US: National Enquirer publisher asked if it needed to register as foreign agent for Saudis - PressFrom - US
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USNational Enquirer publisher asked if it needed to register as foreign agent for Saudis

01:10  12 february  2019
01:10  12 february  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

Saudi official denies kingdom was involved in leak of Bezos' private texts

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Follow National Enquirer for exclusive up-to-the-second celebrity news, entertainment gossip & hottest Hollywood happenings anywhere as they happen.

The US decision to force RT to register as a ‘ foreign agent ’ has been denounced by journalists and rights groups around the world. Entities registered under FARA are supposed to file a copy of everything they publish with the US Justice Department within 48 hours of transmission, the CPJ said

National Enquirer publisher asked if it needed to register as foreign agent for Saudis© J. David Ake Image: The New Kingdom

The company that publishes the National Enquirer was concerned enough that it may have acted as an agent of Saudi Arabia that it asked the Justice Department last year whether it needed to register as a foreign lobbyist, a person with knowledge of Saudi Arabia's lobbying efforts in the U.S. confirms to NBC News.

Communications between the Justice Department and American Media Inc. offer the fullest picture to date of interactions between the tabloid publisher and the Saudis ahead of AMI's release last year of a fawning magazine about Saudi Arabia's young leader. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who has accused AMI of blackmailing him with intimate photos, has questioned whether Saudi Arabia may have been involved, a claim the kingdom denies.

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RT America has been forced to register as a ' foreign agent ' in the US. The pressure from Washington began after US intelligence claimed the channel was an "One thing I’d just point out that is distinctive about RT – I have to admit this, and this is this: RT has never asked me for a pre-interview interview.

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) is a United States law passed in 1938 requiring that agents representing the interests of foreign powers in a "political or quasi-political capacity" disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances.

A July 2018 letter from Justice Department lawyers to AMI and posted to a government website shows that the Justice Department's National Security Division ultimately told the publisher that, based on AMI's own statements, it did not need to register. Under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, people or entities that work to advance a foreign country's political interests in the U.S. must disclose their specific activities and register as foreign lobbyists.

"Taking into account the facts stated in your submission, and limiting our evaluation only to the facts stated in your submission, we find that there is no agency relationship between [U.S. corporation] and any foreign principal," the Justice Department wrote, referring to AMI.

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Registering as a foreign agent will keep RT America on the air, but other challenges loom, along with other targets. Congress, led by Democrats, is also The Federal Communications Commission has also been summoned to combat Russian influence. In September, three Congress members asked

RT has filed for registration as a ‘ foreign agent ’ in the US as the broadcaster still faces strong pressure from Washington. In September, the Justice Department demanded that a company supplying services to RT America on US soil should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Although the names of the parties are redacted in the publicly released version of the letter, the timing, facts and circumstances all line up precisely with AMI's unusual publication of the magazine about Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his March 2018 visit to the United States. The person familiar with Saudi Arabia's lobbying efforts confirmed to NBC News that AMI and the Saudi government are the entities referred to in the letter, which was first disclosed Monday by The Wall Street Journal.

National Enquirer publisher asked if it needed to register as foreign agent for Saudis© Jeenah Moon Image: American Media Inc. headquarter building is seen in New York

AMI produced the glossy magazine last year just ahead of a whirlwind tour of the U.S. by Crown Prince Mohammed, who at the time was not a household name in the U.S. The magazine was sold on newsstands for $13.99, including in many rural states, and had no advertisements, raising questions about why AMI thought it would be a money-maker for the company.

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Ajamu Baraka, the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party in the 2016 election, has criticized this week’s decision to force RT America to register as a foreign agent . Instead, he insisted mainstream media officially declare their agendas.

National Enquirer Parent Company AMI to Investigate Bezos’ Blackmail Claims. Speaking to ABC News’ Abby Huntsman, the president’s daughter was asked , with the Mueller investigation coming to an end: “Are you concerned about anyone in your life that Trump Team Told Flynn a ‘ Foreign Agent ’.

At the time, AMI said that Saudi Arabia had played no role in production of the magazine, even when it was revealed that the Saudi Embassy in Washington had been given an advance copy of the magazine weeks before it hit newsstands.

But in its letters to the Justice Department in May and June 2018, AMI acknowledged that it had asked a Saudi adviser to submit content for the magazine, given the adviser an early draft to review and then made changes to the final version that were suggested by the Saudi adviser.

According to the Justice Department letter, government lawyers determined that AMI didn't need to register as a Saudi agent based on AMI's claims that it received no foreign funding for the magazine and that it had been under no obligation to make the changes suggested by the Saudi adviser. The identity of the adviser mentioned is unclear.

AMI's potential ties to Saudi Arabia are under scrutiny after Bezos, in his Medium post accusing AMI of trying to blackmail him, raised the possibility that Saudi Arabia had been involved either in giving AMI the "intimate text messages" or in inducing AMI to target and humiliate him. Bezos specifically raised the example of AMI's pro-Saudi magazine to point out that there have long been questions about whether its reporting is influenced by "external forces."

American Media says it acted lawfully in reporting on Amazon's Bezos

American Media says it acted lawfully in reporting on Amazon's Bezos American Media says it acted lawfully in reporting on Amazon's Bezos

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) requires anyone acting on behalf of a foreign government to register If registered as foreign agents , Xinhua and CGTN would have to disclose their budgets and expenditures as Jeff Bezos 'blackmail' claim puts focus on National Enquirer links to Trump.

The National Enquirer (also commonly known as the Enquirer ) is an American supermarket tabloid published by American Media Inc (AMI).

Bezos wrote that a top AMI official had recently told him and his lawyers that AMI's CEO, David Pecker, was "apoplectic" that Bezos had launched a private investigation into how AMI got his text messages.

"For reasons still to be better understood, the Saudi angle seems to hit a particularly sensitive nerve," Bezos wrote.

Pecker, through his lawyer, has said that Saudi Arabia was not the source of the text messages obtained by The National Enquirer, though AMI has declined to identify the source.

"The clear threat from Bezos' point of view is that we're going to link you to Saudi Arabia, we're going to say that you hacked all of these texts, we're going to slander the publication as much as we can," Pecker's lawyer, Elkan Abramowitz, said Sunday on ABC"s "This Week."

Saudi Arabia, too, has pushed back on the suggestion from Bezos that it was involved in leaking his emails.

"As far as I know, flat no," Saudi State Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters Friday at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. Offering his own assessment of the situation, he added, "It's a soap opera."

Prosecutors make secret filing in case linked to Mueller.
The case involves Sam Patten, a GOP consultant and one-time associate of Paul Manafort who pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent while performing lobbying work on behalf of a political party in Ukraine last August. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C.

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