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Tag Archives: NSA

The intelligence community needs a house-cleaning, by Matt Taibbi

The intelligence community often disclosed to friendly media figures information it insists cannot be disclosed because it involves sources and methods. The lie is wearing thin. From Matt Taibbi at substack.com:

John Brennan and the CIA claim lives will be endangered if their work is declassified. That excuse only works so many times

If I told you, Id have to kill you.”

It’s been a tired pop-cliché meme for ages. Way back in 2000, when Adam Garcia tried to lay it on Piper Perabo in Coyote Ugly, she groaned, “That’s original.”

It drew eye rolls in Top Gun in 1986. Going back at least that far, we’ve known it’s usually bullshit when someone says they’re keeping a tantalizing secret from you for your own good.

Former CIA director John Brennan is pulling this stunt now, and the press is again taking him seriously, despite his proven unreliability.

Brennan has an elaborate history of lying to the public, most infamously about the CIA monitoring computers Senate staff were using to prepare a report on torture. When asked if it were true the CIA spied on congress as it was doing oversight of that agency, Brennan all but covered his heart. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he told Andrea Mitchell in a panel discussion, shaking his head. “We wouldn’t do that!”

Brennan has always had stones. In the Senate computer case, he didn’t limit himself to making staunch verbal denials. His CIA also later produced a report clearing itself of said “potential unauthorized access” to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Brennan also once said there had not been a “single collateral death” in the drone assassination program; claimed (inaccurately, it seems) that Osama bin Laden used his wife as a human shield in his encounter with Navy Seals; and provided inaccurate information to congress about the efficacy of CIA enhanced interrogation programs.

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In Baltimore and Beyond, a Stolen N.S.A. Tool Wreaks Havoc, by Nicole Periroth and Scott Shane

The NSA won’t even admit that a trick has been stolen from its bag of tricks, but it’s playing hell with a number of local governments. From Nicole Periroth and Scott Shane at nytimes.com:

The National Security Agency headquarters in Maryland. A leaked N.S.A. cyberweapon, EternalBlue, has caused billions of dollars in damage worldwide. A recent attack took place in Baltimore, the agency’s own backyard.CreditCreditJim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via REX, via Shutterstock

For nearly three weeks, Baltimore has struggled with a cyberattack by digital extortionists that has frozen thousands of computers, shut down email and disrupted real estate sales, water bills, health alerts and many other services.

But here is what frustrated city employees and residents do not know: A key component of the malware that cybercriminals used in the attack was developed at taxpayer expense a short drive down the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the National Security Agency, according to security experts briefed on the case.

Since 2017, when the N.S.A. lost control of the tool, EternalBlue, it has been picked up by state hackers in North Korea, Russia and, more recently, China, to cut a path of destruction around the world, leaving billions of dollars in damage. But over the past year, the cyberweapon has boomeranged back and is now showing up in the N.S.A.’s own backyard.

It is not just in Baltimore. Security experts say EternalBlue attacks have reached a high, and cybercriminals are zeroing in on vulnerable American towns and cities, from Pennsylvania to Texas, paralyzing local governments and driving up costs.

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Huawei Hypocrisy, by Craig Murray

People do not realize the information, including the content of phone calls and emails, that governments have about them, even high government officials who should know better. From Craig Murray at craigmurray.org.uk

Theresa May almost certainly sacked Gavin Williamson not just on the basis of a telephone billing record showing he had a phone call with a Telegraph journalist, but on the basis of a recording of the conversation itself. It astonishes me that still, after Snowden and his PRISM revelations, after Wikileaks Vault 7 releases, and after numerous other sources including my own humble contribution, people still manage to avoid the cognitive dissonance that goes with really understanding how much we are surveilled and listened to. Even Cabinet Ministers manage to pretend to themselves it is not happening.

The budget of the NSA, which does nothing else but communications intercept, is US $14.2 billion this year. Think about that enormous sum, devoted to just communications surveillance, and what it can achieve. The budget of the UK equivalent, GCHQ, is £1.2 billion, of which about 10% is paid by the NSA. Domestic surveillance in the UK has been vastly expanded and many taboos broken. But the bedrock of the system with regard to domestic intercepts is still that legal restrictions are dodged, as the USA’s NSA spies on UK citizens while the UK’s GCHQ spies on US citizens, and then the information is swapped. It was thus probably the NSA that harvested Williamson’s phone call, passing the details on. Given official US opposition to the UK employing Huawei technology, Williamson’s call would have been a “legitimate” NSA target.

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How a twenty-year-old movie foretold the Mueller witch hunt, by Patricia McCarthy

History repeats itself, first as Hollywood and then as real life. From Patricia McCarthy at americanthinker.com:

Twenty years ago, Will Smith starred in a terrific film called Enemy of the State.  It seemed a work of fiction at the time.  It was riveting for its portrayal of the government’s abuse of every hi-tech tool at the ready to surveil and destroy a man’s life.  Those tools seemed make-believe in 1998.  How naïve we film-goers were.

In the movie, a man tasked with monitoring the habits of Canadian geese inadvertently catches a murder on film with hidden cameras in a park.  The victim, a Republican senator, has steadfastly refused to vote for the Telecommunications, Security and Privacy Act that would permit the government to do what it most certainly does do today.  The senator’s refusal is unacceptable to the murderers who are agents of the NSA.  The government is bound and determined to develop the legal authority to surveil Americans, no matter the cost or the constitutional violations.

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Deep State Goes to Silicon Valley, by Bill Bonner

America’s high tech companies and the government’s intelligence agencies are locked in a giant group hug. From Bill Bonner and bonnerandpartners.com:

War is the health of the [Deep] state,” said 19th century writer Randolph Bourne. Of course, war is also very costly and harmful to individuals.

As Ike Eisenhower – who led U.S. troops in the last successful government program of the 20th century, World War II – pointed out:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, and from those who are cold and are not clothed.

More than the financial cost is the expense in dignity, shame, and common sense. Every war since Eisenhower’s day has drawn down the nation’s meager stocks of intelligence and integrity; now, there is hardly anything left.

Each one required people to believe ever more preposterous and extravagant delusions; now, they are ready to believe anything.

Sinister Dots

We pause to reveal our strategy. We are preparing to connect some sinister dots.

Specifically, we want to explore how the tech industry got into bed with the Deep State, and what a monstrous offspring this union may produce.

In China, a “social credit” score is already being used to deny airline travel and even access to dating sites to people who get a low score in “civic virtue” for speaking against the government online or smoking in non-smoking areas.

And in the U.S., social media already “scores” both customers and businesses. If you don’t measure up to the standards of Airbnb, Rocket Mortgage, or Uber, you may not be able to rent an apartment, get a mortgage, or reserve a taxi.

Facebook, Google, and other Big Tech companies already police the internet for what they identify as “fake”… or perhaps merely inconvenient… news.

Amazon – whose owner also owns Washington’s “newspaper of record,” The Washington Post – has become a “death star” for retail industries, according to billionaire businessman John Malone. It now controls the vital space between what people want… where they get it… and how they pay for it.

Truck drivers are already controlled – both in terms of hours driven and speed – electronically. GPS technology already knows how fast we are supposed to drive. How long will it be before our speed is limited electronically?

And most recently, secret “spy hubs,” used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect and monitor billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats, have been identified in eight major U.S. cities.

To continue reading: Deep State Goes to Silicon Valley

The Wiretap Rooms The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities, by Ryan Gallagher and Henrik Moltke

How AT&T and the NSA team up to spy on us. From Ryan Gallagher and Henrik Moltke at theintercept.com:

Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory.

The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” It is a collaboration that dates back decades. Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.

Much has previously been reported about the NSA’s surveillance programs. But few details have been disclosed about the physical infrastructure that enables the spying. Last year, The Intercept highlighted a likely NSA facility in New York City’s Lower Manhattan. Now, we are revealing for the first time a series of other buildings across the U.S. that appear to serve a similar function, as critical parts of one of the world’s most powerful electronic eavesdropping systems, hidden in plain sight.

To continue reading: The Wiretap Rooms The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities

NSA Launches Amazon-Backed Cloud-Computing Service For Sharing “Top Secret” Info, by Tyler Burden

What could go wrong with this? From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Four years after handing Amazon a $600 million contract to develop a cloud-storage service for the US intelligence community that can store information across the full range of data classifications – including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret – the NSA announced on Thursday that it has moved most of its mission data to a front-end cloud computing system developed by the agency that’s supported by – you guessed it – Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos.

According to NextGov.com, the IC GovCloud, which was created by the NSA but is supported by Amazon’s web services, will offer similar hosting services to the other 16 members of the US intelligence community. The advantage of having all of these intelligence agencies using the same system, according to NSA Chief Information Officer Greg Smithberger, is that it will allow analysts from across agencies to share information and “connect the dots” more quickly. But even before the other agencies sign on, the NSA will use the platform to “collect, analyze and store” classified information in a “classified cloud computing environment.”

The goal of the platform is to gather all of the signals intelligence that the NSA gathers on foreign targets (and, of course, its myriad spying on the American public) into one centralized location that’s easily accessible by its analysts.

The impetus for the multi-year move is getting the NSA’s data, including signals intelligence and other foreign surveillance and intelligence information it ingests from multiple repositories around the globe into a single data lake analysts from the NSA and other IC agencies can run queries against.

“The NSA has been systematically moving almost all its mission into this big data fusion environment,” Smithberger told Nextgov in an interview. “Right now, almost all NSA’s mission is being done in [IC GovCloud], and the productivity gains and the speed at which our analysts are able to put together insights and work higher-level problems has been really amazing.”

To continue reading: NSA Launches Amazon-Backed Cloud-Computing Service For Sharing “Top Secret” Info

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