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Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers introduce resolution condemning QAnon | US Cyber Command leader vows to ‘defend forward’ in protecting nation from cyberattacks

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BIPARTISAN QANON RESOLUTION: Reps. Denver Riggleman (R-Va.) and Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) introduced a bipartisan resolution Tuesday condemning QAnon.

The sprawling conspiracy theory centers around the baseless belief that President Trump and his allies are working with the military to expose a shadowy cabal of elites who control U.S. politics and run child trafficking rings.

But it also casts a wide net, bringing in people who believe, for example, that Hillary Clinton engages in Satanic sacrifices or that John F. Kennedy Jr. is alive and in hiding. 

Malinowski warned that letting the theory fester without condemnation could prove dangerous.

“Conspiracy theories that falsely blame secret cabals and marginalized groups for the problems of society have long fueled prejudice, violence and terrorism,” he said in a statement. “It’s time for us to come together across party lines to say that QAnon has no place in our nation’s political discourse.”

Riggleman — who lost a primary for his seat earlier this year and is one of the most vocal opponents of the theory within the GOP — called QAnon “a danger and a threat that has no place in our country’s politics.”

“I think we’ve got to look at stopping sort of the fringes of the parties controlling any type of narrative when it comes to these types of theories,” he told The Hill in an interview. 

The resolution outlines several examples of criminal activity and violence tied to the supporters of the conspiracy theory, which has been labeled by the FBI a potential domestic terrorism threat.

It also highlights the theory’s anti-Semitic undercurrents, a common thread between many of the conspiracies under QAnon’s tent.

Beyond condemning QAnon, the resolution calls for the FBI and federal law enforcement to dedicate more resources to countering conspiracy-driven extremism. 

Read more.

CYBER COMMAND STEPS UP: National Security Agency Director and U.S. Cyber Command Commander Paul Nakasone on Tuesday detailed how the U.S. is using a “defend forward” strategy against those attempting to interfere in U.S. elections or targeting the nation in other ways online. 

Nakasone described the more offensive strategy of Cyber Command in an op-ed for Foreign Affairs co-written with his senior advisor Michael Sulmeyer, pointing to efforts to counter foreign targeting of elections, COVID-19 research, and the online fight against ISIS. 

Nakasone described the new approach as “defending forward,” going toe-to-toe with adversaries seeking to do the U.S. harm in cyberspace. 

“Cyber Command implements this defend forward strategy through the doctrine of persistent engagement,” Nakasone wrote. “The idea behind persistent engagement is that so much of the corrosive effects of cyber attacks against the United States occur below the threshold of traditional armed conflict. Yet much of Cyber Command’s combat power had been devoted toward preparations in the event of future contingencies.”

“We realized that Cyber Command needs to do more than prepare for a crisis in the future; it must compete with adversaries today,” he added. 

According to Nakasone, a mission to Montenegro by Cyber Command personnel last year to assist in fighting back against Russian hacking efforts against Montenegrin government networks was one way in which the agency was able to prepare to defend the 2020 elections from interference. 

“Montenegro has faced increased harassment from Russia since joining NATO in 2017, and the Cyber Command team was there to investigate signs that hackers had penetrated the Montenegrin government’s networks,” he wrote. “Working side by side with Montenegrin partners, the team saw an opportunity to improve American cyber defenses ahead of the 2020 election.”

Nakasone highlighted the efforts by Cyber Command and other federal agencies including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to secure U.S. elections, writing that a “concerted effort to undermine the midterm elections” was successfully disrupted in 2018 due to this partnership.

“Together with its partners, Cyber Command is doing all of this and more for the 2020 elections,” he noted. 

Read more here. 

DEMS REQUEST CYBER BRIEFING: Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) asked the Trump administration on Monday to provide more details on the recent seizure of cryptocurrency assets of several major terrorist groups.

The request came two weeks after the Justice Department announced that the federal government had seized and dismantled cryptocurrency efforts of al Qaeda, ISIS and the al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing.

The cyber-enabled cryptocurrency schemes used social media to raise money for the groups that included using the COVID-19 pandemic to raise funds. 

Cleaver, the chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, and Gottheimer, a member of the subcommittee, requested that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Attorney General William Barr brief the subcommittee on the operation.

“It is vital that Members of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy receive a briefing, at the appropriate classification level, on this action, the largest ever seizure of online terrorist financing, from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury on this investigation,” Cleaver and Gottheimer wrote.

They also requested that the Treasury Department provide an “assessment” of its efforts to confront malicious actors targeting U.S. financial networks.  

“This will further inform the Subcommittee on what legislative actions we should be undertaking to provide regulators and law enforcement the proper resources and tools to continue to address the illicit use of cryptocurrency and disrupt terrorist organizations’ financial networks,” the House Democrats wrote.

Read more.

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), who delivered the final speech of night one of the Republican National Convention, predicts mail-in ballots will work “just fine,” despite concerns raised by President Trump that mail-in balloting will open the door to election fraud.

Scott, in an interview with NBC News’s “Today,” said that in contrast to the president, he has “a lot of confidence in our electoral process.”

Scott told host Savannah Guthrie that he’s “confident that we will have fair elections across this country.”

“This process of mail-in ballots will work out just fine,” he said.

Scott, who played a leading role in putting together a Senate Republican police reform bill earlier this year, has emerged as an increasingly influential figure within the GOP.

His comments on mail-in ballots undercut Trump’s repeated claims that Democrats are pushing for expanded voting by mail as an attempt to steal the election.

Trump made the argument again Monday during a surprise appearance at the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., where he spoke for an hour after being officially nominated for reelection.

Read more here. 

UBER’S POLL SUPPORTS UBER’S PLAN (DUH): Ride-hailing giant Uber released a poll showing their drivers “overwhelmingly support” being classified as independent contractors.

The survey, first obtained by Axios, found 82 percent of drivers support their independent contractor status. Only 15 percent said they would prefer a traditional employment status.

“Drivers and Voters overwhelmingly support Uber’s new Independent Contractor (IC) plan … that allows Drivers to continue to work as Independent Contractors, maintaining the flexibility and freedom of working independently, but gives them access to benefits that today are only available to employees under existing labor laws,” according to the firms that conducted the poll — Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group.

Ride-hailing apps like Uber contract drivers who use their own vehicles and work on their own terms. Though some may work as many hours as a full-time employee, they are not entitled to a health insurance or other benefits.

Uber has started discussing a flexible benefits plan for drivers that would allow them to keep their independent status. The new poll found 89 percent of drivers support the plan.

Read more.


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Tags Denver Riggleman Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Josh Gottheimer Steven Mnuchin Tim Scott Tom Malinowski William Barr

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