TIME White House

White House Chief of Staff Reaffirms ‘Deep and Abiding’ U.S.-Israel Ties

Meet the Press - Season 68
Denis McDonough White House Chief of Staff appears on "Meet the Press" in Washington D.C. on Jan. 25, 2015. William B. Plowman—NBC/Getty Images

Amid reports of a rift with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough repudiated reports of a widening rift between the Obama administration and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday’s morning talk shows.

An unnamed administration official was quoted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz as saying Netanyahu “spat in our face publicly” when he agreed to accept an invitation to speak to the United States Congress in March without President Obama having been consulted first.

But McDonough said on NBC’s Meet the Press that the alliance between the U.S. and Israel remained strong. “Our relationship with Israel is many-faceted, deep and abiding,” he said. “It’s focused on a shared series of threats, but also, on a shared series of values that one particular instance is not going to inform overwhelmingly.”

The White House Chief of Staff said he could not “guarantee” that an administration official hadn’t made the remarks about Netanyahu, but said he had no idea who might have said them. “It’s not me. It’s not the President,” McDonough told interviewer Chuck Todd.

House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress when he visits the U.S. in March, without informing the White House first. The trip coincides with negotiations between the U.S. and others with Iran on their nuclear capabilities, which are strongly opposed by Israel and by some in Congress.

The White House said President Obama would not be meeting with Netanyahu during his visit, out of concerns that it might influence the Israeli elections due to take place two weeks after his trip.

The decision has been portrayed as a snub by the Israeli media, though McDonough said on Meet the Press that the principle would be the same for any other ally. “We think as a general matter we in the U.S. stay out of internal politics of our closest allies,” he said.

In a separate interview on ABC’s This Week Sunday, McDonough urged Congress not to pass new sanctions on Iran while the nuclear negotiations are ongoing.

“We’ve asked Congress for forbearance, for some time to allow us to run these negotiations so that it is we who are, united with our allies, maintaining Iran isolated, rather than going with some kind of premature action up there on the Hill that would risk really splintering the international community, making it we, not the Iranians, who are isolated,” he said.

TIME 2016 Election

Christie Seeks Common Ground With Iowa Conservatives

Chris Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks during the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015. Charlie Neibergall—AP

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie brought a clear message to skeptical Iowa conservatives Saturday: We may not always agree, but you can work with me.

Christie spoke toward the end of a daylong 2016 presidential cattle call hosted by Iowa Rep. Steve King, highlighting his fights with unions in his home state and his pro-life stance on abortion. Christie’s participation in the event turned heads, given King’s hardline position on immigration and the audience’s more conservative bent. Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney both skipped the event on account of scheduling issues, and proved to be frequent targets on stage from other would-be candidates and activists.

Christie has spent years trying to reach across the aisle in preparation for a presidential run, but has been dogged by questions whether he could win over the party’s base.

“I have heard and read all the conventional wisdom that somehow a guy from New Jersey would not be welcomed or understood at the Iowa Freedom Summit—that somehow I’m too loud, I’m too blunt, and I’m too direct,” Christie said, as the crowd chuckled. “The conventional wisdom from Washington, DC that says we aren’t friends…They’re wrong again today.”

King used his introduction to boost Christie’s conservative credentials. “He vetoed the gay marriage bill in New jersey,” he said. “He is pro-life.” Christie has since declared gay marriage a “settled” issue in his state after the State Supreme Court declined to stop same-sex unions in 2013.

Speaking calmly and slowly, Christie was self-effacing about “the blunt New Jersey stuff,” using it to introduce himself to Iowa voters with the story of his childhood.

“In a trusting relationship, you need to tell people what you really believe and what you’re thinking,” he said, noting he’s sure that not everyone would agree with him on every issue. “You’ll always know who I am, you’ll always know what I believe, and you’ll always know where I stand.”

He argued that if the party is looking for purity, “we will never win another national election. Ever.”

Reading off prepared remarks, Christie’s speech was an amalgamation of his notable addresses of the past several years, presenting the clearest preview of a full-fledged presidential stump speech.

“The next century does not have to be a Chinese century,” he said, calling for stronger American leadership overseas. “The world can’t do without a second American century.” His opposition to abortion was juxtaposed with his efforts in improving his state’s drug treatment programs to be “pro-life” at all stages of life.

He highlighted his electoral success in his blue home state, noting he won Hispanic voters and made inroads with black voters in his last election.

“We need a coalition that covers all parts of the country, all ethnicities, a coalition that is comprised at its core of our proud, yet underserved and underrepresented working class in this nation,” he said, in an implicit critique of former Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign. He even alluded to growing income inequality, adding, “The rich are doing fine, that’s great. We don’t demonize the wealthy like so many folks in the Democratic Party, but nor should we cater to the wealthy at the expense of our middle income workers and the working poor who are the backbone of every American community.”

Christie’s reception paled in comparison to Sen. Ted Cruz, whose faith-themed address was red meat for the audience. But Christie accomplished what he sought out: demonstrating he is unafraid to appear before social conservatives and proving that he could even earn a standing ovation. In a crowded field where he will hopes to have the support of the party’s establishment that may be enough to go the distance.

TIME 2016 Election

Walker Shows His Dark-Horse Strategy in Iowa

Scott Walker
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker waits backstage before speaking at the Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015. Charlie Neibergall—AP

Scott Walker isn’t the first choice for president of most Republicans, but he’s banking he can win the White House by being their second.

The Wisconsin governor arrived at the Iowa Freedom Summit, a conservative cattle call organized by Rep. Steve King Saturday, set to be overshadowed by stem-winder speech-givers like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee. Instead he proved why he will be a player in the Iowa caucuses and the coming nominating fight with a stem-winder of his own, highlighting his ability to appeal to all corners of a fractured party.

Coming off a 2012 cycle fueled by flavor-of-the-moment front-runners, Walker is preparing to run a slow-and-steady campaign, hoping that Republicans dissatisfied with one or another of the front-runners will slowly move his way.

“We’ll leave the ‘shock and awe’ to other people,” said an adviser. “This is about going the distance.”

The populist son of a preacher, Walker is betting that Republicans will find Jeb Bush too moderate; Chris Christie’s style off-putting; and Huckabee, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz too far from the party’s mainstream. In Iowa, he smoothly combined the social and economic conservative messages that could attract both camps into a passionate 20-minute speech touching on everything from gun rights to education reform.

Walker highlighted his the massive protests in his state over his efforts to weaken the state’s public sector unions that resulted in a 2012 recall election to cast himself as a fighter for conservative principles.

“Someone sent a letter saying they would gut my wife like a deer,” Walker said, eliciting a smattering of gasps, and thanked Iowans for their support and prayers as he won his third election in four years last November.

He also took jabs at Christie and Bush. “Our property taxes are lower today than they were four years ago, how many governors can say that,” he said, as he trumpeted his state’s fully-funded retirement accounts, both sore points for Christie. He highlighted his efforts to tackle teacher tenure rules, allowing the state to remove poor-performing teachers, while calling for local control of schools in a reference to the unpopular Bush-backed Common Core standards.

“In every fight for conservative principles Gov. Scott Walker has stood firm,” said David Bossie, president of the conservative group Citizens United in an impassioned introduction. “This country is a better place because Scott Walker answered the call to lead.”

A week before, Walker was in Coronado, Calif., to make his case before the Republican Party elite, but his potential appeal on the stump was more apparent in Iowa, as he paced the stage in shirtsleeves telling stories about his frugality shopping at Kohl’s.

“Scott Walker’s a guy you want to have a beer with — a Miller Lite,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said of Walker last week.

Walker won’t formally announce a bid until he passes his budget in Milwaukee around June, but he is hiring staff and embarking this week on a cross-country fundraising swing for his soon-to-be-announced political organization. He announced a trip to New Hampshire next month and is planning a South Carolina swing for the weeks after. From Iowa, he will attend the Koch Brother’s summit on Sunday in Palm Springs, bringing together top-dollar donors and business leaders.

Last week Walker announced the hiring of veteran Iowa operative David Polyansky to run his efforts in the presidential early state, while former Republican National Committee political director Rick Wiley will serve as his campaign manager. Further staffing announcements are expected in the coming days.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad called Walker “a proven vote-getter,” and highlighted his ties to the state, where he went to school until the third grade.

“I think he will relate well [in Iowa],” he said.

TIME 2016 Election

Here’s Why Carly Fiorina Thinks She Can Best Criticize Hillary Clinton

US-POLITICS-HERITAGE
Carly Fiorina speaks about the economy at the Heritage Foundation on December 18, 2014. SAUL LOEB—AFP/Getty Images

Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is gearing up to announce a White House bid this year, positioning herself as the Republican party’s chief critic of likely Democratic nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Fiorina begins as a relative unknown, and trails far in the polls. In a speech to the Iowa Freedom Summit, a conservative cattle call hosted by Rep. Steve King, Fiorina offered a preview of her anti-Clinton message, which she believes she, as the only other woman in the race, is best equipped to offer.

“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”

The full Clinton excerpt is below:

“We must understand our role in the world – which is to lead – and the nature of our allies and especially, our adversaries. Like Hillary Clinton, I too have travelled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe. But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is not an accomplishment, it’s an activity. I have met Vladimir Putin and know that it will take more to halt his ambitions than a gimmicky red ‘Reset’ button. Having done business in over 80 countries and having served as the Chairman of the External Advisory Board at the CIA for several eyars, I know that China and Russia are state-sponsors of cyberwarfare and have a strategy to steal our intellectual property. I know Bibi Netanyahu and know that when he warns us that Iran is a danger to this nation as well as to his own, that we must listen. And unlike Hillary Clinton I know what difference it makes that our American Ambassador and three other brave Americans were killed in a deliberate terrorist attack on the anniversary of 9-11 in Libya. And apparently unlike Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I know that the response of our nation must be more forceful that the arrest of a single individual a year later.”

A Republican strategist told TIME last year that Fiorina could be a potent weapon for the GOP in the coming cycle. “The most effective way to criticize a woman is to have another woman do it.”

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: January 24

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

Fuel’s Paradise

A majority of Americans are paying less than $2 per gallon for gas for the first time since 2009, and the ever-cheapening fuel is helping put more money in consumers’ pockets and bolster the economy

NASA Finds ‘Super Earths’

NASA’s Kepler Mission has found many planets in the “Goldilocks zone,” where it isn’t too hot or cold for water to exist

McDonald’s CEO Asks for Time

McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson cited a litany of actions the company is taking to reverse steep declines in sales

Federal Judge Strikes Down Gay-Marriage Ban in Alabama

A U.S. district judge ruled Friday in favor of two Mobile women who sued to challenge Alabama’s refusal to recognize their marriage performed in California. The judge said a state statute and 2006 amendment to the Alabama Constitution violated the U.S. Constitution

Big Storm Headed for the East Coast

A nor’easter could wreak havoc all along the East Coast this weekend, with a mix of rain and snow that will likely cause airline and traffic delays along the I-81 and I-95 corridors. Up to a foot of snow could accumulate in some locations

Obama to Cut Short India Trip to Visit Saudi Arabia

The schedule change, announced shortly before Obama left for India, means the president will skip plans to see the Taj Mahal, and instead pay a call on an influential U.S. ally in the volatile Mideast. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died Friday at age 90

An Asteroid Will Fly Close to Earth on Monday

It doesn’t sound like a close shave, but in astronomical terms, it is. An asteroid will fly within 745,000 miles of Earth on Monday, NASA said, the closest a space rock will fly to Earth until 2027

Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks Dies at 83

Ernie Banks, the Hall of Fame slugger and two-time MVP who always maintained his boundless enthusiasm for baseball despite decades of playing on miserable teams, died Friday night. He was 83

Emma Watson Launches New Anti-Sexism Initiative

Harry Potter star and U.N. Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson unveiled the the HeForShe IMPACT initiative, a one-year pilot project geared toward advancing women by working with governments, companies and universities

Ebola Vaccines Get Tested in Liberia

The long-awaited vaccine for Ebola is heading to clinical trials in Liberia. Two vaccines, with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) support, will start efficacy testing in Liberia in the beginning of February

SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy

The parent company of in-flight shopping catalog SkyMall has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing an increased prevalence of mobile devices on planes as the primary reason for the company’s flagging sales

Apple Store Chief Gets the Big Bucks

How much does Apple care about its retail stores? Enough to pay more than $70 million to the woman heading them up, making her the highest-paid exec at the company. Angela Ahrendts earned $73.4 million in 2014, almost all of it in stock awards

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TIME

Obama Will End India Trip Early to Visit Mourning Saudi Arabia

The president will skip plans to see the Taj Mahal

(WASHINGTON) — President Barack Obama will cut short his three-day trip to India and visit Saudi Arabia to pay respects after the death of King Abdullah, U.S. and Indian officials said Saturday.

The schedule change, announced shortly before Obama left for India, means the president will skip plans to see the Taj Mahal, and instead pay a call on an influential U.S. ally in the volatile Mideast.

The king, who died Friday, was aggressive in trying to check the spreading power of Saudi Arabia’s chief rival, Iran. Obama visited the ailing monarch in his desert compound last March.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the president and first lady Michelle Obama would travel to Riyadh on Tuesday and meet with new Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. Vice President Joe Biden was to lead a U.S. delegation, but Earnest said the White House changed plans after determining that Biden’s trip coincided with Obama’s departure from India. Biden will remain in Washington.

The more substantive portions of Obama’s trip to India appeared unlikely to change.

Obama was due to arrive Sunday for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then attend Monday’s annual Republic Day festivities, which mark the day in 1950 that India’s constitution came into force.

Relations between the world’s two largest democracies are strengthening after recent tensions. Obama and Modi developed a good rapport during the prime minister’s visit in Washington last fall.

Modi’s invitation to Obama caught some in the U.S. off guard.

“It took us by some surprise,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser. “There’s a great affinity between the United States and India and our people, but there’s also a history that is complicated and that would have made it seem highly unlikely that a U.S. president would be sitting with India’s leaders at their Republic Day ceremony.”

While in India, Obama also planned to meet with Modi and attend an economic summit with U.S. and Indian business leaders.

Obama will be the first U.S. president to visit India twice while in office; he also traveled there in 2010 for an economic summit.

His trip was expected to be heavy on symbolism and lighter on substantive advances, though climate change, economics and defense ties are on the agenda. Still, U.S. and Indian officials appear to agree that even a symbolic show of solidarity would mark progress after recent difficulties.

While military cooperation and U.S. defense sales have grown, Washington has been frustrated by India’s failure to open up to more foreign investment and to address complaints alleging intellectual property violations. India’s liability legislation has also prevented U.S. companies from capitalizing on a landmark civil nuclear agreement between the two countries in 2008.

Relations hit a new low in 2013 when India’s deputy consul general was arrested and strip-searched in New York over allegations that she lied on visa forms to bring her maid to the U.S. while paying the woman a pittance. The official’s treatment caused outrage in New Delhi, and India retaliated against U.S. diplomats.

Modi’s hosting of Obama caps a year of high-profile diplomatic maneuvers by a leader denied a U.S. visa in 2005, three years after religious riots killed more than 1,000 Muslims in the Indian state where he was the top elected official.

The visit ties in with Modi’s election promise that he would turn around Asia’s third-largest economy. It also could send a message to Pakistan and China — India’s closest neighbors and rivals — that Modi has a powerful ally in the United States.

The White House plans to push India on climate change, particularly after reaching a sweeping agreement with China on limiting carbon emissions. Accompanying Obama are several U.S. business leaders hoping to forge new partnerships with India.

___

Sharma reported from New Delhi. Associated Press writer Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi contributed to this report.

TIME 2016 Election

Republican Presidential Hopefuls Gather in Iowa

Chris Christie New Jersey
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pauses as he delivers his state of the state address at the New Jersey State House in Trenton, N.J. on Jan. 13, 2015. Mike Segar—Reuters

With two big exceptions.

More than a half dozen likely Republican president candidates will gather Saturday in Iowa in a bid to earn the support of would-be supporters and caucus-goers at a summit hosted by Iowa Rep. Steve King.

The conservative-geared Iowa Freedom Summit will feature any array of likely candidates, including Sen. Ted Cruz, Gov. Chris Christie, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Gov. Rick Perry, Gov. Scott Walker, Dr. Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina. Also attending will be former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. The event will offer each an opportunity to speak for 20 minutes as they jockey for position one year out from the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.

All eyes will be on Christie, whose poll numbers and donor support have wavered now that former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have indicated they are exploring White House bids. Christie is viewed skeptically by many Iowa conservatives who believe he is too moderate.

Neither Romney nor Bush will be attending the event ostensibly on account of scheduling difficulties, but Bush’s support for immigration reform puts him at odds with King, while Romney has been trying to soften his image with Hispanic voters after his call during the 2012 campaign for illegal immigrants to engage in “self-deportation.”

How the more conservative speakers are received will offer an early window into the minds of the party base, which turns out in droves to the caucuses, when faced with a massive Republican field. Huckabee, who won the caucuses in 2008, Santorum, who won them in 2012, are competing for the same voters as Cruz and Carson.

The 2012 cycle proved that early favorites might not be in that position for long, as flavor-of-the-week candidates rose and fell spectacularly in the polls. But the current maneuvering period is critical for would-be campaigns, who are engaged in an arms race for donors and staffers in the decidedly grassroots state.

Iowa Republican operative Tim Albrecht said it’s an opportunity for candidates to distinguish themselves.

“Tomorrow is an important opportunity for candidates to begin to distinguish themselves from others without attacking or mentioning them by name. this is an opportunity to show who is here to share a vision for Americas future vs who is here just for TV cameras.”

King, who holds sway with some Iowa conservatives, came under fire this week for calling a State of the Union guest of First Lady Michelle Obama “a deportable” in a tweet, on account of her being brought to the United States illegally as a child. An avowed

The Democratic opposition research group American Bridge released a video Friday mocking Republican candidates for “bowing to the King,” featuring clips of candidates praising the congressman interspersed with some of his most controversial statements. Democratic Party Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be in Iowa Saturday to criticize Republicans for attending King’s event.

TIME White House

Here Are the 8 Bills Obama Has Threatened to Veto

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama in the White House in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 16, 2015. Carolyn Kaster—AP

President Obama’s veto threats may end up being more like empty threats.

Though he’s only vetoed two bills so far in office — far fewer than most other presidents — Obama has told the newly Republican-controlled Congress that he will veto more if they send him the wrong bills.

Obama made four veto threats in his State of the Union address alone on stiffer Iran sanctions, the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street oversight and immigration.

“If a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, I will veto it,” he said.

But just because the President threatens a veto, that doesn’t mean he will. Nearly all of the bills he’s warned Congress about probably won’t make it out of the Senate anyway.

Here’s a look at the eight veto threats Obama has made so far.

Keystone XL Pipeline Act

What it would do: Approve construction of an oil pipeline between Canada and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Where it stands now: The Senate is currently working out the final amendments to the bill, and it should go to a final passage vote before the end of January. It almost passed the Senate last year but lost by one vote.

Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015

What it would do: Establish tougher requirements for writing federal regulations.

Where it stands now: It passed the House and has some chance of passing in the Senate with the new Republican majority and support from moderate Democrats.

Save American Workers Act of 2015

What it would do: Increase the number of hours a week an employee has to work in order to get employer-provided health insurance, from 30 to 40.

Where it stands now: It passed the House, but there’s a scramble to line up the 60 necessary votes to pass the Senate (which would have to include six Democrats).

No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

What it would do: Ban taxpayer funding for abortion.

Where it stands now: The act already passed the House, though it will be far less likely to pass the Senate because of the scarcity of pro-life Democrats.

Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burdens Act

What it would do: Weaken almost a dozen provisions in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul.

Where it stands now: It passed the House, but likely won’t pass the Senate. However, Republicans could muscle portions of it into law by attaching them to critical spending bills.

Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act

What it would do: Require a decision on natural gas pipeline project applications within 12 months.

Where it stands now: The act has passed the House. While some House Democrats voted for the bill, it will likely stall in the Senate.

Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act

What it would do: Overturn Obama’s 2014 executive action on immigration, which shielded millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Where it stands now: The bill in this form passed the House, but almost certainly won’t pass the Senate with the amendments about Obama’s executive action. However, some form of this bill needs to be passed by the end of February.

Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act

What it would do: Ban most abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Where it stands now: The bill got pulled from the House this week amid concerns from female GOP lawmakers that it would weaken the party’s appeal among women and millennial voters. It will be amended and possibly brought up again later.

 

TIME intelligence

Activist Defiant After Sentencing Over Stratfor Hacking

Activist and journalist Barrett Brown was sentenced to five years in prison. Nikki Loeh—freebarrettbrown.com

Barrett Brown, the activist, journalist and one-time associate of hacktivist collective Anonymous who has become an online cause célèbre, isn’t going to let prison silence him.

He was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for threatening a federal agent on YouTube and interfering with a federal investigation related to the 2011 hack of the private intelligence firm Stratfor. On Friday, he told TIME that he planned to use his sentence to document American prison life from the inside.

“There’s things that go on there that they don’t want to talk about,” Brown told TIME in an interview from prison Friday, “so this is a great opportunity.”

Brown characterized his sentence as part of a larger problem in the United States of unjust laws and misconduct on the part of prosecutors and law enforcement.

“The prosecutor said one thing that was accurate—that I don’t have respect for the laws in this country,” he told TIME. “We have a situation in which the only way we can survive as a free nation is if our laws are not enforced.”

Brown, 33, was sentenced Thursday to five years and three months in prison and ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution and fines on charges stemming from his connection to the hack of private intelligence firm Stratfor in 2011. During the prosecution, he drew support from journalist Glenn Greenwald, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and liberal philosopher Noam Chomsky among others on a website called “Free Barrett Brown.”

In a statement released to journalists immediately after his sentence was handed down, Brown sardonically hailed the ruling as “Good news!”

”The U.S. government decided today that because I did such a good job investigating the cyber-industrial complex, they’re now going to send me to investigate the prison-industrial complex,” he said, thanking the government for providing “free food, clothes and housing as I seek to expose wrongdoing by the Bureau of Prisons officials and staff and otherwise report on news and culture in the world’s greatest prison system.”

Brown was arrested in 2012 and initially charged with aggravated identity theft and, most notably, with trafficking in stolen goods because he posted a link online to information others had pilfered in the Stratfor hack, including internal emails and credit card numbers. The latter charge drew widespread condemnation from civil rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the charge “a serious threat to press freedom” in a statement condemning the sentence. The stolen goods and identity theft charges were later dropped and Brown pleaded to three lesser crimes: accessory after the fact, interfering with an FBI investigation and threatening an FBI agent. The last charge resulted from YouTube rants a visibly distraught Brown posted that included threats to an FBI agent investigating Brown and his mother. The bulk of his sentence is a result of that threat.

In a statement to the judge before his sentence was handed down, Brown called the videos “idiotic” and expressed contrition over what he characterized as a lapse in judgment. “Although I made them in a manic state brought on by sudden withdrawal from Paxil and Suboxone, and while distraught over the threats to prosecute my mother, that’s still me in those YouTube clips talking nonsense about how the FBI would never take me alive,” Brown told the court in a prepared statement. In that statement and in conversation with TIME Friday, Brown accused prosecutors and law enforcement of repeatedly committing perjury over the course of his case.

Including the more than two years Brown has spent in prison since his arrest he could serve an additional three years, though he is reported to be up for supervised release after one year.

“I’m a very monastic individual anyway. I spend a lot of time reading and writing,” Brown told TIME. “People don’t want to be in prison of course but some people benefit from it. Dostoyevsky. Solzhenitsyn. I’m one of those people.”

TIME Sex

How Birth Control Has Changed Over the Centuries

A history of contraception, in all its many forms

Birth control may still be a hot button issue today in some countries, but men and women have been using contraceptives for thousands of years, albeit with varied results.

In ancient China, a popular remedy involved drinking a cocktail of lead and mercury. In ancient Egypt, a paste made out of honey, sodium carbonate, and crocodile dung was a popular form of contraception.

However, not all historic forms of contraception were based on superstition. A prototype of the cervical cap has been in use since the 18th century, and cave drawings in France appear to show a version of a condom.

For much of the 19th and early 20th centuries women in the U.S. had a hard time getting their hands on effective contraception. Due to anti-obscenity laws, doctors were not allowed to spread information about birth control.

To compensate for the lack of official methods, household products like Lysol and Coca-Cola were often used, as they were believed to kill sperm.

In 1960 modern birth control was born, when the FDA approved the first oral contraceptive pill for women. Within 5 years, millions of American women had prescriptions for the pill. Today, 99% of women of child-bearing age say they have used some form of birth control.

However, universal access to birth control still does not exist worldwide. Some 220 million women from developing countries say they want to use birth control but don’t have access.

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