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Unelected members of security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling the strings, from Peter Myers

Deep State: Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling the strings(1) Subpoenas require NSA, FBI & CIA to disclose political intelligence gathering by Obama admin(2) U.N. ambassador Samantha Power sought info on Trump team(3) Deep State WSJ: Liberal activists in the Bureaucracy work to undermine Trump(4) American deep state powered by intelligence leaks - Business Insider(5) Far-left Green groups invited to advise EPA on scientific integrity(6) Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling the strings(7) Edward Snowden: NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threaten lives of hospital patients(8) Cyberattack Hackers use flaws NSA knew about, but used for spying(1) Subpoenas require NSA, FBI & CIA to disclose political intelligence gathering by Obama admin Subpoenas Elevate Probe Into Improper Intelligence SurveillanceUN Ambassador Samantha Power sought names of Americans hidden in communications interceptBY: Bill GertzJune 2, 2017 5:00 pmA House investigation into improper intelligence gathering gained momentum this week after subpoenas were issued for records on three Obama administration political appointees.U.S. officials said the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence this week ordered the National Security Agency, FBI, and CIA to produce records on all requests made by the three senior officials for the names of Americans redacted in electronic intercepts of conversations of foreign officials, said U.S. officials familiar with the matter.The newest target of the investigation that began in March is former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, a long-time Obama confidant.The other two being probed as part of the committee's investigation into potentially improper political spying are former CIA Director John Brennan and former White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice.Power declined to comment through a spokesman. Rice and Brennan did not return emails seeking comment.The subpoenas were issued Wednesday by Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), who in April revealed that "dozens" of classified intelligence reports appeared to have improperly unmasked the names of Americans inadvertently spied on during foreign intelligence surveillance operations.Nunes was sidelined from the committee's Russia inquiry after a leftist media monitoring group alleged he disclosed classified information. The House Ethics Committee has launched an inquiry into the allegation. However, the ethics panel so far has ignored similar allegations lodged against the committee's ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), who appears to have disclosed classified information in public discussion of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s intercepted conversation with the Russian ambassador.The committee wants the three agencies to disclose the details about the three former officials' requests of the agencies to provide the hidden identities of the Americans who were caught in electronic surveillance.The investigation into unmasking activities of Americans was initially part of the intelligence oversight panel's investigation of Russian political influence operations during the 2016 election.In addition to the subpoenas for unmasking request records, the committee also issued four related to the Russia aspect of the probe. They include notices to former White House National Security Adviser Flynn and Michael Cohen, President Trump's personal lawyer.The issuing of subpoenas related to the disclosure of Americans' identities are a sign that the probe into the potential political spying by the Obama administration has been elevated.The NSA, FBI, and CIA have provided some cooperation to the committee but so far have not provided details sought by investigators. The subpoenas are meant to compel the three agencies' cooperation on the matter.Procedures for electronic intercepts that incidentally spy on Americans require blacking out the names of the Americans in a bid to protect privacy rights.In cases usually limited to those involving terrorists or foreign intelligence operatives communicating with Americans, senior government officials can request that hidden names contained in raw transcripts be revealed in order to better understand the context of conversations. The unmasking is restricted to officials with a need to know and the dissemination of the revealed names is supposed to be limited within intelligence and government agencies.House investigators believe the Obama administration sought to exploit the intelligence reports by first obtaining the masked names and then widely disseminating the reports in a bid to make identifying any leaks to the press more difficult."It's clear that people on the Hill have found indications that high-level officials of the Obama administration weaponized American intelligence," said a senior U.S. official.The officials said the probe into possible political intelligence gathering by the Obama administration is now a separate inquiry from the Russia probe that has been dominating major news outlets' coverage over the past several weeks.By contrast, the improper unmasking activities have been largely ignored by most news media that have instead focused extensive coverage on the Russian collusion allegations.The Senate Intelligence Committee is also investigating the matter but its inquiry appears to be limited to the Russia allegations. Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump in part for continuing the Russian counterintelligence investigation, is set to testify before the Senate panel Thursday.Trump, who has called the collusion allegations "fake news," joined the fray on Thursday, tweeting, "The big story is the ‘unmasking and surveillance' of people that took place during the Obama Administration."Indications of a political spying operation against Trump and his associates first surfaced in March when intelligence officials told the New York Times that during the last days of the Obama administration, White House officials had "scrambled to spread information" about Russian hacking and collusion with Trump campaign officials.The March 1 report said American intelligence agencies had eavesdropped on communications of Russian officials, including some inside the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump aides.House investigators' concerns also were raised by earlier press disclosures revealing the contents of an intercepted phone call between Flynn and Moscow's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, discussing U.S. sanctions on Russia. Flynn later resigned as White House national security adviser as a result of the disclosures.Power, the former UN ambassador targeted by the unmasking investigation, worked as an aide to Obama in the Senate and then on the White House National Security Council staff from 2009 to 2013. She became U.N. ambassador in 2013 and was a key figure in advocating U.S. military intervention in Libya.The United Nations is a major U.S. intelligence target for the NSA, FBI, and CIA and investigators believe it is unusual for Power to have asked for the identities of Americans in late 2016 and early 2017.Rice, the former White House adviser, earlier this month told CNN she would not testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating the Russia.Rice called allegations she misused intelligence "absolutely false.""I did my job which was to protect the American people and I did it faithfully and to the best of my ability," she said. "And never did I do anything that was untoward with respect to the intelligence I received."On May 23, Brennan revealed in House testimony that he had made unmasking requests during his tenure, but did not ask for the names of Americans in classified intelligence reports on Jan. 20, the day he left CIA."No, I was not in the agency on the last day I was employed," Brennan said. "I definitely know that on the last day I was employed I definitely did not make such a request."Brennan, a career CIA analyst who also worked closely with Obama in the White House before moving to CIA, disclosed during his testimony that he requested that the FBI investigate Trump associates during the 2016 presidential campaign after intelligence reports indicated ties between campaign aides and Russians.Critics have charged Brennan with politicizing the CIA during his tenure as director, limiting the agency's espionage capabilities.Brennan said he asked the FBI to investigate because he was worried by intelligence reports of contacts between Russians and Americans he did not identify in the May 23 testimony. "And so therefore I felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues," he said.On March 20 during testimony before the House intelligence panel, then-FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers both testified they had no information supporting claims by Trump that the Obama administration had conducted political surveillance of him and his aides.Days later, Nunes said he has been shown dozens of classified intelligence reports that appeared to contradict the two officials' testimony."What I've read seems to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal, but I don't know that it's right and I don't know if the American people would be comfortable with what I've read," Nunes said.The intelligence reports included transcripts of communications, including communications directly from Trump based on a foreign electronic spying operation between November and January—the period when the transition team was operating, mainly from Trump's New York residence, Trump Tower.Nunes has said the apparent political spying activities were based on intercepts of a foreign target and were not related to the Russia inquiry.(2) U.N. ambassador Samantha Power sought info on Trump team surprise suspect in Obama spy scandalWhy would U.N. ambassador be seeking info on Trump team?Published: 05/31/2017 at 8:25 PMWASHINGTON – The inquiry into whether the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign and transition team has a new surprise suspect: former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power.The House Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday it was submitting subpoenas as part of its ongoing investigation into any Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election campaign, and sources gave more details to the Wall Street Journal.Buried inside the paper’s account was a potentially bombshell development: The committee is seeking information from the FBI, CIA and NSA on unmasking requests made by Power.Unmasking is the revealing of names within the intelligence community of U.S. citizens gathered in foreign surveillance.The new subpoena immediately raises the question: Why would Power be seeking such information?Why would a diplomat care about Trump officials?It would hardly seem to have any obvious relevance to her job as U.N. ambassador.She was, however, a close confidant of President Obama, and she served him as a foreign-policy adviser when he was a senator.And members of the intelligence committee have previously shown concern about Obama officials unmasking Trump associates.Sources told Fox News that Power’s role is now under increasing scrutiny by the intelligence committee.Republicans on the Intelligence Committee want to know if the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign for political purposes, as the president has charged.It has already been established that the Obama administration collected surveillance information on Trump associates during the campaign, and on the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, during the transition.The Obama administration claimed it was investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. However, in the seven months since the investigation was launched, no evidence of such collusion has ever emerged, as even all of the top Democrats involved in the inquiry have had to admit.The House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas Wednesday. Three of them, signed by chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., explicitly asked the FBI, CIA and NSA for information on unmasking requests involving three top officials of the Obama administration: former ambassador Power, former White House national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan.Brennan admitted to the House Intelligence Committee during testimony Tuesday that he instigated the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia even though he had seen no evidence of that.Brennan claimed he had seen some contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials, and he was worried that might lead to collusion. So he referred the matter to the FBI, which launched an investigation. Former National Security Adviser Susan RIie, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Barack ObamaFormer National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former Secretary of State John Kerry and former President Barack ObamaThe other four subpoenas issued by the Intelligence Committee on Wednesday were requested by the committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and seek information on Trump attorney Michael Cohen and on Flynn. Democrats are still hoping to find some evidence of collusion between the Trump team and Russia.Flynn was fired as national security adviser three weeks into the job after his name was unmasked by someone in the Obama administration and then leaked to the press.Anonymous sources claimed Flynn discussed inappropriate topics before the inauguration with the Russian ambassador, such as possible sanctions relief. Trump said Flynn had not discussed anything inappropriate but was fired for not telling Vice President Mike Pence the whole truth.Speaking to MSNBC in April, Rice did not deny unmasking the identities of Trump associates collected in foreign surveillance.She implicitly acknowledged and explicitly defended unmasking by claiming: "It was not uncommon. It was necessary at times to make those requests."But speaking to PBS on March 22, Rice had denied any knowledge of such unmasking after it was revealed by House Intelligence Chairman Nunes.She told PBS, "I know nothing about this," and "I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today."So, by her own admission, Rice was not telling the truth on March 22.Like the reporting you see here? Sign up for free news alerts from, America’s independent news network.Rice tried to defend her actions by telling MSNBC she did nothing inappropriate and that she sometimes sought the names of people in intelligence reports, as part of her job.But, if that was true, why did she not tell the truth to PBS on March 22?In her defense, Rice merely asserted to MSNBC that she did not leak unmasked names to the press and that the unmasking wasn’t politically motivated.The big questions now are whether those statements are true.Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy, one of the nation’s top legal minds, cast serious doubt on Rice’s veracity in comments made to WND and in a column in National Review.Rice had told MSNBC the unmasking of any names of Trump associates in intelligence reports was not done to spy on them "for any political purposes.""This is not anything political, as has been alleged," she said. "The allegation is that somehow Obama administration officials utilized intelligence for political purposes. That is absolutely false."McCarthy pointed out that can’t be the case."The national-security adviser is not an investigator," he wrote. "She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it."Therefore, "If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic Party interests."In other words, her actions contradicted her explanation.Requesting the unmasking, according to McCarthy, could have had no purpose other than politics because she was not an investigator."The thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations," he wrote."There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked," McCarthy added. "If there had been a real need to reveal the identities – an intelligence need based on American interests – the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies."Therefore, McCarthy deduced, there could be but one conclusion: "Her interest was not in national security but to advance the political interests of the Democratic Party."Of particular importance is that Rice focused her defense not on denying unmasking, but on denying she was the leaker of unmasked names, specifically denying she leaked the name of Mike Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser."I leaked nothing to nobody and never have and never would," said Rice.However, it was the unmasking that made the leak possible.The unmasking was the crucial part.The leak could have been committed by any of the dozens, perhaps hundreds, of intelligence officials who could see the intelligence after Flynn’s name was unmasked.That was because of the executive order Obama issued in the waning days of his presidency relaxing the rules on the sharing of information within the intelligence community.The New York Times reported Jan. 12, "[T]he Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections."That was eight days before the end of the Obama administration.(3) Deep State WSJ: Liberal activists in the Bureaucracy work to undermine Trump of a Deep StateThe EPA’s ‘Science Integrity Official’ is plotting to undermine Trump’s agenda.By Kimberley A. StrasselMay 25, 2017 7:07 p.m. ETOn May 8 a woman few Americans have heard of, working in a federal post that even fewer know exists, summoned a select group of 45 people to a June meeting in Washington. They were almost exclusively representatives of liberal activist groups. The invitation explained they were invited to develop "future plans for scientific integrity" at the Environmental Protection Agency.Meet the deep state. That’s what conservatives call it now, though it goes by other names. The administrative state. The entrenched governing elite.  Lois Lerner. The federal bureaucracy. Whatever the description, what’s pertinent to today’s Washington is that this cadre of federal employees, accountable to no one, is actively working from within to thwart Donald Trump’s agenda.There are few better examples than the EPA post of Scientific Integrity Official. (Yes, that is an actual job title.) The position is a legacy of Barack Obama, who at his 2009 inaugural promised to "restore science to its rightful place"—his way of warning Republicans that there’d be no more debate on climate change or other liberal environmental priorities.Team Obama directed federal agencies to implement "scientific integrity" policies. Most agencies tasked their senior leaders with overseeing these rules. But the EPA—always the overachiever—bragged that it alone had chosen to "hire a senior level employee" whose only job would be to "act as a champion for scientific integrity throughout the agency."In 2013 the EPA hired Francesca Grifo, a longtime activist at the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists. Ms. Grifo had long complained that EPA scientists were "under siege"—according to a report she helped write—by Republican "political appointees" and "industry lobbyists" who had "manipulated" science on everything from "mercury pollution to groundwater contamination to climate science."As Scientific Integrity Official, Ms. Grifo would have the awesome power to root out all these meddlesome science deniers. A 2013 Science magazine story reported she would lead an entire Scientific Integrity Committee, write an annual report documenting science "incidents" at the agency, and even "investigate" science problems—alongside no less than the agency’s inspector general.And get this: "Her job is not a political appointment," the Science article continues, "so it comes with civil service protections." Here was a bureaucrat with the authority to define science and shut down those who disagreed, and she could not be easily fired, even under a new administration. [...](4) American deep state powered by intelligence leaks - Business Insider'This gets to the fabric of the nation': Inside the dark conspiracy that made its way from the fringe to the White HouseSonam ShethMay 7, 2017, 12:31 AMThe modern history of the "deep state" in American politics — real or imagined — starts with real leaks of classified information and ends as a conspiracy theory on popular yet dubious websites.And how it got there raises serious questions about whether the intelligence community is trying to subvert a new president or whether it’s a convenient scapegoat for an administration that’s had its share of early foibles.A deep state is a network of influential members of a government’s agencies or military who operate against a democratically elected government. It might work to undermine an elected president’s authority or legitimacy and has been common in countries such as Egypt and Turkey.The concern in the US started shortly after Donald Trump took office. In early February, The New York Times and The Washington Post published a series of explosive reports about the intelligence community’s investigations into the Trump campaign’s communications with Russian officials during the 2016 election.The reports, citing anonymous officials, revealed that then national-security adviser Michael Flynn had discussed US sanctions on Russia with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before Trump took office, despite Flynn’s claims that he and Kislyak had not discussed anything sensitive during their phone calls.The next day, The Times broke a story on what it said were "repeated contacts" that Trump associates had with Russian officials during the campaign. CNN published another report that night in which sources said communication between Trump associates and Russian officials during the campaign was "constant."Flynn resigned a short time later.Attorney General Jeff Sessions later had to recuse himself from any Department of Justice investigations into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia after additional leaks revealed that he had also had contact with Russian officials during the campaign.An American deep state?The steady drip of classified leaks about President Trump’s young administration has led some to speculate about the beginnings of an American deep state. [...]But soon after the possibility of the beginnings of an American deep state was first raised by the mainstream media, the idea took hold of the far-right media, quickly reaching a fever pitch."The Deep State Bumps off General Flynn. Who’s Next?" blared a February Breitbart headline after the resignation of Flynn. The article pointed to the mainstream media as an arm of the deep state, saying that the "ultimate target, of course, is Trump himself."InfoWars editor at large Paul Joseph Watson recorded a segment posted to YouTube in early March titled "The Deep State War on Trump.""Purge your administration of this globalist fifth column. There can be no compromise. These people literally want to overthrow a democratically elected government," Watson said. From the fringe, the idea of a deep state working against the Trump administration made its way to the mainstream conservative media.Fox News host and ardent Trump supporter Sean Hannity reiterated Watson’s words during a segment that aired a week after Watson’s video was posted on YouTube. "Tonight, it’s time for the Trump administration to purge these saboteurs before it’s too late," Hannity said, referring to "deep-state Obama-holdover government bureaucrats who are hell bent on destroying this president."And from there, the fears of an American deep state powered by intelligence leaks, which started out as mild speculation and reached the heights of conspiracy theory, made their way to the halls of Washington.Trump has repeatedly and emphatically expressed his belief that there has been a concerted effort, fuelled by politicians, those within the intelligence community, and the "fake news" media, to undermine his presidency and policy agenda.He notably accused the former president, without evidence, of personally ordering the surveillance of phones at Trump Tower. Trump likely made the accusation based on a monologue by far-right radio talk-show host Mark Levin and a Breitbart write-up of Levin’s belief that there is a "silent coup" underway to overthrow Trump. Trump’s cold war with the intelligence communityThe president has also publicly castigated the media and the intelligence community."Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologise!" Trump tweeted in February, shortly after Flynn resigned. "The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!" he said.In a meeting later with several members of Congress, he added: "We’re going to find the leakers, and they’re going to pay a big price."As the media continued publishing classified information, Trump tweeted that "information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia.""The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy," he continued. "Very un-American!"Trump’s loyalists quickly followed his lead, pointing to the intelligence leaks as a key piece of evidence they say supports the existence of an American deep state. They have also consistently singled out Trump’s chief White House strategist, Steve Bannon, as a source of knowledge on the American deep state.Bannon is the former head of Breitbart, a largely Trump-friendly outlet that has published a slew of articles asserting the existence of an American deep state."We are talking about the emergence of a deep state led by Barack Obama, and that is something that we should prevent," Iowa Rep. Steve King told The New York Times. "The person who understands this best is Steve Bannon, and I would think that he’s advocating to make some moves to fix it."Echoing Hannity’s and Watson’s words, King later said that Trump "needs to purge the leftists within the administration that are holdovers from the Obama administration, because it appears that they are undermining his administration and his chances of success."Trump adviser and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also believes in the deep state and said he discussed the concept with Bannon. "Of course, the deep state exists. There’s a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to attack the president," Gingrich told the Associated Press in March."This is what the deep state does: They create a lie, spread a lie, fail to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie," Gingrich said. [...](5) Far-left Green groups invited to advise EPA on scientific integrity green groups invited to advise EPA on scientific integrityby Philip Wegmann | May 18, 2017, 2:14 PMThe leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency changed when Trump took office, but much of the old guard remains at their posts. And many of those Obama-era public employees have fervently resisted the efforts of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to depoliticize the agency.One of those employees seems to be Francesca Grifo. As the EPA's scientific integrity official, she's responsible for keeping politics from polluting environmental research. Recently, though, Grifo seems to be going in a different direction, inviting numerous far-left political groups to advise the EPA on its scientific standards."It is my pleasure to invite you to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Scientific Integrity Annual Stakeholder Meeting," Grifo wrote in an email obtained by the Washington Examiner."At this meeting, as the EPA Scientific Integrity Official," she continued, "I will answer your questions, share current scientific integrity initiatives, and discuss future plans for scientific integrity at EPA."Clearly an exclusive invite, the list includes academic institutions such as George Washington University and research leaders such as the American Chemical Society. Their acknowledged authority earns them a seat at the table. But progressive political groups seem like they're crashing the party by comparison.For instance, what can the EPA hope to learn from a dark-money group such as Demos, whose president recently testified against Judge Gorsuch during his confirmation hearings? How could Public Citizen, the brainchild of Ralph Nader, be considered an authority? And why would the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is actively suing President Trump, even be invited?An incredulous Grifo wouldn't offer any answers when reached by phone, referring the Washington Examiner to the agency's public relations office instead. "Good luck with that," Grifo said before hanging up. An EPA spokesman later followed up but didn't respond to questions.It's still not known why those political groups were invited to EPA headquarters or on whose authority the stakeholder meeting was called. But it's obvious that their missions run counter to the efforts of Pruitt.The conservative environmental administrator has turned his focus back to conservation, specifically toward enforcing the agency's original clean air and water standards. "It's so important to focus on the core of our mission," he told Fox News on Wednesday, reiterating that his goal was "actually doing things to clean up the environment."Sadly, it seems that some in the EPA would rather play politics than join with Pruitt to fight pollution.(6) Unelected members of US security agencies & bureaucracy are pulling the strings Trump: Is there a 'deep state' in America and is it trying to take down the President?By Michael CollettUpdated 11 Mar 2017, 8:29amIf you've been following US politics (and who hasn't been over the past few months) you may have come across the term "deep state".The idea is that unelected members of America's security agencies (the intelligence community or IC) and bureaucracy are secretly pulling the strings of government.And according to Washington Post political reporter Robert Costa, it's an idea that has become popular within the Trump camp: External Link: Robert Costa tweet: "A phrase I keep hearing from Trump ally after Trump ally: 'deep state.' Growing belief inside WH that elements of I.C. aligned against them."Some of the President's political enemies have also alluded to the existence of a deep state, including influential neoconservative Bill Kristol:The question is whether the conspiracy is real or just an unsubstantiated theory.Where does the term 'deep state' come from?The Oxford Dictionary says the term was first used in reference to Turkey.And there was good reason to believe a deep state really did exist there.While it's not fully understood what the Turkish deep state was and how it operated, King's College London lecturer Simon Waldman says people were given a glimpse of it in the aftermath of a car crash in 1996.The bodies of a senior police official, a former leader of a ultra-nationalist paramilitary group and a hit woman were found in the wreckage, while the lone survivor was a state-supported Kurdish warlord.As Dr Waldman wrote for The Conversation:     "The question on everyone's lips was, no doubt: 'What were these people doing together?'"However, he says it's likely Turkey's deep state apparatus was dissolved or became inactive after this scandal.Many also believe a deep state exists in Egypt and this can be seen in the vast power wielded by its military, which has produced many of that country's leaders and which was also responsible for the 2013 coup.Why do people think there's a deep state in America?Breitbart News is one media organisation that's giving a voice to what it calls "deep state-gate".If that name sounds familiar to you, it's probably because Breitbart is the far-right website where Steve Bannon was executive chairman before he became Donald Trump's chief strategist.Breitbart commentators point to the leaks of national security information to the media in order to damage the White House as evidence.The resignation of national security adviser Mike Flynn was the "first great success" of this campaign of destabilisation, according to "several intelligence insiders" who were cited in an article published in February under the headline "Insiders: Obama Holdover 'Shadow Government' Plotting to Undermine Trump".The idea that government officials are working against the White House, and that Barack Obama is encouraging this, has gathered pace since then.LA attorney Robert Barnes told Breitbart News Daily on March 3:     "This is an effective de facto coup attempt by elements of the deep state."Last week, Breitbart's senior editor-at-large Joel B Pollak laid out conservative radio host Mark Levin's case that a "silent coup" was taking place.The article claimed the Obama administration ordered surveillance on Mr Trump prior to the election:     In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorisation to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media.Soon after Levin made his claims, Mr Trump himself stated as fact that Mr Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election campaign.The White House has also called for a congressional investigation into whether the Obama administration abused its investigative powers in 2016.However, the claims regarding surveillance by the Obama administration remain unverified and unsubstantiated. Is there anything in the idea of a deep state?Nicole Hemmer, an academic at the University of Virginia and the University of Sydney's US Studies Centre, says the use of the phrase "deep state" has been more rhetorical than descriptive:     "Are there ways people within the intelligence community and federal bureaucracy are trying to slow down the Trump administration? Sure. Is that some shadowy government that secretly runs the country? Not at all."She says the idea of there being a "shadow government" suggests a level of autonomy, secrecy and coordination that doesn't exist.But that's not to say a deep state like those found in Turkey and Egypt couldn't exist in America."The current threat to American democracy resides in the Oval Office, not a deep state," Ms Hemmer said."One could imagine a scenario where the executive grows so out of control that the intelligence community and bureaucracy more fully moves against him and takes the reins of power, but there would have to be a much deeper crisis in democracy for that to happen."And even then, Ms Hemmer argues "the longer history of American democratic institutions, coupled with the relative weakness of the US federal government, comes into play here, as does the fact that there is a significant portion of the intelligence community and bureaucracy that are fine with Trump".Meanwhile, it's not just Trump supporters who have talked about there being a deep state.A recent article in the London Review of Books referred to "the dangerous fantasy" among liberals that "the deep state might rescue us" from the Trump presidency.Ms Hemmer says these people should be careful what they wish for if they're hoping the deep state will remove Mr Trump from power or otherwise thwart his agenda."It would be a disturbing state of affairs if FBI influence (via Jim Comey's letter in the closing weeks of the campaign) helped swing the election toward Trump, and then members of the intelligence community helped bring down the Trump administration," she said.     "That's not democracy — it's something much more troubling."First posted 9 Mar 2017, 8:14am(7) Edward Snowden: NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threaten lives of hospital patientsEdward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked documents exposing US surveillance programs, said on Twitter NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threatened lives of hospital patients.In March, WikiLeaks released thousands of "Vault 7" documents that revealed the CIA knew about several flaws in Apple, Google and Samsung software but did not tell the companies about them because it wanted to use them for spying.Across the US Federal Government, about 90 per cent of all spending on cyber programs is dedicated to offensive efforts, including penetrating the computer systems of adversaries, listening to communications and developing the means to disable or degrade infrastructure, senior intelligence officials told Reuters in March.(8) Cyberattack Hackers use flaws NSA knew about, but used for spying expert warns against supporting criminal syndicates amid global hackingBy Katri Uibu, wiresUpdated yesterday at 4:14pmCompanies affected by global ransomware attacks should not pay the ransom so as not to feed into the growing business of organised cyber crime, a security expert warns.Key points:     Over 57,000 infections in 99 countries have been detected; Ransomware attacks happen every day in Australia, they just don't get reported, expert says;     UK doctors have turned away chemotherapy patients due to not being unable to access medical recordsAttackers have used encryption algorithms to lock files, which owners cannot access unless they pay a ransom.Over 57,000 infections in 99 countries have been detected, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan being top targets, security software maker Avast said.The attacks have led to hospitals and doctors in England turning away patients after they were unable to view their medical files.But director for Centre for Cyber Security Research at Deakin University, Professor Yang Xiang, has strictly warned against giving in to criminal syndicates in order to have data unlocked. [...]Professor Yang, who daily works on detecting possible ransomware, said cyber security had been a "number one problem" in Australia for years, and urged government agencies, companies and individuals to prepare for future attacks.     "Australia has a very similar situation because it heavily relies on internet," he said."We have seen a lot of ransomware attacks in companies and government organisations."It actually happens every day, it just didn't get reported."While he could not say which specific institutions had been targeted, he did reveal the mining industry was under attack.Ransomware encryptions are strong. Once the data has been locked, it is extremely difficult to regain access to it.Professor Yang calls for the Federal Government not to downplay the threat of cyber attacks and to treat this as a priority."We just got some news that Government is cutting funding for universities. I think it is important to keep supporting research, support cyber security industry and provide more funding to innovation and research in this area," he said.Companies leave themselves open to attacksOne of the more reported victims of the latest attack has been Britain's National Health Service.Doctors in the UK have been forced to turn away even chemotherapy patients due to being unable to access their medical records. External Link: Edward Snowden: "If NSA had privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, this may not have happened"But just days before the attack, a UK doctor warned about hospitals' software being targeted, saying "more hospitals will almost certainly be shut down by ransomware this year".Dr Krishna Chinthapalli, a neurology registrar at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, said in the British Media Journal health facilities left themselves open to hacks by using ancient operating systems.But some have cast blame on the United States' National Security Agency (NSA) and other countries' intelligence services for hoarding software vulnerabilities for offensive purposes, rather than quickly alerting technology companies to such flaws. Cyber security incidents increasingThe nation's top spy agencies warn that the number of cyber security threats facing Australia is growing by the day.Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked documents exposing US surveillance programs, said on Twitter NSA's "dangerous attack tools" now threatened lives of hospital patients.In March, WikiLeaks released thousands of "Vault 7" documents that revealed the CIA knew about several flaws in Apple, Google and Samsung software but did not tell the companies about them because it wanted to use them for spying.Across the US Federal Government, about 90 per cent of all spending on cyber programs is dedicated to offensive efforts, including penetrating the computer systems of adversaries, listening to communications and developing the means to disable or degrade infrastructure, senior intelligence officials told Reuters in March.     "These attacks underscore the fact that vulnerabilities will be exploited not just by our security agencies, but by hackers and criminals around the world," Patrick Toomey, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement.The NSA did not respond to a request for comment.ABC/Reuters-- Peter Myerswebsite: