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***Election security and cyber conflicts with hostile foreign nations are the premier national security threats facing the United States, according to the nation's top intelligence official.

During Sept. 26 testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire alternately cited both issues as the most pressing intelligence priorities.

Later, he said that ongoing "cyber war" with other foreign nations was also the top threat.

"I'd say [the] number one [threat] is not necessarily kinetic, but cyber. This is a cyber war," he said. "We talk about whether or not the great competition is taking place with Russia or China and we are building ships and weapons to do that but in my estimation the great competition with these countries is taking place right now, and is doing that in the cyber realm."

***Much of Washington was focused on the release of an explosive whistleblower complaint alleging President Donald Trump solicited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The complaint referenced not only a phone call between the two leaders, but also alleged that White House officials were directed by lawyers to remove a partial transcript of the conversation from the software system normally used to store such records and instead place it in another standalone system used "to store and handle classified information of an especially sensitive nature."

The whistleblower also alleged that White House officials told them it was "not the first time" the administration had a presidential transcript of a conversation with a foreign leader placed into this system to protect politically sensitive, rather than classified, information.

***The Department of Justice announced that it is entering multi-round negotiations with the European Union on an agreement to facilitate access to electronic evidence for criminal investigation. If reached, it would mark the first such agreement between the U.S. and another international entity under the CLOUD Act. In a statement, the department said it was aiming to have a formal agreement ready for review at the next EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial this December.

*** The Defense Department issued rules prohibiting the misuse of "lowest price technically acceptable" or LPTA criteria for IT contracts. The rules, published in the long overdue final regulations prohibiting misusing of lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) source selection criteria for IT contracts. The rules were published as the Government Accountability Office released a report on LPTA rules that said the Defense Department used the practice more frequently than civilian agencies.

The Professional Services Council called the rules shift "long overdue," saying it "is particularly ill-suited" to DOD's complex professional and technical services that require high level skills and innovation.

"While LPTA may be appropriate on occasion, the practice has been widely abused and misused for years," said PSC President and CEO David Berteau in a Sept. 26 statement.

Posted on Sep 27, 2019 at 2:23 AM


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