Cliff Sims, who wrote tell-all White House memoir, joins spy office

Sims declined to comment. An ODNI spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

POLITICO previously reported that Trump was incensed by Sims’ book, with several current and former White House officials having described the president as “very pissed off” and “really hopping mad” upon reading early excerpts and leaks of its text.

“A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction,” Trump tweeted in January 2019. “He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!”

In his lawsuit against Trump, Sims argued that the federal government was seeking to penalize his “First Amendment right to disclose unclassified information regarding which he learned during his tenure as a federal employee.” The lawsuit was eventually dropped.

After a brief legal dispute, Sims and Trump reconciled because Trump eventually realized that the book was ultimately flattering toward him while offering a stinging critique of some of his senior staff, according to the official.

Since leaving the White House in mid-2018, Sims also remained a close ally of the Trump family, especially son-in-law Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr., as well as counselor Hope Hicks.

Sims’ attorney for the lawsuit was Mark Zaid, who has represented a number of federal government whistleblowers alleging misconduct by the Trump administration.

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Spy community not postured to handle rising China threat, House Intel finds

House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement that the intelligence community’s “capacity to address hard targets like China has waned” after two decades of focusing on counterterrorism in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The nation’s intelligence agencies “have a lot of work to do to fully address the challenge posed by China,” he said.

Wednesday’s report is the result of a so-called “deep dive” the House panel began last year into what it viewed as China’s troubling activities around the globe, including Beijing’s malicious cyber efforts and disinformation campaigns; its exportation of invasive surveillance technology; and the continued threat its intelligence services pose to the security of U.S. personnel and national security information.

A committee official said most of the recommendations for reform were aimed at the senior leadership level. The official added that the panel encountered “different results” among the various U.S. intelligence elements about their focus on China, but declined to say which of the 17 clandestine agencies have been better at tackling China-related issues. Committee officials spoke on condition of anonymity to more freely discuss the panel’s findings.

Among the public recommendations: a formal review of the governance of open-source intelligence within the clandestine community and a broader and more formal effort by leadership to mentor the next generation of China analysts.

The committee official said some of the classified recommendations would be easier for agencies to address, however some contained in the public summary — such as creating a bipartisan, bicameral congressional study group to evaluate how the intelligence community organizes around these issues and how authority is divided up — could take up to a decade to fully implement. The report included 36 public recommendations and more than 100 classified recommendations.

The summary doesn’t mention the kind of election interference that has been alleged in recent weeks by Trump, Attorney General William Barr and other senior administration officials. But it does highlight the risk posed by Beijing’s “influence actors” and the government’s propaganda and disinformation efforts around events like the protests in Hong Kong and the Covid-19 outbreak.

China’s “disinformation evolution — in conjunction with the multitude of foreign influence threats and state-backed disinformation activity emanating from Russia, Iran, and other adversaries — will set the stage for further assaults on the truth, damaging the United States’ ability to advance its policies abroad and effectively engage with American citizens,” the summary states.

A second Democratic committee official said the origin of the examination could be traced back to the panel’s 2012 bipartisan report that concluded Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE were a national security threat.

The release of the report also comes as the White House is in the midst of legal wrangling over President Donald Trump’s recent executive order barring access to the popular Chinese mobile app TikTok, citing national security concerns. Earlier this week a federal judge said the administration “likely” exceeded its authority when it tried to impose restrictions on the short form

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House Committee Says U.S. Spy Agencies Are Failing China Challenge

WASHINGTON—A House Intelligence Committee report concludes that U.S. spy agencies are failing to meet the multipronged challenge posed by China and calls for changes to focus on pandemics, trade and other issues often given less attention by intelligence professionals.

The report, most of which is classified, portrays the $85 billion-a-year U.S. intelligence community as overly focused on traditional targets such as terrorism and adversaries’ militaries. Pandemics, as evidenced by the coronavirus, and China’s technological prowess in areas like artificial intelligence present an equal threat, according to a summary of the report released Wednesday.

The report recommends fundamental changes in the way intelligence agencies operate, including providing greater support to the Commerce Department, the National Science Foundation, public health organizations and other agencies outside the usual national security bureaucracy.

“Absent a significant and immediate reprioritization and realignment of resources, we will be ill-prepared to compete with China—diplomatically, economically, and militarily—on the global stage for decades to come,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.).

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which coordinates the work of 17 U.S. intelligence organizations, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report and two others published this week are part of a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that new thinking and bipartisan support are required to address Beijing’s challenge to U.S. global primacy. The reports and their findings suggest that harder-line China policies are likely to prevail in the coming years, whether in a second Trump term or in a Biden administration.

The China Task Force, a group of 15 Republican members of Congress, in its own report calls China the “greatest national and economic security challenge of this generation.” It offers more than 400 recommendations, ranging from providing safe harbor to people fleeing China’s democracy crackdown in Hong Kong to working on a trade agreement with Taiwan.

China is investing heavily in fifth-generation cellular telecommunications technology.



Photo:

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

The task force, headed by Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, said it gave priority to recommendations with bipartisan support, many of which have been included in legislation that has been passed by either the House or the Senate.

Another report, from a bipartisan House Armed Services Committee group named the Future of Defense Task Force, calls for a “whole-of-nation strategy addressing the rise of China,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), who headed the group alongside Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass).

The report urges the Defense Department to rethink national security, including by investing in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotechnology. Many of its suggestions go beyond the Pentagon. For example, it recommends expanding voluntary national service programs to promote engagement in U.S. democracy.

The House Intelligence Committee report says intelligence agencies failed to adapt to “a changing geopolitical and technological environment increasingly shaped by a rising China and the growing importance of interlocking nonmilitary transnational threats.”

While Russia, Iran, North Korea and terrorist groups also pose threats, “it was China, however, that has used the past two

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2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots: Electric sedan’s interior spotted

Mercedes-Benz is committed to launching at least 10 electric cars by the end of 2022.

The first has been revealed as the EQC small SUV, and others in the pipeline that we know of include the EQA and EQB compact SUVs, electric commercials like the eVito and eSprinter vans, and an EQE sedan and EQE SUV.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We now have fresh spy shots of an EQS, a large electric sedan to sit alongside the latest S-Class. Mercedes will launch it in 2021, meaning we’ll likely see it arrive as a 2022 model.

The latest prototypes have lost a lot of the camouflage gear of earlier testers, revealing that the EQS is a liftback sedan akin to the Tesla Model S, high-end versions of which will be its main target. Other targets will include the new Lucid Air, an electric Jaguar XJ soming soon, and to a lesser extent the Porsche Taycan and related Audi E-Tron GT.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We also have some shots of the interior which features a large, portrait-style infotainment screen similar to the one in the new S-Class revealed earlier in September. Expect advanced voice activation, a head-up display with augmented reality graphics, and a digital instrument cluster with 3D graphics.

The car’s platform is a dedicated battery-electric design known as the MEA2 (Mercedes Electric Architecture), and the EQS is just the first application. MEA1 underpins the EQC and is based on a modified version of Mercedes’ MHA platform for SUVs with internal-combustion engines.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS prototype and Vision EQS concept

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS prototype and Vision EQS concept

We can see that the EQS is a lot lower and sleeker than your typical Mercedes, including the CLS and AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. We can also see in some of the shots that the doors will be frameless and feature extendable handles. Mercedes previewed the design with the Vision EQS concept unveiled during September’s Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The MEA2 platform has enabled the designers to add a long wheelbase and short overhangs front and rear, and although the EQS looks to be similar in size to the mid-size CLS, the interior space should be on par or better than the full-size S-Class.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Given the rapid advancement in battery technology, Mercedes is keeping quiet on specs for its future electric cars. However, we know the EQS will come in several grades including one with a range of 435 miles when measured on the WLTP test cycle used overseas. This could still result in a range of over 400 miles when measured on the stricter EPA test cycle.

There’s also talk of a Mercedes-AMG version of the EQS packing performance similar to the S63 sledgehammer, as well as an ultra-luxury Maybach version.

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Austria to file charges against Turkish spy – interior minister

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria will file charges against a person who has confessed to spying for Turkey’s secret service, and authorities are investigating more suspected espionage activities, its interior minister said, warning Turkey this would not be tolerated.

FILE PHOTO: Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer addresses a news conference in Vienna, Austria August 24, 2020. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

“This is about an exertion of influence by a foreign power in Austria and this will in no way be accepted,” Karl Nehammer told a news conference on Tuesday.

Turkey rejected the espionage accusations as “baseless.”

There were clear indications of Turkish influence in Austria, said the director general for public safety, Franz Ruf. The new findings came following extensive investigations by Austrian police after violent clashes between Turkish and Kurdish groups in Vienna in June.

One person has fully confessed to having been “recruited by the Turkish secret service to spy on other Turkish citizens or Austrian citizens with a Turkish migration background to then report them to the Turkish security authorities,” Nehammer said. He added that the judiciary will file charges on suspicion of espionage. He gave no details about the person.

Austria has found that more than 30 Austrians were detained in Turkey between 2018 and 2020 after entering the country and has indications that the Turkish secret service tried to recruit them, the interior minister said.

“Turkish espionage has no place in Austria. There is no place for Turkish influence on liberty and fundamental rights in Austria. We will fight against it vehemently,” Nehammer said, adding that Europol and the Presidency of the European Council had been informed.

Later on Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said Ankara rejected the “baseless claims,” adding the comments showed Vienna was unable to “escape populist rhetoric and its anti-Turkey obsession.”

“We are astonished that the Austrian government has reached conclusions that implicate our country with unserious reflexes through these claims,” Aksoy said in a statement.

“We urge the Austrian government to stop chasing artificial agenda with shallow and domestic political calculations over Turkey, and act with state seriousness, common sense and sincere cooperation,” he added.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle in Vienna; Additional reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu in Ankara; Editing by Ed Osmond and Matthew Lewis

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Contractor used mirrors to spy on girls in school bathroom: cops

A contractor at a New Jersey middle school is charged with using mirrors to spy on girls inside a bathroom, police said.

Gregory Mahley, 51, of West Deptford, was arrested Wednesday after staffers at Glen Landing Middle School in Gloucester Township spotted mirrors that were installed on interior doors in a girls’ bathroom, police said Thursday.

“Staff became suspicious that someone was peering through an air conditioning vent located overtop of the bathroom stalls,” police said in a statement.

Police Chief David Harkins said employees at the school contacted police and Mahley was taken into custody less than an hour later in an area near the vent, the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports.

“The most despicable thing that can happen is someone compromising our children where they are typically safe,” Harkins told reporters. “It’s reprehensible.”

There’s no evidence that Mahley had illicit contact with any students and investigators were still determining Thursday whether any young girls were photographed inside the bathroom, where mirrors were found affixed to three stalls, Harkins said.

The chief said the mirrors were positioned in a way that a young teen “may have thought” they were supposed to be there, KYW-TV reports.

Mahley had worked as an eight-year employee for Multi-Temp Mechanical in Westville, which had been contracted by the Gloucester Township Board of Education to handle the school’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, police said.

Gloucester Township Public Schools ordered a full inspection of all schools and facilities Mahley may have accessed and no problems were found, police said.

“We’re pretty confident that this is a new incident, that it has not been occurring prior in any Gloucester Township school,” Harkins told reporters. “We are backtracking now to see where [Mahley] may have gone.”

The mirrors were found just one day after classes resumed, the Courier-Post reports.

“The district has been instructed, due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, not to comment further at this time,” Gloucester Township Public Schools Superintendent John Bilodeau said in a statement.

Mahley, who was charged with invasion of privacy, as well as manufacturing and possession of child pornography, remained held without bail Friday at Camden County Jail. He’s due to appear in court on Sept. 15, records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney.

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2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots: Electric sedan’s interior spotted

Mercedes-Benz is committed to launching at least 10 electric cars by 2022.

The first has been revealed as the EQC small SUV, and others in the pipeline that we know of include the EQA and EQB compact SUVs, electric commercials like the eVito and eSprinter vans, and an EQE sedan and EQE SUV.

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We now have fresh spy shots of an EQS, a large electric sedan to sit alongside the latest S-Class. Mercedes execs have previously hinted at the car starting production in 2020, which means we’ll likely see it arrive in showrooms next year as a 2021 or 2022 model.

The latest prototypes have lost a lot of the camouflage gear of earlier testers, revealing that the EQS is a liftback sedan akin to the Tesla Model S, high-end versions of which will be its main target. Other targets will include the new Lucid Air, an electric Jaguar XJ soming soon, and to a lesser extent the Porsche Taycan and related Audi E-Tron GT.

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We also have some shots of the interior which features a large, portrait-style infotainment screen similar to the one in the new S-Class revealed earlier in September. Expect advanced voice activation, a head-up display with augmented reality graphics, and a digital instrument cluster with 3D graphics.

The car’s platform is a dedicated battery-electric design known as the MEA2 (Mercedes Electric Architecture), and the EQS is just the first application. MEA1 underpins the EQC and is based on a modified version of Mercedes’ MHA platform for SUVs with internal-combustion engines.

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS prototype and Vision EQS concept

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS prototype and Vision EQS concept

We can see that the EQS is a lot lower and sleeker than your typical Mercedes, including the CLS and AMG GT 4-Door Coupe. We can also see in some of the shots that the doors will be frameless and feature extendable handles. Mercedes previewed the design with the Vision EQS concept unveiled during September’s Frankfurt International Motor Show.

The MEA2 platform has enabled the designers to add a long wheelbase and short overhangs front and rear, and although the EQS looks to be similar in size to the mid-size CLS, the interior space should be on par or better than the full-size S-Class.

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

Given the rapid advancement in battery technology, Mercedes is keeping quiet on specs for its future electric cars. However, we know the EQS will come in several grades including one with a range of 435 miles when measured on the WLTP test cycle used overseas. This could still result in a range of over 400 miles when measured on the stricter EPA test cycle.

There’s also talk of a Mercedes-AMG version of the EQS packing performance similar to the S63 sledgehammer, as well as an ultra-luxury Maybach version.

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Mercedes-Benz EQS spy photos reveal more of its S-Class-inspired interior

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We’ve known for a little while now that the upcoming all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS would take some inspiration from the company’s newly unveiled flagship S-Class. That’s understandable considering the EQS borrows a letter from the distinguished sedan. New spy photos give us a better look at the interior and just how close it is to the biggest and best Mercedes.

The most obvious connections between the two cars are the instrument and infotainment screens. A smaller, horizontal display shows the instruments, and a long, cascading vertical screen handles infotainment duties. The dashboard behind the displays also has a gentle curve downward toward the occupants, and center air vents sit at the top above the infotainment screen.

There are some noteworthy differences, though. Unlike the S-Class, there’s no little cubbie behind the infotainment screen. Instead, the dash stretches, unbroken, behind the screen and flows into the center console. We can also catch a glimpse of the outer air vents, which are circular, rather than rectangular slots. This particular car also has an interesting patterned metal finish on the top of the dash.

The outside of the car is of course very different from the S-Class. The EQS is all flowing curves and smooth surfaces compared to the more traditional large sedan. It also appears that the EQS will be a hatchback. The powertrain will be the other major difference. The concept had dual electric motors making 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. The battery was rated at 100 kWh with an estimated range of 435 miles. These seem like reasonable production numbers considering competition such as the Tesla Model S and Lucid Air.

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Mercedes-Benz EQS interior shows S-Class inspiration in spy photos

We’ve known for a little while now that the upcoming all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS would take some inspiration from the company’s newly unveiled flagship S-Class. That’s understandable considering the EQS borrows a letter from the distinguished sedan. New spy photos give us a better look at the interior and just how close it is to the biggest and best Mercedes.

The most obvious connections between the two cars are the instrument and infotainment screens. A smaller, horizontal display shows the instruments, and a long, cascading vertical screen handles infotainment duties. The dashboard behind the displays also has a gentle curve downward toward the occupants, and center air vents sit at the top above the infotainment screen.

There are some noteworthy differences, though. Unlike the S-Class, there’s no little cubbie behind the infotainment screen. Instead, the dash stretches, unbroken, behind the screen and flows into the center console. We can also catch a glimpse of the outer air vents, which are circular, rather than rectangular slots. This particular car also has an interesting patterned metal finish on the top of the dash.

The outside of the car is of course very different from the S-Class. The EQS is all flowing curves and smooth surfaces compared to the more traditional large sedan. It also appears that the EQS will be a hatchback. The powertrain will be the other major difference. The concept had dual electric motors making 469 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque. The battery was rated at 100 kWh with an estimated range of 435 miles. These seem like reasonable production numbers considering competition such as the Tesla Model S and Lucid Air.

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Man Used Mirror To Spy On Bathroom In Gloucester Twp. School: PD

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ — A man who recently performed HVAC work at Glen Landing Middle School in Gloucester Township has been arrested after police say he installed a secret mirror in a girls’ bathroom.

The mirrors were discovered by staff at the school on Wednesday, one day after students in the Gloucester Township K-8 district went back to school.

They had become suspicious that someone was peering through an air conditioning vent located overtop of the bathroom stalls and contacted Gloucester Township police, police said.

Police said they arrested 51-year-old Gregory Mahley, of West Deptford, in connection with the incident.

Mahley was an eight-year employee of Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc., located in Westville. The company was contracted by the Gloucester Township Board of Education to perform HeatingVentilation-Air Conditioning (HVAC) services at the school, according to police.

After the incident, the Board of Education ordered a full inspection of all schools and facilities that Mahley may have had access to. As of Thursday, no other suspicious activities have been uncovered, police said.

“I am very disturbed to learn of criminal charges filed today against an employee of an outside contractor who was performing HVAC work at Glen Landing Middle School,” Gloucester Township Superintendent of Schools John Bilodeau said. “Upon notification of suspicious behavior, the school’s administration immediately contacted local law enforcement authorities. The investigation is now with the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office and the Gloucester Township

Police Department. The district has been instructed, due to the ongoing nature of this investigation, not to comment further at this time. The Gloucester Township Public School District remains committed to providing a healthy and safe learning environment to its students and staff at all times.”

Multi-Temp Mechanical, Inc. has been cooperating with the investigation, police said. The company performs non-residential, commercial HVAC services only. Detectives are continuing to contact other businesses and governmental entities for whom Mahley may have worked.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of Mahley, or has additional information that could aid this investigation, is asked to call the Gloucester Township Police Department at 856-228-4500 or email [email protected]

You may also call the GTPD Anonymous Tip Line at 856-842-5560, or send an anonymous tip by texting the keyword “TIP GLOTWPPD” and your message to 888777. You may also click here to leave an anonymous tip: https://local.nixle.com/tip.alert/5170177.

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