Morning Consult: Russia’s Role in Political Hacking: What They’re Saying So Far

By Amir Nasr

Overshadowed by the fast-paced news dumps of the “Trump Tapes,” the second presidential debate and WikiLeaks releases was a massive joint announcement Friday from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that the U.S. intelligence community is “confident” the Russian government orchestrated hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

DHS and the office of the DNI said that the hacks and subsequent disclosure of the emails were “intended to interfere with the US election process.”

“The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts,” the joint statement said. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.”

While various news outlets reported U.S. intelligence were confident of Kremlin involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party organizations, this marked the first time the government publicly blamed Russia for meddling in the U.S. election.

Members of Congress from both parties wanted to see a stop to the interference now that the acknowledgment was public.

Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the government to put a stop to Russia’s activities. “If it does not, we must develop a strong response,” she said.

Feinstein said: ““The statement released by the Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence closely mirrors my joint statement with Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. The administration’s acknowledgement that Russian intelligence agencies are attempting to influence the U.S. election and undermine public confidence conveys the seriousness of the threat. Attempted hacking of our election system is intolerable, and it’s critical to convince the Russian government to cease these activities. If it does not, we must develop a strong response.”

Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Chairman Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) said he plans to introduce legislation that would require the White House to investigate the Russian cyber-criminals and “aggressively pursue sanctions when appropriate,” according to a Friday release.

The “news is further evidence of what happens when the Obama Administration fails to take the cyber threat seriously. That is why I plan to introduce legislation that builds upon my North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act by mandating the Administration sanction Russia’s bad actors who are responsible for malicious cyber activities,” Gardner said in a statement. “Russia’s interference with American democracy is a direct threat to our political process, and it may only be the tip of the iceberg. It is imperative that Russia’s behavior is met with strength in the form of aggressive sanctions to show the world that its cybercrimes will not be tolerated.”

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) called on the U.S. to work with European allies that Russia had targeted with similar hacking operations to develop a response protecting the country from further intrusions.

“I applaud the Administration’s decision to publicly name Russia as the source of hacks into U.S. political institutions,” Schiff said in a Friday statement. “We should now work with our European allies who have been the victim of similar and even more malicious cyber interference by Russia to develop a concerted response that protects our institutions and deters further meddling. All of us should be gravely concerned when a foreign power like Russia seeks to undermine our democratic institutions, and we must do everything in our power to guard against it. This is why Senator Feinstein and I have been urging state election officials to take every precaution and to avail themselves of the cyber expertise offered by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) said the U.S. will “hold [Russia] President [Vladimir] Putin directly accountable for his misguided attempts to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt,” in a Saturday statement.

“Cyber attacks on the people and processes central to our democracy cannot go unchecked. These actions threaten to undermine the American peoples’ faith in our elections, and I commend President Obama identifying Russia as the perpetrator of such hacks,” Langevin said in the statement. “Russia’s expanding information warfare operations and interference in democracies – here and abroad – are intended to destabilize. But I have faith in the citizens of the United States and our allies and their ability to stand resilient in the face of these deceitful attacks. We will stand united with our NATO partners to turn back these attempts to undermine our freedom.”

Block Island Times: USDA programs help island business

Block Island Times: USDA programs help island business

Block Island Times: Cybersecurity takes center stage

Block Island Times: Cybersecurity takes center stage

By Cassius Shuman

Citing the importance of cybersecurity and the employment opportunities it can provide, U.S. Rep. James Langevin (D) said, “It’s a an important issue, and a security threat that presents many challenges.” Langevin discussed that subject, and a few others, when he visited with the staff of The Block Island Times on Wednesday, Oct. 5.

“We should all have a healthy concern about cybersecurity in this country,” said Langevin. “Nobody uses the internet more than in the United States.”

Langevin, who is co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, said that online security and global terrorism are the country’s two major threats. He noted that “raising awareness, cyber hygiene and password protection” are essential to protection from cyber threats.

Langevin said one of the “more vulnerable” internet networks in this country is the voter registration system. “The FBI and Homeland Security have evidence that the Russians, or foreign entities, have certainly been probing, trying to look into our voter registration system,” he said. “So everyone is working overtime to protect those systems. The state of Rhode Island, as well as the federal government, is working closely with Homeland Security to ensure that the voter registration systems are as safe and secure as possible.”

“The real danger is that they could undermine confidence in the country’s election system,” added Langevin. They could do that “by sewing doubt into whether an election outcome is genuine, legitimate, etc.”

With regard to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump joking that Russia should hack into Hilary Clinton’s email server, Langevin said he thought Trumps remark was “outrageous, highly objectionable and very disappointing. It’s another example of bringing the election, and campaign, to a new low.”

Langevin said that while cybersecurity presents its challenges, it also can provide job opportunities. “It’s a jobs issues we need to focus on. It’s an opportunity for our young people,” he said, “because we don’t have nearly enough people going into the Information Technology or cybersecurity fields. I hope that our young people will consider that as an option.”

Langevin noted that “there are a number of programs” he supports related to cyber-based careers. “CyberPatriot is one of those programs,” he said. “It’s a competition for kids that are good with computers. There’s also the Cyber Corps program. It’s a joint program between the Department of Homeland Security and the National Science Foundation.”

“We need more support for these programs,” added Langevin, noting his support of the Every Student Succeeds Act (2015), which is a new federal education law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (2001). “We have a skills gap in our state, and across the country.”

On Sept. 15, Langevin filed legislation called the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act, which is aimed at ensuring extension of federal tax credits for offshore wind energy projects from 2019 to 2025. “It’s all complementary” in providing tax incentives for the offshore and renewable energy businesses in the northeast. “Sen. (Sheldon) Whitehouse is working with us on this,” he said. “He’ll be introducing the companion bill.”

Langevin said that he tries “to come out to Block Island whenever possible.” He noted that the boat ride was a little “rough” coming over to the island on Wednesday. “But I’m a guy who likes a little turbulence on an airplane, so I don’t mind a bumpy ride,” he said.

Warwick Beacon: Doing his own survey

Warwick Beacon: Doing his own survey

By The Warwick Beacon

As part of Rhode Island Manufacturing Week and his ongoing program to visit area businesses, Congressman James Langevin visited Astra Nova just over the Warwick line in West Warwick Tuesday afternoon. The manufacturer of data visualization technology employs 250 in Rhode Island and is a major supplier of highly technical high-speed printers used in aircraft. Langevin said he is amazed by the “talented people” he’s met on his business tours and that the experience has reinforced his belief that “manufacturing is not dead; it has become advanced and high tech. We need to get the word out to many young people that this is an option.” As part of the tour, Langevin asked employees where they had graduated. At Astra Nova he found graduates of New England Institute of Technology, CCRI and the Coventry Career and Technical Center. Explaining the functions of a device that monitors various systems to the congressman are Daniel Ricci, Alex Lamake and the company’s president and CEO Gregory Woods. (Warwick Beacon photo)

WPRO: Repainted, the symbolic Rocky Point ‘arch’ is unveiled

WPRO: Repainted, the symbolic Rocky Point ‘arch’ is unveiled

By Steve Klamkin WPRO News

The newly repainted arch at Rocky Point in Warwick was unveiled in a public ceremony Monday, with speeches by public officials that sparked memories of the long-gone amusement park.

“You think of things like the Shore Dinner Hall and the chowder and the clam cakes that you could get here. I could almost taste them almost,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “So many fond, fond memories.”

The arch, one of 11 displayed at the New York City World’s Fair of 1964-65 made its way to Warwick by unknown means, said Mayor Scott Avedisian.

“The arch, originally created by General Mills, the cereal company, was one of 11 originals that represented peace through understanding, and stood as markers during New York’s World’s Fair,” said Avedisian.

Long rusted and unused during the years that Rocky Point stood abandoned, the arch was repainted by a city employee. The cost was covered by more than $5,000 in grant money from the Rhode Island Foundation, in a project overseen by the non-profit Rocky Point Foundation, headed by newspaper publisher John Howell.

“The arch really fit very well at the time with an amusement park, and here it comes sort of full circle, and now is representing not only a place, hopefully of peace, but a bright future … for future generations to enjoy this place,” Howell said.

Providence Journal: North Kingstown Post Office will be named for Melvoid Benson at ceremony Sunday

By Donita Naylor
Journal Staff Writer

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — A ceremony Sunday will rename the U.S. Post Office on Post Road for the late Melvoid J. Benson, a teacher, public servant, activist for social justice and trailblazer for women of color in elected office.

Among the speakers will be Benson’s niece, Elizabeth Estes, as well as the entire R.I. delegation to the U.S. Congress, Governor Raimondo and a U.S. Postal Service district manager.

Benson had known of the effort to name the facility after her. U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, who sponsored the bill in the House, had kept her posted on its progress. He last spoke with her a few days before she died, on June 11 at age 86.

“I hoped to have her by my side when we cut the ribbon on the Melvoid J. Benson Post Office, but I’m at least grateful that I had the chance to tell Mel that it was happening,” he wrote the day after her death.

Remembered as a mentor by many leaders who served with her during her seven terms in the R.I. House, Benson counted the planning of the Quonset Business Park as one of her favorite achievements. She was often quoted as saying her parents taught her that “every generation must do better than the last.”

Born in 1930 in Jackson, Tennessee, and named after her father, who shoveled coal on trains, she was the youngest of four children. Her mother taught in a one-room schoolhouse.

Benson followed her husband, Arnathia N. Benson, to Rhode Island when he was stationed at Quonset Point with the Navy. They had two sons, Gilbert, who died in a car accident at age 16, and Estes, who played football for the University of Rhode Island. Estes died of leukemia at age 40.

“Be the Match” representatives will be at the event to help register potential bone marrow donors. Benson supported efforts to find donors for leukemia patients.

In 1997, the year Estes died, Benson offered to house then-17-year-old Lamar Odom, who had lost his mother when he was 12. The future basketball star was enrolled at URI, but NCAA rules prevented her from providing him with anything more than a home-cooked meal. He accepted.

Benson taught in public schools for more than 25 years and served eight years on the North Kingstown School Committee.

Sunday’s ceremony, with a Rhode Island State Police honor guard and singers from North Kingstown’s First Baptist and United Methodist churches, begins at 1 p.m. at the North Kingstown Post Office, 7715 Post Rd.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Progressive Charlestown: House passes bill to strengthen career and technical education

Progressive Charlestown: House passes bill to strengthen career and technical education

Originally Published by Progressive Charlestown

Langevin an Original Co-Sponsor on Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century Act

The House passed H.R. 5587, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, a bill championed by Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) and Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus, and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA). Langevin is an original cosponsor of the bill, which reauthorizes and modernizes the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act.

“I have always taken pride in my ability to work in a bipartisan manner, and this legislation is a prime example of what we can accomplish when we come together to support meaningful, important policy. Career and technical education is a critical piece of workforce development, and I am fortunate to have a fierce partner in Congressman Thompson,” said Langevin. “This legislation makes many necessary updates to the Perkins Act, with an emphasis on training students for the skills they’ll need in high-growth sectors in this 21st century economy.”

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the first reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins CTE Act since the bill expired in 2012. It better connects classrooms with workforce trends and encourages strong partnerships between educators, employers, and community partners, ensuring opportunities for underserved students, in particular. The legislation also promotes the implementation of innovative CTE programs, improving outcomes through an increased focus on employability skills, work-based learning opportunities, and meaningful credentialing that would make students more competitive. Additionally, the bill includes components of Langevin’s Counseling for Career Choice Act and provides stronger supports so that professional school counselors can appropriately advise young people on all of the options available to them.

“I am thrilled to see this legislation move forward because providing workers with the skills necessary to thrive in the modern economy is essential to our economic prosperity,” Langevin continued. “This bill will help students to bridge the gap between classroom theory and workplace practice, and align skills and training with employer needs. It’s a win-win for students and employers, and it’s a major victory in our efforts to close the skills gap and create a more resilient, sustainable workforce.”

Prior to House passage, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act passed unanimously out of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. Langevin thanked Clark for her stewardship of the bill in committee, and thanked Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-VA) for their commitment to shepherding the bill to the House Floor.

“Today’s vote is the result of an inclusive and thoughtful process, and I am proud to have been part of this effort,” Langevin said. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for helping to bring this bill to the Floor, and I urge the Senate to take it up without delay.”

Latino Public Radio: Langevin Introduces Offshore WIND Act

By Reynaldo Almonte

Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), who serves as Energy Task Force Chair on the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) in Congress, today introduced the Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development Act. The bill, also known as the Offshore WIND Act, is a House companion to legislation introduced by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ed Markey (D-MA).

“Clean energy is the future, without question, and we need to clear as many hurdles as possible to ensure that we are investing and innovating in cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable energy solutions. Wind power is an important piece of that puzzle, and the Offshore WIND Act would help incentivize additional offshore wind projects,” said Langevin.

Tax extenders approved in 2015 included wind and solar tax credits, but the timeline provided for offshore wind was not sufficient. Under current law, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for offshore wind will expire in just three years. Due to the extensive siting and construction process of building offshore wind farms, however, the Department of Energy has found it unlikely that any additional projects would qualify before the current credit expires in 2019.

“I am so proud and excited that Rhode Island has positioned itself as a leader in offshore wind, but the Block Island Wind Farm is only the beginning. The possibilities and the capacity for offshore wind power are limitless, and we need the Offshore WIND Act to ensure that America is keeping pace in clean energy,” Langevin said. “Supporting additional offshore wind development will create jobs, strengthen the industry, serve our short-term energy needs, and make a long-term difference for our environment.”

Providence Journal: Langevin, Cicilline coast to wins in Democratic primaries

By Edward Fitzpatrick
Journal Columnist

 

U.S. Reps. David N. Cicilline and James R. Langevin coasted to victory in Democratic primaries on Tuesday night.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting in Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District, Cicilline had 68 percent of the vote, far ahead of Christopher F. Young at 32 percent, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

And in Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District, Langevin had 64 percent of the vote, far ahead of Steven Archer at 19 percent and former state Rep. John D. Hamilton Sr. at 17 percent.

“I’m incredibly proud to be the Democratic nominee,” Cicilline said. “I’m working hard everyday to deliver results for Rhode Island by revitalizing our manufacturing base, making college more affordable, bringing back funding for infrastructure and job training, working to end the pay gap for women, and standing up to the powerful gun lobby to reduce gun violence.”

In the Nov. 8 general election, Cicilline will face Republican Harold Russell Taub.

Cicilline, 55, is a former Providence mayor and state representative who has been in Congress since 2011 and now sits on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. Young, 47, who lives in Coventry, is working for Local 23 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

In the Nov. 8 general election, Langevin will face Republican Rhue R. Reis and independent candidates Salvatore G. Caiozzo and Jeffrey C. Johnson.

“I am honored and incredibly grateful to the Democratic voters of the Second District for their support,” Langevin said. “I have long said that I do not see my position as a birthright – I am merely a steward of a seat that belongs to the people of Rhode Island, and I will keep working hard every single day to represent Rhode Islanders to the very best of my ability.”

Langevin, 52, of Warwick, is a former state legislator and secretary of state who in 2001 became the first quadriplegic to serve in Congress. He is on the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees and is co-founder of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus.

Hamilton, 66, of Charleston, was a delegate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and vice chairman of the state delegation to the Democratic National Convention. He ran to Langevin’s left, saying that the incumbent has failed to place sufficient emphasis on issues such as income inequality, free public college tuition and climate change.

Archer, 58, of Warwick, is a former paratrooper, quahogger and Warwick harbormaster who now owns Archer Anesthesia Providers. A former Republican, he ran to Langevin’s right, calling Obamacare a “disaster, calling for tort reform and talking about the public costs of illegal immigration.

The incumbents held enormous fund-raising advantages. As of Aug. 24, Langevin had $907,337 in campaign cash after raising $924,536, according to the Federal Election Commission. By contrast, Hamilton had $388 in campaign cash after raising $550, and Archer had $437 in campaign cash after raising $6,346. Meanwhile, Cicilline had $760,937 in campaign cash as of Aug. 24 after raising $1,196,440, while Young had not reached the $5,000 threshold for federal election reports.

The East Greenwich Pendulum: EG Fire Dept. gets $88,191 grant

By GABRIELLE FALLETTA

EAST GREENWICH- The local fire department is the recipient of $88,191 in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, money that will allow the department to purchase new safety equipment.

The grant is a portion of $160,000 in federal funding that is being dispersed to both the East Greenwich Fire Department and Portsmouth Fire Department as part of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. In East Greenwich, the fire department will use the funds to purchase a rapid escape system for each member of the department.

“In today’s tight fiscal environment this grant comes at a great time,” said East Greenwich Fire Chief Russell McGillvary in a statement. “This award will provide the firefighters of the East Greenwich Fire Department with a much needed piece of life safety equipment.”
The rapid escape systems will allow firefighters to safely descend from burning buildings and help rescue residents inside, by giving firefighters a tool that can anchor to another structure and allow them to escape from a high point on a building. In addition, the EG Fire Department will purchase several pairs of turnout pants that will be fitted with the appropriate gear to support the escape systems.

“Our firefighters work hard to keep Rhode Island communities safe,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse in a statement. “Given tight local budgets, it’s important for the federal government to pitch in and help Rhode Island cities and towns afford the training and equipment firefighters need to do their job. I’m glad to see these grants headed to Portsmouth and East Greenwich.”

In Portsmouth the fire department will use their $71,896 grant to create a Rapid Intervention Team training program, a team that is dedicated solely to search and rescue of seriously injured firefighters.
“I am thankful for the outstanding work our firefighters do each day. These funds will enhance public safety and ensure our firefighters have the most up-to-date equipment and rescue training available,” said Senator Jack Reed in a statement. “It has been a pleasure to work with these fire departments and communities to help secure these competitive grants.”

The two grants add to the total of over $2.5 million in AFG funding in 2016 to help 13 fire departments throughout Rhode Island. Since 2001, Rhode Island fire departments and other first responders across the state successfully secure over $27.3 million in AFG grants to pay for equipment upgrades, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources.

“I am always thrilled to see federal funds used to enhance public safety and protect the well-being of Rhode Islanders,”said Congressman Jim Langevin in a statement. “It is especially exciting in this case to see the implementation of equipment and training that can make the difference between life and death for the firefighters who put their lives on the line for us every day.”