Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
⇒Linked articles in bold purple
TOKYO — It’s time to take a “different approach” to dealing with North Korea, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in Tokyo on Thursday, because 20 years of diplomacy had “failed” to convince the regime in Pyongyang to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Tillerson’s comments will fuel fears in the region that military options might be on the table to deter North Korea — an approach that could prove devastating for Seoul, where more than 20 million people live within North Korean artillery range. –Washington Post
Comment: By far the most dangerous region in today’s world. Tillerson’s message is also aimed at China, since US diplomacy has focused in vain on getting China to use its leverage with North Korea.
◆ Rachel Maddow: People disappointed by Trump story expected too much (Washington Post)
The NY Post says parent NBC is none-too-happy with this whiff either.
Comment: Gee, wonder who hyped it for 20 minutes at the start of her own show (I watched so you didn’t have to). By then, she already knew the hype was false.
People have compared it to Geraldo Rivera opening Al Capone’s vault and finding nothing. The difference is that Geraldo didn’t already know the vault was empty.
◆ Kremlin spies orchestrated huge Yahoo! hack, according to US indictment (New York Times)
If true, the allegations offer an extraordinary case study of Russian cyber espionage, and particularly the symbiotic relationship between identity thieves and spammers and Russia’s elite intelligence services.
Cybersecurity experts and the F.B.I. have long suspected that Russian spies employed and protected criminal hackers to a striking degree, but evidence has been scarce. The indictment made public on Wednesday describes this collusion in detail for the first time.
◆ When the US spies on foreigners, it sometimes picks up Americans’ communications. It is supposed to “mask them” to cover up their identities. It appears the Obama White House asked for some of those masked names. Now, Congress wants to know who asked and whether they received the answers (CNN) The request is bipartisan.
The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee asked the three leaders of the intelligence community Wednesday about any time during the last seven months of the Obama administration whenever any of its agents and officials improperly named, or “unmasked,” and disseminated the identities of American citizens picked up in intelligence collection.
Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, wrote that they were concerned that members of the intelligence community have not been sufficiently honoring previously established “robust ‘minimization procedures'” to protect the identities of US citizens, including “masking” their names. The letter they sent refers to the disclosure to the public that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had several conversations with the Russian Ambassador. –CNN
Comment: If White House aides asked for unmasking, they could well be investigated criminally for the subsequent leaks.
Comment: A lot hinges on the success of the mass-market Model 3 if Tesla is to move beyond its high-end niche.