Smoke, mirrors, and deception. Obama’s flagship.

REPORT: Obama lied and Obama spied

A new report out this morning details just how much Obama spied on Americans during his administration and it’s a lot. Even the liberal ACLU organization says these new disclosures are some of the most serious to ever be documented:

CIRCA – The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

Obama spied on journalists and the American people, yet we’re supposed to just ignore that he spied on Trump all because of Trump’s tweet? The media pretends like it’s not a big deal at all and even seems to take Susan Rice at her word that her unmasking of details of the Trump campaign’s communications were appropriate.

Yeah I think we need a special prosecutor to get to the bottom of all of this and pronto.

Measles, TB, Syphilis, what will be next? Sadly, Governor goofy embraces these cultures that infect the state.

More Measles in Minnesota: 69 Cases Now Confirmed

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reported on Monday that the number of confirmed measles cases in the outbreak that began in April has increased to 69.

For the first time, MDH is confirming that the outbreak has spread beyond the Somali community in Minnesota to white and Hispanic residents of the state. Fifty-nine of the 69 cases of measles are in Somali Minnesotans, seven are white/Non-Hispanic, and three are white/Hispanic, MDH reported.

Though the number of cases continues to grow, the cases have not spread beyond four counties:

  • 59 in Hennepin County
  • 4 in Ramsey County
  • 4 in Crow Wing County
  • 2 in Le Sueur County

Three cases are in adults, 66 are in children (ages 0-17 years).

Sixty-five of the 69 cases have been “confirmed to be unvaccinated.” Of the remaining four cases, “1 had 1 dose of MMR [and] 3 had 2 doses of MMR.”

Since 1997, the number of measles cases diagnosed in Minnesota has exceeded double digits only once, in 2011, when 26 cases were diagnosed.

The current measles outbreak is the largest in the state since 1990, when a total of 460 cases of measles were confirmed.

Experts say the outbreak is likely to continue to spread.

MDH officials have said the initial infection that sparked the current measles outbreak wasdue to a foreign traveler.

“Measles is a rare disease in Minnesota and in the U.S.; however, measles is still common in other parts of the world. Most measles cases occurring in Minnesota result from someone traveling to or from countries where measles is common, and who are infectious with measles after arriving in Minnesota,” the MDH website states.

As part of its public information program to promote vaccinations, MDH offers a Think Measles  “[l]etter size poster with a reminder to get vaccinated for measles before international travel,” that is available in nine languages, including English, Amharic, Hmong, Khmer, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

The outbreak began in the Somali community, which has seen vaccination rates plummet over the past decade. MDH officials blame that drop in vaccination rates on anti-vaxxers who have spread the medically discredited claim that vaccinations are tied to autism to the Somali community in Minnesota.

Minneapolis-St. Paul is home to the largest Somali community in the United States, estimated to be about 70,000 in total.

“Since FY 2002, 100,246 Somali refugees have resettled in the United States, according to the State Department’s interactive website,” Breitbart News reported in December.

In Olmsted County, which is about 70 miles southeast of Le Sueur County, “a public forum has been scheduled for Monday evening in Rochester to discuss Minnesota’s worst measles outbreak since 1990,” the Post Bulletin reported:

The Somali Health Advisory Committee has organized the forum in hopes of addressing the Somali community’s increasing resistance to the MMR vaccine because of fears of its links to autism, a claim that has been debunked repeatedly by the science community.

Abdirashid Shire, director of Rochester’s Health and Research Institute for Somali Americans, and Nasra Giama, a nursing professor at the University of Minnesota Rochester and a Mayo Clinic researcher, will lead the discussion.
Representatives from Mayo Clinic, Olmsted Medical Center, Olmsted County Public Health and Minnesota Department of Health are expected to attend and participate in the discussion.

“The primary goal is to talk about childhood health issues, specifically about trying to dispel the myth about the link between MMR and autism and the importance of vaccines,” Dawn Beck, associate director of the Olmsted County Public Health, told the Post Bulletin:

Despite ongoing efforts from MDH and other health agencies in recent years, Minnesota’s Somali community has seen its vaccination rate plunge from nearly 90 percent to the mid-40s. In Olmsted County, Somalis have an MMR vaccination rate of 75 percent, according to 2016 data.

Despite good news locally, Olmsted County’s recent Community Health Needs Assessment identified immunizations as one of its top five priorities in 2017.

Minnesota state officials now believe the current measles outbreak, combined with increased rates of tuberculosis and syphilis, has become a significant public health problem in the state.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger said earlier this month:

In recent months, state and local public health officials have had to respond to a series of infectious disease outbreaks including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, hundreds of new cases of syphilis, and now, the largest measles outbreak the state has faced in nearly 30 years. These outbreaks come on the heels of extensive public health efforts in 2016 for the Zika virus response and in 2014-15 for Ebola preparedness.

With state and local response costs for the first half of 2017 approaching $3 million just for measles, tuberculosis and syphilis, I respectfully request that the legislature create a public health response contingency fund of $5 million to ensure sufficient resources are available for immediate, life-saving actions to protect Minnesotans from infectious disease outbreaks and other unanticipated public health threats.

“Governor Dayton has given me his support for this proposal and we will advocate for its inclusion in any final legislative budget agreement,” Ehlinger noted.

How many years did he do this before he got caught? We’ll never know, will we?

Probation is sentence for cutting tops off 2,700 trees in Minnesota forest for Christmas decorations

The 70-year-old defendant must also perform community service and make restitution for the damage he did.

, U.S. FOREST SERVICEEntrance to the Chippewa National Forest.

Joseph L. Edminster, 70, of Grand Rapids, was sentenced in federal court in St. Paul on Friday to three years’ probation and 200 hours of community service, and ordered to make restitution.

“People need to understand that taking plants or animals from federal lands is a serious crime punishable by substantial fines and even time in federal prison,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Provinzino said in a statement issued upon Edminster’s sentencing. “Mr. Edminster took responsibility for his actions. Had he not, his punishment could have been even more severe.”

Mary King, special agent in charge for the U.S. Forest Service Eastern Region, added that “the penalties reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed against our nation’s natural resources, and we hope they will act as a deterrent in the future.”

According to his guilty plea in January, Edminster cut more than 2,700 tree tops from the Chippewa National Forest worth at least $24,000 in total. Cutting or damaging timber is prohibited on national forest land without proper authorization.

Edminster then sold the tops for $1.50 to $2.50 each to various wholesale vendors, who would then sell each top for up to $6 each to retail outlets in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. The retail cost for individual spruce tops ranges from $2.50 to $7.50 apiece, depending on the height.

Black spruce, a North American pine species, is widespread in the northern United States and Canada. It can be found in northern and northeastern parts of Minnesota, extending as far south as northern Anoka County.

Is this what union dues are intended to support?

Teachers’ Union Contract Guarantees Jail-Time Pay

NEA staffers to be given free legal expenses, wages as long as charges stemmed from union activities

The National Education Association’s 150th Annual Meeting / GettyImages


Staff members at the nation’s largest teachers’ union are guaranteed pay for the time they spend in jail if it is related to union work.

Staffers at the National Education Association, the union that represents about 3 million American educators and school employees, are entitled to their standard wage rate during their incarceration, according to a copy of their contract first reported by The 74 Million.

“Some union staffers can receive incarceration pay ‘for reasons stemming from actions taken by him/her in the scope of his/her Association employment.’ The NEA contract specifies that this will be at the regular hourly rate for all time spent in jail,” the website reports.

The National Education Association Staff Organization represents 369 staff members employed by the union and takes in $600,000 in dues and fees each year—a drop in the bucket compared with the NEA’s $387 million revenue in 2016.

Neither the NEA nor the staffers’ union responded to request for comment about the provision or whether it has been invoked by union employees in the past.

The staff members have a history of including compensation during imprisonment in their union contracts. The group’s previous contract, which took effect in 2012 and expired in 2015, also included a section that protected worker pay in the event that they were arrested during the course of union activities. The contract mandates that the union cover not only the employee’s wages, but the legal defense costs associated with criminal or civil trials. Only in cases of “gross negligence or gross irresponsibility” is the union relieved of its duty to cover such expenses.

“NEA shall defend and save an employee harmless from any personal financial liability (including fines, reasonable attorneys’ fees, posting of bail or bond, etc.) arising out of any claim, suit, criminal prosecution or judgment against him/her because he/she is an employee of NEA or because of any act taken by him/her in the course of his/her employment,” the contract says. “If an employee is incarcerated for the foregoing reasons, he/she shall be paid at his/her regular hourly rate for all time spent in jail.”

Not every union has such protections for members. A senior Teamsters official and key ally of union president James Hoffa Jr. turned to crowdfunding in April to support his legal defense in a civil union corruption investigation. Rome Aloise, who earned a combined $380,000 in compensation for his local, state, and national roles at the Teamsters, started a website to collect as much as $14,000 from donors willing to defend him against charges that he rigged union elections and accepted gifts from companies that he was supposed to be negotiating with on behalf of workers.

Patrick Semmens, a spokesman for the labor watchdog National Right to Work Committee, said that the NEA’s contract is the first he has seen with an imprisonment clause. He said it was “outrageous” that teachers are forced to pay union officials’ legal troubles, especially in school districts that mandate union membership.

“This is another example of the outrageous activities teachers are forced to subsidize because of union boss forced dues powers,” he said.

More evidence of the liberal utopian hellholes our schools have become.

Minnesota yearbook: Behead Trump

Todd Starnes

I have some bad news for the kids at Brainerd High School in Minnesota – your 2017 yearbook is not so much a celebration of you as it is an anti-Trump propaganda book.

The 2017 edition of the yearbook included a section titled, “Trump 2k17-2k20? How do you feel about him?” And let’s just say I’m surprised the Secret Service hasn’t paid a courtesy call to the campus.

“I would like to behead him,” one student declared. “I do not like him.”

Now I may be mistaken but it sure sounds like she wants to chop off  the president’s head.

Did I mention that Brainerd High School is a public institution – paid for with your tax dollars?

“I feel like Donald is very racist and sexist and doesn’t care to give people a chance before knowing them,” another student lamented.

“I don’t like the way he comes off, he seems really rude,” said yet another liberal urchin.

So why did Brainerd Public Schools allow such a hate-filled piece of alt-left propaganda to be published in the school yearbook?

The district posted a lengthy statement on its website condemning what it called “highly disrespectful statements from students about political figures.”

“The district does not support or otherwise endorse any disrespectful or politically based statements that are in the yearbook and apologizes for the statements that were included,” the statement reads.

The district went on to express its deep regrets and said they are investigating how the page came to be published in the yearbook.

In other words, the yearbook advisor might want to be dusting off his resume.

Social networking pages have exploded with angry and incredulous comments regarding the story – first reported by the Brainerd Dispatch.

“This just shows you what’s going on in our schools. It’s sick that they would allow this,” one reader wrote.

The Dispatch pointed out that President Trump carried Brainerd High School last fall during a mock election – beating Hillary Clinton 688-397.

So, it would seem the student body is conservative, but the student media is run by liberals. Sound familiar, good readers?

Sadly, our public schools have become a breeding ground for junior varsity members of the Mainstream Media.

You know back when I was in high school we used to have “senior superlatives” in our yearbook: Most LIkey to Succeed; Best Dressed; Class Clown. I don’t think we had “Most Likely to be John Wilkes Booth.”

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

If this sheriff isn’t willing to do his job and honor his oath of office, he needs to go.

Sheriff Caves to ACLU Pressure to Release Criminal Aliens

A Michigan sheriff caved to pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ordered his staff to release criminal aliens who are subjects of an immigration detainer. The sheriff instructed his staff to only hold aliens subject to an order signed by a judge.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon issued the order on April 28, instructing jail officials to no long honor immigration detainers from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Associated Press reported on Friday. Wayne County surrounds the city of Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit activist Elena Herrada told reporters the ACLU encouraged the sheriff’s actions. She said other so-called pro-immigrant groups also applied pressure to the local sheriff.

“He was under a lot of pressure from the ACLU and other groups, who met with the sheriff to make that (policy) happen,” Herrada told the Associated Press. “A lot of the (immigrant Wayne County Jail inmates) were picked up on traffic violations.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig disagreed with the sheriff’s new policy. While he said the sheriff has the right to make his own policies on the matter, he stated, “I don’t agree with violent criminals who are undocumented being released to the community.”

The sheriff’s statement, obtained by the Detroit News, claimed he is taking the action based upon “recent court decisions” about the constitutionality of immigration detainers.

“As such, effective immediately members of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office shall not honor any IDNAs from (ICE), unless one of the following conditions is met: Written Judicial Determination of Probable Cause … or a warrant from a Judicial Officer,” Sheriff Napoleon wrote in the memo.

“Unless one of the two above conditions are met, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office will not honor IDNAs, and members shall not extend custody of an individual (inmate) beyond the original booking and detention periods of the original charge and bail.” He stated.

The sheriff specifically excluded “administrative warrant(s) issued by an ICE official.”

Sheriff Napoleon made no provisions for excluding violent criminals from the policy.

Pro-amnesty groups cite a September 2016 ruling by a federal judge in Illinois that stated immigration officials exceed their authority by issuing detainers without a warrant. The Texas Tribune reported Judge John Z. Lee ruled that detainers were “void” because “immigration detainers issued under ICE’s detention program seek to detain subjects without a warrant — even in the absence of a determination by ICE that the subjects are likely to escape before a warrant can be obtained.”

These same groups ignore a more recent federal ruling in a case brought against Dallas County, Texas. Breitbart Texas reported the Texas Attorney General issued a letter to the Texas Legislature that cites a Marcado v. Dallas County ruling in January 2017. In that ruling, warrants are a “criminal concept” that do not extend to the civil offense of immigration deportation and removal proceedings. The ruling cites a Supreme Court decision in Zadvydas v. Davis where the court ruled that civil detentions are constitutionally permissible under the Immigration and Naturalization Act. “As such, the individualized probable cause ICE has required of detainers since 1985 is sufficient to avoid constitutional problems with jurisdictions,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wrote.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently signed a law banning sanctuary cities in the state. The new law, effective September 1, provides for civil and criminal penalties for sheriffs and other local law enforcement officials who refuse to honor immigration detainers.

Sheriff Napoleon formerly served as Detroit’s chief of police. In 2013, he ran a failed mayoral campaign, losing to Mike Duggan who still serves in that position.

Immigration officials told the Detroit newspaper they would review the Wayne County sheriff’s new policy and determine what actions to take.

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.

Mid week “good news” story.

Entire Police Department Escorts Daughter of Fallen Officer to Prom

An entire police department in Riverside, California escorted the daughter of a fallen officer to her prom Saturday.

The Riverside Police Department escorted Rachel Jacobs, 17, to her high school prom in honor of her late father Detective Doug Jacobs, Fox Los Angeles reported.

Detective Doug Jacobs, Rachel’s father, died in the line of duty when Rachel was a six-month-old infant.

To Rachel’s surprise, Detective Jacobs’ colleagues showed up at her house with a full police escort, including an air unit to give her and her date an incredible send-off.

The officers also gave her date “a talking-to” before giving the couple the grand send-off.

The police department’s Aerial Support Division, also known as “Air 1,” captured the moments on camera with a flyover view of the occasion.

Other police departments around the country have extended the same courtesy for other teenagers attending their proms.

In 2016, the Tarpon Springs Police Department in Palm Harbor, Florida surprised the daughter of a fallen officer with a police escort to her prom.

That same year, the Fort Kent Police Department in Maine escorted two special needs students to their prom as a courtesy to one of the students who served as an “honorary police officer” with the department by riding with officers in the patrol cars.

If the lame stream media really wants to investigate scandals, they should have started with the liar in chief. They’d all have jobs for years and years.

Govt Watchdog Finds Obama Justice Dept Illegally Discriminated Against Veterans

“The veterans refused to withdraw…”

A new government watchdog report published on Wednesday found that the Obama Justice Department discriminated against veterans in its hiring practices.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, charged with overseeing the Justice Department, received complaints alleging that the DOJ’s International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program “attempted to influence veterans to withdraw from competition for two vacant competitive service positions in 2015.”

Federal law requires government agencies to give preferential consideration to veterans in hiring, and ICITAP officials had non-veteran candidates in mind.

According to the OSC report, the ICITAP’s mission is “to work with foreign governments to develop law enforcement institutions in support of U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives,” which would seem a natural fit for many who have served in the military.

“The veterans refused to withdraw, and human resources told the ICITAP hiring officials that they had to hire the veterans,” the Washington Times reports.

In response, the ICITAP canceled the initial job postings altogether.

Still determined to hire non-veterans, the agency re-posted the openings in 2016, but added requirements to the position that effectively excluded veterans from applying.

The OSC determined that the treatment of these veterans violated multiple laws, including prohibitions against seeking to influence candidates to withdraw from competition and recommending hiring against veterans’ preference requirements.

The government watchdog further found that while the ICITAP did not break any specific laws in re-advertising the positions, it believes the agency should have consulted with the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management before adding requirements that effectively excluded veterans.

As reported by Western Journalism, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in January, listed multiple times the Obama Justice Department failed to follow or enforce the law.

“For eight years, we’ve seen a Department of Justice consistently disregarding the rule of law,” he said.

Some of the instances Cruz listed included Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of conservative groups; Operation Choke Point, the release of thousands of criminal illegal aliens; and multiple recess appointments by President Obama, which the Supreme Court later unanimously ruled unconstitutional.

Gee, who’d have guessed? Be careful what you ask for…

Vagrants Overrun Colorado Town, Residents Cite Legalized Marijuana as the Reason


Durango, Colo. was once a picturesque mountain resort town. But the advent of marijuana legalization has reportedly transformed it into a haven for panhandling.

Durango sits near the New Mexico border, and much of its economy is based on its resort status, including its luxury hotels. That prosperity is now being threatened, however, by a recent influx of panhandlers, Fox News reported Wednesday.

According to Durango officials and business owners, the legalization of marijuana in Colorado drew large numbers of transient drug addicts.

Fox documented many people walking Durango’s streets, some of whom just ask for marijuana directly or panhandle with a picture of a green marijuana leaf. Vagrants come from New Mexico, Arizona, and even as far as New York to take advantage of Colorado’s lax pot laws.

Beyond irritating panhandling, Durango residents attribute more serious social and even criminal problems to marijuana legalization. Loitering and even violence are serious issues, according to Durango business owner Caleb Preston.

“Just this year there has been a major influx of people between 20 to 30 who are just hanging out on the streets,” Preston said. “The problem is while many are pretty mellow, there are many more who are violent.”

The Durango store manager claims that shoplifting has been a growing issue. Preston, who regularly has to dispel vagrants in front of his store, says that many of those causing problems come from other states, drawn by Colorado’s permissive laws.

“Most of the kids here are from out of state, and I would say it has a lot to do with the legalized pot,” Preston said.

Not just marijuana users are coming to Durango.

“[The] city really started freaking out when they started seeing needles in the streets,” Durango resident Matthew Marinseck told Fox.

On May 12, Durango’s Business Improvement District held a meeting to review a survey of local businesses on how to address the panhandling problem. Suggested solutions included strategically placing tables, flower boxes, and other obstacles to block potential loitering and signs discouraging panhandling.

Durango is limited in its ability to address the problems posed by the panhandling presence for its coming tourist season, however. The city recently settled a lawsuit, litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union, allowing the homeless to panhandle.

Help from the police is also currently absent from Durango’s arsenal. There is no notable police presence in Durango’s downtown, according to Fox. Kamran Afzal, the city’s police chief, has only been on the job a month and is still determining the best strategy to police the town.

Afzal freely admitted that the city’s problems are substantial: the property crime in Durango is 12 percent higher than the national average. But Afzal qualified that he could not name the cause of that heightened rate.

“At this point, since I’m new here, I can’t definitively say this number is related to our homeless population,” the police chief said.

Afzal was also unwilling to explicitly tie the influx of panhandlers to the legalization of marijuana.

“We are going to look at the behavior of individuals who cause discomfort for residents and visitors,” he said, using a Community Engagement Team.

One clerk at a local hotel who chose not to give her name to Fox said the problem has gotten out of hand.

“I’ve lived here my entire life and don’t feel safe here anymore,” the clerk said. “If it wasn’t so beautiful here, I would probably move.”

Liberal heads about to explode in 3 , 2, 1…..My dreams are beginning to come true. By far, the best news I’ve had all week…maybe all month.

Trump Administration Taps Sheriff David Clarke for DHS Role

Clarke: ‘I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position’


The Trump administration tapped Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke to serve as assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for partnership and engagement.

Clarke, a tough-talking, conservative firebrand recognized by his penchant for cowboy hats, announced the appointment during an interview with a local Wisconsin radio station Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m both honored and humbled to be a appointed to this position by [DHS Sec. John Kelly], working for the Trump administration in this position,” Clarke told WISN Milwaukee.

Clarke will begin in the position in June. The position does not require Senate confirmation.

Clarke, a Trump loyalist who served as a surrogate during the campaign, was one of three black speakers who endorsed President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention. He is a vocal proponent of gun rights with close ties to the National Rifle Association.

His name has been floated as a possible replacement to former FBI Director James Comey, but the announcement Wednesday scraps those rumors.

Clarke’s brazenness and tendency to fire-off provocative, off-hand comments have contributed to his rise as one of Wisconsin’s most controversial political figures. The law-and-order sheriff has frequently told Black Lives Matters protesters to “stop trying to fix the police, fix the ghetto” and referred to Ferguson demonstrators as “vultures on a roadside carcass.”

Clarke is also facing scrutiny for the death of a mentally ill inmate who died of dehydration at the Milwaukee County Jail after being refused water for seven days. No criminal charges have been filed, but the case is under review by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office.

The 38-year-old man was one of four people, including the newborn of an inmate, who died last year at the jail overseen by Clarke.

The sheriff will replace the current acting assistant secretary John Barsa.