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Did Putin try to bug the White House with a soccer ball?

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Did Putin try to bug the White House with a soccer ball

The world of espionage is rife with creative attempts to listen in on conversations, access devices, and keep tabs on people of interest. Russian President Vladimir Putin may or may not have attempted one of the most interesting when he gave a soccer ball to President Trump that contained a NFC chip.

Before anyone screams foul, it was likely inadvertent and not a bungled attempt to spy on Americans. The Near Field Communication chip was designed by Adidas to make it a “smart ball” that could transmit data relevant to soccer players. It’s relatively common and similar to the balls used during this year’s World Cup.

The Soccer Ball Putin Gave Trump Has an Adidas Transmitter Chip in It: Report

https://www.newsweek.com/adidas-soccer-ball-transmitter-chip-putin-1042734According to Adidas’ website, the digital technology is called “Near Field Communication” (NFC) which enables a phone or tablet to send “radio frequency signals” that interacts with the NFC chip. It allows players to access special information and games online after connecting. Adidas says the NFC tag cannot be modified and can only send information, not receive it.

“It is not possible to delete or rewrite the encoded parameters,” Adidas says.

As it turns out, the chip can allegedly be hacked, though reports of such things are scant. Who would hack a soccer ball chip?

Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia is stalling for themselves, not because of midterm elections

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Saudi Arabia is stalling for themselves not because of midterm elections

Saudi Arabia is extending their investigation into the murder Jamal Khashoggi by at least a month. This has brought further condemnation on the Kingdom from the press and some world leaders, including President Trump.

President Trump says he’s ‘not satisfied’ with Saudi response on journalist’s death

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/10/22/donald-trump-khashoggi-response-saudis-am-not-satisfied/1731094002/As he departed the White House for a campaign rally in Texas, the president said he had spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about Khashoggi’s disappearance after he entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Turkey this month.

“I am not satisfied with what I’ve heard,” Trump said. “We’re going to get to the bottom of it.”

The president specifically reacted to Saudi requests to extend the Khashoggi investigation for another month. That would mean most of the investigation’s findings would be released well after the November midterm election.

“I think it’s a long time,” Trump told reporters. “There’s no reason for that.”

My Take

Talking heads on mainstream media bug the tar out of me, as do activist news reporters passing of biased stories as factual reports. It took a while to find this story on USA Today. Most tried to tilt the story to claim Saudi Arabia was acting on behalf of President Trump to extend the investigation until after the election. USA Today only implied it.

The sad part is that it’s far from the truth. Saudi Arabia hasn’t taken the timing of our elections into account at all with anything associated with the mess they created. They have much more important issues of their own to deal with and the inconvenience of this all happening around American election time is no concern of theirs.

If anything, the President would love for this to get resolved sooner rather than later. The beginning of October would have been nice. He could have scolded them, slapped sanctions on them, and made it a non-issue during the election. Now, the actions of a foreign government are going to have a minor impact because of the association between the two governments. Voters won’t recall that President Obama was cozier with the Saudis than just about any American President. That’s ancient history to mainstream media.

If the left tries to make this an election issue, the American people should rebuke them. The press is already doing it for them. We’ll see if it has any impact at all. I doubt it.

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Foreign Affairs

Steve Hilton: Make Saudi Arabia pay… cash

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Steve Hilton Make Saudi Arabia pay cash

The whole of mainstream media and Washington DC – Democrats and Republicans – have attempted to hide a fact from us for decades. We hear about radical Islamic extremists all the time coming from Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, and Somalia. We rarely hear about arguably the most extreme sect of Islam: Wahhabism.

Why don’t we hear much about it? Because it’s the driving force behind Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology.

With Jamal Khashoggi’s murder shining a bright light on the Kingdom, it’s leaders is general, and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in particular, now is the right time to make the Saudis use some of their massive amounts of cash to promote moderate Islamic principles. That’s the suggestion of Steve Hilton at Fox News.

My Take

Right idea, wrong recipient. Instead of investing money into “moderate” Islam, Saudi Arabia should be told to willingly contribute money and land to benefit some of the causes Khashoggi believed in. An obvious example of this would be to build safe and secure refugee camps for those who have been displaced by war in the Middle East.

Start bringing people home, or at least closer to home.

Saudi Arabia has plenty of land, tons of cash, and the potential for infrastructure that could allow them to build a small city that refugees can make their permanent home. I think Khashoggi would have liked to see that.

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Foreign Affairs

Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

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Saudi foreign minister does damage control on American press

The foreign relations mess stemming from Jamal Khashoggi’s murder continues to grow more chaotic despite Saudi Arabia’s attempt to cover it up with regularly changing stories. The latest attempt at damage control comes from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

Fox News’ Bret Baier him, pressing multiple times about Mohammad bin Salman’s role in or knowledge of the operation that led to Khashoggi’s murder. The blame is being placed on the individuals who carried out the operation; as much space is being created between the direct actors and Saudi leadership as possible.

One important note in the interview was when al-Jubier said they do not believe the entire 15-man “kill team” was at the consulate where when Khashoggi was killed there. He admitted he did not know whether Turkey really had a recording of what happened during the incident, nor whether the United States had intelligence that contradicted the Kingdom’s story.

The responses from the foreign minister were in stark contrast to the indignation exuding from the Kingdom for two weeks following the initial report of Khashoggi’s disappearance.

My Take

As I wrote last week, Saudi Arabia gravely underestimated the international response to this incident. They thought they could get rid of a dissident as they have done in the past and the response would be muted. They didn’t take into account his American ties and the desire of the Turks to expose them at every turn.

How is this going to end? It won’t, at least not for a while. Unlike other international news stories of similar magnitude, this one has multiple forces bent on keeping the story going until a satisfactory resolution is reached. It won’t be reached. The White House and the Kingdom will do whatever they can to sweep this under the rug and make people forget.

This stinks, but here’s the sad reality: “Justice” will not be delivered the way it should and the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States will return to the status quo in a few months.

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