Senior White House official George David Banks has “resigned” after being told that his security clearance had been denied. It makes him the third White House official to resign in just one week.
Banks, who served as Special Assistant to the President for International Energy and Environment for nearly a year, told Politico on Wednesday that his application for a permanent security clearance had been denied.
According to Banks, his security clearance had been denied because he admitted to smoking marijuana in 2013, which is illegal under federal law — however, the current policy is that they can get clearance unless they lied about it.
The allegations surrounding Porter have prompted questions about the handling of permanent security clearances as Porter, along with some other officials at the White House, were using interim clearances. The White House has also been under fire for its handling of the allegations against Porter.
BREAKING: Trump Homeland Security Says Russia Hacked Elections
The Homeland Security official in charge of protecting the elections from interference and hacking has announced that Russia indeed penetrated the voter registration roles of voters and stole them, to use to target voters in fake news stories.
In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, said she couldn’t talk about classified information publicly, but in 2016, “We saw a targeting of 21 states and an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”
The Department of Homeland Security said earlier this year that it had evidence of Russian activity in 21 states, but it failed to inform individual states whether they were among those targeted. Instead, DHS authorities say they told those who had “ownership” of the systems – which in some cases were private vendors or local election offices.
US intelligence agencies say Russian spies hacked into a wide range of institutions and agencies during the US election campaign. They have accused two Kremlin spy agencies – the GRU and the FSB – of hacking Democratic party emails and giving them to the website WikiLeaks.
Grammy President Blames Women for Not Getting Awards
Though the bulk of the statuettes had been handed out before the 60th Grammy Awards telecast began, the ceremony was still a lively affair thanks to stirring performances from Kendrick Lamar, Kesha, and Childish Gambino. But as the night went on, astute viewers noticed how few female nominees were making their way to the stage as the winners in their respective categories.
Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, the onus is on female artists to “step up” to the plate. “It has to begin with… women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level,” he told reporters in the GRAMMY press room. “[They need] to step up, because I think they would be welcome.”
A hashtag, #GrammysSoMale, began to make the rounds as women were shut out of all of the major categories, save for Alessia Cara’s win for Best New Artist. And where all the other Album Of The Year nominees had been invited to perform solo during the awards show, Lorde was not, which is reportedly why she declined to join the Tom Petty tribute.
Conservative Koch Brothers Supporting Dreamers and DACA
While the Koch Brothers are mainly known for their conservative viewpoints and funding anti-environmentalist groups. They announced that they will be spending millions of dollars to support “Dreamers” and their goal of becoming citizens.
According to the Koch Brothers in a statement said, . “Immigrants are essential to the success of our country and addressing the plight of the dreamers is a top priority for this network,” said Brian Hook, co-chairman of the Seminar Network.
“We cannot support arbitrary cuts to future legal immigration levels,” said Daniel Garza, president of The LIBRE Initiative, which is backed by the Koch brothers. “We welcome a debate about whether our current legal immigration policy properly balances family and skills-based migration. But that broad debate should not distract from the immediate goal of providing certainty to Dreamers and enhancing security.”
We must do better. The United States is at its best when all people are free to pursue their dreams. Our country has enjoyed unparalleled success by welcoming people from around the world who seek to make a better life for themselves and their families, no matter what their backgrounds.
Now, the rest of us need to do our part. Congress should act quickly, ideally before year’s end, to ensure that these decent people can work and stay and dream in the United States. As a nation, we must show that the dreamers’ faith in our word and goodwill was not misplaced.
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