Why Wasn’t William H. Macy Named in the College Scam? – Vulture

Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy.
Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

On Tuesday, Felicity Huffman was among dozens of boldfaced names implicated in a sprawling college admissions and testing scheme unveiled by federal prosecutors. According to the criminal complaint, the Desperate Housewives star paid a “purported charitable contribution of $15,000” to a nonprofit called Key Worldwide Foundation, which was actually meant “to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her oldest daughter.” (The court document alleges that Huffman also tried to use the same scam for her younger daughter, but ultimately decided not to.)

For her part in the racket, Huffman has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. However, in the wake of the actress’s arrest, one wrinkle has emerged: Huffman is very famously married to fellow Oscar nominee William H. Macy, who also seems to have been embroiled in the scheme. The actor is not named in the complaint — he’s listed only as “spouse” — and unlike his wife, he has not been charged with a crime. Why did the long arm of the law only apprehend one half of Filliam H. Muffman?

Based on court documents, there seems to be little doubt that Macy was an active participant in the fraud. A cooperating witness, referred to as CW-1, allegedly met with Huffman and Macy at their Los Angeles home sometime before a December 2017 SAT exam. According to the complaint, this witness “explained, in substance, how the college entrance exam scheme worked.”

“According to CW-1, he advised Huffman and her spouse that he ‘controlled’ a testing center, and could arrange for a third party to purport to proctor their daughter’s SAT and secretly correct her answers afterwards. CW-1 has advised investigators that Huffman and her spouse agreed to the plan,” the document alleges.

The complaint also claims that Macy was on a December 12, 2018, call with Huffman and the cooperating witness to discuss their younger daughter possibly taking the SAT over a two-day period.

“Do we want two days?” Macy allegedly asked this witness, later saying, “She’ll score higher. Just her base score will be higher if we did it over two days.”

The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to say why the Shameless actor isn’t facing charges. However, several legal experts talked to Vulture about why a spouse might not be charged in this type of situation.

“There are a couple of different possibilities. One of the possibilities is that the husband is far less culpable,” explained Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Law School professor and former prosecutor. “Maybe it’s possible that the government has far more evidence than it’s laid out here, and in this evidence, that Huffman played a far more significant role than her husband.”

Why was Macy kept (semi-)anonymous in the complaint? Roiphe explained that when a conspirator isn’t named, it could be evidence that they had cooperated with the investigation. Or prosecutors could simply not be ready to charge them yet. (On Tuesday afternoon, Macy turned up in court alongside his lawyer.)

Veteran criminal attorney Murray Richman expressed similar views.

“If there’s no active participation in the wrongdoing, the spouse will not be charged,” he explained. “Mere knowledge, even with the presence, does not constitute criminal conduct.”

“Or, if there is insufficient evidence to necessarily link that spouse to criminal [activity], they will not be charged if it’s mere allegations unsubstantiated with significant proof,” Richman said.

In this kind of situation, Richman said that if prosecutors mention a spouse, but don’t charge the spouse, he or she could still be “an unindicted co-conspirator.”

A former federal prosecutor also told Vulture that the alleged misconduct involving their second daughter might be too vague to bring charges against Macy.

“Just based on their conversation, there’s not enough proof to show he had any knowledge it was illegal,” he said. “Based only on the conversations, the second one, there is also an innocent explanation what he was saying and ultimately, they agree not to do it.”

As for whether the couple’s daughters (who are 19 and 17)  would be in legal jeopardy, the former prosecutor also said it would be unlikely for a minor to get charged in this type of scheme, especially “if the parent shields the child from what’s going on.”

“The standards and requirements for the Department of Justice to indict people under 18 are pretty high,” he said.

The couple’s joint publicist did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Huffman’s agent’s office also deferred a request for comment to the publicist.

In an interview with Parade in January, Macy called his daughter’s college admissions process “so stressful,” adding, “I am voting that once she gets accepted, she maybe takes a year off.”

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7 unforgettable leadership lessons from the ancient Roman conqueror Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

  • Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March over 2,000 years ago.
  • Caesar held a number of roles over the course of his career, serving as a high priest, general, and dictator.
  • His actions and assassination contributed to the downfall of the faltering Roman Republic.

Julius Caesar had a pretty bad day at work on March 15, 44 BCE. The dictator of Rome was lured to a meeting and stabbed to death by his coworkers.

He would’ve done well to beware the Ides of March.

Several years earlier, the politician and general had rose to power in a civil war. His assassination sparked yet another civil war that doomed the Roman Republic. The state ended up mutating into an empire, with Caesar’s adopted heir Octavian at the helm.

Today, Caesar is still considered one of the greatest military commanders in history. His name is also synonymous with cults of personality and political strongmen.

So how exactly did the one-time high priest of Jupiter accrue so much power during his lifetime?

Business Insider looked through some of his own writings — as well as the less-reliable but still interesting works of contemporary ancient writers — to get a sense of his leadership style.

SEE ALSO: 9 timeless lessons from the great Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius

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1. Presentation matters

The best leaders don’t just do amazing things — they know how to present a compelling story.

After a relatively brief war with a certain Pharnacles II of Pontus, Caesar had to sit down and write out a report to Rome detailing his conquest. According to both Greek biographer Plutarch and Roman historian Suetonius, the commander didn’t go into too much detail, writing simply: “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

The phrase proved so catchy that we still remember it, centuries later.

Caesar could have gone on and on about his military prowess (in fact, he was the author of several long military accounts). Instead, he realized that the simple note would convey the most powerful message.

2. Take risks

In ancient Rome, crossing the Rubicon River with an army was kind of a big deal. It was tantamount to a declaration of war and could be punishable by death.

When Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his legion, he put everything on the line. In “The Life of the Deified Julius,” Suetonius writes that Caesar quoted an Athenian playwright as he crossed the river, declaring “the die is cast.”

He risked it all and it paid off (in the short-term, at least).

3. There’s nothing wrong with starting small

Oftentimes, you’ve got to start out as a large fish in a small pond in order to succeed as a leader.

Caesar understood this. He managed to climb back into a position of power, even after losing his inheritance in a coup as a young man.

According to the ancient Plutarch’s “Parallel Lives,” the general also made a rather curious remark while passing through a small village in the Alps: “I assure you I had rather be the first man here than the second man in Rome.”

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New York Attorney General Opens Investigation of Trump Projects – The New York Times


New York Attorney General Opens Investigation of Trump Projects

The office of Attorney General Letitia James of New York issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank on Monday, opening a new front in the scrutiny of its relationship with President Trump.CreditCreditVictor J. Blue/Bloomberg
  • March 11, 2019

The New York attorney general’s office late on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of four major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014, according to a person briefed on the subpoenas.

The inquiry opens a new front in the scrutiny of Deutsche Bank, one of the few lenders willing to do business with Donald J. Trump in recent years. The bank is already the subject of two congressional investigations and was examined last year by New York banking regulators, who took no action.

The new inquiry, by the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, was prompted by the congressional testimony last month of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, the person briefed on the subpoenas said. Mr. Cohen testified under oath that Mr. Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements, and Mr. Cohen provided copies of statements he said had been submitted to Deutsche Bank.

The inquiry by Ms. James’s office is a civil investigation, not a criminal one, although its focus and scope were unclear. The attorney general has broad authority under state law to investigate fraud and can fine — or in extreme cases, go to court to try to dissolve — a business that is found to have engaged in repeated illegality.

The request to Deutsche Bank sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in Washington; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the person said.

Investigators also requested records connected to an unsuccessful effort to buy the Bills, the person said. Mr. Trump gave Deutsche Bank bare-bones personal financial statements in 2014 when he planned to make a bid for the team, The New York Times has reported. The deal fell through when the team was sold to a rival bidder for $1.4 billion.

Mr. Trump worked with a small United States-based unit of Deutsche Bank that serves ultra-wealthy people. The unit lent Mr. Trump more than $100 million in 2012 to pay for the Doral golf resort and $170 million in 2015 to transform the Old Post Office Building in Washington into a luxury hotel.

New Jersey-based Investors Bank was subpoenaed for records relating to Trump Park Avenue, a project it had backed.

Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank declined to comment. The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.

The subpoenas are a culmination of months of threats from Ms. James that she would aggressively investigate Mr. Trump. In August, referring to the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election, she said “the president of the United States has to worry about three things: Mueller, Cohen, and Tish James.”

In her victory speech on the night she was elected in November, she said, “I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.” The next month, before taking office, she told NBC that “we will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family.”

Mr. Trump has a rich recent history of grievances against the New York attorney general’s office. Before former Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman resigned amid allegations of assault and abuse against women, he pursued cases against the Trump Foundation and Trump University. Mr. Trump has referred to him as “sleazebag AG Eric Schneiderman” and “Shady Eric.” He also assailed Mr. Schneiderman’s temporary successor, Barbara D. Underwood, and has referred to Ms. James as “yet another AG” who “openly campaigned on a GET TRUMP agenda.”

“Will never be treated fairly by these people — a total double standard of ‘justice,’” he added on Twitter.

In Congress, the House Intelligence Committee has been exploring real estate transactions related to Russia and other foreign interests, including Deutsche Bank loans to the Trump Organization.

Follow William Rashbaum on Twitter at @WRashbaum; follow Danny Hakim on Twitter at @dannyhakim.

Jesse Drucker contributed reporting.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: New Inquiry Into Banks That Dealt With Trump. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe


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Whistleblower Chelsea Manning arrested after refusing to testify in secret WikiLeaks case

Chelsea Manning

  • Chelsea Manning, the former US army analyst turned whistleblower, was arrested on Friday after she refused to testify before a federal grand jury on matters relating to her 2010 disclosure to WikiLeaks, multiple news outlets reported.
  • A judge ruled that Manning would be jailed until the grand jury’s proceedings are over or until she decided to testify, holding her in contempt of court.
  • Manning was previously imprisoned for seven years in relation to her WikiLeaks disclosures. Her 35-year sentence was cut short after President Barack Obama granted her clemency.
  • Manning was vocal about her struggles in prison, where she attempted suicide twice and underwent a gender transition despite being continually held in a men’s prison.

Chelsea Manning, the former US army analyst and whistleblower who leaked troves of classified material to WikiLeaks in 2010, was arrested on Friday after she reportedly refused to testify in front of a Virginia grand jury about her interactions with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

“I’ve found you in contempt,” Judge Claude M. Hilton told Manning at the public ruling, according to The Washington Post. He said Manning will be jailed “either until you purge yourself or the end of the life of the grand jury.”

Manning said in a statement on Twitter that she had been summoned to appear before a secret grand jury on Wednesday. In response to each question, she said she answered, “I object to the question and refuse to answer on the grounds that the question is in violation of my First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment, and other statutory rights.”

“All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010 — answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013,” her statement continued.

In January, WikiLeaks said federal prosecutors were working to get witnesses to testify against Assange in secret criminal proceedings being conducted by the Trump administration.

Read more: US prosecutors press witnesses to testify against Assange: WikiLeaks

Before the ruling, Manning told reporters, “I don’t believe in the grand jury process; I don’t believe in the secrecy of this.”

Manning’s lawyer, Moira Meltzer-Cohen, called the arrest an “an act of tremendous cruelty,” according to The Post.

Manning was imprisoned for seven years out of a 35-year sentence stemming from multiple counts under the Espionage Act. In 2017, she was released after President Barack Obama commuted her sentence.

Manning has said she suffered from mental-health problems in prison, where she attempted to commit suicide twice. During her incarceration, she spoke out about her treatment in the justice system as a transgender woman.

Throughout her sentence, she was housed in a men’s prison despite undergoing hormone and speech therapy as part of her transition.

Meltzer-Cohen commended prosecutors in the current case for working to address Manning’s medical needs, and Hilton said the court was available if US Marshals failed to address them, according to The Post.

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Attorney Steve Greenberg is representing R. Kelly – Crain's Chicago Business

Steve Greenberg is sitting at a Cosi in the Loop, eating his first meal of the day, a cup of turkey chili, at 4 one recent afternoon. His phone sits on a stack of manila folders. It dings and dings and dings. Greenberg looks at the screen and impatiently slides the phone away. “These fucking people,” he says. The dings are texts from women who want to get in touch with R. Kelly. “Girls send me pictures,” Greenberg says. ” ‘Hey man, tell R. Kelly I’m in his corner.’ “

Greenberg, a criminal defense attorney, has defended Drew Peterson, the Bolingbrook cop serving a 38-year prison sentence for killing his third wife; and Brian Dugan, serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 11-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. Now he’s representing Kelly, the Chicago-based R&B singer facing 10 charges of criminal sexual assault involving four women, three of whom were underage. Greenberg met Kelly last summer through someone doing work for the singer. “He and I actually had the discussion that I was going to help if there was litigation in those matters,” Greenberg says, glancing at the dinging phone every few seconds. “And then this all started to fester.”

Greenberg, 58, is one of a rare breed of criminal defense attorney who represents people accused of violent crimes.

The Highland Park native, a divorced father of three, says he always wanted to be a criminal defense lawyer. He witnessed the reality of defending people accused of awful crimes while working in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office during law school. “I was kind of shocked by the inhumanity of the system,” says Greenberg, whose gravelly voice has an oddly comforting timbre. “The callousness of people toward each other and how things were just summarily disposed of so quickly.”

Greenberg says doing what he does requires the ability to focus on the process, not the person or his alleged crime. “You can’t be judgmental,” he says. “It’s not our role to fight crime or make sure people who’ve done bad things go to jail.” Only once did a client acquitted of a serious offense commit another crime; Greenberg declined to represent him for a second time.

If and when that happens, “I would certainly feel bad; I’m human,” he says. “But if you let yourself get invested in the outcome of the case, and what that person does with their life—you can’t do it.” He sometimes has post-trial pep talks with clients: “You caught a break here; make the most of it.” That said, “I’m not a life counselor,” he says.

“The greatest rush in the business is when you know someone is guilty and you win the case,” Greenberg continues. “The worst feeling is when you lose a case and you really think the person is innocent.”

He describes his work as part skill, part theater, fortified with more than a bit of ego. “You have to be confident to stand up in front of a bunch of people and argue many times what’s an extraordinarily difficult position with a straight face,” he says.

A good memory comes in handy, too, as Illinois does not permit depositions in criminal cases. Attorneys have material gathered during investigations, and might have a summary of what a witness told a police officer, but occasionally, what they hear from the witness stand is the first time they’re hearing it. The process requires the ability to listen to information, absorb and synthesize it, and turn it into probing questions. “And you can’t seem shocked, you can’t seem startled,” Greenberg says. “It takes a lot of concentration, but it’s so fun,” he adds, likening a normal workday, no two alike, to an episode of “Law & Order.”

He has turned down clients because they didn’t get along or he thought they’d be high maintenance. Only one prospective client, charged with a triple murder, has ever scared Greenberg, after he commanded the lawyer to win his case. Greenberg declined to represent him.

“A lot of what we do and see is dark,” says Tony Thedford, past president of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, who estimates that only about 100 private attorneys in the state defend people accused of rape, murder and other violent crimes. “Criminal defense attorneys are seen as the bad guys, the ones in cahoots with the client,” he says. In defending accused murderers and rapists, “we are driven by a fear,” he says. “If we don’t do everything we can do, the consequences to our clients might be our fault.”


For Greenberg, a win means only one thing: His client is acquitted and goes home. He says that he won six jury trials in a row last year; he rattles off a list of a half-dozen clients acquitted of murder whose cases didn’t make headlines. Among the headline-making cases, his success rate is mixed. Peterson, whom Greenberg represented with attorney Joel Brodsky, was convicted. Greenberg represented Dugan for his sentencing; Dugan received the death sentence, which was commuted to life in prison after Illinois abolished the death penalty. In September, a judge vacated the 2018 conviction of Gaege Bethune, tried for the 2014 murder of a fellow Southern Illinois University student; Greenberg became Bethune’s lawyer after the conviction but before sentencing. Greenberg helped overturn the conviction of Arnold Day, accused of murder in 1994. (A judge ruled that Day was tortured into confessing at the hands of Chicago police under the command of former Cmdr. Jon Burge.) In a civil case, Greenberg represented the family of Darius Pinex, who was killed by Chicago police in 2011, in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the city. The family won.

Greenberg “has a reputation as being an aggressive advocate for his clients,” Thedford says. “He’s a good lawyer.” Not everyone agrees. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti, who has said he is representing one of the people named in R. Kelly’s criminal charges, recently got into a Twitter spat with Greenberg, calling him a “hack criminal lawyer.”

Greenberg grew up in Highland Park. His mother co-owned an art gallery in Wilmette, and his father was a CPA. Greenberg says that as a kid, he constantly got into trouble. “He was definitely strong-willed,” says his sister, Michelle Rapaport. “He didn’t back down easily.” As an adult, he is “funny, loyal to his family and friends, and likes to have a good time,” Rapaport says. “And he works really hard. The kind of student he was, I wouldn’t have pictured him as hardworking as he is as an adult.”

After earning a degree in finance from Indiana University-Bloomington, he headed west with the idea of attending law school and eventually settling in California. His grades weren’t good enough for any of California’s state schools, so he returned to the Midwest to attend law school at Northern Illinois University. He graduated in 1986 and opened his own practice in 1988.

Greenberg says he handles 100 or so cases at a time. His business card, made of thick plastic, has the heft of a credit card. He charges a flat rate, or not, depending on clients’ situations. He says the mother of an accused drug dealer charged with murder told Greenberg she couldn’t retire as a hotel housekeeper until she paid him in full. He says he told her to retire. “I make enough money,” says Greenberg, who owns a Maserati convertible, an Audi and a Prius. “We’re not hungry at my house.” He has a home in Highland Park and an apartment in University Village. For fun, he travels the world—Europe, Asia, the Middle East—to eat, drink and absorb the culture. In nice weather, he hangs out at Tavern on Rush “to people-watch.”

Even though he describes his job as packing “an extraordinarily high level of stress,” he doesn’t plan to retire anytime soon. “It’s just too much fun, it’s too interesting,” he says. Meanwhile, an unsentimental view of his work helps him cope, and helps him win. “My job is not to hug you, to babysit you or hold your hand except as necessary to get you through the process,” he says. “I have my job, and I’m going to stay in my lane. Right? That’s what I’m going to do.”

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A Facebook funeral party at its HQ once descended into violence, and security suspected gang involvement (FB)

facebook campus party

In July 2013, Facebook’s beloved head chef Josef Desimone died in a motorcycle accident.

To commemorate him, the company threw a blowout party on campus at its Silicon Valley headquarters one Saturday the following month. Hundreds of people were invited, and booze flowed freely as Facebook’s employees and contract workers gathered to celebrate Desimone’s life.

And then it descended into chaos.

Multiple fights broke out among attendees, which security staff believe were gang-related, sources said. The event culminated in one kitchen worker being beaten so badly by another attendee on Facebook grounds that they were hospitalised.

The assailant was barred from Facebook’s campus but he continued to sneak back — to visit his mother who worked there.

The incident highlights the challenges Facebook’s security team faces as it polices the Silicon Valley technology firm — not only to defend the company from outside threats but also, sometimes, to protect workers from one another.

Business Insider has spoken with current and former employees and reviewed internal documents for an in-depth investigation into how Facebook handles its corporate security, which you can read here.

Sources described a hidden world of stalkers, stolen prototypes, state-sponsored espionage concerns, secret armed guards, car-bomb concerns, and more. Today, there are a staggering 6,000 people in Facebook’s global security organisation, working to safeguard Facebook’s 80,000-strong workforce of employees and contractors around the world.

When numerous employees’ headphones were disappearing a couple of years ago, the company installed a covert mobile camera to monitor desks, a source said. (The sting operation caught an employee stealing them to sell online. A Facebook spokesperson said items are sometimes misplaced during office moves, and then misreported as thefts.)

But Silicon Valley’s tradition of openness can complicate things, such as the time when an old prototype of an Oculus virtual-reality headset was stolen from a conference room. Facebook — like many companies — doesn’t have surveillance cameras inside its offices, and the enormous open-plan design of the office meant that the pool of suspects would likely be hundreds of people, with no way to narrow it down. There was nothing security could do; the prototype was never recovered.

“The business has identified that we really need that open office environment that promotes our collaboration, and so that’s the risk we’re willing to accept inside an office is that open office environment,” Facebook corporate-security chief Nick Lovrien said about Facebook’s approach to openness. “So what we then look at is how we mitigate that risk,” from proactively sifting through intelligence to putting physical checkpoints in place and manning the perimeter of the offices.

At least one employee has been caught letting in tourists who wanted to take unauthorized tours of the facilities, and employees are also caught having sex in the office about every three months, on average. (Human resources may be alerted, but the couple isn’t typically fired.)

Read the investigation into Facebook’s corporate security »

Do you work at Facebook? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

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A mysterious payment to Paul Manafort's lawyer reveals a hidden chapter of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign – CNBC

WASHINGTON — Recent court filings from special counsel Robert Mueller shed new light on a mysterious payment to lawyers for Paul Manafort, the onetime chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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The payment, for $125,000, was made in June 2017, halfway through Trump’s first year in office. But it wasn’t disclosed publicly until late last year, when prosecutors accused Manafort in court filings of repeatedly lying to them about where the money actually came from. Manafort was convicted in 2018 of tax evasion and bank fraud, and sentenced in Virginia on Thursday to 47 months in prison. He faces another sentencing next week in Washington, D.C.

In the world of presidential campaign fundraising, where millions of dollars are often raised and spent in a matter of weeks, $125,000 can seem like a drop in the bucket.

But the route this money traveled, from its origin as a donation made to a pro-Trump political group, to its final destination in the bank account of Manafort’s attorney, offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of relationships Manafort built over 40 years in Republican politics.

These relationships have drawn fresh scrutiny in recent weeks. Both Manafort and another key figure in this story, Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, were among 81 individuals and entities that received formal document requests on Monday from the House Judiciary Committee, which is investigating a broad range of potential presidential misdeeds.

The path taken by this $125,000 also highlights the ways that Manafort took advantage of the Trump campaign’s underdeveloped leadership structure to install his allies in top positions across the Trump political landscape.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the murky, loosely regulated world of super PACs and other political “dark money” groups, which are permitted to raise unlimited amounts of money from donors as long as they don’t “coordinate” directly with campaigns, a legal standard that leaves plenty of room for interpretation. In this world, Manafort’s longtime associates could hold key positions, and oversee the raising and spending of huge sums of money, often with little to no direct oversight.

One of these positions was leading a pro-Trump super PAC that Manafort helped to establish in June 2016 called Rebuilding America Now.

To run the group, Manafort tapped an old friend, Connecticut-based lobbyist Laurance “Laury” Gay. A former official in President Ronald Reagan’s administration, Gay went on to work at Manafort’s lobbying firm in the late 1980s. He is also the godfather to one of Manafort’s daughters.

With Manafort’s blessing and Gay at its helm, Rebuilding America Now raised more than $24 million between June and December 2016, more than any other pro-Trump super PAC did during the entire election.

According to the transcript from a Feb. 4 hearing in Manafort’s trial, prosecutors believe that in 2017, Rebuilding America Now under Gay’s leadership also played a central role in what they describe as a “scheme” to provide Manafort with “a way of getting cash” out of his time as the unpaid chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Manafort’s decision to take a volunteer job at the top of Trump’s presidential campaign drew national attention to his lobbying career. By the summer of 2017, Manafort was the target of multiple investigations into his personal finances, campaign work and foreign lobbying.

Faced with mounting legal bills, Manafort reached out to Gay in June of that year and asked him to arrange a $125,000 payment to Manafort’s lawyers, according to both prosecutors and Manafort’s defense attorneys. Rather than give Manafort the money himself, however, Gay called someone else.

“At the request of Paul Manafort, Laury [Gay] asked that funds be forwarded to an entity designated by Mr. Manafort to assist with his legal expenses,” said Anthony J. Iacullo, a criminal defense attorney who represents Gay, in a recent interview with The New York Times.

It’s not clear why Manafort asked for this specific amount. In an emailed response to CNBC, Iacullo said Gay “has not been charged with any wrongdoing nor has he done anything that violates any federal or state laws.” He added that “out of an abundance of caution and respect for the process itself, we decline to comment any further at this time.”

CNBC attempted to reach Gay several times, but the phone at Gay’s Canaan, Connecticut-based consulting firm, Business Strategies & Insight, had been disconnected.

In order to get the $125,000, Gay reached out to someone else, whose name is redacted in court filings. Prosecutors described the person as having “a long relationship” with Manafort. Manafort’s defense attorneys said the person had “been a vendor on all these campaigns [Manafort has] used in the past.”

Crucially, in a January court filing the special counsel also noted that this person ran a firm that had been paid “approximately $19 million” by the super PAC that Gay was running in 2016.

There is only one firm that received anything near $19 million from Rebuilding America Now. And reports filed with the Federal Election Commission show that this firm received almost exactly $19 million, leaving little doubt about which firm it was that prosecutors were referring to.

It is a political ad-buying firm called Multi Media Services Corporation, or MMSC, based in Alexandria, Virginia.

At first glance, MMSC appears to be a small, two-man shop with no obvious ties to Manafort or anyone else with whom Manafort has “a long relationship.” Moreover, there are no signs that either of the principals at MMSC was ever “a vendor on all these campaigns [Manafort has] used in the past,” which is how Manafort’s lawyers described the person who ran this firm.

But there is more to MMSC than meets the eye. Interviews and corporate records unearthed by CNBC have revealed that MMSC has a silent owner: Tony Fabrizio, a longtime Manafort associate and the chief pollster on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Fabrizio’s dual role as: a) the owner of MMSC, which was the biggest vendor to the top pro-Trump super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, and b) the Trump campaign’s lead pollster, has not been reported until now.

As for the source of the $125,000, CNBC has also uncovered a compelling detail buried in one of the hundreds of exhibits that Mueller’s prosecutors have entered into the record in the case against Manafort in Washington.

This one appears to be a bank transfer record of the payment itself.

Under the heading “Debit Information” there is a line on the transfer record that reads “Account: MMSC SECONDARY – *7107* – Checking – $132,087.56.”

Again, MMSC is the acronym for Multi Media Services Corporation. Two political operatives who spoke to CNBC referred to the firm by its acronym.

CNBC tried repeatedly over several weeks to reach Fabrizio, but he did not respond to emails or phone messages left for him.

To be clear, at no point in any publicly available filings does Mueller suggest that Fabrizio or MMSC committed any crimes. On the contrary, details that appear to have been provided by Fabrizio are cited frequently as evidence of Manafort’s alleged misdeed: lying to prosecutors about the source of the $125,000.

Manafort’s lawyers deny that he lied. They told the court that he was merely confused or misremembered during each of the three interviews where he told the government three different stories about where the money came from.

Legal experts also told CNBC that there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with what Fabrizio appears to have done, namely, use money from a firm he controls to make a payment on someone else’s behalf.

In addition to Fabrizio, Manafort and Gay, CNBC also reached out to former Rebuilding America Now political director Ken McKay, former general counsel Cleta Mitchell and finance director Christina Culver. None responded to emailed questions about the group or about their work for it.

The connection between Fabrizio, Manafort and the money sent to Manafort’s lawyers from MMSC is only the latest chapter in a relationship between the two men that dates back more than 20 years.

In 1996, Fabrizio and Manafort worked together on the failed presidential campaign of former Kansas Republican Sen. Bob Dole. Then, as in 2016, Manafort was initially brought on board to manage the delegates at the 1996 Republican National Convention, while Fabrizio worked as the Dole campaign’s pollster.

Since then, Fabrizio has also done work for some of Manafort’s most controversial clients. In 2012 and 2013, foreign lobbying records show that Manafort paid Fabrizio $278,000 for work Fabrizio did to help Manafort’s political clients in Ukraine.

Fabrizio’s role in Manafort’s Ukrainian lobbying wasn’t revealed until a year after Trump was elected, however, when Manafort was required to file a foreign agent registration form with the Justice Department. On it, he listed five separate payments to Fabrizio, as well as payments to various other subcontractors.

Three years after they worked together on the Ukraine job, Manafort hired Fabrizio again, in May 2016, this time to work for the Trump presidential campaign.

At the time, Fabrizio’s hiring was greeted with fanfare in Republican circles, where it was viewed as a sign that Trump’s chaotic, bare-bones primary operation was maturing into a national presidential campaign, one capable of taking on the massive machine backing Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, the fact that Trump had hired a pollster at all was newsworthy, coming, as it did, after months of the candidate insisting that political pollsters were a waste of money.

“One of Paul Manafort’s best decisions was hiring Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio to determine how to beat Hillary Clinton,” wrote Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Manafort’s, Trump’s and Fabrizio’s, in his 2017 book, “The Making of a President.”

“In the end, it was the pugnacious and bulldog-like Fabrizio who insisted that the Trump campaign had to expand the map into Wisconsin and Michigan, while doubling down on Pennsylvania,” Stone wrote.

Stone was arrested earlier this year on charges that included lying to Congress about his contacts in 2016 with Wikileaks, which published thousands of emails allegedly stolen from the Clinton campaign by Russian state hackers. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. The charges against Stone are unrelated to the Manafort prosecution, nor do they have anything to do with Fabrizio or Gay.

Two weeks after Manafort hired Fabrizio to poll for the campaign, Manafort and longtime Trump ally Tom Barrack set up the Rebuilding America Now super PAC so they could raise millions at a time from wealthy GOP donors to help Trump, who was reportedly growing tired of spending his own money to fund his campaign.

Five days after Rebuilding America Now was formed on June 2, campaign finance records show that it made its first payment to MMSC, Fabrizio’s ad-buying firm, for a $1 million ad buy. According to prosecutors, Rebuilding America Now hired MMSC “at Manafort’s suggestion.”

The rapid succession of these hirings — first Manafort to chair the campaign, then Fabrizio to poll for the campaign, then Gay to run Rebuilding America Now, then Fabrizio’s ad-buying firm to buy the airtime for Rebuilding America Now — offer a striking example of how Manafort turned his unpaid role on the Trump campaign into an opportunity to secure lucrative work for his longtime associates.

In hindsight, however, this work appears to have come at a high cost to those who did it.

On March 4, Fabrizio was one of more than 80 members of Trump’s extended political and professional orbits to receive a formal letter from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. In it, Nadler wrote that the committee is investigating “allegations of obstruction of justice, public corruption, and abuses of power” by Trump and those around him.

According to the letter, the documents Nadler’s committee is seeking from Fabrizio include anything related to “discussions or attempts to provide or receive election information, campaign data, or campaign communications with, to, or from foreign entities or individuals in connection with the 2016 U.S. Presidential primary or general elections.”

The letter goes on to say: “this includes, but is not limited to, voter data, polling information, political ad targeting, voter registration rolls, social media data, and campaign or party e-mails.”

The special counsel’s interest in hearing from Fabrizio predates the Judiciary Committee’s letter by more than a year, however. In early February 2018, Fabrizio was seen by CNN leaving the special counsel’s office in Washington. The network later confirmed that he had been meeting with members of Mueller’s team.

More recently, court filings in the Manafort case also repeatedly mentioned another interview with an individual who appeared to be Fabrizio, this one conducted on Nov. 6, 2018.

Prosecutors said this individual provided accurate details about the $125,000 payment and how it was arranged, that they were later able to corroborate with text messages and bank records.

The individual also described a financial relationship between MMSC and Rebuilding America Now that was more complicated than it initially appeared in the campaign finance reports that the super PAC submitted to the FEC.

According to the account of the individual who appears to be Fabrizio, Rebuilding America Now agreed to pay Fabrizio’s firm a surprisingly high commission rate, 6 percent, on its media buys during Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The reason for this above-average rate, the person said to prosecutors, was that “half the commission was to be provided to” the head of Rebuilding America Now, in this case, Gay. They also said the commission split “was not reflected in the written contract” between MMSC and Rebuilding America Now.

This wasn’t the first time that questions had come up about the commission rates Rebuilding America Now was paying for its ad buys.

During the 2016 presidential race, potential donors to the PAC also reportedly questioned the rates, along with other elements of Rebuilding America Now’s spending.

“The main question is where the money is going,” an attendee at a Rebuilding America Now fundraising meeting during the Republican National Convention told CNN in the summer of 2016. During that meeting, specific questions were also raised “about the super PAC’s commission rates,” the attendee said.

Commission rates on political ad buys are particularly difficult to track, because campaigns and groups like Rebuilding America Now are not required to report them separately from the money they spend to air the ads themselves.

So, for example, if a super PAC reported an expense of $20 million paid to an ad-buying firm, it would be impossible to tell how much of that money went to the firm as commissions, and how much of it was actually spent to buy airtime.

But “if Gay and Rebuilding America Now knew that 3 percent of all commissions paid to Multi Media Services Corporation would be routed back to Gay, those transactions should have been reported to the FEC as payments to Gay” and not merely as commissions to MMSC, said Brendan Fischer, director of the federal reform program at the nonprofit watchdog group The Campaign Legal Center.

Federal campaign finance law requires that PACs, like political campaigns, accurately report their expenditures to the FEC.

“If a payment is made to one vendor with the intention that it be directed to another person or subvendor, and that recipient isn’t disclosed, then the committee has violated the law” by failing to disclose their expenditures accurately, Fischer said.

Gay’s attorney declined to respond to questions about the commission split from CNBC, as did Fabrizio.

But the alleged existence of a secret commission split wasn’t the only thing about the relationship between MMSC and Rebuilding America Now that experts said raises questions about where donors’ money was actually ending up.

In May 2017, six months after Trump had won the presidency and Rebuilding America Now had stopped buying ads on TV, campaign finance records show that Fabrizio’s ad-buying firm, MMSC, made three large cash transfers to Rebuilding America Now.

The first was on May 27, for $150,000, according to campaign finance records, which detail all these payments and their dates, sources, amounts and recipients. Three weeks later, on June 15, MMSC again transferred money to its former client, only this time it was a much larger amount: $625,000. The very next day, June 16, it transferred $25,000 to Rebuilding America Now, for a total of $800,000 from the ad-buying firm to the super PAC in a little under a month.

And not just any month. This was the month leading up to the mysterious $125,000 payment to Paul Manafort’s attorneys. That payment, from the account labeled MMSC – Secondary, occurred on June 26, precisely 10 days after the third and last payment from the firm to the PAC.

Records show that Rebuilding America Now reported the $800,000 it received in May and June as media reimbursements. This helps to explain why the money does not appear to have raised any red flags so far with the FEC, even though several other aspects of the PAC’s finances have prompted the FEC to formally request additional information or corrections.

Ad-buying firms frequently reimburse clients after elections for any money that doesn’t ultimately get spent by the firm on ads. This payment is called a reconciliation, and it’s usually made as soon as possible, and it’s precise down to the dollar, said Barbara Kittridge, the founder of Motive LLC, a political media-buying and strategy firm in Washington.

“January is what we media buyers call ‘audit season,’ where we go back through all our ad contracts from the previous year and carefully match the money that was paid with the actual ads that were run. If there’s any money that wasn’t spent, it’s returned to the client right away,” she said.

“Typically, ad-buying contracts require that reconciliations be paid somewhere between 15 and 45 days after the end of either the campaign or the calendar year. Six months is some of the longest I’ve ever seen for a repayment,” Kittridge said.

“It’s also odd to see even numbers” like $150,000 and $25,000 in ad reconciliations, she added. “Depending upon the channel that you’re purchasing ads on, it’s not typical that your costs are that even.”

Interestingly, several months before MMSC returned exactly $800,000 to Gay’s super PAC in the summer of 2017, campaign filings show that the firm made a different reimbursement payment to Rebuilding America Now, one that Kittridge said looked much more like a typical ad reconciliation than the later amounts did.

On Feb. 10, 2017, five weeks after the end of the fourth quarter, MMSC transferred $347,505 back to its client, Rebuilding America Now. Campaign legal experts said the transfer matches what media reconciliations typically look like, because it happened quickly and it was for a very precise amount.

“This reimbursement would be more normative, from both a timing perspective and from an amount perspective,” said Kittridge.

Yet the same qualities that make the February payment appear run-of-the-mill, experts said, are what make the May and June payments look so unusual.

“Six months after the election, with big round numbers, are definitely more suspect,” Kittridge said.

“I have never seen such large reimbursement payments coming so long after the election for which the ads were created. It strains credulity well beyond the breaking point to believe that these payments are reimbursement for unaired general election ads,” said a campaign finance lawyer who has been practicing before the FEC for 30 years, and who requested anonymity to discuss an issue that could come before the commission.

CNBC attempted to reach Fabrizio, as well as MMSC’s president, Dwight Sterling, and its media director, Neal McDonald, for several weeks to ask them about these unusual reimbursements. None responded to phone messages or emails.

Yet one thing is clear from the PAC’s financial reports: In the year that followed these three unusual cash transfers from Fabrizio’s firm to Rebuilding America Now, no one took home more of that money from the PAC, in consulting fees and expenses, than Laurance Gay.

Gay first entered Trump’s orbit in April 2016 as a high-level campaign volunteer, one of several lobbyists Manafort recruited to help him professionalize the Trump campaign as it became increasingly likely Trump would be the Republican nominee. But Gay and Manafort’s professional relationship dates back to long before there was ever a Trump campaign.

In the 1980s, Gay worked with Manafort and Stone at their lobbying firm, Black, Stone, Manafort & Kelly. Gay is also reportedly the godfather to one of Manafort’s daughters.

During the 2016 campaign, Gay touted his personal and professional relationship with Manafort as one of the major assets Rebuilding America Now had that other pro-Trump super PACs did not.

“The advantage that we bring, without compromising any of the boundaries, is we know how Manafort thinks. I’ve done over 40 campaigns with Paul,” Gay told Politico in the summer of 2016.

For Gay, his relationship with Manafort would also prove to be extremely lucrative. Between June 2016 and June 2018, Gay collected just over $1 million in consulting fees from Rebuilding America Now.

More than three-quarters of that, a total of $775,000, was paid to Gay after 2016, and after Rebuilding America Now had shed staff and stopped running TV ads for Trump.

During that same two-year period, Gay collected another $254,000 in travel reimbursements from the super PAC. Again, the majority of this money, $149,164.03, came after 2016 was over.

Added together, the expenses and fees that Gay took home from Rebuilding America Now in the 18 months after 2016 equaled $924,164.03. This is very close to the combined total of $925,000 that was paid to the super PAC and Manafort’s lawyers ($800,000 to the PAC plus $125,000 to Manafort’s lawyers) by Fabrizio’s firm, MMSC, in May and June 2017.

In June 2018, Rebuilding America Now’s travel expenses caught the attention of the FEC. In a letter to Rebuilding America Now’s treasurer, Ryan Call, the FEC asked him to explain the $42,286 the group had paid to Gay for “Travel” during the first three months of 2018. The FEC gave the group until Aug. 2, 2018, to reply, but so far it has not responded to the request.

By this point, more than a year after Trump was elected, Rebuilding America Now appeared to be operating as little more than a meme-posting operation on Facebook and Twitter, trying to engage Trump supporters with “Like if you agree!” style posts.

Facebook ad records show that in the spring and summer of 2018, Rebuilding America Now ran a series of ads on Facebook. They asked viewers to “Like” posts if, for instance, they “think Hillary [Clinton] should be behind bars,” and “think CNN sucks.”

Yet despite spending money to buy Facebook ads, to pay Gay $35,000 a month and to pay other consultants and lawyers, Rebuilding America Now effectively stopped raising any money after the 2016 election, and only spent money.

Between June 2017, when the PAC received the last of the three unusual transfers from MMSC, to October 2018, when Palm Beach real estate developer Llwyd Ecclestone gave the group $25,000, campaign finance records show that Gay did not raise any money at all.

Ecclestone’s gift came long after the PAC had effectively gone dormant. He did not respond to an email from CNBC on Friday asking what prompted him to donate $25,000 to the group more than two years after he had last given it any money and months after Rebuilding America Now had stopped doing anything more than posting photos online.

Now, it barely even does that. Rebuilding America Now’s Twitter account posted its last tweet on Oct. 10, 2018. And the PAC’s website was taken down sometime in the fall, although it is difficult to tell precisely when.

As of March 6, the Rebuilding America Now Facebook page was still active, however, and it linked to the nonexistent website. CNBC sent a message to the Facebook page but has received no response.

While the name of Rebuilding America Now may have faded from the pro-Trump political landscape, Gay’s name has re-emerged in the news in recent weeks. This time it is in connection with a different pro-Trump entity that is currently under investigation: Trump’s presidential inaugural committee, or PIC.

Bloomberg News recently identified Gay as having been in charge of the ticketing operation for Trump’s inaugural events. This appeared to be the first time Gay had been identified by name as having had an official role in Trump’s inauguration.

“Gay didn’t have any known experience managing invitations, according to three people familiar with his role,” Bloomberg reported.

Prosecutors in both New York and New Jersey have reportedly opened preliminary investigations into Trump’s inaugural committee, including whether foreign nationals who attended inaugural events made prohibited donations to the committee by using “straw man” donors to hide their participation.

Gay was not the only member of Manafort’s inner circle working on core elements of Trump’s inauguration. Manafort’s longtime right-hand man, Rick Gates, was the deputy chairman of the inaugural committee, working directly under Barrack, the inaugural committee’s billionaire chairman.

The revelation that Gay was working alongside Gates at the inaugural committee serves as yet another example of how far Manafort’s reach into the Trump campaign continued to extend, months after Manafort himself had been fired from the campaign in August.

Gates was indicted in late 2017 along with Manafort, and charged with failing to disclose foreign lobbying and tax evasion. He has since pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and lying to the FBI, and he has cooperated with prosecutors and testified against Manafort in court.

Gay’s attorney declined to comment in response to questions from CNBC about Gay’s work for the inaugural committee.

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The NSA publicly released a tool for cracking software wide open, and hackers are loving it — so long as the NSA makes good on its promise not to use it to spy on them

Nakasone cyber command

  • On Tuesday, the National Security Agency made its Ghidra — its tool for reverse-engineering software — available as open source, which means anyone can use or modify it for free.
  • Anybody can use it as a free cybersecurity tool for disassembling suspicious files, analyzing malware, and testing for vulnerabilities.
  • Since the Ghidra tool is free, this increases access for people to use it in both professional and educational settings — potentially making for a safer internet, even as it could introduce new people into the profession of cybersecurity, experts say. 
  • The NSA promises that there are no backdoors or other methods of spying built in to Ghidra, but hackers have gone over the code with a fine-tooth comb to double-check that claim. 

It’s been almost a week since the National Security Agency released a free software tool for picking apart suspicious files, and security enthusiasts are already poring over the code to hunt for bugs and backdoors. And once the project’s completely online for people to modify, developers will scramble to make this tool even more powerful, experts say.

On Tuesday, the NSA released an open source project called Ghidra, a software reverse engineering framework developed by NSA’s Research Directorate for NSA’s cybersecurity mission. The secretive spy agency originally developed Ghidra to analyze attacks and cybersecurity risks on government agencies and other organizations. Like individuals and companies, government agencies are also prone to cybersecurity attacks, including ones from other countries. 

Right now, the code is only available to download, but the NSA is in the process of putting the project onto code hosting site GitHub. And once that happens, experts expect to see enhancements from amateur and professional security developers roll out soon — making the tool even more robust, and a major reason why the NSA likely chose to release a formerly closed project, experts say. As an open source project, Ghidra can be used or modified by anyone for free.

In the meantime, the release of Ghidra has provoked a frenzy of activity as malware researchers, hobbyists and even the conspiracy-minded dissect the software and put it through its paces, assessing its capabilities and seeking to allay the inevitable suspicions about the spy agency’s gift. 

“If you have security concerns about Ghidra, do what I do and install all your research tools inside a Virtual Machine,” suggested MalWare Tech, a verified Twitter user with 141,000 followers.

Read more: A former Marine explains how her service helped prepare her to lead a new open source initiative for $3.3 billion startup Rubrik

Making Ghidra open source benefits NSA, experts say. It can be costly to work on improving Ghidra, but as an open source tool where anyone can modify it, an online community of developers can work to improve it much faster. It can also encourage recruitment and community interaction with th NSA, Graham says.

“The significance is that the product can be improved by the community instead of being solely funded by the NSA. Development of such a product is costly, and even the NSA doesn’t have unlimited funds. It’ll be great demonstration of the value of open-sourcing internally developed projects,” Rob Graham, consultant and owner at Errata Security. told Business Insider in a Twitter DM.

What is reverse engineering?

Reverse engineering helps users recover information needed to understand cybersecurity risks. For example, when there’s a suspicious file, it can be hard to find the specific issues with that file. But with reverse engineering, a person can disassemble the file to figure out how it works and what risks it might have — essentially, working backwards.

This is similar to figuring out how a dish is prepared at a restaurant so you can make it at home. With Ghidra, people can inspect suspicious code, analyze malware and test for vulnerabilities. 

Ghidra’s technology isn’t anything new as there are currently commercial reverse engineering tools available, but as an open source tool, it increases access for people to work with reverse engineering, says Jon Amato, research director for Gartner’s technical professionals security and risk management strategies team.

“It lowers the bar for entry for people who can do reverse engineering in the industry and are frustrated and priced out for commercial tools,” Amato told Business Insider.

Ghidra is not as sophisticated as some commercially available tools, Amato says, but it’s still a “good first start” for people who want to get their hands dirty with reverse engineering. Plus, right now, commercial tools can cost thousands of dollars a year. Although the NSA has released a set of other open source projects, this is the first open source tool specifically for analyzing malicious code and malware-like viruses.

“This functionality has been in freeware and commercial based tools for years,” Amato said. “The problem was commercial tools were crazy expensive. [Ghidra] competes with more commercial tools in that in can do a bunch of different stuff but it can do it for free.

Amato says that this tool isn’t a general purpose security tool, but rather, a niche tool that would only be used in specialized security jobs. That being said, now that the tool is free, he believes that Ghidra will likely be used as a teaching tool in colleges and universities — giving students access to learning about this specialized type of cybersecurity technology.

“We’ll start to see this used in academic classroom environments because some of the commercial tools can be a little difficult to gain licenses for even for academic environments,” Amato said. “The learning ecosystem is going to be the first and most immediate change we’ll see.”


Still, some users were skeptical about the announcement. Ghidra has already been around for years, and it’s likely that the NSA has replaced its internal tools for reverse engineering, says Jerry Gamblin, principal security engineer at Kenna Security.

“It was known to exist, and because it had lost internal value and it wasn’t a tool that was going to drastically make the Internet safe, it allows them to give something back to the security community,” Gamblin told Business Insider. “It’s good timing for the NSA.”

The fact that it’s from the NSA may also deter some users from using this tool, but otherwise, since Ghidra’s release, the security community has already started sifting through the code to try out the code and to look for bugs.

“There is no backdoor in Ghidra,” Robert Joyce, NSA senior advisor, said at RSA on Tuesday. “This is the last community you want to release something out to with a backdoor installed, to people who hunt for this stuff to tear apart.”

Here’s what people are saying about Ghidra.


SEE ALSO: Microsoft is seriously closing the gap with Amazon in the cloud wars, according to a survey of IT professionals

Join the conversation about this story »

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Get Ready for the Final Season of Criminal Minds – How to Watch Criminal Minds Live Online – TechNadu

Criminal Minds
via CBS

Everything has an end and, much to everyone’s sadness, Criminal Minds is also heading towards the last season. If you want to be prepared to watch Criminal Minds live online, we’re going to help you out.

Criminal Minds premiered back in 2005 and has since become a phenomenon among police procedural crime dramas. Unlike the rest of the shows around that go from clue to clue to solve the crimes, the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit) is on the job, looking at another type of clues by profiling criminals, finding unsubs in the least expected places, and generally taking dangerous criminals off the streets.

Over the years, the team has suffered numerous permutations, but a few members have had a constant presence since the first season – Spencer Reid (played by Matthew Gray Gubler) and Penelope Garcia (played by Kirsten Vangness). JJ (played by A. J. Cook) took a bit of a break, and so did Emily Prentis (played by Paget Brewster), while others left the show entirely like Aaron Hotchner (played by Thomas Gibson) and Derek Morgan (played by Shemar Moore). Nowadays, the main team consists of Emily Prentis, Spencer Reid, Penelope Garcia, JJ, David Rossi (played by Joe Mantegna), Tara Lewis (played by Aisha Tyler), Luke Alvez (played by Adam Rodriguez), and Matt Simmons (played by Daniel Henney).

The show’s 14th season ended in February 2019, with the new season scheduled for this year’s fall, either late September or early October. Season 15 will be the last from the series, so it will be bittersweet to say goodbye to the BAU on CBS. Nonetheless, we need to prepare for the end, so let’s find out everything there is to know about watching Criminal Minds live online.

Can You Watch Criminal Minds Online for Free on the CBS website?”

Unfortunately, that’s not possible; not for free, anyway. Unlike other TV channels that feature a live stream on their sites, CBS doesn’t have one as it tries to push its own streaming platform – CBS All Access, which we’ll discuss shortly. So, if you want to watch CBS online, you really should look into subscribing to a live TV platform.

What Options Do You Have to Watch Criminal Minds Online?

Nowadays, we use the Internet for anything and everything, so why wouldn’t we also turn to this method to watch TV? There are numerous arguments in favor of this change, starting with the fact that cable contracts are particularly expensive nowadays, the plans are difficult or impossible to customize, and if you ever want to cancel it can take far too much effort to do it. Live TV platforms, on the other hand, are relatively cheap, you can customize the service and you can cancel the service in under a minute. Plus, you can watch the content you like anywhere you go, whether you’re at home, at work, or on vacation; all you need is an Internet connection and a compatible device. Let’s go ahead and find out what services you can subscribe to in order to be able to watch Criminal Minds.

fuboTV – First on our list is fuboTV, which is a platform that started off as the perfect way to watch sports and expanded into a service you can enjoy alongside the whole family. The platform has two main bundles, called fubo and fubo Extra. CBS is present in both bundles, so you can pick the one you like the most, either thanks to the channel combo or the price. If you want to add more channels, you can add any number of packs, as well as premium networks. Read TechNadu’s fuboTV review to better understand what the service has to offer and if it’s right for you.

Hulu – Next up, there’s Hulu, which is a great service that’s been around for quite a while, offering fans access to video on demand. For a while, however, they’ve also had a live TV plan for $44.99 per month which includes access to dozens of channels, including CBS, and the full VOD library. There are also a couple of channel packs you can add if those in the bundle aren’t enough for you, as well as premium networks like Showtime and HBO. Our Hulu review comes with a lot of details you’ll want to know before subscribing.

YouTube TV – Another great alternative is to subscribe to YouTube TV. The service isn’t only rather cheap, but it’s also packed with cool features. There’s only one bundle of channels here, including CBS, and you can get it all for $40 per month. Customizing your plan is absolutely possible, but only if you want to add premium networks because there are no packs. Read our YouTube TV review to find out a lot more stuff about the service.

DirecTV Now – A great option you should totally take into consideration is DirecTV Now, which offers five bundles to choose from, three International bundles, a bunch of packs with Spanish-language channels, as well as several premium networks. Luckily, CBS is present in all five bundles – Live a Little, Just Right, Go Big, Gotta Have It, and Todo y Mas, which means you can choose the one you like best. Our DirecTV Now review comes with a lot of details, so make sure to check it out.

PlayStation Vue – Another option is to try out PlayStation Vue, which is a platform we greatly enjoyed when we reviewed it. The service offers four bundles to pick from, but if you want to customize, you can add a couple of packs, as well as some premium networks. CBS is present in all four bundles – Access, Core, Elite, and Ultra. You can find out a lot more issues in our PlayStation Vue review.

CBS All Access – We also need to mention and discuss CBS All Access, CBS’ own platform. The subscription costs $5.99 per month with some ads, or $9.99 per month if you don’t want to see any ads whatsoever. The service allows subscribers to enjoy dozens of CBS series on demand, or to live stream the channel’s broadcast. Make sure to read our CBS All Access review to find out more details.

Sling TV – We also need to mention Sling TV here, even though the platform doesn’t really feature CBS in its offering. If you enjoy what the service brings to the table, you can always subscribe to it and pay for two months in advance. If you do that, you’ll get a free digital antenna to set up, and you’ll thus get access to CBS and other local channels like ABC, NBC, and more. Read TechNadu’s Sling TV review to figure out if this is the right platform for you.

What Is There to Do If CBS Isn’t Part of the Offer Where You Live?

Depending on where you live across the United States, CBS may or may not be an option. When you’re using a digital platform to watch TV, however, location is not set in stone. So, if you’re in a remote city over in Alaska, you can use a VPN to change your IP and make it seem as if you’re in the middle of New York City, so you can enjoy the channels that are available there instead. Let’s learn more about what you need to do to accomplish this.

  • The first thing you need to do is get a VPN. We recommend picking ExpressVPN because it’s one of the best tools of this kind we reviewed over the years, and we tried out dozens of them. Go to ExpressVPN, subscribe to the service, and then download and install the app on your device.
  • When the process is complete, launch the app and sign into your account. Pick a server that’s located in a big metropolitan area like New York City, or Chicago, or Washington D.C.
  • When the connection is established, you can log into your live TV platform account and get to enjoy the local channels
  • Have fun watching the last season of Criminal Minds!

Note: One thing you need to keep in mind if you ever travel abroad is that you can use the very same steps we described above to overcome the geoblockades live TV platforms and TV sites have set up. By picking any US server, you can watch the streams available within the country.

Can You Use TV Antennas to Watch Criminal Minds?

Yes, as we already discussed when Sling TV came along. But it’s not just via Sling TV that you can get a TV antenna, but pretty much anywhere else. They’re relatively cheap and you get to watch TV for free afterward. The one downside we can see is that you only have access to a bunch of channels and not the hundreds you got with cable.

Before spending any money on an antenna, it’s best if you check a site like TV Fool to figure out exactly what TV networks broadcast in your area and how strong the signal is. Depending on the results you get and if they’re satisfactory, you can go ahead and buy your own device.

How Can You Stream Older Criminal Minds Episodes?

We reckon that if you start now, you might be able to rewatch all Criminal Minds seasons before the final one starts airing this fall. There are quite a few ways you can watch Criminal Minds and we’re going to go through them all. The first, of course, is straight on CBS All Access.

If you want to purchase the show so you can watch it anytime you want, you can buy full seasons or individual episodes on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, and Microsoft Store.

We’d love to hear which platform you ended up choosing to watch Criminal Minds going forward, so please drop us a note in the comments section below. Share the article online if you have the time and please follow TechNadu on Facebook and Twitter for more tech news, reviews, guides, and interviews.

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R. Kelly released from jail; lawyer of sex abuse accusers claims more evidence in case – USA TODAY

R&B singer R. Kelly was released from a Chicago jail Saturday after someone paid $161,000 in back child support for his ex-wife.

Cook County sheriff’s spokeswoman Sophia Ansari told The Associated Press that she did not know who made the payment.

It came three days after a judge ordered Kelly jailed until he paid the total amount he owed by that date.

Kelly briefly spoke to reporters Saturday following his release, saying, “I promise you, we’re going to straighten all this stuff out. That’s all I can say right now. I promise you… I love my fans.”

Kelly’s release follows a rough week for the singer. He made headlines for his explosive interview with CBS’ Gayle King, his first talk since being charged with 10 counts aggravated criminal sexual abuse. And hours after the interview aired Wednesday, he landed back in jail for the second time in three weeks after failing to pay the overdue child support. 

The full amount was owed to his ex-wife, Andrea “Drea” Kelly, with whom he has a 20-year-old daughter, Joann, and two teenage sons, Robert Jr. and Jay.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg also spoke to reporters Saturday, saying he hasn’t seen “one single piece of evidence” to support the sexual abuse claims against Kelly.

“We haven’t seen an interview. We haven’t seen a police report. We haven’t seen a videotape,” Greenberg said. “When we get those things, we’re going to fight this case like we fight any other case: in the courtroom, based on the evidence.”

Last month, Kelly, 52, spent three nights in jail on the sex-crimes charges after he turned himself in on Feb. 22. He was freed when a 47-year-old suburban Chicago business owner posted his $100,000 bail.

Kelly’s representative Darryll Johnson told reporters when Kelly appeared in court Wednesday, the singer was prepared to pay up to $60,000 up front, then work out a payment plan for the remainder. Instead, the judge told Kelly he’d stay in jail until the entire sum was paid.

“He was expecting that he was going to come and make an arrangement, but they wanted the entire amount. As you know he hadn’t worked in a long time. He can’t book shows, he can’t do anything,” Johnson explained. 

While it’s true that Kelly appears to have been dropped by his label, RCA Records, and some artists have pulled their collaborations with him from their streaming catalogs, his song and album sales more than doubled after Lifetime aired its docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly,” according to Nielsen. The data analytics company also says his audio and video streams spiked 76 and 85 percent.

Meanwhile, Michael Avenatti, a lawyer for two of Kelly’s sex assault accusers tweeted Saturday that he has uncovered more evidence against the singer. 

“Our investigation has now uncovered significant additional evidence that R Kelly and his handlers transported underage girls across state lines for the purpose of allowing him to sexually assault them,” he tweeted. “We will be turning over the evidence to law enforcement forthwith.”

The singer’s next hearing in his criminal case is set for March 13.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Charisse Jones and Maeve McDermott

More: R. Kelly’s ex-lawyer says he was ‘guilty as hell’ when he defended him years ago

More: Gayle King details ‘very troubling’ R. Kelly interview to Stephen Colbert

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