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Explainer: How Do Security Clearances Work?

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations.

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Jury Gets Manafort Case

The fate of President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort is in the hands of the jury.

The six men and six women will start deliberating Thursday on whether Manafort is guilty of tax and bank fraud. 

Manafort’s life was “littered with lies” as he pursued a lavish lifestyle, a U.S  prosecutor said in his closing argument  Wednesday. 

“Mr. Manafort lied to keep more money when he had it, and he lied to get more money when he didn’t,” prosecutor Greg Andres said.

Defense doesn’t call any witnesses

But defense attorney Richard Westling told the jury Manafort should be acquitted. He said the government had not met its burden to prove that Manafort was “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” the standard for a conviction in the U.S. legal system.

Westling said that is the reason the defense decided to rest Its case without calling any witnesses to testify, including Manafort himself.

Westling attacked the government’s contention that Manafort hid millions of dollars in offshore accounts to avoid U.S. taxes so he could fund luxurious purchases. He said Manafort had an adjusted net worth of $21.3 million at the end of 2016.

“Given this evidence, how can we say he didn’t have money?” Westling said.

Westling also attacked the prosecution’s star witness — Manafort’s former deputy chairman in the Trump campaign Rick Gates — as a liar and a thief. 

Gates had already pleaded guilty before Manafort’s trial to helping him hide millions in income from U.S. tax authorities and is awaiting sentencing.

Along with hours of testimony about Manafort’s finances, Gates acknowledged he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manafort in part to finance an extra-marital affair in London and lied about his own role in hiding money in offshore accounts.

Prosecutor Andres alleges that overall, Manafort “failed to pay taxes on more than $15 million” in income. It is money the government claims he used to buy palatial mansions,  elaborate landscaping, fancy suits and jackets, electronics and other high-priced items. 

Much of the money, the government alleges, came from Manafort’s lobbying for deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was toppled in a popular 2014 uprising in Kyiv before fleeing to exile in Russia.

But Andres alleged that when the stream of money from Yanukovych dried up four years ago, Manafort financed his luxurious lifestyle by securing about $20 million in bank loans in the U.S. by lying about his assets and debts on loan applications.

“He lied and lied again,” Andres said.

Prosecutors offer two weeks of testimony

Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller presented two weeks of testimony against Manafort, accusing him of hiding millions of dollars in offshore accounts he earned while lobbying for Yanukovych in the years before Manafort joined Trump’s campaign.

The case has drawn particular interest in the U.S. because it is the first trial conducted by Mueller’s prosecutors in their wide-ranging investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

They are probing whether Trump associates conspired with Russia to help Trump win the White House and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the investigation.

However, the case against Manafort, a long-time Washington lobbyist, only peripherally touched on the campaign. Instead, it dealt almost totally on accusations about his financial transactions and what he did with the money from Yanukovych and the bank loans.

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Trump Revokes Security Clearance of Former CIA Director

The security clearance of a former Central Intelligence Agency director was revoked Wednesday by U.S. President Donald Trump, who said in a statement that John Brennan had been sowing “division and chaos” about his administration.

The clearances of other former officials also were under review, including those of former U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former Obama administration national security adviser Susan Rice, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates. 

“Security clearances for those who still have them may be revoked, and those who have already their lost their security clearance may not be able to have it reinstated,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said to reporters Wednesday, reading out the statement in the president’s name.

Sarah Sanders Reads Trump Statement Revoking Clearances

Sanders, responding to reporters’ questions, denied that Brennan and others were being singled out because they were critics of Trump.

The president’s statement accused Brennan of “erratic conduct and behavior” that “has tested and far exceeded the limits of any professional courtesy that may have been due to him.” It also accused Brennan of “a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility.” 

Brennan has been extremely critical and outspoken about the president’s conduct. For example, he called Trump’s performance at a joint press conference last month with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland ​ “nothing short of treasonous.”

Brennan, on Twitter, termed Trump’s action Wednesday part of a broader effort “to suppress freedom of speech and punish critics,” adding that it “should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out.”

Brennan, who spent 25 years with the CIA, concluded: “My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent.” 

“Two things, in my view, are true at the same time,” Carmen Medina, former CIA deputy director of intelligence,  told VOA. “It was unwise for Brennan to be so vitriolic in his comments — unwise but not illegal. And it is an abuse of power for Trump to revoke clearances, unless he can prove misuse of classified information, which I don’t think he can.”

Such former top officials, as a matter of courtesy, retain their government clearances so that they may be able to consult with current government officials or take outside positions for contracted entities that are involved with sensitive intelligence matters.

An official with knowledge of the process told VOA that senior intelligence officials “had no hand in this, no role in this.” 

Both the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Central Intelligence Agency referred to the White House all questions from VOA about the matter.

Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, applauded the president’s action, saying he had urged the president to do so because Brennan’s “behavior in government and out of it demonstrate why he should not be allowed near classified information.”

“He participated in a shredding of constitutional rights, lied to Congress, and has been monetizing and making partisan political use of his clearance since his departure,” Paul said in a statement.

​Danger seen to free speech, security

But critics of the move to strip Brennan’s clearance called it a threat to free speech and even national security.

“It’s unprecedented. I don’t know of a case where this has ever been done in the past,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on CNN. 

Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who had been appointed to top intelligence posts by both Republican and Democratic presidents, called Trump’s action “an infringement of our right to speak and apparently the appropriateness of being critical of this president, in which one degree or another all of us have been.”

Clapper noted he’d had no access to intelligence information since he left government on the day Trump was inaugurated, succeeding Barack Obama.

The threat to pull his security clearance, Clapper added, would not silence him. “I don’t plan to stop speaking when I’m asked my views on this administration,” Clapper said on CNN.

Retired General Michael Hayden, who headed both the CIA and NSA during his career, said losing his clearance would “have a marginal impact” on the work he’s doing now. He also said fear of losing that clearance wouldn’t stop him from speaking his mind.

“With regard to the implied threat today that I could lose my clearance, that will have no impact on what I think, say or write,” he said in an emailed statement.

Most of the names on the list that Sanders read “have been open or outspoken about the administration or have directly run afoul of it,” Clapper said.

The current administration has questioned the loyalties of such officials, viewing their comments as attacks against the president, especially those focusing on the intelligence findings that Russia intervened in the 2016 election won by Trump.

Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA officer now with Georgetown University in Washington, told VOA that arguments could be made for and against former senior officials retaining security clearances after they’ve left those positions.  But he added that the decision should not be made because of opinions they express.

Politicization of process

“Deciding on such a basis represents a corruption and politicization of an important national security process,” Pillar said. “The harm to U.S. national security comes from that corruption, much more so than from not being able to get advice in classified channels from John Brennan or any other former official. What’s to stop Trump from politicization of the clearance process for currently serving officials?”

A former CIA deputy director, John McLaughlin, speaking on MSNBC after Sanders read the names, said, “The message that goes out is: Be careful what you say” about Trump. 

McLaughlin said it was critical for intelligence professionals, especially those still in their jobs, to be able to deliver unpleasant news to a president, and he expressed hope that Trump’s action would not have a chilling effect on those who brief the president.

“This has zero to do with national security. This is an Official Enemies List. The offense: exercising 1st Amendment rights,” tweeted Michael Bromwich, a former inspector general of the Justice Department, which oversees federal law enforcement.

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Проект нової редакції правопису винесли на громадське обговорення

Зауваження і пропозиції до напрацьованого документу прийматимуть до 15 вересня

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Регіони отримають 400 тисяч доз вакцини від поліомієліту – МОЗ

Міністерство охорони здоров’я планує найближчим часом розіслати планову партію інактивованої вакцини для профілактики поліомієліту. Найбільше доз препарату «Імовакс Поліо» поїде до Одеської області – 34,3 тисячі. Найменше – в підконтрольні уряду райони Луганської області – 1 600.

В МОЗ нагадують: ліків від поліомієліту не існує, а для того, щоб запобігти захворюванню, дитина має отримати чотири щеплення до 18 місяців, а також пройти ревакцинацію у віці 6 та 14 років.

Навесні в міністерстві повідомляли, що вакцини закуповують із буферним запасом в 25%. За даними відомства, станом на початок серпня в Україні було доступно понад 474 тисячі доз «Імовакс Поліо».

Загалом, за інформацією МОЗ, Україна закуповує вакцини для профілактики 10-ти захворювань: гепатиту В, туберкульозу, дифтерії, кашлюку, правця, поліомієліту, хіб-інфекції (гемофільної інфекції), кору, краснухи, паротиту (свинки).

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Через обвал мосту в Італії постраждали двоє українців – консульство

Двоє громадян України, які постраждали внаслідок обвалу мосту в італійській Генуї, перебувають у лікарні «Сан Мартін». Про це повідомило генеральне консульство України в Мілані. В консульстві запевняють, що підтримують зв’язок із лікарнею.

До інших лікарень постраждалих українців не привозили. За даними консульства, серед загиблих внаслідок обвалу мосту Моранді також немає громадян України.

Раніше Міністерство закордонних справ України закликало українців, які перебувають в Генуї, дати знати про себе рідним.

Напередодні міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін висловив свої співчуття італійському народові у зв’язку з трагедією.

Тим часом кількість загиблих через цю подію сягнула 39 осіб, повідомляють західні медіа.

Міст Morandi був відкритий у 1967 році. Його висота становить 90 метрів, а довжина – понад кілометр. Частина мосту обвалилася під час дощу 14 серпня. На місці події продовжують працювати рятувальники.

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У Києві запрацювала система громадського велопрокату – КМДА

У Києві почала роботу система громадського велопрокату Bike sharing, повідомляє Київська міська адміністрація на своєму сайті. Планується, що такий прокат буде коштувати 30 грн за півгодини, місячний абонемент – 199 гривень, а на сезон – за 599 гривень.

Щоб узяти велосипед в оренду потрібно скачати мобільний додаток Nextbike, зареєструватися в ньому та зчитати QR-код із велосипеда на парковці.

«Система велопрокату столиці спочатку буде розрахована на 33 велостанції. Їх розміщують у найбільш зручних місцях: біля станцій метро «Лук’янівська», на Оболонському проспекті біля станцій метро «Почайна», «Золоті ворота», «Арсенальна», «Оболонь», «Мінська», «Героїв Дніпра», «Лівобережна», «Харківська», «Позняки», «Осокорки», «Тараса Шевченка», «Контрактова площа» на Верхньому Валу біля Київського велотреку, на Софійській площі, Майдані Незалежності, Михайлівській площі, Контрактовій, Поштовій, вулиці Хрещатик (біля КМДА) та вулиці Архітектора Городецького, в парку імені Тараса Шевченка, на Райдужному масиві, Русанівській набережній та інших», – мовиться у повідомленні на сайті КМДА.

Поки що, зазначають в адміністрації, у проекті задіяно буде тільки 100 велосипедів, але до кінця наступного року за умови інвестицій цю кількість планують збільшити до 2 тисяч.

Також у КМДА обіцяють облаштувати 64 вулиці столиці таким чином, аби велосипедистам було комфортно ними пересуватися, а також створити три магістральних веломаршрути та встановити велопарковки біля комунальних закладів міста.

Як розповідають у КМДА, компанію «Nextbike», із якою міська влада впроваджує пілотний проект велопрокату, було засновано у 2004 році у Лейпцигу. Вона оперує системами громадського прокату велосипедів більше ніж у 150 містах, у 25 країнах світу.

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МОН подовжило прийом до закладів профосвіти до жовтня

Подавати документи до закладів професійно-технічної освіти можна до 1 жовтня. Про це йдеться в листі, який Міністерство освіти і науки розіслало регіональним управлінням освіти і науки.

Таке рішення МОН пояснює бажанням забезпечити «рівне право громадян на здобуття професійної (професійно-технічної) освіти відповідно до своїх здібностей», а також виконання відповідними закладами регіонального та державного замовлення на підготовку фахівців.

Наразі, повідомляють у МОН, до закладі професійно-технічної освіти на бюджет вже вступили понад 60 тисяч осіб.

Подача документів до вищих навчальних закладів завершилася 26 липня.

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У правозахисній організації «Агора» прокоментували ймовірність, що Сенцов попросить про помилування

«Не буде Олег писати ніяких прохань, це ж очевидно»

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Ilhan Omar Closer to Becoming First African Refugee in Congress

Minnesota state lawmaker Ilhan Omar is one step closer to making history as the first refugee from the African continent – and the second Muslim American woman – elected to the U.S. Congress. She is seeking to replace Keith Ellison, the first Muslim American in the body, who currently represents the liberal Minneapolis district that favors Democrats. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.

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