Tag Archives: NSA

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

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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

FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump, by Chris Strohm

Two trends in government that Donald Trump appears set to embrace rather than oppose: the ongoing shrinkage of Americans’ civil liberties and the continuing expansion of the surveillance state. From Christ Strohm at bloomberg.com:

The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.

Trump’s first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The fights expected to play out in the coming months — in Senate confirmation hearings and through executive action, legislation and litigation — also will set up an early test of Trump’s relationship with Silicon Valley giants including Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Trump signaled as much during his presidential campaign, when he urged a consumer boycott of Apple for refusing to help the FBI hack into a terrorist’s encrypted iPhone.

An “already over-powerful surveillance state” is about to “be let loose on the American people,” said Daniel Schuman, policy director for Demand Progress, an internet and privacy advocacy organization.

New Hacking Rule

In a reversal of curbs imposed after Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013 about mass data-gathering by the NSA, Trump and Congress may move to reinstate the collection of bulk telephone records, renew powers to collect the content of e-mails and other internet activity, ease restrictions on hacking into computers and let the FBI keep preliminary investigations open longer.

To continue reading: FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump

Whistleblower’s Stunning Claim: “NSA Has All Of Hillary’s Deleted Emails, It May Be The Leak” by Tyler Durden

Two things are probably true. The American public will never know what’s in all of Hillary Clinton’s emails. And someone like the NSA or the Russians does. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Over a year before Edward Snowden shocked the world in the summer of 2013 with revelations that have since changed everything from domestic to foreign US policy but most of all, provided everyone a glimpse into just what the NSA truly does on a daily basis, a former NSA staffer, and now famous whistleblower, William Binney, gave excruciating detail to Wired magazine about all that Snowden would substantiate the following summer.

We covered it in a 2012 post titled “We Are This Far From A Turnkey Totalitarian State” – Big Brother Goes Live September 2013.” Not surprisingly, Binney received little attention in 2012 – his suggestions at the time were seen as preposterous and ridiculously conspiratorial. Only after the fact, did it become obvious that he was right. More importantly, in the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, what Binney has to say has become gospel.

William Binney, Whistleblower

Which is why we are confident that at least a subset of the US population will express great interest in what Binney said earlier today, when the famous whistleblower said in a radio interview on Sunday that the NSA has “all” of Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails and the FBI could gain access to them if they so desired, William Binney, a former highly placed NSA official.

Speaking on Aaron Klein’s Sunday radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio,” broadcast on New York’s AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphia’s NewsTalk 990 AM, Binney raised the possibility that the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s server was done not by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clinton’s compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.

Binney was an architect of the NSA’s surveillance program. He became a famed whistleblower when he resigned on October 31, 2001, after spending more than 30 years with the agency. He referenced testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2011 by then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller in which Meuller spoke of the FBI’s ability to access various secretive databases “to track down known and suspected terrorists.”

“Now what he (Mueller) is talking about is going into the NSA database, which is shown of course in the (Edward) Snowden material released, which shows a direct access into the NSA database by the FBI and the CIA. Which there is no oversight of by the way. So that means that NSA and a number of agencies in the U.S. government also have those emails.”

“So if the FBI really wanted them they can go into that database and get them right now,” he said of Clinton’s emails as well as DNC emails.

Asked point blank if he believed the NSA has copies of “all” of Clinton’s emails, including the deleted correspondence, Binney confirmed.

“Yes,” he responded. “That would be my point. They have them all and the FBI can get them right there.”

To continue reading: Whistleblower’s Stunning Claim: “NSA Has All Of Hillary’s Deleted Emails, It May Be The Leak”