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Pentagon: Trump’s Military Parade Planned for November Postponed

A military parade requested by U.S. President Donald Trump that had been planned for November in Washington has been postponed until at least next year, the Defense Department said on Thursday.

“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” Defense Department Spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said in a statement.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unclear exactly what caused the postponement but the increased cost of the event had caused concern and could be one reason.

The parade to honor U.S. military veterans and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I could cost more than $90 million, the U.S. official said, citing provisional planning figures that were nearly three times an earlier White House estimate.

The official said the cost estimate of about $92 million had not yet been approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and could still be changed and more options could be included.

In February, Trump asked the Pentagon to explore a parade in celebration of American troops, after the Republican president marveled at the Bastille Day military parade he attended in Paris last year.

Earlier this year, the White House budget chief said the parade would cost U.S. taxpayers between $10 million and $30 million.

It was not immediately clear why the recent cost estimate was so much higher than the earlier one, and what exactly it included.

A Pentagon memo from March said the Washington parade route would have a “heavy air component at the end of the parade.”

“Include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks – consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure,” the memo said.

Critics say the government should not spend money on a costly display of troops and weapons when the Pentagon is struggling to cover the expenses of training, support and personnel.

The District of Columbia Council had ridiculed the idea of a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, the 1.2-mile (1.9-km) stretch between the Capitol and the White House that is also the site of the Trump International Hotel.

Military parades in the United States are generally rare.

Such parades in other countries are usually staged to celebrate victories in battle or showcase military might.

In 1991, tanks and thousands of troops paraded through Washington to celebrate the ousting of President Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait in the Gulf War.

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Pentagon: Trump’s Military Parade Planned for November Postponed

A military parade requested by U.S. President Donald Trump that had been planned for November in Washington has been postponed until at least next year, the Defense Department said on Thursday.

“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” Defense Department Spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said in a statement.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was unclear exactly what caused the postponement but the increased cost of the event had caused concern and could be one reason.

The parade to honor U.S. military veterans and commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I could cost more than $90 million, the U.S. official said, citing provisional planning figures that were nearly three times an earlier White House estimate.

The official said the cost estimate of about $92 million had not yet been approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and could still be changed and more options could be included.

In February, Trump asked the Pentagon to explore a parade in celebration of American troops, after the Republican president marveled at the Bastille Day military parade he attended in Paris last year.

Earlier this year, the White House budget chief said the parade would cost U.S. taxpayers between $10 million and $30 million.

It was not immediately clear why the recent cost estimate was so much higher than the earlier one, and what exactly it included.

A Pentagon memo from March said the Washington parade route would have a “heavy air component at the end of the parade.”

“Include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks – consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure,” the memo said.

Critics say the government should not spend money on a costly display of troops and weapons when the Pentagon is struggling to cover the expenses of training, support and personnel.

The District of Columbia Council had ridiculed the idea of a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue, the 1.2-mile (1.9-km) stretch between the Capitol and the White House that is also the site of the Trump International Hotel.

Military parades in the United States are generally rare.

Such parades in other countries are usually staged to celebrate victories in battle or showcase military might.

In 1991, tanks and thousands of troops paraded through Washington to celebrate the ousting of President Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces from Kuwait in the Gulf War.

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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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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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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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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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Ilhan Omar Closer to Becoming First African Refugee in Congress

Minnesota state lawmaker, 35-year-old Ilhan Omar, is 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 those supporting Omar ultimately hope she influences the debate over U.S. immigration and foreign policy.

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Ilhan Omar Closer to Becoming First African Refugee in Congress

Minnesota state lawmaker, 35-year-old Ilhan Omar, is 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 those supporting Omar ultimately hope she influences the debate over U.S. immigration and foreign policy.

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