Overnight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants

Overnight Cybersecurity: Bad Russian intel may have swayed Comey's handling of Clinton probe | Apple sees spike in data requests | More subpoenas for Flynn | DOJ's plan for data warrants
© Greg Nash

Welcome to OVERNIGHT CYBERSECURITY, your daily rundown of the biggest news in the world of hacking and data privacy. We're here to connect the dots as leaders in government, policy and industry try to counter the rise in cyber threats. What lies ahead for Congress, the administration and the latest company under siege? Whether you're a consumer, a techie or a D.C. lifer, we're here to give you ...

 

THE BIG STORIES:

--FROM RUSSIA WITH SABOTAGE:  Former FBI Director James Comey's July decision to detail the FBI's findings in the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE email case without Justice Department input was influenced by a dubious Russian document that the FBI now considers to be bad intelligence, The Washington Post reported Wednesday. The secret document, which purported to be a piece of Russian intelligence, claimed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information would go nowhere. Comey is said to have felt that, if Lynch made the announcement and the document were to leak, it would undermine the justice system. According to people familiar with the matter, by August the FBI had come to believe the document was unreliable -- and in fact may have been planted as a fake to confuse the FBI.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--MCCAUL WANTS TO REARRANGE THE DHS. (SO...DSH?): House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is hoping to see a key cyber reorganization bill introduced as soon as next week. McCaul introduced similar legislation last year that would have replaced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unit in charge of securing the nation's cyber and physical infrastructure with a new, operational agency to handle cybersecurity. The bill advanced the committee in the last Congress but never went to the floor for a vote. At a national security event Wednesday, McCaul expressed optimism that the new bill -- on which he has consulted with the Trump administration -- would advance to the Senate after being introduced in the House "in about a week." "Because the administration supports this legislation, because we've been working with the department, that's a different dynamic that we're now seeing because now we have an administration that is fully supportive of this effort," McCaul said at a forum hosted by Defense Daily.  

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--HOUSE INTEL SUBPOENAS FLYNN BUSINESSES; PANEL TO HEAR FROM CARTER PAGE: Carter Page, a former adviser to President Trump's campaign, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee in early June, he told ABC News on Wednesday. Page, who advised Trump on foreign policy, said he also obtained legal counsel. Page has been the target of lawmakers investigating possible ties between Trump's campaign and Russia during the presidential election. An intel dossier alleged that Page met with Russian officials while working for the Trump campaign, discussing the country's interference in the 2016 U.S. election and sanctions against Russia. And The House Intelligence Committee will issue subpoenas to former national security adviser Michael Flynn in its investigation into Russian election interference, the top Democrat Adam SchiffAdam SchiffOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Democrat: Trump only loyal to the 'pro-Trump' party Sunday shows preview: Trump officials gear up for UN assembly MORE (D-Calif.) confirmed Wednesday.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--SESSIONS DID NOT DISCLOSE RUSSIAN MEETINGS ON SECURITY CLEARANCE FORM: Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE did not disclose on security clearance forms that he met twice last year with Russia's ambassador, CNN reported Wednesday. The form, the SF-86, asks applicants to disclose any contacts with a foreign government or its representatives over the past seven years. Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores told CNN that an FBI employee who was helping Sessions complete the form advised him that he did not have to disclose meetings with foreign ambassadors that took place during his time in the Senate.  She said Sessions listed a year's worth of meetings with foreign officials on the form. CNN notes that federal officials do not have to list meetings that were part of foreign conferences attended while conducting government business -- though Sessions' meetings with Sergey Kislyak do not appear to fall under that exemption. 

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

--RUSSIA DISCUSSED HOW TO FLIP TRUMP OFFICIALS DURING CAMPAIGN: In the summer before the presidential election, U.S. spies collected intelligence showing senior Russian officials discussing how to exert influence over Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE using his advisers, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Their discussions centered around then-adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign adviser at the time, according to three current and former U.S. officials. Both men had indirect ties to Moscow and the Russian officials were confident that they could be used to sway President Trump, according to The Times. Some of the officials boasted of their close ties to Flynn, while others weighed using their relationship to the deposed president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, who at one time employed Manafort. Yanukovych, who was backed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, is now living in exile in Russia. 

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

A POLICY UPDATE:

OVERSEAS DATA: The Department of Justice is asking Congress to permit it to pursue reciprocal agreements to serve warrants on data with other countries, addressing what has become a sticking point in investigations at home and abroad.

The pitch came as a Senate Judiciary subcommittee held hearings Wednesday to parse out the increasingly confusing world of investigating crimes when data is stored around the world.

Modern cloud storage, including web-based email accounts and other services, can store information anywhere on earth. The problem the Department of Justice and tech companies have begun to grapple with is that data stored in a different country is quite possibly outside of the DOJ's jurisdiction for warrants.

In a landmark case, a federal court ruled that Microsoft did not have to provide emails stored in Ireland requested in a warrant. But courts have differed on the issue. It is not entirely clear whether police demanding information stored internationally but accessible from within the United States are seizing evidence from the U.S. or the other country. Microsoft may be bound to both U.S. and Irish law, even if the two conflict.

"I'll make a bet," said subcommittee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTop Louisiana health official rips Cassidy over ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-S.C.). "I'll bet if Congress understands we can fix this, we will."

The solution for other countries seeking U.S stored data, the DOJ suggests, is that Congress allow it to negotiate reciprocal, bilateral agreements to serve data warrants. That suggestion has very little pushback. But the DOJ's plan for receiving data from other countries would be to reverse the Microsoft decision entirely, which would irk tech companies that would continue to be stuck in legal limbo between the laws of multiple countries.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

A LIGHTER CLICK: 

MAKE YOUR OWN FIDGET SPINNER, and be the master of your own attention span.

 

A REPORT IN FOCUS:

NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS TAKING BIGGER BITES OUT OF APPLE: Apple says the number of United States government requests for user data skyrocketed in the second half of 2016.

The computer and phone company released its twice-yearly transparency report Tuesday evening, showing that the number of National Security Letters more than doubled between the first and second half of 2016.

National Security Letters are similar to warrants but don't require the same evidentiary standard or approval from a judge for an agency to issue.

According to the report, between 5,750 and 5,999 National Security Letters were issued for data from 4,750 to 4,999 different accounts. National Security Letters (NSLs) usually contain a nondisclosure clause preventing a company like Apple from releasing information on the letters, even to users whose data has been requested. Companies can, however, issue reports giving a range of possible numbers.

This marks at least the sixth consecutive half where the number of NSLs rose. In first half of 2014, there were between 0-249 delivered to Apple. In second half 2014, there were between 250-499. In 2015, the government issued 750-999 followed by 1,250-1,499. And in the first half of 216, it issued 2,750-2,999.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

WHO'S IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

JOE LIEBERMAN: Former Democratic candidate for vice president Joe Lieberman is reportedly no longer in the running for FBI director, as President Trump looks to open up the field to new candidates.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainSenate's defense authorization would set cyber doctrine Senate Dems hold floor talk-a-thon against latest ObamaCare repeal bill Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (R-Ariz.) says that Democrats ended former Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-Conn.) chances at becoming FBI director.

"My Democratic colleagues clearly did [kill Lieberman's chances]," he told reporters Wednesday, according to CNN.

"This is their nominee for vice president of the United States. If anything would make you cynical about this town, that's it."

Democratic senators argued Lieberman lacked the same background in federal law enforcement previous FBI directors possessed.

Lieberman is also a partner at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, whom Trump is expected to retain to lead a team of private attorneys to represent him for the Russia investigation.

To read the rest of our piece, click here.

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Links from our blog, The Hill, and around the Web.

Paul Ryan doesn't think James Comey is a nut job. (The Hill)

A Silicon Valley trade group is skeptical about Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnCorker pressed as reelection challenges mount GOP braces for Bannon primary attacks Air Force One is Trump’s new boardroom MORE's (R-Tenn.) internet privacy bill. (The Hill)

Comcast sued over Comcastroturf.com, a pro net-neutrality site. (The Hill)

Two senators are renewing their war on botnets. (The Hill)

Senate Intelligence was briefed on Kaspersky Lab. (ABC News)

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