U.S. Intelligence Officials Tell Senate They Will Not Repeat What Was Said in Conversations With Trump

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At a Senate intelligence hearing for an unrelated matter this week, senators ended up asking NSA and other intelligence brass about the president and the Russia investigation.

The officials told senators they would not discuss the specifics of conversations with the president.

They said they thought it was confidential information that should be protected from public hearing. They also said they were waiting for more guidance from the White House.

There was some talk about senators now being concerned about their ability to look into these matters and get answers from U.S. intelligence, and whether power has now shifted to the executive.

Grads Graduating Without Learning Any Critical Thinking Skills

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On the test that measures critical thinking, some colleges actually had scores lower for grads than for freshmen, although other schools showed pretty good improvements.

‘Critical thinking’ refers to certain skills: Being able to understand the value of an argument based on the validity of facts involved, forming a conclusion about veracity based on available information, as well as being able to form cohesive arguments, are included.

The tests, called CLA+, started less than 20 years ago. Their purpose was to assess what really took place in a student’s learning over their 4-6 years at college, rather than testing the domain-specific facts and other information memorized in classes.

An example of a test question would be a challenge to a student to form an argument for or against purchasing a particular model of business plane for the company they work for, when that model had recently been reported in the news after being in a crash. The student is provided with written material about the plane to inform their argument, such as newspaper articles about the accident, federal reports on the type of engine and its known issues, charts on the planes performance, magazines with reviews of the plane and other similar models. The student has to “prepare a memo that addresses several questions, including what data support or refute the claim that the type of wing on the model of plane leads to more in-flight breakups, what other factors might have contributed to the accident and should be taken into account, and your overall recommendation about whether or not the company should purchase the plane.”

With these tests, it’s not a matter of just looking at the numbers, like 1,100 out of 1,600 versus 1,200 out of 1,600. People also look at a student’s position compared to others who took the same test.

When Wall Street Journal looked at test results recently. though, they looked at how many students were in the “below basic skills” level. While some colleges saw improvements, — numbers like 40% for freshmen to less than 10% for grads — a lot of others only saw changes of a few percent, including a couple of schools where the grad score was lower than the freshman.

What does the CLA+ test?

Microsoft Blaming NSA for WannaCry Malware Pandemic

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Microsoft President Brad Smith complained that various governments “stockpile vulnerabilities.”

In other words, governments and agencies find weaknesses in technology and then keep that information to themselves in case they want to use it.

Smith said the current WannaCry malware event was a very rare one, combining a piece of very sophisticated software (to do the exploit) with a simpler piece (to do the ransom), conducted by a criminal organization.

To accusations Microsoft didn’t do enough to alert people about the danger, Smith said, “Microsoft has the first responsibility.” He called it a “wake-up call for us,” and that “we should all learn from this.”

In response to questions about whether the NSA told Microsoft they had a tool that exploited the vulnerability, Smith said, “I don’t want to go into the specifics about how we learned this particular problem, or by whom or when. It is a public record that we provided a patch in March. There wasn’t a public statement until April.

“But what I think is also important: We need the global community to come together.”

Ex-CIA Head on Wikileaks: “That’s the World We Live in Right Now”

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Wikileaks dumped a large amount of classified CIA documents this week. Thousands of pages detailed how the CIA’s software and techniques gather information, including how they hack into smartphones, computers, and internet-connected TVs. Wikileaks said the release was just the first installment of a larger collection.

Many apps were named specifically with details about how the CIA is able to enter them. There was also mention of a technique used to “crash” computers.

CIA insiders said the likeliest source of the breach was contractors the CIA worked with, according to PBS NewsHour, who interviewed former CIA Director Leon Panetta, who served during the Obama administration.

Panetta said that the most important thing with the leak was going to be “how do you replace those important tools that have now been made public, and try to reestablish our intelligence capabilities so we can gather the information that is absolutely essential in order to protect our country.

“This has been seriously damaging to the CIA and its ability to conduct intelligence operations. So I imagine that our first focus is on ‘What do we do to try to replace our ability to go after terrorists.”

Panetta commented on earlier leaks and steps that would have been taken to try to make their tools more secure but, “We are clearly living in a world in which the ability to hack has developed to a point where I happen to think that probably anything is vulnerable today.

“So I think you try to take steps to try to protect that kind of sensitive information, try to do what you can to make sure that those who are working for you are taking steps to protect it, contractors are taking steps to protect it, but the bottom line is that in today’s world I think you always have to be prepared that somebody may very well be able to get access to that kind of information, and if they do that they will make it public. I think that’s the world we live in right now.”

Panetta was asked about why the CIA needs these tools, when the NSA is responsible for those things. He said that the CIA is responsible for gathering information from overseas.

“There’s a reason we have not had another 9-11 attack in this country, and a lot of that is because our intelligence agencies, our law enforcement agencies, are sharing information and gathering information that makes sure we protects the United States.”