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"the mindset of the NSA loyalist."

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logo-s2.pnghttps://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/07/11/newly-obtained-emails-contradict-administration-claims-guardian-laptop-destruction/ Newly Obtained Emails Contradict Administration Claims on Guardian Laptop Destruction
By Glenn Greenwald 11 Jul 2014, 11:46 AM EDT221
metadata.png Documents obtained from the Obama administration from an Associated Press FOIA request

On July 20, 2013, agents of the U.K. government entered The Guardian newsroom in London and compelled them to physically destroy the computers they were using to report on the Edward Snowden archive. The Guardian reported this a month later after my partner, David Miranda, was detained at Heathrow Airport for 11 hours under a British terrorism law and had all of his electronic equipment seized. At the time, the Obama administration—while admitting that it was told in advance of the Heathrow detention—pretended that it knew nothing about the forced laptop destruction and would never approve of such attacks on press freedom. From the August 20, 2013, press briefing by then-deputy White House press secretary Josh Earnest:

Q: A last one on the NSA—
The Guardian
newspaper, following on everything that was discussed yesterday—
The Guardian
is saying that British authorities destroyed several hard drives, because they wanted to keep secrets that Edward Snowden had leaked from actually getting out. They were stored in
The Guardian
‘s—they had some hard drives there at their offices. British authorities went in there and destroyed these hard drives. Did the American government get a heads up about that the way you did about the person being detained?

I’ve seen the published reports of those accusations, but I don’t have any information for you on that.

Q: And does the U.S. government think it’s appropriate for a government, especially one of our allies, to go in and destroy hard drives? Is that something this administration would do?

The only thing I know about this are the public reports about this
, so it’s hard for me to evaluate the propriety of what they did based on incomplete knowledge of what happened.

Q: But this administration would not do that, would not go into an American media company and destroy hard drives, even if it meant trying to protect national security, you don’t think?

It’s very difficult to imagine a scenario in which that would be appropriate

But emails just obtained by Associated Press pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) prove that senior Obama national security officials— including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-NSA chief Keith Alexander—not only knew in advance that U.K. officials intended to force The Guardian to destroy their computers, but overtly celebrated it.

One email, dated July 19 (the day prior to the destruction) bears the subject line “Guardian data being destroyed” and is from NSA deputy director Richard Ledgett to Alexander. He writes: “Good news, at least on this front.” The next day, almost immediately after the computers were destroyed, Alexander emailed Ledgett: ”Can you confirm this actually occurred?” Hours later, under the same subject line, Clapper emailed Alexander, saying: “Thanks Keith … appreciate the conversation today”.

It’s hardly surprising that the Obama Administration was fully informed in advance: It’s virtually inconceivable that notoriously subservient London officials would ever take any meaningful action without the advance knowledge and permission of their Washington overseers. There are, however, several notable points from these new disclosures:

(1) How many times do Obama administration officials have to be caught misleading the public before U.S. media outlets will stop assuming their claims to be true? Just this weekend, The Washington Post described the tens of thousands of FISA-collected emails that are in Snowden archive: the very material that Keith Alexander just two months ago unequivocally denied Snowden had obtained (Alexander: “He didn’t get this data. They didn’t touch —”; the New Yorker: “The operational data?”; Alexander: “They didn’t touch the FISA data … That database, he didn’t have access to”).

Now we have proof that Obama’s most senior officials were aware in advance of the very events that Obama’s spokesman pretended they knew nothing about. It’s possible, though unlikely in the extreme, that both Clapper and Alexander knew about this and neglected to tell anyone in the White House. Incredibly claiming that Obama was unaware of what his most senior national security officials get caught doing is this administration’s modus operandi: See, for instance, this and this. But that should raise the question—yet again—of whether these national security agencies are completely rogue and operating without any controls.

And whatever else was true: Obama’s senior officials were clearly delighted at this attack on press freedom while Obama’s press secretary pretended that the U.S. would never regard such behavior as “appropriate.” As The Guardian said today about all of this: ”What’s perhaps most concerning is that the disclosure of these emails appears to contradict the White House’s comments about these events last year, when they questioned the appropriateness of the U.K. government’s intervention.”

(2) At least as notable as what the Obama administration disclosed in response to AP’s FOIA request is what they suppressed. Look at the documents the administration produced: Virtually all of it is censored, even though it pertains to discussions by public officials of the U.K. government’s attack on The Guardian‘s news gathering process. We are permitted to see only the smallest of snippets; virtually everything in this email chain is concealed, once again making a complete farce not only out of FOIA but also Obama’s self-glorifying claim that he presides over the Most Transparent Administration Ever™.

Also, recall how we have constantly heard from people like Sen. Dianne Feinstein and even the president himself that when the government collects “only metadata,” that does not even constitute real spying (it “is not surveillance,” Feinstein wrote; “we don’t have a domestic spying program,” proclaimed Obama). Yet here, the administration is concealing not only virtually all of its own email content but also substantial portions of the metadata of those emails:


In justifying its concealments, the administration has the audacity to claim that disclosure “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy.”

So the Obama administration is apparently capable of recognizing how invasive metadata can be when it comes to its own. Thus, we are not even permitted to know which of our public officials participated in this little celebration over British attacks on press freedom, let alone what they said.

Speaking of making a complete farce out of FOIA, AP notes that “Clapper’s office — following a separate, identical records request from the AP — said it had no records about the incident, even though Clapper’s email from his national intelligence director’s office account was part of the NSA document release.” What could possibly justify that?

(3) It’s worth noting that neither the destruction of The Guardian hard drives which U.S. officials were celebrating, nor the seizure of my partner’s electronic goods, had the slightest impact on our ability to report on these documents. There were, needless to say, multiple copies of these archives in multiple safe places around the world. They were thus celebrating something that imposed no impediment whatsoever on disclosure of these materials. As usual for the U.S. and U.K. security services, then, their behavior was as inept as it was thuggish.

* * * * *

There are several follow-ups to note from our story on Wednesday about NSA and FBI spying on prominent Muslim Americans:

(1) According to a report in The Arab Daily News, “several Muslim American organizations have announced their intentions to file lawsuits against the U.S. Government over FBI spying that targeted American citizens who are of the Muslim religion and Arab heritage, and are demanding investigations by Federal authorities.” As noted in our article, vesting people with “standing” to sue over the legality and constitutionality of these spying activities was a major reason why Snowden provided this information, and I am quite certain this will not be the last lawsuit filed in response to our report.

(2) As we reported on Wednesday, “a coalition of 44 civil rights groups organized by the American Civil Liberties Union has sent a letter to President Obama demanding a ‘full public accounting’ of the government’s ‘targeting of community leaders’ for surveillance.”

Members of Congress, including Rep. Keith Ellison, Alan Grayson, and Sen. Ron Wyden, spoke out. Meanwhile, “the White House told the Guardian that it has asked the intelligence community to ‘review their training and policy materials for racial or religious bias” after we published an internal instructional memo that referred to a hypothetical surveillance target as ‘Mohammed Raghead.’” That’s a nice step, but the fact that this is the only review the White House thinks is needed – and not the spying itself – is quite telling.

(3) Among the best commentaries on the implications of our story are those from Kade Crockford of the ACLU of Massachusetts, Marcy Wheeler in Salon, Digby, and Amy Davidson in the New Yorker. Among the better media reports on the story were articles in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

(4) Two of the people named in our story, Faisal Gill and Asim Ghafoor, spoke both to CNN and Democracy Now about their reactions to learning they had been monitored. Meanwhile, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad has a great essay in Time describing his reaction to learning he had been subject to surveillance.

(5) Vocal NSA loyalist Benjamin Wittes of the Brookings Institution argued that we can’t possibly know whether this spying was legitimate unless and until we see the “relevant FISA applications.” He then later announced that he would be opposed to release of those applications. In other words, he does not want to see – and does not want anyone else to see – the only documents that he believes could reveal NSA abuse. That, in a nutshell, is the mindset of the NSA loyalist.

Apparently, in the 1960s and 1970s, Wittes and allies would have been arguing that it was impossible to say whether J. Edgar Hoover’s targeting of anti-war protesters, civil rights leaders and other government critics was appropriate unless and until we could read Hoover’s personal files about those targets. After all, could anyone prove the negative that these weren’t dangerous and violent people? And, of course, there was no shortage of Americans back then who wanted those groups surveilled on the ground that they posed threats to the prevailing order, just as there are many who today want their fellow citizens surveilled who are Muslim.

(6) A new Huffington Post/YouGov poll finds that “Most Americans think government surveillance that gathers up masses of telephone and Internet data goes ‘too far.’”

(7) Here are two excellent essays, published prior to our story, on why some non-Muslims react with indifference and boredom to revelations of NSA overreach: by Julian Sanchez and Anna Lekas Miller. As those essays demonstrate, a major reason so many US Government abuses (from indefinite detention to drones to rendition to pervasive surveillance) have been tolerated over the last decade is because people like that perceive that it’s only happening to Muslims – not to them or people like them – and so it’s irrelevant and/or justified.

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If you have not read Bamford's "The Shadow Factory" I would recommend it. In addition to the details of the metadata and related collections he explores the political pressures and agendas applied to the NSA to push for some of the most abusive measures. Objectively, pre-911 the NSA was turning down all sorts of requests to share data or collect more data based on privacy issues...but then the Bush Administration and Congress came along and that was the end of that. The NSA is a government agency and like any other agency, it bends to pressure - Bamford does a fine job of pointing out just exactly where and who has been originating the pressure...

Combining that book with his earlier book "A Pretext for War" gives a great context to how the NSA - just like the CIA - can be leveraged via politics and related agendas.

Edited by Larry Hancock
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"If You Do This, the NSA Will Spy on You

...using the encryption service TOR [done]...investigating an alternative to the buggy Windows operating system [done]...visit the forum page for the popular Linux Journal,[done]...Another infraction: hating Windows.[done, + google]...Searching for the Tails, operating system, another Windows alternative popular among human rights watchers [hadn't heard of that one, will do]..." + I'm a socialist, I oppose the nsa and other agencies. I support many who do the same. What else... I've a dumb phone which I hardly use. I pay cash. I don't give a s..t. ...that should do it. If I think of any more I'll include that.

,.I.. to the nsa et al


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their enablers
Cybersecurity bill will expand surveillance powers of US military and intelligence agencies

Thomas Gaist


The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 last week in favor of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2014, new legislation that massively expands the data-gathering powers of the US security, intelligence and military bureaucracies, by allowing “voluntary” information sharing between private companies and the government.

The Intelligence Committee “marked up” the bill in two secret sessions closed to the public. The bill, which was drafted by Senators Saxby Chambliss (Republican, Georgia) and Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California), is now set to go before the chamber as a whole.

CISA clears the way for virtually unrestrained information sharing between the US government and corporations. Under the bill, large quantities of data can be transferred from companies to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) without any form of legal review, so long as the data is considered “cybersecurity information.”

Once acquired from the telecommunications corporations, DHS will then automatically share the data in real time with the US National Security Agency (NSA), Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM), and other sections of the Defense Department (DoD) bureaucracy. The government agencies are authorized to retain data shared in this way indefinitely.

These legislative changes amount to a far-reaching extension of the powers of the military apparatus to intervene in civilian electronic systems. As the New America Foundation (NAF) wrote in its report, “Analysis of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014: A Major Step Back on Privacy, DHS would serve merely as a portal for DOD entities to receive cyber threat indicators, and there would be no functional distinction between sharing with a civilian agency and sharing directly with the NSA.” The broad language of CISA, New America wrote, “may be interpreted to authorize the government to gain direct access to a company’s information systems to receive cyber threat indicators.”

Broad language in CISA leaves the door open for companies to engage in “hack-back” activities, such as deploying malware and spyware on the machines of customers, according to the NAF report. Individuals who are harmed by CISA-based activities have no avenue to address their grievances, since the bill contains strong protections for companies from any liabilities associated with information sharing, protecting them against lawsuits by users whose privacy and democratic rights are violated by such operations.

Exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other “sunshine laws” are built into the legislation, shielding the information sharing programs from public scrutiny.

At the same time, the bill hands the US government another powerful weapon for its war against “insider threats” (government terminology for leakers and whistleblowers), allowing for data collected through the mass information sharing to be used for prosecutions launched under the Espionage Act.

The CISA legislation effectively transfers new surveillance powers to domestic police agencies. State and local law enforcement are empowered by CISA to “use, retain, and further share” data obtained through the information sharing program to launch or aid investigations completely unrelated to cybersecurity.

Numerous civil rights and watchdog organizations have announced opposition to the CISA bill. The Center for Democracy in Technology (CDT) described CISA as a “backdoor wiretap,” writing that CISA “addresses none of the Snowden revelations about the NSA” and would “funnel more private communications and communications information to the NSA.”

Writing for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Sandra Fulton argued that the CISA bill “poses serious threats to our privacy, gives the government extraordinary powers to silence potential whistleblowers, and exempts these dangerous new powers from transparency laws.”

As noted by Fulton, “the definition they are using for the so-called ‘cybersecurity information’ is so broad it could sweep up huge amounts of innocent Americans’ personal data … CISA would circumvent the warrant requirement [established in the Fourth Amendment] by allowing the government to approach companies directly to collect personal information, including telephonic or Internet communications, based on the new broadly drawn definition of ‘cybersecurity information.’”

CIPSAisBack.org, a web site dedicated to monitoring US cybersecurity legislation, wrote that the bill “would allow for and encourage sweeping data mining taps on Internet users for the undefined purpose of domestic ‘cybersecurity.’”

CISA may also bolster US government efforts to “stockpile vulnerabilities,” a practice whereby weaknesses discovered in existing computer networks are not disclosed to the network operators, but instead are recorded for possible future exploitation by teams of government hackers. As revealed by Edward Snowden last summer, Washington has already ordered the hacking of hundreds of civilian targets in China.

Under the auspices of “cybersecurity,” the US government is building powerful new components of the national security state, empowered to carry out new forms of surveillance and data acquisition as well as cyber-attacks against computer systems deemed threatening by the government. These powers can be used to shut down web sites, networks, and entire sections of the Internet.

While the Constitution prohibits military and espionage operations inside the US, intelligence officials have openly expressed ambitions to overcome these restrictions.

As a senior intelligence agent told the New York Times in 2009 in the lead-up to the launch of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command (CYBERCOM), “These attacks start in other countries, but they know no borders. So how do you fight them if you can’t act both inside and outside the United States?”

CYBERCOM went operational in May of 2010, under the command of General Keith Alexander. Alexander told the Brookings Institute in 2010 that while CYBERCOMMAND currently plays no role in the nation’s civilian networks, in exceptional circumstances an executive order could be issued allowing the DoD-based agency to assume control over civilian information systems.


British Government forces Surveillance Bill through the House of Commons in a single day. A dissenting MP describes it as "Democratic banditry resonant of a rogue state."
Civil liberties groups took Britain's spy agencies to court Monday in a bid to limit electronic surveillance, as the country’s government tries to pass legislation to extend snooping powers.
A special court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, is hearing a challenge to mass online surveillance from groups including Liberty, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The organizations claim that mass collection of individuals’ communications data breaches the rights to private life and freedom of expression.
“Not content with forcing service providers to keep details of our calls and browsing histories, the government is fighting to retain the right to trawl through our communications with anyone outside and many inside the country,” said Liberty legal director James Welch. “When will it learn that it is neither ethical nor efficient to turn everyone into suspects?”
Edited by Steven Gaal
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To Protect And Infect

62 mins
Jacob Applebaum: The militarization of the internet
Jacob Applebaum ( @ioerror ) a computer security expert and a core member of the Tor project (a free software network designed to provide online anonymity) speaks at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3].

Jacob goes through some of the tools and techniques (as exposed in the Edward Snowden revelations) used by states in the development of an all pervasive surveillance of populations and militarization of the internet.

Appelbaum has been detained at airports and had his electronic equipment seized several times. He has moved to Berlin, where he has applied for residence authorization, his stated reasons include that he doesn't want to go back to the USA because he doesn't feel safe and that privacy protections are better in Germany than in the US. However, in December 2013, Appelbaum said he suspected the government of breaking into his Berlin apartment.
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The end point of this NSA work ? To program the individual and then read/redo the program. Penultimate totalitarianism.
  • Pentagon Rolls Out DARPA Plan To Implant Chips In Soldiers' Brains

    Feb 15, 2014 ... Will there be a kill switch put into these black box chips destroying the soldier and
    information? .... We reported prior, DARPA is working on backing up memories
    on a ... Sign up for a Monthly Subscription or Donate via Bitcoin!


  • 1984
  • There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

U.S. Military Seeks To Brain Scan Troops For "Signs of Potential Betrayal"
Nicholas West
Activist Post

The massive investment in neuroscience undertaken by the U.S. BRAIN project and its sister initiative the Human Brain Project is increasingly taking a turn toward the examination of mental health. In fact, hundreds of European scientists working on the project are threatening a boycott because of this direction. In their view, the initial directive was to be more focused on repairing organic injuries and disorders such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and physical brain damage sustained in accidents. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would be one area that might involve the military.

However, there is a disturbing trend developing in law enforcement and medicine to use what has been learned about the human brain in order to adopt pre-crime systems and predictive behavior technology.

But could a brain scan become standard procedure to see which troops might be inclined to commit insider attacks?

Troops overseas have been working alongside Iraqi and Afghan troops for years, but a new interest is being taken in evaluating potential extremists who are infiltrating to kill from within.

The numbers of these incidents are statistically low as reported by Defense One, which cites the inside killing of "several troops in recent years." But a former Army counterintelligence agent sees the opportunity to apply new technology that presumably can screen people for mal-intent. The system is called HandShake:

Here’s how the HandShake system works: A
soldier would take, say, an Iraqi officer and outfit the subject with a special helmet that can pick up both electromagnetic signals (
) and perform functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRs) which images blood flow changes in the brain. The soldier would put the subject through a battery of tests including image recognition. Most of the pictures in the tests would be benign, but a few would contain scenes that a potential insider threat would remember, possibly including faces, locations or even bomb parts. The key is to select these images very, very carefully to cut down on the potential false positives.


When you recognize a picture that’s of
to you, your brain experiences a 200 to 500 microsecond hiccup, during which the electromagnetic activity drops, measurable via
. The reaction, referred to as the P300 response, happens too fast for the test subject to control, so the subject can’t game the system.

The fNIR readings back up the
numbers. Together, they speak to not only whether or not a subject is a traitor but
an individual is to act on potentially criminal or treasonous impulses.
The system then runs all the data through what Veritas calls a
Friend or Foe Algorithm.
The output: the ability to pinpoint an insider’s threat potential
with 80 to 90 percent accuracy,
according to the company. (
) [emphasis added]

The company, Veritas, has issued the following video promo for their system:


It's obviously ironic that this system is intended to be used on people who never should have encountered the U.S. military in the first place, since the U.S. military arrived based on lies. Moreover, to those flagged by such a system, they are clearly open to being tortured under the policies that have been established in the War on Terror world in which we live.

This system comes at an expense in excess of $1 million dollars to deploy and $500,000 per month thereafter, per site, according to the company's founder. Both the monetary cost and the ethical costs should ensure that this technology never sees the light of day. However, the military-industrial complex has a provable track record of caring very little about either.

Note: The article linked below demonstrates how the biometric identification system in Afghanistan already has trickled down to the streets of America. If brain scanning technology is successful overseas, it is guaranteed to show up inside the United States. It's already been proposed for air travel and other applications under the FAST system (Future Attribute Screening Technology). Additionally, with the increased war on whistleblowers, this would be a wonderful tool for employers to weed out those whose desire is not to undermine, but simply to expose criminality.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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