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The Iran Nuclear Deal’s Unraveling Raises Fears of Cyberattacks

When the US last tightened its sanctions against Iran in 2012, then-president Barack Obama boasted that they were "virtually grinding the Iranian economy to a halt." Iran fired back with one of the broadest series of cyberattacks ever to target the US, bombarding practically every major American bank with months of intermittent distributed denial of service attacks that pummeled their websites with junk traffic, knocking them offline. Three years later, the Obama administration lifted many of those sanctions in exchange for Iran's promise to halt its nuclear development; Tehran has…

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The White House Loses Its Cybersecurity Brain Trust

Today, the White House confirmed that cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce will head back to the National Security Agency, where he previously ran the nation’s top hacking team. His departure comes just a week after Tom Bossert, Trump’s cybersecurity czar and Joyce’s boss, was forced out—and leaves the administration without two trusted voices on one of the most important challenges the US faces going forward. While Bossert’s exit appears to have been engineered by recently installed national security advisor John Bolton, Reuters reports that Joyce will leave of his own accord.…

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5 Key Takeaways From the Democratic Rebuttal Memo

Three weeks ago, House Republicans publicly released a much-hyped memo written by representative Devin Nunes of California. It alleged, through a series of allusions, tangential facts, and seeming misdirections, that law enforcement officials had abused their power in obtaining a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Now, in a 10-page memo of their own, House Democrats are attempting to set the record straight. The Democratic memo, though redacted in part, fills out the partial picture Nunes had painted. And while it's worth reading in full—especially for any…

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Worldwide Threats Briefing: 5 Takeaways, From Russia to China

On Tuesday, the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI, and ODNI—America's intelligence community brain trust—gathered before members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to discuss various worldwide threats. And while most of the topics were familiar, the hearing also included a few revelatory moments, insights into fears that were either detailed or confirmed. The following doesn't comprise every single morsel shared by NSA chief Mike Rogers, CIA head Mike Pompeo, FBI director Christopher Wray, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday. But it does take a closer…

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Devin Nunes: A Running Timeline of His Odd Surveillance Claims and White House Ties

If you’d heard of representative Devin Nunes before this week, you’re either from his California district or you pay closer than average attention to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which he leads. In that capacity, Nunes also heads up the House investigation into Russian’s interference in last year’s presidential election, as well as any ties between Russia and Trump or his colleagues. But last week, Nunes grabbed far more headlines than usual. Wednesday, he held an extraordinary, impromptu news conference. President Trump and his associates, Nunes declared, had…

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Sorry, But Susan Rice Is Not Your Smoking Gun

This week, multiple news outlets reported that Susan Rice, former national security adviser to Barack Obama, had made several requests to unmask the names of Trump transition team members from intelligence reports, in order to reveal their redacted names. But while several politicians and pundits have called conspiracy, the reality is likely much more mundane. There’s no fire here. There’s barely any smoke. The uproar over the Rice reports—senator Rand Paul (R-KY) went so far as to call it a smoking gun—has escalated to the point that at least one…

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American Spies Now Have Their Very Own Smartphone App

Chris Rasmussen is an evangelist, and his message is crowdsourcing. As a career analyst inside the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Rasmussen’s sermons have been limited to a closed top-secret community. But this week, he’s going public with his most radical idea to date, in the form of a smartphone app for senior US intelligence officers. Called Tearline, the app is a wiki-style collaborative platform for reading and writing unclassified intelligence reports, complete with charts, comments, and updates. There are versions for mobile and desktop, Apple and Android alike. Anyone can download…

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