June 19, 2020
by Joseph Fitsanakis
The director of America’s largest spy agency claims in a signed affidavit that a forthcoming book by John Bolton, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, would critically compromise intelligence secrets if published. Bolton served in that capacity from April 2018 until September 2019. His memoir of his time as President Trump’s national security advisor, titled The Room Where It Happened, is scheduled for publication on Tuesday.
But the White House has sued Bolton, claiming that he did not follow the requirements of his pre-publication screening process by government officials. President Trump’s legal team also claims that, if published, the book would damage critical areas of United States national security.
On Wednesday, the White House’s stance on the book was affirmed by the director of the National Security Agency, General Paul M. Nakasone. In a signed affidavit filed in US District Court in Washington, Gen. Nakasone said he had been asked by the legal adviser of the National Security Council to review “a limited portion” of the draft manuscript of Bolton’s book. He added that he had identified “classified information” in that portion of the manuscript, some of which was classified at the Top Secret/Sensitive and Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) level.
According to Gen. Nakasone’s affidavit, “compromise of this information could result in the permanent loss of a valuable SIGINT source and cause irreparable damage to the US SIGINT system”. SIGINT refers to the gathering of intelligence by intercepting communications signals in the form of information exchanged orally between people or mediated via electronic means.
Gen. Nakasone goes on to state that the unauthorized disclosure of the information contained in Bolton’s book could “reasonably […] be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage” to US national security. This includes causing “considerable difficulties in US and allied relations with specific nations”. The NSA director does not detail the precise damage that Bolton’s revelations could cause to US national security, stating only that the information would compromise an intelligence-collection “capability” that “significant manpower and monetary investments have been and continue to be made to enable and maintain”.
Alongside Gen. Nakasone’s affidavit, the Department of Justice submitted an emergency filing on Wednesday, seeking to block the publication of Bolton’s book on national security grounds. Another affidavit was filed on Wednesday by John Ratcliffe, President Trump’s newly appointed Director of National Intelligence.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 19 June 2020 | Permalink
Father of the Bride cast reunites for a brand new wedding
Original cast members Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Kieran Culkin, and Martin Short were joined by several surprise guests in the reunion special. Oh, Father of the Bride cast, you’re lovely. Never, ever change. The Banks family is back together for another wedding. On Friday, the cast of 1991’s Father of the Bride and 1995’s Father of…
Original cast members Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Kieran Culkin, and Martin Short were joined by several surprise guests in the reunion special.
Oh, Father of the Bride cast, you’re lovely. Never, ever change.
The Banks family is back together for another wedding. On Friday, the cast of 1991’s Father of the Bride and 1995’s Father of the Bride: Part Two came back together for a very special event, the wedding of Kieran Culkin’s character, Matty.
Writer-director Nancy Meyers and Netflix had been teasing the reunion, billed as Father of the Bride: Part 3 (Ish), all week. But when it kicked off Friday, fans didn’t know what to expect. Reese Witherspoon started the proceedings, inviting viewers to donate to World Central Kitchen, as the special was intended to be a fundraiser for the charity dedicated to fighting hunger.
But soon, we were back with the Banks family, facing the same pandemic challenges as the rest of us and Zooming to stay together through it all. George (Steve Martin) was holed up in the guest room because his obsessive caution was driving wife Nina (Diane Keaton) nuts.
All of our old favorites popped by, including wedding planner extraordinaire Franck Eggelhoffer (Martin Short). Some new faces joined in the fun as well, including Alexandra Shipp as Matty’s bride Rachel and Robert De Niro as her father (we knew De Niro loved The Intern as much as we did).
George is still classic George, just in pandemic mode, hunting for Clorox wipes and figuring out the dimensions of a table required to fit the entire family around with proper social distancing. And Nina is his ever-exasperated, but loving wife. Annie (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is now a mom herself.
And their kids are all grown up — particularly, the babies born at the end of Father of the Bride, Part Two. The grown-up versions of George’s daughter Megan and his grandson George were played to perfection by Florence Pugh and Ben Platt respectively.
There’s plenty of callouts to classic moments from the original films, including cuts to the footage, ranging from bailing George out of jail to the time he almost sold the house.
But best of all, it recaptures the emotional heart of these movies that have made them beloved for over 20 years. Tapping into the emotional challenges of our current moment, it offers George a chance for another great wedding monologue designed to make you want to virtually hold your loved ones close.
And if that wasn’t enough, it even made time for a musical number from Platt, closing things out with a rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight,” another call back to the original film.
Watch the full special above to toast the Banks being back in our lives.
Lebanese prime minister-designate resigns amid impasse
Moustapha Adib has been in the position for nearly a month. Lebanon’s prime minister-designate resigned on Saturday amid a political impasse over government formation, nearly a month after he was appointed to the job.The announced by Moustapha Adib deals a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to break a dangerous stalemate in the crisis-hit…
Moustapha Adib has been in the position for nearly a month.
Lebanon’s prime minister-designate resigned on Saturday amid a political impasse over government formation, nearly a month after he was appointed to the job.The announced by Moustapha Adib deals a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to break a dangerous stalemate in the crisis-hit country.The French leader has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a Cabinet made up of independent specialists that can work on enacting urgent reforms to extract Lebanon from a devastating economic and financial crisis worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port.
But efforts by the French-supported Adib have hit multiple snags, after the Hezbollah and Amal, insisted on retaining hold of the key Finance Ministry. Their insistence emerged after the US administration slapped sanctions on two senior politicians close to Hezbollah, including the ex-finance minister.The two groups also insisted on naming the ministers in the new Cabinet and objected to the manner in which Adib was forming the government, without consulting with them.Adib announced his decision to step down following a meeting with President Michel Aoun on Saturday.Lebanon, a former French protectorate, is mired in the country’s worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history. It defaulted on paying back its debt for the first time ever in March, and the local currency has collapsed, leading to hyperinflation and soaring poverty and unemployment.The crisis has been worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut’s port caused by the detonation of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrates. It killed nearly 200 people, injured thousands and caused losses worth billions of dollars.The country is in desperate need of financial assistance but France and other international powers have refused to provide aid before serious reforms are made. The crisis is largely blamed on decades of systematic corruption and mismanagement by Lebanon’s ruling class.The French leader has described his initiative, which includes a road map and a timetable for reforms, as “the last chance for this system.”
Sabah election: Polls open in key test for Malaysia’s Muhyiddin
A defeat for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s allies in Sabah state could increase pressure for snap national polls.Polls have opened in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state in a vote seen as a referendum for embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s seven-month-old unelected government. The outcome of Saturday’s state election will not directly alter the balance of power…
A defeat for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s allies in Sabah state could increase pressure for snap national polls.Polls have opened in Malaysia’s eastern Sabah state in a vote seen as a referendum for embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s seven-month-old unelected government.
The outcome of Saturday’s state election will not directly alter the balance of power at a national level, where Muhyiddin’s coalition commands a razor-thin majority, but serves as a key test of the prime minister’s popularity.
A defeat for Muhyiddin’s allies could erode support among his coalition partners and increase pressure for snap national polls, according to Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi.
“There’s a lot at stake in these elections,” Looi said, reporting from Sabah.
“This is the first test for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin since he took power in a political coup. There are calls even within his coalition for snap elections to secure a stronger mandate. Now, a general election is not due until 2023 but the results of this vote could have an impact on when the next parliamentary election will be called.”
Adding to the stakes, Looi noted, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim declared on Wednesday that he has secured majority support in the national parliament to remove Muhyiddin and form a new government.
“Anwar’s challenge has underlined just how fragile the support for the prime minister is, even within his own coalition,” said Looi.
Malaysia has been gripped by turmoil since February, when a reformist government headed by Mahathir Mohamad, and including Anwar, collapsed amid bitter infighting.
Muhyiddin defected from the reformist government and seized power to form a new Malay-centric administration. His alliance has since taken control of many states with many legislators defecting to his camp.
The opposition now controls only Sabah and two of the country’s richest states, Selangor and Penang.
Saturday’s election in Sabah was called after a Muhyiddin ally launched a bid to take over the opposition-controlled local government. But rather than cede power, the chief minister dissolved the state assembly.
Loose coalitions are backing the government and the opposition, but analysts say the vote is too close to call.
Results are expected late on Saturday.
“A win will strengthen Muhyiddin’s position but a loss will embolden Anwar’s attempt to reclaim power,” Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, told The Associated Press news agency.
Shafie Apdal (C), president of the Sabah Heritage Party, cast his ballot at a polling station in Semporna [AFP]Anwar, who claims to have won majority support, including from legislators in Muhyiddin’s camp, has not revealed details as he is waiting to meet Malaysia’s king, who is in hospital for treatment. The king has the power to appoint a new prime minister or dissolve parliament for early general elections.
Muhyiddin has said Anwar’s declaration is a mere allegation until he provides evidence.
The prime minister has campaigned heavily in Sabah, pledging development, and billboards of his smiling face, dubbed “Abah” or father, are prominent in many constituencies.
In contrast, former Sabah leader Shafie Apdal urged the state’s multiple Indigenous groups to reject Muhyiddin’s Muslim government and unite behind him.
Sabah and neighbouring Sarawak on Borneo island are seen as crucial for political leverage as they hold about a quarter of parliamentary seats. The two states are rich in oil and timber but among the poorest in Malaysia. They have a greater level of autonomy in administration, immigration and judiciary.
The Sabah election is heavily contested with 447 candidates vying for 73 state seats. More than a million voters, many in rural areas, are eligible to cast their ballots.
With coronavirus cases rising in the state in recent weeks, election officials have tightened rules with health screening and other strict precautions.