Op-Ed: I am a Cherokee woman. Elizabeth Warren is not. “As Native people, we are relegated to being invisible, while Warren is not.”

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For 72 hours this week, news headlines focused on President Donald Trump’s offensive usage of the name “Pocahontas” when he referred to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at an event to honor Navajo Code Talkers on Monday.

As a young Cherokee woman, one would assume that I would take Warren’s side in standing up against Trump’s racist remark. Following the incident, Warren lambasted the president, telling MSNBC that Trump has done “this over and over thinking somehow he’s going to shut me up with it. It hadn’t worked in the past, it is not going to work in the future.”

A real Native American hero, right?

Wrong.

She was not a hero to me when she failed to foster a haven of support for Native students within Harvard University’s alienating Ivy League culture. She is not a hero for spending years awkwardly avoiding Native leaders. She is not a hero because, despite claiming to be the only Native woman in the U.S. Senate, she has done nothing to advance our rights.

She is not from us. She does not represent us. She is not Cherokee.

The controversy over Warren’s identity stems from the 1990s, when Warren was a professor at Harvard Law School. The university promoted her and celebrated her as the first minority woman to receive tenure. When the Boston press dug up these reports during Warren’s campaign for Senate in 2012, she stated she didn’t know why Harvard had promoted her as Native American. It appears that Warren categorized herself as “Native American” during a time when the minority status served her career and later dropped the marker after gaining tenure.

“…as Native people, we are relegated to being invisible, while Warren is not.”

In defending her supposed Native identity, Warren has drawn from both racist stereotypes and easily refutable stories about her family. At a 2012 press conference Warren stated that her family knew her grandfather was “part” Cherokee because “he had high cheekbones like all of the Indians.” Cherokee genealogists have pored through her family history to find that “None of her direct line ancestors are ever shown to be anything other than white, dating back to long before the Trail of Tears.” To add insult to injury, despite Warren’s public claims of Native American heritage, she has decidedly avoided talking with Native leaders and, in 2012, refused to meet with a group of Cherokee women at the Democratic National Convention.

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As Cherokee Nation citizen and community activist David Cornsilk told me, “We don’t get to celebrate her, because we don’t know her. She is not related to us, she does not live in our community. She is not our conduit to the Senate. We are not celebrating her in the Tribal newspaper. Elizabeth Warren is nothing to us, so we have no inroad to that powerful operation that affects our daily lives.”

Warren’s misrepresentation of her heritage has major consequences for Native Americans, who have little visibility not only in politics, but in American culture at large. Warren’s claims of Cherokee identity make her the only representation of Cherokees that the average American will likely ever see. I challenge non-Native readers to name another Cherokee leader in elected office. Or any Native American holding elected office in the United States. Or a contemporary Native American author. A Native American movie star. A Native American athlete. Or any famous Native people who are alive today. What is beyond maddening is that, as Native people, we are relegated to being invisible, while Warren is not.

As a mixed Native woman, I have to relive the racist stereotypes Warren spits out to defend her alleged Native identity everyday. People constantly ask me, what part Cherokee are you? Who in your family was Cherokee? That’s so nice that you embrace your Native heritage.

I am not part Cherokee. There is not one member of my family who was Cherokee. I am Cherokee. I am an enrolled citizen of Cherokee Nation and a member of my home and urban Indian communities. We are living, real, and whole people; not fractions of Indians who used to be real.

“We are living, real, and whole people; not fractions of Indians who used to be real.”

“Non-Native people need to recognize their own limitations and that we, native people, are experts on our own communities. When they argue against us from a place of ignorance, they are actually dismissing us and disappearing us,” Cornsilk said.

As contemporary Native Americans, we live in the space between Donald Trump and Elizabeth Warren, between the stereotypes that were created to excuse the wholesale slaughter of our people and the stereotypes that were created to excuse the wholesale appropriation of our identity and cultures. The Trumps and Warrens of the world leave very little space for us to exist — which, when you understand the history of the United States, makes perfect sense.

Trump casually throws around the word “Pocahontas,” but few are aware of the traumatic history it evokes — one that mirrors the grim reality that Native women face everyday. The fictional Disney character Pocahontas is based on a real Powhatan teenager named Matoaka, who was actually kidnapped and held hostage by White settlers. She died in England at the age of 21. Today, four in five Native women will be raped, stalked or abused in our lifetime and nine out of 10 of the perpetrators are non-Native. If Warren wanted to be true to her supposed Native identity, she would have done well to do more than just stand up for herself — she would have stood up for her people.

As one of the statistics — a Cherokee woman and a survivor — Elizabeth Warren does not speak for me.

Sen. Warren needs to accept responsibility for misappropriating Native identity for her own economic and political gain. To help her, I have drafted an apology, which she has my full permission to appropriate. Every last word:

I am deeply sorry to the Native American people who have been greatly harmed by my misappropriation of Cherokee identity. I want to especially apologize to the over 350,000 citizens of Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the United Keetoowah Band. In my family, there is an oral history of being Cherokee, however, research on my genealogy going back over 150 years does not reveal a single Native ancestor. Like many Americans who grew up with family members claiming to be Cherokee, I now know that my family’s stories were based on myth rather than fact. I am not enrolled in any of the three Federally recognized Cherokee Tribes, nor am I an active member of any Cherokee or Native American community. Native Nations are not relics of the past, but active, contemporary, and distinct political groups who are still fighting for recognition and sovereignty within the United States. Those of us who claim false Native identity undermine this fight.

I am sorry for the real damage that Native Americans have experienced as the debate about my false identity has revived the worst stereotypes and offensive racist remarks, all while Native people have been silenced. I will do my part as a Senator to push for the United States to fully recognize tribal nations’ inherent sovereignty and uphold our treaty obligations to Native Nations. I will use my national platform to advance the rights of Native Americans and I commit to building real relationships in Indian Country as an ally and supporter.

Correction: An earlier version of this piece stated that Warren checked a “Native American” box on job applications. In fact, Warren listed herself as a minority in an Association of American Law Schools directory.

Rebecca Nagle is a Citizen of Cherokee Nation and a two spirit (queer) woman. She is currently a writer and organizer living in Baltimore, MD.

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Geraldo Defends Matt Lauer, Hours Later Realizes He’s Punched His Own Moustache Off

Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:52am EST

Right after Matt Lauer was fired over claims of sexual harassment by multiple women, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera took to Twitter, using way over 140 characters to defend the now-unemployed NBC host who made $25 million per year as the network news division’s crown jewel.

Lauer is accused of a variety of misconduct, including showing a woman his dick and then yelling at her for not engaging in a sexual act, quizzing female producers on sexual partners, and pinching Katie Couric’s ass.

As Variety writes:

In front of the camera, for more than two decades, Lauer had positioned himself as America’s squeaky-clean dad. But behind the scenes, Lauer was a different person.

Despite being married, Lauer was fixated on women, especially their bodies and looks, according to more than 10 accounts from current and former employees. He was known for making lewd comments verbally or over text messages. He once made a suggestive reference to a colleague’s performance in bed and compared it to how she was able to complete her job, according to witnesses to the exchange. For Lauer, work and sex were intertwined.

ENTER GERALDO

Perhaps unaware of the extent of Lauer’s alleged degeneracy, Fox’s Geraldo Rivera hopped onto Twitter and broke a chair over his reputation – letting everyone know that Matt Lauer is a good guy, news is a ‘flirty’ business, the recent allegations against high profile men are an ‘epidemic,’ and people may be misinterpreting a man’s ‘courtship’ behavior with sexual predation.

This is already a PR nightmare…

Digging the hole deeper, Geraldo then said that “sexual harassment” shouldn’t apply where a boss-suboordinate relationship doesn’t exist. Because pinching your waitress’s ass is definitely not sexual harassment.

This isn’t going well…

Rivera then suggests that a statute of limitations should apply to allegations of sexual harassment, along with proof in the form of “witnesses, electronic or written communications.

Yes, there are definitely gold diggers out there – though I don’t think any of the recent cases were one-offs. Multiple accusers over several years  is the general theme – though perhaps accusations levied weeks before an election should be treated with heightened scrutiny.

Geraldo then says, again, that news is a (formerly) “flirty” business, which is why we see so many married coworkers in the industry.

Several hours later, Geraldo apologized:

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AWAN CASE: DNC Lawyer Scrambling To Block Evidence From Hidden Laptop Tied To Wasserman Schultz

A lawyer for former DNC IT staffer Imran Awan is scrambling to block evidence found on a hidden laptop which may contain proof of a massive spy ring operating at the highest levels of Congress, in what may be the largest breach of National Security in U.S. history.

Awan, a Pakistani national, worked for dozens of Democratic members of Congress along with his wife, two brothers and a friend. Following the publication of DNC emails by WikiLeaks in the lead-up to the 2016 election, Congressional investigators discovered that the Awans had a secret server being housed by the House Democratic Caucus backed up to an offsite Dropbox account.

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“For members to say their data was not compromised is simply inaccurate. They had access to all the data including all emails. Imran Awan is the walking example of an insider threat, a criminal actor who had access to everything,” Daily Caller

According to a briefing, “all five of the shared employees system administrators collectively logged onto the [House Democratic] Caucus system 5,735 times, or an average of 27 times per day,” despite only one of them being authorized to do so.

The Awans were banned from the House IT network on February 2, 2017 after being named in a criminal investigation – however they continued to work in the building for Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz until Imran Awan’s arrest at Dulles Airport trying to flee the country in late July. Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, were charged with conspiracy and bank fraud in relation to a real estate transaction.

The laptop in question was tucked away in a tiny room formerly used as a phone booth on the second floor of the Rayburn House Office Building late one night in March, only to be found by Capitol Police just after midnight on April 6, 2017 along with notebooks marked ‘attorney client privilege,’ letters addressed to the US Attorney of DC regarding Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and several forms of identification. Based on the contents of the backpack, some believe Awan wanted the laptop to be found.

Attorney-Client Privilege

Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller, who has been tracking the Awan case, reports that Awan’s attorney Chris Gowen – a former aide to Hillary Clinton, is seeking to block the laptop evidence by arguing the ‘attorney client privilege‘ note attached to the notebook found with the laptop covers the contents of the hard drive, according to court papers filed Tuesday.

Via the Daily Caller:

“Chris Gowen, Awan’s attorney, said at the last hearing: “We do expect there being an attorney-client privilege issue in this case… What occurred is a backpack from my client was found, he was trying to get a better signal, there was a note that said attorney client privilege and a hard drive. We feel very strongly about this.”

Capitol Police report reveals the following items were found in the backpack:

#1 a Pakistani ID card with the name Mohommed Ashraf Awan
#2 a copy – not original – of a driver’s license with name Imran Awan
#3 a copy (front and back) of his congressional ID
#4 an Apple laptop with the homescreen initials ‘RepDWS’
#5 composition notebooks with notes handwritten saying ‘attorney client privilege’ and possibly discussing case details below
#6 loose letters addressed to US Attorney of DC discussing the apparent owner of the bag being investigated.

As Rosiak points out, it is unclear how the handwritten note saying “attorney client privilege” could be construed to cover a hard drive, rather than the pages of [the] notebook it was contained on.

Andrew McCarthy, a former chief assistant U.S. attorney who has followed the case, said “The A/C (attorney-client) privilege only applies to communications between the client and lawyer that are for the purpose of seeking legal advice and that are intended by both parties to be kept confidential… Moreover, asserting that something is A/C protected does not make it so. You still have to show that the material in question constitutes communications strictly between the lawyer and client that were for the purpose of seeking legal advice.

“If I give my lawyer my bank records and ask him if they show evidence of a crime, the bank records do not become A/C-privileged — only his advice to me would be A/C-privileged. And if I stuck a sign on my bank records that said ‘A/C-privileged documents,’ that would not make them A/C-privileged documents,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.” –Daily Caller

Debbie Downer

In May of 2016, Debbie Wasserman Schulz – an employer and personal friend of Awan – spent several minutes browbeating the Chief of DC Capitol Police at a budget meeting, claiming the laptop should be given back since it was hers and threatening ‘consequences’ if it wasn’t returned.

 

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Of Note

The Awan brothers were managing computers for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence – a group with top secret clearance which is looking into Russian election interference right now.

Also of note

The brothers were “shared employees,” hired by multiple Democrats for IT work whenever it was needed – so they floated all over the place doing all sorts of work on House members computers. Democrats Juaquin Castro, Cedric Richmond, Andre Carson, Jackie Speier, Tammy Duckworth, and Louis Frankel all employed the Awans.

Information Brokers? 

Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox Business Network in late July where he dropped a bombshell: not only did the Awans had access to the emails of every member of Congress, Imran Awan reportedly sold information to still unknown parties, which the FBI is currently investigating.

Napolitano: He was arrested for some financial crime – that’s the tip of the iceberg. The real allegation against him is that he had access to the emails of every member of congress and he sold what he found in there. What did he sell, and to whom did he sell it? That’s what the FBI wants to know. This may be a very, very serious national security situation.

Varney: Wait a second, he was the IT worker along with his two Pakistani brothers, for DWS, and other Democrats in the House – and the theory is that he got access to all of their secrets or whatever, and sold some?

Napolitano: Yes, and this was at the time that Congresswoman Schultz was also the chair of the Democratic National Committee. So at this point I don’t believe they know what he sold, and to whom he sold it – but they do know what he had access to, which is virtually everything in the House of representatives, which would include classified material in the House intelligence committee.

Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer went even further – claiming that the Awan brothers were linked to the Muslim Brotherhood while working for Democrat Congressman Andre Carson, a report reinforced by Frontpage Magazine:

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As Frontpage reported in February:

The office of Andre Carson, the second Muslim in Congress, had employed Imran Awan. As did the offices of Jackie Speier and Debbie Wasserman Schultz; to whom the letter had been addressed.

Carson is the second Muslim in Congress and the first Muslim on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and, more critically, is the ranking member on its Emerging Threats Subcommittee. He is also a member of the Department of Defense Intelligence and Overhead Architecture Subcommittee.

The Emerging Threats Subcommittee, of which Carson is a ranking member, is responsible for much of counterterrorism oversight. It is the worst possible place for a man with Carson’s credentials.

Carson had inherited his grandmother’s seat and exploited it to promote a radical Islamist agenda. He has interfaced with a laundry list of Islamist groups from CAIR to ISNA to ICNA to MPAC. Islamists have funded Carson’s career to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. The Center for Security Policy has put together a dossier of Carson’s connections to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood is the parent organization of many key Islamic terror groups posing a threat to our national security including Al Qaeda and Hamas.

Andre Carson shared the stage at a CAIR banquet with Sirraj Wahaj: an unindicted co-conspirator in the World Trade Center bombing who had once declared,” You don’t get involved in politics because it’s the American thing to do. You get involved in politics because politics are a weapon to use in the cause of Islam.” CAIR itself had been named an unindicted co-conspirator in terror finance.

Immunity for Hina?

In September, it was reported that Hina Alvi – Imran Awan’s wife, had struck a deal with federal prosecutors to return to the U.S. from Pakistan to face conspiracy and bank fraud charges.

Alvi and her children fled to the safety of Pakistan in early 2017, so her voluntary return – which was structured with an arrest to be made “not in front of her children” is significant. Upon her return to the United States, Hina was arraigned on four felony counts of bank fraud and handed over her U.S. passport to prosecutors.

Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ) says that Alvi’s return may be part of a broader immunity deal with prosecutors in return for a “significant” and “pretty disturbing” story about Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

“I don’t want to talk out of school here but I think you’re going to see some revelations that are going to be pretty profound.  The fact that this wife is coming back from Pakistan and is willing to face charges, as it were, I think there is a good chance she is going to reach some type of immunity to tell a larger story here that is going to be pretty disturbing to the American people.”

“I would just predict that this is going to be a very significant story and people should fasten their seat belts on this one.”

Despite the volumes of evidence stacking up against the former DNC IT staffers, Debbie Wasserman Schultz claims the entire investigation of the Awans is nothing more than Islamophobia.

 

Oklahoma Sheriffs are good at extorting poor Oklahomans…

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Let’s hope the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association never starts a payday loan service.

A few weeks back, the Daily Beast reported that a racketeering lawsuit was recently filed against the power-hungry, ethically challenged, Jeff Sessions loving Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association. Apparently, the sheriffs have been using a shady debt collection agency to bully and extort hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from broke Oklahomans.

Here are the details via The Daily Beast:

Ira Wilkins should be a free man. Wilkins has served his time in an Oklahoma prison and is clear for release. But a private court fee collections agency is keeping him behind bars.

Wilkins is the lead plaintiff in a new racketeering lawsuit against the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, every sheriff’s department in the state, and the court fee collections firm Aberdeen Enterprizes II. When Oklahomans owe court fees, their case is assigned to Aberdeen, which charges them an additional 30 percent on top of what courts want. If they don’t pay, Aberdeen requests a warrant for the debtor’s arrest. It’s big business for Aberdeen and the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association, which received more than $800,000 from Aberdeen in 2015.

But while Aberdeen and the OSA strike it rich, poor Oklahomans are languishing in modern day debtors prison, the lawsuit alleges…

Wow, and you thought our sheriffs’ abuse of civil asset forfeiture laws was shady! Really? We issue arrest warrants for people who don’t pay court fees? That’s extreme. Sheriffs should have to wait in line to collect debts just like hospitals, credit card companies, payday loan lenders, David Stanley Dodge, the federal government and everyone else.

Here’s more:

The lawsuit cites the case of an unnamed homeless man who was arrested on retail larceny and trespassing charges on New Year’s Eve 2016. The man, who is on disability payments, claims he didn’t have the $150 he needed to bond out of jail. When he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, he was slapped with $425 in fines and fees, plus $385 in “hidden costs.” The sum came out to over $800—more than the man’s monthly disability earnings. Then the man’s money troubles got worse. His case was handed to Aberdeen, which increases all debts by 30 percent.

Remember the good old days when creditors and collection agencies could only harass you endlessly and further wreck your credit? I didn’t know they could also send you to jail! Also, how does one get involved in the collection business? It seems profitable.

The Oklahoman got approval from the Republican establishment to cover the lawsuit in yesterday’s paper. They put their most loyal company man on the job – Nolan “The Mad Dog” Clay.

Via The Oklahoman:

A private organization once mired in scandal has become rich, thanks to a 2010 law giving it an administrative role in the collection of overdue fines, court costs and fees in criminal cases.

The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association has made more than $4 million off its role in the program even though it has never collected a dollar itself, an investigation by The Oklahoman found.

The more collected, the more it gets, records show. Last year alone, it made $761,480 from the program.

Question – have Oklahoma elected officials done anything right this millennium? Why would anyone in this state want to give sheriffs more power? Not to go all Berry Tramel on you, but they’re more Roscoe P. Coltrain than Andy Taylor. Just search “sheriff” on this site. You’ll see.

Naturally, it looks like cash-strapped Oklahoma lawmakers are now eyeing the extortion money:

Critics of the program have long questioned why a private sheriffs’ association — rather than a state entity — was rewarded such an easy way to make money. Those questions have popped up again this year as state officials struggle with a budget crisis.

“It’s as wrong as wrong can be,” said state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville. “There’s no reason for them to do this. … That’s garbage, man. You can’t do that.”

Wow, those words are generally used to describe our Oklahoma legislature. It’s weird to see a lawmaker use them to describe another state entity! Is that even legal?

Anyway, you can read more about this in the Daily Beast and The Oklahoman. I have a feeling the lawmakers are going fight the sheriffs for a share of the loot in the next session. I don’t know who will win, but either way, it will probably be bad for the Oklahoma people, especially the poor ones. That’s how things work around here.

Will someone please tell me where in the U.S., or the Oklahoma State constitutions, it states: that one can be remanded to a state or federal penal institution, because the state has decided to impose ridiculous costs and fees, even after you’ve completed your sentence, handed down to you, by the state? Slaves Much? – AdamSpeaks

Vindication? House taking up revenge-porn law after Barton hit.

“But of course congress will pass a law to cover their own future ASSES!”

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Ed Morrissey

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After six days of getting treated by the media as a villain of sexual harassment, Joe Barton’s colleagues in Congress have begun an effort that should recast the Texas Republican as the victim of a crime. Democrats and Republicans in both chambers introduced legislation today that would extend criminal sanctions for “revenge porn,” the sharing of intimate photos without consent with the intent to damage reputations:

See Also: NBC fires Lauer over sexual-harassment claim — but are more coming? Update: Assault?

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday introduced legislation that would criminalize “revenge porn” after one of their own, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), had a nude image of himself shared without consent last week.

The legislation offered by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) would make the non-consensual circulation of private, graphic imagery a federal criminal offense. The sharing of “revenge porn,” already barred by law in more than 30 states and Washington D.C., made headlines last week when Barton apologized following the online circulation of a nude selfie. …

In order for the dissemination of the picture to qualify as a federal crime under the legislation introduced Tuesday, the individual involved in circulating the photo would have to be “aware of a substantial risk that the victim expected the image would remain private and that the sharing could cause harm to the victim.”

Richard Burr (R-SC) has also sponsored the Senate bill, while the House bill has Republicans such as Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney signing on for support. It’s too soon for the bills to show up on GovTrack, but the legislative text should be available shortly. Burr wants to advance this effort quickly to fill a gap in enforcement, one that Barton himself experienced:

“It’s time to update the law and ensure that individuals who maliciously exploit the private information and images of their victims are held accountable under criminal statute,” Burr said in a statement. “New technologies can make our lives better, but they also open a new platform for abuse and exploitation.”

Be sure to read Allahpundit’s review of Barton’s situation if you somehow missed this scandal in the Pervnado storm system. The short story: Barton, while separated from his wife and in the process of divorce, began seeing other women and sent one or more of them nude photos of himself. That’s pretty dumb, but it’s no more foolish than it is for other celebrities to take nude selfies and share them with dating partners with varying degrees of integrity. When Barton found out that the woman had shared the images, he warned her not to do so because of the risk it created for his career. The woman did so anyway, and Barton’s naked genitalia went public along with his warning that he didn’t consent to the release.

In any other situation, this would be a classic revenge-porn case. Thanks to the present (and largely self-inflicted) environment on Capitol Hill regarding sexual harassment, the Washington Post framed the story in that vein with Barton as its villain rather than its victim. E! News managed to get a story involving another Barton (no relation) much more accurately:

Mischa Barton’s ex-boyfriend has agreed to a five-year restraining order according to court documents obtained by E! News.

The documents require that both The O.C. star and Adam Spaw “shall stay 100 or more yards away from each other, their residences, pets, vehicles, and places of employment, and shall have no contact directly or indirectly with each other” through telephone, social media, texts and e-mails.

In addition, Adam has agreed “not to directly or indirectly, or through any agent, sell, distribute, show, give away or assign in any way any intimate photos or videos of Mischa Barton. He further agrees that he has not to date done so nor attempted to do any of the foregoing.”

In both Barton cases, the person depicted shared the images privately to another consenting and trusted adult without any consent for wider release. Both Bartons were victims, but the Post decided to flip the script on the Texas Republican in the House. (Spaw denies having any such images.)

The proposal to close the loop at the federal level makes sense given the interstate and international nature of the Internet, at least in theory. Wait for the actual text to see whether Congress has tailored this narrowly and appropriately, or bungled it with overbroad language that would infringe on legitimate speech. With figures like Gowdy on board, one can hope that the former will be the case, but we need to verify it’s not the latter.

In the meantime, the best advice to give anyone — but especially politicians — is to send candid pictures from around the bonfire rather than on the rug in front of the fireplace. Laws should be narrowly tailored, and so should elected officials.  One would have thought the Anthony Weiner saga would have taught Capitol Hill this lesson, but here we are …

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Think directed energy weapons and targeted individuals are bunk? Better think again.

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A newly revealed incident reported by a USAID officer who is based at the American embassy in Uzbekistan is raising suspicions Russia may have been involved and could have had a hand in bizarre attacks targeting U.S. diplomats in Cuba, according to American sources.

In September, the officer and his wife reported, according to one source familiar with the incident, what may have been at least one acoustic attack similar to those experienced by the diplomats in Havana.

  • Investigation into mysterious Cuba attacks “back to square one

The first Cuba attacks began in November 2016, and the last report of an attack was in August 2017. Victims of the attacks in Cuba describe hearing a loud, high-pitched sound often described like a hiss of cicadas or crickets in unusual places—often in their homes.

The State Department declined to describe in detail the incident in Tashkent.

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“We aren’t going to discuss ‎every case individually,” a spokesperson said.

Victims of the attacks in Cuba were diagnosed with hearing loss, brain injuries, cognitive issues and other conditions.

The source says the two suffered similar effects and were flown out of Tashkent by the State Department to be evaluated. It is unclear what further diagnosis or care they have had following their departure from Uzbekistan.

‎”We take seriously the health concerns of USG personnel anywhere in the world,” the State Department spokesperson told CBS News. “We ensure our personnel are examined and receive appropriate treatment.”

On Tuesday afternoon, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert  said, “We can confirm that there was no incident in Uzbekistan.”

USAID, a U.S. government agency that provides foreign assistance in more than 100 countries, maintains its Uzbekistan headquarters office at the American embassy in Tashkent. Its work focuses mainly on agriculture and trade. It referred CBS News inquiries on the incident to the State Department. Although USAID is an independent agency, it works closely with the State Department.

USAID’s Country Director in Tashkent Gary Robbins, referred CBS News to an embassy spokesman who offered no more details. Messages to USAID’s Deputy Country Director were not returned.

The Central Asian country was once part of the USSR. It declared independence in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, it maintains strong ties with Russia. The two countries held joint military drills in October, their first together in 12 years. Uzbekistan is also considering re-joining the Russian-led military bloc Collective Security Treaty Organization, from which it withdrew in 2012 under long-time President Islom Karimov who died in 2016.

Russia has sought to capitalize on relations with Karimov’s successor, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, at the expense of the U.S.

Now, two U.S. security sources say the September incident in Tashkent raises concerns Russia may be involved, and could have had a hand in the attacks targeting U.S. government personnel in Cuba-another country where Russia has also exerted growing influence.

“The Russians have been rebuilding their relationship—it deteriorated dramatically after the end of the Cold War,” according to William Leogrande, a foreign policy professor at American University who focuses on Cuba. Now, “They have a strong presence in Cuba and an historic relationship with Cuban intelligence that might give them the kind of freedom to operate that would provide an opportunity.”

Russia has denied any role in the attacks.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova called suggestions about Russia’s involvement “absurd” at a press briefing in Moscow August 31, and said “this does not help the normalization of the bilateral relations” between the U.S. and Russia.

“We are ready to help the Cuban side investigate the matter and determine the facts,” she said.

The State Department refused to publicly comment on whether it would welcome Russia’s involvement in the investigation into the Cuba attacks.

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