Posts tagged AT&T
By Judy Morris
NSA Leak Vindicates AT&T Whistleblower
Today’s revelations that the National Security Agency collected bulk data on the email traffic of millions of Americans provides startling evidence for the first time to support a whistleblower’s longstanding claims that AT&T was forwarding global internet traffic to the government from secret rooms inside its offices.
The collection program, which lasted from 2001 to 2011, involved email metadata — the “enveloped” information for email that reveals the sender’s address and recipient, as well as IP addresses and websites visited, the Guardian newspaper reported today.
Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, revealed in 2006 that his job duties included connecting internet circuits to a splitting cabinet that led to a secret room in AT&T’s San Francisco office. During the course of that work, he learned from a co-worker that similar cabins were being installed in other cities, including Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, he said.
Read the rest at Wired, here.
What is the Government’s Agenda?
It has been public information for a decade that the US government secretly, illegally, and unconstitutionally spies on its citizens. Congress and the federal courts have done nothing about this extreme violation of the US Constitution and statutory law, and the insouciant US public seems unperturbed.
In 2004 a whistleblower informed the New York Times that the National Security Agency (NSA) was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by ignoring the FISA court and spying on Americans without obtaining the necessary warrants. The corrupt New York Times put the interests of the US government ahead of those of the American public and sat on the story for one year until George W. Bush was safely reelected.
By the time the New York Times published the story of the illegal spying one year later, the law-breaking government had had time to mitigate the offense with ex post facto law or executive orders and explain away its law-breaking as being in the country’s interest.
Last year William Binney, who was in charge of NSA’s global digital data gathering program revealed that NSA had everyone in the US under total surveillance. Every email, Internet site visited and phone call is captured and stored. In 2012 Binney received the Callaway Award for Civic Courage, an annual award given to those who champion constitutional rights at risk to their professional and personal lives.
There have been a number of whistleblowers. For example, in 2006 Mark Klein revealed that AT&T had a secret room in its San Francisco office that NSA used to collect Internet and phone-call data from US citizens who were under no suspicion.
The presstitute media handled these stories in ways that protected the government’s lawlessness from scrutiny and public outrage. The usual spin was that the public needs to be safe from terrorists, and safety is what the government is providing.
The latest whistle blower, Edward Snowden, has sought refuge in Hong Kong, which has a better record of protecting free speech than the US government. Snowden did not trust any US news source and took the story to the British newspaper, the Guardian.
There is no longer any doubt whatsoever that the US government is lawless, that it regards the US Constitution as a scrap of paper, that it does not believe Americans have any rights other than those that the government tolerates at any point in time, and that the government has no fear of being held accountable by the weak and castrated US Congress, the sycophantic federal courts, a controlled media, and an insouciant public.
Binney and Snowden have described in precisely accurate detail the extreme danger from the government’s surveillance of the population. No one is exempt, not the Director of the CIA, US Army Generals, Senators and Representatives, not even the president himself.
Anyone with access to a computer and the Internet can find interviews with Binney and Snowden and become acquainted with why you do have very much indeed to fear whether or not you are doing anything wrong.
James Clapper, the lying Director of National Intelligence, who would have been perfectly at home in the Hitler or Stalin regimes, condemned Snowden as “reprehensible” for insisting that in a democracy the public should know what the government is doing. Clapper insisted that secretly spying on every ordinary American was essential in order to “protect our nation.” http://news.antiwar.com/2013/06/07/us-spy-chief-slams-reprehensible-leak-of-nsa-surveillance-scheme/
Clapper is “offended” that Americans now know that the NSA is spying on the ordinary life of every American. Clapper wants Snowden to be severely punished for his “reckless disclosure” that the US government is totally violating the privacy that the US Constitution guarantees to every US citizen.
President Obama, allegedly educated in constitutional law, justified Clapper’s program of spying on every communication of every American citizen as a necessary violation of Americans’ civil liberties that “protects your civil liberties.” Contrast the lack of veracity of the President of the United States with the truthfulness of Snowden, who correctly stated that the NSA spying is an “existential threat to democracy.”
The presstitutes are busy at work defending Clapper and Obama. On June 9, CNN rolled out former CIA case officer Bob Baer to implant into the public’s mind that Snowden, far from trying to preserve US civil liberties, might be a Chinese spy and that Snowden’s revelations might be indicative of a Chinese espionage case.
Demonization is the US government’s technique for discrediting Bradley Manning for complying with the US Military Code and reporting war crimes and for persecuting Julian Assage of Wikileaks for reporting leaked information about the US government’s crimes. Demonization and false charges will be the government’s weapon against Snowden.
If Washington and its presstitutes can convince Americans that courageous people, who are trying to inform Americans that their historic rights are disappearing into a police state, are espionage agents of foreign powers, America can continue to be subverted by its own government.
This brings us to the crux of the matter. What is the purpose of the spying program?
Even if an American believes the official stories of 9/11 and the Boston Marathon Bombing, these are the only two terrorist acts in the US that resulted in the lost of human life in 12 years. Far more people are killed in traffic accidents and from bad diets. Why should the Constitution and civil liberty be deep-sixed because of two alleged terrorist acts in 12 years?
What is astounding is the absence of terrorist attacks. Washington is in the second decade of invading and destroying Muslim governments and countries. Civilian casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya are extremely high, and in those countries that Washington has not yet invaded, such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria, civilians are being murdered by Washington’s drones and proxies on the ground.
It is extraordinary that Washington’s brutal 12 year assault on Muslim lives in six countries has not resulted in at least one dozen real, not fake FBI orchestrated, terrorist attacks in the US every day.
How can something as rare as terrorism justify the destruction of the US Constitution and US civil liberty? How safe is any American when their government regards every citizen as a potential suspect who has no rights?
Why is there no discussion of this in American public life? Watch the presstitutes turn Snowden’s revelations into an account of his disaffection and motives and away from the existential threat to democracy and civil liberty.
What is the government’s real agenda? Clearly, “the war on terror” is a front for an undeclared agenda. In “freedom and democracy” America, citizens have no idea what their government’s motives are in fomenting endless wars and a gestapo police state. The only information Americans have comes from whistleblowers, who Obama ruthlessly prosecutes. The presstitutes quickly discredit the information and demonize the whistleblowers.
Germans in the Third Reich and Soviet citizens in the Stalin era had a better idea of their government’s agendas than do “freedom and democracy” Americans today. The American people are the most uninformed people in modern history.
In America there is no democracy that holds government accountable. There is only a brainwashed people who are chaff in the wind.
Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org
About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
NSA, the secret AT&T spy room, 2 Israeli companies, and loss of American privacy
Boom. Explosive revelations. The NSA is using telecom giants to spy on anybody and everybody, in a program called PRISM.
But the information is not new.
Three books have been written about the super-secret NSA, and James Bamford has written them all.
Bamford explained that, in the 1990s, everything changed for NSA. Previously, they’d been able to intercept electronic communications by using big dishes to capture what was coming down to Earth from telecom satellites.
But with the shift to fiber-optic cables, NSA was shut out. So they devised new methods.
For example, they set up a secret spy room at an AT&T office in San Francisco. NSA installed new equipment that enabled them to tap into the fiber-optic cables and suck up all traffic.
How Bamford describes this, in 2008, tells you exactly where the PRISM program came from:
NSA began making these agreements with AT&T and other companies, and that in order to get access to the actual cables, they had to build these secret rooms in these buildings.
So what would happen would be the communications on the cables would come into the building, and then the cable would go to this thing called a splitter box, which was a box that had something that was similar to a prism, a glass prism.
And the prism was shaped like a prism, and the light signals would come in, and they’d be split by the prism. And one copy of the light signal would go off to where it was supposed to be going in the telecom system, and the other half, this new cloned copy of the cables, would actually go one floor below to NSA’s secret room.
… And in the secret room was equipment by a private company called Narus, the very small company hardly anybody has ever heard of that created the hardware and the software to analyze these cables and then pick out the targets NSA is looking for and then forward the targeted communications onto NSA headquarters.
In James Bamford’s 2008 interview, he mentions two Israeli companies, Narus and Verint, that almost nobody knew about. They played a key role in developing and selling the technology that allowed NSA to deploy its PRISM spying program:
Yeah. There’s two major — or not major, they’re small companies, but they service the two major telecom companies. This company, Narus, which was founded in Israel and has large Israel connections, does the — basically the tapping of the communications on AT&T. And Verizon chose another company, ironically also founded in Israel and largely controlled by and developed by people in Israel called Verint.
So these two companies specialize in what’s known as mass surveillance. Their literature — I read this literature from Verint, for example — is supposed to only go to intelligence agencies and so forth, and it says, ‘We specialize in mass surveillance,’ and that’s what they do.
They put [this] mass surveillance equipment in these facilities. So you have AT&T, for example, that, you know, considers it’s their job to get messages from one person to another, not tapping into messages, and you get the NSA that says, we want, you know, copies of all this. So that’s where these [two Israeli] companies come in. These companies act as the intermediary basically between the telecom companies and the NSA.
AMY GOODMAN: “Now, Jim Bamford, take this a step further, because you say the founder and former CEO of one of these companies [Verint] is now a fugitive from the United States somewhere in Africa?”
JAMES BAMFORD: “…the company that Verizon uses, Verint, the founder of the company, the former head of the company, is now a fugitive in — hiding out in Africa in the country of Namibia, because he’s wanted on a number of felony warrants for fraud and other charges. And then, two other top executives of the company, the general counsel and another top official of the parent company, have also pled guilty to these charges.
“So, you know, you’ve got companies — these [two] companies have foreign connections with potential ties to foreign intelligence agencies, and you have problems of credibility, problems of honesty and all that. And these companies — through these two companies pass probably 80 percent or more of all US communications at one point or another.
“And it’s even — gets even worse in the fact that these companies also supply their equipment all around the world to other countries, to countries that don’t have a lot of respect for individual rights —- Vietnam, China, Libya, other countries like that. And so, these countries use this equipment to filter out dissident communications and people trying to protest the government. It gives them the ability to eavesdrop on communications and monitor dissident email communications. And as a result of that, people are put in jail, and so forth…”
AMY GOODMAN: “And despite all of this…these telecom companies still have access to the most private communications of people all over America and actually, it ends up, around the world. And at the beginning of the summer , the Democrats and Republicans joined together in granting retroactive immunity to these companies for spying on American citizens.”
The fugitive CEO of Verint, whom Bamford mentions, is Jacob “Kobi” Alexander. In 2006, the US Dept. of Justice charged him with conspiring to commit securities and wire and mail fraud. The SEC weighed in and filed similar civil charges.
Alexander fled to Namibia, where he finally settled with the SEC for $46 million. The DOJ criminal complaint, as far as I can tell, still stands. Alexander continues to fight against extradition to the US.
Posted by Judy Morris
NSA Also Collecting Data from AT&T, Sprint Nextel and Credit-Card Companies
If the growing use of governmental tip-toeing to wiretap phone lines and emails doesn’t seem serious, think again. So heightened lately are concerns over surveillance that two major organizations have published a primer on federal spy programs.
Both ProPublica and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have released thorough guides this week that explore what the US government can and can’t do in terms of tracking US citizens using an array of weirdly-worded wiretap laws currently on the books.
The EFF, a long-time opponent of the expanding evasive spy state, published on Thursday a collection of information they’re considering “Warrantless Surveillance 101: Introducing EFF’s New NSA Domestic Spying Guide.” Just two days earlier, the independent journalism project ProPublica released their own breakdown, “No Warrant, No Problem: How The Government Can Still Get Your Digital Data.”
Yet again, the Congress, courts, executive branch and the establishment media work together to protect the nation’s most powerful actors
So pervasive and reliable is the rule of elite immunity – even in the face of the most egregious crimes – that one finds extreme examples on a weekly basis. Six weeks ago, the Obama justice department forever precluded the possibility of criminal accountability for Bush torturers by refusing to bring charges in the only two remaining torture cases, ones involving the deaths of the detainee-victims by torture.
The Obama campaign is now running a new campaign ad against Mitt Romney that rails against a litany of Wall Street “criminals” and “gluttons of greed”, but as David Dayen astutely notes, those examples were all imprisoned during the Bush era because the Obama administration has prosecuted no significant Wall Street executives for the 2008 financial collapseand thus have none of their own examples to highlight:
“So the Obama campaign could not fill a list of three Wall Street criminals that the Obama Justice Department actually sent to jail. Heck, they couldn’t fill a list of one!
“This is despite Eric Holder telling students at Columbia University in February of this year that his Justice Department’s record of success on fighting financial fraud crimes ‘has been nothing less than historic.’ But not historic enough that his boss could point to, well, one Wall Street criminal behind bars as a result of DoJ’s actions.
That’s painfully telling. Nobody from Bank of America or Wells Fargo or Citigroup or JPMorgan Chase or Goldman Sachs or Bear Stearns or Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch or even Countrywide or Ameriquest was available to stand in as a ‘glutton of greed’ in this advertisement. Literally no major figure responsible for the financial crisis has gone to jail. So the campaign has to use two CEOs from a decade-old accounting scandal, and a garden-variety Ponzi schemer.”
And now, the US supreme court just consecrated one of the most corrupt acts of the US government over the past decade: its vesting of retroactive legal immunity in the nation’s telecom giants after they had been caught red-handed violating multiple US eavesdropping laws. Just as the Obama DOJ forever precluded any legal accountability for Bush-era torturers, the supreme court on Tuesday forever precluded any legal accountability for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and other telecoms for their crucial participation in the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program (the Obama DOJ, needless to say, supported the position of the telecoms).
When the New York Times revealed on 16 December 2005 that the Bush administration was spying on the telephone calls and emails of American citizens without the warrants required by the criminal law, it exposed lawbreaking not only by government officials but also by the nation’s largest telecoms. Multiple laws were in place at the time imposing both criminal and civil liability on telecoms for enabling government spying on the communications of their customers without warrants or other legal authority, and that is exactly what these telecoms did. One former AT&T employee, Mark Klein, publicly described how AT&T had even built a separate room with no purpose but to permit the National Security Agency unfettered access to all of its customers’ communications.
By Susanne Posel
Surveillance drones have a new mission. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) they will be used for “public safety”. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the DHS, told a House Committee meeting on Homeland Security that the more than 30,000 drones that will be deployed into American skies are just arbitrarily watching out for US citizens.
Napolitano stated : “With respect to Science and Technology, that directorate, we do have a funded project, I think it’s in California, looking at drones that could be utilized to give us situational awareness in a large public safety [matter] or disaster, such as a forest fire, and how they could give us better information.”
Secretly, DHS have been taking bid for contractors who can install “aerial remote sensing” which uses light detection and ranging (LIDAR) that would be part of the unmanned drone missions within domestic US territory.
“DHS believes these airborne images are essential for homeland defense missions, such as planning for National Special Security Events (Super Bowls or a national political conventions come to mind); enhancing border, port and airport security; as well as performing critical infrastructure inventories and assessments” and has spent over $50 million to employ contractors, as well as processors for images and dissemination throughout the DHS.
Coincidentally, the Federal Protective Service (FPS) has been given the responsibility to protecting federally owned property while preparing for civilian led riots expected in the near future.
Part of the preparatory measures was an order of 150 sets of riot gear that was requested to be filled exponentially – within 15 days.
The items requested were:
- 147 “Upper Body and Shoulder Protection” which are brand name or equal to “Centurion Soft Shell Riot Control System (CPX2500)”
- 152 “Thigh-Groin Protector” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion TPX200”
- 156 “Forearm Protectors” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion (FP100)”
- 147 units of “Hard Shell Shin Guards” brand name or equivalent to “Centurion (TS70)”
- 147 carry bags brand name or equivalent to Exotech (E4), 147 tactical gloves brand name or equivalent to “Damascus (DMZ333)”
- 147 riot helmets brand name or equivalent to “MaxPro (TR1000)”
The FPS is anticipating that police or military wearing the gear would encounter “blunt force trauma” to the upper torso, as well as potential beatings with “blunt objects”. To compliment these outfits, are required riot helmets with “tactical face shield” equipped with “liquid seals”.
In addition, the US military are ready to assist with local law enforcement “if called upon”.
Five hundred military police and dogs will be allocated on civilian matters, as reported by mainstream media (MSM) have included the reallocation of hundreds of military police officers being trained to “assist local authorities” in investigation, crime scene and case building. These same soliders were just stationed in combat areas like Afghantistan.
Meanwhile, the TSA have been patrolling trains stations and bus terminals in California.