What’s interesting in the news today?
1. The FBI is rounding up ISIS sympathizers.
From BloombergView “The FBI has been rounding up more potential “lone wolf” terrorists, Congressional leaders and the Justice Department say, in response to the perception of a mounting threat of domestic attacks inspired by the Islamic State.
Since the thwarted attack on a “Draw Muhammad” conference in Garland, Texas, on May 3, the Justice Department has announced the arrests of 10 individuals it says were inspired by and supporting the Islamic State. The lawmakers say there have been more arrests that have not yet been announced.
They say the FBI has shifted its approach toward arrests rather than keeping suspects under surveillance, and is also targeting individuals thought to be planning attacks in the U.S., unlike the bureau’s past focus on volunteers preparing to join ISIS’s fight abroad.
“Lately, we have seen an uptick in the number of arrests of ISIL followers who were planning violent acts in our homeland,” said John Carlin, the assistant attorney general for national security. “ISIL, differing from some other foreign terrorist organizations, has demonstrated that they see value in mobilizing sympathizers anywhere in the world.”
The spate of arrests comes in response to what Congressional leaders and the Justice Department say is a mounting threat that radicalized Americans will attempt low-tech, lone wolf attacks in the near future. Lawmakers see the changes as necessary because the Islamic State uses social media so effectively to radicalize Americans and because the group is getting better at using encryption to shield its communications with new recruits.
The shift has downsides. An emphasis on arrests rather than surveillance limits intelligence gathering. Arresting suspected recruits before they’ve acted makes prosecuting them more difficult. It could also violate the First Amendment right to free expression, if terrorist sympathizers are treated as terrorist supporters.“
2. The Confederate flag has an unlikely ally, the former head of the N.C. NAACP.
From WYHH “Hours after “Black Lives Matter” was spray-painted on monument for “North Carolina’s Civil War Governor,” H.K. Edgerton stood with a Confederate flag, telling those passing by why he wanted it to continue to fly.”
“Edgerton, one of few African-American members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was outside the monument waving the Confederate flag soon after the graffiti was removed.
“I’m not going to blame it on a Yankee because I’ve seen some southern folk around here that are real questionable too that don’t know anything about who they are and their families and the honorable people in the southland of America, red, yellow, black, white and brown,” Edgerton said.
3. Words mean nothing anymore.
From TheNYTimes “The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the federal government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017. For the second time in three years, the law survived an encounter with the Supreme Court. But the court’s tone was different this time. The first decision, in 2012, was fractured and grudging, while Thursday’s ruling was more assertive.”
“In dissent on Thursday, Justice Antonin Scalia called the majority’s reasoning “quite absurd” and “interpretive jiggery-pokery.”
He announced his dissent from the bench, a sign of bitter disagreement. His summary was laced with notes of incredulity and sarcasm, sometimes drawing amused murmurs in the courtroom as he described the “interpretive somersaults” he said the majority had performed to reach the decision.
“We really should start calling this law Scotus-care,” Justice Scalia said, to laughter from the audience.”
4. It. Just. Keeps. Getting. Worse.
From TheDailyBeast “Infidelity. Sexual fetishes. Drug abuse. Crushing debt. They’re the most intimate secrets of U.S. government workers. And now they’re in the hands of foreign hackers.
It was already being described as the worst hack of the U.S. government in history. And it just got much worse.
A senior U.S. official has confirmed that foreign hackers compromised the intimate personal details of an untold number of government workers. Likely included in the hackers’ haul: information about workers’ sexual partners, drug and alcohol abuse, debts, gambling compulsions, marital troubles, and any criminal activity.
Those details, which are now presumed to be in the hands of Chinese spies, are found in the so-called “adjudication information” that U.S. investigators compile on government employees and contractors who are applying for security clearances. The exposure suggests that the massive computer breach at the Office of Personnel Management is more significant and potentially damaging to national security than officials have previously said.
Three former U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the adjudication information would effectively provide dossiers on current and former government employees, as well as contractors. It gives foreign intelligence agencies a roadmap for finding people with access to the government’s most highly classified secrets.”
5. Anyone shocked?
From TheWashingtonTimes “Homeland Security will begin releasing more illegal immigrant families from detention, Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Wednesday as he bowed to political pressure from activists and members of Congress who’d called the conditions inhumane for families.
Despite offering amenities for the illegal immigrants ranging from flat-screen televisions in every suite, classrooms and ball fields at their disposal and 24-hour access to snacks and sodas, Mr. Johnson said he’s concluded things are still too harsh in the three facilities designed to hold families.
He said illegal immigrant parents and children who claim they fear for their lives back home will now have the chance to post a “reasonable and realistic” bond that will earn them the right to be released into the U.S., with the hope that they eventually return for their deportation hearings.”
“It’s a major reversal for Mr. Johnson, who just a year ago pointed to detaining families as one of the key steps he was taking to push back against the surge of illegal immigrant children and families from Central America.
It also comes as new data shows those released from detention almost never show up for their court hearings or to be deported, meaning that any of those families later deemed deportable will likely be difficult to round up.”
90+% aren’t showing up for their hearings now, and they do nothing about it.