Per FBI: Foreign Telecoms Likely Hacked Hillary Emails

The Justice Department officials also used the words “reckless”, “stunning,” and “unbelievable” in discussing the controversy swirling around Clinton’s use of a private, nongovernment email account.

FBN Exclusive: DOJ Officials Fear Foreign Telecoms Hacked Clinton Emails, Server

FBN: Officials close to the matter at the Department of Justice are concerned the emails Hillary Clinton sent from her personal devices while overseas on business as U.S. Secretary of State were breached by foreign telecoms in the countries she visited—a list which includes China.

“Her emails could have easily been hacked into by telecoms in these countries. They got the emails first, and then routed them back to her home server. They could have hacked into both,” one Justice Department official close to the matter says.

Another Justice Department official adds: “Those telecommunications companies over there often have government workers in there. That telecom in that foreign country could then follow the trail of emails back to her server in the U.S. and break into the server” remotely over the Internet. At various points in this process, there were multiple entry points to hack into Clinton’s server to steal information, as well as eavesdrop, the Justice Department officials say.

This is the first indication that officials at the Justice Department are concerned that foreign telecom workers may have broken into Clinton’s emails and home server. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating the national security issues surrounding Clinton’s emails and server.

The Justice Department officials also used the words “reckless”, “stunning,” and “unbelievable” in discussing the controversy swirling around Clinton’s use of a private, nongovernment email account, as well as her use of a personal Blackberry (BBRY), an Apple (AAPL) iPad, and home server while U.S. Secretary of State. The officials did not indicate they have any knowledge of a breach at this point.

As for the effort to designate Clinton’s emails as classified or unclassified, the Justice Department officials agreed that, as one put it: “Every email she sent is classified because she herself is classified, because she is both Secretary of State and a former first lady.”

In addition, there’s a growing belief among cyber security experts at web security places like Venafi and Data Clone Labs that Clinton’s emails were unprotected in the first three months of her tenure in 2009 as the nation’s top diplomat, based on Internet scans of her server Venafi conducted at that time.

“For the first three months of Secretary Clinton’s term in office, from early January to late March, access to her home server was not encrypted or authenticated with a digital certificate,” Kevin Bocek, vice president of security strategy and threat intelligence at Venafi tells FOX Business. “That opens the risk that Clinton’s user name and password were exposed and captured, particularly in places she traveled to at this time, like China or Egypt. And that raises issues of national security,” adding “Attackers could have eavesdropped on communications, particularly in places like China, where the Internet and telecom infrastructure are built to do that.”

Digital certificates are the bedrock of Internet security. They verify the Web authenticity and legitimacy of an email server, and they let the recipient of an email know that an email is from a trusted source. Essentially, digital certificates are electronic passports attached to an email that verifies that a user sending an email is who he or she claims to be.

Because it appears Clinton’s server did not have a digital certificate in the first three months of 2009, “a direct attack on her server was likely at this time, and the odds are fairly high it was successful,” says Ira Victor, director of the digital forensic practice at Data Clone Labs.

In and around January 13, 2009, the day of Clinton’s Senate confirmation hearings, the domain name was registered. An estimated 62,320 emails were sent and received on Clinton’s private email account during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State. Later, 31,830 emails were erased from her private server because they were deemed personal.

Although Clinton previously has argued that there was no classified material on her home server in Chappaqua, N.Y., the U.S. Department of State has deemed 403 emails as classified, with three designated “top secret” (the State Dept. itself has been the subject of cyber hacking).

Clinton has maintained her home server did have “numerous safeguards,” but it’s unclear specifically what security measures were installed, and what those layers were. In September, Clinton apologized on ABC News for using a home server to manage her U.S. Department of State electronic correspondence.

Although Clinton and her team have indicated her emails were not hacked, not knowing about a breach is different from being hacked, cyber analysts tell FOX Business. Her campaign staffers did not return calls or emails for comment. “Even the NSA, the CIA, and Fortune 500 companies know they cannot make that claim that they have not been hacked. Everyone can be hacked,” says Bocek.

FOX News recently reported that an intelligence source familiar with the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s server said that the FBI is now focused on whether there were violations of the federal Espionage Act pertaining to “gross negligence” in the safeguarding of national defense information. Sets of emails released show that Clinton and top aides continuously sent information about foreign governments and sensitive conversations with world leaders, among other things, FOX News reported.

Secure communications and devices are routine in the federal government. For example, President Barack Obama received a secure Blackberry from the National Security Agency after he was elected, a former top NSA official tells FOX Business.

“I could not recall that I ever heard that a secure Blackberry was provided to Hillary Clinton.  No one else can either,” the former NSA official says, adding, “There is no way her calls were properly secured if she used her [personal] Blackberry.” Blackberry declined comment.

The former NSA official says the same issue is at play for Clinton’s iPad. “While there have been recent advances in securing iPhones and iPads, these were not available, in my opinion, when she was Secretary of State and there would have to be a record that she sought permission to use them with encryption,” the former NSA official says.

When traveling overseas, U.S. secretaries of states use secure phones that ensure end-to-end encryption, and in some cases, mutual authentication of the parties calling, the former NSA official said. Communications are conducted via secured satellite, digital networks or Internet telephony.

“I think I can say, with some confidence, that once any decent foreign intelligence service discovered she was using her personal phone and iPad, she would be targeted and it would be a high priority operation,” the former NSA official said, adding, “if the calls were unencrypted, it would be no challenge at all while she was overseas — they just have to get to the nearest cell tower.”

The first three months of her tenure as Secretary of State would have been an ideal time for hackers to break in, cyber security experts say.

Specifically, experts point to work done by cyber security experts at Venafi, which has revealed a three-month gap in security for Clinton’s home server after the Palo Alto, Calif. firm’s team had conducted routine, “non-intrusive Internet scanning” in January 2009.

Venafi’s Bocek tells FOX Business that he and his team had picked up Clinton’s domain,, at that time, and found that her home server had not been issued a digital certificate. That means email traffic to and from her server was unprotected from early January to late March 2009. During that time, Clinton traveled as U.S. Secretary of State to China, Indonesia, South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Palestine, Israel, Belgium, Switzerland, and Turkey.

“It also means anyone accessing her home server, including Clinton and other people, would have unencrypted access, including from devices and via web browsers,” says Bocek. “This means that during the first three months of Secretary Clinton’s term in office, web browser, smartphone, and tablet communications would not have been encrypted.”

Digital certificates are vital to Internet security. All “online banking, shopping, and confidential government communications wouldn’t be possible without the trust established by digital certificates,” says Bocek. “Computers in airplanes, cars, smartphones, all electronic communications, indeed trade around the world depend on the security from digital certificates.”

The Office of Management and Budget has now mandated that all federal web servers must use digital certificates by the end of 2016, Bocek notes.

If cyber hackers broke into Clinton’s server, they also could have easily tricked it into handing over usernames, passwords, or other sensitive information, Bocek noted.

“The concern is that log-on credentials could have been compromised during this time, especially given travel to China and elsewhere,” Bocek says opening the door to more lapses. “As we’ve seen with so many other breaches, to long-term, under-the-radar compromise by adversaries, hacks that Clinton and her team may not be aware of.”

Bocek adds: “Essentially, the cyber hacker would have looked to Clinton’s server like it was Secretary Clinton emailing.”

Digital forensic analyst Victor agrees. “It’s highly likely her emails sent during this time via her devices and on her server were not encrypted. More significantly, her log-on credentials, her user name and passwords, were almost certainly not encrypted,” says Victor, who has testified in cyber security cases as an expert forensic witness. “So that means emails from Clinton’s aides, like Huma Abedin, or anyone who had email accounts on her server, their communications were also likely unencrypted.”

Victor adds: “It’s highly likely all of their user names and passwords were being exposed on a regular basis to potential cyber attackers, with the high risk they were stolen by, for instance, government employees who could get the passwords for everyone Clinton was communicating with.”

Victor explains how Clinton’s emails from her devices could have been hacked, and malware could have been planted on her server. “Say Clinton emailed from her device during her Beijing trip in that 2009 period. Her emails would first get routed through the local, state-controlled Chinese telecom. The Chinese telecom captures those bits of emails that are broken up into electronic packets by the device she uses,” Victor explains.

Any device Clinton emailed from, Victor says, was constantly “polling and authenticating communications” between her device and her server. But all of the back-and-forth communication goes through, say, the Chinese telecom. When the device is polling her server with non-secure communications, it’s giving attackers repeat opportunities to breach.”

He continues: “If the connection was not protected, a state actor at the China telecom transmitting her email back to her server in the U.S. could breach both the device and the server at that point.”

Martin C. Libicki, a senior management scientist and cyber expert at Rand Corp., says that security on Clinton’s devices could have been higher than feared. But he says that, while the Blackberry device does have strong encryption, once Clinton zoomed emails from her Blackberry through the foreign telecom networks during those first three months of her tenure, “it was much easier to hack both the device and the server then.”

Venafi’s team, which included analysts Hari Nair and Gavin Hill, found Clinton and/or her team did eventually purchase digital certificates for the server and the domain name starting in March 2009.

Victor added: “But the question that needed to be asked then was, once the certificate was installed, did Clinton and her team warn anyone she had emailed during those first three months about the poor security during that time, did they warn them to reset their security passwords on all their devices?”

Govt Warns: Raise Your Shield

When one considers all the major hacking events including the Office of Personnel Management, this is truly a warning.

Sounds like they are telling us we are on our own but the advise is good and must be heeded.


National Counterintelligence and Security Center
Releases Social Media Deception Awareness Videos

Videos are second in a series released in the wake of the OPM records breach
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      
ODNI News Release No. 21-15
October 23, 2015

Today the ODNI’s National Counterintelligence and Security Center released the second in a four-part series of videos from its “Know the Risk—Raise Your Shield” campaign.

The latest campaign videos focus on social media deception, and are intended to help build public awareness of the inherent dangers that the use of social media—Facebook, Twitter, etc.—could present when appropriate protective measures are not taken.  There are two videos: a shorter attention-grabber and a second longer video which provides details about social media deception, how government officials or the public can recognize threats and what steps can be taken to minimize the risk of being deceived.

“The information the social media deception videos and overall campaign convey will increase individuals’ awareness of the dangers in cyberspace and provide common-sense tools to protect themselves from bad actors, be they criminals or foreign intelligence entities,” said NCSC Director Bill Evanina.

The NCSC launched the campaign last month in the wake of the Office of Personnel Management records breach to help those individuals, government or otherwise, whose personal information has been compromised.  The launch videos focused on “Spear Phishing Attacks,” while the final sets of videos—to be released in November and December, respectively—will focus on human targeting and awareness for travelers.  Each release contains a 30-45-second overview video and a more in-depth two minute video.

The NCSC provides effective leadership and support to the counterintelligence and security activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community, the U.S. government, and U.S. private sector entities who are at risk of intelligence collection or attack by foreign adversaries.

Server-Gate or Deep Throat Part 2?

Hillary says often that the State Department gave her permission to use a private server and email. Think about that, who at State did that? She was HEAD of the State Dept, so did she give herself permission? C’mon….

Then there is the excuse that everyone does it so it must be okay right?

State Department’s Cybersecurity Weakened Under Hillary Clinton

From 2011 to 2014, the State Department’s poor cybersecurity was identified by the inspector general as a “significant deficiency.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department was among the worst agencies in the federal government at protecting its computer networks while Hillary Rodham Clinton was secretary from 2009 to 2013, a situation that continued to deteriorate as John Kerry took office and Russian hackers breached the department’s email system, according to independent audits and interviews.

The State Department’s compliance with federal cybersecurity standards was below average when Clinton took over but grew worse in each year of her tenure, according to an annual report card compiled by the White House based on audits by agency watchdogs. Network security continued to slip after Kerry replaced Clinton in February 2013, and remains substandard, according to the State Department inspector general.

In each year from 2011 to 2014, the State Department’s poor cybersecurity was identified by the inspector general as a “significant deficiency” that put the department’s information at risk. The latest assessment is due to be published in a few weeks.

Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has been criticized for her use of a private email server for official business while she was secretary of state. Her private email address also was the recipient of malware linked to Russia, and her server was hit with malware from China, South Korea and Germany. The FBI is investigating whether her home server was breached.

State Department officials don’t dispute the compliance shortcomings identified in years of internal audits, but argue that the audits paint a distorted picture of their cybersecurity, which they depict as solid and improving. They strongly disagree with the White House ranking that puts them behind most other government agencies. Senior department officials in charge of cybersecurity would speak only on condition of anonymity. More here.

With Jake Tapper, Hillary laughed at this scandal…a weird moment in that interview.

Observer: Hillary Clinton emerged from Tuesday night’s inaugural Democratic debate in Las Vegas the clear leader in her party’s field. As Democrats attempt to hold onto the White House in 2016, polling demonstrated a revitalized Hillary campaign, which had been in the doldrums for months due to the ongoing scandal about her misuse of email as Secretary of State.

Mounting talk of Vice President Joe Biden entering the race–to take the place of an ailing Hillary–has dissipated in the wake of the debate, where Ms. Clinton dismissed the email issues as Republican-driven political theater. That Senator Bernie Sanders vigorously backed Ms. Clinton on the point helped her cause, as did her brusque dismissal of Lincoln Chafee’s efforts to raise the issue again, which got raucous applause from the crowd.

It’s evident the Democratic base agrees with Ms. Clinton that her emails are just GOP theatrics. President Obama reflected the sentiment in an interview with 60 Minutes airing two days before the debate, during which he allowed that Secretary Clinton had “made a mistake” with her email but it “is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”

Though the White House soon walked back on some of the president’s statements, which seemed to many to be inappropriate West Wing commentary regarding an ongoing FBI investigation, it’s apparent that the Clinton campaign and the Obama team have united around a message: this issue is fundamentally contrived by Republicans, and is certainly not a threat of any kind to national security.

Democrats unsurprisingly find this take congenial, but it’s less clear if other Americans consider it persuasive. Naturally, Republicans view Ms. Clinton’s email activities with a great deal of suspicion, but recent polls show even independents have concerns regarding EmailGate and Ms. Clinton’s honesty. While the Clinton camp is now confident the email problems will likely not bar her party’s nomination next summer, the issue may loom larger in the race for the White House next fall.

There’s also the matter of exactly what the FBI is investigating. Recent revelations hint that the compromising of classified information on Ms. Clinton’s “private” email and server was more serious than originally believed. While earlier reports indicated only a small percentage of the sensitive information that “spilled over” onto Ms. Clinton’s personal email was highly classified at the Top Secret level, that may be only a small portion of what was potentially compromised.

Particularly disturbing is the report that one of the “personal” emails Ms. Clinton forwarded included the name of a top CIA asset in Libya, who was identified as such. The source of this information was Tyler Drumheller, a retired senior CIA operations officer, who served as a sort of one-man private spy agency for Sid Blumenthal, the Clintons’ close family friend and factotum whose sometimes long-winded emails, particularly regarding Libya, have generated much of the controversy behind EmailGate.

Mr. Drumheller became a fleeting hero to liberals with his resistance to George W. Bush’s White House over skewed intelligence behind the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but he was never particularly popular at CIA and he left Langley under something of a cloud. His emails to Mr. Blumenthal, which were forwarded to Ms. Clinton, were filled with espionage-flavored information about events in Libya. In many cases, Mr. Drumheller’s reports were formatted to look exactly like actual CIA reports, including attribution to named foreign intelligence agencies. How much of this was factual versus Mr. Drumheller embellishing his connections is unclear.

What is abundantly clear is that the true name of an identified CIA asset is a highly classified fact and intentionally revealing it is a Federal crime, which Mr. Drumheller, a career spy, had to know. Why he compromised this person who was secretly helping the United States – possibly endangering his life in the process — may never be known because Mr. Drumheller conveniently died of cancer in early August.

Libya may have a great deal to worry about since new information continues to show just how slipshod Ms. Clinton’s security measures were for her “private” server. That Ms. Clinton’s server experienced multiple cyber-attacks from abroad, including by Russians, does not inspire confidence that any classified information stored in her emails remained in American hands.

To make matters worse, a recent investigation by the Associated Press demonstrates that even relatively low-skill hackers could have hacked Hillary’s unencrypted server, which was left vulnerable to exposure on the open Internet to a degree that cyber-warriors find difficult to believe. “Were they drunk?” a senior NSA official asked me after reading the AP report. “Anybody could have been inside that server – anybody,” he added.

Since the communications of any Secretary of State are highly sought after by dozens of intelligence agencies worldwide – a reality expressed by Secretary John Kerry recently when he said it’s “very likely” the Russians and Chinese are reading his email, a view that any veteran spy would endorse – Ms. Clinton putting her emails at such risk means they have to be assumed to be compromised. If the more skilled state-connected hackers in Russia can fool even NSA these days, they could have gotten into Hillary’s unprotected server without breaking a sweat.

This makes Mr. Obama’s quip that EmailGate represents no threat to American national security all the more puzzling in its dishonesty. Unsurprisingly, some at the FBI are not pleased the president made this pronouncement before the Bureau completed its investigation. “We got the message,” an FBI agent at the Washington Field Office, which is spearheading the EmailGate case, explained: “Obama’s not subtle sometimes.”

In 2012, while the FBI was investigating CIA director David Petraeus for mishandling classified information, Mr. Obama similarly dismissed the national security implications of the case at a press conference. Although FBI director James Comey pressed for serious charges against Mr. Petraeus, the White House demurred and the Department of Justice allowed him to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, sentenced to probation with no jail time.

Some at the FBI were displeased by this leniency and felt Mr. Obama showed his hand to the public early, compromising the Bureau’s investigation. Is the same happening with Ms. Clinton? It’s too soon to say, though the anger of some at the FBI has seeped into the media already. Comments to tabloids reflect the widespread frustration and fear among federal law enforcement and intelligence circles that Mr. Obama will let Ms. Clinton skate free from EmailGate.

For now, the FBI is pursuing its investigation with diligence, bringing other intelligence agencies into the case, and recent reports indicate that specific provisions of the Espionage Act are being re-read carefully, particularly regarding “gross negligence” – which may be the most appropriate charge that Ms. Clinton or members of her inner circle could face.

It will be weeks, even months, before the FBI’s investigation concludes and the Department of Justice has to decide whether any of the events surrounding EmailGate reach the threshold of prosecution. Many in the FBI and the Intelligence Community suspect the fix is already inside the West Wing to prevent that from happening, but it’s still early in this investigation.

It can be expected that if the White House blocks Hillary’s prosecution during the election campaign, leaks will commence with a vengeance. “Is there another Mark Felt out there, waiting?” asked a retired senior FBI official. “There usually is,” he added with a wry smile, citing the top Bureau official who, frustrated by the antics of the Nixon White House, became the notorious “Deep Throat”who leaked the dirty backstory to Watergate to the Washington, DC, media.

Mr. Obama and the Clinton camp should be advised to be careful about who they throw under the bus in this town.

Hacking of Dow Jones and CIA Director?

Out of control…exactly where are the upgrades to all government systems to prevent hacking further…what about those pesky personal email accounts that continue to pop up with classified material?

Heh….so Barack Obama takes an opportunity several weeks ago when the Chinese President was in town to say stop hacking us…or did he?

In part from WashingtonFreeBeacon: A U.S. cybersecurity firm that works with the government has evidence that Chinese government-linked hackers violated the cyber agreement reached between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping less than a month ago.

The Wall Street Journal reported that CrowdStrike Inc. will announce Monday that some of its customers fell victim to unsuccessful cyber attacks that violated the leaders’ Sept. 25 agreement to stop state-sponsored cyber attacks on companies for commercial gain.

According to the firm, customers from the technology and pharmaceutical industries that will remain unnamed were targeted by hackers linked to the Chinese government. A pair of hacking attempts occurred on the days before and after Obama hosted Jinping for a state dinner at the White House during which the leaders reached the agreement. Other attempted hacks continued through October.

The Obama administration is “aware” of the report from CrowdStrike.

“We are aware of this report. We’ll decline comment on its specific conclusions. We have and will continue to directly raise our concerns regarding cybersecurity with the Chinese,” a senior administration official stated.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted last month that he did not have confidence that the deal between Obama and Jinping would stop China from launching cyber attacks on U.S. businesses.

*** So who exactly nailed the Director of the CIA, John Brennan? Well a Palestinian sympathizer who is a ‘stoner’. (No pun intended)

Teen stoner says he hacked CIA director’s AOL account

From NYPost: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email scandal didn’t stop the head of the CIA from using his own personal AOL account to stash work-related documents, according to a stoner high school student who claims to have hacked into them.

CIA Director John Brennan’s private account held sensitive files — including his 47-page application for top-secret security clearance — until he recently learned that it had been infiltrated, the hacker told The Post.

Other emails stored in Brennan’s non-government account contained the Social Security numbers and personal information of more than a dozen top American intelligence officials, as well as a government letter about the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, according to the hacker.

The FBI and other federal agencies are now investigating the hacker, with one source saying criminal charges are possible, law enforcement sources said.

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future,” said a source who described the situation as “just wild” and “crazy.”

“I can’t believe he did this to the head of the CIA,’’ the source added. “[The] problem with these older-generation guys is that they don’t know anything about cybersecurity, and as you can see, it can be problematic.”

In a series of phone conversations with The Post, the hacker described himself as an American high school student who is not Muslim and was motivated by opposition to US foreign policy and support for Palestine.

He wouldn’t reveal his name or say where he lived but made good on a promise to tweet “CWA owns John Brennan of the CIA” as a means of verifying his control over the @phphax Twitter account.

Hello guys this Twitter account is going now as things are starting to get hot, we will still be getting our words out though. 😉

If i go quiet on this account, the CIA losers have found me and I’m being tortured by their stupid methods of ruining a guys thoughts.

He explained “CWA” stood for “Crackas With Attitude,” which he said referred to him and a classmate with whom he smokes pot.

The hacker contacted The Post last week to brag about his exploits, which include posting some of the stolen documents and a portion of Brennan’s contact list on Twitter. The hacker’s Twitter page includes the Muslim Shahada creed, which translates as, “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”

He said the stolen documents were stored as attachments to about 40 emails that he read after breaking into Brennan’s account on Oct. 12, more than six months after the controversy erupted over Clinton’s use of a private computer server to handle emails while serving as secretary of state.

The hacker said he used a tactic called “social engineering” that involved tricking workers at Verizon into providing Brennan’s personal information and duping AOL into resetting his password.

Brennan’s account was disabled as of Friday, he said.

He claimed he has repeatedly prank-called America’s top spy since August, once reciting Brennan’s Social Security number to him.

“He waited a tiny bit and hung up,” the hacker said.

And he also got into the online Comcast account of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and posted a redacted screenshot of a billing page. He claimed that he listened to Johnson’s voicemails.

In a statement, the CIA said: “We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities.”

*** Then to Dow Jones….

Bloomberg states that the ongoing investigation conducted by US authorities was probing allegations that there is a Russian gang behind the Dow Jones hack.

Dow Jones has provided further information on the data breach that the company has recently suffered.

A week ago, the CEO of Dow Jones & Co disclosed the incident confirming that 3,500 people were affected.

The Dow Jones firm confirmed it discovered unauthorized access to its customer payment system that occurred between August 2012 and July 2015.

The investigators believe that the attackers were searching for contact information of current and former Dow Jones subscribers, whom records include name, addresses, email addresses, and phone numbers.

“As part of the investigation to date, we also determined that payment card and contact information for fewer than 3,500 individuals could have been accessed, although we have discovered no direct evidence that information was stolen. We are sending those individuals a letter in the mail with more information about the support we are offering. If you do not receive such a letter, we have no indication that your financial information was involved,” the letter states published by the Dow Jones Chief Executive William Lewis .

Yesterday Bloomberg reported that the ongoing investigation conducted by the FBI, US financial watchdog the SEC, and America’s Secret Service were probing allegations that there is a Russian criminal ring behind the attack. According to the investigators, the Russian gang was financially motivated, the hackers search for unpublished financial data and news articles and press releases from the Dow Jones computers to get an edge on the market. Attackers are now stealing sensitive information and selling it to traders and operators in the industry.

“A group of Russian hackers infiltrated the servers of Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Wall Street Journal and several other news publications, and stole information to trade on before it became public, according to four people familiar with the matter.” states Bloomberg Business.

Next up, Normalizing Relations with North Korea

Sheesh, this blogger has been predicting this….. THE MADNESS CONTINUES:

North Korea reportedly willing to sign peace treaty with US to end conflict

FNC: North Korea reportedly rejected the idea of resuming talks to abandon its nuclear program on Saturday, but said it would welcome negotiations for a peace treaty with Washington.

North Korea’s foreign ministry made the statement one day after President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye said they were ready to open talks with Pyongyang on sanctions if they were serious about dissolving its nuclear program, according to Reuters.

“If the United States insists on taking a different path, the Korean peninsula will only see our unlimited nuclear deterrent being strengthened further,” the North said in a statement.

North and South Korea are still technically at war after signing a truce in 1953 to temporarily end their conflict. The U.S. also signed the deal after backing the South.

Obama, while meeting with Park on Friday, said Iran had been prepared to have a “serious conversation” about the possibility of giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. He said there’s no indication of that in North Korea’s case.

“At the point where Pyongyang says, `We’re interested in seeing relief from sanctions and improved relations, and we are prepared to have a serious conversation about denuclearization,’ it’s fair to say we’ll be right there at the table,” Obama told a joint news conference.

In a joint statement after Friday’s meeting, the U.S. and South Korea said that if North Korea decides to launch another rocket into space or test a nuclear explosion, “it will face consequences, including seeking further significant measures by the U.N. Security Council.” The statement also said they would never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

North Korea had walked away from talks involving the U.S. and four other countries in 2008 and continued to conduct nuclear tests. It claims the only way to end conflict with Washington is to sign a peace treaty.

Park’s visit Friday further strengthened South Korea’s ties with the U.S.

U.S. retains 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, and nearly 50,000 troops in Japan. Obama called the U.S.-South Korean alliance “unbreakable.” Park called it a “lynchpin” of regional security.

In August, the two Koreas threatened each other with war after two South Korean soldiers were wounded by land mines Seoul says were planted by the North. The tensions have since eased, and the two sides have agreed to resume next week reunions of Korean families divided by the Korean War.

The Obama administration has faced criticism from hawks and doves alike for a lack of high-level attention on North Korea, which estimated to have enough fissile material for between 10 and 16 nuclear weapons. More details here.

From McClatchy:

Obama said the U.S. would be willing to talk with North Korea about sanctions relief and improved relations if it agreed to give up nuclear weapons. He said there’s no indication that the government in Pyongyang can “foresee a future in which they did not possess or were not pursuing nuclear weapons.”

Citing the U.S. outreach to Cuba and the agreement to limit Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, Obama said the U.S. is “prepared to engage nations with which we have had troubled histories.” He stressed that he and Park reaffirmed that neither country would accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state and will insist that Pyongyang abide by its obligations.

“These are both countries that have a long history of antagonism towards the United States,” he said of Iran and North Korea. “But we were prepared to have a serious conversation with the Iranians once they showed that they were serious about the possibility of giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Saying nothing of human rights violations, the official White House statement is here:

2015 United States-Republic of Korea Joint Statement on North Korea

On October 16, 2015, President Barack Obama of the United States of America and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea committed to the following.

The United States-Republic of Korea alliance remains committed to countering the threat to peace and security posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as other provocations. We will maintain our robust deterrence posture and continue to modernize our alliance and enhance our close collaboration to better respond to all forms of North Korean provocations.

The United States and the Republic of Korea share deep concern about the continued advancement of North Korea’s UN-proscribed nuclear and missile capabilities and commit to address the North Korean nuclear problem with utmost urgency and determination.

We reaffirm our commitment to our common goal, shared by the international community, to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea in a peaceful manner. North Korea’s continuing development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is an ongoing violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and is contrary to North Korea’s commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. We strongly urge North Korea to immediately and fully comply with its international obligations and commitments.

We oppose any actions by North Korea that raise tensions or violate UN Security Council resolutions. In particular, if North Korea carries out a launch using ballistic missile technology or a nuclear test, it will face consequences, including seeking further significant measures by the UN Security Council.  In this regard, we are committed to working with the international community to ensure the effective and transparent implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions, including sanctions measures, concerning North Korea, and we encourage all states to exercise strict vigilance against North Korea’s prohibited activities.

The United States and the Republic of Korea maintain no hostile policy towards North Korea and remain open to dialogue with North Korea to achieve our shared goal of denuclearization. Recognizing the common interests of our Six-Party Talks partners in the denuclearization of North Korea, we will continue to strengthen our coordination with China and the other parties in order to bring North Korea, which has refused all offers of denuclearization dialogue, back to credible and meaningful talks as soon as possible.

We reaffirm that we will never accept North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state, and that its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is incompatible with its economic development goals. Along with the rest of the international community, we stand ready to offer a brighter future to North Korea, if North Korea demonstrates a genuine willingness to completely abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and agrees to abide by its international obligations and commitments.

The United States appreciates President Park’s tireless efforts to improve inter-Korean relations, including through repeated overtures to North Korea, and welcomes President Park’s principled approach that resulted in a peaceful resolution of the August tensions.  The United States will continue to strongly support her vision of a peacefully unified Korean Peninsula, as envisaged in her Dresden address. We will intensify high-level strategic consultations to create a favorable environment for the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.

The Republic of Korea and the United States join the international community in condemning the deplorable human rights situation in North Korea as documented in the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry report. We look forward to supporting the work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Seoul). We remain dedicated to working with the international community to improve the human rights situation in North Korea and ensure accountability for human rights violations, as well as to improve the livelihood of the people in North Korea.