AUSTIN — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry thinks the president stole the election.

No, he’s not talking about President Donald Trump, Perry’s new boss as the former governor leads the Energy Department. He’s talking about Bobby Brooks, a kid from Belton who just was elected student body president at Perry’s alma mater Texas A&M University.

Brooks is the first openly gay student to be elected to that position, news that was hailed as a huge move forward for the college when it first broke. But Perry, isn’t having it, accusing Brooks of stealing the election from student Robert McIntosh in a Houston Chronicle op-ed posted Wednesday.

“Brooks’ presidency is being treated as a victory for ‘diversity,’” Perry wrote. “It is difficult to escape the perception that this quest for ‘diversity’ is the real reason the election outcome was overturned.”

McIntosh, a senior, is the son of Dallas-based Republican fundraiser Alison McIntosh, who worked on Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign and Mitt Romney’s 2012 run for president. Perry, twice a presidential hopeful himself, is featured in photographs with McIntosh’s other children on Facebook.

According to A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, McIntosh received more votes than Brooks but was disqualified, first after accusations of voter intimidation surfaced, and then, after he failed to provide financial documentation for glow sticks he used in a campaign video. While McIntosh was cleared of the voter intimidation allegations, his disqualification ultimately was upheld due to the campaign finance error, The Battalion reported.

Perry questioned this outcome, saying McIntosh and Brooks were held to different standards. Each used “visual props” in their campaign videos, wrote Perry, but just McIntosh was disqualified after “a series of dirty campaign tactics” from Brooks’ supporters.

“Would the administration and the student body have allowed the first gay student body president to be voided for using charity glow sticks?” Perry asked in his op-ed. “We all know that the administration, the SGA and student body would not have permitted such a thing to happen. The outcome would have been different if the victim was different.”

—The Dallas Morning News


Comey says surveillance requirements are tough, and that’s good

AUSTIN, Texas — As claims and counterclaims about surveillance of President Donald Trump’s associates swirl in Washington, FBI Director James Comey struck a defensive tone Thursday about the power and constraints the bureau confronts when it comes to conducting electronic monitoring.

“It is a pain in the neck to get permission to conduct electronic surveillance in the United States,” Comey said during a counterterrorism conference in Austin, Texas. “And that’s good.”

Comey’s comments come days after his congressional testimony, in which he said there was no evidence to support Trump’s claims that the Obama administration “wiretapped” Trump Tower in New York last year and confirmed that Trump associates have been under investigation since July for possible ties to Russia. They also arrived amid new claims by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes that the communications of multiple people affiliated with Trump’s team were intercepted during legal foreign surveillance of foreign targets.

Nunes, who briefed Trump on his findings Wednesday before sharing the evidence with anyone on the Intelligence Committee, hasn’t said how the communications were intercepted or identified what agency conducted the surveillance. Nunes has since apologized to the panel’s Democrats for how he disclosed the information, two committee aides said.

Comey declined to comment on Nunes’ claims after his speech.

—Bloomberg News


‘20th hijacker’ Zacarias Moussaoui wants to testify at Guantanamo 9/11 trial

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The man serving life in a federal penitentiary as the “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11 attacks wants to testify at the 9/11 trial and has written the military judge offering his services.

“I am willing to fully testify on the 9/11 case,” Zacarias Moussaoui wrote in broken English in January, “even if I was charge on the death penalty case as it incriminate me.” It is handwritten and signed “Slave of Allah.”

He also signs it “Enemy Combatant,” which he is not. Moussaoui, 48, is a convict serving life at the SuperMax prison in Florence, Colo. He pleaded guilty in 2005 in a federal court in Virginia to six conspiracy charges related to the 9/11 attacks.

“My take is he would like to be in the spotlight and is bored in solitary,” former Moussaoui defense attorney Edward MacMahon said after reviewing a filing for the Miami Herald. “‘Slave of Allah’ is how he signs all of his filings.”

A review of filings on the Pentagon’s war court website shows Moussaoui has at least three times written Army Col. James L. Pohl, the judge in the Sept. 11 mass murder case, which has no trial start date.

The first docketed letter arrived at war court judiciary headquarters in Alexandria, Va., on Nov. 12, 2015, in an envelope from the U.S. penitentiary. It had a Purple Heart postage stamp.

In that one he offers to testify about “the real 9/11 mastermind,” then names Saudi Prince Turki, Princess Haifa and a man named Omar. A lightly redacted Jan. 29, 2016, letter mentions a possible interview with an attorney for KSM — the U.S. intelligence nickname for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused here as the Sept. 11 plot mastermind and awaiting a death penalty tribunal.

Moussaoui, whose recent letter offered to testify in that case, wrote Pohl last year that he wants to “expose the Saudi Royal double game with UBL,” from Usama bin Laden, another U.S. intelligence acronym.

The Saudi Embassy has dismissed Moussaoui’s remarks on Saudi involvement in the 9/11 plot and the French-born U.S. prisoner as a “deranged criminal.”

In 2014, lawyers for a Sept. 11 victims groups that is suing to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for whatever role it had in the attack interviewed Moussaoui in prison. Moussaoui mentioned that deposition in his letter to the Guantanamo judge. In it, Moussaoui describes his jihadi training, contact with bin Laden and how in the ‘90s he created a database of donors to al-Qaida or the jihad that included prominent Saudi citizens.

Moussaoui is just one of several men described as the missing “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field.

—Miami Herald

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.