Attorney General Steve Marshall issued the following statement today praising President Donald Trump for introducing his Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand:
“I want to thank President Trump for his dedication to fight the terrible blight of opioid abuse in America. Opioid abuse is an epidemic that ignores cultural and political boundaries; it affects all of us—and thus demands a response that includes all of us.”
“While I am still reviewing the specifics of President Trump’s initiative, I am heartened to see that his outline includes many of the recommendations of Alabama’s Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council; recommendations such as improved prescription monitoring, increased access to treatment and recovery support for persons suffering from opioid addiction, and legislation targeting low-dosage, super-lethal drugs like fentanyl.”
“My hope is that, in the coming months, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions will work side-by-side with state and local officials to turn these ideas into reality. Together, we can conquer what the President has rightly called the ‘Crisis Next Door.’”
"Frontier Airlines will begin direct flights from Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport on April 11, the airline announced today. Frontier Airlines will start by offering direct service to Denver, Orlando and Philadelphia from Birmingham. Introductory prices will start at $39."
"At 87, Clint Eastwood is not only trying new things, he’s trying daring new things, and his new film 15:17 to Paris represents one of the most audacious gambits of his career. To dramatize the tale of three Americans who tackled and subdued a heavily armed Islamist terrorist on a train out of Amsterdam in 2015, Eastwood cast the young men, none of whom had professional acting experience, as themselves. It’s a decision with little precedent in the entire history of motion pictures."
Hacker infiltrates Auburn University computer network
Auburn University confirmed this morning that an unidentified hacker executed a cyber attack on the university’s College of Business network last year.
According to university officials, the hacker accessed the business school’s server between Oct. 21 and Nov. 20, but it is unclear at this point how many times the server was accessed and what information may have been viewed or stolen.
When the university found out late last year that their server had been compromised, they immediately patched the hole in their security and launched an internal investigation that is still underway. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was made aware of the incident and has gotten involved.
“We truly regret the inconvenience and concern that this cyber attack may cause to our college’s constituents,” Harbert College of Business Dean Bill Hardgrave said in a statement. “We take this incident very seriously and hope that the FBI investigation provides answers.”
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It became clear at some point during the university’s investigation that the personal information of students and staff members may have been accessed. The school at that point hired a computer forensics expert to determine the extent of the data breach and to identify which individuals’ information had been compromised. The forensics expert found that the compromised server contained the personal information of just under 14,000 individuals with ties to the school. Social Security Numbers are said to have been part of the data that was compromised, which also included information about what classes current and former students were taking or had taken in the past.
There is currently no evidence suggesting that the personal information files were accessed or used. As a precaution, the university is offering identify theft protection free of charge to individuals impacted by the hack.
“The vulnerable server was repaired immediately, and while the investigation has not revealed any misuse of data, we are prepared to provide all individuals with credit monitoring services,” said Dean Hardgrave.
Chris Christie ignited a firestorm when he essentially called Sen. Rand Paul and his fellow libertarian-leaning conservatives “dangerous” for their apprehension to the National Security Agency’s surveillance program and the FBI’s use of drones on American soil.
“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” Christie said. When asked if he was referring to Paul, Christie said, “You can name any number of people and he [Paul] is one of them.”
Paul’s camp has since then returned fire.
“He needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years,” Doug Stafford, a Paul adviser, said. “Defending America and fighting terrorism is the concern of all Americans, especially Sen. Paul. But it can and must be done in keeping with our Constitution and while protecting the freedoms that make America exceptional.”
Paul himself said on Sunday that Christie and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., are “precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending, and their ‘Gimme, gimme, gimme — give me all my Sandy money now,'” Paul said, referring to federal funding some northeastern states received after the hurricane last year. “Those are the people who are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over for national defense.”
And now Paul’s fellow conservative firebrand Sen. Ted Cruz is getting in on the action.
In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s online program “Power Play,” hosted by network contributor Chris Stirewalt, Cruz voiced his support for Paul.
“I am proud to stand side by side with Rand Paul,” Cruz said. “He and I have been fighting over and over and over again in the Senate to defend our constitutional liberties. I’ll say this — some of this tiff, Gov. Christie is entitled to his views, he’s entitled to express his views, I think most Americans don’t care about politicians bickering in Washington. They don’t care about egos and the battles that will happen in the Beltway. What they’re interested in is solving the problems that we’ve got here.”
Cruz justified his stand with Paul by explaining that he and Paul have the same goal in mind.
“Part of the reason so many Americans are frustrated with Washington is we have seen career politicians in both parties — Democrats and Republicans — lose sight of that — lose sight of our basic constitutional protections,” he added. “And it’s why Americans are looking for leaders to stand up – not engage in personal bickering but solve the problems. Address the grave fiscal and economic challenges in this country. Get back to the free market principles this country was founded on and restore constitutional liberties. And I’m proud to stand side by side with Rand Paul fighting to do exactly that.”
While tensions between the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party have been simmering now for some time, Christie’s oversized personality and Cruz and Paul’s increasing national profile and refusal to back down have brought the infighting to a new level.
Sens. Paul and Cruz may end up being rivals for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, but in the mean time they’re laying down some pretty clear battle lines inside the GOP.
“I didn’t start this one and I don’t plan on starting things by criticizing other Republicans,” Paul said in conclusion. “But if they want to make me the target, they will get it back in spades.”
Questions about the government’s use of drones on American soil became part of the national conversation in March after Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster of Obama’s nomination of John Brennen to head the CIA. Since then, Paul has written two public letters to FBI Director Robert Mueller requesting details on the domestic law enforcement agency’s use of drones to surveil American citizens.
“Given that drone surveillance over American skies represents a potentially vast expansion of government surveillance powers without the constitutionally guaranteed protection of a warrant, it is vital the the use of these drones by the FBI be fully examined,” Paul’s second letter to the FBI reads.
Today, Sen. Paul got an answer.
“Since late 2006, the FBI has conducted surveillance using UAV’s [unmanned aerial vehicles, i.e. drones] in eight criminal cases and two nationals security cases,” the FBI’s public letter to Paul says. “For example, earlier this year in Alabama, the FBI used UAV surveillance to support the successful rescue of the 5-year-old child who was being held hostage in an underground bunker by Jimmy Lee Dykes.”
It’s unclear how a drone was useful in surveilling an underground bunker.
The FBI’s letter also said that their drones are not fitted with weapons, nor do they have any plans to ever arm them. In addition to their public letter to Paul, the FBI also sent a classified letter further detailing their domestic drone program.
Paul has already issued a followup letter asking for clarification on the FBI’s definition of a person’s “reasonable expectation of privacy,” a line beyond which the FBI assured Paul their drone use would not go.
Fellow potential 2016 presidential contender Chris Christie today criticized Paul and other libertarian-leaning politicians for their views on national security issues.
“This strain of libertarianism that’s going through parties right now and making big headlines I think is a very dangerous thought,” the New Jersey governor said Thursday at a Republican governors forum. When asked if he was referring to Sen. Paul, Christie said, “you can name any number of people and he (Paul) is one of them.”
Paul’s office shot back at Christie in a statement to POLITICO. “He needs to talk to more Americans, because a great number of them are concerned about the dramatic overreach of our government in recent years,” Doug Stafford, a Paul adviser, said. “Defending America and fighting terrorism is the concern of all Americans, especially Sen. Paul. But it can and must be done in keeping with our Constitution and while protecting the freedoms that make America exceptional.”
What do you think? Are you comfortable with the FBI using unarmed drones in Alabama air space?
Fox News president pushes back against press intimidation
Fox News Channel president Roger Ailes late last week penned a letter to Fox News employees vowing to stand strong against what he characterized as attempts by the Obama administration to intimidate investigative journalists.
The letter was written in response to the Obama Justice Department’s decision to secretly look at Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails and phone records after Rosen broke a story regarding North Korea’s plans to test a nuclear bomb. In order to attain the warrant for Rosen’s emails and phone records, the DOJ labeled Rosen a “co-conspirator” under the Espionage Act — essentially claiming he was a spy for doing what journalists do: dig for information and publish stories on their findings.
The State Department adviser who gave Rosen the information, Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, has already been indicted for “unauthorized disclosure of national defense information.”
Mr. Ailes is the latest in a long line of First Amendment defenders expressing outrage at the DOJ’s decision to label a journalist as a “co-inspirator” for doing their job.
Judge Andrew Napolitano and numerous others have described the Administration’s actions as unprecedented.
“This is the first time that the federal government has moved to this level of taking ordinary, reasonable, traditional, lawful reporter skills and claiming they constitute criminal behavior,” said Napolitano.
“Reporters should never be threatened with prosecution for the simple act of doing their jobs. The problem is that in two recent cases, one involving Fox News’ James Rosen and the other focused on the Associated Press, serious questions have been raised about whether our government has gotten far too aggressive in its monitoring of reporters’ movements, phone records, and even personal email.”
The Obama Administration is well known for leaking information to the press, including national security intel, when it is politically advantageous to the president.
David Sanger of The New York Times, for example, was given access to sensitive information regarding the Stuxnet virus that was used to cripple Iran’s ability to develop nuclear weapons.
After reading Sanger’s latest book, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle, “You learn more from the book than I did as chairman of the intelligence committee, and that’s very disturbing to me.”
In short, it appears that Administration mouthpieces are funneled secret information to publish while journalists searching for the truth are labeled as conspirators against the United States.
The recent news about the FBI’s seizure of the phone and email records of Fox News employees, including James Rosen, calls into question whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligation to preserve and protect a free press in the United States. We reject the government’s efforts to criminalize the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterize a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a “co-conspirator” in a crime. I know how concerned you are because so many of you have asked me: why should the government make me afraid to use a work phone or email account to gather news or even call a friend or family member? Well, they shouldn’t have done it. The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.
I am proud of your tireless effort to report the news over the last 17 years. I stand with you, I support you and I thank you for your reporting with courageous optimism. Too many Americans fought and died to protect our unique American right of press freedom. We can’t and we won’t forget that. To be an American journalist is not only a great responsibility, but also a great honor. To be a Fox journalist is a high honor, not a high crime. Even this memo of support will cause some to demonize us and try to find irrelevant things to cause us to waver. We will not waver.
As Fox News employees, we sometimes are forced to stand alone, but even then when we know we are reporting what is true and what is right, we stand proud and fearless. Thank you for your hard work and all your efforts.