Tag Archives: NSA

Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It, by Matt Taibbi

The mainstream press in this country can’t even be called the press. It’s better termed a public relations agency for the government and the Democratic party. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

News companies are pioneering a new brand of vigilante reporting, partnering with the spy agencies they once oversaw

Former CIA director John Brennan was a media villain, now he’s media himself.

What a difference a decade makes.

Just over ten years ago, on July 25, 2010, Wikileaks released 75,000 secret U.S. military reports involving the war in Afghanistan. The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel helped release the documents, which were devastating to America’s intelligence community and military, revealing systemic abuses that included civilian massacres and an assassination squad, TF 373, whose existence the United States kept “protected” even from its allies.

The Afghan War logs came out at the beginning of a historic stretch of true oppositional journalism, when outlets like Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others partnered with sites like Wikileaks. Official secrets were exposed on a scale not seen since the Church Committee hearings of the seventies, as reporters pored through 250,000 American diplomatic cables, secret files about every detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds of thousands of additional documents about everything from the Iraq war to coverups of environmental catastrophes, among other things helping trigger the “Arab Spring.”

There was an attempt at a response — companies like Amazon, Master Card, Visa, and Paypal shut Wikileaks off, and the Pentagon flooded the site with a “denial of service” attack — but leaks continued. One person inspired by the revelations was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who came forward to unveil an illegal domestic surveillance program, a story that won an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize for documentarian Laura Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. By 2014, members of Congress in both parties were calling for the resignations of CIA chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom had been caught lying to congress.

The culmination of this period came when billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launched The Intercept in February 2014. The outlet was devoted to sifting through Snowden’s archive of leaked secrets, and its first story described how the NSA and CIA frequently made errors using geolocation to identify and assassinate drone targets. A few months later, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted, “We kill people based on metadata.”

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The U.S. Intelligence Community, Flouting Laws, is Increasingly Involving Itself in Domestic Politics, by Glenn Greenwald

Anyone who paid attention to Russiagate knows that the CIA and the NSA were involved in domestic politics, in flat-out contravention of US law. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

A letter from House Intelligence Committee members demands answers from the DNI about illegal breaches of the wall guarding against CIA and NSA domestic activity.

Then-Vice President Joseph Biden (L) with former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta (R) at CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A report declassified last Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security is raising serious concerns about the possibly illegal involvement by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic political affairs.

Entitled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” the March 1 Report from the Director of National Intelligence states that it was prepared “in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security—and was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”

Its primary point is this: “The IC [intelligence community] assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.” While asserting that “the most lethal” of these threats is posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs),” it makes clear that its target encompasses a wide range of groups from the left (Antifa, animal rights and environmental activists, pro-choice extremists and anarchists: “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization”) to the right (sovereign citizen movements, anti-abortion activists and those deemed motivated by racial or ethnic hatreds).

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The Coming War on Privacy, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The war on privacy is fully engaged. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

When Attorney General Merrick Garland was asked at his confirmation hearings earlier this month what his priorities would be if confirmed, he responded immediately that it would be a vigorous pursuit of domestic terrorism. He did not say he would lead vigorous prosecutions, just vigorous pursuits.

This is dangerous business for the Department of Justice because it transforms its role from prosecuting crimes after they happen to predicting who would commit crimes that never happen.

How could the feds predict crimes? They would attempt to do so by a serious uptick in domestic surveillance of broad categories of people based on political and ideological views. The government loves to cast out fishing nets — so to speak — and then intimidate or prosecute whomever they bring in.

The National Security Agency — America’s 60,000-person strong domestic spying apparatus — already captures all data transmitted on fiber optic cable into, out of, and within the U.S.; that’s every email, text and phone call. But they don’t admit to this. When the FBI desperately sought to gain entry to the cellphones of two deceased mass murderers in San Bernardino, California, a few years ago, the NSA would not help them because doing so would acknowledge the NSA’s mass warrantless spying.

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Hero or Traitor? by John Stossel

John Stossel was able to interview Edward Snowden recently via a Zoom call. As always, Snowden had things to say to which attention should be paid. From Stossel at theburningplatform.com:

Hero or Traitor?

President Donald Trump should pardon Edward Snowden.

Who?

I know, it’s embarrassing — Assange, Manning, Snowden… Who did what?

I got them confused before I researched this topic. National security isn’t my beat. I finally educated myself this month because I got a chance to interview Snowden, the CIA/NSA employee who told the world that our government spied on us but lied to Congress about it.

Now Snowden hides from American authorities.

We talked via Zoom.

Fourteen years ago, when Snowden worked for the CIA, and then the NSA, he signed agreements saying he would not talk about what he did. I confronted him about breaking his promise.

“What changed me,” he answers, “was the realization that what our government actually does was very different than the public representation of it.”

The NSA’s mass surveillance program was meant to find foreign terrorists. When congressmen asked NSA officials if, without warrants, they collected data on Americans, they lied and said, “No.”

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Edward Snowden Deserves a Pardon, by David S. D’Amato

Edward Snowden deserves a pardon and every conceivable award that can be bestowed on a man. From David S. D’Amato at aier.org:

snowden

The global spotlight was cast upon Edward Snowden in 2013 after he blew the whistle on the National Security Agency’s (NSA) warrantless domestic surveillance programs. Working with The Guardian and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, Snowden famously (or infamously, depending on one’s point of view) revealed that the NSA was illegally gathering information on tens of millions of Americans—citizens who had been accused of no wrongdoing. Now, Snowden’s case is once again in the news, as President Trump recently told reporters that he will look carefully at “the Snowden situation,” going as far as polling his aides as to whether he should pardon the exiled whistleblower.

Snowden was a responsible whistleblower who took the role seriously and made careful, deliberate decisions in choosing the documents he would share with journalists. He performed this immeasurably brave act of public service at an enormous personal and professional cost. In an instant, he became one of the world’s most wanted individuals, reviled as a traitor by some of the most powerful and dangerous people in the world’s most powerful and dangerous government. “Having watched the Obama administration prosecute whistleblowers at a historically unprecedented rate,” Snowden understood the risks; he understood that the CIA or “[a]ny of their agents or assets” could come after him.

Known liar Michael Hayden, for example, has called Snowden a traitor and is sufficiently shameless to argue, “Whistleblowing requires someone to actually point out a violation of law and [Snowden] has not done that.” Of course, the programs Snowden exposed were in fact quite illegal and, according to many legal scholars, unconstitutional.

Hayden, whose career has seen him hold the top spot of Director at both the NSA and the CIA, intentionally misled Congress when he testified in 2007 on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program. James Clapper, who led the intelligence community under Obama, similarly lied to Congress when, replying to a question from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), he stated under oath that the federal government does “not wittingly” collect “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.” Clapper, of course, knew he wasn’t telling the truth, but claimed that he “made a big mistake” and was thinking of another government surveillance program and “didn’t understand.”

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When There are No Consequences for Anything, by James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler asks a lot of good question, and wonders if William Barr, James Durham, and James Huber are taking a dive on their investigations (SLL predicted they would). From Kunstler at kunstler.com:

The Democratic Party with its deep state auxiliaries begins to look like a monstrous hybrid of Matt Taibbi’s fabled Vampire Squid and the skulking Kraken of the maelstrom, devouring the innards of our republic in its deep, dark depths one institution at a time while a storm rages on the surface and citizen’s eyelids flutter in horror, frozen like sleepers in the paralysis of a nightmare, at the rising havoc and ruin. Or, to put it plainly: what the fuck is going on in America?

Ongoing sedition is the answer, with fetid slime trails across the political landscape everywhere you look. We’re informed hours ago, for instance, that the top lawyers in Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel operation wiped all the records from their cell phones before the DOJ Inspector General could collect evidence of their communications from the SC team’s three-year exercise in overthrowing a president. How is that not an obstruction of justice, and who will answer for it?

That’s on top of many other bits of essential evidence in the RussiaGate coup and other perfidious acts mysteriously gone missing — Special Agent Joe Pientka’s original “302” document from the Flynn interrogation, thousands of Strzok-and-Page’s text messages, official verifications of the Steele Dossier submitted to the FISA court, communications between the FBI “small group” (Comey, McCabe, Priestap, Carlin, McCord, Baker, et al.) plus CIA Chief John Brennan and DNI James Clapper with Senators Burr and Warner on the Senate Intel Committee, communications between “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella, Col. Alexander Vindman and House Intel Committee chair Adam Schiff, records of CIA prop Stephan Halper’s doings with the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, all communication records between State Department official Jonathan Winer and British ex-spy Christopher Steele….

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‘The Day Has Arrived’ Snowden Hails Appeals Court Ruling Slamming NSA Metadata Harvesting as Illegal, by Svetlana Ekimenko

What Edward Snowden did was heroic and should be lauded, not punished. From Svetlana Ekimenko at sputniknews.com:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on 2 September lauded the ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the mass surveillance programme conducted by the National Security Agency, including bulk collection of phone records, was illegal. The ACLU called described it as a “victory for our privacy rights”.

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee turned whistleblower Edward Snowden responded on Wednesday to a ruling by the US Court of Appeals that the US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programme, including the bulk collection of citizens’ phone records, was illegal.

​The programme, believed to have been discontinued in 2015 when Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, had extended beyond the scope of what Congress allowed under a foundational surveillance law, ruled a panel of judges, acknowledging that it was possibly a violation of the US Constitution.

The former NSA contractor tweeted that he had been “charged as a criminal for speaking the truth”.

Snowden was referring to the trove of classified intelligence data detailing the sweeping American domestic surveillance programme that he had leaked in 2013 and for which he is wanted in the US on charges of espionage and treason.

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NSA’s Social Network Mapping is More Vast, Omnipresent and Horrifying Than Snowden Revealed, by Jake Anderson

The reality is even scarier than the headline. From Jake Anderson at themindunleashed.com:

This is shocking, and represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens.

Most people know by now about the surveillance abuses perpetrated by the NSA earlier this century, but a new book about Edward Snowden suggests that the metadata collection programs introduced to us through previous whistleblowers and disclosures are part of a “live, ever-updating social graph of the US” that is ongoing and far vaster than we previously imagined.

The revelations come from journalist Barton Gellman, who described the content of his new book Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State for Wired. The article, entitled “Inside the NSA’s Secret Tool for Mapping Your Social Network,” catalogs Gellman’s attempts to reveal more details about the programs Snowden first disclosed to the world.

What he found shocked him, and represents an ongoing existential threat to American citizens, he says.

Gellman says that originally he wanted to understand more about the logistics of the NSA phone records. The Snowden archive hints at but does not explain the details of the agency’s project pipelines.

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HUGE DEVELOPMENT: Following Last Week’s Release Attorney Clevenger Alleges Office of DNI Has Communications Between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks – Russia Collusion a Lie! by Joe Hoft

Seth Rich’s murder and his interactions with WikiLeaks need a thorough investigation. From Joe Hoft at thegatewaypundit.com:

Wow!

Draining the Intelligence Community Swamp, by Philip Giraldi

Even if a bunch of intelligence community operatives are fired, given Trump’s policy predilections, particularly his partiality towards Israel, the operatives will be replaced by Trump lackeys with similar views. Very little will change. From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

The appointment of U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as interim Director of National Intelligence (DNI), a position that he will apparently hold simultaneously with the ambassadorship, has been criticized from all sides due to his inexperience, history of bad judgement and partisanship. The White House is now claiming that he will be replaced by Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe after the interim appointment is over, though sources in Washington suggest that Ratcliffe might have some problems in being approved by Congress.

But such criticism, including my own, has somewhat missed the point, which is that what we are already seeing is a purge orchestrated by Grenell of federal employees in the White House and national security apparatus who are holdovers from the Obama Administration and who are therefore considered to be unreliable. That is why Grenell will continue to be ambassador as well as DNI as it is envisioned that his wrecking ball will have completed its task within six months and he will be able to return to Berlin, in spite of the fact that he is despised in Germany and many officials there even refuse to meet with him, which characteristically doesn’t appear to bother the White House at all.

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