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The stuff you won't see in the liberal media (click "Replies" for top stories)
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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #126 

Judge does a 180 -- rules NSA spying legal

Tom Hinchey is reporting that Judge William H Pauley III ruled in favor of the NSA’s invasive spying on American’s communications in the interest of counter-terrorism. This is a complete polar opposite of Judge Richard Leon’s ruling on 12/16 that called NSA’s data collecting an “indiscriminate and arbitrary invasion.”


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Beckwith

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Obama can't name one single terror attack stopped by NSA snooping

Mark Felsenthal is reporting that those who defend the actions of the National Security Agency in collecting domestic phone record in gigantic numbers, including Barack Obama, usually cite the 9/11/2001 terror attack to justify the Agency’s intrusiveness. But Obama came up blank on Friday when he was asked at a news conference if he could name one single case where the NSA program stopped a terrorist attack.

The revealing moment occurred when Reuters's Mark Felsenthal asked:

As you review how to rein in the National Security Agency, a federal judge says that, for example, the government has failed to cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA's bulk metadata actually stopped an imminent attack. Are you able to identify any specific examples when it did so? Are you convinced that the collection of that data is useful to national security to continue as it is?

Obama evaded the question and answered instead:

What I've said in the past continues to be the case, which is that the NSA, in executing this program, believed, based on experiences from 9/11, that it was important for us to be able to track, if there was a phone number of a known terrorist outside of the United States calling into the United States, where that call might have gone and that having that data in one place and retained for a certain period of time allowed them to be confident in pursuing various investigations of terrorist threats.

Obamas still focuses on 9/11 without any evidence that the NSA program has justification from a foiled terror attack. He has to; there is no evidence whatsoever of an attack since then that’s been thwarted by the NSA program. As law professor Geoffrey Stone, who served on the presidential task force charged with reviewing NSA programs, told NBC News, the task force tried to find a single incident that would justify the NSA’s actions, but "found none." The task force's final report stated:

Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of section 215 telephony meta-data was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional section 215 orders.

Yet former acting CIA Director Michael Morell, appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday, lauded the NSA for playing a part in thwarting terrorist acts in the U.S. since 9/11. Later in the program Morell admitted that "the program to date has not played a significant role in stopping terrorist attacks in the United States."


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #128 

Susan Rice on intel officials lying: "They've inadvertently made false representations"

Lesley Stahl, CBS News: According to an article in the New Yorker, every time there’s been a question about putting restraints on the NSA up to now, the president has sided with the intelligence community.

Susan Rice, National Security Advisor: What the NSA and our intelligence community does as a whole is designed to protect Americans and our allies. And they do a heck of a good job at it.

Lesley Stahl: Officials in the intelligence community have actually been untruthful both to the American public in hearings in Congress and to the FISA Court.

Susan Rice: There have been cases where they have inadvertently made false representations. And they themselves have discovered it and corrected it.

Lesley Stahl: But when you have so many phone records being held, emails, heads of state’s phone conversations being listened in to, has it been worth our allies being upset? Has it been worth all the tech companies being upset? Has it been worth Americans feeling that their privacy has been invaded?

Susan Rice: Lesley, it's been worth what we've done to protect the United States. And the fact that we have not had a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11 should not be diminished. But that does not mean that everything we're doing as of the present ought to be done the same way in the future.


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #129 

NSA paid security company $10 million for secret access to users' software

Giuseppe Macri is reporting that a new investigation into the National Security Agency's relationship with computer-security provider RSA reveals the company accepted $10 million from the agency to let it access security software RSA sold to customers.

Reuters reports that documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show RSA let the NSA embed "back door" encryption entryways into its computer security products, and that it accepted an amount equal to more than one-third of the product division's profit from the prior year in the deal.

RSA put the NSA's encryption formula in its "BSafe" software, meant to increase security on computers and other devices. After the Snowden leaks revealed the company's entanglement, the company has since told consumers to not use the product.

Prior to the leaks, the company enjoyed a reputation for advocating electronic privacy concerns, including helping to prevent the NSA from installing spy chips into computer products in the 1990s.

"RSA always acts in the best interest of its customers and under no circumstances does RSA design or enable any back doors in our products," the company said in a statement. "Decisions about the features and functionality of RSA products are our own."

A Reuters source familiar with the RSA deal said the NSA did not accurately identify the formula placed in the product, and indicated the company was misled by the signals intelligence agency.


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #130 

NSA dragnet included allies, aid groups, big business

James Glanz and Andrew W. Lehren are reporting that secret documents reveal more than 1,000 targets of U.S. and British surveillance in recent years, including the office of an Israeli prime minister, heads of international aid organizations, foreign energy companies and an EU official involved in antitrust battles with American technology businesses.
 
While the names of some political and diplomatic leaders have previously emerged as targets, the newly disclosed intelligence documents provide a much fuller portrait of the spies’ sweeping interests in more than 60 countries.

Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, working closely with the National Security Agency, monitored the communications of senior EU officials, foreign leaders including African heads of state and sometimes their family members, directors of United Nations and other relief programs, and officials overseeing oil and finance ministries, according to the documents. In addition to Israel, some targets involve close allies like France and Germany, where tensions have already erupted over recent revelations about spying by the NSA.
 
Details of the surveillance are described in documents from the NSA and Britain’s eavesdropping agency, known as GCHQ, dating from 2008 to 2011. The target lists appear in a set of GCHQ reports that sometimes identify which agency requested the surveillance, but more often do not. The documents were leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden and shared by The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel.
 
The reports are spare, technical bulletins produced as the spies, typically working out of British intelligence sites, systematically tapped one international communications link after another, focusing especially on satellite transmissions. The value of each link is gauged, in part, by the number of surveillance targets found to be using it for emails, text messages or phone calls. More than 1,000 targets, which also include people suspected of being terrorists or militants, are in the reports.
 
It is unclear what the eavesdroppers gleaned. The documents include a few fragmentary transcripts of conversations and messages, but otherwise contain only hints that further information was available elsewhere, possibly in a larger database.
 
Some condemned the surveillance Friday as unjustified and improper. A spokeswoman for the European Commission, Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, said that the latest revelations of U.S. and British spying in Europe "are unacceptable and deserve our strongest condemnation."
 
She continued, "This is not the type of behavior that we expect from strategic partners."
 
Some of the surveillance relates to issues that are being scrutinized by Barack Obama and a panel he appointed in Washington, which on Wednesday recommended stricter limits on the NSA, including restrictions on spying on foreign leaders, particularly allies.
 
The reports show that spies monitored the email traffic of several Israeli officials, including one target identified as "Israeli prime minister," followed by an email address. The prime minister at the time of the interception, in January 2009, was Ehud Olmert. The following month, spies intercepted the email traffic of the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, according to another report. Two Israeli embassies also appear on the target lists.

Continue reading here . . .


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #131 

Left-wing panel delivers largely worthless report on NSA surveillance

Paul Mirengoff is reporting that the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies has released a report (available via link here), which calls for a significant scaling back of NSA surveillance activity. The report is basically what you would expect from a panel whose five members include two left-wing law professors (Cass Sunstein and Geoffrey Stone), a grossly dishonest former bureaucrat (Richard Clarke), the man who helped scrub the Benghazi points to eliminate references to “Islamic extremists,” and a long-time liberal privacy advocate (Peter Swire).

In other words, the report is, for the most part, ideologically-driven nonsense.

I suspect, moreover, that this is about what the White House expected from the panel it hand-picked. Team Obama is far too shrewd to have picked this sort of panel if it wanted anything like an endorsement of the status quo.

Keep this in mind when you hear opponents of NSA surveillance attempt to draw significance from the fact that “the president’s own panel” repudiated his policies. More likely, the president is laying the ground work for a shift in policy that he desires. (But do read the take of Ben Wittes, who sees the matter quite differently)

Max Boot’s indictment of the substance of the report is must reading:

The panel cites no examples -- not one -- of actual abuses committed by the NSA or other surveillance agencies today. In fact from everything we know the NSA has been scrupulous in its use of metadata. Although it has maintained a vast database of American calls overseas it queried that database only 300 times last year under procedures supervised by both Congress and the courts.

For all of his leaks, Edward Snowden could not cite a single actual example of the NSA spying on someone it wasn’t supposed to be spying on or using the information it attained for personal or partisan advantage rather than to safeguard the national interest. The review group can’t cite a single such example either; it is forced to resort to generalized concerns about “privacy” being invaded by the government, even though the collection of metadata is a lot less intrusive than widespread surveillance by security cameras on the streets or by Internet commerce companies online.

In short it seems that we have learned from history and figured out how to collect intelligence without committing the abuses of the past. But that doesn’t stop the panel from recommending steps that will hamper the NSA’s attempts to monitor terrorist groups and other threats to national security.

The Review Group’s featured recommendation is that “Congress should end such storage and transition to a system in which such metadata is held privately for the government to query when necessary for national security purposes.” What a ridiculous recommendation. As Boot explains:

This would obviously make searching the metadata more difficult, especially if the government has to contact multiple firms to get data rather than going to a single source. And why on earth do the panel members trust employees of Verizon and AT&T–much less of some potential future private corporation that would hold metadata records from all of the existing telecom firms–more than they trust the employees of the NSA?

Those NSA employees are carefully vetted and overseen and they operate with an ethos of service to the nation. Why should we repose more trust in random telecom company employees, who are motivated (and rightly so) by profits not patriotism, to hold records that the panel believes are so important?

Elsewhere in the report, the panel calls for cutting back or eliminating the use of private firms to do background checks on intelligence community employees such as Edward Snowden. But while reining in private firms in one area, the panel seems to be reposing vast trust in them in another area.

In sum, the panel has offered some badly misguided solutions for an alleged problem the existence of which it fails to demonstrate. In doing so, I suspect, it has behaved as Obama expected and wanted it to.


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #132 

"We are now in a police state"

Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information.  A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.

Binney has been interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, PBS and many others.

Last year, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:

We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.

But today, Binney told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has already become  a police state.

By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.

All of the information  gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.

This is a bigger deal than you may realize, as legal experts say that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all … and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it.

The NSA also ships Americans’ most confidential, sensitive information to foreign countries like Israel (and here), the UK and other countries … so they can “unmask” the information and give it back to the NSA … or use it for their own purposes.

Binney told us today:

The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].

These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.

So, they have to do a “Parallel Construction” and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a “planned programed perjury policy” directed by US law enforcement.

And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to “Foreign Counterparts.”

This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.

Here are the two slides which Binney pointed us to:

[SOD01]

[SOD02]

(Source: Reuters via RT; SOD stands for “Special Operations Division,” a branch of a federal government agency.)

We asked Binney a follow-up question:

You say “this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’”  Does that mean that foreign agencies can also “launder” the info gained from NSA spying?  Or that data gained through foreign agencies’ spying can be “laundered” and used by U.S. agencies?

Binney responded:

For countries like the five eyes (US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand) and probably some others it probably works both ways.  But for others that have relationships with FBI or DEA etc.,  they probably are given the data to used to arrest people but are not told the source or given copies of the data.

(See this for background on the five eyes.)

View past discussions between Washington’s Blog and Binney here, here, here and here.

Cross-posted in the "Welcome to the USSA" thread . . .


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #133 

Obama blows-off NSA issues, pitches ObamaCare at giant hi-tech meeting

Elizabeth Sheld is reporting that yesterday's meeting between Barack Obama and America's tech giants was shanghaied by Obama, who used the meeting to flack  for ObamaCare, rather than discuss his controversial electronic surveillance program.  

The meeting was held with more than a dozen tech company honchos and the list of attendees is a roster of the largest, most influential companies: Apple, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Comcast and Etsy were present. 

"That wasn't what we came for," a vice-president of a company whose CEO attended told MailOnline. "We really didn't care for a PR pitch about how the administration is trying to salvage its internal health care tech nightmare."

Another said, "He basically hijacked the meeting. We all told the White House that we were only there to talk about what the NSA was up to and how it affects us."

Insiders say Obama "repeatedly peppered the discussion with reassuring words about how the Affordable Care Act's marquee website was well on its way to becoming functional."

The meeting came on the heels of a decision by the US District Court Judge Richard Leon who ruled that the government's phone record collection was "likely" unconstitutional.


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Reply with quote  #134 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/12/17/judge-deals-nsa-defeat-on-bulk-phone-collection/?intcmp=latestnews

A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records likely violates the Constitution, in a major setback for the controversial spy agency.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon granted a preliminary injunction sought by plaintiffs Larry Klayman and Charles Strange. However, he also stayed his decision "pending appeal," giving the U.S. government time to fight the decision over the next several months.

The judge wrote that he expects the government to "prepare itself to comply with this order when, and if, it is upheld."
................................................................................................................
Another court decision for Obama to ignore.

Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #135 

Obama to meet with tech giants over surveillance, ObamaCare

Jared A. Favole is reporting that Barack Obama, facing growing pressure from Silicon Valley, will meet Tuesday with executives from Google, Facebook and other technology and telecommunications giants to discuss their concerns about America’s surveillance operations.

According to the White House, Obama will also meet with the executives to talk about progress with the troubled online federal marketplace, HealthCare.gov, and ways the government and technology industry can partner to boost economic growth.

The meeting comes a week after a group of technology companies jointly penned a letter to lash out at the Obama administration for collecting information on Americans. The companies said they wanted to see greater oversight of the government’s surveillance operations and limits on the government’s authority to compel companies to disclose data about their customers.

The letter followed a wave of disclosures about U.S. spying operations by Edward Snowden, a former government contractor now in Russia. The president will also talk about the national security concerns prompted by the leaks and their effect on the economy.

Related:  Judge says NSA spying violates the 4th Amendment

This is nothing but a meeting of co-conspirators and will produce nothing but propaganda.

Google, Facebook and the rest of the "tech giants" are complicit in Obama's massive domestic spying schemes and they're miffed that they've been exposed by Snowden's leaks.


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #136 

NSA Has capacity for decoding private conversation

Craig Timberg is reporting that the cellphone encryption technology used most widely across the world can be easily defeated by the National Security Agency, an internal document shows, giving the agency the means to decode most of the billions of calls and texts that travel over public airwaves every day.

While the military and law enforcement agencies long have been able to hack into individual cellphones, the NSA's capability appears to be far more sweeping because of the agency's global signals collection operation. The agency's ability to crack encryption used by the majority of cellphones in the world offers it wide-ranging powers to listen in on private conversations.

U.S. law prohibits the NSA from collecting the content of conversations between Americans without a court order. But experts say that if the NSA has developed the capacity to easily decode encrypted cellphone conversations, then other nations likely can do the same through their own intelligence services, potentially to Americans' calls, as well.

Encryption experts have complained for years that the most commonly used technology, known as A5/1, is vulnerable and have urged providers to upgrade to newer systems that are much harder to crack. Most companies worldwide have not done so, even as controversy has intensified in recent months over NSA collection of cellphone traffic, including of such world leaders as German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The extent of the NSA's collection of cellphone signals and its use of tools to decode encryption are not clear from a top-secret document provided by former contractor Edward Snowden. But it states that the agency "can process encrypted A5/1" even when the agency has not acquired an encryption key, which unscrambles communications so that they are readable.

Experts say the agency may also be able to decode newer forms of encryption, but only with a much heavier investment in time and computing power, making mass surveillance of cellphone conversations less practical.

"At that point, you can still listen to any [individual person's] phone call, but not everybody's," said Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at Security Research Labs in Berlin.

Continue reading here . . .


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #137 

NSA Uses Google tracking cookies to spy on potential targets

Elizabeth Sheld is reporting that a new information leak from Edward Snowden reveals that the NSA is using Google's tracking cookies to identify targets for government hacking. The Washington Post reports that Snowden's documents "show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations."

These tracking cookies allow a website to identify a user's browser, but do not contain any personal information.  "This cookie allows NSA to single out an individual's communications among the sea of Internet data in order to send out software that can hack that person's computer."

The slides released by Snowden do not say how the government accesses Google's tracking cookies, "but other documents reviewed by the Post indicate that cookie information is among the data NSA can obtain with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order."

There are now more than 100 items in this thread that expose and document the scope and lawlessness of Obama's spying -- on everybody -- foreign and domestic.

Obama's intrusive spying on American citizens is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment.


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Beckwith

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NSA Confidence shaken since Snowden leaks began

Russia Times is reporting that morale at the US National Security Agency has plummeted since the Edward Snowden leak made international headlines and inspired an ongoing wave of criticism against the intelligence agency -- news that coincides with the publication of more NSA documents.

Six months after the first Snowden documents were published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, the NSA has become an object of scorn both at home in the US and internationally. A number of anonymous sources have since told the Post that a lack of support from President Obama has further impacted morale at the agency. One official said confidence within the NSA is “bad overall.” He said:

The news -- the Snowden disclosures -- it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce. It's become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, 'Why are you spying on Grandma?' And we aren't. People are feeling bad, beaten down.”

Some observers have compared the current situation to 2006, when then-President Bush traveled to NSA headquarters at Fort Meade to address a New York Times report that the NSA had been spying on Americans before the September 11 attacks. Joel Brenner, NSA inspector general from 2002-2006, told the Post"

Bush came out and spoke to the workforce, and the effect on morale was tremendous. There's been nothing like that from this White House.

The agency, from top to bottom, leadership to rank and file, feels that it is had no support from the White House even though it's been carrying out publicly approved intelligence missions. They feel they've been hung out to dry, and they're right.”

Obama's reluctance could be attributable to the political message a visit to Fort Meade would send. Obama has publicly asserted that, despite their past secrecy, the bulk data collection programs are fully legal -- with his most notable defense coming in a speech in favor of the government's massive collection of Verizon phone records.

Yet the administration has not endorsed a bill that would entrench that policy into law and Obama said in a recent interview that he will propose some “self-restraint” depending on the results of an investigation into the NSA programs. One former US official said:

The President has multiple constituencies -- I get it -- but he must agree that the signals intelligence NSA is providing is one of the most important sources of intelligence today.”

Confronted with reports of NSA employees openly complaining about Obama, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told the Post that multiple administration officials have visited to:

“...express the President’s support and appreciation for all that NSA does to keep us safe.”

The President has the highest respect for and pride in the men and women of the intelligence community who work tirelessly to protect our nation. He's expressed that directly to NSA's leadership and has praised their work in public. As he said: 'The men and women of our intelligence community work every single day to keep us safe because they love this country and believe in our values. They're patriots.'”

Yet the pressure appears unlikely to subside any time soon. An NSA document dated April 3, 2013 obtained by CBC News has revealed that Canada has built surveillance centers and launched espionage attacks at the NSA's request. Citing matters that would be harmful to Canadian national security, CBC did not publish details on the document but did note that it reveals the existence of a secret, 60-year-old intelligence partnership between the US and Canada.


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Beckwith

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Xbox Live among game services targeted by US and UK spy agencies

[XboxSpying]

James Ball is reporting that to the National Security Agency analyst writing a briefing to his superiors, the situation was clear: their current surveillance efforts were lacking something. The agency's impressive arsenal of cable taps and sophisticated hacking attacks was not enough. What it really needed was a horde of undercover Orcs.

That vision of spycraft sparked a concerted drive by the NSA and its UK sister agency GCHQ to infiltrate the massive communities playing online games, according to secret documents disclosed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The files were obtained by the Guardian and are being published on Monday in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica.

The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which has more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games' tech-friendly users.

Online gaming is big business, attracting tens of millions of users worldwide who inhabit their digital worlds as make-believe characters, living and competing with the avatars of other players. What the intelligence agencies feared, however, was that among these clans of elves and goblins, terrorists were lurking.

The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored, describing them as a "target-rich communications network" where intelligence targets could "hide in plain sight."

Continue reading here . . .


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Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #140 

Agency source: NSA cell phone tracking "not covered by the Fourth Amendment"

[ObamaNSAFBI]

Frances Martel is reporting that the latest blockbuster Edward Snowden leak, that the NSA tracks 5 billion cell phone records a day, comes with a rebuttal from an "intelligence lawyer": that the searches don't fall under the Fourth Amendment umbrella. This is yet another claim of the Obama administration's authority that doesn't pass muster.

The comment from the anonymous source, "speaking with his agency's permission," is buried on the second page of the Washington Post's extensive report, discovered and highlighted by Wired's David Kravets. Asked about the potential for illegality in this activity, the lawyer argued that the data "are not covered by the Fourth Amendment." Another Post article notes that an intelligence lawyer told the authors of the Snowden report that "obviously there is no expectation of Fourth Amendment protections in communications metadata." 

The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from the government's use of unreasonable search and seizures.

In the case at hand, the government--according to the Snowden files--"inadvertently" collects data from cell phones that gives away their location. It does this routinely so that each particular cell phone develops patterns and relationships with the world around it. In other words, the NSA can know, through your cell phone, where you are and who you are with at all times. 

However, the goal is not overtly to keep track of where every person on earth is at all times, hence the "incidentally." The goal is to follow potential threats or intelligence sources who may be in the vicinity of innocent bystanders whose cell phone signals beam up to the NSA anyway.

The Fourth Amendment has caused much controversy since the dawning of the internet and the advent of technology that makes unreasonable searches or seizures possible without any physical contact. For many years, courts considered an unreasonable search or seizure to require an entry or touching of property. As Kravets details, the physical aspect has become the edge of that Fourth Amendment umbrella in recent court cases, and the matter is, at best, unresolved. 

For example, placing a GPS tracker on a car falls under the Fourth Amendment, because an agent of the government has to touch the car to put the tracker on it. Kravets also notes a case, Smith v. Maryland, favorable to the government in which the courts allowed authorities to compel a phone company to release records that led to the arrest of a purse snatcher. Phone records, of course, are significantly less physical than a GPS device, but there is an abyss of legal thought separating what scholars would consider permissible between the two scenarios.

Then there's United States v. Jones, in which a majority of Supreme Court justices signed on to distinguish location tracking from the scenario in Smith v. Maryland, questioning the potential of a violation of an expectation of privacy that is clearly embedded in the amendment. That expectation of privacy is key in other cases involving technology used to penetrate personal spaces to detect crime. In the famous Kyllo case, for example, the Court decided that law enforcement requires warrants when using heat technology to discover areas where suspects may be growing marijuana. 

That the use of a heat sensor is enough to trigger the Fourth Amendment makes the interception of satellite signals seem just as invasive, if not more so, given that the heat makeshift marijuana greenhouses emit carry significantly less personal information than the metadata cell phones emit.

This is not the first national security issue in which the Obama White House has argued its constitutional authority on shaky ground. Last February, NBC published a white paper detailing the Obama administration's legal arguments supporting drone strikes on United States citizens without due process. The argument hinged on the definition of an "imminent threat," arguing that the unique danger posed by al-Qaeda members freely allowed to travel in the United States by virtue of their citizenship outweighs their due process rights.


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Claudia

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Reply with quote  #141 
WOW, I guess the only way to protect yourself and your transmissions is to go completely off the grid and hand write notes and send them by carrier pigeon (can't send by regular mail because that is all getting tracked also, per the PO)...  so much for living in a civilized MODERN Age and being able to have any privacy....  and of course, no one really reads or translates all that data, and you want me to believe that the sky is falling also.....
Beckwith

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Reply with quote  #142 

NSA is tracking 5 billion cellphone calls and calling locations worldwide

The Washington Post is reporting that the National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals -- and map their relationships -- in ways that would have been previously unimaginable.

The records feed a vast database that stores information about the locations of at least hundreds of millions of devices, according to the officials and the documents, which were provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. New projects created to analyze that data have provided the intelligence community with what amounts to a mass surveillance tool.

(Video: How the NSA uses cellphone tracking to find and "develop" targets)

The NSA does not target Americans’ location data by design, but the agency acquires a substantial amount of information on the whereabouts of domestic cellphones "incidentally," a legal term that connotes a foreseeable but not deliberate result.

One senior collection manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity but with permission from the NSA, said "we are getting vast volumes" of location data from around the world by tapping into the cables that connect mobile networks globally and that serve U.S. cellphones as well as foreign ones. Additionally, data are often collected from the tens of millions of Americans who travel abroad with their cellphones every year.

In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June. Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among the people using them.

Continue reading here . . .

Related:  How the NSA tracks people and their movements


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Beckwith

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Guardian editor says they have published 1% of Snowden files

The AP is reporting that the editor of the Guardian said Tuesday his newspaper has published just 1 percent of the material it received from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, and denied the paper had placed lives or national security at risk.

Under questioning by lawmakers on Parliament’s home affairs committee, Alan Rusbridger accused British authorities of trying to intimidate the newspaper, and warned of "national security being used as a trump card" to stifle debate.

The Guardian helped spark a global debate on privacy and security by publishing a series of stories based on leaks from Snowden disclosing the scale of telephone and Internet surveillance by spy agencies in the U.S. and Britain.

Rusbridger said the leak amounted to about 58,000 files, and the newspaper had published "about 1 percent" of the total.

"I would not expect us to be publishing a huge amount more," he said.

Government and intelligence officials have reacted angrily to the leaks, saying they compromised British security and aided terrorists. Britain’s top three spy chiefs said last month that al-Qaida and other terror groups were "rubbing their hands in glee" in the wake of Snowden’s leaks.

Several Conservative lawmakers have said the left-leaning Guardian should be prosecuted for breaching terrorism laws.

Rusbridger defended the newspaper’s decision to publish the secret material. He said stories published by the Guardian, The Washington Post and others had prompted much-needed debate about the scale of intelligence activities and exposed the limits of regulatory laws drawn up in the pre-Internet era.

"There is no doubt in my mind ... that newspapers have done something that oversight has failed to do," he said.

Continue reading here . . .


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Reply with quote  #144 
Hayden calls Snowden "narcissistic", ....but not Obama?
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Snowden's "Doomsaday Cache"

Former National Security Agency director Michael Hayden said Sunday that Edward Snowden, who has disclosed secrets about how the NSA surveils both at home and abroad, has created a "catastrophic" situation for American intelligence agencies.

"This is catastrophic for the safetay and security of the American nation, what this very narcissitic young man has done," Hayden told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

Multiple reports allege Snowden has created a "doomsday cache" of government secrets that would release to the public should he be incarcerated or harmed.

Hayden said he has "no reason to doubt" those reports, but added that the looming threat of future disclosures should not dissaude American agencies from pursuing Snowden. The retired general said abandoning the effort to bring Snowden to justice would be like "negotiating with terrorists."

Barack Obama negotiates with terrorists all the time, Mr. Hayden!


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Meet the spies doing the NSA's dirty work

Shane Harris is reporting that With every fresh leak, the world learns more about the U.S. National Security Agency's massive and controversial surveillance apparatus. Lost in the commotion has been the story of the NSA's indispensable partner in its global spying operations: an obscure, clandestine unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that, even for a surveillance agency, keeps a low profile.

When the media and members of Congress say the NSA spies on Americans, what they really mean is that the FBI helps the NSA do it, providing a technical and legal infrastructure that permits the NSA, which by law collects foreign intelligence, to operate on U.S. soil. It's the FBI, a domestic U.S. law enforcement agency, that collects digital information from at least nine American technology companies  as part of the NSA's Prism system. It was the FBI that petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to order Verizon Business Network Services, one of the United States' biggest telecom carriers for corporations, to hand over the call records of millions of its customers to the NSA.

But the FBI is no mere errand boy for the United States' biggest intelligence agency. It carries out its own signals intelligence operations and is trying to collect huge amounts of email and Internet data from U.S. companies -- an operation that the NSA once conducted, was reprimanded for, and says it abandoned.

The heart of the FBI's signals intelligence activities is an obscure organization called the Data Intercept Technology Unit, or DITU (pronounced DEE-too). The handful of news articles that mentioned it prior to revelations of NSA surveillance this summer did so mostly in passing. It has barely been discussed in congressional testimony. An NSA PowerPoint presentation given to journalists by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden hints at DITU's pivotal role in the NSA's Prism system -- it appears as a nondescript box on a flowchart showing how the NSA "task[s]" information to be collected, which is then gathered and delivered by the DITU.

But interviews with current and former law enforcement officials, as well as technology industry representatives, reveal that the unit is the FBI's equivalent of the National Security Agency and the primary liaison between the spy agency and many of America's most important technology companies, including Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Apple.

The DITU is located in a sprawling compound at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, home of the FBI's training academy and the bureau's Operational Technology Division, which runs all the FBI's technical intelligence collection, processing, and reporting. Its motto: "Vigilance Through Technology." The DITU is responsible for intercepting telephone calls and emails of terrorists and foreign intelligence targets inside the United States. According to a senior Justice Department official, the NSA could not do its job without the DITU's help. The unit works closely with the "big three" U.S. telecommunications companies -- AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint -- to ensure its ability to intercept the telephone and Internet communications of its domestic targets, as well as the NSA's ability to intercept electronic communications transiting through the United States on fiber-optic cables.

For Prism, the DITU maintains the surveillance equipment that captures what the NSA wants from U.S. technology companies, including archived emails, chat-room sessions, social media posts, and Internet phone calls. The unit then transmits that information to the NSA, where it's routed into other parts of the agency for analysis and used in reports.

Continue reading here . . .


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The Internet is now weaponized -- and you are the target

Tyler Durden is reporting that by now, thanks to Edward Snowden, it is common knowledge and not just conspiracy theory, that every bit of information sent out into the wired or wireless ether is scanned, probed, intercepted and ultimately recorded by the NSA and subsequently all such information is and can be used against any US citizen without a court of law (because Obama's pet secret NISA "court" is anything but). Sadly, in a country in which courtesy of peak social networking, exhibitionism has become an art form, the vast majority of Americans not only could not care less about Snowden's sacrificial revelations, but in fact are delighted the at least someone, somewhere cares about that photo of last night's dinner. However, it turns out that far from being a passive listener and recorder, the NSA is quite an active participant in using the internet -- the weaponized internet.

As Wired reports, "The internet backbone -- the infrastructure of networks upon which internet traffic travels -- went from being a passive infrastructure for communication to an active weapon for attacks." And the primary benefactor: the NSA -- General Keith Alexander's massive secret army -- which has now been unleashed against enemies foreign, but mostly domestic.

Enter the QUANTUM program....

According to revelations about the QUANTUM program, the NSA can "shoot" (their words) an exploit at any target it desires as his or her traffic passes across the backbone. It appears that the NSA and GCHQ were the first to turn the internet backbone into a weapon; absent Snowdens of their own, other countries may do the same and then say, "It wasn’t us. And even if it was, you started it."

If the NSA can hack Petrobras, the Russians can justify attacking Exxon/Mobil. If GCHQ can hack Belgacom to enable covert wiretaps, France can do the same to AT&T. If the Canadians target the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, the Chinese can target the U.S. Department of the Interior. We now live in a world where, if we are lucky, our attackers may be every country our traffic passes through except our own.

Which means the rest of us -- and especially any company or individual whose operations are economically or politically significant -- are now targets. All cleartext traffic is not just information being sent from sender to receiver, but is a possible attack vector.

Continues here . . .


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C.I.A. Collecting data on international money transfers

The New York Times is reporting that the Central Intelligence Agency is secretly collecting bulk records of international money transfers handled by companies like Western Union -- including transactions into and out of the United States -- under the same law that the National Security Agency uses for its huge database of Americans’ phone records, according to current and former government officials.

The C.I.A. financial records program, which the officials said was authorized by provisions in the Patriot Act and overseen by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, offers evidence that the extent of government data collection programs is not fully known and that the national debate over privacy and security may be incomplete.

[StopSpying]

Some details of the C.I.A. program were not clear. But it was confirmed by several current and former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is classified.

The data does not include purely domestic transfers or bank-to-bank transactions, several officials said. Another, while not acknowledging the program, suggested that the surveillance court had imposed rules withholding the identities of any Americans from the data the C.I.A. sees, requiring a tie to a terrorist organization before a search may be run, and mandating that the data be discarded after a certain number of years. The court has imposed several similar rules on the N.S.A. call logs program.

Several officials also said more than one other bulk collection program has yet to come to light.

"The intelligence community collects bulk data in a number of different ways under multiple authorities," one intelligence official said.

Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the C.I.A., declined to confirm whether such a program exists, but said that the agency conducts lawful intelligence collection aimed at foreign -- not domestic -- activities and that it is subject to extensive oversight.

"The C.I.A. protects the nation and upholds the privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that its intelligence collection activities are focused on acquiring foreign intelligence and counterintelligence in accordance with U.S. laws," he said.

Continue reading here . . .


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All the while the Obots are trying to convince us that Edward Snowden is a traitor and guilty of espionage. the crimes against the American people by our own government just grow and grow. The two things that we all should keep in the back of our minds is that whenever this government accuses anyone of anything, there is a good chance they are doing exactly the same thing and are merely trying to draw attention away from themselves. The second thing is that if it weren't for Edward Snowden and people like him the rest of us most likely would never know just how bad our civil liberties and freedoms are being violated until they are gone.
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How the government spied on me

Jill Kelley says it has been a full year since federal agents snooped through the private emails of my husband and me, setting in motion a series of events that ultimately led to the resignations of Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen, the commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan. The anniversary is a somber reminder of the unintended consequences and harsh realities that can result from unrestrained government probing into Americans' personal communications.

More recent revelations of National Security Agency spying suggest that the government's invasion of citizens' privacy is increasingly common. Millions of innocent Americans should be very concerned about Washington's massive surveillance apparatus, which seems to know no bounds.

My family's ordeal began when my husband, Scott, and I were haunted by multiple, threatening email messages from an apparent Internet stalker. Fearing for the safety of our family, as well as the safety of U.S. officials named in the threatening emails, we took the advice of military leaders and reported the messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

We authorized the FBI to look at one threatening email we received, and only that email, so that the FBI could identify the stalker. However, the FBI ignored our request and violated our trust by unlawfully searching our private emails and turning us into the targets of an intrusive investigation without any just cause -- all the while without informing us that they had identified the email stalker as Paula Broadwell, who was having an affair with Mr. Petraeus. (I have never understood why she was stalking me and my family. In any event, she was not charged with a crime.)

Adding insult to injury, the FBI then leaked our identities to the media and distorted the contents of the emails it had illegally obtained, throwing my family into a destructive media vortex.

As a result of the government's breach of our privacy and trust, camera crews showed up at our door and camped outside our home to question us about false and misleading information leaked to the media from "unnamed" government sources. Reckless speculation and innuendo about an inappropriate relationship with Gen. Allen spread throughout the news media, sullying my reputation and honor, to the great distress of my family. To this day the government has not apologized for its indefensible conduct.

I hope that my family's story is a case study about the damage that can be caused by the government's electronic overreach. It appears from the NSA's leaks that the government may be trying to collect everything about everyone and everywhere -- including America's closest friends and allies -- with or without the knowledge of the White House. Unaccountable individuals given free rein to invade people's privacy -- and a government that maintains the tools that permit them to do so -- are a prescription for a privacy disaster.

With all the current economic, political, social and diplomatic issues facing the country, it is understandable that many Americans seem relatively unconcerned about intrusions on individual privacy. They shouldn't be. The unauthorized search of my family's emails was triggered when we appealed to law enforcement for protection. But who knows what else might set off governmental invasion of privacy -- politics or some other improper motivation might suffice. If this could happen to us, it could happen to you.

As painful as my experience has been, it has motivated me to be an advocate against unwarranted spying on personal communications, and to push for new legislation and better enforcement of existing privacy laws. Congress should strengthen the Privacy Act, update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Americans' Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizures should be extended to personal communications. My husband and I have filed a lawsuit that seeks to hold the federal government accountable for its flagrant violation of our rights.

The country is not safer after reading my emails. The humiliation of and damage to my family should never have occurred. By raising public awareness and holding the government accountable, my husband and I hope we will help protect other innocent families from intrusive government snooping.

The invasion of privacy that my family endured from the federal government is not unique. Nevertheless, it is un-American.


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