Breaking: Russia Launched ‘Sophisticated’ Attack Against U.S. Military Establishment

Image for representational purposes only.

Russia is behind a “sophisticated cyberattack” against the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff unclassified e-mail system, NBC News reported Thursday.

Officials told NBC that what they termed “sophisticated cyber intrusion” occurred around July 25 and affected some 4,000 military and civilian personnel who work for the Joint Chiefs. The e-mail system was shut down and has been off line for nearly two weeks.

While the officials said it’s not clear whether the attack was sanctioned by the Russian government or conducted by individuals, given the scope of the attack, “It was clearly the work of a state actor.”

According to the officials, the cyberattack relied on an automated system that rapidly gathered massive amounts of data and within a minute distributed all the information to thousands of accounts on the Internet, NBC reported. The suspected Russian hackers coordinated the cyberassault via encrypted accounts on social media, officials told NBC.

No classified information was seized or compromised, officials told NBC.

“There is a Cold War in cybersecurity and that’s a fact,” FireEye Inc. CEO Dave DeWalt said earlier this month. The cybersecurity expert who formerly led McAfee said the majority of cyber attacks are initiated by groups affiliated with a government entity.

“There’s a grand chess game being played out in cyber,” he said.

In July, The Daily Beast reported that the Defense Department warned that “at least five” DOD computer users have been targeted and linked the July attacks to the hacking of unclassified networks at the White House and State Department that began last year.

h/t: NBC News

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

The U.S. Military Is About To Make A Giant Change That Would Be Unimaginable Not Long Ago

The United States military could be one step closer to lifting the ban on transgender individuals who wish to serve in the armed forces, a report says.

The Associated Press reported Monday that the Defense Department will be announcing a six month process in which all of the armed services will study the impact of integration of transgender individuals.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has tapped his undersecretary for personnel, Brad Carson, to form a group of senior military and civilian personnel to study the practical effects of this change, including costs and whether or not it will affect readiness. Uniform guidelines will also be discussed, the AP report said. Transgender individuals will still not be allowed to join the military during this phase, though officials told the AP that those already serving who are transgender will be referred to Carson’s office.

“We must ensure that everyone who’s able and willing to serve has the full and equal opportunity to do so,” Carter said in a statement to the AP. “And we must treat all of our people with the dignity and respect they deserve. Going forward the Department of Defense must and will continue to improve how we do both.”

A movement to end the ban on transgender individuals started when Bradley Manning was convicted of espionage charges in August 2013. Not long thereafter, Manning presented herself as a woman, Chelsea, and requested hormone treatment from prison, which the Army approved in February.

Assuming the Pentagon lifts the ban, it will be first ban lifted based on sexual orientation since Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) was overturned in 2010, enabling gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Is it okay for transgender individuals to fight for their country? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Breaking: Pentagon Reveals ‘Live Anthrax’ Was Shipped Across These 9 States

The Pentagon revealed on Wednesday that live anthrax was sent from Utah to as many as nine states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in the process of retrieving the samples, which a Pentagon spoksman said were shipped by accident.

Fox News reports that four people in three companies are being treated for “post-exposure” and being prescribed prophylaxis.

The material in question was prepared at Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah and sent to the Defense Department and commercial labs in nine states. Some of those labs sent the anthrax to other locations.

The samples were only supposed to contain dead anthrax spores; however, a lab in Maryland, after testing the material, believed it to be live and contacted the CDC on Friday. The CDC confirmed the sample was live and will test the samples shipped to other locations.

A Pentagon spokesman said: “There is no known risk to the general public, and there are no suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax infection in potentially exposed lab workers.”

He added that the reason the lab created anthrax was to develop better testing methods for detecting the biological agent in the field.

The states that received the shipments are: Texas, Maryland, Wisconsin, Delaware, New Jersey, Tennessee, New York, California and Virginia.

According to ABC News, a Defense Department official believes that all samples have now been secured.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

‘Dystopia’ DHS Wargame For Jade Helm In Texas?

Wargaming has been a tool for military planners throughout recorded history; and for decades, militaries have used computer technology to make simulated exercises more complex and fruitful.  More recently, the US Department of Homeland Security developed their own wargames with help from the Department of Defense.

One of these tools, first released in 2009, is called Dystopia: Where Bad Things Happen. The toolset is a “…collection of geospecific and meta data…” including a detailed map, which functions like Google Earth, and a Wiki-type encyclopedia called Dystopedia.

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Dystopia gives the DHS Center for Homeland Defense and Security the means to practice real-world actions with a wide range of information, including in-depth intelligence about private individuals and organizations such as churches and Boys and Girls Clubs.

The overview states that Dystopia “…is continually being developed and extended with people and places…”–although from December of 2014 until this week, the only noticeable change has been the addition of cemeteries.

The overview also states that Dystopia is a purely fictional world, comprised of several small communities as well as two large urban areas “…separated by a regional boundary that can serve a county line, state line or national border, depending on the requirements of the scenario.”

However, the territory on one side of this supposedly generic boundary is labeled Mexico; and with that information, it becomes clear that the other side is almost certainly Texas.

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For instance, the two major urban areas, separated by a border, are called Diablo Valley and Nuevo Diablo; which could represent the two major cities of the Rio Grande Valley, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.

The Texas side of the map also has a major port city. This city has a U.S. Coast Guard station and several embassies, and every oil pipeline on the map leads to the refineries found there.  It takes no stretch of the imagination to see this as Houston. The coastline also has geographically significant barrier islands, just as Texas does.

The US side of the map is incredibly more detailed than the Mexican side, which has few strategically important features aside from power plants and a military base. However, on the other side of the border, one can spend hours sifting through categorized layers of information.

In addition to utilities, zoning districts, and transportation routes, the locations of apartment complexes and civic organizations are also pinpointed. Even organizations that seem unrelated to DHS functions are marked, such as the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels, the West Side Chess Club.

Of course, no domestic training scenario would be complete without a contingent of white supremacists; and in Dystopia, the supremacists have a rural compound, which the DHS classifies as a “house of worship”.

By itself, the Dystopia tool raises many questions, especially given the failure of the DHS to control our southern border. Yet taken in context with the upcoming Jade Helm exercise, the plans for which pre-date 2013, Texans should demand answers from the DHS.

How long have they been training for dystopia in Texas? What scenarios are they preparing for, and what plans do they intend to execute?

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

House Won’t Allow ‘Dreamers’ To Enlist In Military

The House rejected a provision Thursday that would have allowed illegal immigrant “Dreamers” to enlist in the military.

The lower chamber voted 221 to 202 to not add the Dreamer language in a comprehensive defense spending bill. All of the ‘no’ votes came from the GOP, though 20 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for the measure, The Washington Times reported.

“It makes no sense to me that, at the same time the Army is downsizing and issuing pink slips to American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, there are Congressmen who seek to help illegal aliens deprive American citizens and lawful immigrants of military service opportunities,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said in a statement after the vote. Brooks led the charge against against the language:

I’m pleased the House chose to stand up for American citizens and protect the Constitutional duty of Congress to set immigration law.

Today’s vote was the fourth rejection of the President’s unconstitutional DACA program, with Republicans overwhelmingly standing up for the will of the American people and the citizens and lawful immigrants who want to serve our country.

The language was presented by Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., a former Marine who served in Iraq. While he acknowledged the measure had little chance of clearing the Republican-controlled House, he attacked his opponents in a press release Thursday:

DREAMers are talented and patriotic; they are Americans in every way except on paper, and our country would benefit from having them as part of our Armed Forces.

The strength of our military isn’t just measured by the size of our arsenal or by the sophistication of our weapons but by the quality of our people. I would have been proud to serve beside these young men and women.

“This is yet another example of an anti-immigrant attitude on the part of House Republicans,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,” D-Calif. The $612 billion defense bill was approved 269 to 151 Friday. The Hill breaks down the details of the bill:

The bill keeps ceilings on defense spending in place under the 2011 budget deal that introduced sequestration spending limits, but would increase funding to the Pentagon’s war fund.

The legislation authorizes roughly $523 billion in base Defense Department spending. Another $90 billion is included in the war fund, formally known as the Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

It includes $38 billion more for the war fund than had been requested by the White House. The extra spending is not offset by spending cuts or tax hikes.

The White House also opposes language in the bill meant to prevent the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

Do you support Mo Brooks? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth