Even Republicans Are Saying Retired Lt Gen Mike Flynn Broke The Law Now

Michael Flynn, Sr., retired lieutenant general and world-record holder for the shortest-serving national security advisor, is still in trouble. Big trouble. Trouble so deep that even the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee is saying he broke the law.

But this isn’t about Flynn’s forgotten chats with Russia’s U.S. ambassador, or his alleged ties to Russian election-tampering. This is about Flynn, a 33-year veteran of the armed services, falsifying his SF-86 application for a White House security clearance in January to conceal big sums of money he received lobbying for Russian and Turkish government interests — much of it earned while he was working on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Related: Mike Flynn Made A Lot More Money In Russia Than He Disclosed Before »

After months of prevarications that cost Flynn his job and earned him some harsh headlines, Buzzfeed’s Hayes Brown reports that even the reddest Republican and bluest Democrat on the House oversight panel are about done with Flynn’s crap:

Reps. Jason Chaffetz and Elijah Cummings, the chair and ranking member of the committee, told reporters Tuesday that following a briefing with the Defense Intelligence Agency (which Flynn once headed), they believed that the former general had not properly listed income he received in 2015 from Moscow.

“Personally, I see no information or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law, and that is, he was supposed to seek permission and receive permission from both the secretary of state and the secretary of the Army prior to traveling to Russia to not only accept that payment but to engage in that activity,” Chaffetz said. “I see no evidence that he actually did that.”

Here’s video of Chaffetz and Cummings chiding the chap with the foreign cash:

Related: Maybe We All Talked With The Russian Ambassador And Forgot About It »

Cummings pointed out that falsifying your SF-86 exposes you to prosecution and a potential five-year prison sentence. Chaffetz didn’t go that far, but he didn’t sugarcoat Flynn’s fuckups, either, saying the now-disgraced former DIA chief should at least have to pay back some of his sketchy earnings:

“If that money was received by General Flynn, and we believe that it was, that money needs to be recovered,” Chaffetz said. “That final determination, again, will have to come from the Department of the Army as well as the Department of Defense, but as a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else.”

“It was inappropriate. And there are repercussions for the violation of law,” he said.

Related: Lt Gen Flynn Confirms He Was A Foreign Agent During The 2016 Campaign »

On the one hand, Mike Flynn can’t catch a break. On the other hand, what’s a 58-year-old lifer doing hiding foreign payments on an SF-86? This is basic enlistee stuff… literally. My high school buddy, who wanted to be a cryptological technician, had to enlist as a Navy yeoman because he disclosed a credit-card charge-off from college on his 86. Too bad he didn’t have a Turkish or Russian sugar daddy.

Update, 2:44 PM EDT: Flynn has released a statement through his attorney:

Of course, Reps. Chaffetz and Cummings held their press conference saying Flynn had violated the law… after being briefed on Flynn’s work by the DIA. This would suggest that the agency Flynn once headed is not as sanguine as he is about the allegations against him.

Meanwhile, the White House has rejected the House Oversight Committee’s request to see documents relating to Flynn’s work.

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Iran’s New ‘Stealth’ Fighter Looks Like A Flying Garbage Pile

Last week, the Iranian military showcased the newest version of its Qahar F-313 stealth fighter jet for government officials and defense contractors at Meherabad Air Base, just weeks after the Iranian defense ministry announced that the fifth-generation fighter had passed operational testing and was nearing serial production.

But there’s a problem: The new aircraft looks like a complete pile of garbage.

This should surprise no one. When the Qahar, or “Conqueror” in Farsi, was initially unveiled in 2013, Western observers quickly dismissed the sleek aircraft as “a hoax,” a mock-up constructed purely for domestic propaganda purposes, UPI reports. Many cited “several aesthetic irregularities” in the aircraft’s design; Steve Weintz at War Is Boring noted that the “buzzard-sized” puddle-jumper is far from large enough to carry a payload of bombs and missiles, let alone a pilot.

The unveiling of the updated prototype last week hasn’t convinced Western observers otherwise, and experts questioned by media outlets have been absolutely trashing this tiny little bastard. Here’s what one “experienced U.S. engineer” told the National Interest:

[T]he new Qaher seems to lack internal weapons bays—despite Iranian claims to the contrary. Moreover, the Qaher has numerous “hot spots” where its radar cross-section would spike. Additionally, the thick, rounded leading edges are “very non-low observable”—as are the control surfaces on the fixed canards. Basically, any claims that the F-313 might be a stealth aircraft are laughable.

Overall, the new F-313 appears to be a more realistic mockup—but it is doubtful that it is a real flyable aircraft.

A “senior scientist working on stealth aircraft” interviewed by Business Insider wasn’t nearly as generous:

As far as radar signature goes, “some parts are laughable,” the scientist said. Specifically, he said the downturned wingtips reminded him of something out of “Star Trek” and the vertical or near vertical fins on the plane would light up a radar.

Writing for Vice’s Motherboard, journalist David Axe said the F-313 — which does not fly in the video — had its tire pressure stenciled on the outside of the plane and that it was way too low for a full-sized airplane weighed down with instruments and fuel.

The scientist says the tire pressure “takes away all doubt that it’s a fake.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Iran won’t field an operational stealth fighter in the future. China’s J-31 fighter jet — comparable to the U.S. Air Force’s F-35, thanks to classified data stolen by a Chinese national — could easily end up stationed at Iranian airbases.

But if Tehran thinks last week’s Qahar dog-and-pony show will change the West’s perception of the Iranian military’s air power, well, they’re right — in the worst possible way:

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Navy Federal Offers To Cover Military Pay If The Government Shuts Down

So, did all those early-morning financial briefings and gameday TV commercials browbeat you into opening a Navy Federal Credit Union account, like so many GIs who came before you? If so, there’s good news: A potential government shutdown won’t leave you penniless on weekend liberty.

Navy Federal announced this week that it will offer to cover its members’ direct-deposit service pay even if it gets disrupted by a shutdown, which has loomed over budget talks in Washington. “We’re here to help our members during periods of financial difficulty,” the credit union said on a webpage touting the assistance.

If Congress and President Donald Trump can’t agree on a new round of funding for the government by Friday, the federal Treasury will run out of cash, and federal services will cease, including pay deposits to the Pentagon’s 1.4 million active-duty service members.

Trump has previously said he won’t sign a budget bill unless it funds construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and members of his administration have suggested raising the money by cutting subsidies to Americans that help them afford health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges — a nonstarter for congressional Democrats.

If the deadlock does lead to a shutdown on Friday, Navy Fed says its members will continue to be able to draw military pay — if they qualify and register for the credit union’s aid program. Registration starts Wednesday, April 26. The program is open to all service members, officer candidates, or DOD civilians “who have their net pay deposited directly into a Navy Federal account.”

Is there any fine print? Well, technically, Navy Fed is offering a payday loan — up to $6,000, depending on your pay grade — but there’s no interest and no credit application. And once the grownups in D.C. figure out how to pay for all their wars and stuff, paying the loan back will be easy. “Once direct deposit of net pay resumes, the amount credited to your account(s) will be automatically deducted as repayment,” Navy Fed says.

Which is great — again, for everyone who qualifies. “If your pay is disrupted, but you don’t meet the eligibility requirements, we recommend you visit a branch or contact us,” Navy Fed said on the registration page.

If you’re not an NFCU member, it couldn’t hurt to contact your bank and see if they have similar options; USAA reached out to its members to make similar financial arrangements after government shutdown threats in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

If you do hear of any similar programs out there from other vet- and service member-friendly banks, let us know in the comments so we can share that info with the community.

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The Military Is Testing Almost 400 Bases For Water Contamination

Contamination from former or current military installations has ignited a nationwide review of water on or around bases that used a firefighting foam containing toxic chemicals.

The military is now testing nearly 400 bases and has confirmed water contamination at or near more than three dozen, according to an analysis of data by the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News. The new numbers offer the best look to date at the potential scope of the problem.

But despite more than $150 million spent on the effort so far, the process has been slow and seemingly disjointed. The Air Force, for example, has completed sampling at nearly all of its targeted bases; the Navy, barely 10 percent. The Army has not begun. The branches and the Pentagon say they are coordinating, but have varying responses on how many bases must be tested, and limited information about remediation timelines and cost.

“We’re going to be dealing with this for quite some time.”

The lack of answers has been so confounding that Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., moved to amend the defense spending bill to compel the Pentagon to release a list of all bases that used the foam.

But with so many sites to evaluate, the cleanup “is not super-simple to do,” said Mark Correll, an Air Force official.

While this process plays out, the chemicals in soil or groundwater could continue to leach into drinking water, experts say, meaning the problem could grow.

“I am not going to be terribly surprised if, once a month for the next several years or something, we hear of a small community somewhere that was impacted,” said Christopher Higgins, a top researcher on this type of contamination and a professor at the Colorado School of Mines. “We’re going to be dealing with this for quite some time.”

Used in manufacturing and in military firefighting foam, PFCs have been linked to health problems including testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol.

For residents near former naval bases in Willow Grove and Warminster, Pa., the issue surfaced three years ago, when they learned their water had been tainted by PFOA and PFOS, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that are unregulated and little understood.

Used in manufacturing and in military firefighting foam, they have been linked to health problems including testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol. Research on other potential health effects is ongoing, and some experts contend that even water below the EPA’s health advisory level is unsafe.

Contamination has been found near 27 military bases in 16 states, according to the Air Force, Navy, and Army. The military has also addressed contamination in on-base drinking systems on 15 installations.

The contamination is also cropping up near airports, private plants, and fire stations. Attention has focused on the military because of extreme cases near bases where about 60,000 residents were affected.

Staff Sgt. Shane Pentheny, 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron Water and Fuels System Maintenance technician, performs water-quality tests on water taken from several base buildings March 9, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. WFSM tests chlorine, fluoride and pH levels daily to ensure the base populace receives quality water.U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Erin McClellan

Staff Sgt. Shane Pentheny, 22nd Civil Engineer Squadron Water and Fuels System Maintenance technician, performs water-quality tests on water taken from several base buildings March 9, 2017, at McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. WFSM tests chlorine, fluoride and pH levels daily to ensure the base populace receives quality water.

In Newburgh, N.Y., where drinking water was tainted by the foam used at an Air National Guard base, officials are pressing the military to pay for connecting city residents to a new clean water source.

“The Department of Defense, I think, is coming around to the reality that they have a significant problem on their hands nationwide,” said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation in New York.

The Air Force, Navy and Army say they have similar plans: First, they will sample bases where the foam, known as aqueous film-forming foam, may have been used, then assess whether remediation is needed. After that, the cleanup would begin.

“The overriding issue is preventing migration (of the chemicals) into the wells,” said Karnig Ohannessian, the Navy’s deputy assistant secretary for environment. “That’s going to take a longer time.” But, he said, “we’re starting to have our arms around this.”

Officials say they have addressed sites with the greatest danger of drinking-water contamination. They have also checked on-base drinking water and are providing clean water where needed. The rest of the process is slow, they say, because they must follow complex federal rules.

“Priority one is make sure that there is no exposure to the contaminant. Once we’ve assured that… you’re talking eight years to get yourself to a remediation solution.”

Whether the chemicals — which don’t degrade in groundwater — move quickly or slowly depends on what type of water system they’re in, said William Battaglin, a research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. “Waiting (to clean up) doesn’t necessarily make it tremendously worse, but there could be situations where waiting would make the contaminant move from the source,” he said.

The Air Force, which has the most affected bases, began incorporating PFCs into existing cleanups around 2013. Officials then started paying more attention to the chemicals as the EPA began focusing on them, said Correll, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for the environment, safety, and infrastructure. As of March, he said, 196 of 207 bases had been sampled, the first step. The inspections should end by 2021.

“Priority one is make sure that there is no exposure to the contaminant,” Correll said.

“Once we’ve assured that … you’re talking eight years to get yourself to a remediation solution.”

Navy officials established a policy for the testing and cleanup last June, a month after the EPA released new guidelines, and have completed sampling at 11 of 127 bases. Ohannessian could not offer a schedule, saying only that the process will be “pretty long-term.”

“We don’t really have a priority one, two, three to just run through the 127 sites,” said Richard Mach, director of environmental compliance and restoration policy at the Navy.

He said it was “hard to say” what bases would be tested next because officials did not want to alarm residents before notification or sampling began.

The Army will follow the same process as the Navy and Air Force, a spokesman said, but inspections at 61 bases have not yet begun. Only one non-military drinking well, in Ayer, Mass., has been found with contamination above the EPA’s advisory level, a spokesman said.

———

©2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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5 Ways To Turn Your Work Office Into A Badass DIY Armory

In just about every alien invasion, zombie, or disaster movie, one group of people inevitably gets screwed: anyone who works in a goddamn office. What’s a white-collar worker to do if, say, a horde of zombies starts working its way up from the first floor to the 16th, growing in size with each level? Or what if your company gets taken over by a twisted bazillionaire who wants to pit employees against each other for sport?

Well, there’s the internet, and on it are videos, and in those videos are unsettlingly detailed instructions for how to turn just about everything in your office into a deadly weapon.

Related: How To Survive If A Nuke Goes Off In Your Town »

Thanks to a terrifyingly informative video by Tim Kennedy and the Chive, and a video explainer on how to make a gun with a D-size battery by the YouTube channel MrGear, we’ve identified five homemade weapons and defenses that’ll keep you alive if all hell breaks out in your office.

1. Pepper spray, literally.

Head to the kitchen/break room, where you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the following: hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and alcohol — if it’s not there, check the first-aid station or your boss’s desk drawer. Mix the contents in a water bottle with a spray nozzle, liberally adding hot sauce and cayenne pepper (or whatever else you can find that’s sure to sting the eyes), shake thoroughly, and ta-da, you’re all set to ruin someone’s day.

2. A homemade flame-thrower.

As any teenager with pyromaniacal tendencies can tell you, this is easy to make, and fun as hell to use. Grab an aerosol can of alcohol-based whatever — Lysol works well — and a lighter. Start spraying, flick that lighter, and go HAM on some fools.

3. Arm armor.

Facing a zombie horde? Just grab some leftover magazines and duct tape. Fold the papers around each arm and tape them in place. If you want to be extra safe, wrap a magazine around each leg, too. Zombies bite hard, sure, but this’ll buy some time to bash the undead off of you and avoid infection. Plus, it gives you reading material for the inevitable boredom that comes with the screeching halt of modern, zombie-free civilization.

4. A paper-cutter machete.

If you work in a normal office — meaning one not run by a doomsday prepper — chances are you don’t have an armory, but you probably have a paper cutter. Now all you need is a screwdriver to disconnect the lever. Grab it by the handle — I hate that I have to clarify this — and start swinging.

Of course, if you’ve ever seen “The Punisher,” you knew this already:

 

“The Faculty,” too:

5. The pocket pistol.

 

So, you’ve survived the initial disaster. You’ve got Cosmo and TIME magazines strapped to your legs and arms, a half-empty can of Lysol, a trusty lighter, a bottle of pepper spray, and a machete. Now you need a firearm. Sorta.

Find a safe place to lay low and grab a pack of matches. Then ransack your supply or utility closet for a D-cell battery, a hot-glue gun, a drill, and a graphite pencil. Grab a few pieces of wire, some screws, and duct tape.

Then — you know what? Describing this in words will just leave you more confused. Check out the video by YouTube user MrGear above, and after you’re done gawking in amazement, watch it again for the details.

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Which Countries Spent The Most On Military Might In 2016, In One Chart

Global military spending rose for the second consecutive year in 2016, reaching $1.686 trillion, according to new data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The increase was primarily centered in Western Europe and North America — the latter saw its first annual increase since 2010 — and the United States unsurprisingly continues to lead the pack:

20170424_Military_ExpenditurePhoto via Statista/Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

The Department of Defense spent $611 billion in 2016, up from $596 billion in 2015, and totaling 36% of global defense expenditures. But while the U.S. boosted its military budget by 1.7% in the last year, other countries are pushing to catch up: China, the second-largest spender of 2016, upped its military budget by 5.4% in the last year, while Russian moved up the ranks to become the third-largest spender with a 5.9% increase in expenditures, according to SIPRI.

The increase in U.S. military spending “may signal the end of a trend of decreases in spending, which resulted from the economic crisis and the withdrawal of U.S, troops from Afghanistan and Iraq,” SIPRI said — although U.S. spending in Afghanistan remains significantly lower than its peak in 2010 during the troop “surge.”

“Despite continuing legal restraints on the overall US budget, increases in military spending were agreed upon by Congress,” said SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure director Dr. Aude Fleurant. “Future spending patterns remain uncertain due to the changing political situation in the USA.”

Well, not that uncertain: Chances are this is only the beginning of a new surge in U.S. military spending. In February, President Donald Trump announced his intent to push for a 10% increase to the U.S. defense budget, adding $54 billion.

“We never win a war. We never win. And we don’t fight to win. We don’t fight to win,” Trump said during a speech to a joint session of Congress. “So we either got to win or don’t fight it at all.”

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