The former FBI director’s testimony Thursday could help determine Donald Trump’s political future—and his legal fate.
Just over four months after reality TV maven Donald Trump assumed the presidency, he has already succeeded in turning C-SPAN into must-see television. On Thursday, America is due for what is easily the most-hyped congressional hearing yet—that’s when former FBI director James Comey will testify about the man who fired him. Though we don’t know what he’ll say, many observers are waiting for new details about the FBI investigation into alleged collusion between Russian officials and members of the Trump administration, as well as Trump’s reported efforts to stymie that investigation.
Whether the scheduled appearance would go down at all was in doubt until Monday afternoon, when the White House put out a brief statement confirming Trump does not plan to invoke executive privilege to try and block Comey’s testimony. But now that we know the testimony will happen, barring an act of God, the question is what we might learn that hasn’t already been gleaned by investigative reporters at newspapers like the New York Times and Washington Post.
ON JUNE 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at the height of the Six-Day War when it came under direct Israeli aerial and naval assault.
Reverberations from the torpedo blast sent crewman Ernie Gallo flying across the radio research room where he was stationed. Gallo, a communications technician aboard the Liberty, found himself and his fellow shipmates in the midst of an attack that would leave 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.
This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assault on the USS Liberty, and though it was among the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy. The question of if and when Israeli forces became aware they were killing Americans has proved a point of particular contention in the on-again, off-again public debate that has simmered over the last half a century. The Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings following the incident were held in closed sessions, and the survivors who had been on board received gag orders forbidding them to ever talk about what they endured that day.
Now, half a century later, The Intercept is publishing two classified documents provided in the cache of files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden related to the attack and its aftermath. They reveal previously unknown involvement by Government Communications Headquarters, the U.K. signals intelligence agency; internal NSA communications that seem to bolster a signals intelligence analyst’s account of the incident, which framed it as an accident; as well as a Hebrew transliteration system unique to the NSA that was in use at least as recently as 2006.
A military intelligence contractor has been arrested and charged with leaking a top-secret NSA report to the media that reveals Russian military intelligence conducted a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before last November’s presidential election. The charges were announced after The Intercept published part of the NSA report on Monday. It is the first criminal leak case under President Trump. We speak with security technologists Bruce Schneier and Jake Williams, who is a former member of the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations hacking team.
Deep in the Gulf waters between Qatar and Iran lies the world’s largest gas field, a 9,700-sq-km expanse that holds at least 43 trillion cubic metres of gas reserves.
Qatar’s southern portion is known as North Field, while Iran’s slice to the north is called South Pars. The two countries share exploration rights in the area, and it is one of many ties that bind them.
But Doha’s relationship with Tehran has been put to a new test on Monday, after Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia led four other countries in cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member of undermining security in the region by siding with Iran, among other actions.
Theresa May has declared she is prepared to rip up human rights laws to impose new restrictions on terror suspects, as she sought to gain control over the security agenda just 36 hours before the polls open.
The prime minister said she was looking at how to make it easier to deport foreign terror suspects and how to increase controls on extremists where it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them.
The last-ditch intervention comes after days of pressure on May over the policing cuts and questions over intelligence failures, following terror attacks on London Bridge, Manchester and Westminster.
She said: “But I can tell you a few of the things I mean by that: I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.
“And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.
“And if human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.”