Tag Archives: Jay Carney

WH, State Dept Duck Questions on Hunter Biden’s Ukraine Gig

BY: Washington Free Beacon Staff

May 13, 2014 4:36 pm

Both the White House and State Department bluntly replied Hunter Biden was a “private citizen” when asked about his new role with Ukraine’s largest gas producer and whether that could pose a conflict given the tense situation between the U.S. and Russia.

Biden is the younger son of Vice President Joe Biden.

“Does this building diplomatically have any concerns about potential perceptions of conflict or/cronyism – which is what you’ve often accused the Russians of doing?” Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked.

“No, he’s a private citizen,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki replied shortly.

White House press secretary Jay Carney referred ABC’s Jon Karl to the vice president’s office and said Hunter Biden’s work did not reflect an endorsement by the administration in any way.

White House exchange:

JON KARL: On another subject, Hunter Biden has now taken a position with the largest oil and gas company — holding company in Ukraine. Is there any concern about at least the appearance of a conflict there – (inaudible) — the vice president’s son –

JAY CARNEY: I would refer you to the vice president’s office. I saw those reports. You know, Hunter Biden and other members of the Biden family are obviously private citizens, and where they work does not reflect an endorsement by the administration or by the vice president or president. But I would refer you to the vice president’s office.

State Department exchange:

MATT LEE: And it was — the question was referred to the vice president’s office. But I’m wondering if the State Department has any concerns or any thoughts about the vice president’s son joining the board of directors of this Ukrainian gas company. Does — in particular, I understand when — the White House would refer this to the vice president’s office, but does this building diplomatically have any concerns about potential perceptions of conflict or/cronyism – which is what you’ve often accused the Russians of doing?

JEN PSAKI: No, he’s a private citizen.

LEE: I — OK. But then so the — do you consider that the Russian oligarchs who control or the Ukrainian oligarchs who control these, they’re all private citizens as well, correct?

PSAKI: We certainly wouldn’t put them in the same category on that.

LEE: No, I’m not suggesting that — I’m not — and I’m not suggesting that it should be in the same category, but I’m wondering if if there are concerns in this building about the perception of — about how the Russians and / or the Ukrainians would perceive the involvement of a son of the vice president of the United States in this, especially given the situation.

PSAKI: No, there are not.

via Washington Free Beacon.

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US flying manned intelligence missions over Nigeria in missing girls search, official says

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The U.S. military is flying manned missions over Nigeria in hopes of locating the hundreds of schoolgirls who were kidnapped by an Islamist extremist group last month, a senior official tells Fox News.

The official said the manned missions are intelligence and surveillance missions. At a press briefing Monday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the U.S. had experts in a variety of areas, including reconnaissance and surveillance, working on the case of the missing girls. However he said he did not have a “catalog” of the specific resources the experts were using.

“They are actively involved in working with the Nigerian government to provide the advice and the expertise that they can provide to assist in that effort,” Carney said.

The information comes as a new video, believed to be from Boko Haram, the group behind the kidnappings, surfaced Monday showing more than 100 of the kidnapped Christian schoolgirls praying to Allah.

The video also features the Islamic terror group’s leader – who was reportedly negotiating with the government – saying he will hold the girls until imprisoned militants are freed.

When asked about the option of trading the girls for imprisoned militants, U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said Monday, that is up to Nigeria.

“As you know, Nigeria is in the lead. We are simply supporting their efforts. As you know also the United States’ policy is to deny kidnappers the benefits of their criminal acts including ransoms or concessions,” Psaki said at a press briefing.

The video is the first sighting of the abducted girls since more than 300 were taken April 14 from their school in the northern town of Chibok by Islamist militants. Although more than 50 girls escaped their captors and are now safe, at least 276 remain missing.

The search so far has centered on the Sambisa forest, with Nigerian troops being aided by advisers from the U.S., Britain and France.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren clarified the U.S. presence in Nigeria for reporters Monday, saying there are more than 50 U.S. military personnel and advisors based at the Nigerian Embassy to help “advise and assist” in the search for the missing girls. The teams have expertise in “communications, logistics, civil affairs, and intelligence,” Warren said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Obama refused to accept NSA chief’s resignation after Snowden leaks — RT USA

The director of the National Security Agency attempted to resign shortly after Edward Snowden revealed himself as the source of leaked NSA documents in June, the Wall Street Journal now reports, but the White House refused to let him leave.

It was previously announced in mid-October that Gen. Keith Alexander would walk away from his roles atop both the NSA and US Cyber Command next March or April, but an article penned by the Journal’s Siobhan Gorman and published on Sunday suggests that the actually severity of a scandal sparked by the unauthorized disclosures attributed to Mr. Snowden almost ended the four-star general’s career early.

Citing an unnamed senior US official, Gorman wrote that the NSA chief offered to resign “shortly after” the 30-year-old former intelligence contractor outted himself on June 9 as the man behind the leaked documents that started to surface just days earlier and continue to be released to the media, as evident by new reports published as recently as last week.

The source’s claim comes in sharp contrast to the NSA’s official explanation offered last month when it was reported by Reuters that Gen. Alexander would be resigning early next year.

This has nothing to do with media leaks, the decision for his retirement was made prior; an agreement was made with the (Secretary of Defense) and the Chairman for one more year – to March 2014,” NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines told Reuters at the time.

General Alexander has served an extraordinary tenure and capably led these agencies through critical periods of growth and transition,” White House spokeswoman Laura Magnuson added to The Hill in late October. “The president looks forward to continuing to work with General Alexander until his term is complete and thanks him, and the men and women of the NSA, for their patriotism and dedication as they work every day to keep us safe.”

According to the officials who spoke with the Journal, however, the Snowden revelations indeed shook the intelligence community severely and almost caused one of the most secretive agencies in the world to undergo a spontaneous leadership change amid one of its biggest blunders yet.

It was cataclysmic,” Richard Ledgett of the NSA’s special Snowden response team said of the disclosures to the Journal. “This is the hardest problem we’ve had to face in 62 years of existence.”

Asked by reporters at the Huffington Post to comment on the Journal’s article over the weekend, White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden directed journalists to remarks made by press secretary Jay Carney after Alexander’s plans to resign were reported one month earlier.

The president has full confidence in General Alexander and the leadership at the NSA and in the rank-and-file at the NSA who do extraordinary work on behalf of every American citizen and on behalf of our allies in keeping them safe,” Carney said on Oct. 28

Outside of the White House, however, other lawmakers haven’t had such nice words. Speaking to Germany’s Der Spiegel earlier this month, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said, “The head of the NSA, the president of the United States, the Congressional Intelligence Committees [and] all of these contractors we pay that were responsible for performing the background checks” should be reprimanded for the security lapse that allowed for Snowden to access and leak classified materials.

When asked how they should be punished, McCain told the magazine, “they should resign or be fired.”

Meanwhile, the White House has been working at what to do early next year when Alexander does exit his helm and the government is short-staffed by two: Alexander’s resignation will leave vacancies at the top of both the NSA and CYBERCOM, and administration officials are apparently floating the possibility of splitting those jobs up among two individuals. .

Obama refused to accept NSA chief’s resignation after Snowden leaks — RT USA.

Obama’s Twitter, Facebook hacked by Syrian Electronic Army — RT News

US President Barack Obama’s Twitter and Facebook accounts were hacked and used to promote a video, which depicts the atrocities committed in Syria by the rebels, the Syrian Electronic Army hacker group said.

“All the links that Barack Obama’s account tweeted and posted on Facebook were redirected to a video showing the truth about Syria,” a SEA spokesperson wrote in an email to Mashable website.

The altered links on the US president’s accounts led to a graphically violent 24-minute YouTube video, entitled ‘Syria facing terrorism’.

“Obama doesn’t have any ethical issues with spying on the world, so we took it upon ourselves to return the favor,” the SEA wrote on Twitter.

According to Mashable, the Syrian hackers didn’t actually compromise Obama’s social media accounts, but changed the links in the posts by tampering with the URL shortener service for BarackObama.com.

The group appears to have hacked the electronic address one of the administrators of the website, which Obama used in his presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, to gain access to its control panel.

The links on Obama’s Twitter and Facebook pages have been currently fixed.

White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, refused to comment on the issue during his media-conference on Monday.

The initial attack on BarackObama.com took place on Sunday as it began redirecting the users to the SEA’s page.

The Syrian Electronic Army is a hacking group, supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, which became famous in recent month after defacing the websites and Twitter accounts of many prominent media outlets, like AP, AFP, BBC, New York Times and others.

Obama’s Twitter, Facebook hacked by Syrian Electronic Army — RT News.