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Citizen Snowden

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: As infor­ma­tion emerges con­cern­ing Edward J. Snow­den, the appar­ent leak­er in the NSA/PRISM sto­ry, a num­ber of points of infor­ma­tion stand out:

  • This poster boy for civ­il lib­er­ties and open­ness [Snow­den] has spent his entire [young] pro­fes­sion­al life steeped in “alpha­bet soup”–the intel­li­gence agen­cies. He has worked for NSA, the CIA and Booz Allen Hamil­ton, a tech firm that is a vir­tu­al annex of the Amer­i­can intel­li­gence appa­rat. (Booz Allen is owned by the Car­lyle Group and has employed James Clap­per [cur­rent direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence, Jonathan Bush, of THOSE Bush­es, and James Woolsey [for­mer direc­tor of the CIA]). Snow­den’s is a curi­ous pro­fes­sion­al resume for some­one we are to believe is deeply con­cerned about pri­va­cy and per­son­al lib­er­ty issues.
  • Ron Paul, cham­pi­on of indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty

    He mate­ri­al­izes in Hong Kong as Pres­i­dent Oba­ma is meet­ing with the Chi­nese lead­er­ship in an attempt to improve rela­tions. This can­not help any attempts at improv­ing U.S./Chinese rela­tions with regard to cyber­spy­ing or much of any­thing else. He is appar­ent­ly leak­ing doc­u­ments to the Chi­nese on U.S. hack­ing oper­a­tions direct­ed against the Chi­nese. (This inci­dent strikes us in a sim­i­lar man­ner to the down­ing of a U‑2 spy plane pri­or to the Eisenhower/Kruschev sum­mit. In The Guns of Novem­ber, Part I, we exam­ined infor­ma­tion from Colonel L. Fletch­er Prouty indi­cat­ing that the U‑2 had been delib­er­ate­ly sab­o­taged by CIA hard­lin­ers to frus­trate attempts at improv­ing U.S./Soviet rela­tions.)

  • Snow­den does not have a high school degree–manda­to­ry for some­one seek­ing employ­ment as a nation­al secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor. One won­ders if he was “fast-tracked” and just who may have done the work on his behalf.
  • The dis­clo­sures con­cern­ing PRISM fol­low short­ly on Oba­ma’s tak­ing con­trol of the drone pro­gram away from the CIA. Might this be a response? Might Michael J. Mor­rell be involved in this? Are we, in fact, look­ing at a desta­bi­liza­tion gam­bit against Oba­ma? Are we look­ing, per­haps, at a CIA-NSA tiff as well?
  • It devel­ops that Mor­rell decides to retire right in the mid­dle of this imbroglio.
  • It turns out that Cit­i­zen Snow­den is a sup­port­er of Nazi-linked Ron Paul, as well as a mod­est con­trib­u­tor to his cam­paign. We note in pass­ing that, in addi­tion to his long-stand­ing Nazi/white suprema­cist con­nec­tions, Ron Paul has suc­cess­ful­ly played Pied Piper to the young, stu­pid and stoned, who aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly Nazis. Not every­one who backed Hitler was a Nazi either. Lib­er­tar­i­an­ism is a far-right doc­trine, how­ev­er. As not­ed in our pre­vi­ous post, loom­ing in the back­ground is Peter Thiel, who’s Palan­tir firm appears to be the devel­op­er of PRISM, dis­claimers to the con­trary notwith­stand­ing. Thiel also net­works with the Cato Insti­tute which has also net­worked with Glenn Green­wald. Green­wald was also deeply involved with the far-right Nazi-linked Wik­iLeaks oper­a­tion. We note that Snow­den isn’t some dumb-ass col­lege kid, how­ev­er. He’s a spook.
  • The vast bulk of Paul’s Super PAC mon­ey came from ultra-right wing Peter Thiel.
  • Despite denials from Palan­tir con­cern­ing inquiries about its PRISM soft­ware being the same “PRISM” fea­tured in the NSA data-min­ing pro­gram, it turns out that Palan­tir does indeed have a work­ing rela­tion­ship with the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. The notion that “alpha­bet soup” would have two dif­fer­ent soft­ware func­tions with iden­ti­cal names is not cred­i­ble. Any attempt at uti­liz­ing the name “PRISM” by a dif­fer­ent firm would cer­tain­ly have trig­gered lit­i­ga­tion by Palan­tir.
  • Thiel is one of the asso­ciates of the Koch Broth­ers-found­ed Cato Insti­tute.
  • The leak­ing jour­nal­ist, Glenn Green­wald, is also pro­fes­sion­al­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Cato Insti­tute.
  • The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the Cato/Thiel/Paul dynam­ic may have fac­tored in the devel­op­ment of this sto­ry is one to be con­tem­plat­ed and researched. 
  • The Koch Broth­ers have also been deeply involved with financ­ing the Tea Par­ty move­ment, focus of the IRS non-scan­dal. 
  • It now devel­ops that a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can ini­ti­at­ed the scruti­ny of the Tea Par­ty doc­u­ments. Cou­pled with the fact that a Bush appointee was in charge of the IRS at the time, one must won­der if the non-scan­dal sur­round­ing the IRS/Tea Par­ty scruti­ny was a delib­er­ate gam­bit to ensnare the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion in scan­dal.
  • Note that, again, the so-called scan­dals ensnar­ing Oba­ma stem from pro­grams begun by George W. Bush’s regime and leaked from the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. We are almost cer­tain­ly look­ing at a de-sta­bi­liza­tion pro­gram under­tak­en by the GOP/Underground Reich fac­tion of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.
  • With regard to NSA/GCHQ spying–this has been known for years. There are For The Record pro­grams deal­ing with this sub­ject mate­r­i­al. So there is noth­ing real­ly new here. We also reit­er­ate that the ini­tial assault on Echelon/NSA/GCHQ came from the far right and Under­ground Reich, in the form of the Free Con­gress Foun­da­tion and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (read “Ger­many,” which does the same thing). Be sure to read our first post on this sub­ject.

The New York Times; 6/11/2013; p. A13.

EXCERPT: . . . . It is not clear how Mr. Snow­den man­aged to extract the secret doc­u­ments, and the por­trait of his trans­for­ma­tion from a trust­ed Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency con­trac­tor to a leak­er is still impres­sion­is­tic.

Last year, he donat­ed mon­ey to the cam­paign of Ron Paul the lib­er­tar­i­an ‑lean­ing Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date who was long crit­i­cal of gov­ern­men­t’s grow­ing reach. . . .

“How the U.S. Uses Tech­nol­o­gy to Mine More Data More Quick­ly” by James Risen and Eric Licht­blau; The New York Times; 6/8/2013.

EXCERPT: When Amer­i­can ana­lysts hunt­ing ter­ror­ists sought new ways to comb through the troves of phone records, e‑mails and oth­er data pil­ing up as dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions explod­ed over the past decade, they turned to Sil­i­con Val­ley com­put­er experts who had devel­oped com­plex equa­tions to thwart Russ­ian mob­sters intent on cred­it card fraud.

The part­ner­ship between the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty and Palan­tir Tech­nolo­gies, a Palo Alto, Calif., com­pa­ny found­ed by a group of inven­tors from Pay­Pal, is just one of many that the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency and oth­er agen­cies have forged as they have rushed to unlock the secrets of “Big Data.” . . . .

“C.I.A. to Get First Woman in No. 2 Job” by Scott Shane; The New York Times; 6/12/2013.

EXCERPT: The C.I.A.’s deputy direc­tor, Michael J. Morell, is retir­ing after 33 years at the agency and will be replaced by Avril D. Haines, the top lawyer at the Nation­al Secu­rity Coun­cil, the C.I.A.’s direc­tor, John O. Bren­nan, announced Wednes­day.

The switch will put a woman in one of the agency’s top two jobs for the first time. Ms. Haines is an unusu­al choice because she is not an intel­li­gence pro­fes­sional, though in her two years at the White House she has been deeply involved in intel­li­gence pro­grams and got to know Mr. Bren­nan when he was Pres­i­dent Obama’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism advis­er.

In April, the pres­i­dent had nom­i­nated Ms. Haines to become the legal advis­er at the State Depart­ment, a job in which she would also have been the first woman. But with Mr. Morell’s depar­ture, he evi­dently decid­ed to shift her to the C.I.A. post.

The agency’s deputy direc­tor is not sub­ject to Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion.

Mr. Morell, 54, is leav­ing vol­un­tar­ily, offi­cials said, after a full career that has includ­ed two recent stints as act­ing direc­tor of the spy agency, first after the depar­ture of Leon E. Panet­ta in 2011 and then after the res­ig­na­tion of David H. Petraeus last year over a sex scan­dal. . . .

. . . . Mr. Morell, a career intel­li­gence ana­lyst and for­mer pres­i­den­tial briefer, pre­vi­ously over­saw the agency’s ana­lytic efforts, which are sep­a­rate from the clan­des­tine ser­vice that sends spies over­seas. He is viewed as a com­pe­tent and well-liked man­ager who has rarely made waves with the pub­lic, though in recent months he drew atten­tion for his role in help­ing to draft the administration’s dis­puted “talk­ing points” on the lethal attack in Sep­tem­ber on the Amer­i­can diplo­matic com­pound in Beng­hazi, Libya.

In a state­ment, Mr. Morell recalled that he was at Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s side as his intel­li­gence briefer when Al Qae­da struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and with Mr. Oba­ma dur­ing the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. . . .

“Repub­li­can IRS Agent Says Cincin­nati Began ‘Tea Par­ty’ Inquiries” by David Mor­gan and Kim Dixon [Reuters]; Yahoo News; 6/9/2013.

EXCERPT: A U.S. Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice man­ag­er, who described him­self as a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can, told con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors that he and a local col­league decid­ed to give con­ser­v­a­tive groups the extra scruti­ny that has prompt­ed weeks of polit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sy.

In an offi­cial inter­view tran­script released on Sun­day by Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eli­jah Cum­mings, the man­ag­er said he and an under­ling set aside “Tea Par­ty” and “patri­ot” groups that had applied for tax-exempt sta­tus because the orga­ni­za­tions appeared to pose a new prece­dent that could affect future IRS fil­ings.

Cum­mings, top Demo­c­rat on the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Over­sight and Gov­ern­ment Reform Com­mit­tee con­duct­ing the probe, told CNN’s “State of the Union” pro­gram that the man­ager’s com­ments pro­vid­ed evi­dence that pol­i­tics was not behind IRS actions that have fueled a month-long furor in Wash­ing­ton.

“He is a con­ser­v­a­tive Repub­li­can work­ing for the IRS. I think this inter­view and these state­ments go a long way toward show­ing that the White House was not involved in this,” Cum­mings told CNN’s “State of the Union” pro­gram. . . .

Discussion

24 comments for “Citizen Snowden”

  1. Dave

    I would imag­ine the most dif­fi­cult part of your job at Spitfirelist.com is mak­ing sure your polit­i­cal views and agen­da do not skew the accu­ra­cy of your report­ing.

    At the ten­der age of 55, I have come to ful­ly real­ize that our entire gov­ern­ment is cor­rupt­ed beyond redemp­tion. And that includes both polit­i­cal par­ties, as well as the bureau­cra­cies.

    As for me, I only dream of the day when all these crim­i­nals are called to account.

    Posted by Dan | June 12, 2013, 4:23 pm
  2. Mor­rell just stepped down today and will be join­ing the Pres­i­den­t’s Intel­li­gence Advi­so­ry Board. He’s being replaced by the cur­rent legal advi­sor to the NSA:

    The New York Times
    C.I.A. to Get First Woman in No. 2 Job
    By SCOTT SHANE
    Pub­lished: June 12, 2013

    The C.I.A.’s deputy direc­tor, Michael J. Morell, is retir­ing after 33 years at the agency and will be replaced by Avril D. Haines, the top lawyer at the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, the C.I.A.’s direc­tor, John O. Bren­nan, announced Wednes­day.
    The switch will put a woman in one of the agency’s top two jobs for the first time. Ms. Haines is an unusu­al choice because she is not an intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­al, though in her two years at the White House she has been deeply involved in intel­li­gence pro­grams and got to know Mr. Bren­nan when he was Pres­i­dent Obama’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism advis­er.

    In April, the pres­i­dent had nom­i­nat­ed Ms. Haines to become the legal advis­er at the State Depart­ment, a job in which she would also have been the first woman. But with Mr. Morell’s depar­ture, he evi­dent­ly decid­ed to shift her to the C.I.A. post.

    The agency’s deputy direc­tor is not sub­ject to Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion.

    Mr. Morell, 54, is leav­ing vol­un­tar­i­ly, offi­cials said, after a full career that has includ­ed two recent stints as act­ing direc­tor of the spy agency, first after the depar­ture of Leon E. Panet­ta in 2011 and then after the res­ig­na­tion of David H. Petraeus last year over a sex scan­dal. He was a lead­ing can­di­date for the top job, but Mr. Oba­ma chose Mr. Bren­nan in Jan­u­ary, and col­leagues said then that Mr. Morell was like­ly to retire.

    “As much as I would self­ish­ly like to keep Michael right where he is for as long as pos­si­ble, he has decid­ed to retire to spend more time with his fam­i­ly and to pur­sue oth­er pro­fes­sion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties,” Mr. Bren­nan said in a state­ment. He praised Mr. Morell for his “excep­tion­al­ly sharp mind, tremen­dous ener­gy and absolute ded­i­ca­tion to mis­sion.”

    Mr. Morell, a career intel­li­gence ana­lyst and for­mer pres­i­den­tial briefer, pre­vi­ous­ly over­saw the agency’s ana­lyt­ic efforts, which are sep­a­rate from the clan­des­tine ser­vice that sends spies over­seas. He is viewed as a com­pe­tent and well-liked man­ag­er who has rarely made waves with the pub­lic, though in recent months he drew atten­tion for his role in help­ing to draft the administration’s dis­put­ed “talk­ing points” on the lethal attack in Sep­tem­ber on the Amer­i­can diplo­mat­ic com­pound in Beng­hazi, Libya.

    In a state­ment, Mr. Morell recalled that he was at Pres­i­dent George W. Bush’s side as his intel­li­gence briefer when Al Qae­da struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and with Mr. Oba­ma dur­ing the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He will leave his job on Aug. 9; Mr. Oba­ma said he would appoint him to the President’s Intel­li­gence Advi­so­ry Board.

    As legal advis­er to the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, Ms. Haines, 43, leads the group of lawyers from secu­ri­ty agen­cies that stud­ies the legal impli­ca­tions of the most del­i­cate oper­a­tions, includ­ing lethal drone strikes, cyber­at­tacks and intel­li­gence col­lec­tion on Amer­i­can soil. Mr. Bren­nan said her work at the White House and pre­vi­ous­ly as an assis­tant legal advis­er for treaty affairs at the State Depart­ment “has giv­en her a range of expe­ri­ences on many of the same issues that we focus on as an agency.”

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 12, 2013, 6:32 pm
  3. @Pterrafractyl–

    One won­ders if the tim­ing of Mor­rel­l’s res­ig­na­tion has any­thing to do with the “rev­e­la­tions” of “Cit­i­zen Snow­den.”

    The NSA/GCHQ activ­i­ty has been known for many years and has been report­ed on my pro­grams for much of that time.

    As FDR said; “In pol­i­tics, noth­ing hap­pens by acci­dent.”

    The tim­ing of Snow­den’s “dis­clo­sures” is more than a lit­tle inter­est­ing. As is his sur­fac­ing in Hong Kong, where his leak­ing of doc­u­ments to the Chi­nese can not help but obstruct Oba­ma’s diplo­ma­cy.

    As I indi­cat­ed in my first post on the NSA/PRISM sto­ry, I believe this is part of a desta­bi­liza­tion pro­gram against Oba­ma.

    No doubt younger, less informed and more impres­sion­able peo­ple will find this “rev­e­la­to­ry.”

    The sus­pi­cion in these quar­ters cen­ters on sus­pi­cion that younger, more “lib­er­al” and less sophis­ti­cat­ed vot­ers will be suf­fi­cient­ly turned off to stay away from the polls.

    Note, again, that the “leaks” are com­ing from Spookville.

    This comes right after Oba­ma took con­trol of the drone pro­gram away from CIA.

    I doubt we’ll ever know for sure, but I sus­pect the Petraeus affair was prepa­ra­tion for what we are see­ing now.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 12, 2013, 7:11 pm
  4. @Dan–

    You are wrong on all counts.

    The most dif­fi­cult part of what I do is fac­ing what the Pow­ers That Be have to Dish Out, while receiv­ing no pay for what I do.

    At the same time, I move for­ward know­ing that an increas­ing­ly large per­cent­age of the pub­lic will not under­stand what I do–this owing to their own accel­er­at­ing igno­rance and myopia, as well as the increas­ing sophis­ti­ca­tion of the analy­sis.

    Oth­er than avoid­ing fas­cism, I don’t have an “agen­da.”

    You are wrong about both par­ties, as well. Both are depen­dent, to an extent, on cor­po­rate monies.

    The sort of gen­er­al­ized, cheesy non-analy­sis of the sort you have dished up here serves only to jus­ti­fy inac­tion and ratio­nal­iza­tion.

    You do not appear to have much famil­iar­i­ty with what is on this web­site, so I’ll sim­ply con­clude by refer­ring you to the post enti­tled “Rea­gan’s Nazis.” http://spitfirelist.com/news/reagans-nazis/

    Suf­fice it to say, there is noth­ing remote­ly like this in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

    I “dream” of the day when the lazy, unin­formed pub­lic actu­al­ly gets off their lazy butts and does some­thing con­crete and con­struc­tive.

    Now THAT is, indeed, a dream.

    Cheers,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 12, 2013, 7:21 pm
  5. @Dave,

    If I may inter­rupt, I want to admit I am a fol­low­er of the Spit­fire List and your work for going on two years now. I absolute­ly hon­our, appre­ci­ate and respect what you do. I LOVE lis­ten­ing to you talk and lec­ture. I tried to find video lec­tures of you, so I could see you instead of just hear you, but all I found was audio lec­tures on Youtube but they are fas­ci­nat­ing and infor­ma­tive and edu­ca­tion­al.

    I don’t know how you feel about this, Dave, but my feel­ings toward Edward Snow­den have com­plete­ly changed. I can­not look over or for­give him for sup­port­ing the likes of Ron Paul and by exten­sion sup­port­ing such psy­cho­path­ic and failed ide­olo­gies. Addi­tion­al­ly, I don’t like Green­wald either, even though he is an excel­lent writer and an excel­lent speak­er, the breadth of his vocab­u­lary impress­es me as does the excel­lent artic­u­la­tion he has, the point is, this guy is in league with the Charles Koch Foun­da­tion (now called the Cato Insti­tute) and that is so mind-numb­ing­ly scary.

    I don’t know if you missed it, but a recent Gallup poll sug­gests that most Amer­i­cans like George Bush II (aka, George Bush Jr.).

    There was a bloody bril­liant response to this news over at Truth Dig.

    Par­sons’ said

    “As bril­liant as Karl Marx was, his belief in the inevitabil­i­ty of rev­o­lu­tion and the sub­se­quent over­throw of cap­i­tal­ism by the very peo­ple being exploit­ed by it is, I believe, high­ly sus­pect. I have looked into the eyes of Wal-Mar­tians on Prozac and heard their cries — not for jus­tice and free­dom — but for a cheap­er dozen waf­fles. I have heard their com­plaints — not for a liv­ing wage and the abil­i­ty to orga­nize their place of work — but rather, their pet­ty griev­ances over “The Mex­i­cans liv­ing on Wel­fare.”

    So yes, “The Peo­ple” are stu­pid. They are also tired, beat down, beat up, under­paid, under-edu­cat­ed, and over­med­icat­ed. And they have a short atten­tion span to the point of amne­sia.

    “George Bush? Which one was he? Oh hell, he was­n’t too bad — at least you always knew where he stood.”

    Even if where he stood was on an air­craft car­ri­er under a ban­ner that said “Mis­sion Accom­plished.”

    Posted by Jay | June 12, 2013, 8:28 pm
  6. This is interesting...there appears to be a par­tic­u­lar request Snow­den made with the Wash­ing­ton Post: The full 41-slide Pow­er­Point pre­sen­ta­tion that was first passed along to Wash­ing­ton Post reporter Bart Gell­man be pub­lished with­in 72 hours. It was appar­ent­ly only after Gell­man said he could­n’t promise that all of the slides would be pub­lished that Snow­den con­tact­ed Green­wald. After Gell­man pub­lished this, Green­wald tweet­ed on Mon­day that “Bart Gellman’s claims about Snowden’s inter­ac­tions with me — when, how and why — are all false”. Green­wald claims that he nev­er had any con­di­tion that all 41 slides get pub­lished and he also claims that he first con­tact­ed by Snow­den back in Feb­ru­ary, long before Snow­den appears to have con­tact­ed Gell­man. Nei­ther The Wash­ing­ton Post nor The Guardian have pub­lished the full set slides yet and both only pub­lished the same 4 out of 41 slides ini­tial­ly with the fifth “Prism” slide lat­er get­ting pub­lished.

    So Snow­den appears to have first con­tact Green­wald in Feb­ru­ary. Then, at some point, Snow­den con­tact­ed Gell­man. But Green­wald says Gell­man’s account of the sequence of events sur­round­ing Green­wald are “all false”. So the basic time­line of what hap­pened when is unclear and in dis­pute:

    Politi­co
    Bar­ton Gell­man, Glenn Green­wald feud over NSA leak­er

    By MACKENZIE WEINGER | 6/10/13 1:23 PM EDT

    The Guardian’s Glenn Green­wald on Mon­day blast­ed inves­tiga­tive reporter Bar­ton Gell­man for mak­ing “false” claims about the man they shared as a source: Edward Snow­den.

    The pub­lic tiff between two jour­nal­ists who have led the way on dis­clos­ing Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency sur­veil­lance offers a rare win­dow into high-stakes nego­ti­a­tions between reporters and their sources. It illus­trates the bal­ance between pub­lish­ing secrets and pro­tect­ing the nation’s secu­ri­ty — and shows the risks that a source thought to be exclu­sive to one out­let might ped­dle his news scoop else­where.

    Snow­den came for­ward on Sun­day after­noon in both The Guardian and the Post, where Gell­man wrote his piece, to say he was the source of the rev­e­la­tions about Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency sur­veil­lance.

    On Sun­day evening, the Post pub­lished a sto­ry by Gell­man detail­ing his inter­ac­tions with Snow­den. Gell­man wrote that Snow­den asked for a guar­an­tee that the Post would pub­lish, with­in 72 hours, all the Pow­er­Point slides he pro­vid­ed on PRISM. When Gell­man said he couldn’t promise that, Snow­den went to Green­wald, accord­ing to Gellman’s account.

    Green­wald fired back via Twit­ter on Mon­day morn­ing.

    “Bart Gellman’s claims about Snowden’s inter­ac­tions with me — when, how and why — are all false,” Green­wald wrote on Twit­ter.

    On the issue of con­di­tions for pub­lish­ing the infor­ma­tion from Snow­den, Green­wald tweet­ed, “I have no idea whether he had any con­di­tions for WP, but he had none for us: we didn’t post all the slides.” He also wrote he had been “work­ing with” Snow­den since Feb­ru­ary, “long before any­one spoke to Bart Gell­man.”

    In the back-to-back scoop, Green­wald struck first in The Guardian with his bomb­shell about sweep­ing NSA sur­veil­lance of phone calls, while Gell­man fol­lowed up quick­ly in the Post with the rev­e­la­tion about PRISM.

    The spat con­tin­ued dur­ing the day on Mon­day, with Gell­man writ­ing on Twit­ter: “Snow­den didn’t bolt when I refused guar­an­tees, just quit going steady.”

    In his Post piece, Gell­man described a series of “indi­rect con­tacts” he had with Snow­den before their first “direct exchange” on May 16, Gell­man wrote in an account for The Wash­ing­ton Post about his exchanges with his source. Snow­den — who chose the name Ver­ax, or “truth teller” in Latin for his code name, and called Gell­man “Brass­ban­ner” — “dropped a bomb­shell” on May 24 and asked Gell­man for a guar­an­tee that The Wash­ing­ton Post would pub­lish, with­in 72 hours, all the Pow­er­Point slides he pro­vid­ed on PRISM.

    Snow­den told Gell­man he want­ed “to embold­en oth­ers to step for­ward.”

    Addi­tion­al­ly, accord­ing to Gell­man, Snow­den request­ed that the Post pub­lish online a “cryp­to­graph­ic key” so he could prove to a for­eign embassy he was the source of the doc­u­ment leak.

    Gell­man respond­ed that he could make no guar­an­tees about what The Post would pub­lish or when — and accord­ing to his account, that’s when Snow­den replied, “I regret that we weren’t able to keep this project uni­lat­er­al.”

    Short­ly after­ward he made con­tact with Glenn Green­wald of the British news­pa­per the Guardian,” Gell­man wrote.

    Snow­den, how­ev­er, wrote that he still remained in con­tact with Gell­man. And on Thurs­day, the Post pub­lished its PRISM sto­ry, with Gell­man not­ing in his account that the paper “sought the views of gov­ern­ment offi­cials about the poten­tial harm to nation­al secu­ri­ty pri­or to pub­li­ca­tion.” The Post ulti­mate­ly decid­ed to pub­lish only four of the 41 slides.

    Ear­ly Mon­day morn­ing, just after 1 a.m., Green­wald took to Twit­ter to briefly respond to Gellman’s play-by-play.

    “Bart Gellman’s claims about Snowden’s inter­ac­tions with me — when, how and why — are all false,” Green­wald wrote on Twit­ter.

    Nei­ther Gell­man nor Green­wald has yet respond­ed to respec­tive requests for com­ment.

    The Post just bare­ly beat The Guardian in pub­lish­ing the PRISM sto­ry on Thurs­day by about 20 min­utes — with nei­ther paper pub­lish­ing the full set of slides — but in every­thing else, The Guardian has led the way. Green­wald broke the sto­ry about the NSA col­lect­ing Ver­i­zon phone records late Wednes­day night. Then it was The Guardian who Snow­den asked to reveal his iden­ti­ty to the pub­lic on Sun­day after “sev­er­al days of inter­views,” accord­ing to a sto­ry with the bylines of Green­wald, The Guardian’s Wash­ing­ton bureau chief Ewan MacAskill and doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er Lau­ra Poitras, who co-wrote The Post’s PRISM sto­ry with Gell­man.

    Gell­man told The Huff­in­g­ton Post last week that he “start­ed to hear some foot­steps, so I had to move” on the PRISM sto­ry. There’s no ques­tion it was a race to pub­lish, and although Gell­man said he “would have been hap­pi­er to have had a day or two” longer on the sto­ry, the Post had to move to get that scoop online before The Guardian.

    ...

    After The Post pub­lished his account of his exchanges with Snow­den, Gell­man also took to Twit­ter to “clar­i­fy a cou­ple of points,” he wrote. “Snow­den didn’t bolt when I refused guar­an­tees, just quit going steady. And not because I con­sult­ed USG,” Gell­man said.

    As for Snow­den, he doesn’t seem pre­oc­cu­pied with the “when, how and why” of his inter­ac­tions with the press.

    “I real­ly want the focus to be on these doc­u­ments and the debate which I hope this will trig­ger among cit­i­zens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live in,” he told The Guardian. “My sole motive is to inform the pub­lic as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

    Most of what’s been leaked isn’t new infor­ma­tion but it’s not unhelp­ful infor­ma­tion either. We real­ly should be talk­ing about how pro­grams like this affect soci­eties. And when top­ics like mass-sur­veil­lance come up it real­ly should be an “ongo­ing dis­cus­sion” sort of nation­al dia­logue. The appro­pri­ate­ness of mass-sur­veil­lance is an extreme­ly con­text-spe­cif­ic top­ic (i.e. is there a legit­i­mate need or are Palan­tir & Friends just loot­ing?). Mass-sur­veil­lance is a crit­i­cal top­ic for the US, and human­i­ty in gen­er­al, to dis­cuss because it’s inter­twined with that neb­u­lous swirl of “free will”, “tech­nol­o­gy”, “the com­mon good”, and “some­thing we hope resem­bles moral­i­ty”. We HAVE to be talk­ing about these top­ics but we also HAVE to not mess up the dis­cus­sion because the top­ics are very tricky and extreme­ly impor­tant. So when an event like this pops up that thrusts an impor­tant top­ic into the spot­light — but in a kind of weird way involv­ing jour­nal­is­tic dis­putes and trav­el­ing to Hong Kong and cozy­ing up to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment — we def­i­nite­ly need to con­sid­er the pos­si­bil­i­ty that someone(s) is try­ing to con­trol the nar­ra­tive around the pub­lic’s under­stand­ing of how mass-sur­veil­lance impacts their lives. There are 36 Pow­er­Point slides that both The Wash­ing­ton Post and The Guardian have with­held from the pub­lic so far. We might even­tu­al­ly see what those slides con­tained but it looks like ~88% of what Snow­den want­ed released has yet to be pub­lished. It could be a sum­mer of drip...drip...drip...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 12, 2013, 11:44 pm
  7. Michael Morell, John Boehn­er and Dar­rel Issa... Amer­i­ca’s desta­bi­liza­tion and dis­trac­tion crew.. all have Ohio con­nec­tions... Coin­ka-Dance?

    Posted by patternizer | June 12, 2013, 11:57 pm
  8. Sev­en­ty-five per­cent of data min­ing is
    per­formed by pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions
    increas­ing­ly backed by CIA invest­ment
    funds such as In-Q-Tel. The com­mer­cial appli­ca­tions mask the desta­bi­liz­ing polit­i­cal ones. The Sil­i­con Val­ley lib­er­tar­i­ans erro­neous­ly believe tech­nol­o­gy is apo­lit­i­cal. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth as self-aggran­diz­ing media dar­lings like Snow­den and Green­wald
    front for the Koch Brothers,Thiel, the Pauls and the rest of their Under­ground Reich col­leagues.

    Posted by Dennis | June 13, 2013, 1:11 am
  9. Dave,

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/13/us-usa-security-snowden-anime-idUSBRE95B14B20130613

    A cou­ple things — he was diss­ing the sur­veil­lance state on the inter­net years ago, and he got top secret access? And what do they mean when they say that his com­pa­ny was “next door” to the NSA?

    DM

    Posted by David M | June 13, 2013, 9:26 am
  10. Wrote about Snow­den’s curi­ous work his­to­ry a cou­ple of days ago. I won­der if his two bro­ken legs were the 21st Cen­tu­ry equiv­a­lent of his mom being hurt in a work­place injury. I pre­sume your read­ers will get the Oswald ref­er­ence.

    I’d be inter­est­ed in his par­ents’ actu­al back­ground, and where they worked when he grew up next to the NSA.

    And yes, it is dis­cour­ag­ing that so few peo­ple can grasp our revised gov­ern­men­tal schemat­ics since the coup 50 years ago. I am remind­ed of SCIENCE OF COERCION by Simp­son. The Wurl­itzer folks are noth­ing if not com­pre­hen­sive.

    In the sum­mer of 2008 it was pret­ty obvi­ous that a Demo­c­rat would be the next Pres­i­dent. And yet the Repub­li­cans in the Sen­ate were unan­i­mous in the FISA bill. Why would they want to hand over so much pow­er to a Demo­c­ra­t­ic Pres­i­dent? They weren’t. They knew the pow­er accrues to the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, not to the Pres­i­dent. If only the pub­lic were wise enough to rec­og­nize that.

    As I recall, Oba­ma, who was ini­tial­ly opposed to it, switched his sup­port to the FISA bill after his plane had mechan­i­cal prob­lems on the cam­paign trail and he made an appear­ance in DALLAS where the Secret Ser­vice “mis­tak­en­ly” turned off the met­al detec­tors.

    Life goes on.

    Posted by Bob Miller | June 13, 2013, 12:14 pm
  11. Dave: You are one of the very very few who real­ly under­stands the dynam­ics and the dan­gers sur­round­ing these “leaks”. This is one of the few times I’m more dis­gust­ed the “the progressive/left” than I am with “the right”. This is a very scary sit­u­a­tion. My fear is that a false flag inci­dent will trig­ger a coup. But again, most peo­ple just don’t get it. I think we need to under­stand “the process” behind the leaks — how did Snow­den get hired, how did he fig­ure out in just a few months where to find doc­u­ments and digest what they con­tained. What infor­ma­tion is actu­al­ly con­tained in the doc­u­ments? Sys­tem flows? Tech­ni­cal Ser­vice Doc­u­ments? What? This whole “leak process” smells to high heav­en. But very, very few “jour­nal­ists” or blog­gers want to ques­tion the actu­al sto­ry itself.

    Posted by Kathleen | June 13, 2013, 1:49 pm
  12. Thank you, Bob. I total­ly agree with every­thing you said.

    Posted by Kathleen | June 13, 2013, 2:12 pm
  13. There is a line of thought that says that the right/left divide is a diver­sion, what real­ly exists is the cor­po­rate agen­da and it does­n’t mat­ter who sits in the oval office.

    Posted by Chris | June 13, 2013, 3:06 pm
  14. OTT
    The Tablet of 6/10/13 has a review of an upcom­ing book pub­lished by Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Press, writ­ten by Ben Urguard — The Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Hol­ly­wood’s Pact With Hitler.
    “As it turns out, Hitler’s love for Amer­i­can movies was rec­i­p­ro­cat­ed by Hol­ly­wood. A forth­com­ing book by the young his­to­ri­an Ben Urwand, to be pub­lished by Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Press in Octo­ber, presents explo­sive new evi­dence about the shock­ing extent of the part­ner­ship between the Nazis and major Hol­ly­wood pro­duc­ers. Urwand, a for­mer indie rock musi­cian and cur­rent­ly a mem­ber of Harvard’s pres­ti­gious Soci­ety of Fel­lows, takes the sub­ject per­son­al­ly: His par­ents were Jew­ish refugees from Egypt and Hun­gary. Dig­ging through archives in Berlin and Wash­ing­ton, D.C., he has unearthed proof that Hol­ly­wood worked togeth­er with the Nazis much more close­ly than we ever imag­ined.

    Urwand has titled his riv­et­ing book The Col­lab­o­ra­tion: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler, and as you turn its pages you real­ize with dis­may that col­lab­o­ra­tion is the only fit­ting word for the rela­tion­ship between Hitler and Hol­ly­wood in the 1930s. Using new archival dis­cov­er­ies, Urwand alleges that some of the Hol­ly­wood stu­dio heads, near­ly all of whom were Jew­ish, cast their lot with Hitler almost from the moment he took pow­er, and that they did so eagerly—not reluc­tant­ly. What they want­ed was access to Ger­man audi­ences. What Hitler want­ed was the abil­i­ty to shape the con­tent of Hol­ly­wood movies—and he got it. Dur­ing the ’30s, Georg Gyssling, Hitler’s con­sul in Los Ange­les, was invit­ed to pre­view films before they were released. If Gyssling object­ed to any part of a movie—and he fre­quent­ly did—the offend­ing scenes were cut. As a result, the Nazis had total veto pow­er over the con­tent of Hol­ly­wood movies.”

    Posted by Senn | June 13, 2013, 3:19 pm
  15. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/10/inside_the_nsa_s_ultra_secret_china_hacking_group?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

    Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret Chi­na Hack­ing Group
    Deep with­in the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, an elite, rarely dis­cussed team of hack­ers and spies is tar­get­ing Amer­i­ca’s ene­mies abroad.
    BY MATTHEW M. AID | JUNE 10, 2013

    This week­end, U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma sat down for a series of meet­ings with Chi­na’s new­ly appoint­ed leader, Xi Jin­ping. We know that the two lead­ers spoke at length about the top­ic du jour — cyber-espi­onage — a sub­ject that has long frus­trat­ed offi­cials in Wash­ing­ton and is now front and cen­ter with the rev­e­la­tions of sweep­ing U.S. data min­ing. The media has focused at length on Chi­na’s aggres­sive attempts to elec­tron­i­cal­ly steal U.S. mil­i­tary and com­mer­cial secrets, but Xi pushed back at the “shirt-sleeves” sum­mit, not­ing that Chi­na, too, was the recip­i­ent of cyber-espi­onage. But what Oba­ma prob­a­bly neglect­ed to men­tion is that he has his own hack­er army, and it has bur­rowed its way deep, deep into Chi­na’s net­works.

    When the agen­da for the meet­ing at the Sun­ny­lands estate out­side Palm Springs, Cal­i­for­nia, was agreed to sev­er­al months ago, both par­ties agreed that it would be a nice oppor­tu­ni­ty for Pres­i­dent Xi, who assumed his post in March, to dis­cuss a wide range of secu­ri­ty and eco­nom­ic issues of con­cern to both coun­tries. Accord­ing to diplo­mat­ic sources, the issue of cyber­se­cu­ri­ty was not one of the key top­ics to be dis­cussed at the sum­mit. Sino-Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic rela­tions, cli­mate change, and the grow­ing threat posed by North Korea were sup­posed to dom­i­nate the dis­cus­sions.

    Then, two weeks ago, White House offi­cials leaked to the press that Oba­ma intend­ed to raise pri­vate­ly with Xi the high­ly con­tentious issue of Chi­na’s wide­spread use of com­put­er hack­ing to steal U.S. gov­ern­ment, mil­i­tary, and com­mer­cial secrets. Accord­ing to a Chi­nese diplo­mat in Wash­ing­ton who spoke in con­fi­dence, Bei­jing was furi­ous about the sud­den ele­va­tion of cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Chi­nese espi­onage on the meet­ing’s agen­da. Accord­ing to a diplo­mat­ic source in Wash­ing­ton, the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment was even angri­er that the White House leaked the new agen­da item to the press before Wash­ing­ton both­ered to tell Bei­jing about it.

    So the Chi­nese began to hit back. Senior Chi­nese offi­cials have pub­licly accused the U.S. gov­ern­ment of hypocrisy and have alleged that Wash­ing­ton is also active­ly engaged in cyber-espi­onage. When the lat­est alle­ga­tion of Chi­nese cyber-espi­onage was lev­eled in late May in a front-page Wash­ing­ton Post arti­cle, which alleged that hack­ers employed by the Chi­nese mil­i­tary had stolen the blue­prints of over three dozen Amer­i­can weapons sys­tems, the Chi­nese gov­ern­men­t’s top Inter­net offi­cial, Huang Chengqing, shot back that Bei­jing pos­sessed “moun­tains of data” show­ing that the Unit­ed States has engaged in wide­spread hack­ing designed to steal Chi­nese gov­ern­ment secrets. This week­end’s rev­e­la­tions about the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agen­cy’s PRISM and Ver­i­zon meta­da­ta col­lec­tion from a 29-year-old for­mer CIA under­cov­er oper­a­tive named Edward J. Snow­den, who is now liv­ing in Hong Kong, only add fuel to Bei­jing’s posi­tion.

    But Wash­ing­ton nev­er pub­licly respond­ed to Huang’s alle­ga­tion, and nobody in the U.S. media seems to have both­ered to ask the White House if there is a mod­icum of truth to the Chi­nese charges.

    It turns out that the Chi­nese gov­ern­men­t’s alle­ga­tions are essen­tial­ly cor­rect. Accord­ing to a num­ber of con­fi­den­tial sources, a high­ly secre­tive unit of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA), the U.S. gov­ern­men­t’s huge elec­tron­ic eaves­drop­ping orga­ni­za­tion, called the Office of Tai­lored Access Oper­a­tions, or TAO, has suc­cess­ful­ly pen­e­trat­ed Chi­nese com­put­er and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems for almost 15 years, gen­er­at­ing some of the best and most reli­able intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion about what is going on inside the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Chi­na.

    Hid­den away inside the mas­sive NSA head­quar­ters com­plex at Fort Meade, Mary­land, in a large suite of offices seg­re­gat­ed from the rest of the agency, TAO is a mys­tery to many NSA employ­ees. Rel­a­tive­ly few NSA offi­cials have com­plete access to infor­ma­tion about TAO because of the extra­or­di­nary sen­si­tiv­i­ty of its oper­a­tions, and it requires a spe­cial secu­ri­ty clear­ance to gain access to the unit’s work spaces inside the NSA oper­a­tions com­plex. The door lead­ing to its ultra­mod­ern oper­a­tions cen­ter is pro­tect­ed by armed guards, an impos­ing steel door that can only be entered by enter­ing the cor­rect six-dig­it code into a key­pad, and a reti­nal scan­ner to ensure that only those indi­vid­u­als spe­cial­ly cleared for access get through the door.

    Accord­ing to for­mer NSA offi­cials inter­viewed for this arti­cle, TAO’s mis­sion is sim­ple. It col­lects intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion on for­eign tar­gets by sur­rep­ti­tious­ly hack­ing into their com­put­ers and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems, crack­ing pass­words, com­pro­mis­ing the com­put­er secu­ri­ty sys­tems pro­tect­ing the tar­get­ed com­put­er, steal­ing the data stored on com­put­er hard dri­ves, and then copy­ing all the mes­sages and data traf­fic pass­ing with­in the tar­get­ed email and text-mes­sag­ing sys­tems. The tech­ni­cal term of art used by NSA to describe these oper­a­tions is com­put­er net­work exploita­tion (CNE).

    TAO is also respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing the infor­ma­tion that would allow the Unit­ed States to destroy or dam­age for­eign com­put­er and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems with a cyber­at­tack if so direct­ed by the pres­i­dent. The orga­ni­za­tion respon­si­ble for con­duct­ing such a cyber­at­tack is U.S. Cyber Com­mand (Cyber­com), whose head­quar­ters is locat­ed at Fort Meade and whose chief is the direc­tor of the NSA, Gen. Kei­th Alexan­der.

    Com­mand­ed since April of this year by Robert Joyce, who for­mer­ly was the deputy direc­tor of the NSA’s Infor­ma­tion Assur­ance Direc­torate (respon­si­ble for pro­tect­ing the U.S. gov­ern­men­t’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions and com­put­er sys­tems), TAO, sources say, is now the largest and arguably the most impor­tant com­po­nent of the NSA’s huge Sig­nal Intel­li­gence (SIGINT) Direc­torate, con­sist­ing of over 1,000 mil­i­tary and civil­ian com­put­er hack­ers, intel­li­gence ana­lysts, tar­get­ing spe­cial­ists, com­put­er hard­ware and soft­ware design­ers, and elec­tri­cal engi­neers.

    The sanc­tum sanc­to­rum of TAO is its ultra­mod­ern oper­a­tions cen­ter at Fort Meade called the Remote Oper­a­tions Cen­ter (ROC), which is where the unit’s 600 or so mil­i­tary and civil­ian com­put­er hack­ers (they them­selves CNE oper­a­tors) work in rotat­ing shifts 24 hours a day, sev­en days a week.

    These oper­a­tors spend their days (or nights) search­ing the ether for com­put­ers sys­tems and sup­port­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works being uti­lized by, for exam­ple, for­eign ter­ror­ists to pass mes­sages to their mem­bers or sym­pa­thiz­ers. Once these com­put­ers have been iden­ti­fied and locat­ed, the com­put­er hack­ers work­ing in the ROC break into the tar­get­ed com­put­er sys­tems elec­tron­i­cal­ly using spe­cial soft­ware designed by TAO’s own corps of soft­ware design­ers and engi­neers specif­i­cal­ly for this pur­pose, down­load the con­tents of the com­put­ers’ hard dri­ves, and place soft­ware implants or oth­er devices called “bug­gies” inside the com­put­ers’ oper­at­ing sys­tems, which allows TAO inter­cept oper­a­tors at Fort Meade to con­tin­u­ous­ly mon­i­tor the email and/or text-mes­sag­ing traf­fic com­ing in and out of the com­put­ers or hand-held devices.

    TAO’s work would not be pos­si­ble with­out the team of gift­ed com­put­er sci­en­tists and soft­ware engi­neers belong­ing to the Data Net­work Tech­nolo­gies Branch, who devel­op the sophis­ti­cat­ed com­put­er soft­ware that allows the unit’s oper­a­tors to per­form their intel­li­gence col­lec­tion mis­sion. A sep­a­rate unit with­in TAO called the Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Net­work Tech­nolo­gies Branch (TNT) devel­ops the tech­niques that allow TAO’s hack­ers to covert­ly gain access to tar­get­ed com­put­er sys­tems and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions net­works with­out being detect­ed. Mean­while, TAO’s Mis­sion Infra­struc­ture Tech­nolo­gies Branch devel­ops and builds the sen­si­tive com­put­er and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions mon­i­tor­ing hard­ware and sup­port infra­struc­ture that keeps the effort up and run­ning.

    TAO even has its own small clan­des­tine intel­li­gence-gath­er­ing unit called the Access Tech­nolo­gies Oper­a­tions Branch, which includes per­son­nel sec­ond­ed by the CIA and the FBI, who per­form what are described as “off-net oper­a­tions,” which is a polite way of say­ing that they arrange for CIA agents to sur­rep­ti­tious­ly plant eaves­drop­ping devices on com­put­ers and/or telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems over­seas so that TAO’s hack­ers can remote­ly access them from Fort Meade.

    It is impor­tant to note that TAO is not sup­posed to work against domes­tic tar­gets in the Unit­ed States or its pos­ses­sions. This is the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the FBI, which is the sole U.S. intel­li­gence agency char­tered for domes­tic telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions sur­veil­lance. But in light of infor­ma­tion about wider NSA snoop­ing, one has to pru­dent­ly be con­cerned about whether TAO is able to per­form its mis­sion of col­lect­ing for­eign intel­li­gence with­out access­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions orig­i­nat­ing in or tran­sit­ing through the Unit­ed States.

    Since its cre­ation in 1997, TAO has gar­nered a rep­u­ta­tion for pro­duc­ing some of the best intel­li­gence avail­able to the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty not only about Chi­na, but also on for­eign ter­ror­ist groups, espi­onage activ­i­ties being con­duct­ed against the Unit­ed States by for­eign gov­ern­ments, bal­lis­tic mis­sile and weapons of mass destruc­tion devel­op­ments around the globe, and the lat­est polit­i­cal, mil­i­tary, and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ments around the globe.

    Accord­ing to a for­mer NSA offi­cial, by 2007 TAO’s 600 inter­cept oper­a­tors were secret­ly tap­ping into thou­sands of for­eign com­put­er sys­tems and access­ing pass­word-pro­tect­ed com­put­er hard dri­ves and emails of tar­gets around the world. As detailed in my 2009 his­to­ry of NSA, The Secret Sen­try, this high­ly clas­si­fied inter­cept pro­gram, known at the time as Stumpcur­sor, proved to be crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant dur­ing the U.S. Army’s 2007 “surge” in Iraq, where it was cred­it­ed with sin­gle-hand­ed­ly iden­ti­fy­ing and locat­ing over 100 Iraqi and al Qae­da insur­gent cells in and around Bagh­dad. That same year, sources report that TAO was giv­en an award for pro­duc­ing par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion about whether Iran was try­ing to build an atom­ic bomb.

    By the time Oba­ma became pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States in Jan­u­ary 2009, TAO had become some­thing akin to the wun­derkind of the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty. “It’s become an indus­try unto itself,” a for­mer NSA offi­cial said of TAO at the time. “They go places and get things that nobody else in the IC [intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty] can.”

    Giv­en the nature and extra­or­di­nary polit­i­cal sen­si­tiv­i­ty of its work, it will come as no sur­prise that TAO has always been, and remains, extra­or­di­nar­i­ly pub­lic­i­ty shy. Every­thing about TAO is clas­si­fied top secret code­word, even with­in the hyper­secre­tive NSA. Its name has appeared in print only a few times over the past decade, and the hand­ful of reporters who have dared inquire about it have been polite­ly but very firm­ly warned by senior U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials not to describe its work for fear that it might com­pro­mise its ongo­ing efforts. Accord­ing to a senior U.S. defense offi­cial who is famil­iar with TAO’s work, “The agency believes that the less peo­ple know about them [TAO] the bet­ter.”

    The word among NSA offi­cials is that if you want to get pro­mot­ed or rec­og­nized, get a trans­fer to TAO as soon as you can. The cur­rent head of the NSA’s SIGINT Direc­torate, Tere­sa Shea, 54, got her cur­rent job in large part because of the work she did as chief of TAO in the years after the 9/11 ter­ror­ist attacks, when the unit earned plau­dits for its abil­i­ty to col­lect extreme­ly hard-to-come-by infor­ma­tion dur­ing the lat­ter part of George W. Bush’s admin­is­tra­tion. We do not know what the infor­ma­tion was, but sources sug­gest that it must have been pret­ty impor­tant to pro­pel Shea to her posi­tion today. But accord­ing to a recent­ly retired NSA offi­cial, TAO “is the place to be right now.”

    There’s no ques­tion that TAO has con­tin­ued to grow in size and impor­tance since Oba­ma took office in 2009, which is indica­tive of its out­sized role. In recent years, TAO’s col­lec­tion oper­a­tions have expand­ed from Fort Meade to some of the agen­cy’s most impor­tant lis­ten­ing posts in the Unit­ed States. There are now mini-TAO units oper­at­ing at the huge NSA SIGINT inter­cept and pro­cess­ing cen­ters at NSA Hawaii at Wahi­awa on the island of Oahu; NSA Geor­gia at Fort Gor­don, Geor­gia; and NSA Texas at the Med­i­na Annex out­side San Anto­nio, Texas; and with­in the huge NSA lis­ten­ing post at Buck­ley Air Force Base out­side Den­ver.

    The prob­lem is that TAO has become so large and pro­duces so much valu­able intel­li­gence infor­ma­tion that it has become vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble to hide it any­more. The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is cer­tain­ly aware of TAO’s activ­i­ties. The “moun­tains of data” state­ment by Chi­na’s top Inter­net offi­cial, Huang Chengqing, is clear­ly an implied threat by Bei­jing to release this data. Thus it is unlike­ly that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma pressed Pres­i­dent Xi too hard at the Sun­ny­dale sum­mit on the ques­tion of Chi­na’s cyber-espi­onage activ­i­ties. As any high-stakes pok­er play­er knows, you can only press your luck so far when the guy on the oth­er side of the table knows what cards you have in your hand.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 13, 2013, 3:22 pm
  16. Looks like the desta­bi­liz­ing duo of Rupert Mur­doch and Roger Ailes is in the news again. Let me amend my list above, let’s add Ohio born Roger Ailes to that list since he and Rupert Mur­doch are in the news again today. Now it could be my active imag­i­na­tion, but I smell some­thing in the air as of late... for starters, I smell a bit of fear in the air over there at Fox News, fear they know they have been the unwit­ting or wit­ting dupes of the secret police state ele­ments they are now hav­ing a hissy fit about.

    Just look at that clown-weasel-jack­ass hybrid Sean Han­ni­ty now try­ing to do back flips to blame Oba­ma for stuff he was per­fect­ly ok with under Bush. Read Roger Ailes lame weasel ass attempts to undig the ditch they are in and por­tray him­self and Fox News as Amer­i­ca lov­ing “uni­fy­ing” forces in this arti­cle :
    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/06/12/fox-news-chairman-ailes-remarks-on-winning-bradley-prize/

    Some high­ly flat­u­lent quotes from Ailes : “Regard­less of your polit­i­cal par­ty there are some themes that I believe we should all agree on: Gov­ern­ment must rein­force the val­ue of the indi­vid­ual and life.”

    “Of course, the country’s split polit­i­cal­ly. Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans can’t get along. And it is hard to fig­ure out if it is ever going to get back togeth­er...”

    Yeah, douchebag, and you and the Aus­tralian were a major force in split­ting the USA in two!!!

    Anoth­er quote from the Desta­bi­liz­ing Douche : “I’ve watched even some Amer­i­cans sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly try to dis­man­tle the great­est coun­try on earth and yet we are still strong.”

    Uh, would that be the Amer­i­ca Desta­bi­liz­ing Duo of Roger Ailes and his Oxford schooled Aus­tralian and Chi­na Trade con­nect­ed pal Rupert Mur­doch that have kept the USA in grid­lock with one stoopid faux scan­dal after anoth­er since Oba­ma took office?

    “We have allowed our­selves to be manip­u­lat­ed by oth­ers...”

    No shit.

    Here is the prize quote : ““My remarks tonight are my own, and don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly reflect those of News Cor­po­ra­tion, Rupert Mur­doch or Fox. I will say, how­ev­er, that I didn’t give up my cit­i­zen­ship to cre­ate and run a news orga­ni­za­tion. I speak here with the high­est author­i­ty and title any­one could ever aspire to — cit­i­zen of the Unit­ed States.”

    Odd, state­ment, because that is exact­ly what Rupert Mur­doch did so that he could take over Amer­i­can media com­pa­nies and then use those media com­pa­nies to fill Amer­i­can minds with lies and anger. Is he putting a bit of space between him­self and Mur­doch?

    Rupert Mur­doch’s agents were of course involved with hack­ing phones in the Unit­ed King­dom. So Faux News does­n’t have any ground to stand on with regard to domes­tic spy­ing. Mur­doch spied on all sorts of peo­ple in the UK. Is Fox call­ing for Rupert Mur­doch to go to jail??? NO. And it is sus­pect­ed Mur­doch did the same thing in the USA.

    The oth­er news we are get­ting today is that Mur­doch’s media empire is being divid­ed into two. And oh, one more thing.. Mur­doch is divorc­ing his wife Wendy(born in Com­mu­nist Chi­na). He met her at a par­ty in Hong Kong in 1997. Hmmm.

    Try­ing to smear Mur­doch as a com­mu­nist is not what I am doing here. Describ­ing Mur­doch as a hyper Cap­i­tal­ist ass­hole who would turn a prof­it off of the desta­bi­liza­tion of his own coun­try for var­i­ous par­ties. Yes. Was­n’t that what the Opi­um trade was all about??? Two way col­lu­sion to prof­it off the suf­fer­ing of your own peo­ple?

    And what’s that I smell in the air? A faint hint that not all is lost in Amer­i­ca? That maybe, just maybe the tide is turn­ing and the sheeple are wak­ing up? Call me an Opti­mist, but some­how I per­son­al­ly just don’t see this Police State Amer­i­ca thing going all the way.

    Dave, I don’t agree with you on every­thing you say, but thanks for being one of the ear­ly cracks in the wall to help let in some of the light.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEDSRP3yNPo

    Posted by Patternizer | June 13, 2013, 3:58 pm
  17. It seems like one of the rea­sons it’s so hard to have a mean­ing­ful nation­al dis­course on the top­ic of mass-sur­veil­lance is that the top­ic inher­ent­ly involves two some­what mutu­al­ly exclu­sive twin hor­rors:
    1. Mass-sur­veil­lance and the soci­ety-warp­ing con­se­quences.
    2. What­ev­er it is that jus­ti­fies mass sur­veil­lance (nukes, biowar­fare, etc)

    It’s hard to reduce one while not increas­ing the oth­er. Or at least that’s the per­cep­tion.

    So, if the US (and the rest of the world in gen­er­al) wants to ever find a “solu­tion” to bal­ance pri­va­cy vs secu­ri­ty going for­ward in a world that seems to be get­ting more unsta­ble and dan­ger­ous by the year should­n’t any dis­cus­sion about mass-sur­veil­lance pro­grams also neces­si­tate a dis­cus­sion on why the world does­n’t do more to address the under­ly­ing caus­es that con­tribute to the scary things are sup­pos­ed­ly jus­ti­fy the mass-sur­veil­lance? The prob­lems of reli­gious fanati­cism, cli­mate change, state-sanc­tioned ter­ror­ist net­works, out of con­trol cor­po­ratists, and the glob­al youth unem­ploy­ment cri­sis did­n’t just cre­ate them­selves. So isn’t it kind of insane for a nation to have the real­iza­tion (right­ly or wrong­ly) that “it’s a real­ly scary world out there and we need Total Infor­ma­tion Aware­ness just to sur­vive” and yet not have the real­iza­tion that “we real­ly need to be bet­ter about build­ing a bet­ter world. Maybe that’s the best way to address the long-term threats?” Even when doing the right thing is a self­ish act the US seem to have deep prob­lems with the idea the the devel­op­ing world should real­ly be doing every­thing it can to ensure the plan­et does­n’t turn into a cesspool and that means actu­al­ly help­ing the rest of the world devel­op sus­tain­able inter­nal economies that result in hap­py lives instead of look­ing for the lat­est, great­est sweat­shop oppor­tu­ni­ties. High prof­it-mar­gins are a poor replace­ment for jobs and decent liv­ing from a ter­ror-pre­ven­tion stand­point.

    There’s always going to a base­line lev­el of dan­ger in any soci­ety with advanced tech­nol­o­gy but the world today is WAY more messed up than it need­ed to be at this point. It’s one of the con­se­quences of the extreme mis­man­age­ment by the glob­al oli­garchy over the past few decades. There are just a lot of bad actors out there and glob­al poli­cies have ensured they’re very capa­ble bad actors and there is a vir­tu­al­ly end­less sup­ply of bad actors because our world is a bad actor fac­to­ry. Focus­ing on try­ing to inter­sect and pre­empt ter­ror through mass-sur­veil­lance is a long-run los­ing strat­e­gy.

    A real “War on Ter­ror” would have been some sort of glob­al jobs and edu­ca­tion pro­gram at its core and it’s hard to see why that strat­e­gy or the world it cre­ates would require mass-sur­veil­lance. Or we could just con­tin­ue march­ing down spy-mas­ter Thiel’s path to the future. Sure, it’ll be a shit­ty future and the will be lots of spy­ing but at least the pub­lic will feel safe...for some exreme­ly mys­te­ri­ous rea­sons.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 13, 2013, 10:35 pm
  18. Well, it looks like Snow­den has sort of won over the Hong Kong pop­u­lace to an extent that the gov­ern­ment is mak­ing deci­sions regard­ing the treat­ment of Snow­den based, in part, on con­cerns over the reac­tion of the domes­tic audi­ence:

    Chi­na News­pa­per: Snow­den Could Be Use­ful to Chi­na

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press June 14, 2013, 1:32 AM

    BEIJING (AP) — A pop­u­lar Com­mu­nist Par­ty-backed news­pa­per is urg­ing China’s lead­er­ship to get more infor­ma­tion from for­mer defense con­trac­tor Edward Snow­den rather than send him back to the U.S., because his rev­e­la­tions about secret U.S. sur­veil­lance pro­grams con­cern China’s nation­al inter­est.

    The Glob­al Times news­pa­per said in an edi­to­r­i­al Fri­day that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment should not only con­sid­er Beijing’s rela­tions with the Unit­ed States but also domes­tic pub­lic opin­ion, which the paper says would be unhap­py if Snow­den were sent back.

    The Chi­nese paper known for nation­al­ist views says Snow­den could offer intel­li­gence that can help Chi­na update its under­stand­ing of cyber­space.

    Snow­den alleged in an inter­view with a Hong Kong news­pa­per that the U.S. Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency’s 61,000 hack­ing tar­gets around the world include hun­dreds in Hong Kong and main­land Chi­na.

    It also does­n’t look that the pos­i­tive response towards Snow­den’s arrival was an acci­dent. The “50 Cent Par­ty” of gov­ern­ment paid inter­net opin­ion mak­ers has been hail­ing him as a hero but because this is all hap­pen­ing right before a big US-Chi­na sum­mit where a new ‘coop­er­a­tive-rela­tion­ship’ was on the agen­da it does­n’t sound like Bei­jing shares the pub­lic’s Snow­den­thu­si­asm:

    BBC
    US leak­er Snow­den both boon and bur­den for Chi­na
    Dami­an Gram­mat­i­cas Chi­na cor­re­spon­dent
    13 June 2013 Last updat­ed at 11:50 ET

    For Chi­na, Edward Snow­den’s sud­den arrival in Hong Kong and his explo­sive rev­e­la­tions about the extent of US cyber-spy­ing activ­i­ties around the world are both a boon and a bur­den, a poten­tial pro­pa­gan­da and intel­li­gence gift, but also a diplo­mat­ic dilem­ma.

    Bei­jing has in recent months come in for sus­tained crit­i­cism over its own cyber-spy­ing activ­i­ties.

    The US gov­ern­ment and pri­vate US inter­net secu­ri­ty firms have crit­i­cised Chi­na for state-spon­sored cyber-attacks, tar­get­ing every­thing from US mil­i­tary con­trac­tors to cor­po­ra­tions in Amer­i­ca.

    Evi­dence has been pro­duced that pur­ports to show Chi­nese hack­ers oper­at­ing from mil­i­tary facil­i­ties tar­get­ing US media firms and pri­vate com­pa­nies.

    US Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma was sit­ting down to tell Chi­nese leader Xi Jin­ping that US patience had run out and Chi­na had to rein in its cyber-spies, just as Edward Snow­den’s claims that Amer­i­ca ‘s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency had been col­lect­ing vast amounts of infor­ma­tion about inter­net users around the world were gain­ing atten­tion.

    What’s more, Mr Snow­den now says the US was hack­ing hun­dreds of tar­gets in Hong Kong and Chi­na, includ­ing pri­vate indi­vid­u­als, aca­d­e­mics and stu­dents too.

    Chi­na has long said it is a vic­tim of hack­ing. Here was a con­trac­tor for Amer­i­can intel­li­gence who had fled to Hong Kong say­ing he want­ed to expose US “hypocrisy”; Chi­na’s claims, he said, were true.

    Treach­er­ous waters

    So it is unsur­pris­ing that Chi­na’s state-con­trolled media has leapt on the oppor­tu­ni­ty.

    The Chi­na Dai­ly on Thurs­day said “the mas­sive US glob­al sur­veil­lance pro­gramme... is cer­tain to stain Wash­ing­ton’s over­seas image and test devel­op­ing Sino-US ties”.

    It quot­ed Li Haidong, a researcher at the Chi­na For­eign Affairs Uni­ver­si­ty, who said that “for months Wash­ing­ton has been accus­ing Chi­na of cyber-espi­onage, but it turns out that the biggest threat to the pur­suit of indi­vid­ual free­dom and pri­va­cy in the US is the unbri­dled pow­er of the gov­ern­ment”.

    The Glob­al Times, which is pro­duced by the Com­mu­nist Par­ty’s Peo­ple’s Dai­ly group, added, “in the last year or two, the US has kept pos­ing as a vic­tim to accuse Chi­na of hack­er infil­tra­tion. Many peo­ple spec­u­late that this is the US’ cov­er for its own cyber-war­fare. [Edward] Snow­den’s whis­tle-blow­ing has con­firmed this spec­u­la­tion.”

    Tao Duan­fang writ­ing in the Bei­jing News says “this is also prob­a­bly just the tip of the ice­berg. In oth­er words, who can guar­an­tee that the pri­va­cy of gov­ern­ment, leg­isla­tive and judi­cial organs has not also been spied on qui­et­ly by the eyes of intel­li­gence agen­cies?

    “Since the US gov­ern­ment and intel­li­gence agen­cies reject trans­paren­cy, how can one guar­an­tee that they have not trans­gressed bound­aries?”

    But Bei­jing’s schaden­freude only goes so far, because these are treach­er­ous waters for Chi­na to tread in.

    Chi­na’s own con­trols on the inter­net, the activ­i­ties of its own cyber-police, spy­ing on Chi­na’s own cit­i­zens — these prac­tices are the most intru­sive and exten­sive in the world. Point­ing out US hypocrisy is a risky move for Chi­na.

    In Hong Kong itself, the Bei­jing-backed Ta Kung Pao paper used the oppor­tu­ni­ty to gloat that “the ‘Prism pro­gramme’ leaked by US rene­gade spy Snow­den has torn off the US’ glo­ri­ous man­tle as a world-class ‘human rights defend­er’, and once again let the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty wit­ness its oth­er ugly face...

    “It is hoped that the US gov­ern­ment will no longer avoid dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing between home and abroad, mak­ing peremp­to­ry calls on oth­ers to do things that even it is unwill­ing to do.”

    Fly in the oint­ment

    But oth­ers have point­ed out how haz­ardous the whole issue is for Chi­na and the armies of paid inter­net opin­ion pun­dits, known as the 50 Cent Par­ty, who have been prais­ing Edward Snow­den on Chi­nese web­sites.

    In an edi­to­r­i­al, Hong Kong’s inde­pen­dent Apple Dai­ly wrote that “no mat­ter how Chi­na’s cyber-50 Cent Par­ty prais­es Snow­den for betray­ing the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency and how they drag the US down with mud-sling­ing tac­tics, it can nei­ther change the fact that Chi­na is abus­ing cyber-mon­i­tor­ing to vio­late human rights and serve a one-par­ty dic­ta­tor­ship, nor build up the­o­ret­i­cal grounds for Chi­na to con­tin­ue to abuse cyber-mon­i­tor­ing with­out any checks and bal­ances what­so­ev­er...

    “Snow­den will always be a hero who Chi­na’s 50 Cent Par­ty can­not afford to love. If the 50 Cent Par­ty hails Snow­den as a hero, they will be call­ing for the birth of Snow­den-style heroes in Chi­na.”

    And the same dilem­ma applies to Chi­na’s own gov­ern­ment. Edward Snow­den’s sud­den arrival in Hong Kong, and the fact he will prob­a­bly now seek to pre­vent any depor­ta­tion to the US through Hong Kong’s courts may look like an oppor­tu­ni­ty to Bei­jing, but it real­ly is a headache that Chi­na’s lead­ers did not want right now.

    Xi Jin­ping’s sum­mit with Barack Oba­ma in Cal­i­for­nia was meant to set the tone for the com­ing years.

    Sub­stan­tive issues — from North Korea to the ter­ri­to­r­i­al dis­putes in the South and East Chi­na Seas, from cyber-spy­ing to trade, tech­nol­o­gy and invest­ment fric­tions — were all up for dis­cus­sion.

    There was talk of a new, co-oper­a­tive rela­tion­ship. Edward Snow­den is a new fly in the oint­ment.

    David Zweig, a pro­fes­sor the Hong Kong Uni­ver­si­ty of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­o­gy, says: “I think the big issue for Chi­na in his being here is it’s a big pain in the butt. I think that the last thing they real­ly want­ed is for him to come here. They have just spent a lot of time and ener­gy try­ing to improve Sino-Amer­i­can rela­tions.

    “So I don’t see that they get much from get­ting the Amer­i­cans angry at them by pro­tect­ing him if the Amer­i­cans want him to go back. I don’t see any­thing pos­i­tive in that.”

    Intel­li­gence val­ue?

    With his inti­mate knowl­edge of Amer­i­ca’s spy­ing capa­bil­i­ties and the work of the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency, Edward Snow­den could have some intel­li­gence val­ue for Chi­na, says Mr Zweig, but it is lim­it­ed.

    “The only thing that could be use­ful is that if the Hong Kong police arrest him, then his com­put­er might fall into their hands and then that intel­li­gence could then fall to Chi­na. But I don’t think that Chi­na real­ly wants him. He does­n’t bring much.”

    So, on bal­ance, David Zweig says, there are far more seri­ous issues at stake for Chi­na.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 14, 2013, 8:48 am
  19. Any­one remem­ber how Lee Har­vey Oswald was feared to have leaked U‑2 secrets to the Sovi­ets? Does that remind you of any­one in the news late­ly?

    Posted by Bob Miller | June 15, 2013, 9:54 am
  20. Google has “Mod­u­lar Data” cen­ters spread out all around the world. What do these Data Cen­ters con­tain? Per­son­al infor­ma­tion about google users.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Modular_Data_Center

    Where are these Google Mod­u­lar Data cen­ters locat­ed?

    Dou­glas Coun­ty, Geor­gia
    Coun­cil Bluffs, Iowa
    Lenoir, North Car­oli­na
    Pry­or Creek, Okla­homa
    The Dalles, Ore­gon
    Berke­ley Coun­ty, South Car­oli­na

    SOUTH AMERICA:
    Quili­cu­ra, Chile

    EUROPE:
    St. Ghis­lain, Bel­gium
    Ham­i­na, Fin­land
    Dublin, Ire­land

    ASIA:
    Kowloon, Hong Kong
    Jurong West, Sin­ga­pore
    Changhua Coun­ty, Tai­wan

    Hmmm.

    So per­son­al infor­ma­tion of Google users is being stored in the old stomp­ing grounds of Pinochet’s Chile, Oklahoma(a nexus for two major U.S. ter­ror attacks), Bel­gium (known for Dutroux and Glad­io oper­a­tions), South Car­oli­na (birth­place of the U.S. Civ­il War), Hong Kong(historic nexus for west­ern monied elite and Chi­na opi­um trade and #3 finan­cial cen­ter), and Tai­wan, that old school democ­ra­cy destroyin’ & desta­bi­lizin’ WACL nexus.

    So google has its data cen­ters sit­ting on servers in loca­tions with his­tor­i­cal ties to author­i­tar­i­an­ism, democ­ra­cy hatin’ and rightwing ter­ror.

    Google #1 guy is Eric Schmidt, a Ger­man-Amer­i­can from the Falls Church/Blacksburg Vir­ginia area. He had worked for Nov­ell which is based in Pro­vo Utah(about 33 min­utes from the NSA snoop­ing cen­ter in Bluffs­dale) He took over google as CEO in August 2001. Google’s first fund­ing came from Ger­man Andy Bech­tol­sheim. Google was cre­at­ed by Sergey Brin(Russian emi­gre) and Lar­ry Page(American).

    It might be worth­while to note that Anwar Awla­ki was also based in Falls Church in 2001 and had some of the 9/11 hijack­ers under his wing. Coin­ka-Dance?

    Posted by Patternizer | June 15, 2013, 1:08 pm
  21. @Bob Miller–
    That’s the infer­ence and ref­er­ence I made in the main body of this post.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | June 15, 2013, 6:55 pm
  22. Check out the lat­est run-down on Snow­den’s back­ground at Can­non­fire. It’s get­ting spook­i­er.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 18, 2013, 7:14 am
  23. It looks like Merkel had to soft­en her crit­i­cism of the US’s sur­veil­lance pro­gram after it was report­ed that Ger­many is plan­ning a $133 mil­lion expan­sion of the BND’s sur­veil­lance capa­bil­i­ties that would give it NSA-like capa­bil­i­ties:

    Ger­many to spend mil­lions to expand inter­net sur­veil­lance — report
    By our dpa-cor­re­spon­dent and Europe Online

    Berlin (dpa) — Germany‘s main intel­li­gence agency plans to expand inter­net sur­veil­lance by launch­ing a five-year pro­gramme that will cost 100 mil­lion euros (133 mil­lion dol­lars), Der Spiegel mag­a­zine report­ed Sun­day.

    The report about the fed­er­al intel­li­gence service‘s (BND) plans comes days after whistle­blow­er Edward Snow­den revealed details of top-secret US gov­ern­ment sur­veil­lance pro­grammes that gath­ered vast tele­phone records and inter­net data.

    With the addi­tion­al fund­ing, the BND will add 100 new employ­ees to its tech­ni­cal intel­li­gence depart­ment and bol­ster its com­put­ing and serv­er capac­i­ties, the report said.

    The gov­ern­ment has already released a first tranche of 5 mil­lion euros, accord­ing to Der Spiegel.

    To fight ter­ror­ism and orga­nized crime, the BND is per­mit­ted by law to mon­i­tor 20 per cent of all com­mu­ni­ca­tions between Ger­many and for­eign nations. Until now, it only had the capac­i­ty to check on 5 per cent of traf­fic — emails, tele­phone calls, Face­book and Skype chats — because of tech­ni­cal issues.

    With the new capa­bil­i­ties, the BND wants to ensure that cross-bor­der traf­fic can be mon­i­tored as com­pre­hen­sive­ly as pos­si­ble, just as is done in the Unit­ed States by the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Agency (NSA), which spe­cial­izes in elec­tron­ic intel­li­gence.

    ...

    Offi­cial data made pub­lic in April showed that the BND was inter­cept­ing mil­lions of emails and text mes­sages each year.

    A report pub­lished by the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee on the intel­li­gence ser­vices said near­ly 2.9 mil­lion mes­sages were inter­cept­ed in 2011, but only 290 con­tained “mate­r­i­al of intel­li­gence rel­e­vance.”

    A gov­ern­ment spokesman said at the time that 38 mil­lion com­mu­ni­ca­tions had been inter­cept­ed in 2010. dpa wn ar Author: Uta Winkhaus

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 19, 2013, 8:32 am
  24. Glenn Green­wald is head­ing new media ven­ture fund­ed by Ebay CEO Pierre Omid­yar:

    http://pressthink.org/2013/10/why-pierre-omidyar-decided-to-join-forces-with-glenn-greenwald-for-a-new-venture-in-news/

    I’m sure there is an agen­da here some­where oth­er than serv­ing free­dom of Amer­i­cans and whistle­blow­ers blah blah blah.

    Posted by Kathleen | October 17, 2013, 1:44 pm

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