Tag Archives: NSA

The Age of No Privacy: The Surveillance State Shifts Into High Gear, by John W. Whitehead

You have, unless you want to stay locked up in a super-secure room all day, virtually zero privacy. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“We are rapidly entering the age of no privacy, where everyone is open to surveillance at all times; where there are no secrets from government.” ― William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice, dissenting in Osborn v. United States, 385 U.S. 341 (1966)

The government has become an expert in finding ways to sidestep what it considers “inconvenient laws” aimed at ensuring accountability and thereby bringing about government transparency and protecting citizen privacy.

Indeed, it has mastered the art of stealth maneuvers and end-runs around the Constitution.

It knows all too well how to hide its nefarious, covert, clandestine activities behind the classified language of national security and terrorism. And when that doesn’t suffice, it obfuscates, complicates, stymies or just plain bamboozles the public into remaining in the dark.

Case in point: the National Security Agency (NSA) has been diverting “internet traffic, normally safeguarded by constitutional protections, overseas in order to conduct unrestrained data collection on Americans.”

It’s extraordinary rendition all over again, only this time it’s surveillance instead of torture being outsourced.

In much the same way that the government moved its torture programs overseas in order to bypass legal prohibitions against doing so on American soil, it is doing the same thing for its surveillance programs.

By shifting its data storage, collection and surveillance activities outside of the country—a tactic referred to as “traffic shaping” —the government is able to bypass constitutional protections against unwarranted searches of Americans’ emails, documents, social networking data, and other cloud-stored data.

The government, however, doesn’t even need to move its programs overseas. It just has to push the data over the border in order to “[circumvent] constitutional and statutory safeguards seeking to protect the privacy of Americans.”

Credit for this particular brainchild goes to the Obama administration, which issued Executive Order 12333 authorizing the collection of Americans’ data from surveillance conducted on foreign soil.

 

To continue reading: The Age of No Privacy: The Surveillance State Shifts Into High Gear

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The Surveillance State and Big Brother Trump, by Kurt Nimmo

President Trump embraces the surveillance state just as avidly as his predecessors. From Kurt Nimmo at theburningplatform.com:

Despite his opposition to surveillance during the campaign, Trump has flip-flopped once again and now supports the surveillance state.

His Homeland Security advisor, Tom Bossert, who worked with the Bush administration, penned an editorial for The New York Times this week calling for a reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Section 702 allows for vacuuming up emails, instant messages, Facebook messages, web browsing history, and more in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment.

“Cabinet officials and security professionals from different agencies will testify on this matter on Wednesday,” writes Bossert. “President Trump stands with them 100 percent on the need for permanent reauthorization of Section 702. Officials from the past two administrations also agree that we cannot have a blind spot in our defenses simply because a foreign terrorist on foreign land chooses an American email provider.”

Former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers have repeatedly claimed NSA snooping has thwarted 54 terrorist attacks. This claim has been completely debunked. Like the baseless and politically motivated claim Russia hacked the election, the 54 terrorists claim is little more than fiction. It’s propaganda to justify a surveillance state.

Jenna McLaughlin writes “the reason there haven’t been any large-scale terror attacks by ISIS in the US is not because they were averted by the intelligence community, but because — with the possible exception of one that was foiled by local police — none were actually planned.”

The NSA and the government insist they only conduct surveillance overseas but this was dispelled after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union showed the NSA intentionally violated the law and spied on American citizens.

The surveillance state was created not to protect Americans from terrorists. It was created to spy on political targets in the United States. Evidence of this arose in 2014.

To continue reading: The Surveillance State and Big Brother Trump

President Obama’s team sought NSA intel on thousands of Americans during the 2016 election, by John Solomon

If politicians have information of friends or foes, they’re going to use it for their own ends, regardless of so-called safeguards and the law. From John Solomon at circa.com:

The Obama administration distributed thousands of intelligence reports with the  unredacted names of U.S. residents during the 2016 election.

During his final year in office, President Obama’s team significantly expanded efforts to search National Security Agency intercepts for information about Americans, distributing thousands of intelligence reports across government with the unredacted names of U.S. residents during the midst of a divisive 2016 presidential election.

The data, made available this week by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, provides the clearest evidence to date of how information accidentally collected by the NSA overseas about Americans was subsequently searched and disseminated after President Obama loosened privacy protections to make such sharing easier in 2011 in the name of national security. A court affirmed his order.

The revelations are particularly sensitive since the NSA is legally forbidden from directly spying on Americans and its authority to conduct warrantless searches on foreigners is up for renewal in Congress later this year. And it comes as lawmakers investigate President Trump’s own claims that his privacy was violated by his predecessor during the 2016 election.

In all, government officials conducted 30,355 searches in 2016 seeking information about Americans in NSA intercept metadata, which include telephone numbers and email addresses. The activity amounted to a 27.5 percent increase over the prior year and more than triple the 9,500 such searches that occurred in 2013, the first year such data was kept. 

The government in 2016 also scoured the actual contents of NSA intercepted calls and emails for 5,288 Americans, an increase of 13 percent over the prior year and a massive spike from the 198 names searched in 2013.

To continue reading: President Obama’s team sought NSA intel on thousands of Americans during the 2016 election

Big Brother Is Still Watching You: Don’t Fall for the NSA’s Latest Ploy, by John W. Whitehead

Once in a while the intelligence agencies have to beat a tactical retreat, but don’t worry, they always come back stronger than before. From John W. Whitehead at rutherford.org:

“You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.”—George Orwell, 1984

Supposedly the National Security Administration is going to stop collecting certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target.

Privacy advocates are hailing it as a major victory for Americans whose communications have been caught in the NSA’s dragnet.

If this is a victory, it’s a hollow victory.

Here’s why.

Since its creation in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman issued a secret executive order establishing the NSA as the hub of the government’s foreign intelligence activities, the agency has been covertly spying on Americans, listening in on their phone calls, reading their mail, and monitoring their communications.

For instance, under Project SHAMROCK, the NSA spied on telegrams to and from the U.S., as well as the correspondence of American citizens. Moreover, as the Saturday Evening Post reports, “Under Project MINARET, the NSA monitored the communications of civil rights leaders and opponents of the Vietnam War, including targets such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohammed Ali, Jane Fonda, and two active U.S. Senators. The NSA had launched this program in 1967 to monitor suspected terrorists and drug traffickers, but successive presidents used it to track all manner of political dissidents.”

Not even the passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the creation of the FISA Court, which was supposed to oversee and correct how intelligence information is collected and collated, managed to curtail the NSA’s illegal activities.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to conduct warrantless surveillance on Americans’ phone calls and emails.

Nothing changed under Barack Obama. In fact, the violations worsened, with the NSA authorized to secretly collect internet and telephone data on millions of Americans, as well as on foreign governments.

It was only after whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 that the American people fully understood the extent to which they had been betrayed once again.

What this brief history makes clear is that the NSA cannot be reformed.

To continue reading: Big Brother Is Still Watching You: Don’t Fall for the NSA’s Latest Ploy

NSA Whistleblower Says NSA Spied On Congress, The Supreme Court And Trump, by Chris Menahan

William Binney is in SLL’s Whistleblower Hall of Fame, with Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. From Chris Menahan at informationliberation.com:

NSA whistleblower William Binney told Tucker Carlson on Friday that the NSA is spying on “all the members of the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, both House and Senate, as well as the White House.”

Binney, who served the NSA for 30 years before blowing the whistle on domestic spying in 2001, told Tucker he firmly believes that Trump was spied on.

“They’re taking in fundamentally the entire fiber network inside the United States and collecting all that data and storing it, in a program they call Stellar Wind,” Binney said.

“That’s the domestic collection of data on US citizens, US citizens to other US citizens,” he said. “Everything we’re doing, phone calls, emails and then financial transactions, credit cards, things like that, all of it.”

Inside NSA there are a set of people who are — and we got this from another NSA whistleblower who witnessed some of this — they’re inside there, they are targeting and looking at all the members of the Supreme Court, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Congress, both House and Senate, as well as the White House,” Binney said.

“And all this data is inside the NSA in a small group where they’re looking at it. The idea is to see what people in power over you are going to — what they think, what they think you should be doing or planning to do to you, your budget, or whatever so you can try to counteract before it actually happens,” he said.

“I mean, that’s just East German,” Tucker responded.

Rather than help prevent terrorist attacks, Binney said collecting so much information actually makes stopping attacks more difficult.

“This bulk acquisition is inhibiting their ability to detect terrorist threats in advance so they can’t stop them so people get killed as a result,” he said. “Which means, you know, they pick up the pieces and blood after the attack. That’s what’s been going on. I mean they’ve consistently failed. When Alexander said they’d stop 54 attacks and he was challenged to produce the evidence to prove that he failed on every count.”

http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=56482

 

 

 

Congress Created a Monster, by Andrew P. Napolitano

The surveillance-state Frankenstein must be destroyed or it will destroy us all. Here is an informative summary of the legal background behind the Frankenstein, from Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com.

Those of us who believe that the Constitution means what it says have been arguing since the late 1970s that congressional efforts to strengthen national security by weakening personal liberty are unconstitutional, un-American and ineffective. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in the aftermath of President Richard Nixon’s use of the CIA and the FBI to spy on his political opponents, has unleashed demons that now seem beyond the government’s control and are more pervasive than anything Nixon could have dreamed of.

This realization came to a boiling point last weekend when President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of monitoring his telephone calls during the 2016 presidential election campaign. Can a U.S. president legally spy on a political opponent or any other person in America without any suspicion, probable cause or warrant from a judge? In a word, yes.

Here is the back story.

The president can order the National Security Agency to spy on anyone at any time for any reason, without a warrant. This is profoundly unconstitutional but absolutely lawful because it is expressly authorized by the FISA statute.

All electronic surveillance today, whether ordered by the president or authorized by a court, is done remotely by accessing the computers of every telephone and computer service provider in the United States. The NSA has 24/7/365 access to all the mainframe computers of all the telephone and computer service providers in America.

To continue reading: Congress Created a Monster

A New Martial Law Is Here, by Paul Rosenberg

Many of the intelligence agencies that are vacuuming up our communications, including the NSA, are part of the military. Call it creeping martial law. From Paul Rosenberg at freemansperspective.com:

When a military boss is installed as the head of government, displacing civilian leadership, we call it martial law. In the 20th century we expected to see this as the general of an army kicking out a president and taking over. The 21st century has brought us a variation on that theme, but it still involves military organizations ruling over everyone else.

Right now, we’re living under groups that have inserted themselves into the most intimate parts of our lives and stand ready to order force down upon us. The people doing this are a variety of intelligence agencies, and I’d like you to remember that the NSA is the military. So are the Defense Intelligence Agency and half a dozen other spy units.

Here’s a passage from Julian Assange in Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet that makes my point well:

When you communicate over the internet, when you communicate using mobile phones… your communications are being intercepted by military intelligence organizations… It’s a soldier between you and your wife as you’re SMSing. We are all living under martial law as far as our communications are concerned, we just can’t see the tanks – but they are there.

But it’s not just the military that has displaced traditional power. It’s Google (partnership with the Department of State, long-standing CIA ties), Facebook (FBI, CIA, who knows), and a host of other “free” services.

To continue reading: A New Martial Law Is Here