Obama’s Crackdown on Whistleblowers

Via: The Nation

Tim Shorrock
March 26, 2013

In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers. Since 2009, it has employed the World War I–era Espionage Act a record six times to prosecute government officials suspected of leaking classified information. The latest example is John Kiriakou, a former CIA officer serving a thirty-month term in federal prison for publicly identifying an intelligence operative involved in torture. It’s a pattern: the whistleblowers are punished, sometimes severely, while the perpetrators of the crimes they expose remain free.

The hypocrisy is best illustrated in the case of four whistleblowers from the National Security Agency: Thomas Drake, William Binney, J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis. Falsely accused of leaking in 2007, they have endured years of legal harassment for exposing the waste and fraud behind a multibillion-dollar contract for a system called Trailblazer, which was supposed to “revolutionize” the way the NSA produced signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the digital age. Instead, it was canceled in 2006 and remains one of the worst failures in US intelligence history. But the money spent on this privatization scheme, like so much at the NSA, remains a state secret.

The story goes back to 2002, when three of the whistleblowers—Loomis, Wiebe and Binney—asked the Pentagon to investigate the NSA for wasting “millions and millions of dollars” on Trailblazer, which had been chosen as the agency’s flagship system for analyzing intercepted communications over a smaller and cheaper in-house program known as ThinThread. That program was invented by Loomis, one of the NSA’s top software engineers, and Binney, a legendary crypto-scientist, both of whom began working for the NSA during the Vietnam War. But despite ThinThread’s proven capacity to collect actionable intelligence, agency director Gen. Michael Hayden vetoed the idea of deploying the system in August 2001, just three weeks before 9/11.

Read more: here

No comment….biting lip….
-Moose

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EXCLUSIVE – U.S. To Let Spy Agencies Scour Americans’ Finances

Via: Reuters

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON | Wed Mar 13, 2013 
 

(Reuters) – The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.

Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of “suspicious customer activity,” such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database. However, intelligence agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, currently have to make case-by-case requests for information to FinCEN.

The Treasury plan would give spy agencies the ability to analyze more raw financial data than they have ever had before, helping them look for patterns that could reveal attack plots or criminal schemes.

The planning document, dated March 4, shows that the proposal is still in its early stages of development, and it is not known when implementation might begin.

Read more: here 

Don’t worry…nothing can go wrong with this plan….
But maybe they could just direct deposit some of the money that the FED is making up in my account….
-Moose

Ragtime: Code name of NSA’s Secret Domestic Intelligence Program Revealed in New Book

Via: Washingtonian

“Deep State” uncovers new details about the agency’s secretive and hugely controversial surveillance programs.  
Published February 27, 2013

More than a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a set of extraordinary and secretive surveillance programs conducted by the National Security Agency has been institutionalized, and they have grown.
These special programs are conducted under the code name Ragtime, and are divided into several subcomponents, according to the new book Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry, by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. (I purchased a copy this morning.)

The authors, both journalists who cowrote a previous book about special operations in the military, have dug deep into the code names and operational nitty gritty of the NSA’s secretive and hugely controversial surveillance programs, and they’ve come up with impressive new details. 
Ragtime, which appears in official reports by the abbreviation RT, consists of four parts. 
Ragtime-A involves US-based interception of all foreign-to-foreign counterterrorism-related data;  
Ragtime-B deals with data from foreign governments that transits through the US; 
Ragtime-C deals with counterproliferation actvities; 
and then there’s Ragtime-P, which will probably be of greatest interest to those who continue to demand more information from the NSA about what it does in the United States. 
P stands for Patriot Act. Ragtime-P is the remnant of the original President’s Surveillance Program, the name given to so-called “warrantless wiretapping” activities after 9/11, in which one end of a phone call or an e-mail terminated inside the United States. That collection has since been brought under law, but civil liberties groups, journalists, and legal scholars continue to seek more information about what it entailed, who was targeted, and what authorities exist today for domestic intelligence-gathering. 
Deep State has some answers. 
Read more: here

Ragtime: Code name of NSA’s Secret Domestic Intelligence Program Revealed in New Book

Via: Washingtonian

“Deep State” uncovers new details about the agency’s secretive and hugely controversial surveillance programs.  
Published February 27, 2013

More than a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a set of extraordinary and secretive surveillance programs conducted by the National Security Agency has been institutionalized, and they have grown.
These special programs are conducted under the code name Ragtime, and are divided into several subcomponents, according to the new book Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry, by Marc Ambinder and D.B. Grady. (I purchased a copy this morning.)

The authors, both journalists who cowrote a previous book about special operations in the military, have dug deep into the code names and operational nitty gritty of the NSA’s secretive and hugely controversial surveillance programs, and they’ve come up with impressive new details. 
Ragtime, which appears in official reports by the abbreviation RT, consists of four parts. 
Ragtime-A involves US-based interception of all foreign-to-foreign counterterrorism-related data;  
Ragtime-B deals with data from foreign governments that transits through the US; 
Ragtime-C deals with counterproliferation actvities; 
and then there’s Ragtime-P, which will probably be of greatest interest to those who continue to demand more information from the NSA about what it does in the United States. 
P stands for Patriot Act. Ragtime-P is the remnant of the original President’s Surveillance Program, the name given to so-called “warrantless wiretapping” activities after 9/11, in which one end of a phone call or an e-mail terminated inside the United States. That collection has since been brought under law, but civil liberties groups, journalists, and legal scholars continue to seek more information about what it entailed, who was targeted, and what authorities exist today for domestic intelligence-gathering. 
Deep State has some answers. 
Read more: here

National Security in the Digital Age: Review

Via: Cryptome

20 February 2013

Michael Hayden, Ex-CIA and Ex-NSA head, discusses “National Security in the Digital Age” on C-SPAN. Hayden avidly defends use of murderous drones with “we are at war,” and repeats the phrase several times in formulaicly grave tones and glares — the most beloved mantra of militarists. Then declines to affirm or deny CIA has a drone program, “remember, the CIA has never admitted using drones.”

In one of the few admissions of CIA error, Hayden says the agency has become dominated by OSS-like military operations at the expense of its primary intelligence mission, that the military ops were appropriate to 9/11 but now believes CIA should return to its more important role.

He claims that in a state of war things are done that should not be prolonged, that wartime powers given to the natsec agencies should be balanced with other national requirements. In response to an audience question about why only the US has a drone warfare program, he answers that the American people and US allies seem to not understand the US is currently at war.

Hayden laughs and jokes a lot, a peculiar behavior for an avowedly grave topic. His bizarre twisting, jerking, spastic body language indicates roiling contempt of the naive questions being asked and evaded. Hayden exhibits characteristic, Petraeus-like, attributes of a trypical military careerist kiss-upper, kick-downer, a vain double-speaker masking intellectual incapability, condescending of civilians without access to secrets, a grandstanding surrogate hero relishing being at the top, mingling with and succoring global prominents (who will hire ex-natsecs to advise and promote warfare) — job requirements to military pinnacle.

Read more: here

It’s like a cancer spreading through out my country…
-Moose

When the Phone Eavesdropping Began…

Via: cryptome

EXPLODING THE PHONE
The Untold Story of the Teenagers and Outlaws Who Hacked Ma Bell

PHIL LAPSLEY
Grove Press New York

[pp. 92-97]

If there were no billing records for fraudulent calls, there was no way to know how many fraudulent calls there were or how long they lasted. And that meant AT&T was gazing into the abyss. Say the phone company catches some college students with electronic boxes. Fantastic! But elation is soon replaced by worry. Is that all of them? Or is that just the tip of the iceberg? Are there another ten college students doing it? A hundred? Are there a thousand fraudulent calls a year or are there a million?

Engineers hate stuff like this.

Bell Labs, filled to the brim with engineers, proposed a crash program to build an electronic toll fraud surveillance system and deploy it throughout the network. It would keep a watchful eye over the traffic flowing from coast to coast, ever vigilant for suspicious calls — not every call, mind you, but a random sampling of a subset of them, enough to gather statistics. For the first time Bell Labs — and AT&T’s senior management — would have useful data about the extent of the electronic toll fraud problem. Then they’d be in a position to make billion-dollar decisions.

The project was approved; indeed, AT&T gave Bell Labs a blank check and told them to get right to work. Tippy-top secret, the program had the coolest of code names: Project Greenstar. Within Bell Labs Greenstar documents were stamped with a star outlined in green ink to highlight their importance and sensitivity. Perhaps as a joke, the project lead was given a military dress uniform hat with a green general’s star on it, an artifact that was passed on from one team lead to the next over the years.

Read more: here

Warrantless Wiretaps? Congress Votes Yes

Via:ArsTechnica

By Joe Mullin – Dec 28 2012

US Senators from both parties overwhelmingly approved a bill this morning that will authorize warrantless wiretaps, throughout 2013 and for four years beyond that.

Supporters of the bill, including Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), insisted it should be passed without amendment, in order to avoid having it sent back to the House of Representatives for approval. The current authorization for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts would have expired on Jan. 1.

But FISA was re-authorized this morning, by a vote of 73-23, after an amendment from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) was shot down. Of the 23 opponents, 20 were Democrats and 3 were Republicans.

Who do these people represent?…Not me for sure…
-Moose

Read more: here

Warrantless Wiretaps? Congress Votes Yes

Via:ArsTechnica

By Joe Mullin – Dec 28 2012

US Senators from both parties overwhelmingly approved a bill this morning that will authorize warrantless wiretaps, throughout 2013 and for four years beyond that.

Supporters of the bill, including Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Diane Feinstein (D-CA), insisted it should be passed without amendment, in order to avoid having it sent back to the House of Representatives for approval. The current authorization for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts would have expired on Jan. 1.

But FISA was re-authorized this morning, by a vote of 73-23, after an amendment from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) was shot down. Of the 23 opponents, 20 were Democrats and 3 were Republicans.

Who do these people represent?…Not me for sure…
-Moose

Read more: here