "FPL Group." The following year, the company contributed as "NextEra" and paid Williams & Jensen another $490,000 through 2014. Representatives for NextEra didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from New … [Read more...] about EPA Chief Lived in D.C. Home Owned by Family of Former Top FPL Lobbyist
World D-Day Military drills South Korea U.S. and South Korean forces have canceled a massive combined amphibious landing drill scheduled for Thursday due to bad weather conditions. The training, known as the "D-Day" landing operation, was due to take place at a South Korean beach near the southern coastal town of Pohang, Yonhap news agency reported, quoting a statement from the Combined Forces Command (CFC). The CFC said that "weather assessments indicated unsafe landing conditions" for the soldiers involved in the amphibian element of the exercise, but that "participating units in the air and sea portions will continue training as planned." Yonhap also reported that unlike previous years in which the training provided for impressive images, the command did not invite the media to cover the training on this occasion. Recommended Slideshows 51 In Pictures: The 50 Most Powerful Military Forces in the World 44 In Pictures: Every U.S. President … [Read more...] about U.S. and South Korea Forced to Cancel Massive ‘D-Day Landing’ Drill Due to Bad Weather