Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn is fighting to keep China out of America’s private data, as China experts warn that Beijing’s vast spy network is infiltrating nations all over the world through social media applications.
Republican Sen. Blackburn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, explained to Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo that China’s expansive spy network poses a direct threat to U.S. national security. Blackburn is right. The threat also appears to be the most dangerous faced by the U.S. in modern times as the Chinese communist government is also simultaneously doing the same in other parts of the world.
Bartiromo asked Blackburn about the ongoing controversy regarding the U.S. battle with China over the social media app TikTok, which President Donald Trump has threatened to ban unless it is managed or taken over by a U.S. entity. U.S. and western intelligence officials have noted that TikTok is being used by Beijing to collect data on its users.
According to recent reports, TikTok and Oracle will become business partners in the United States. The decision was announced Tuesday after Microsoft lost the deal to obtain about the short-form video app. However, the exact nature of the contract between TikTok and Oracle (ORCL) remains unclear. Reports suggest it was not an outright sale.
The complication with the deal, says Blackburn, along with other Senators opposed to the agreement, is that it appears to be a shell game that allows TikTok to remain with its developer China’s ByteDance company.
“The deal is you have to look at what ByteDance participation would be,” she said. “You have to look at what would happen with the data of U.S. consumers. How would this be transported is it held within the U.S.? Does ByteDance have visibility into that? Now CIFIUS (Committee On Foreign Investment In the United States) reviewed this yesterday, we do not know what they will come out with but we do know that Oracle is pushing to make this happen.”
“You know I’ve had concerns for some time about China,” she added. “I’m concerned about what they are doing with data, concerned about their spy networks. We do not need to let them get any type presence that is going to give them control over U.S. consumer data.”
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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”
Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.
Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.
At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.
“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”
“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”
This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”
During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.
“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”
“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”
Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.
Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.
“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”
Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.
“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”
He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.
Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”
“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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