Part 1: Invaluable Resources Every Political Researcher, Historian & Activist Should Have

In part 1 of 2 of this particular series I am going to disclose the locations of nearly every library of declassified documents you can find online dating back to World War II, specifically implicating the United States Government. Perhaps most importantly, all of the documents contained within them were won via Freedom of Information Act requests and/or lawsuits. In part 2 of this series, I will assemble all of the online links you need to begin requesting new information from the Government for yourself, for free, with just the click of a button and the filling out of an application. But without any further adieu……

For those of you whom are not aware, over the course of the last two decades or so many legal experts, researchers and activists have been lobbying very hard to make government records more accessible to the general public. However, even in victory, rarely if ever do these successes ever get reported in the news. To this effect, below you can find various archives and repositories full of hundreds of thousands of newly declassified documents/files dating all the way back to the end of WW2 and up on through the 2000’s – all disclosed via “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) lawsuits. In the case of the CIA for example, these archives used to only be accessible via one computer located in Washington DC – until the entire archive was published/released online for the first time in 2017, that is.

Below is a list of open/available databases hosting countless records across different US Government agencies, almost all of them classified at one point or another throughout America’s past. I put them all together here today not only for my own resources, but also because I believe them to be invaluable resources for anyone reporting on modern US politics or US history, including educators, as a means to understand various situations or circumstances as they existed throughout the past – leading to the politics of today.

NSA FOIA Online Archive/Repository: https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/virtual-reading-room
NSA Declassification & Transparency Index: https://www.nsa.gov/news-features/declassified-documents/

US Department of State Archive/Repository: https://foia.state.gov/Search/Search.aspx

CIA Online Archive/Repository: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/home

The Vault – FBI Archive/Repository: https://vault.fbi.gov/search

Reading Room – National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/foia/electronic-reading-room

Reading Room – Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/main/

Department of Homeland Security Library: https://www.dhs.gov/foia-library

Available Documents – Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/oip/available-documents-all-doj-components

Executive Services Directorate – White House: https://www.esd.whs.mil/FOID/DoD-Records/

Electronic Library – NASA: https://www.hq.nasa.gov/pao/FOIA/err.htm

DoD – US Inspector General Reading Room: https://www.dodig.mil/FOIA/FOIA-Reading-Room/

US Army – FOIA Library: https://www.foia.army.mil/readingroom/index.aspx

US Navy FOIA Reading Room: https://www.secnav.navy.mil/foia/readingroom/SitePages/Home.aspx

US Airforce FOIA Library: https://www.foia.af.mil/Library/

Review: White Unveils New Tool for Reporting Social Media Account Closures

While I’m far from the first to report of it unveiling, I don’t really give a fuck – so I am writing this review here today. But, last night I decided to test out Donald Trumps newly unveiled tool/creation – an official web page launched by the White House designed solely to report the “unfair” closing of social media accounts While Trump is doing his best to sell this as an anti-censorship endeavor, indubitably, this move was designed to show support for the alt-right, White Nationalists, White Supremacists and neo-Nazi’s – essentially, the foremost outspoken groups in favor of our Commander In Chief.

If you need any proof of this, look no further than the fact that, starting just about two weeks ago, Facebook began blocking “White Nationalists.” This also adds to a very serious crackdown on conspiracy theorists and outspoken members of the alt-right over recent months/years, such as Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos – just to name a few. However, what I think most people are missing, or deliberately ignoring, is the fact that this crackdown is not only just effecting racists and extremists on the political right. Believe it or not, the crackdown have also effected many of my fellow “Comrades” working for on behalf of both Anonymous and CyberGuerrilla. For example, over the course of the last month alone, Twitter has closed the accounts of LulzSec Kurdistan, Pinoy LulzSec, International CyberGuerrilla A Column, and has even begun scrubbing the hashtag #CgAn offline as much as possible.

To this effect, I decided to investigate Donald Trumps new tool by reporting the closing of @CgAn_Doemela – a loose collection of CyberGuerrilla activists with over 21,000 followers which was inexplicably closed by Twitter just a couple weeks ago. For those of you whom haven’t used or investigated the tool for yourselves, I was actually quite surprised. I say this because the vast majority of information asked by the White House is about yourself, who you are, where you live, what social demographics do you belong to – et cetera. In fact, out of maybe 13 questions, only 2 of them are about the social accounts you are reporting closed in the first place 🤔.

Needless to say, while my actions were sincere, they were also kind of a troll – just to see what the White House was up to and to investigate whether or not they care about the closing of accounts of activists on the extreme political left, in addition to those on the extreme political right? I suppose we will have to wait to find out and see. In the mean time, if you haven’t tried to tool for yourself, you can access the White House’s page below.

White House Reporting Tool: https://wh.gov/techbias

Donald Trump Issues New Cybersecurity Executive Order Into Law

Yesterday, May 2nd 2019, Donald Trump singed a new Executive Order into law designed to strengthen the US Governments National cybersecurity work force. The move comes less than two days after the Department of Homeland Security issued a new Federal directive demanding that cybersecurity experts working for the US Government drastically speed up response time and patches to any known vulnerabilities or cyber incidents effecting their systems. It is therefore only natural to assume that the US Government would need to hire more personnel to pull this off – hence Trumps order yesterday.

Executive Order On America’s Cybersecurity Work Force: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-americas-cybersecurity-workforce/

In a statement attached to the signing of the Executive Order posted through WhiteHouse.gov, Trump stated “America built the internet and shared it with the world; now we will do our part to secure and preserve cyberspace for future generations.” I was unable to find a pdf version of the order online, but have provided the full text of the order, along with a summary of its highlights below.

Highlights of New Executive Order:

The Executive Order will promote cybersecurity work within the Government, including through a new President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition.

The Administration will develop a rotational program where Federal employees can expand their cybersecurity expertise through temporary reassignments to other agencies.

The Executive Order encourages widespread adoption of the cybersecurity workforce framework created by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).
The NICE Framework is a helpful reference for identifying, recruiting, developing, and retaining cybersecurity talent.

The Executive Order aims to close cybersecurity skills gaps for the cyber-physical systems that our defense and critical infrastructure rely on.

Federal agencies will identify cybersecurity aptitude assessments that they can use to reskill employees with potential in the cybersecurity field.

The Administration will establish the Presidential Cybersecurity Education Awards, recognizing excellent elementary and secondary school educators teaching cybersecurity-related content.

Full Text of Order:

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to better ensure continued American economic prosperity and national security, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  (a)  America’s cybersecurity workforce is a strategic asset that protects the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life.  The National Cyber Strategy, the President’s 2018 Management Agenda, and Executive Order 13800 of May 11, 2017 (Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure), each emphasize that a superior cybersecurity workforce will promote American prosperity and preserve peace.  America’s cybersecurity workforce is a diverse group of practitioners who govern, design, defend, analyze, administer, operate, and maintain the data, systems, and networks on which our economy and way of life depend.  Whether they are employed in the public or private sectors, they are guardians of our national and economic security.

b)  The United States Government must enhance the workforce mobility of America’s cybersecurity practitioners to improve America’s national cybersecurity.  During their careers, America’s cybersecurity practitioners will serve in various roles for multiple and diverse entities.  United States Government policy must facilitate the seamless movement of cybersecurity practitioners between the public and private sectors, maximizing the contributions made by their diverse skills, experiences, and talents to our Nation.

(c)  The United States Government must support the development of cybersecurity skills and encourage ever-greater excellence so that America can maintain its competitive edge in cybersecurity.  The United States Government must also recognize and reward the country’s highest-performing cybersecurity practitioners and teams.

(d)  The United States Government must create the organizational and technological tools required to maximize the cybersecurity talents and capabilities of American workers –-especially when those talents and capabilities can advance our national and economic security.  The Nation is experiencing a shortage of cybersecurity talent and capability, and innovative approaches are required to improve access to training that maximizes individuals’ cybersecurity knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Training opportunities, such as work-based learning, apprenticeships, and blended learning approaches, must be enhanced for both new workforce entrants and those who are advanced in their careers.

(e)  In accordance with Executive Order 13800, the President will continue to hold heads of executive departments and agencies (agencies) accountable for managing cybersecurity risk to their enterprises, which includes ensuring the effectiveness of their cybersecurity workforces.

Sec. 2.  Strengthening the Federal Cybersecurity Workforce.  (a)  To grow the cybersecurity capability of the United States Government, increase integration of the Federal cybersecurity workforce, and strengthen the skills of Federal information technology and cybersecurity practitioners, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), shall establish a cybersecurity rotational assignment program, which will serve as a mechanism for knowledge transfer and a development program for cybersecurity practitioners.  Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Directors of OMB and OPM, shall provide a report to the President that describes the proposed program, identifies its resource implications, and recommends actions required for its implementation.  The report shall evaluate how to achieve the following objectives, to the extent permitted by applicable law, as part of the program:

(i)    The non-reimbursable detail of information technology and cybersecurity employees, who are nominated by their employing agencies, to serve at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);

(ii)   The non-reimbursable detail of experienced cybersecurity DHS employees to other agencies to assist in improving those agencies’ cybersecurity risk management;

(iii)  The use of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework) as the basis for cybersecurity skill requirements for program participants;

(iv)   The provision of training curricula and expansion of learning experiences to develop participants’ skill levels; and

(v)    Peer mentoring to enhance workforce integration.

(b)  Consistent with applicable law and to the maximum extent practicable, the Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the Director of OMB and the Secretary of Commerce, shall:

(i)    Incorporate the NICE Framework lexicon and taxonomy into workforce knowledge and skill requirements used in contracts for information technology and cybersecurity services;

(ii)   Ensure that contracts for information technology and cybersecurity services include reporting requirements that will enable agencies to evaluate whether personnel have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the tasks specified in the contract, consistent with the NICE Framework; and

(iii)  Provide a report to the President, within 1 year of the date of this order, that describes how the NICE Framework has been incorporated into contracts for information technology and cybersecurity services, evaluates the effectiveness of this approach in improving services provided to the United States Government, and makes recommendations to increase the effective use of the NICE Framework by United States Government contractors.

(c)  Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Director of OPM, in consultation with the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the heads of other agencies as appropriate, shall identify a list of cybersecurity aptitude assessments for agencies to use in identifying current employees with the potential to acquire cybersecurity skills for placement in reskilling programs to perform cybersecurity work.  Agencies shall incorporate one or more of these assessments into their personnel development programs, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

(d)  Agencies shall ensure that existing awards and decorations for the uniformed services and civilian personnel recognize performance and achievements in the areas of cybersecurity and cyber-operations, including by ensuring the availability of awards and decorations equivalent to citations issued pursuant to Executive Order 10694 of January 10, 1957 (Authorizing the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force To Issue Citations in the Name of the President of the United States to Military and Naval Units for Outstanding Performance in Action), as amended.  Where necessary and appropriate, agencies shall establish new awards and decorations to recognize performance and achievements in the areas of cybersecurity and cyber-operations.  The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs may recommend to agencies that any cyber unified coordination group or similar ad hoc interagency group that has addressed a significant cybersecurity or cyber-operations-related national security crisis, incident, or effort be recognized for appropriate awards and decorations.

(e)  The Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Director of OMB, and the heads of other appropriate agencies, shall develop a plan for an annual cybersecurity competition (President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition) for Federal civilian and military employees.  The goal of the competition shall be to identify, challenge, and reward the United States Government’s best cybersecurity practitioners and teams across offensive and defensive cybersecurity disciplines.  The plan shall be submitted to the President within 90 days of the date of this order.  The first competition shall be held no later than December 31, 2019, and annually thereafter.  The plan for the competition shall address the following:

(i)    The challenges and benefits of inviting advisers, participants, or observers from non-Federal entities to observe or take part in the competition and recommendations for including them in future competitions, as appropriate;

(ii)   How the Department of Energy, through the National Laboratories, in consultation with the Administrator of the United States Digital Service, can provide expert technical advice and assistance to support the competition, as appropriate;

(iii)  The parameters for the competition, including the     development of multiple individual and team events that test cybersecurity skills related to the NICE Framework and other relevant skills, as appropriate.  These parameters should include competition categories involving individual and team events, software reverse engineering and exploitation, network operations, forensics, big data analysis, cyber analysis, cyber defense, cyber exploitation, secure programming, obfuscated coding, cyber-physical systems, and other disciplines;

(iv)   How to encourage agencies to select their best cybersecurity practitioners as individual and team participants.  Such practitioners should include Federal employees and uniformed services personnel from Federal civilian agencies, as well as Department of Defense active duty military personnel, civilians, and those serving in a drilling reserve capacity in the Armed Forces Reserves or National Guard;

(v)    The extent to which agencies, as well as uniformed services, may develop a President’s Cup awards program that is consistent with applicable law and regulations governing awards and that allows for the provision of cash awards of not less than $25,000.  Any such program shall require the agency to establish an awards program before allowing its employees to participate in the President’s Cup Cybersecurity Competition.  In addition, any such program may not preclude agencies from recognizing winning and non-winning participants through other means, including honorary awards, informal recognition awards, rating-based cash awards, time-off awards, Quality Step Increases, or other agency-based compensation flexibilities as appropriate and consistent with applicable law; and

(vi)   How the uniformed services, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, may designate service members who win these competitions as having skills at a time when there is a critical shortage of such skills within the uniformed services.  The plan should also address how the uniformed services may provide winning service members with a combination of bonuses, advancements, and meritorious recognition to be determined by the Secretaries of the agencies concerned.

(f)  The Director of OMB shall, in consultation with appropriate agencies, develop annually a list of agencies and subdivisions related to cybersecurity that have a primary function of intelligence, counterintelligence, investigative, or national security work, including descriptions of such functions.  The Director of OMB shall provide this list to the President, through the Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (DAPHSCT), every year starting September 1, 2019, for consideration of whether those agencies or subdivisions should be exempted from coverage under the Federal Labor-Management Relations Program, consistent with the requirements of section 7103(b)(1) of title 5, United States Code.

Sec. 3.  Strengthening the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce.  (a)  The Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretaries), in coordination with the Secretary of Education and the heads of other agencies as the Secretaries determine is appropriate, shall execute, consistent with applicable law and to the greatest extent practicable, the recommendations from the report to the President on Supporting the Growth and Sustainment of the Nation’s Cybersecurity Workforce (Workforce Report) developed pursuant to Executive Order 13800.  The Secretaries shall develop a consultative process that includes Federal, State, territorial, local, and tribal governments, academia, private-sector stakeholders, and other relevant partners to assess and make recommendations to address national cybersecurity workforce needs and to ensure greater mobility in the American cybersecurity workforce.  To fulfill the Workforce Report’s vision of preparing, growing, and sustaining a national cybersecurity workforce that safeguards and promotes America’s national security and economic prosperity, priority consideration will be given to the following imperatives:

(i)    To launch a national Call to Action to draw attention to and mobilize public- and private-sector resources to address cybersecurity workforce needs;

(ii)   To transform, elevate, and sustain the cybersecurity learning environment to grow a dynamic and diverse cybersecurity workforce;

(iii)  To align education and training with employers’ cybersecurity workforce needs, improve coordination, and prepare individuals for lifelong careers; and

(iv)   To establish and use measures that demonstrate the effectiveness and impact of cybersecurity workforce investments.

(b)  To strengthen the ability of the Nation to identify and mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure and defense systems, particularly cyber-physical systems for which safety and reliability depend on secure control systems, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of Energy, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Director of OPM and the Secretary of Labor, shall provide a report to the President, through the DAPHSCT, within 180 days of the date of this order that:

(i)   Identifies and evaluates skills gaps in Federal and non-Federal cybersecurity personnel and training gaps for specific critical infrastructure sectors, defense critical infrastructure, and the Department of Defense’s platform information technologies; and

(ii)  Recommends curricula for closing the identified skills gaps for Federal personnel and steps the United States Government can take to close such gaps for non-Federal personnel by, for example, supporting the development of similar curricula by education or training providers.

(c)  Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the DAPHSCT and the National Science Foundation, shall develop and implement, consistent with applicable law, an annual Presidential Cybersecurity Education Award to be presented to one elementary and one secondary school educator per year who best instill skills, knowledge, and passion with respect to cybersecurity and cybersecurity-related subjects.  In developing and implementing this award, the Secretary of Education shall emphasize demonstrated superior educator accomplishment — without respect to research, scholarship, or technology development — as well as academic achievement by the educator’s students.

(d)  The Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the heads of other appropriate agencies shall encourage the voluntary integration of the NICE Framework into existing education, training, and workforce development efforts undertaken by State, territorial, local, tribal, academic, non‑profit, and private-sector entities, consistent with applicable law.  The Secretary of Commerce shall provide annual updates to the President regarding effective uses of the NICE Framework by non-Federal entities and make recommendations for improving the application of the NICE Framework in cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development.

Sec. 4.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
May 2, 2019.

Jared Kushner Caught Using Personal Email Accounts & Facebook Subsidiaries To Carry Out Official Government Business w/ Foreign Leaders

Earlier today, March 21st 2019, the United States House Committee On Oversight and Reform released an open letter addressing Jared Kushner’s use of “civilian tech,” including his personal email accounts, to carry out security clearance level communications with international partners and world leaders. For obvious reasons, especially given all of Donald Trump’s criticisms of Hillary Clinton for this very activity throughout the 2015 and 2016 Presidential election season, Jared Kushner’s use of it feels doubly stupefying. Regardless, according to a letter released to the public for the first time earlier today, both Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump are now known to have used their personal email accounts and WhatsApp for official Government businesses.

According to information handed over to the House Oversight and Reform Committee by Abbe Lowell, Kusher’s personal attorney, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland “continue to use WhatsApp and personal emails” for Government use – including “discussing the transfer of sensitive U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.” Moreover, Lowell has also “confirmed (to the Committee) that Mr. Kushner has been using the messaging application WhatsApp as part of his official White House duties to communicate with foreign leaders” – though Lowell could not accurately identify what, if any, of this communications constitutes classified material or communications.

According to the committee’s chairmen, Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Kushner’s use of such tech could be considered a direct violation of the Presidential Records Act, which prohibits senior White House officials from “creating or sending a record ‘using a non-official electronic message account’ unless the employee copies his or her official email account or ‘forwards a complete copy’ to the official email account ‘not later than 20 days’ after sending or receiving the original email.” This news is troubling considering that Trumps White has still yet to “produce a single piece of paper to the Committee in the 116th Congress – in this or any other investigation.” The letter concludes with a warning to the Trump Administration that a “failure to provide documents and information is obstructing the Committee’s investigation into allegations of violations of federal records laws by White House officials.

Download Full Letter: https://oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/2019-03-21.EEC%20to%20Cipollone-WH.pdf

Browse Full Letter:

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White House Releases Budget for Fiscal Year 2020

The title is self explanatory, really, I just wanted someplace to put the document to make it easily browse-able in the future. Honestly, I’m not going to sit here and pretend to be some great expert on the minutia of trillions of dollars being spent/allocated by the US Government, but some of the major highlights I’ve taken from it are another dramatic increase in military spending allocated to the US Department of Defense, and a major decrease to the budget allocated to the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) – literally putting future projects/operations on hold.

More specifically, according the budget itself, the DoD Budget for the Fiscal Year 2020 will be increased another 5% from 2019, an increase of approximately $33 billion dollars, bringing it to a combined yearly total of $781 billion dollars – yet another all time record under Donald Trump, a total little more than 15x higher than the annual operating budget of Russia, by comparison.

Download Budget Doc for Yourself: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/budget-fy2020.pdf

Browse Through Full 2020 White House Budget:

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