Interacts with our slice of the ordinary universe through gravity

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Dark Matter

Dark matter—the unseen 80 percent of the universe’s mass—doesn’t emit, absorb or reflect light. Astronomers know it exists only because it interacts with our slice of the ordinary universe through gravity. Hence the hunt for this missing mass has focused on so-called WIMPs—Weakly Interacting Massive Particles—which interact with each other as infrequently as they interact with normal matter.

Physicists have reasons to look for alternatives to WIMPs. For two decades, astronomers have found less dark matter at the centers of galaxies than what WIMP models suggest they should. The discrepancy is even worse at the cores of the universe’s tiny dwarf galaxies, which have few ordinary stars but lots of dark matter.

About four years ago, James Bullock, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, began to wonder whether the standard view of dark matter was failing important empirical tests. “This was the point where I really started thinking hard about alternatives,” he said.

Bullock thinks that dark matter might instead be complex, something that interacts with itself strongly in the way that ordinary matter interacts with itself to form intricate structures like atoms and atomic elements. Such a self-interacting dark matter, Bullock suspects, could exist in a “dark sector,” somewhat parallel to our own light sector, but detectable only through the way it affects gravity.

He and his colleagues have created numerical simulations that predict what the universe would look like if dark matter feels strong interactions. They expected to see the model fail. Instead, they found that it was consistent with what astronomers observe.

Quanta Magazine spoke with Bullock about complex dark matter, how this mysterious mass might behave, and the best places in the universe to find it. An edited and condensed version of the interview follows.

QUANTA MAGAZINE: What do we know about dark matter?

JAMES BULLOCK: We are confident that it’s there, that it has mass, and that it tugs on itself and on other things via gravity. That’s about it. While dark matter has a gravitational tug, it doesn’t interact with normal matter—the stuff that makes up you and me—in a very intense way. It doesn’t shine. It’s invisible. It’s transparent. It doesn’t glow when it gets hot. Unfortunately, those are the ways astronomers usually study the universe; we usually follow the light.

So we don’t know what it’s made of?

We’ve come to understand that we can describe the world that we experience by the Standard Model of particle physics. We think of the particles that make up you and me as being broken down into constituent things, like quarks, and those quarks combine into neutrons and protons. There is a complicated dance that allows these particles to interact in certain ways. It gives rise to the periodic table of elements and all of the vast complexity we see around us. Just 20 percent of the mass of the universe is all of this complexity.

On the other hand, dark matter makes up something like 80 percent of the mass. First-guess models for what it is suggests that it is one particle that doesn’t really interact with much of anything—WIMPs. These are collisionless, meaning when two dark matter particles come at each other they basically go through each other.

Another possibility is this 80 percent of the universe is also complex. Maybe there’s something interesting going on in what’s called the dark sector. We know that whatever ties us to the dark matter is pretty weak or else we would have already seen it. This observation has led to the belief that all the interactions that could be going on with dark matter are weak. But there’s another possibility: When dark matter particles see themselves, there are complex and potentially very strong interactions. There even could be dark atoms and dark photons.

Those two worlds—this dark sector and our own sector—only communicate by gravity and perhaps other weak processes, which haven’t yet been seen.

How can you probe this dark sector if you can’t interact with it?

Now what we’re talking about doing is not just looking at the gross properties of the dark matter but the very makeup of the dark matter, too. The most obvious place to see those effects is where dark matter is bunched up. We believe the centers of galaxies and galaxy clusters are densest. And so by studying the behavior of dark matter by indirect methods—basically by the dynamics of stars and gas and galaxies in galaxy clusters—we can start to understand how dark matter is distributed in space. To start to discriminate between models, we can compare differences in dark matter’s spatial clumpiness in simulations, for example, and then look for those differences in data.

What does the data say?

In models using cold, collisionless dark matter—WIMPs—the dark matter is very dense at the middle of galaxies. It appears that those predicted densities are much higher than what’s observed.

What might be going on is that something a little more complex is happening in the dark sector, and that complexity is causing these slight disagreements between theory and observation at places where the dark matter is really clumped or starts congregating, like in the centers of galaxies or the centers of galaxy clusters.

I’m interested in running cosmological simulations of how the universe should evolve from the very beginning until now. I look at what happens, when I run those simulations forward, if I allow cold dark matter to occasionally collide and exchange energy. The simulations start with a small, almost-smooth primordial universe and end with beautiful agreement with large-scale structure—galaxies stretched out across the universe in the way we observe them. But the hearts of galaxies are less dense in dark matter in my simulations than they are in simulations where the dark matter is cold and collisionless.

How long have researchers known about these disagreements between the models and the data?

We’ve known that there’s a bit of a problem at the centers of galaxies for about 20 years. At first it was thought maybe we’re interpreting the data wrong. And now the question comes down to: Does galaxy formation eject dark matter somehow, or do we need to modify our understanding of dark matter?

Why did you start looking into self-interacting dark matter?

The first paper exploring ideas that the dark matter might be more complex was in Physical Review Letters, April 2000, by David Spergel and Paul Steinhardt. I actually started working on this several years later when I began seeing papers from the particle physics community exploring these ideas. My initial reaction was, that couldn’t be true, because I had this prejudice that things work so well with collisionless dark matter.

In the first set of simulations we ran, we gave dark matter a cross-section with itself. The bigger the cross-section is, the higher the probability that these particles are going to run into one another in any given amount of time. We set the value of the cross-section to something we were convinced would be ruled out [by the data], but when we ran our simulation we found that we couldn’t see any difference between that model and the classic one. And so we thought maybe we don’t know quite as much as we thought we knew.

Then, we dialed it up and looked at a strong interaction similar to if you threw two neutrons together. We saw something that looks really close to observations on large scales but does produce differences in the hearts of galaxies. Rather than the dark matter getting denser and denser as you approach the center of the galaxy, it reached a threshold density.

Could it be that these little discrepancies we’ve been seeing in the observational data are actually a clue that there’s something interesting and fun going on in the dark sector that we weren’t thinking about before?

How have these simulations evolved since the first ones you performed?

We’ve been running very high cross-section values to see when this model starts to break compared to some observations. We’re also focusing energy on including all of the star-formation and galaxy-formation physics in these simulations. The hardest part with these simulations is that the universe isn’t just made of dark matter. There’s all of this other annoying normal stuff that we have to think about, too. Gas that can turn into stars—and some of those stars are going to be so massive that they blow up as supernovae. When they blow up as supernovae, they are effectively jostling the gravitational field around them, and this jostling can potentially move the dark matter around. Is it possible that these discrepancies that we’re seeing in the observed densities of dark matter and the predicted densities of dark matter is because the galaxy-formation process itself is changing things in a way that we don’t understand very well?

Something else that I spend my time on is figuring out the cleanest and clearest cases for determining what comes from the physics of dark matter versus the physics of star formation and galaxy formation. We have to think hard about how clean our cosmological experiments are.

Where is that cleanest cosmological laboratory?

My opinion is that the cleanest sites are the teeniest, tiniest galaxies we know about—dwarf galaxies. They have very few stars but huge amounts of dark matter. In some cases they have 100 times as much dark matter within their visible extent as they have visible matter. (The Milky Way interior to the Sun is about half dark matter and half normal matter.) Dwarf galaxies have so much dark matter compared to their stars, they’re excellent laboratories for dark matter. They’re as clean as we have.

But studying dark matter physics in something that doesn’t give off much light is pretty difficult.

The nice thing about these objects is that a lot of them are really close by. They’re close enough that you can actually measure the velocities of individual stars. That allows you to build as precise a model as you can of the dark matter density at the centers of these galaxies. They’re close enough to study with great precision, but they’re chock full of dark matter so you don’t have to worry as much about what’s going on with the stars.

There have been recent observational studies focusing on galaxy clusters. Are observations and theoretical models starting to move in a similar direction?

Imagine a swarm of bees; a cluster of galaxies is sort of like that. Massive collisions, where two galaxy clusters have come at each other and pass through each other, are one place to look for complex dark matter. If the dark matter is strongly interacting, when those massive clusters come together, the galaxies will keep flying right on through, but the dark matter, because it’s strongly interacting with itself, will sort of bunch up in the middle.

the bullet cluster shows the aftermath of a cosmic collision between two galaxy clusters. in this false-color image, the hot gas (pink) slowed down in the collision due to a drag force, while the dark matter (blue) appeared to keep passing through, as one would expect if dark matter is collisionless.Click to Open Overlay GalleryThe Bullet Cluster shows the aftermath of a cosmic collision between two galaxy clusters. In this false-color image, the hot gas (pink) slowed down in the collision due to a drag force, while the dark matter (blue) appeared to keep passing through, as one would expect if dark matter is collisionless. NASA

In the famous example of the Bullet Cluster, astronomers used the effect of gravitational lensing to look at where the dark matter was. They found that the dark matter has moved right on through along with the galaxies, which is what you’d expect with collisionless dark matter. Because of this result, people said, “Well, there’s no way the dark matter is strongly interacting with itself.”

That was a few years ago and a couple things have happened since then. We’ve realized that a lot of the first-order estimates people have used to determine how much the dark matter ought to drag on itself were overestimated. Also, several other clusters have less-clear results, and in some cases maybe there is more drag than we thought before. Richard Massey’s group found evidence that some kind of dark pressure, ram pressure, is ripping the dark matter out of a galaxy.

We really aren’t at the point yet where I think we’ve done enough, though. We need to invest more effort into simulating the calculations properly with these various classes of dark matter to figure out what it is we know and what it is we don’t know. I think we’ve seen exciting hints, and they motivate us to try to do as well as we can to figure out what they mean.

Muhammad Might be a Fake Prophet
Fragments of the world's oldest Koran may predate the Prophet Muhammad and reportedly could wind up rewriting the early history of Islam.

The pages were discovered last month bound within the pages of another Koran from the late seventh century at the library of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, the Times of London reports.

The pages were carbon-dated by experts at the University of Oxford, a process that showed the Islamic holy book manuscript could be the oldest Koran in the world; several historians suggest the parchment might even predate Muhammad, the Times reports.

According to the Times, the Birmingham Koran was produced between 568 AD and 645 AD, while the dates usually given for Muhammad are between 570 AD and 632 AD.

"It destabilizes, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Koran emerged – and that in turn has implications for the history of Muhammad and the Companions," historian Tom Holland tells the Times.

Keith Small, from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, added: "This gives more ground to what have been peripheral views of the Koran's genesis, like that Muhammad and his early followers used a text that was already in existence and shaped it to fit their own political and theological agenda, rather than Muhammad receiving a revelation from heaven."

Muslim scholars disagree, with Mustafa Shah from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London telling the Times: "If anything, the manuscript has consolidated traditional accounts of the Koran's origins."
Denali: The True Reason why Obama Renamed Mt. McKinley
The end of the classical period marked the decline of many civilizations, but the postclassical period brought in an era of innovation and empire. The beginning of the postclassical period issued in many new civilizations spurring lots of state building, expansion, and conflict. Starting with the 6th century China, the era of division ended and China began to reunite and rebuild their empire. Other areas experiencing change include Europe, and the Islamic heartland. The nomads living on the inhabitable area of the Arabian Peninsula began to build a vast empire. The now Muslim people spread quickly and fought hard building a huge empire for themselves spreading from Africa to the edges of modern day India. The people of Islam instilled fear into many civilizations using force to make their own state stronger and bigger. With the fall of Rome Europe split into two regions, the East, and the West. The East was more stable and never really entered into a dark period; they worked through the decline and fall of Rome and built the strong Byzantine Empire. While east Europe was stable, the West was in a period called the Dark Ages. Before the postclassical period came to an end the Dark Ages ended, and Western Europe also began to build several strong dominant states during a period called the Renaissance.

Throughout the region each empire was busy with protecting their empire and expanding to new areas. The first empire, the Muslim empire, was started when a man named Muhammad united the nomadic clans of the Arabian Peninsula and started the religion of Islam, in which he was the prophet. His followers started the Islamic empire. This empire became extremely vast conquering from North Western Africa all the way to the edges of India, however their influence stretched as far as Spain and the islands of South East Asia. Some of these regions had people of different faiths, called people of the book. A treaty was made called the Pact of Umar, preventing the Muslims from building mosques, or any other influencing of their religion. The Muslims had rulers called caliphs, who were not only political leaders but religious leaders as well. This concept was much like the mandate of heaven, and son of heaven in China, stating that the Chinese emperors were divine beings. Among the areas of the Islamic Empire was Africa, where the Muslim people influenced along North and West Africa. Their dominance was not complete but they did have a lot of cultural influence.

China Muscle
A weapon so secret China would not reveal it for years made its first public appearance in a military parade on Thursday as China marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

The Dongfeng (East wind) 21D “carrier-killer” missile, threatens to reshape the balance of power in the western Pacific, has been the subject of much speculation after a stray mention last week in a Communist party newspaper ignited excitement among China defence watchers.ministry in Beijing has been notably silent on the missile, other than to confirm in 2011 that it was in development. Western defence experts estimate that it has a range of 1,550km and that it may be able to travel at up to 10 times the speed of sound — faster than anything that could intercept it.

Like an intercontinental ballistic missile, the DF-21D goes into orbit, but after re-entering the atmosphere it maneuvers on to a target, making it theoretically capable of landing a large warhead on or near a moving ship. China can also make about 1,200 of them for the price of a single aircraft carrier, meaning the missiles could easily overwhelm defensive countermeasures.

Some analysts say such missiles threaten to consign aircraft carriers — which form the basis of current US naval strategy — to the dustbin, just as aircraft carriers themselves did to battleships with Japan’s 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

“There is more potent symbolism in this missile than any other weapon in the Chinese arsenal,” said Ashley Townshend, a research fellow at the US Studies Centre at the University of Sydney. “This is the missile that really does potentially encroach on US capability to deploy military power close to Chinese shores. It significantly raises the risks and costs.”

The US and China are increasingly at odds over China’s efforts to assert its claim on territorial waters in the South China Sea. The missile is a stern reminder to Washington, ahead of a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month, that America’s undisputed maritime power may be under threat.

However, Richard Fisher, a missile expert at the US-based International Assessment and Strategy Center, pointed to another anti-ship missile recently developed by China, a supersonic air-launched cruise missile carried by the H-6K bomber. “You begin to see that decades of Chinese military investment are resulting in capabilities that are changing the balance of power in Asia against the United States,” Mr Fisher said.

Chinese authorities did not confirm in advance what weaponry would be in Thursday’s parade, other than to say 84 per cent would be new or never unveiled in public. However, many experts took note last week when the Global Times, a state-run newspaper, quoted Shao Yongling, a colonel from the People’s Liberation Army Second Artillery Command College, saying that in a parade rehearsal held in Beijing last month the DF-21D “was seen for the first time, without concealing its model number”.

Col Shao later took to Weibo, a Chinese version of Twitter, to say she was “stunned” that the paper had quoted her. “Even though I know what will be shown, I had no idea that they would say that,” she said. “This is so unlike the government, which has a cautious and discreet personality.”

Col Shao did not respond to an interview request.

Other experts said the manner in which the missile was mentioned in an establishment newspaper followed by social media speculation may be part of a “soft launch”, where Beijing releases significant developments in its defence industry in deniable fashion, so as not to be accused of provocation or sabre-rattling.

China appears set to reveal a weapon so formidable it could upset the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region. The missile is likely to be wheeled through Beijing at a parade marking the second world war. James Kynge asks Charles Clover, FT Beijing correspondent, why defence experts see it as a potential game changer.

A recent example of such a tactic involved March media reports that China was building a second aircraft carrier.

A few days before she revealed the missile would take part in the parade, Col Shao had written on her Weibo feed: “Does the DF 21 exist or is the US just imagining it? Does the second artillery have other anti-aircraft-carrier methods? We will find out on the morning of September 3.”

Whether the DF-21D is indeed the fearsome scourge of US maritime power is debated in the defence community. It has never been tested against the full range of countermeasures that a modern aircraft carrier could be expected to deploy. And while such a missile would be difficult to bring down, the vast array of sensors, radar, satellites and other equipment it would need to lock on to a target would be vulnerable to attack.

Ships off Alaska
Five Chinese navy ships are currently operating in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, Pentagon officials said Wednesday, marking the first time the U.S. military has seen them in the area.

The officials have been tracking the movements in recent days of three Chinese combat ships, a replenishment vessel and an amphibious landing ship after observing them moving toward the Aleutian Islands, which are split between U.S. and Russian control.

“This would be a first in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands,” one defense official said of the Chinese ships, which have been operating in international waters. “I don’t think we’d characterize anything they’re doing as threatening,” the official said.

A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington couldn’t immediately be reached to comment.

Chinese officials have complained in the past that the U.S. is meddling in their affairs by flying military jets near a chain of islands known as the Spratlys in the South China Sea.

The presence of the Chinese ships so close to U.S. shores is the latest demonstration of how China’s military is rapidly expanding its operations far from its own coast to oversee the nation’s growing global interests.

U.S. officials were at a loss to explain the Chinese naval movements, which came as President Barack Obama was visiting Alaska and the Arctic region on a three-day trip to address climate change.

The naval operation took place just before Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to preside over a World War II Victory Day parade Thursday in Beijing, an event that the U.S. and its allies fear is being used to showcase China’s new military strength and ambition.

Mr. Xi also is heading to the U.S. later this month for a state visit, which has already been overshadowed by tensions over Chinese military activity, including alleged cyberattacks on the U.S. and island-building in the South China Sea.

China has repeatedly said that its military activities aren’t designed to threaten any other nation but are expanding in tandem with its economic power, as well as its interests and responsibilities around the world.

Pentagon officials said Wednesday that the Chinese ships were still in the area, but declined to specify when the vessels were first spotted or how far they were from the coast of Alaska, where Mr. Obama wound up his visit Wednesday.

Pentagon officials also said there was no information suggesting the Chinese ships had gone through the Bering Strait, a narrow waterway north of the sea that abuts Alaska.

“We respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law,” said Cmdr. Bill Urban, a Pentagon spokesman, noting: “This is the first time we have observed [People’s Liberation Army Navy] ships in the Bering Sea.”

U.S. government officials acknowledged the curious timing of the Chinese ships navigating in the waters near Alaska at a time when President Obama is there, but White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Beijing’s intent was still unclear.

The Pentagon official said there were a “variety of opinions” on how to interpret the Chinese ships’ deployment.

“It’s difficult to tell exactly, but it indicates some interest in the Arctic region,” the official said. “It’s different.”

China has made clear its intentions to become a so-called blue water navy, traveling far from its coastline, said Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser on Asia for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“We better get used to it,” Ms. Glaser said. “The Chinese navy is taking on more and more of an expeditionary character… the Chinese navy is going global.”

Ms. Glaser noted that she didn’t see the navigation of the Chinese vessels as particularly threatening. “China’s navy is going to increasingly become a blue water navy,” she said. “I don’t think we should be alarmed by it.”

The Pentagon has been scrutinizing China’s military activities outside its immediate region for some time. In recent months, defense officials have tracked those movements with increasing wariness.

China has been particularly active in the South China Sea, where it has been expanding a chain of islands by piling materials dredged from the ocean floor atop of natural reefs and rocks.

According to the Pentagon, China has expanded significantly its claims to these islands, known as the Spratlys, from about 500 acres at the end of last year to about 2,500 acres as of last month.

Defense officials are concerned that China’s island-building campaign has military aims that could create instability in one of the region’s biggest shipping routes.

Beijing acknowledged it was building the islands in part for military use, but said it can make territorial claims to the islands, which sit about 700 miles off the Chinese coastline.

While Beijing has since said it has stopped construction, a Pentagon senior official said last month that it remained unclear just what work Beijing had ceased doing in the Spratlys.

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China has shown growing interest in using the so-called Northern Sea Route to transport goods between Asia and the West via the Arctic in recent years as melting polar ice has eased access for shipping. The route can take several days less than the journey via the Suez Canal.

The first Chinese vessel to sail the entire Northern Sea Route was an icebreaker called the Snow Dragon in 2012, and some Chinese commercial ships have used the route since, according to state media.

Beijing also has shown growing interest in exploiting energy resources in the Arctic region and in 2013 became a permanent observer to the Arctic Council, whose members are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the U.S.

China and Russia held joint naval exercises off the Russian Pacific coast—about 2,000 miles west of the Bering Sea—between August 20 and 28, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Seven Chinese ships took part, including two destroyers, two frigates, two landing ships and one supply ship, Xinhua said but it gave no details about where the vessels went afterward.

China’s navy confined itself to patrolling its own coast for the first five decades after the Communist takeover in 1949.

But in the past few years, it has ventured deep in the Pacific and Indian oceans, and the Mediterranean Sea.

Last year, Chinese navy ships made their debut at U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific, or Rimpac, joint naval drills in Hawaii.

As part of that exercise, three of those ships participated in a special “communications drill” with the U.S. and then made a port call in San Diego, Calif., according to a Pentagon report that was released earlier this year.

U.S. officials said an uninvited Chinese spy ship observed the Rimpac drills from international waters just off Hawaii. China’s defense ministry said at the time that its ship operations complied with international law.

Russian Involvement
U.S. intelligence ships, aircraft, and satellites are closely watching a Russian military vessel in the Atlantic that has been sailing near a U.S. nuclear missile submarine base and underwater transit routes, according to Pentagon officials.

The Russian research ship Yantar has been tracked from the northern Atlantic near Canada since late August as it makes its way south toward Cuba.

Defense officials familiar with reports on the Russian ship say the Yantar is believed to be gathering intelligence on underwater sensors and other equipment used by U.S. nuclear submarines based at Kings Bay, Georgia. The submarines, their transit lanes, and training areas stretch from the coastal base through the Atlantic to Europe.

Intelligence analysts believe the ship, one of Russia’s newest military research vessels commissioned earlier this year, is part of a larger strategic intelligence-gathering operation against U.S. nuclear missile submarines and other targets.

One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information, said the ship is a concern because it is equipped with deep-sea surveillance craft and cable-cutting equipment.

In addition to cutting or tapping into undersea cables, the Yantar’s gear also could be used to rescue submarines if they become entangled in underwater cables.

A second defense official said the Yantar’s mission is not only to prepare to disrupt underwater communications. The ship is also part of a Russian underwater reconnaissance program to identify undersea communications trunk lines and nodes.

A major target of the program is the Department of Defense Information Network, known as DoDIN. Moscow is seeking to map the global information network that is vital for U.S. warfighters and policymakers and is a key target of Russian information warfare efforts.

The network includes dedicated military links as well as leased communications and computer systems.

Another concern related to the sea-based intelligence activities is that Russia has been adopting new warfighting techniques the Pentagon has dubbed hybrid warfare.

Hybrid conflict combines traditional military capabilities with information warfare techniques, such as cyber attacks. The disabling of undersea Internet cables could be a part of future hybrid warfare attacks as nations become increasingly reliant on global information networks, officials said.

Non-government military analysts identified the Yantar off the coast of Nova Scotia around Aug. 24.

More recently, an underwater military blog called “7 Feet Beneath the Keel,” reported the Yantar’s location on Sept. 1 as 90 miles north of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, some 769 miles from Kings Bay.

A Pentagon spokesman said the military is aware of the ship. “We respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law,” the spokesman said.

The Yantar—Russian for “amber”—was built in a Baltic Sea shipyard of the same name and launched in last spring, the state-run Sputnik news agency reported on May 23. The ship will be used for deep-sea research and rescue operations.

The ship is part of Russia’s Northern Fleet and is equipped with two deep-sea remotely piloted submersibles.

“The ship carries the latest, most innovative equipment for acoustic, biological, physical, and geophysical surveys,” the report said.

“The Yantar is equipped with a unique on-board scientific research complex which enables it to collect data on the ocean environment, both in motion and on hold. There are no similar complexes anywhere,” said Alexei Burilichev, director of deepwater research at the Russian Defense Ministry, Sputnik reported.

Steffan Watkins, a Canadian-based open-source intelligence analyst who monitors Russian ship movements, said the Russian navy sends such auxiliary vessels to the region once or twice a year to check on existing U.S. underwater sensors or cables that have been detected previously. The ships also search for new equipment on the sea floor that would reveal U.S. operations.

In April 2014, the Pentagon said it was watching two Russian spy ships, the Viktor Leonov and Nikolay Chiker operating in the Atlantic near Kings Bay.

“I don’t think the Yantar is actively pulling up underwater cables,” said Watkins. “It seems more likely‎ they’d use their underwater sensors to map out defenses to prepare for future operations, and to avoid, blind, or destroy the sensors.”


Officials said another factor increasing U.S. concerns about Russian reconnaissance is Moscow’s recent adoption of a new military doctrine that places a greater reliance on strategic nuclear forces.

In addition to research ships, Russia’s military also is building a new class of intelligence-gathering and electronic warfare ships called Yuri Ivanov-class vessels.

Germany’s Bilt newspaper reported last month that the new spy ships are designed to track and follow U.S. warships. The ships will also provide communications and fleet management, conduct electronic warfare capabilities, and gather radio and electronic intelligence. The first ship was launched in July and three others are planned.

The new Ivanov spy ship was launched the same day that President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new Russian maritime doctrine that divided naval operating areas into six regions: Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctic, Caspian, Indian Ocean, and Pacific.

Russia’s priority for shipbuilding under the new doctrine will be ballistic missile submarines and nuclear attack submarines for its Northern and Pacific fleets.

Russia is deploying a new class of nuclear missile submarines called the Borey-class and maintaining existing Delta III and Delta IV missile submarines. Another generation of submarines beyond the Borey-class is also planned for 2030 to 2050.

A Russian embassy spokesman did not respond to an email request for comment.

Hillary Emails for Sale

Just as email-gate looked to be winding down, has exclusively learned a person claiming to be a computer specialist has come forward with the stunning news that 32,000 emails from Hillary Clinton‘s private email account are up for sale. The price tag — a whopping $500,000!

Promising to give the trove of the former Secretary of State’s emails to the highest bidder, the specialist is showing subject lines as proof of what appear to be legitimate messages.

“Hillary or someone from her camp erased the outbox containing her emails, but forgot to erase the emails that were in her sent box,” an insider reveals to Radar of the Presidential contender’s latest nightmare.

Radar has learned that some of the topics discussed in the email appear to include everything from Benghazi to the Algerian hostage crisis — with subject lines such as:

“H Libya security latest. Sid” (with attachment)

“H FYI, best analysis so far of hearing Sid,’ about the latest security
in Libya”
“H Algeria latest French Intel on Algeria hostage Sid”
“H Latest French Intel in Algeria hostage Sid” (with attachment)
“H Latest Libya intel internal govt discussions high level” (with
“H HIGHLY IMPORTANT! Comprehensive Intel Report on (with attachment)”

Warns the insider, “If these emails get out to the public domain, not only is Hillary finished as a potential Presidential nominee, she could put our country’s national security at risk.”

Clinton Crime Syndicate Takes the 5th

A former top aide to Hillary Clinton was brought in by the House committee probing the deadly Benghazi attacks to answer questions Thursday in a closed-door deposition, as her role in the former secretary of state's inner circle comes into focus with the latest release of Clinton emails. 

Meeting behind closed doors, members of the panel were questioning Cheryl Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff. Jake Sullivan, another former top aide who now works on Clinton's presidential campaign, was set to be interviewed on Friday. Both sessions are off limits to the public. 

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, chairman of the Benghazi committee, said that Mills "is no different from any other witnesses" who also have been interviewed in private. 

The panel was likely to ask Mills about her role in preparing "talking points" for Obama administration officials following the 2012 attack on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya. 

Questions also were likely to focus on Clinton's use of a private email account and server while she was secretary of state. 

Recently released emails make clear that Mills, as chief of staff, was an active member of Clinton's inner circle -- her name appears more than 2,200 times in emails released so far. 

The interview with Mills comes as a former State Department employee who helped Clinton set up the private email server said he will assert his Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the Benghazi panel and other congressional panels. 

Attorneys for Bryan Pagliano sent the committee a letter Monday saying their client would not testify at a hearing planned for next week. The panel subpoenaed Pagliano last month. 

The congressional committee was launched last year to investigate the Obama administration's response to the Benghazi attacks, but the probe has widened in recent months to focus on Clinton's use of a private email account and server. 

Clinton has dismissed both controversies as "partisan games." Nick Merrill, a spokesman for Clinton's campaign, said in a statement Thursday that Clinton and her team "have been confident from the beginning that Hillary Clinton's use of a personal email was allowed and that she did not send or receive anything marked classified, facts confirmed by the State Department and the inspector general" for the State Department. 

Clinton "has made every effort to answer questions and be as helpful as possible, and has encouraged her aides, current and former, to do the same, including Bryan Pagliano," Merrill said. 

Clinton is set to testify before the Benghazi panel next month. 

Bryan Pagliano, though his attorney, informed the House Benghazi Select Committee which had subpoenaed him to testify on September 10, that he was declining to testify. The Post reported the letter cited the FBI investigation into Clinton’s email system. Senate committees seeking Pagliano’s testimony were also informed he would be taking the Fifth.

““While we understand that Mr. Pagliano’s response to this subpoena may be controversial in the current political environment, we hope that the members of the Select Committee will respect our client’s right to invoke the protections of the Constitution,” his attorney, Mark MacDougall, wrote.

“Two other Senate committees also have contacted Pagliano in the past week, according to a copy of the letter, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The requests came from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Homeland Security Committee, according to people familiar with the requests.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed Wednesday that it sought to ask Pagliano about his work for Clinton.

““In response to questions . . . Mr. Pagliano’s legal counsel told the committee yesterday that he would plead the Fifth to any and all questions if he were compelled to testify,” a spokesperson for committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said in a statement.”

Click here to read the entire Post article.

Last month the Post reported on Pagliano’s involvement with Clinton’s home server.

“Those briefed on the server setup say the device installed for Bill Clinton was deemed too small for the addition of a sitting Cabinet official. Instead, a server that had been purchased for use by Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign was installed at the Chappaqua home.

“With the new server came an additional specialist: Bryan Pagliano, who had worked as her campaign’s IT director. According to federal campaign finance records, Pagliano was paid by Clinton’s Senate leadership PAC through April 2009. The next month, he went to work for the State Department as an IT specialist, a department official said. The people briefed on the server indicated that he continued to act as the lead specialist responsible for it.

“The e-mail system was not always reliable, these people said, with Pagliano summoned at various times to fix problems. Notably, the system crashed for days after New York was hit by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.

While Sec of State, Hillary was in full Shakedown Mode

New emails released from Hillary Clinton’s email server reveal that while she was secretary of state, Clinton did a favor for a for-profit education company that later paid her husband more than $16 million.

In 2009, just a few months after Hillary took over at the Department of State, she was involved in planning a private dinner on education policy that featured herself, several State Department staff, and about a dozen individuals involved with higher education.

In one email, sent Aug. 2, 2009 and first noted by Inside Higher Ed, Clinton discusses the upcoming dinner and what guests should be invited. She urges the department to invite a representative of the for-profit chain Laureate International Universities to the dinner.

“And [redacted] works for the fastest-growing college network in the world, Laureate Universities, started by Doug Becker who Bill likes a lot,” Clinton says. “It’s a for-profit model that should be represented.”

A second email shows that Clinton’s wish was carried out, as Laureate Senior Vice President Joseph Duffey was one of 20 guests at the Aug. 17 dinner. Laureate wasn’t the only school to be invited due to Clinton. Methodist-run Africa University had a representative at the dinner after Clinton proposed it (Clinton is a United Methodist).

The emails were released by the State Department as part of its ongoing disclosure of tens of thousands of emails handed over from Clinton’s private email server.

Just a few months later, in spring 2010, Bill Clinton was named as Laureate’s honorary chancellor, a post he held until stepping down in April 2015. His pay at the time wasn’t disclosed, but in July, Hillary’s publication of her tax returns revealed that Bill was paid over $16.5 million by Laureate from 2010 through 2015.

The email exchange itself is minor, but it is another example of the State Department showing a favorable disposition towards Laureate. The company’s non-profit wing also received a $1.9 million grant from the department, and in 2010 Laureate became a part of the State Department’s Global Partnership.

While on the campaign trail, Clinton has been sharply critical of for-profit education, pledging in her college plan to “crack down on law-breaking for-profits” and promising to “bring integrity” to the field of online education, which for-profits are strongly associated with. She’s never criticized Laureate, though, while Bill has offered substantial praise for the company. 

Laureate has emerged as one of the largest for-profit education companies in the world, though its presence in the U.S. is quite small. Its largest presence is in Latin America, where it has courted controversy for allegedly buying existing school and jacking up enrollment while reducing academic quality. One of the company’s schools in Chile had its accreditation revoke in 2014

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