News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
This is an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
One hundred and seventy-five former US officials spanning service across intelligence agencies, the State Department, the National Security Council and the Department of Defense added their names on Monday to a list of intelligence officials denouncing President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance.
“All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so,” the letter states.
“Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former CIA Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them,” the group statement added. “What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.”CNN
Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are questioning whether national security adviser John Bolton’s ties to Russia were properly vetted before he joined the White House this year.
In a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Democrats cite recent reports indicating that Bolton worked with a Russian woman who was charged last month for failing to register as an agent of a foreign power in the U.S.
In their telling, Bolton “worked directly with a Russian citizen who has now been charged by federal prosecutors with infiltrating [the NRA] and spying against the United States for years.”Politico
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says that he would be honored if President Trump revoked his security clearance.
During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Hayden said he “would consider it an honor” if the president also took away his security clearance “so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.”The Hill
Hayden’s remark came days after the president’s decision to pull former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance. The move was widely regarded as an attempt to retaliate against a vocal critic of the administration and was met with considerable backlash from former top intelligence officials. Hayden has also been a harsh critic of Trump.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Monday called a special session on Aug. 30 for the Virginia General Assembly to redraw House of Delegates districts that a court said were gerrymandered.
“It is in the public interest for the General Assembly to finalize constitutional maps as soon as possible — Virginians deserve that clarity,” Northam said in a statement. “I am calling a special session so we can focus our collective attention on doing what’s right: working together to draw lines that represent Virginians fairly.”The Hill
The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ruled 2-1 in June that 11 House of Delegates districts were gerrymandered along racial lines. The court ordered lawmakers to redraw the lines by Oct. 30.
President Trump canceled his desired military parade before Pentagon officials briefed him on cost estimates for the event, a Defense Department spokesman said Monday.
“The president was not briefed by any member of the Department of Defense on any cost associated with the parade,” Col. Rob Manning told reporters at the Pentagon.
The statement seems to contradict Trump’s own tweet from Friday morning, in which he claimed he axed the event after receiving a high cost estimate. The parade’s $92 million price tag leaked to the media on Thursday.The Hill
Russian President Vladimir Putin was a guest at the Austrian foreign minister’s wedding on Saturday, in a move that opposition politicians say undermines the European Union’s position on Moscow.
Putin dropped in on Karin Kneissl’s wedding in a remote area of southern Austria, on his way to a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in neighboring Germany later that day.
…the invitation came under fire from some Austrian opposition politicians, who said it undermined the EU’s foreign policy on Russia. The EU rolled out a raft of sanctions against Russia in 2014, in response to its occupation, and then annexation, of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.CNN
Added to this, was the expulsion of Russian diplomats from many EU countries earlier this year. That move was a response to British allegations of Kremlin involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury in March.
Austria, which is led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) in a coalition with the far-right Freedom Party (FPO), was one of the few EU countries not to follow suit and expel Russian diplomats. Kurz was also photographed at Saturday’s wedding. The FPO has a cooperation agreement with Putin’s United Russia party, according to Reuters.