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Jennifer Harper

Jennifer Harper

To read Jennifer Harper's Inside the Beltway columns, click here. Contact her at

Articles by Jennifer Harper

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2010 file photo, a student uses an Apple MacBook laptop in his class in Palo Alto, Calif. New warnings are emerging of a security flaw known as the "Bash" bug, which cyber experts say may pose a serious threat to computers and other devices using Unix-based operating systems such as Linux and Mac OS X. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Tech experts warn of an escalating cyber 'arms race'

Now that the first cyberwar is underway, the IT experts are taking a close look about the particulars. And with every war comes weaponry, and predictions that privacy technology must keep up with aggressive hackers. It's a reality of the "knowledge economy" - where business and enterprise is fueled by data at lightening speed, and often personal data at that. But it’s complicated. Even the United Nations is laboring on a resolution to put before the General Assembly that calls upon nations to "respect and protect a global right to privacy." Is it possible? Published December 19, 2014

When Sony canceled the release of a film in response to terrorist threats from hackers, Republican Newt Gingrich tweeted that "American has lost its first cyberwar." (Associated Press)

A cyberwar with aftershocks, collateral damage and a big angry audience

Americans are now trying to fathom that the nation is in a multidimensional cyberwar following North Korea's strategic hack attack on a Hollywood studio, prompting the cancellation of an upcoming film, with an estimated loss of $200 million in revenue alone. Published December 18, 2014

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, frets that the Obama administration is willing to negotiate the release of spies or terrorists. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Obama's Cuba relations decision the latest fury-maker

It's like clockwork. The White House does something monumental without much notice or protocol, the press goes crazy and the critics bristle with rage. Here we go again, courtesy of President Obama's sudden decision to put the U.S. and Cuba on speaking terms — negotiating a prisoner release and normalizing relations that have been broken for five decades. This sort of thing seems to be happening every week in the era of the mighty presidential pen and phone. Published December 17, 2014

Ben Carson and Armstrong Williams plus a security detail during their eight-day journey to Israel (Photo from Armstrong Williams Productions)

Ben Carson, midway through a trip to Israel - sees the realities of the Holy Land

Ben Carson is midway through a significant trip to Israel to see the Holy Land for himself - including the spiritual, political and security-minded factors that are realities for the nation. His journey includes a visit to Nazareth, Galilee and Bethlehem - along with tours of the Gaza strip, terrorist tunnels, a military base and Hadassah Medical Center Published December 17, 2014

Reactions to Jeb Bush's interest in a presidential run were many, including this online petition declaring "independence" from candidates named Bush or Clinton. (Roots Action)

Not quite ready for Jeb Bush - not ready for Clinton Vs Bush either

News that Jeb Bush is "actively exploring" a 2016 presidential run titillated the press — some red meat for journalists already weary with the strategic indecisions of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mitt Romney. But not everyone is thrilled about Mr. Bush's intent. "Another Bush versus another Clinton? Vomit," declared Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell in his own counter tweet. Published December 16, 2014

Donald Trump. (Associated Press)

2014 deemed the 'Year of the Lie '... and Mr. Trump goes to Washington to talk politics

Alas, the past 12 months have been a truth-optional time period, some say. 2014 was, in fact "the year of the lie." That pronouncement comes from New York Post culture critic Kyle Smith, who reveals his rationale: "Bowe Bergdahl. The IRS's missing e-mails. Lena Dunham. 'Hands up, don't shoot.' Jonathan Gruber. GM and that faulty ignition switch. Andrew Cuomo and that anti-corruption commission," the journalist says. "2014 was the year when truth was optional. 2014 was the year when convenient fabrication was the weapon of choice for celebrities, activists, big business and politicians." Published December 14, 2014

Nature's 'light show' is how NASA describes the Geminid meteor shower - a meteor flash is seen here with an aurora borealis shimmer in Norway. (NASA)

Starstruck society: Geminid meteor shower lit up two hemispheres - with more to come

"It's the most wonderful time of the year - for spotting a Geminid meteor," noted NASA, referring to the 2014 Geminid meteor shower which peaked on Saturday evening, through early Sunday. They will still be visible for up to two weeks - so don't stop looking up. And they will be traveling at 22 miles a second, incidentally. Published December 13, 2014

The World War II era Civil Air Patrol has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their intrepid service. (Image from CAP Historical Foundation)

They flew 24 million miles: World War II-era Civil Air Patrol awarded Congressional Gold Medal

At long last, a Congressional Gold Medal has been awarded to the founding members of the Civil Air Patrol, which began operation under the Office of Civilian Defense on Dec. 1, 1941. Using civilian aircraft and their own money, the unpaid volunteers provided essential support to the U.S. Army and Navy, including armed convoy and antisubmarine patrols off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Published December 11, 2014

FILE - This  July 16, 2014, file photo shows the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington.  America's unofficial end of summer this week marked the unofficial beginning of the campaign that may give Republicans control of the Senate, an outcome that could utterly close down President Barack Obama's legislative agenda in his final two years in the White House. Republicans already have an unassailable majority in the House of Representatives. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Fed-up Americans take political gridlock personally: 86 percent say nothing can be done

Politicians who think that Americans overlook the constant, stubborn impasse on Capitol Hill are kidding themselves. The public takes it to heart: 71 percent report that the problem of political gridlock is "very important to them personally," this according to a new Associated Press poll released Wednesday. Sadly enough, another 86 percent say there's nothing that can be done about it. And the most cited reaction to the current political climate is "disappointment," the survey found, followed by "frustration." Published December 11, 2014

Members of the media raise their hands during CIA Director John Brennan's news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Brennan defending his agency from accusations in a Senate report that it used inhumane interrogation techniques against terrorist suspect with no security benefits to the nation. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

'Put aside this debate and move forward' - Here's what else CIA Director Brennan has to say

"Our partnership with Congress is crucial. In my view, there is no more important oversight relationship than the CIA relationship with its intelligence committees, particularly because we do so much of our work in secret that Congress serves as a critical check on our activities, closely monitoring the agency's reporting and programs when the public cannot," CIA Director John O. Brennan told reporters in the lead up to a press conference addressing the Senate Intelligence Committee Report. Published December 11, 2014

American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks on Thursday moderates a discussion about conservatism in the 114th Congress. (American Enterprise Institute)

Advice on that $1 trillion spending bill: 'If you fund it, you own it'

The giant $1.8 trillion omnibus spending bill now stretched out like a walrus in the halls of Congress has spawned mixed reviews. Some observers say the 1,603-page legislation is a marvelous creature — ample evidence that Republicans and Democrats can play nice and do something good together. Others see the bill as a dangerous beast making threatening noises and waving its 100 or so policy riders at onlookers — like that potential funding for President Obama's amnesty plans, for instance. Published December 10, 2014

Passersby exit an entrance to the main campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Sunday, May 31, 1998. The university's endowment of nearly $13 billion makes it the richest in the world and, if ranked against Fortune 500 companies it would be in the top 25 percent, The Boston Globe reported Sunday. (AP Photo/Patricia McDonnell)

All about feelings: Ivy League law students now too 'traumatized' over Ferguson to take exams

It is a new educational phenomenon: Ivy League law students at three major universities - Columbia, Harvard and Georgetown University - are now exempt from taking final exams if they feel "traumatized" by the grand jury decisions made in Ferguson and New York City. The students are also being offered counseling if they need it. A few professors with impressive credentials now have a few questions. Published December 10, 2014

Buttons are laid out at the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee booth at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held at the Gaylord Hotel, National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 7, 2014. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

The $10.5 million Draft Ben Carson PAC opens a N.H. office — it's 'just the beginning'

The same group that has already rounded up 23,000 volunteers for Ben Carson and raised $10.5 million for his potential White House campaign are upping their ante. The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, an independent political action committee formed to draft the retired neurosurgeon and author has opened a 1,700-square-foot "Draft Ben Carson for President Victory Center" in Manchester, New Hampshire. Published December 9, 2014

Rep. Darrell Issa will hear Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber explain away his "stupid voters" comment. (Associated Press)

Seven-out-of-10 Republicans still trust the police: Gallup poll

A complex Gallup poll finds that a hefty majority of Republicans have "a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in police": 69 percent of white Republicans and 67 percent of "nonwhite" Republicans back law enforcement — compared to 57 percent of Americans overall, 61 percent of all whites and 46 percent of all nonwhites. Published December 8, 2014