Charlie Savage

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Donald Trump is an American Berlusconi at the very least and perhaps a Mussolini, but a fascist’s rise to power doesn’t happen on its own–it takes a village. Joining strange bedfellows James Baker, Peter Thiel, Mike Ditka, Chachi and the underwear model in support of a Trump Administration is Julian Assange, Wikileaks very own alleged Bill Cosby. One of the main things making Assange’s posture as a journalist dicey is the fear he would used hacked information to service his own political beliefs and personal feuds, not hold all parties involved to the same ideal. He’s now admitted as much, saying he timed the email release about the DNC to try to enable a Trump victory. It’s a perversion of democracy, though I suppose you have to credit Assange for his transparency.

From Charlie Savage at the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — Six weeks before the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks published an archive of hacked Democratic National Committee emails ahead of the Democratic convention, the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, foreshadowed the release — and made it clear that he hoped to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the presidency.

Mr. Assange’s remarks in a June 12 interview underscored that for all the drama of the discord that the disclosures have sown among supporters of Bernie Sanders — and of the unproven speculation that the Russian government provided the hacked data to WikiLeaks in order to help Donald J. Trump — the disclosures are also the latest chapter in the long-running tale of Mr. Assange’s battles with the Obama administration. 

In the interview, Mr. Assange told a British television host, Robert Peston of the ITV network, that his organization had obtained “emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” which he pronounced “great.” He also suggested that he not only opposed her candidacy on policy grounds, but also saw her as a personal foe. 

At one point, Mr. Peston said: “Plainly, what you are saying, what you are publishing, hurts Hillary Clinton. Would you prefer Trump to be president?” 

Mr. Assange replied that what Mr. Trump would do as president was “completely unpredictable.” By contrast, he thought it was predictable that Mrs. Clinton would wield power in two ways he found problematic.•

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Crowd-scanning is still a chore for technologists, but you know it will be perfected–and soon. No more being just another face in the crowd, no more being lonely, no more being left alone. From Charlie Savage in the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The federal government is making progress on developing a surveillance system that would pair computers with video cameras to scan crowds and automatically identify people by their faces, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with researchers working on the project.

The Department of Homeland Security tested a crowd-scanning project called the Biometric Optical Surveillance System — or BOSS — last fall after two years of government-financed development. Although the system is not ready for use, researchers say they are making significant advances. That alarms privacy advocates, who say that now is the time for the government to establish oversight rules and limits on how it will someday be used.

There have been stabs for over a decade at building a system that would help match faces in a crowd with names on a watch list — whether in searching for terrorism suspects at high-profile events like a presidential inaugural parade, looking for criminal fugitives in places like Times Square or identifying card cheats in crowded casinos.

The automated matching of close-up photographs has improved greatly in recent years, and companies like Facebook have experimented with it using still pictures.”


Four decades after his brazen crime and complete disappearance made the inscrutable man known as D.B. Cooper into an American folk hero, the FBI has credible evidence as to his identity. The opening of a well-written new article by Katharine Q. Seelye and Charlie Savage in the New York Times:

“He smoked Raleigh cigarettes, wore a black clip-on tie and drank whiskey, and when zero hour came, he was one cool cat.

From Seat 18C on a Northwest Orient flight from Portland, Ore., to Seattle, he passed a note to the stewardess — this was 1971, pre-‘flight attendant’ era. She slipped it in her pocket, unread.

‘Miss, you’d better look at that note,’ the passenger calmly advised. ‘I have a bomb.’ He opened his briefcase and showed her what could have been a bomb, nestled in a mass of wires.

With that, the man known as D. B. Cooper hijacked the plane, later parachuting out of it and into the unknown. His body was never found. Mr. Cooper became a folk hero, and the case remains the only unsolved hijacking in American history.

Now, 40 years later, comes what seems like a tantalizing new tip. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it has a new suspect, one whose name has never surfaced in the ocean of tips that has washed in over four decades.”


Treat Williams as D.B. Cooper:

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