Trump administration secretly shipped Plutonium from Carolina to Nevada | Loungtastic
The Department of Energy disclosed Wednesday that it has shipped one-half metric ton of weapons-grade plutonium from South Carolina to the Nevada National Security Site, despite Nevada's objections.
The Justice Department notified a federal judge in Reno the government had already trucked the radioactive material to the site 70 miles north of Las Vegas when Nevada filed a request for an injunction to block the move in November.
Department lawyers said in a nine-page filing that the previously classified information about the shipment from South Carolina can be disclosed now because enough time has passed to protect national security. They didn’t specify when the transfer occurred.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said he’s “beyond outraged by this completely unacceptable deception.” The Democrat said he’s working with Nevada’s congressional delegation to fight back against the federal government’s "reckless disregard" for the safety of Nevadans.
Justice Department lawyers said Wednesday that no more shipments of weapons-grade plutonium are planned from South Carolina to Nevada. They argued Nevada’s lawsuit aimed at blocking the shipments is now moot.
But lawyers for Nevada said that their bid for an emergency injunction is more critical than ever after the energy department misled them about the shipments. They say the government has created the "palpable suspicion" that more shipments are coming to Nevada.
U.S. District Court Judge Miranda Du in Reno is considering the state’s request to block the plans announced in August to ship the plutonium from South Carolina, where a federal judge previously issued an order that the plutonium be removed from a Savannah River site by January 2020.
Nevada argues the DOE has failed to adequately study the potential dangers of moving the material to an area that is subject to flash floods and earthquakes, and that the state’s lands and groundwater may already be contaminated with radioactive materials.
The Energy Department defended its decision in court on Jan. 17. Its lawyers argued at the time that it doesn’t have to disclose top-secret details of the shipment plans because of national security.
Du expressed sympathy at times for the state’s argument during the evidentiary hearing, but declined to immediately grant the state’s request to block the shipment and indicated she wouldn’t rule until February.
"I hope the government doesn’t ship plutonium pending a ruling by this court," she said at the time.
Sisolak said Wednesday the energy department led the state to believe it was engaged in good-faith negotiations over the plutonium "only to reveal that those negotiations were a sham all along."
"They lied to the state of Nevada, misled a federal court and jeopardized the safety of Nevada’s families and environment," he said.
Experts testifying on behalf of Nevada said the material likely would have to pass directly through Las Vegas on the way to the Nevada National Security Site. They fear an accident could permanently harm an area that boasts 2.2 million residents and more than 40 million tourists a year.
The Energy Department says it has safely shipped the toxic material between states before. Federal officials say the plutonium would only be "staged" in Nevada before moving on to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. They say shipments to Nevada would avoid heavily populated areas of Las Vegas.
Nevada's congressional delegation swiftly condemned the newly disclosed shipment.
Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., called the move an "injustice." She vowed it would not clear a path for federal officials to revive long-stalled plans to dump nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, located about 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
"If the Trump administration thinks that making such a reckless decision under the shroud of secrecy will allow them to move forward with Yucca Mountain, they are mistaken," Titus said in a statement. "I will work tirelessly with Governor Sisolak and the Nevada delegation to fight the U.S. Department of Energy’s unchecked and unethical activity."
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., also warned Trump against moving ahead with plans to ship waste to Yucca. Masto said she had scheduled a Thursday briefing with DOE officials to talk about the secret plutonium delivery.
"The Trump administration will find that I’ll be shining a bright light on this, as well as any high level effort to bring nuclear waste into our state by reviving Yucca Mountain," Masto said in a statement. "The voices of Nevadans must be heard and I’ll be fighting for legislation that makes certain their voices are heard on this issue and this never happens behind the backs of Nevadans again."
Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., expressed support for Sisolak's pledge to fight back in court.
"They misled a federal court along with members of Nevada’s delegation, including our very own governor, in a deceitful and unethical move, jeopardizing the health and safety of thousands of Nevadans and Americans who live in close proximity to shipment routes," Rosen said in a statement. "This is a serious issue and the lack of transparency from the Department of Energy is absolutely unacceptable."
Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., piled on, calling the shipment "egregious."
Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., sounded similarly displeased with the "deceptive and dangerous" move.
"Governor Sisolak and his office have the full backing of my office and have my support to pursue any action he has at his disposal," Lee said in a statement. "We will not stand for this."
A spokeswoman for Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said Northern Nevada's lone congressman was in the process of scheduling meetings with officials from the Nuclear Waste Projects Office and DOE to be "briefed further on the issue."
Roger Stone, veteran Republican Party operative and a long-time confidant of President Donald Trump, has been indicted on seven felony charges in connection with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.
Around 5 a.m. EST today, a group of well-armed FBI agents showed up at the 66-year-old Stone's home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with an arrest warrant. And the charges include five counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of witness tampering.
Here are some of the most shocking revelations in the indictment and arrest of Trump's long-time ally.
1) Stone's arrest was completely unannounced
Although journalists who have been reporting on Mueller's probe have been predicting that Stone would be arrested at some point, the way in which he was arrested this morning nonetheless comes as somewhat of a shock. Other Trump associates who have faced felony charges in connection with Russiagate moreless turned themselves in at their convenience; the FBI didn't show up unannounced in the wee hours. But Stone was the target of the type of pre-dawn arrest that occurs when FBI agents fear that valuable evidence could be destroyed. This was the type of arrest that takes place when the FBI wants to surprise suspects and catch them off guard.
2) Stone is accused of obstructing the House Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation
Mueller's team aren't the only ones who have been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; the House Intelligence Committee and the FBI, among others, have investigated the matter as well—in fact, they were doing so before Mueller launched his investigation in 2017. And Stone, in the indictment, is accused of obstructing the House Intelligence Committee's investigation.
The indictment notes, "After the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ("HPSCI"), the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence ("SSCI"), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") opened or announced their respective investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which included investigating STONE's claims of contact with Organization 1."
3) Organization 1 in the indictment is believed to be WikiLeaks
The indictment of Stone specifically mentions an organization that is identified as "Organization 1," and Organization is widely believed to be WikiLeaks—a major target of Mueller's probe. In 2016, a hacker who went by Guccifer 2.0 stole the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, and those stolen e-mails were published online by WikiLeaks. Stone is suspected of knowing, in 2016, that the hacking had occurred and that the Democratic e-mails would be published online. Although Mueller believes that Guccifer 2.0 is a Russian intelligence official based in Moscow, Stone has claimed that there is no proof that Guccifer was part of the Russian government.
The indictment of Stone states, "By in or around May 2016, the Democratic National Committee ("DNC") and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ("DCCC") became aware that their computer systems had been compromised by unauthorized intrusions and hired a security company ("Company 1") to identify the extent of the intrusions…. On or about June 14, 2016, the DNC—through Company 1—publicly announced that it had been hacked by Russian government actors."
4) Stone is accused of discussing WikiLeaks' activities with ‘senior Trump campaign officials' in 2016
The indictment of Stone states, "During the summer of 2016, STONE spoke to senior Trump Campaign officials about Organization 1 and information it might have had that would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. STONE was contacted by senior Trump Campaign officials to inquire about future releases by Organization 1.... By in or around early August 2016, STONE was claiming both publicly and privately to have communicated with Organization 1."
5) The head of ‘Organization 1' is believed to be Julian Assange
The person described as the head of "Organization 1" in the indictment is widely believed to be WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. The indictment states, "By in or around June and July 2016, STONE informed senior Trump Campaign officials that he had information indicating Organization 1 had documents whose release would be damaging to the Clinton Campaign. The head of Organization 1 was located at all relevant times at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, United Kingdom."
London's Ecuadorian Embassy, of course, is where Assange has been seeking refuge. The indictment of Stone goes on to allege that in 2016, "STONE also corresponded with associates about contacting Organization 1 in order to obtain additional e-mails damaging to the Clinton Campaign."
Strange TwistWASHINGTON – There's a strange new twist in the case against a Russian internet company federal prosecutors say helped carry out a disinformation campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that documents special counsel Robert Mueller provided to the company's lawyers had been "altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign," this time aimed at discrediting the investigation of Russian election interference. That led the FBI to investigate a disinformation campaign about the investigation of the Russian disinformation campaign.
Mueller's office said in a court filing that the FBI had determined their computers had not been hacked. Instead, they said documents posted illegitimately on the web had been provided to one of the defendants in the case, Concord Management and Consulting, LLC.
The prosecutors said the incident was "intended to discredit the investigation in this case" and with documents that were subject to a court order meant to limit their disclosure.
The twist came as prosecutors and lawyers for Concord spar over whether people who work for the Russian company should be allowed to see some of the evidence the government has gathered against the firm. Prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich not to force sharing sensitive documents with the defense team because sending sensitive documents "to the Russian Federation unreasonably risks national security interests of the United States."
Lawyers for Concord Management didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
They had protested that it was unfair for prosecutors to limit how much information they could share with their client. "Could the manner in which (Mueller) collected a nude selfie really threaten the national security of the United States?" they said in a court filing last year. The case began in February 2018, when a federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities including Concord Management with conspiracy to defraud the United States. The defendants allegedly created false personas and social-media pages to influence the 2016 election.
Defense lawyers requested access to sensitive prosecution documents Dec. 20, in order to prepare for trial. The lawyers characterized the case as a "make-believe crime" and said Russian defendants deserved the same access to documents as Americans.
But prosecutors described in their Wednesday filing how a new Twitter account boasted on Oct. 22 that it had hacked into Mueller's database and was offering access to documents about the case.
"We've got access to the Special Counsel Mueller's probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case Concord LLC v. Mueller," the tweet said. "Enjoy the reading!"
The FBI found no evidence that hackers intruded on Mueller's computers. But the FBI reviewed 300,000 files on the web portal linked from the tweet, posted by a now-suspended account with the name "HackingRedstone," and found that the files and folders were similar to those prosecutors had provided to Concord Management's defense lawyers. The documents included information about search warrants and contained tracking numbers used by the special counsel.
Concord Management lawyers told prosecutors the next day that the documents could have been hacked from the company's computers in 2014.
But prosecutors rejected the explanation, saying the documents carried the same names and folders as the current case, which began in February 2018.
"The use of the file names and file structure of the discovery to create a webpage intended to discredit the investigation in this case described above shows that the discovery was reproduced for a purpose other than the defense of this case," prosecutors said in the 18-page filing.