FLASHBACK – Reports: Obama’s 2008 Campaign Reps Talked with Iran, Hamas

By Aaron Klein

Amid the controversy surrounding White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s alleged conversations with Russia, it may be instrumental to recall that representatives for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign were accused of meeting with Hamas and Iran.

Depending on what took place, the alleged contacts with Iran may have violated the Logan Act, which bars citizens from negotiating with foreign governments in dispute with the United States. It may be questionable whether Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, legally qualifies as a foreign government.

In 2008, Robert Malley stepped down as an informal foreign policy adviser to Obama’s campaign when it was revealed that he met with Hamas members.

Malley admitted to the meetings, but he claimed he met with the terrorists as part of his private job.

“I have never hidden the fact that I had meetings with Hamas,” Malley wrote in an open letter published in the New York Times. “I do this as part of my job as Middle East program director at the International Crisis Group.”

He said he distanced himself from Obama’s campaign because the Hamas meetings were “becoming a distraction to me and to Senator Obama’s campaign, and to avoid any misperception — misrepresentation being the more accurate word — about the candidate’s position regarding the Islamist movement.”

Malley later joined the Obama administration. In 2015, he was appointed to lead the Middle East desk of The National Security Council.

He was also named Obama’s special adviser regarding the Islamic State.

Meanwhile, in August 2014, Michael Ledeen, a former consultant to the National Security Council and U.S. Defense Department, penned a column at PJ Media stating Obama opened a back-channel to Iran during the 2008 presidential campaign. Ledeen said the back channel went through retired Ambassador William G. Miller, who also led the 1979 negotiating mission during the Iran hostage crisis. Ladeen wrote that Miller confirmed his back-channel involvement to him.

Ledeen wrote:

The actual strategy is detente first, and then a full alliance with Iran throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It has been on display since before the beginning of the Obama administration. During his first presidential campaign in 2008, Mr. Obama used a secret back channel to Tehran to assure the mullahs that he was a friend of the Islamic Republic, and that they would be very happy with his policies. The secret channel was Ambassador William G. Miller, who served in Iran during the shah’s rule, as chief of staff for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador Miller has confirmed to me his conversations with Iranian leaders during the 2008 campaign.

The Logan Act states:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

‘Death to America’: Thousands rally in Iran celebrating Islamic Revolution (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets of Tehran to celebrate the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution and denounce US President Donald Trump’s recent statements regarding the Muslim state.

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On the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which saw the ousting of the former US-backed House of Pahlavi, a flood of protesters headed towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square with Iranian flags, celebrating the rule of the current clerical establishment.

Some also carried effigies of Trump, as well as banners reading Death to America,” the footage showed, to the sound of traditional Iranian revolutionary songs played by police military ensemble.

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The crowd included hundreds of military personnel and police officers, Reuters reported citing local TV.

Footage showed people trampling on pictures of Trump in a central Tehran street, where marchers carried banners reading: “Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America.” The crowd was also seen burning US and Israeli flags. Israel is Washington’s main ally in the region, while Iran has been supporting Palestinians in their dispute with Israel. Chanting out provocative slogans and burning flags are common practices at mass demonstrations in Iran. 

However, some Iranians held banners that said “Down with the US regime, Long live US people” and Americans are welcome to visit Iran, showing gratitude to the demonstrators who took to the streets of America to protest Trump’s executive order barring entry to the citizens of seven Muslim countries, including Iran. Yesterday, a US Court of Appeals upheld an injunction blocking enforcement of the ban, but the case will likely continue to be appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

The protest comes after Iran’s most powerful authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Iranians earlier this week to demonstrate against the US to show Iran was not frightened of their threats.”

“[Trump] says ‘You should be afraid of me.’ No! The Iranian people will respond to his words on February 10 and will show their stance against such threats,” Khamenei said on Tuesday.

Last week Fox News published an interview with Donald Trump, in which he said they [Iran] have total disregard for our country, they’re the number one terrorist state, they’re sending money all over the place and weapons,” referring to accusations frequently coming from the West that Tehran is supporting various Shiite rebel groups in the Middle East, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian group Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen.

Earlier in February, the US also imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to a ballistic missile test, which Trump’s National Security Advisor Mike Flynn described as provocative and destabilizes the situation across the Middle East.

The US claimed the test violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 which called on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles.” Flynn said that the Trump administration “condemns such actions by Iran,” and has officially put Iran on notice.” 

Addressing the crowds on Friday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani also called on Iranians to show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic.”

“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran […] They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran […] They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians […] We will strongly confront any warmongering policies, Rouhani told the crowd at the Azadi Square, as cited by Reuters, which reported that millions had shown up to commemorate the occasion across the country.

Iran tested nuclear-capable cruise missile: German newspaper

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Iran has tested a cruise missile called “Sumar” that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons in addition to test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, German newspaper Die Welt reported Thursday, citing unspecified intelligence sources.

No comment was immediately available from Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency or from Iranian authorities.

The newspaper said the Sumar cruise missile was built in Iran and traveled around 600 km in its first known successful test. The missile is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 km, the paper said, citing intelligence sources.

Cruise missiles are harder to counter than ballistic missiles since they fly at lower altitudes and can evade enemy radar, confounding missile defense missiles and hitting targets deep inside an opponent’s territory.

But the biggest advantage from Iran’s point of view, a security expert told Die Welt, was that cruise missiles are not mentioned in any United Nations resolutions that ban work on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January last year under a nuclear deal brokered in 2015 by Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States.

Under the nuclear deal Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of most sanctions. According to a 2015 U.N. resolution endorsing the deal, Iran is still called upon to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

News of Iran’s reported cruise missile test came hours after Washington said it was putting Iran “on notice” for its ballistic missile test and signaled that it could impose new sanctions.

Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic’s nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.

(Writing by Andrea Shalal, Addirional reporting by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; editing by Ralph Boulton)

Iran confirms missile test, denies breach of nuclear deal…

Tehran (AFP) – Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had tested a ballistic missile, but denied that was a breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

The comments from Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan came after the UN Security Council met Tuesday to discuss the weekend test, which Washington described as “absolutely unacceptable”.

“The action was in line with boosting Iran’s defence power and is not in contradiction with the JCPOA (the nuclear deal) or Resolution 2231,” Dehghan said.

He was referring to a UN Security Council resolution that bans Iran from developing missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

“This test was in line with our ongoing programmes,” Iranian media quoted him as saying.

“We have previously announced that we will execute the programmes we have planned in production of defence equipment meant for our national interests and objectives. Nobody can influence our decision.

“We will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defence affairs.”

Iran’s ballistic missile programme has been a bone of contention with the West since the nuclear deal took effect in January last year, triggering the lifting of international sanctions.

Iran says its missiles do not breach United Nations resolutions because they are for defence purposes only and are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

It has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles), sufficient to reach Israel as well as US bases in the region.

– ‘Not naive’ –

US ambassador Nikki Haley told Tuesday’s Security Council meeting that Washington would not stand idly by while Tehran pursued its missile programme.

“The United States is not naive. We are not going to stand by. You will see us call them out,” she said.

Tehran warned Washington against using the issue to fuel tensions.

“We hope that Iran’s defence programme is not used by the new US administration… as a pretext to create new tensions,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said ahead of the meeting.

The row comes against a backdrop of already strained relations between Washington and Tehran over US President Donald Trump‘s travel ban on citizens from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.

Some 220 Iranian lawmakers signed a motion on Wednesday endorsing the boosting of Iran’s defence capabilities, the Fars news agency reported.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s only way to deter the enemy’s aggression is its missile power,” the motion said, calling the programme “an unavoidable necessity” for protecting national security.

The European Union, which helped broker the nuclear deal, had appealed to Tehran to refrain from activities such as the missile tests, “which deepen mistrust.”

Visiting French top diplomat Jean-Marc Ayrault said Tuesday he had made clear to Zarif his disquiet over the missile tests, calling them “contrary to the spirit” of the Security Council resolution.

Britain also said the test was “inconsistent” with UN resolutions, but stopped short of calling it a violation.

But Moscow, which is fighting alongside Tehran’s forces in Syria, leapt to its ally’s defence.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Iran’s missile test did not breach Resolution 2231 and accused Washington of “heating up the situation.”

DEAR ‘WOMEN’S MARCH’ CLOWNS: Your Islamic Leader Just Said She Wants To REMOVE Girl’s VAGINA

And the Media (D) is silent. It must be that when a woman says she wants to ‘grab her by the p*ssy’ it’s NOT news.

Linda Sarsour is a vile oxygen burglar.

I’m sorry, I lost my head there in my anger.

Linda Sarsour is a vile ‘feminist’, ‘pro-Sharia’ oxygen burglar.

This tweet is proof:

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Brigitte Gabriel is an outspoken opponent of the ideology of Islam. She is also the founder of ACT For America.

To call yourself ‘feminist’ and ‘pro-Sharia’ and attack Ayaan Hirsi Ali is just vile.

Twitter explains why:

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Yes indeedy. The ‘pro-Sharia’ ‘feminist’ just said that she wanted to take away the vagina of a woman who suffered FGM.

Hey, Sarsour: Islam already partially did that… isn’t that enough?

Here’s a bit more about Ali:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born, Dutch-American, routinely calls for a reformation of Islam, asserting that “we cannot get away from the reality that there is something within Islam that inspires, incites and mobilizes millions of people to engage in what our president euphemistically calls ‘violent extremism.’”

In 2004, Ali worked with Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh on a highly contentious short movie “Submission” regarding the subjugation of women under Islam. Death threats against the pair ran rampant and Van Gogh was soon murdered in the streets of Amsterdam, a note pinned to his body promising that Ali would be next.

Now a fellow at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Ali, whose latest book, “Heretic,” was released last year, continues to rail against what she sees as the injustice of Islam.
Read more: Fox News

If you think that ‘feminist’ and ‘pro-Sharia’ are incompatible, you’re right!

Guess who explains it?

Yep. Ayaan Hirsi Ali:

Ali is an articulate, intelligent woman who speaks out against Islam’s oppression of women– because she actually is pro-woman.

Her foundation fights against Honor Violence, Forced Marriage, and Female Genital Mutilation.

And she’s outspoken. So outspoken that she lives under an Islamic Fatwa calling for her death because she’s an ‘apostate’. The fatwa was issued when she was working on the film with Theo Van Gogh, and it was pinned to his body with a knife after he had been shot 6 times and was nearly decapitated. #Classy

But, hey, I’m sure that Sarsour condemns that. Otherwise, she’d just be a deplorable hagfish.

Or does she think, ‘What’s a little fatwa among infidels?‘

Which woman do you think is more pro-woman?

The one who actively fights against oppression or the one who marches with Madonna?

Let’s end with one more quote from Ayaan Hirsi Ali…

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Seven Inconvenient Facts About Trump’s Refugee Actions

By John Hayward

The sober and logical reasons for President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees and visitors are rising above the noise after an evening of hysterical over-reactions and emotional meltdowns on the nation’s TV networks.

Advocates of sane, secure immigration policy have long noted that it’s almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion of the refugee and immigration issues, because it’s been sentimentalized and politicized beyond the realm of rational thought.

This weekend brings them another superb example of media-magnified shrieking about fascism, bleating about “white nationalists,” howling about “religious persecution,” false invocations of the Constitution, and theatrical sobbing on behalf of the Statue of Liberty.

For readers who want to wallow in the emotion, examples can be found in this handy dossier of hysteria compiled by the Washington Post. But clear-eyed adults prefer to examine plain facts about Trump’s executive order:

1. It is NOT a “Muslim ban.” You will search the Executive Order in vain for mentions of Islam, or any other religion. By Sunday morning, the media began suffering acute attacks of honesty and writing headlines such as “Trump’s Latest Executive Order: Banning People From 7 Countries and More” (CNN) and printing the full text of the order.

Granted, CNN still slips the phrase “Muslim-majority countries” into every article about the order, including the post in which they reprinted its text in full, but CNN used the word “Muslim,” not Trump. The order applies to all citizens of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. It does not specify Muslims. The indefinite hold on Syrian refugees will affect Christians and Muslims alike.

As Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner points out, the largest Muslim-majority countries in the world are not named in the Executive Order.

More countries may be added to the moratorium in the days to come, as the Secretary of Homeland Security has been instructed to complete a 30-day review of nations that don’t provide adequate information for vetting visa applicants.

It’s also noteworthy that the ban is not absolute. Exceptions for “foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas” are expressly made in the order. The Departments of State and Homeland Security can also grant exceptions on a “case-by-case basis,” and “when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.”

There is a provision in the Executive Order that says applications based on religious persecution will be prioritized “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.”

This has been denounced as a “stealth Muslim ban” by some of the very same people who were conspicuously silent when the Obama administration pushed Christians – who the most savagely persecuted minority in the Middle East, with only the Yazidis offering real competition — to the back of the migration line.

2. The order is based on security reviews conducted by President Barack Obama’s deputies. As White House counselor Kellyanne Conway pointed out on “Fox News Sunday,” the seven nations named in Trump’s executive order are drawn from the Terrorist Prevention Act of 2015. The 2015 “Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015” named Iraq, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, while its 2016 update added Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.

“These are countries that have a history of training, harboring, exporting terrorists. We can’t keep pretending and looking the other way,” said Conway.

3. The moratorium is largely temporary. Citizens of the seven countries named as security risks are banned from entering the United States for the next 90 days. Refugee processing is halted for 120 days. The longest-lived aspect of the ban may prove to be the halt on Syrian refugees, but that isn’t given a time frame at all. It will last “until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest,” as President Trump wrote.

4. Obama banned immigration from Iraq, and Carter banned it from Iran.
“Fact-checking” website PolitiFact twists itself into knots to avoid giving a “true” rating to the absolutely true fact that Jimmy Carter banned Iranian immigration in 1980, unless applicants could prove they were enemies of the Khomenei theocracy.

One of Politifact’s phony talking points states that Carter “acted against Iranian nationals, not an entire religion.” As noted above, Trump’s Executive Order is precisely the same – it does not act against an “entire religion,” it names seven countries.

As for Barack Obama, he did indeed ban immigration from Iraq, for much longer than Trump’s order bans it from the seven listed nations, and none of the people melting down today uttered a peep of protest. Richard Grenell summed it up perfectly in a Tweet:

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5. Trump’s refugee caps are comparable to Obama’s pre-2016 practices: David French, who was touted as a spoiler candidate to keep Donald Trump out of the White House during the presidential campaign – in other words, not a big Trump fan – wrote a lengthy and clear-headed analysis of the Executive Order for National ReviewHe noted that after the moratorium ends in 120 days, Trump caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year… which is roughly the same as President Obama’s admissions in 2011 and 2012, and not far below the 70,000 per year cap in place from 2013 to 2015.

Obama had fairly low caps on refugees during the worst years of the Syrian civil war. He didn’t throw open the doors to mass refugee admissions until his final year in office. Depending on how Trump’s review of Syrian refugee policy turns out, he’s doing little more than returning admissions to normal levels after a four-month pause for security reviews.

6. The Executive Order is legal: Those invoking the Constitution to attack Trump’s order are simply embarrassing themselves. The President has clear statutory authority to take these actions. As noted, his predecessors did so, without much controversy.

Most of the legal arguments against Trump’s order summarized by USA Today are entirely specious, such as attacking him for “banning an entire religion,” which the order manifestly does not do. Critics of the order have a political opinion that it will in effect “ban Muslims,” but that’s not what it says. Designating specific nations as trouble spots and ordering a pause is entirely within the President’s authority, and there is ample precedent to prove it.

It should be possible to argue with the reasoning behind the order, or argue that it will have negative unintended consequences, without advancing hollow legal arguments. Of course, this is America 2017, so a wave of lawsuits will soon be sloshing through the courts.

7. This Executive Order is a security measure, not an arbitrary expression of supposed xenophobia. Conway stressed the need to enhance immigration security from trouble spots in her “Fox News Sunday” interview. French also addressed the subject in his post:

When we know our enemy is seeking to strike America and its allies through the refugee population, when we know they’ve succeeded in Europe, and when the administration has doubts about our ability to adequately vet the refugees we admit into this nation, a pause is again not just prudent but arguably necessary. It is important that we provide sufficient aid and protection to keep refugees safe and healthy in place, but it is not necessary to bring Syrians to the United States to fulfill our vital moral obligations.

French’s major objection to the Executive Order is that applying it to green-card holders is “madness,” but unfortunately many of the terrorists who attacked Americans during the Obama years were green-card holders. Daniel Horowitz and Chris Pandolfo addressed that subject at Conservative Review:

Both liberals and conservatives expressed concern over hundreds of individuals going over to fight for ISIS. We are already limited in how we can combat this growing threat among U.S. citizens. Given that it is completely legal to exclude non-citizens upon re-entry, Trump extended the ban to legal permanent residents as well.

If a Somali refugee is travelling back to Somalia (so much for credible fear of persecution!), government officials should have the ability to prevent that person from coming back when necessary. Obviously, there are some individuals from these seven countries who already have green cards and we might not want to exclude. That is why the order grants discretion to the State Department to issue case-by-case exemptions for “religious persecution, “or when the person is already in transit and denying admission would cause undue hardship.” A CBP agent is always stationed at any international airport from which these individuals would board a direct flight to the United States (Paris and Dubai, for example). That individual would not allow anyone covered by this ban onto a U.S.-bound flight unless he grants them a hardship exemption.

Indeed, it appears that green card holders returning yesterday from those seven countries were all granted entry.

Because he is a progressive globalist, Obama deliberately blinded us to security threats, in the name of political correctness and left-wing ideology. Ninety or 120 days isn’t much time for Trump to turn all that around, especially because it is unlikely much will change in the seven countries Trump named.

The hysterical reaction to Trump’s order illustrates the very thing that worries advocates of strong immigration security: Americans’ security is the lowest priority, far below progressive ideology, crass political opportunism, and emotional theater.

We’re being effectively told by the theatrical class to tolerate a certain amount of Islamic terrorism because their feelings would be hurt by the tough measures we need protest ourselves from a tough enemy. But this time, President Trump is proving tough enough to push our security up into the top priority.

 

Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ sees passengers detained at airports, threatens Silicon Valley

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Details have emerged of passengers being prevented from boarding their flights to the US as President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from seven Muslim countries comes into effect.

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Refugees from Syria have been banned indefinitely while citizens from six other predominantly Muslim nations – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia – have been banned from entering the US for 90 days unless they possess a diplomatic visa. The order also bans the admission of all refugees for at least 120 days while the government puts a new vetting system in place.

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Dutch airline KLM said they refused carriage to seven passengers on foot of the ban while Reuters are reporting that five Iraqi citizens and one Yemeni, who all held valid US visas, were barred from boarding an EgyptAir flight from Cairo to New York on Saturday after Trump signed the order Friday.

The passengers were stopped and instead placed on flights headed for their home countries, Reuters said, citing airport sources.

On Saturday, Qatar Airways advised US-bound passengers from the banned countries that they needed to have either a US green card or diplomatic visa to gain entry to the country, as both immigrant and tourist visas were no longer sufficient to gain access.

However, a Homeland Security spokeswoman said Saturday that the executive action also covers green card holders from the seven targeted countries.

“It will bar green card holders,” Gillian Christensen, acting Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman, said in an email cited by Reuters.

There have also been reports of refugees and immigrants being detained at airports across the US in the wake of the order.

The detentions quickly prompted legal challenges as lawyers representing two Iraqi men being held at JFK Airport filed a writ of habeas corpus seeking to have their clients released. The detained men are Hameed  Khalid  Darweesh, who was granted a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) for his service to the United States as an interpreter, engineer and contractor, and Haider Sameer Abdulkhaleq  Alshawi, who was granted refugee status due to a family association with the US military. The lawyers also filed a motion to represent all refugees and immigrants who they said were being unlawfully detained at ports of entry.

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Executives from leading tech companies have also spoken out against the executive order and its potentially damaging effect on the running of their businesses.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was among the first to be critical of Trump’s order. In a post on the social network he cited his family history of immigration and said the United States is a nation of immigrants.

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Google contacted staff overseas to warn them that they would be affected by the order, advising them to get back to the US immediately. In a note to employees seen by Bloomberg, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai was severely critical of the order.

“It’s painful to see the personal cost of this executive order on our colleagues,” Pichai reportedly wrote to his colleagues. “We’ve always made our view on immigration issues known publicly and will continue to do so.”

More than 100 Google staff have been affected by the order. The employees in question normally work in the US but just happened to be abroad when the order was signed.

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Meanwhile, Microsoft also flagged the executive order as a human resources concern. In its latest quarterly report, the tech company said that its “business is based on successfully attracting and retaining talented employees” in an “extremely competitive” industry.

“We are limited in our ability to recruit internationally by restrictive domestic immigration laws,” the company notes.

“Changes to U.S. immigration policies that restrain the flow of technical and professional talent may inhibit our ability to adequately staff our research and development efforts. If we are less successful in our recruiting efforts, or if we cannot retain key employees, our ability to develop and deliver successful products and services may be adversely affected.”