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Publication of Your Privacy in 2017

Publication of Your Privacy in 2017

On October 27, 2016, the ...

Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

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Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian foreign minister and ambassador

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said.

The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”

Washington reacts to Trump’s disclosure of classified information

The White House and lawmakers reacted May 15 to Washington Post revelations that President Trump disclosed classified information during a meeting with Russian officials.

[Lawmakers express shock and concern about Trump disclosure of classified information]

The revelation comes as the president faces rising legal and political pressure on multiple Russia-related fronts. Last week, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey in the midst of a bureau investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Trump’s subsequent admission that his decision was driven by “this Russia thing” was seen by critics as attempted obstruction of justice.

One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft.

For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

White House officials involved in the meeting said Trump discussed only shared concerns about terrorism.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

McMaster reiterated his statement in a subsequent appearance at the White House on Monday and described the Washington Post story as “false,” but did not take any questions.

McMaster: Trump 'did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known'

In their statements, White House officials emphasized that Trump had not discussed specific intelligence sources and methods, rather than addressing whether he had disclosed information drawn from sensitive sources.

The CIA declined to comment, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment.

But officials expressed concern about Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.

[On Russia, Trump and his top national security aides seem to be at odds]

“It is all kind of shocking,” said a former senior U.S. official who is close to current administration officials. “Trump seems to be very reckless and doesn’t grasp the gravity of the things he’s dealing with, especially when it comes to intelligence and national security. And it’s all clouded because of this problem he has with Russia.”

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

What Trump’s classified revelations to Russian officials mean for allies

Washington Post national security reporter Greg Miller explains what President Trump’s potential disclosures to Russian officials means going forward. (The Washington Post)

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.

[Political chaos in Washington is a return on investment in Moscow]

Russia and the United States both regard the Islamic State as an enemy and share limited information about terrorist threats. But the two nations have competing agendas in Syria, where Moscow has deployed military assets and personnel to support President Bashar al-Assad.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.

“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said.

Trump also described measures the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.

The officials would not discuss details of those measures, but the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed that it is considering banning laptops and other large electronic devices from carry-on bags on flights between Europe and the United States. The United States and Britain imposed a similar ban in March affecting travelers passing through airports in 10 Muslim-majority countries.

Trump cast the countermeasures in wistful terms. “Can you believe the world we live in today?” he said, according to one official. “Isn’t it crazy?”

Lavrov and Kislyak were also accompanied by aides.

A Russian photographer took photos of part of the session that were released by the Russian state-owned Tass news agency. No U.S. news organization was allowed to attend any part of the meeting.

Team Trump’s ties to Russian interests View Graphic

Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout. Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.

One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

White House officials defended Trump. “This story is false,” said Dina Powell, deputy national security adviser for strategy. “The president only discussed the common threats that both countries faced.”

But officials could not explain why staff members nevertheless felt it necessary to alert the CIA and the NSA.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said he would rather comment on the revelations in the Post story after “I know a little bit more about it,” but added: “Obviously, they are in a downward spiral right now and have got to figure out a way to come to grips with all that’s happening. And the shame of it is, there’s a really good national security team in place.”

Corker also said, “The chaos that is being created by the lack of discipline is creating an environment that I think makes — it creates a worrisome environment.”

Trump has repeatedly gone off-script in his dealings with high-ranking foreign officials, most notably in his contentious introductory conversation with the Australian prime minister earlier this year. He has also faced criticism for seemingly lax attention to security at his Florida retreat, Mar-a-Lago, where he appeared to field preliminary reports of a North Korea missile launch in full view of casual diners.

U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points — and often ignores those.

“He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,” the second former official said. “Does he understand what’s classified and what’s not? That’s what worries me.”

Lavrov’s reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.

Kislyak has figured prominently in damaging stories about the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign just 24 days into the job over his contacts with Kislyak and his misleading statements about them. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters related to the FBI’s Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had met and spoke with Kislyak, despite denying any contact with Russian officials during his confirmation hearing.

“I’m sure Kislyak was able to fire off a good cable back to the Kremlin with all the details” he gleaned from Trump, said the former U.S. official who handled intelligence on Russia.

The White House readout of the meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak made no mention of the discussion of a terrorist threat.

“Trump emphasized the need to work together to end the conflict in Syria,” the summary said. The president also “raised Ukraine” and “emphasized his desire to build a better relationship between the United States and Russia.”

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Climate Change Is Now

The damage from climate change isn’t just coming in the future. It’s part of the present, as this weekend’s issue of The New York Times Magazine points out.

“Last year, melting permafrost in Siberia released a strain of anthrax, which had been sealed in a frozen reindeer carcass, sickening 100 people and killing one child,” Jon Mooallem writes. “Parts of Washington now experience flooding 30 days a year, a figure that has roughly quadrupled since 1960. In Wilmington, N.C., the number is 90 days.”

Yet in the face of this urgent challenge — one that affects all of humanity, rich and poor, liberal and conservative, America and the rest of the world — President Trump has chosen to accelerate climate change. He and his aides are encouraging pollution.

What can you do about it?

You can get involved politically, and you should. Participate in efforts to persuade the administration and Congress to take a different tack. Strive to elect people who take climate change seriously. But such work has a long lead time and an uncertain outcome.

In the meantime, you can do something else, as well: Look for ways to influence companies, communities, cities and states, all of which can have a big effect on the climate. In these realms, there is reason for optimism — and room to do so much more.

This week, Walmart announced that it planned to remove one billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain by 2030. “That’s more than the annual emissions of Germany,” writes Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, which is working with the company. “It’s the equivalent of taking 211 million cars off the road every year.”

Cities — including New York, Mexico City, Shenzen and others — have also taken big steps. Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope, the former head of the Sierra Club, have a new book out, with many more details on what can be done. (Tom Friedman talked about their book in his column this week.)

These actions are not a full replacement for action by national governments, as Nick Stockton of Wired notes. Trump’s pro-pollution policy will do great damage. But climate change is too big a problem for defeatism. Even now, there are many ways for citizens to act.

The full Opinion report from The Times follows, including Holly Fernandez Lynch and Steven Joffe on the story of Henrietta Lacks.

Also, on climate and Trump: Keep an eye out for a Sunday Review package going online later this morning, including Bill McKibben on the time w

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Edison International Announces 30 High School Seniors Awarded $1.2 Million in Scholarships

ROSEMEAD, Calif., April 13, 2017 — Thirty high school seniors have learned their passion for science, technology, engineering or math — known as STEM — has paid off with each receiving a $40,000 scholarship through Edison International’s $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program.  

This year’s scholars are: Jose A La Torre, Newport Harbor H.S., Newport Beach; Collin Adelseck, Arnold O. Beckman H.S., Irvine; Chidinma “Promise” Agbo, Norwalk H.S.; Armani Aguiar, Garfield H.S., Los Angeles; Ana Alba, Da Vinci Science School, Hawthorne; Arlene Aleman, Paramount H.S.; Mike Bao, Troy H.S., Fullerton; Lisa Bi, Hillcrest H.S., Riverside; Juan Carrillo, Channel Islands H.S., Oxnard; Chun Feng Chen, Arroyo H.S., El Monte; Jesus Contreras Magana, Santa Paula H.S.; Evan Corriere,Marina H.S., Huntington Beach; Dylan Dickerson, Elsinore H.S., Wildomar; Ashley Eckert, Desert Hot Springs H.S.; Mustafa Elmahdi, Quartz Hill H.S.; Keslee Green, Hanford H.S.; Yiwen Jiang, Eleanor Roosevelt H.S., Eastvale; Paiam Moghaddam, Woodbridge H.S., Irvine; Alfred Molina, St. John Bosco H.S., Bellflower; Michael Morrissey Hanson, Ventura H.S.; Alex Nguyen, Bolsa Grande H.S., Garden Grove;Christine Nguyen, El Toro H.S., Lake Forest; Yuanzhi Qin, Ayala H.S., Chino Hills; Ashley Quintana, Rancho Cucamonga H.S.; William Ramos, Don Bosco Technical Institute, Rosemead; Maria Rodelo-Sandoval, Granite Hills H.S., Porterville; Mireille Vargas, Santa Paula H.S.; Gissele Vazquez, Oxnard H.S.; Katherine Woo, Tesoro H.S., Rancho Santa Margarita; and Esol Yoon, Whitney H.S., Cerritos.

“Edison International congratulates this year’s outstanding scholars,” said Pedro Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International. “Through their pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math, we believe these students will make important contributions to our communities and society. We are proud to support them.”

The $40,000 scholarships are paid over four years to scholar recipients who plan to pursue studies in STEM fields at an accredited four-year college or university. Eligible students must live in or attend a public or private high school in Southern California Edison’s service territory or attend an eligible high school surrounding SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

Edison International’s support of charitable causes such as the Edison Scholars Program is funded entirely by Edison International shareholders. SCE customers’ utility bill payments do not fund company donations. In addition, dependents of Edison International and SCE employees are not eligible for the Edison Scholars Program. For more information on this year’s Edison Scholars, visit on.edison.com/2017EdisonScholars

About Edison International
Edison International (NYSE:EIX), through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power, as well as a provider of energy services and technologies, including renewable energy. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.

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