Surveillance / Intrussion
Posted by Judy Morris
Obamacare will share personal health info with federal, state agencies
The government fully intends to share your medical records with other federal agencies. The Washington Examiner reports:
A new 253-page Obamacare rule issued late Friday requires state, federal and local agencies as well as health insurers to swap the protected personal health information of anybody seeking to join the new health care program that will be enforced by the Internal Revenue Service.
Personal health information, or PHI, is highly protected under federal law, but the latest ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services allows agencies to trade the information to verify that Obamacare applicants are getting the minimum amount of health insurance coverage they need from the health “exchanges.”
The ruling, explained on pages 72-73 of the book-thick guidance, does not mention any requirement that applicants first OK the release of their PHI. HHS already allows some exchange of PHI without an individual’s pre-approval, especially when for a “government program providing public benefits.” Officials said the swapping of information is simply meant to help figure the best insurance coverge of Obamacare users.
The new ruling surprised some congressional critics. “This sounds as if HHS will have access to protected health info to me,” said one top Hill aide worried about how well the administration will protect that information.
Conservative groups like Americans for Tax Reform have raised questions about the release of PHI in the aftermath of the IRS scandal.
PHI includes an individual’s medical history, test and laboratory results, insurance information and other data.
Read the rest at the Washington Examiner, here.
By Michael Snyder
21 Facts About NSA Snooping That Every American Should Know
There seems to be a lot of confusion about what the NSA is actually doing. Are they reading our emails? Are they listening to our telephone calls? Do they target American citizens or is it only foreigners that they are targeting? Unfortunately, the truth is that we aren’t going to get straight answers from our leaders about this. The folks running the NSA have already shown that they are willing to flat out lie to Congress, and Barack Obama doesn’t exactly have the greatest track record when it comes to telling the truth. These are men that play word games and tell lies for a living.
So it would be unrealistic to expect them to come out and tell us the unvarnished truth about what is going on. That is why it is so important that whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden have come forward. Thanks to them and to the brave journalists that are willing to look into these things, we have been able to get some glimpses behind the curtain. And what we have learned is not very pretty. The following are 21 facts about NSA snooping that every American should know…
#1 According to CNET the NSA told Congress during a recent classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls…
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed on Thursday that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
#2 According to U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez, members of Congress learned “significantly more than what is out in the media today” about NSA snooping during that classified briefing.
Posted by Chuck Reichmuth
3 NSA veterans speak out on whistle-blower: We told you so
In a roundtable discussion, a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers tell USA TODAY that Edward Snowden succeeded where they failed.
When a National Security Agency contractor revealed top-secret details this month on the government’s collection of Americans’ phone and Internet records, one select group of intelligence veterans breathed a sigh of relief.
Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe belong to a select fraternity: the NSA officials who paved the way.
For years, the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens. They had spent decades in the top ranks of the agency, designing and managing the very data-collection systems they say have been turned against Americans. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media. Read more and video here…
Judge Napolitano Discusses Latest Edward Snowden Revelations
Posted by MichaelSavage4Prez Jun 13, 2013
The Scorecard: Snowden Approval Rating 54%, Obama 46%, Congress 17%
The results are in and they are devastating for the establishment. There’s no spinning these poll result numbers. Americans rightly have almost no faith in their institutions of power and the cronies that are somehow in charge of them. Nor should they. The spilt in opinion on Snowden also exhibits a massive gulf between the older generation and the younger. This is very encouraging as time itself will sort this out. First from Time:
Fifty-four percent of respondents said the leaker, Edward Snowden, 29, did a “good thing” in releasing information about the government programs, which collect phone, email, and Internet search records in an effort, officials say, to prevent terrorist attacks. Just 30 percent disagreed.
But an almost identical number of Americans — 53 percent — still said he should be prosecuted for the leak, compared to 28% who said he should not. Americans aged 18 to 34 break from older generations in showing far more support for Snowden’s actions. Just 41 percent of that cohort say he should face charges, while 43 percent say he should not. Just 19 percent of that age group say the leak was a “bad thing.”
Now the latest from Gallup regarding Obama:
Now Congress. Also from Gallup:
Nonetheless, even a deeply unpopular institution such as Congress is not without its fans. Seventeen percent of Americans in June approve of the job Congress is doing, similar to the 16% recorded in May, and up slightly from 14% in January.
In light of all of this, let’s recall what Obama said one week ago in his press conference addressing the NSA leaks. He stated:
“If people can’t trust not only the executive branch, but also don’t trust Congress and don’t trust federal judges to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution, due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.”
For once Mr. President, I agree with you. We are going to have major problems. Much of it as a result of your cowardice, deception and complete lack of leadership.
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By Mary Katharine Ham
Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam
As always, enjoy Remy, via Reason TV.
I’m making a list, checking it twice
it doesn’t matter the message or even kind of device
Every pic your daughter sends? We’ve got it ingrained
Why do you think Anthony Weiner wants back in the game?Surveilling reporters, don’t ever forget it
I got so many AP docs you’d think I’m getting college credit
Yeah we’re saving your searches, that’s just a reality
“Yes We Can” ain’t just a slogan it’s our view on legality
Published by TheYoungTurks
Snowden Leak “Tip of the Iceberg” of NSA Surveillance Program
Homeland Security Committee member Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D – California) on C-Span today stated the information leaked by Edward Snowden is the “tip of the iceberg” of the full NSA surveillance program. Cenk Uygur (http://www.twitter.com/cenkuygur) host of The Young Turks breaks down Congresswoman Sanchez’s comments.
Senators Wyden And Udall Say They’ve Seen No Evidence That NSA Surveillance Stopped Dozens Of Terrorist0
By Judy Morris
Senators Wyden And Udall Say They’ve Seen No Evidence That NSA Surveillance Stopped Dozens Of Terrorist Attacks
During a cybersecurity hearing yesterday in the Senate, NSA boss General Keith Alexander was asked a bunch of questions about the NSA surveillance scandal. At one point, he claimed that he didn’t have an exact number of cases in which the dragnet of information collected had stopped terrorist activity, but that it was “dozens” and that he would provide more info in a classified session (held today). However, Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall — both on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and both paying close attention to these issues — have put out a statement today saying that they’ve seen no evidence of this and they’d like General Alexander to clarify.
“We have not yet seen any evidence showing that the NSA’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records has produced any uniquely valuable intelligence. Gen. Alexander’s testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program helped thwart ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods. The public deserves a clear explanation,” Udall and Wyden said. “We look forward to reviewing the analysis that the general has promised to provide showing how the intelligence community arrived at these numbers. In our view, a key measure of the effectiveness of the bulk collection program will be whether it provided any intelligence that couldn’t be obtained through other methods.”
There’s a big distinction in there that many defenders of the program — both politicians and press — keep glossing over. The question is not whether the data itself was ever used in terrorist investigations, but whether or not this particular dragnet program was necessary to obtain that information. Law enforcement has had legal means of getting specific information for decades without having to resort to collecting all information to sift through later.
Tech Dirt link, here.
By Judy Morris
Behind the Curtain: Booz Allen Hamilton and its Owner, The Carlyle Group
According to writers Thomas Heath and Marjorie Censer at the Washington Post, The Carlyle Group and its errant child, Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH), have a public relations problem, thanks to NSA leaker and former BAH employee Edward Snowden. By the time top management at BAH learned that one of their top level agents had gone rogue, and terminated his employment, it was too late.
For years Carlyle had, according to the Post, “nurtured a reputation as a financially sophisticated asset manager that buys and sells everything from railroads to oil refineries”; but now the light from the Snowden revelations has revealed nothing more than two companies, parent and child, “bound by the thread of turning government secrets into profits.”
And have they ever. When The Carlyle Group bought BAH back in 2008, it was totally dependent upon government contracts in the fields of information technology (IT) and systems engineering for its bread and butter. But there wasn’t much butter: After two years the company’s gross revenues were $5.1 billion but net profits were a minuscule $25 million, close to a rounding error on the company’s financial statement. In 2012, however, BAH grossed $5.8 billion and showed earnings of $219 million, nearly a nine-fold increase in net revenues and a nice gain in value for Carlyle.
Unwittingly, the Post authors exposed the real reason for the jump in profitability: close ties and interconnected relationships between top people at Carlyle and BAH, and the agencies with which they are working. The authors quoted George Price, an equity analyst at BB&T Capital: “[Booz Allen has] got a great brand, they’ve focused over time on hiring top people, including bringing on people who have a lot of senior government experience.” (Emphasis added.)
Read the rest at The New American, here.
Posted by Jerry Titus
The National Security Agency’s Domestic Spying Program
“It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”
The filmmaker profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.