Posts tagged NSA
By RPI Staff
Judge Andrew Napolitano: Congress Can Cut the NSA Budget
Judge Andrew Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board member, explains on Fox News last week that the US Congress can restrain the National Security Agency’s mass spying by cutting the NSA’s budget. “The recourse is to persuade Congress to clip the NSA’s wings by taking some of its budget away from it—and that almost happened a few months ago, and it may happen after the first of the year,” says Napolitano.
Watch the three minutes news segment here:
Fox News interview with Judge Napolitano video capture added to original post.
Nothing Better to Do – The NSA Goes After Parody T-Shirts
Throughout history, one of the ways in which the human spirit has overcome or dealt with the brutish forces of authoritarian regimes has been through the use of humor. As such, it is no surprise that clever Americans from sea to shining sea have figured out ways to mock the NSA while also making a dollar or two. One of these folks is Dan McCall, founder of politically themed T-shirt company Liberty Maniacs. Several days after the spy scandal erupted, Dan created a shirt that read NSA: The only part of the government that actually listens. See below:
Pretty hilarious right? Well, the NSA didn’t find it particularly funny and, in fact, according to the Daily Dot this is what happened:
“Within an hour or two,” as McCall told the Daily Dot, Zazzle emailed him to say the shirt had been removed from the Zazzle site. (Zazzle didn’t respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment, nor did the NSA.
Zazzle’s first email, which McCall forwarded to the Daily Dot, said in part:
Unfortunately, it appears that your product, The NSA, contains content that is in conflict with one or more of our acceptable content guidelines.
We will be removing this product from the Zazzle Marketplace shortly. …
Result: Not Approved
Policy Notes: Design contains an image or text that may infringe on intellectual property rights. We have been contacted by the intellectual property right holder and we will be removing your product from Zazzle’s Marketplace due to infringement claims.
McCall, who says he’d worked with Zazzle for five years, asked for an explanation, but when the company responded June 11, the distributor didn’t share much more:
Unfortunately, it appears that your product, ” the nsa”, does not meet Zazzle Acceptable Content Guidelines. Specifically, your product contained content which infringes upon the intellectual property rights of National Security Agency.
We have been contacted by legal representatives from the National Security Agency, and at their request, have removed the product from the Zazzle Marketplace.
The NSA: Protecting Americans from terrorists, nuclear war and funny t-shirts since 1952.
Full article here.
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Image credit: http://libertyblitzkrieg.com
Written by Daniel McAdams
President’s Spy Review Commission Provides Unintended Comedy
Government commissions are always set up to cover up or hide government incompetence or maliciousness once exposed. They are put together when the government fails spectacularly — as on 9/11 — and they are staffed with government insiders who can be trusted to not dig too deeply into government responsibility for its own failures or even its lawlessness. Look on the board of any government commission and you will always see the consummate insiders like Lee Hamilton.
Rarely is anyone fired for the mistakes made, and the conclusions always involve setting up more reform commissions and review boards to employ the multitude of government/quasi-government revolving door beneficiaries who populate the rarefied air of posh suburban settlements like McLean and Great Falls.
Sometimes these government CYA commissions can be quite comical, as Zero Hedge’s Tyler Durden points out in a recent article. In the case of Durden’s piece, the title says it all:
“As Head Of NSA Review Group Obama Appoints Same Person Who ‘Apologized’ For Lying To Congress”
President Obama announced to great Beltway fanfare late last week that he was setting up a commission to review the policies and procedures of the NSA. This was announced as part of a larger reform of NSA surveillance that the president promised, including inserting an adversarial “privacy rights” voice in the secret FISA Court proceedings.
We can only guess who might be appointed as the FISA Court’s “privacy rights” advocate — maybe Diane Feinstein?
New Interview with SGT Report with Michael Krieger: The Great Awakening
Michael Krieger: It’s been a little while since my last interview with SGT Report, so I’m really pleased to be able release the recording of a chat we had last weekend. I was in an area with spotty internet connection, so you will notice some bad audio quality in the beginning, but I promise it gets better from there. It’s actually mind-boggling to think about all the topics we covered, so brace yourselves for a 27 minute political hurricane. Enjoy!
Lon Snowden & Atty. Bruce Fein Discuss Edward Snowden
Published by LeakSourceNews
Lon Snowden, father of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, and civil liberties attorney Bruce Fein discuss the fate of Edward Snowden and their upcoming trip to Moscow, Russia. A good interview despite the non-journalistic approach by the mainstream media, which is rather consistent nowadays.
Written by Ron Paul
Why Are We At War in Yemen?
Most Americans are probably unaware that over the past two weeks the US has launched at least eight drone attacks in Yemen, in which dozens have been killed. It is the largest US escalation of attacks on Yemen in more than a decade. The US claims that everyone killed was a “suspected militant,” but Yemeni citizens have for a long time been outraged over the number of civilians killed in such strikes. The media has reported that of all those killed in these recent US strikes, only one of the dead was on the terrorist “most wanted” list.
This significant escalation of US attacks on Yemen coincides with Yemeni President Hadi’s meeting with President Obama in Washington earlier this month. Hadi was installed into power with the help of the US government after a 2011 coup against its long-time ruler, President Saleh. It is in his interest to have the US behind him, as his popularity is very low in Yemen and he faces the constant threat of another coup.
In Washington, President Obama praised the cooperation of President Hadi in fighting the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. This was just before the US Administration announced that a huge unspecified threat was forcing the closure of nearly two dozen embassies in the area, including in Yemen. According to the Administration, the embassy closings were prompted by an NSA-intercepted conference call at which some 20 al-Qaeda leaders discussed attacking the West. Many remain skeptical about this dramatic claim, which was made just as some in Congress were urging greater scrutiny of NSA domestic spying programs.
The US has been involved in Yemen for some time, and the US presence in Yemen is much greater than we are led to believe. As the Wall Street Journal reported last week:
“At the heart of the U.S.-Yemeni cooperation is a joint command center in Yemen, where officials from the two countries evaluate intelligence gathered by America and other allies, such as Saudi Arabia, say U.S. and Yemeni officials. There, they decide when and how to launch missile strikes against the highly secretive list of alleged al Qaeda operatives approved by the White House for targeted killing, these people say.”
Far from solving the problem of extremists in Yemen, however, this US presence in the country seems to be creating more extremism. According to professor Gregory Johnson of Princeton University, an expert on Yemen, the civilian “collateral damage” from US drone strikes on al-Qaeda members actually attracts more al-Qaeda recruits:
“There are strikes that kill civilians. There are strikes that kill women and children. And when you kill people in Yemen, these are people who have families. They have clans. And they have tribes. And what we’re seeing is that the United States might target a particular individual because they see him as a member of al-Qaeda. But what’s happening on the ground is that he’s being defended as a tribesman.”
The US government is clearly at war in Yemen. It is claimed they are fighting al-Qaeda, but the drone strikes are creating as many or more al-Qaeda members as they are eliminating. Resentment over civilian casualties is building up the danger of blowback, which is a legitimate threat to us that is unfortunately largely ignored. Also, the US is sending mixed signals by attacking al-Qaeda in Yemen while supporting al-Qaeda linked rebels fighting in Syria.
This cycle of intervention producing problems that require more intervention to “solve” impoverishes us and makes us more, not less, vulnerable. Can anyone claim this old approach is successful? Has it produced one bit of stability in the region? Does it have one success story? There is an alternative. It is called non-interventionism. We should try it. First step would be pulling out of Yemen.
Image credit: http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org
Another great post by Mike, enjoy, then be sure to use the link below to visit Mike’s site!
Former NSA Head, Michael Hayden, Aggressively Attacks the Entire Hacking Community
There’s an interesting trend happening in America today. A trend characterized by old, authoritarian, formerly “highly respected” figures in society becoming so confused and concerned that the zeitgeist of the nation is moving away from them, that they are overcome by dementia and publicly lash out like spoiled children in increasingly irrational manner. Two of my favorite examples of such behavior are Senator John McCain and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Now we can add another character to the list, former CIA and NSA head Michael Hayden. Amongst other things, here is what he said about Snowden supporters:
Nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twenty-somethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years.
First of all, this is a typical response from a person who cannot win an argument. Appeal to emotion or engage in bizarre personal attacks. We saw Chris Christie desperately do this the other day when he attacked libertarians for “thinking”, in a pathetic attempt to create some perverted neocon buzz about himself ahead of 2016. However, even more hilariously, here is a picture of Michael Hayden.
Wait, who hasn’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years? I’m sure the ladies are rioting in the streets to get a date with this guy. From the Washington Post:
Former NSA and CIA chief Gen. Michael Hayden speculated on Tuesday that hackers and transparency groups would turn to cyberterror attacks if the United States captured NSA leaker Edward Snowden. He went on to dismiss Snowden supporters as “nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twenty-somethings who haven’t talked to the opposite sex in five or six years.”
That probably wasn’t the smartest thing to say because the government desperately needs hackers. And usually, when you desperately need someone, implying that they’re sex-starved, basement-dwelling, would-be terrorists isn’t a good idea.
Full article here.
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Washington Thinks You Are Stupid — Paul Craig Roberts
There’s the old saying that if the government fears the people, there is liberty, but if the people fear the government there is tyranny. The criminals in Washington not only do not fear us, they do not respect us. Washington looks upon Americans as stupid sheeple.
Washington believes that it can tell the population anything and the people will believe it. For example, the official line is that the recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009. Many Americans believe this even thought they have not personally experienced economic recovery. Indeed, they are sinking further into poverty and near poverty.
And don’t forget those nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was alleged by Washington to possess. Or the Gulf of Tonkin fake event when Washington claimed that its warship was attacked by North Vietnam. Really, the list of official lies is very long. Anyone who believes anything that Washington says is too naive to be let out of the house alone. But Americans believe the lies, because that is what they think patriotism requires.
Relying on the proven gullibility of the bulk of the US population, Washington claims to have uncovered an al Qaeda plot to attack US embassies across North Africa and the Middle East. To foil the plot, Washington closed 19 embassies for the past week-end and for this week also.
Washington has not explained how closing the embassies foils the plot. If al Qaeda wants to blow up the embassies, it can blow them up whether they are open or closed.
If al Qaeda wants to kill the embassy personnel, they can kill them at home or on the way to work or later in the embassies when the alert passes.
I only check in with the presstitute media in order to ascertain whether my current estimate of their prostitution for Washington is accurate. Possibly I missed some expression of skepticism about the latest terrorist threat. But I did hear NPR’s account. Back in the Reagan years, NPR was an independent voice. Today it is part of the presstitute media. NPR lies for Washington with the best of them.
The US media has ignored the obvious fact that as soon as the American population, Congress, and Washington’s puppet allies, such as Germany, made an issue over the NSA’s clearly unconstitutional and totally illegal universal spying, the Obama regime pushed the Fear Button and hyped a new terror plot in order to shut up critics and bring Congress and Germany back in line.
Washington proclaimed that a “threat” was discovered that al Qaeda–an organization that Washington is using in Washington’s effort to overthrow the Assad government in Syria and one that is enriched by US military contracts to affiliated groups in Afghanistan–was going to blow up US embassies in the Middle East and North Africa. Washington did not explain why al Qaeda, a recipient of Washington’s largess, was going to turn off the money spigot by attacking US embassies.
I am surprised that bombs haven’t been set off in the embassies in order to prove the value of the National Stasi Agency’s spying, thereby shaming those in Congress and among the puppet states in Europe who object to the spying.
Once you give a moment’s thought to Washington’s claim, you see that Washington is proving its impotence by hyping such non-existent threats. Officially, the US has been at war with al Qaeda since October 7, 2001. The “superpower” has been battling a few thousand lightly armed al Qaeda for almost 12 years, and what is the result?
Despite Washington’s claims to have killed al Qaeda’s top leaders, including Osama bin Laden himself, Washington has lost the war. Al Qaeda has grown so powerful that it not only fights in Syria, with Washington’s help, against Assad, but also has prevented the US military from occupying Afghanistan. Moreover, in addition to al Qaeda’s military success against the “superpower” and the chaos that al Qaeda continues to produce in Iraq, al Qaeda now is so powerful that it can shut down US embassies all across the Middle East and North Africa. The “threat” which was supposed to boost the NSA’s position actually proves Washington’s powerlessness.
We an only pray that soon al Qaeda shuts down Washington itself. Imagine the sense of American liberation if Washington simply was shut down, or even better if Washington could be put under Punjab’s magic blanket and disappeared. For the 99 percent, and the rest of the world, Washington is nothing but an oppressor.
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.
NY Times Admits: Al-Qaeda Terror Threat Used to “Divert Attention” from NSA Uproar
Some analysts and Congressional officials suggested Friday that emphasizing a terrorist threat now was a good way to divert attention from the uproar over the N.S.A.’s data-collection programs, and that if it showed the intercepts had uncovered a possible plot, even better.
- NY Times article from August 2, 2013: Qaeda Messages Prompt U.S. Terror Warning
Nothing about the above quote should surprise any of my readers, we all know the sick, twisted mindset of those involved in the Military-Industrial-Wall Street complex. What’s more shocking is the fact that these folks so openly admit it to the New York Times, albeit in a typical anonymous and cowardly fashion. Let’s not forget what Robert Shapiro, former Clinton official and Obama supporter told the FT in July 2010:
The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership. He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.
I discussed the above quote and related topics in my 2010 piece: The Dangers of a Failed Presidency. Well, if Mr. Shapiro thinks President Obama didn’t have credibility in 2010, one can only imagine what he thinks today. That is precisely what makes the current moment so extraordinarily dangerous. From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — The United States intercepted electronic communications this week among senior operatives of Al Qaeda, in which the terrorists discussed attacks against American interests in the Middle East and North Africa, American officials said Friday.
It is unusual for the United States to come across discussions among senior Qaeda operatives about operational planning — through informants, intercepted e-mails or eavesdropping on cellphone calls. So when the high-level intercepts were collected and analyzed this week, senior officials at the C.I.A., State Department and White House immediately seized on their significance. Members of Congress have been provided classified briefings on the matter, officials said Friday.
“Unusual,” but somehow also extremely convenient for this to occur just as public opinion turns against the NSA and near passage of the Amash Amendment.
Image added to Mike’s original post.
By CBC News Posted: Aug 6, 2013 5:11 AM ET | Last Updated: Aug 6, 2013 5:30 AM ET
Surveillance questions snowball: 5 stories you may have missed
From a new spy tool to heckling hackers
As former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden settles into a new, albeit temporary, home in Russia, he’s left a storm of questions about mass surveillance in his wake.
Part of the famous fugitive’s deal with Moscow is that he’s not allowed to release information harmful to the United States during his one-year reprieve in the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
But before Snowden left the transit zone in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport for a more hospitable location in Russia, he released a torrent of documents about the United States’ use of mass surveillance — further stirring up a surveillance controversy he ignited in early June.
In the past week, media outlets published shocking new details based on the documents from Snowden, while U.S. officials continued to struggle with the fallout by publishing documents of their own.
Here’s a look at the top five mass surveillance stories from the past few days.
U.S. doles out money to U.K. spy agency
How close is too close? The Guardian revealed on Thursday that in the past three years, the U.S. National Security Agency paid at least £100 million — about $157 million Canadian — to its United Kingdom counterpart.
The payments raise fears about the grip that Washington may hold on the U.K. intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Documents suggest the NSA felt that the GCHQ “remains short of the full NSA ask” and the GCHQ worried that “it must pull its weight.”
In the documents, the U.K. intelligence agency also brags that it supplied “unique contributions” to the U.S. investigation into an American who attempted a car bomb attack in New York City’s Times Square in 2010.
Surveillance tool collects ‘nearly everything’
In June, Snowden made a bold statement to the Guardian. He said that while sitting at his desk, he could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”
Now, the Guardian says they have the documents that triggered Snowden’s statement. On Wednesday, they released leaked files from Snowden that reveal the existence of a top-secret NSA program called XKeyscore.
The program gives analysts the ability to sift through vast databases that contain emails, online chats and browsing histories of millions of people. Users don’t appear to require a warrant or authorization to use the program. Snowden said he used it during his time as a Booz Allen contract working at the NSA.
Documents tout it as the “widest reaching” system for developing intelligence from computer networks, and say it covers “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet” from content of emails and websites visited to searches. A 2008 document brags that intelligence captured by XKeyscore had helped capture 300 terrorists.
The Guardian describes the quantity of communications accessible via XKeyscore and other such programs as “staggeringly large,” with one 2007 NSA report estimating about up to two billion records are added every day to NSA databases that already contain more than one trillion records.
Some telecommunications experts compared the program to efforts by private companies to collect “big data” to better understand customer habits. But the news also spurred renewed calls for transparency about how much personal information is being collected and by whom.
NSA director faces heckling hackers
Meanwhile, the U.S. government is still struggling to counter public backlash after the first round of revelations by Snowden in early June.
At the Black Hat conference — an annual get-together of hackers and security experts in Las Vegas — NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander used his keynote speech to defend the government’s collection of phone and internet records.
Hecklers interrupted the four-star general’s speech, calling him a liar and telling him to read the constitution. But Alexander largely held his own and appeared to get a favourable reception in the end after jousting with the hecklers.
The director of the intelligence agency also revealed a few new details during the speech in an attempt to assuage public concern. He said that only 35 analysts at NSA are authorized to query a database of U.S. phone records.
Alexander also said that NSA’s collection of phone call metadata and internet records of foreigners has resulted in the disruption of 54 terrorist activities, including 13 in the United States. Of those disrupted activities, 42 — more than three-quarters — were terrorist plots.
Back in Washington, lawmakers were skeptical of the number. Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who chairs the Senate judiciary committee said, “Not by any stretch can you get 54 terrorist plots.”
NSA counters with its own document dump
New surveillance revelations kept Washington politicians busy during the past week. There was word Thursday that U.S. President Barack Obama convened a meeting with members of Congress. And on Wednesday, a judiciary committee hearing discussed the bulk collection of phone and internet records.
Shortly before the judiciary committee got underway, the Obama administration released three documents about record collection that it had declassified from top secret, part of its effort to placate opposition.
The documents are an April 2013 secret court order and two briefing papers for Congress from 2009 and 2011. Among the findings in them:
- The court order says the government can only access phone records when there is a “reasonable” suspicion that the number is associated with terrorism.
- Phone and internet metadata programs violated court orders in 2009 due to both “technical compliance” and “human implementation” errors. Those issues were later fixed, documents say.
- There’s a computer-run program that sifts through phone records using certain approved terms and then dumps that information into a “corporate store.”
Civil liberties advocates said the documents reveal a broader collection of records than previously thought.
When bulk records turn into evidence
If document releases from both sides weren’t enough, a court case also provided news on the hot topic.
It came out in a terrorism prosecution involving two Pakistan-born brothers living in Florida who are accused of a plot to bomb sites in New York in 2012.
A Miami federal court filing in the case revealed a change of course for the U.S. The justice department acknowledged the need during a terrorism prosecution to tell defendants that bulk record surveillance was used to build the case against them.
That acknowledgement may provide citizens and privacy advocates with the nugget of information they need to challenge NSA surveillance. For years, cases challenging the laws failed because there was no proof an individual had been prosecuted using these mass surveillance techniques.
Copyright © CBC 2013
Republished with permission