Posts tagged FBI
Grand Jury Probes Firm That Cleared Snowden
Washington, DC – In the wake of continued releases by whistle blower Edward Snowden; Federal prosecutors and the FBI suspect that the firm hired to clear Snowden, USIS, may have blundered his background check by cutting corners.
If discrepancies are found in the investigation that they carried out on Edward Snowden, it could potentially amount to a violation of the False Claims Act, which punishes persons and companies that defraud US government programs.
USIS has said they are fully cooperating with the federal investigators in their probe and maintain their background check on Snowden was done correctly.
However, several of USIS’ ex-employees told WSJ they had been pressured to “flush” unfinished security checks through the system. “Flushing” is the practice of pushing the subject of a background check through the system, even if the background check has not been completed.
FBI pressures Internet providers to install surveillance software
The U.S. government is quietly pressuring telecommunications providers to install eavesdropping technology deep inside companies’ internal networks to facilitate surveillance efforts.
FBI officials have been sparring with carriers, a process that has on occasion included threats of contempt of court, in a bid to deploy government-provided software capable of intercepting and analyzing entire communications streams. The FBI’s legal position during these discussions is that the software’s real-time interception of metadata is authorized under the Patriot Act.
Attempts by the FBI to install what it internally refers to as “port reader” software, which have not been previously disclosed, were described to CNET in interviews over the last few weeks.
Hillary’s Lucrative Lecture Circuit
Published by NextNewsNetwork
CHICAGO — Since stepping down as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has pulled down huge honoraria to give speeches before industry groups. Last month, she returned to her native Chicago to address 15,000 human resource professionals on the subject of immigration reform and Obamacare and how policy changes regarding those issues would affect their industry.
This report also includes…
NEW YORK — Pop Phenom Justin Bieber called Bill Clinton to apologize for a bizarre incident in which the singer was videotaped spraying cleaning fluid on a photo of Clinton and hurling an epithet commonly called the “F-word” at the absent former President. That gesture came after Bieber urinated in a restaurant mop bucket.
LORETTO, Pennsylvania — John Kiriakou, the former CIA counter-terrorism operative who was imprisoned in retaliation for exposing the Bush administration’s illegal torture program, has some advice for fellow whistleblower Edward Snowden: Do not trust the FBI.
CAIRO — A huge and growing divide can be seen in Egypt’s increasingly bloody political upheaval, but both sides agree on one thing: They despise Barack Obama and his administration.
SILICON VALLEY — The Guardian of London reports that Microsoft gave the NSA the ability to circumvent its own encryption protocols. Documents provided to the paper by Edward Snowden reveal that Microsoft also worked with the FBI earlier this year to provide the NSA with easy access to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide.
Crashes of Convenience: Michael Hastings
Published by corbettreport
SHOW NOTES AND MP3: http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=7636
Michael Hastings was that rarest of breeds: a mainstream reporter who wasn’t afraid to rail against the system, kick back against the establishment, and bite the hand that feeds him. On the morning of June 18, 2013, he died in a fiery car crash. But now details are emerging that he was on the verge of breaking an important new story about the CIA, and believed he was being investigated by the FBI. Now even a former counter-terrorism czar is admitting Hastings’ car may have been cyber-hijacked. Join us this week on The Corbett Report as we explore the strange details surrounding the untimely death of Michael Hastings.
Why the Collection of Metadata is a Very, Very Big Deal
We now know that every day, U.S. phone companies quietly send the government a list of who called whom and when — “telephony metadata” — for every call made on their networks, because of a secret order by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. It turns out that this has been going on for seven years (and was even reported by USA Today then); the difference now is that the government — uncharacteristically for such a secret intelligence operation — quickly acknowledged the authenticity of the leaked order and the existence of the metadata collection program.
Should we be worried? At least “nobody is listening to our telephone calls” (so the president himself assured us). People breathed a sigh of relief since first learning of the surveillance because surely there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to such seemingly innocuous information — it’s just metadata, after all. Phew!
With today’s communications technology, is metadata really less revealing than content? Especially when we’re dealing with metadata at the scale that we now know the NSA and FBI are receiving?
Because at such a scale, people’s intuition about the relative invasiveness of content and metadata starts to fail them. Phone records can actually be more revealing than content when someone has as many records and as complete a set of them as the NSA does.
Metadata, on the other hand, is ideally suited to automated analysis by computer. Having more of it just makes it the analysis more accurate, easier, and better. So while the NSA quickly drowns in data with more voice content, it just builds up a clearer and more complete picture of us with more metadata.
Metadata is our context. And that can reveal far more about us — both individually and as groups — than the words we speak.
The better understood the patterns of a particular group’s behavior, the more useful it is. This makes using metadata to identify lone-wolf Al Qaeda sympathizers (a tiny minority about whose social behavior relatively little is known) a lot harder than, say, rooting out Tea Partiers or Wall Street Occupiers, let alone the people with whom we share our beds.
It is, in effect, a National Relationship Database.
Full article here.
Image added to original post.
FBI sued over secretive facial recognition program
Soon the FBI will be done building a database containing the photographs, fingerprints and other biometric data for millions of Americans, but the agency has been far from forthcoming with the details. A new lawsuit filed this week aims to change that.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit digital rights group based out of California, sued the United States Department of Justice this week for failing to comply with multiple Freedom of Information Act requests filed last year by the EFF.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation received no fewer than three FOIA requests from the EFF last year for details about its state-of-the-art Next Generation Identification program, or NGI, a system that will store personally-identifiable data for millions of Americans and foreign nationals to act as what the FBI has called a “bigger, faster and better” version of what law enforcement already uses. But while the bureau has indeed already been using fingerprint information to track down potential terrorists and troublemakers for years, the EFF’s main concern revolves around what sort of space-age face recognition abilities NGI will be able to employ.
The FBI previously acknowledged that NGI will “house multimodal biometrics records like palm prints and iris scans” in one master system, as well as facial imaging information and intelligence about scars, marks and tattoos. Eventually, the agency said, it hopes to incorporate technology to track down people using only their voice. For now, though, the EFF is interested in what the facial recognition infrastructure will be able to do, and is demanding the FBI fesses up.
“NGI will change almost everything about how the FBI treats photograph submissions,” the complaint filed this week reads. Citing government documents, the EFF says that the system will allow “the increased capacity to retain photographic images, additional opportunities for agencies to submit photographic images and additional search capabilities, including automated searches.”
“The proposed new system would also allow law enforcement ‘to collect and retain other images (such as those obtained from crime scene security cameras’ and from family and friends) and would allow submission of ‘civil photographs along with civil fingerprint submissions that were collected for noncriminal purposes,’” the EFF continues.
When all is said and done, the FBI will be able to use NGI to scan millions of entries in a single database to find someone based off of a single photograph, and the EFF fears that could send things down a slippery slope.
“Governmental use of face recognition — and the potential for misuse — raises many privacy concerns,” the EFF says in the lawsuit.
Using statements already made by the FBI about the program, the EFF presents an argument about why they should be worried that’s hard to counter.
“The FBI has also stated in a public presentation given at a national biometrics conference that it wants to use its facial recognition system to ‘identify unknown persons of interest from images’ and ‘identify subjects in public datasets,’” the complaint continues. “In the same presentation, the FBI included a graphic image that implied the Bureau wanted to use facial recognition to be able to track people from one political rally to another.”
Another digital watchdog group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, previously alleged that NGI system could be integrated with other surveillance technology in order to enable “real-time image-matching of live feeds from CCTV surveillance cameras.”
Obtaining information about how the FBI will manage and operate this information has been a priority for the EFF for over a year now, and the failure to comply with those FOIA requests has finally prompted the organization to ask a court to intervene.
“NGI will result in a massive expansion of government data collection for both criminal and noncriminal purposes,” EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch said in a statement this week. “Biometrics programs present critical threats to civil liberties and privacy. Face-recognition technology is among the most alarming new developments, because Americans cannot easily take precautions against the covert, remote and mass capture of their images.”
The EFF is asking the court to enforce the FOIA requests sent last June and July, which could compel the FBI to disclose information about the face-recognition program and any plans to merge civilian and criminal records in a single database. They are also asking for the total number of face-recognition capable records currently in the database and an assessment of what number the agency expects to have when it rolls out the program in 2014.
“Before the federal government decides to expand its surveillance powers, there needs to be a public debate,” Lynch said. “But there can be no public debate until the details of the program are presented to the public.”
In a July 18, 2012 assessment, the FBI reported that the program was “on scope, on schedule, on cost and 60 percent deployed.” The program is being put together by contractors Lockheed Martin, who are expected to rake in $1 billion from the government by the time the NGI system is finally up and running.
The FBI previously admitted that they found 7,380 records that were “potentially responsive” to one of the EFF’s request, but has yet to deliver actual information pursuant to any of the three FOIA submissions filed, prompting the nonprofit to allege the FBI is “dragging its feet.”
“FBI has not explained to the public how NGI or IAFIS’s system design would ensure that civil submissions are not ‘tainted’ by criminal submissions or explained why it is necessary to combine the two types of data,” the EFF wrote in the complaint.
After reading the news of Michael Hastings deadly car crash on the Economic Policy Journal.com and sharing Robert Wenzel’s post, Robert has added additional information in various posts that I will combine below for ease of reading. I would recommend readers to tune in to the Economic Policy Journal.com for future updates to this story plus a slew of great information on a wide range of topics.
Glenn Greenwald’s exposure of the NSA’s massive domestic spy program has revealed the entire caste of current Democratic leaders as a gang of civil liberty opportunists, whose true passion, it seems, was in trolling George W. Bush for eight years on matters of national security[...]
The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.
The definitive video of the incident can be found here. It features everything you’d want in a crash story, including:
The ejected motor and transmission
Video of the car burning with the fury of a thousand suns[...]
I’m not here to speak ill of the dead. I’m here to state that I’ve seen dozens of cars hit walls and stuff at high speeds and the number of them that I have observed to eject their powertrains and immediately catch massive fire is, um, ah, zero. Modern cars are very good at not catching fire in accidents. The Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is an evolutionary design from a company known for sweating the safety details over and above the Euro NCAP requirements, should be leading the pack in the not-catching-on-fire category.
Nor is the C-Class known for sudden veering out of control into trees and whatnot. My father’s been running a C350 of that generation around Hilton Head for a while and if anybody could make a C-Class veer into a palm tree without warning it would be him.
And this from Wikileaks:
Wikileaks reports that investigative reporter Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died in a fiery car crash, saying that the FBI was investigating him.
Photo source: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com
Source : http://libertycalling.net
By Judy Morris
Obama Adm. Wants Mental Health Records in Gun Background Check Database
An Obama administration proposal to speed the flow of mental-health records into the national gun background-check database has run into opposition from medical groups and state authorities, threatening another element of the flagging effort to strengthen federal gun controls in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
The debate involves a plan by the Department of Health and Human Services to amend a federal privacy rule. The amendment would expressly allow state mental-health authorities to transmit records of anyone who has been declared mentally unfit by a court or other authority to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Read the rest at The Wall Street Journal, here.
NSA Spying on Americans Now Explained and Justified (Well, almost)
As most Americans are taking in the deluge of stories regarding the NSA wiretapping, spying and data mining through all the major internet and phone providers plus the social media organizations, one must think that George Orwell was right, just 30 or so years off on his pick for the title for his novel 1984, as was predicted. Although it would appear many in government consider this book a very useful training manual, that is not the case. In fact, it should have been a warning to the citizens, but they seemed to have missed this point while religiously worshiping such mind opening sagas as Dancing With The Stars and a slew of reality shows.
This afternoon I read a post that shed light regarding the spying inside America on Americans, and I now see how this action may truly be used against the war on terror as we have been told time and again.
This post by Weasel Zippers of an interview on NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper opened my eyes. I now have a better understanding of the true “War on Terror” that the internal spying is all about.
As posted by Weasel Zippers:
NBC: “Why Do You Need Every Telephone Number?” – DNI Chief Clapper: “Well, You Have To Start Someplace”…
Really? — That’s where you need to start?
JUNE 9, 2013 — NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell sat down with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper yesterday for an exclusive wide-ranging interview to discuss recent revelations about government surveillance programs and the impact of leaks on national security. [...]
ANDREA MITCHELL: Why do you need every telephone number? Why is it such a broad vacuum cleaner approach?
JAMES CLAPPER: Well, you have to start someplace. If– and over the years that this program has operated, we have refined it and tried to– to make it ever more precise and more disciplined as to which– which things we take out of the library. But you have to be in the– in the– in the chamber in order to be able to pick and choose those things that we need in the interest of protecting the country and gleaning information on terrorists who are plotting to kill Americans, to destroy our economy, and destroy our way of life.
HT: Justin Brookman
Now I understand, and hope you do also. We agree, I hope, that the government’s two main jobs should be to protect the freedom and liberty of it’s people and protect the people’s property and way of life from undue and unwanted influence. Still not sure? Let us look at this justification for government surveillance, as mentioned in the interview, one point at a time.
Actions of terrorist that the surveillance is in place for:
- Plotting to kill Americans, we should all agree, no matter where it comes from, such as drone strikes or even FBI plots foiled by the FBI .
- To destroy our economy, I think we all agree, so surveillance on the Federal Reserve banks are justified.
- Destroy our way of life, which I think we will also agree, so surveillance on the TSA is also justified.
Now, I do not agree on the spying, data mining, surveillance and intrusion taking place on all Americans old enough to walk and talk, but I can now understand that there is truly a need for NSA surveillance inside our shores, not even going to bring up the State Department or indiscretions in the past. Cheering on and fully supporting the NSA mission as it eliminates the drone warfare and any possibility of use on Americans, ends the FED with the BIS control and abolishes the TSA! What is next for the NSA? I might suggest expanding the targets that destroy our way of life, such as the IRS :) After that we can toast a cheer, say a legitimate “Mission Accomplished” and move on to the rest of the list, such as possibly the EPA, Department of Education, and stopping China from taking over our communities one at a time. Just a thought. Perhaps it all about the good will? Actually, the “good will” link explains it best in my opinion, along with the need for some parody during these Stasi times we find ourselves in.
Your thoughts? Feel free to enter them below.
Every Scottish Newborn to Have “State Guardian”
EDINBURGH — Scottish author Stuart Walton, a sociology and criminology professor at the University of Abertay Dundee, warns that his country is now being used to test what he calls a “dystopian” plan in which every child, from birth, would be assigned a “state guardian” who would have the supposed authority to represent the child’s interests against his parents.
This report also includes…
EDINBURGH — Officials in Scotland are using hospital snoops and nursery school children to monitor the attitudes of parents regarding “diversity.” Under an initiative called Getting It Right for Every Child, parents of newborns are secretly monitored by hospital staff to assess their “suitability” for raising their children.
WASHINGTON — Less than a week after a major address in which President Obama outlined what he called restrictions on the use of drone strikes, another “signature strike” was carried out in Pakistan that resulted in the death of several people who were living in adobe huts.
WASHINGTON — Seeking to contain growing media outrage over the Justice Department’s invasive scrutiny of reporters, Attorney General Eric Holder offered to meet with representatives of major media outlets in an off-the-record briefing. Representatives from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal indicated that they would attend the meeting on terms offered by Holder.
MOSCOW — The father of Chechen native Ibragim Todashev, who was killed by an FBI agent following an interrogation in Orlando, Florida, has accused the Bureau of executing his son in order to “shut him up.” Speaking at a press conference in Russia, Abdulbaki Todashev said of the FBI: “They come to your house like bandits, and they shoot you.”