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Breaking News: Malaysian Airline Flight MH 17 Shot Down by Surface To Air Missile — 280 Passengers and 15 Crew Dead — Videos

Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Communications, Computers, Diasters, Economics, Education, Foreign Policy, Language, Law, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Resources, Technology, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

 

 

Ukraine Adviser: Malaysian Airlines Jet Shot Down By Missile Near Ukraine-Russia Border

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Mayalsia Airlines Flight crashes in Ukraine

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Buk-M2 SAM In Action

Malaysian Ailrner Shot Down Over Ukraine – 295 Dead

UPDATE Missile downs Malaysia Airlines MH17

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Malaysia Airlines flight crashes in Ukraine | BREAKING NEWS – 17 JULY 2014

Malaysian Airlines plane crash: passenger jet shot down over Ukraine, 295 dead

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Malaysia Airlines Plane Crash in Ukraine MH17 Flight Shot Down (17 July 2014)

Here’s The Rocket That Shot Down A Malaysian Airlines Flight

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All 295 Passengers confirmed Dead of Malaysia Airliner MH17 that shot down in eastern Ukraine

Malaysia Plane Crash: Obama Speech About Plane Shot Down | Malaysia Airlines Crash

Malaysian Airplane Shot Down over Ukraine 295 people on board Airplane Shot Down Malaysia

Malaysia Airlines Plane Shot Down And Crashes in Ukraine | VIDEO

Malaysia Airlines Passenger Jet Shot Down Over Ukraine, 295 Dead – Actual Images

BREAKING: Malaysia Plane Crash Malaysia Airlines | Plane Shot Down And Killed 280 People | VIDEO

Marketing video Russian Air Defense Systems S-400, Buk M2 and Tor M2 shooting at US Air Force

US Concludes Malaysian Airline was Shot Down, Both Russia and Ukraine Deny Involvment

US Concludes Malaysian Airline was Shot Down, Both Russia and Ukraine Deny Involvment
One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. Photo:mashable.com

The United States has concluded the Malaysian airline was shot down, a senior U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr. They are analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from.

“[US intelligence has] another asset that gives them a heat signature, an infrared heat signature that tells them there was a massive event … they put both of these pieces of information together and concluded that the plane was shot down,” Starr said.

One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said.

US intelligence is reportedly still working to determine the exact location from which the missile was fired, and whether it was on the Russian or the Ukrainian side of the border.

The UN Security Council plans to hold an emergency meeting over the shooting down of Malaysian airliner in Ukraine, and the deteriorating situation in the country. The meeting was called in by the UK, Itar-tass reports.

NATO’s chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has also urged an immediate international investigation into the crash of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane in Eastern Ukraine, RIA-Novosti news agency reports.

“No surface-to-air systems are involved in the military operation against separatists in the east, and the plane was out of reach of other Ukrainian air defence forces,” the statement from Ukraine’s Defence Ministry added.

Yet, The Ukrainian military reportedly deployed a battery of Buk surface-to-air missile systems, capable of bringing down high-flying jets, to the Donetsk region the day before the Malaysian passenger plane crashed in the area.

Itar-Tass and Interfax news agencies are citing a source familiar with the issue, who said that another battery of Buk systems is currently being prepared for shipment to Donetsk region from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s state security chief accused two Russian military intelligence officers of involvement in the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane on Thursday. The SBU chief Valentin Nalivaychenko added they must be punished for their “crime.” The Ukrainian official said he based his allegation on intercepts of phone conversations between the two officers.

The purported telephone intercepts have been posted to YouTube (Russian), as have past recordings of alleged conversations between rebels, some of whom are accused of being agents with Russian agents.

In the recordings, men nicknamed “Demon”, “Mayor,” and “Grek” panic and curse as they realize they’ve shot down a passenger plane and killed civilians, describing to each other the “bodies of women and children”.

The authenticity of the recordings, however, cannot be confirmed.

IHS Jane’s Defense analyst, Nick de Larrinaga, shared the belief that the self-defense forces lack the capability to bring the Malaysian plane down.

“At normal cruising altitude a civilian passenger aircraft would be out of the range of the sort of manned portable air (defense) systems that we have seen proliferate in rebel hands in east Ukraine,” he said in a statement.

But the aircraft would be within range of Buk or other medium-range surface-to-air missile systems, he stressed.

“Both Russia and Ukraine have such SAM systems in their inventories,” the expert added.

It seems unlikely that the self-defense forces could’ve used Buk surface-to-air missile systems to down the Malaysian plane, retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, the director of the Defense and Intelligence Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, said.

“It takes a lot of training and a lot of coordination to fire one of these and hit something,” he told CNN. “This is not the kind of weapon a couple of guys are going to pull out of a garage and fire.”

According to Ryan, if the plane was really taken down then it was done by a professional military force.

http://www.independent.mk/articles/7367/US+Concludes+Malaysian+Airline+was+Shot+Down,+Both+Russia+and+Ukraine+Deny+Involvment

Ukraine Adviser: Malaysian Airlines Jet Shot Down By Missile Near Ukraine-Russia Border

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckage of the Malaysian Airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on July 17, 2014 shows wreckage of the Malaysian Airliner carrying 295 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur after it crashed, near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. (credit: DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine said a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down Thursday as it flew over the country, and both the government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the plane.

As plumes of black smoke rose up near a rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, an Associated Press journalist counted at least 22 bodies at the crash site 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Russian border.

Photos: Crash Scene in Ukraine

Anton Gerashenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, said on his Facebook page the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet). He also said it was hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher, which can fire missiles up to an altitude of 22,000 meters (72,000 feet).

A similar launcher was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne earlier Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it received notification from Ukrainian aviation authorities that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 GMT some 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50 km (30 miles) from the Russia-Ukraine border.

It said the plane had 280 passengers and 15 crew aboard a Boeing 777 that left Amsterdam at 12.15 p.m. and was to arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 6.10 a.m. Friday.

CBS News had yet to confirm if the Boeing 777 was shot down.

RELATED: Stay up-to-date with our Live Blog

Interfax reports that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry says that everyone on board was killed. The Interior Ministry claims that 23 Americans were killed in the crash, according to Interfax. The State Department is looking into whether Americans were on the flight.

A source told Interfax that the plane “began to drop, afterwards it was found burning on the ground on Ukrainian territory.”

Reuters reports that body parts have been scattered seven miles within the crash site, an indication that the plane came apart mid-air. A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry official told Reuters that first responders have found at least 100 bodies.

Ukrainian pro-separatists have denied responsibility for the Malaysian Airlines civilian jet crash as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his country’s military did not shoot down the plane.

“We do not exclude that this plane was shot down, and we stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not take action against any airborne targets,” Poroshenko stated.

Poroshenko said “we are sure that those who are guilty in this tragedy will be held responsible.”

According to Interfax, Poroshenko called it a “terrorist act.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry claims in a statement obtained by CBS News that Russia is complicit, if not responsible, for the downing of the plane.

“The plane was shot down, because the Russian air defense systems was affording protection to Russian mercenaries and terrorists in this area,” the statement read.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told The Guardian that allegations that Russia was behind the crash was just sheer “stupidity.”

CBS News reports that President Barack Obama has been briefed on the crash. Obama has instructed his team to be in touch with Ukrainian authorities.

“The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet at the Russia-Ukraine border and it looks like it might be a terrible tragedy,” Obama said during an event held in Wilmington, Del., adding that the U.S. is working on confirming if Americans were on the flight.

During a phone call with Obama Thursday morning to express his dissatisfaction to the latest economic sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin brought up that there were early reports of a downed Malaysian Airlines jet in Ukraine, CBS News reports.

The Federal Aviation Administration tells CBS News that the agency prohibited U.S. carriers from flying through this region.

It was the second time that a Malaysia Airlines plane was lost in less than six months. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian Ocean far west of Australia.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said on Twitter there’s no confirmation that Thursday’s plane was shot down. He said he has instructed the country’s military to check and get confirmation.

The Donetsk region government said Thursday’s plane crashed near a village called Grabovo, which it said is currently under the control of armed pro-Russian separatists. The region where the flight was lost has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatist rebels in recent days.

A launcher similar to the Buk missile system was seen by Associated Press journalists near the eastern Ukrainian town of Snizhne, which is held by pro-Russia rebels, earlier Thursday.

On Wednesday evening, a Ukrainian fighter jet was shot down by an air-to-air missile from a Russian plane, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, adding to what Kiev says is mounting evidence that Moscow is directly supporting the separatist insurgents in eastern Ukraine. Security Council spokesman Andrei Lysenko said the pilot of the Sukhoi-25 jet hit by the air-to-air missile was forced to bail after his jet was shot down.

Pro-Russia rebels, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for strikes Wednesday on two Ukrainian Sukhoi-25 jets. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the second jet was hit by a portable surface-to-air missile, but added the pilot was unscathed and managed to land his plane safely

Moscow denies Western charges that is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest in its neighbor. The Russian Defense Ministry couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday about the Ukrainian jet and Russia’s foreign ministry didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

Earlier this week, Ukraine said a military transport plane was shot down Monday by a missile fired from Russian territory.

The Malaysia Airlines plane is a Boeing 777-200ER, which was delivered to Malaysia Airlines on July 30, 1997, according to Flightglobal’s Ascend Online Fleets, which sells and tracks information about aircraft. It has more than 43,000 hours of flight time and 6,950 takeoffs and landings.

If the plane was shot down, it would be the fourth commercial airliner to face such a fate. The previous three were:

- April 20, 1978: Korean Airlines Flight 902, which diverted from its planned course on a flight from Paris to Seoul and strayed over the Soviet Union. After being fired upon by an interceptor aircraft, the crew made a forced landing at night on the surface of a frozen lake. Two of the 97 passengers were killed by the hostile fire.

- Sept. 1, 1983: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shot down by at least one Soviet air-to-air missile after the 747 had strayed into Soviet airspace. All 240 passengers and 29 crew were killed.

- July 3, 1988: Iran Air Flight 655 Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed

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Militarization of Police Departments and SWAT Team in America — Who is the enemy? The American People — War on Drugs — War on Terror — War on Americans — Videos

Posted on June 28, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Pistols, Politics, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

 

Obama Expands Militarization of Police

Are Police Declaring War on Americans?

RISE Of The WARRIOR COP: The Militarization Of America’s Police Forces

Radley Balko on The Militarized Police State

MILITARIZATION OF POLICE – PENTAGON is ARMING the U.S. POLICE with MRAP Military COMBAT VEHICLE’s

 

Barney Fife Meets Delta Force 

Hypermilitarized police departments are more dangerous than whatever they fight. 

 

Nestled awkwardly among the usual guff, the outrage website Salon this week took a welcome flyer and accorded space to something genuinely alarming. “A SWAT team,” the headline screamed, “blew a hole in my 2-year-old son.” For once, this wasn’t hyperbole.

The piece’s author, Alecia Phonesavanh, described what it felt like to be on the business end of an attack that was launched in error by police who believed a drug dealer to be living and operating in her house. They “threw a flashbang grenade inside,” she reported. It “landed in my son’s crib.” Now, her son is “covered in burns” and has “a hole in his chest that exposes his ribs.” So badly injured was he by the raid that he was “placed into a medically induced coma.” “They searched for drugs,” Phonesavanh confirmed, but they “never found any.” Nor, for that matter, did they find the person they were looking for. He doesn’t live there. “All of this,” she asks, “to find a small amount of drugs?”

 

Historians looking back at this period in America’s development will consider it to be profoundly odd that at the exact moment when violent crime hit a 50-year low, the nation’s police departments began to gear up as if the country were expecting invasion — and, on occasion, to behave as if one were underway. The ACLU reported recently that SWAT teams in the United States conduct around 45,000 raids each year, only 7 percent of which have anything whatsoever to do with the hostage situations with which those teams were assembled to contend. Paramilitary operations, the ACLU concluded, are “happening in about 124 homes every day — or more likely every night” — and four in five of those are performed in order that authorities might “search homes, usually for drugs.” Such raids routinely involve “armored personnel carriers,” “military equipment like battering rams,” and “flashbang grenades.”

 

Were the military being used in such a manner, we would be rightly outraged. Why not here? Certainly this is not a legal matter. The principle of posse comitatus draws a valuable distinction between the national armed forces and parochial law enforcement, and one that all free people should greatly cherish. Still, it seems plain that the potential threat posed by a domestic standing army is not entirely blunted just because its units are controlled locally. To add the prefix “para” to a problem is not to make it go away, nor do legal distinctions change the nature of power. Over the past two decades, the federal government has happily sent weapons of war to local law enforcement, with nary a squeak from anyone involved with either political party. Are we comfortable with this?

The Right’s silence on the issue is vexing indeed, the admirable attempts of a few libertarians notwithstanding. Here, conservatives seem to be conflicted between their rightful predilection for law and order — an instinct that is based upon an accurate comprehension of human nature and an acknowledgment of the existence of evil — and a well-developed and wholly sensible fear of state power, predicated upon precisely the same thing. As of now, the former is rather dramatically winning out, leading conservatives to indulge — or at least tacitly to permit — excuses that they typically reject elsewhere. Much as the teachers’ unions invariably attempt to justify their “anything goes” contracts by pointing to the ends that they ostensibly serve (“Well you do want schools for the children or don’t you? Sign here”), the increasingly muscular behavior of local police departments is often shrugged off as a by-product of the need to fight crime. This, if left unchecked, is a recipe for precisely the sort of carte blanche that conservatives claim to fear.

Leaving aside the central moral question of the War on Drugs — which is whether the state should be responding to peaceful transactions and consensual behavior with violence — there is, it seems, considerable room between law enforcement’s turning a blind eye to the law and its aping the military in its attempt to uphold it. The cartels of Mexico and drug lords of America’s larger cities are one thing; but two-bit dealers and consumers of illicit substances are quite another. In the instance that Salon recorded, the person that authorities “were looking for, wasn’t there.” “He doesn’t even live in that house,” Phonesavanh confirmed. But suppose that he had, and that he’d been dealing drugs as charged? Does this alone make the case for the tactics? I suspect not. Instead, attempting to catch a violator in the act by releasing military vehicles full of machine-gun-wielding men, storming a home in the dead of night, and performing a no-knock raid that results in a two-year-old’s being pushed into a coma might, one suspects, be overkill — in many similar cases, literally so. The question for conservatives should be this: If cowboy poetry is no justification for federal intrusion, can drug dealing be said to serve as an open invitation for the deployment of the ersatz 101st?

In the more febrile of the Right’s quarters, the sight of MRAPs being delivered to the chief of police in Westington, Mont., has given rise to all forms of regrettable silliness — to visions of black helicopters and reeducation camps and an America on the verge of being taken by force by the gun-toting rangers of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Nevertheless, a small amount of latent paranoia has served America well, and Chekhov’s advice that “one must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it” should be applied to governments as rigorously as to aspiring playwrights. Once the holders of the monopoly on violence are accorded the latest weaponry, there will always be the temptation to use it. Likewise, once one has taken the mental and linguistic leap of ascribing to domestic law enforcement the imprimatur of “war,” one may be inclined to reach for the trigger that little bit more quickly. The disaster at Waco, Texas, was, it seems, more cock-up than conspiracy. But the recognition in the aftermath that the whole bloody mess could have been avoided if local officers had taken the time to chat with the victims should haunt us to this day. Rushing in at 100 miles per hour rarely works out, whatever the ill that one is attempting to resolve.

The Left’s current inclination is to spin offenses out of straw — having no major battles left to fight, it seeks to detect microaggressions; with overt bigotry so thin on the ground, the dog whistles have come out; and with the barriers to the Declaration’s maxim having been largely removed, the focus has shifted to the structural and the invisible. But first-degree burns and holes in the chest are different things altogether — not to be dismissed or downplayed — and that the issue is being raised by an outlet known for its absurdity should not dull its impact. Will the Right wake up to the threat, applying its usual mistrust of power to a favored group, or will its usually alert advocates leave themselves willfully in the dark until, one day, a flashbang with their name on it is tossed through the window to wake them up with a start?

 

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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 — Videos

Posted on June 9, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Computers, media, People, Programming, Raves, Tablet, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , |

Surface Pro 3 Review – David Pogue’s Apple-style Ad

Surface Pro 3 review

Surface Pro 3 Review

Surface Pro 3 Unboxing, Setup & First Impressions

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 review | Engadget

Microsoft Surface 3 vs. MacBook Air Comparison | Mashable

 

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National Security Agency (NSA) — Who’s The Enemy? — The American People — House Judiciary Committee Guts NSA Reform Bill — USA Freedom Act — Broadly Defined Bulk Collection Will Continue — Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on U.S. Freedom Act — Videos

Posted on May 11, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Data Storage, Diasters, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Macroeconomics, media, Mobile Phones, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Bizarre week for NSA reformers

“USA Freedom Act” Has All Oversight Of NSA Gutted By Phony Gatekeepers!

Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

U.S. Freedom act

Real Talk with Julie Borowski: Stop Snooping, NSA!

Is NSA reform being sabotaged?

 

“The USA FREEDOM Act” Congress Plan To Curb NSA Spying On American Citizens

GOP against Justin Amash The Glenn Beck Talk Show

Report exposes secret NSA snooping tool

Opposing Bulk NSA Surveillance (Rep. Justin Amash)

Rep. Justin Amash cosponsored an amendment that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s unwarranted bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. The measure failed narrowly, but has re-energized the legislative struggle for civil liberties. Amash believes that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, should be prosecuted for lying to Congress. He also says he doesn’t appreciate the “condescending” tone of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with respect to the debate over national security.

Glenn Beck Justin Amash Interview On Nsa Surveillance

Congress’s Abdication on NSA Oversight (U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI))

Justin Amash: President Obama Was ‘Highly Misleading’ In Claiming There’s No Domestic Spying Program

House committee passes NSA reform bill

The House Judiciary Committee passed the National Security Agency reforming “USA Freedom Act” 31-0 Wednesday. The first major piece of legislation seeking to curb the NSA’s collection of electronic information, the bill which has undergone major changes will now proceed to the full House of Representatives. It will be competing with another reform bill that is expected to be approved by the House Intelligence Committee Thursday. RT’s Sam Sacks breaks down the bill and the chances for instituting real reform.

“USA Freedom Act” Bill To Put NSA “Out Of Business”

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? 1 of 6

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy Controversy Not The First Time 2 of

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? Controversy? 9 11 3 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Phone Records – 4 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Edward Snowden & Security – 5 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Day Of Reckoning At Hand? – 6 of 6

C-SPAN Callers On The Future Of The National Security Agency (NSA)

James Bamford Says NSA “Exploiting” U.S. Citizens With Info About Their Online Porno Viewing Habits

 

 

 

Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

Yesterday, C4L sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act.

The original version of the act was sold to Americans as a way to rein in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and it would have been a first step towards real reform of the surveillance state since 9/11.

But, that’s seldom the way Congress works. In an effort to “pass something this year,” the Judiciary Committee watered down the legislation and it passed out of the committee unanimously.

Want proof the recent changes to USA Freedom Act make it unworthy of support from civil libertarians? Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s biggest cheerleaders in the House,just reported it out of their committee by voice vote.

What’s more likely, that Rogers and Ruppersberger had a change of heart on the NSA? Or that Judiciary watered down the USA FREEDOM Act enough to the point that its “reform” is devoid of any substantive changes?

The bill is now earning plaudits from the same guys who said the original version would “make America less safe,” and from the administration that never wanted you to know they were spying on you in the first place.

Read Campaign for Liberty’s letter to the Judiciary Committee below:

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/congress-pulls-bait-switch-usa-freedom-act/

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Surveillance reform bill designed to prevent collection of US phone data in bulk and is first to proceed onto the House floor

Jim Sensenbrenner
The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner, said the bill ‘makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.’ Photo: Chip Somodevilla /Getty

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.”

While changes to the bill now permit the government to gather call records up to two degrees of separation away from a specific target – potentially millions of records – Sensenbrenner urged his colleagues “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” expressing confidence that the revamped USA Freedom Act was on “the fast track to passage.”

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and longtime USA Freedom Act supporter, said that the new version of the bill was a “less than perfect compromise” that still makes “important, vital, substantive changes” to US surveillance.

The revised USA Freedom Act, “while still better than any other proposal on the board, is a setback from the original,” said Amie Stepanovich of Access, a human rights and digital rights advocacy group.

While the USA Freedom Act has nearly 150 House co-sponsors, and a stalled Senate companion commands 20 votes in the upper chamber, it was clear on Wednesday that the House intelligence committee will continue attempts to outmaneuvre its rival.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, until now a fervent critic of the USA Freedom Act, is now praising a bill he has long criticized, and which several congressional sources said he attempted to influence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is retiring this year, called the changes to the USA Freedom Act a “huge improvement,” adding in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that the bill’s architects have “come a lot closer [and] now we’re just trying to work out the wording.”

Rogers is scheduled to mark up his alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday, a decision USA Freedom Act supporters view as a desperation move. But on Wednesday, Rogers’ committee announced it will also mark up the USA Freedom Act on Thursday, prompting Capitol Hill speculation that Rogers will attempt to merge his bill with the Freedom Act rather than attempt to rally more votes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had earlier thrown his support behind Rogers’ bill. But now Boehner is said to be monitoring the committe process and keeping his options open. Congressional sources expected Boehner to schedule a vote on a surveillance proposal – of whatever form – as early as the week of 19 May, so the issue does not derail the annual defense budget authorization, though nothing is scheduled yet.

Both bills as originally crafted prevent the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk, as it has done in secret since 2001, a position that President Barack Obama now embraces. The major difference between the two bills remains the role of judges in authorizing data collection. The Rogers bill permits the government to collect phone and email data absent a judges’ prior order, which the revised USA Freedom Act requires in all but emergency cases.

Additionally, the revised USA Freedom Act permits the government to get phone data two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the target of the order, which can mean millions of call records reaped from a single court order. The legal standard for that order, for counterterrorism purposes, will be “reasonable articulable suspicion” of connection to an agent of a foreign power, the NSA’s desired framework.

Significantly, the new version of the USA Freedom Act all but stripped out a provision preventing the NSA from combing through its foreign communications dragnets for Americans’ information, something Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon dubbed the “backdoor search provision,” an absence that has deeply upset supporters. Those dragnets exist pursuant to a major 2008 piece of legislation, known as Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act.

Congressional sources pointed to new language tightening up prohibitions on the NSA intentionally targeting Americans’ communications at the outset as a palliative. But they conceded the absence of the backdoor search ban was a major change – one they said the NSA’s advocates fought hard for, an indication of how central the NSA considers a power it has rarely forthrightly acknowledged using. They indicated that USA Freedom Act supporters lacked the votes within the committee to pass the bill that retained the backdoor search prohibition.

An attempt by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, to restore the backdoor search provision failed Wednesday. Goodlatte said restoring it would “disrupt this bipartisan agreement.”

Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute said he was “incredibly disappointed” at the new USA Freedom Act’s effective blessing of backdoor searches.

“Especially when we’re expecting the government’s own surveillance watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, to issue a report on just that issue within a month or so, closing the door to reform on Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act would be premature,” Bankston said in a statement.

But the Judiciary Committee restored a provision initially struck from the original USA Freedom Act permitting increased transparency for companies receiving surveillance orders for their customers’ data, the absence of which had alarmed supporters.

The language, added back to the bill Wednesday by Representative Suzan Delbene of Washington, had been cut in order to codify a January deal the Justice Department reached with phone and Internet companies allowing them to list received orders only in bands of 1,000 and with a time lag. Congressional sources said companies lobbied hard to restore transparency language.

The Obama administration has withheld endorsement of either bill in public, confusing supporters. But in recent weeks, its guidance to Capitol Hill on surveillance reform included a requirement for up-front judicial authorization for data requests, which only the USA Freedom Act possesses.

“At this stage, I think I’d just say we will be watching closely as these bills go through the process,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman said shortly before the vote.

Hours after the vote, Hayden issued a statement welcoming the USA Freedom Act as “a very good first step”:

“In March the president laid out his proposal to reform Section 215, and called upon Congress to act quickly to pass implementing legislation. We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis. The Judiciary Committee passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” Hayden said.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the provision cited by the NSA and blessed by the secret Fisa Court for bulk data collection.

Some legislators, distressed by the changes to the USA Freedom Act, are considering a different option for surveillance reform.

As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat, said the USA Freedom Act was “the first, best and perhaps only chance in a decade” to constrain widespread surveillance.

“This is our chance. We have to seize it,” Nadler said on Wednesday.

Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored the USA Freedom Act in the Senate, hailed the committee vote, but said he was concerned that the text does not reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national-security letters and makes insufficient changes on transparency and to the Fisa Court.

“I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA Freedom Act this summer,” Leahy said in a statement.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/usa-freedom-act-clears-house-committee-nsa-surveillance

 

USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act, formally titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act, is a bill that was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013.

The House version, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner as HR 3361, was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations January 9, 2014,[3] and the Senate version, S. 1599, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] An amended version out of the House Judiciary Committee contained many provisions raising concerns among civil libertarians,[5] including an extension of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[6][7] The bill will be considered in the Senate through the summer of 2014.[8]

Purpose

The USA Freedom Act[9] would end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, end the secret laws created by the FISA court, and introduce a “Special Advocate” to represent public and privacy matters.[10][11][12] Other proposed changes include limits to programs like PRISM, which “incidentally” retains Americans’ Internet data,[13] and greater transparency by allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information about government demands for information.[14]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, stated that its purpose was:

To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.[10][15]

According to the bill’s sponsors, their legislation would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act to ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection,[16] while preserving “the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way.”[17] A May 2014 amended version of the bill would also extend thecontroversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[18] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19]

The bill is made up of several titles: FISA business records reforms, FISA pen register and trap and trace device reforms, FISA acquisitions targeting persons outside the United States reforms, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reforms, Office of the Special Advocate, National Security Letter reforms, FISA and National Security Letter transparency reforms, and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority.[20]

Background

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes.[21] More than 20 bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of reining in government surveillance powers.[13]

Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks to give more power to US intelligence agencies, and who has described himself as “author of the Patriot Act”,[22] declared that it was time to put the NSA’s “metadata program out of business”. With its bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, Sensenbrenner asserted that the intelligence community “misused those powers”, had gone “far beyond” the original intent of the legislation, and had “overstepped its authority”.[21][23]

An opinion piece by Leahy and Sensenbrenner, published in Politico, described the impetus for proposed changes,[24] saying:

The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform.[17]

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

In May 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee posted a “Manager’s Amendment” on its website. Title VII of the Amendment read “Section 102(b)(1) of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking “June 1, 2015″ and inserting “December 31, 2017″, extending the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[25] The Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that the Patriot Act unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[26] while the American Library Association became so concerned that they formed a resolution condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, and which urged members to defend free speech and protect patrons’ privacy against the Act.[27]

The Guardian wrote “civil libertarians on the Judiciary Committee had to compromise in order to gain support for the act. Significantly, the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion‘ – a standard preferred by the NSA – of wrongdoing, and can collect call records two degrees or ‘hops’ of separation from the individual suspected”.[5] Kara Brandeisky of ProPublica said “some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute”.[28]

The National Journal wrote “one tech lobbyist noted concern that a provision that would have allowed companies to disclose to customers more information about government data requests has been dropped. In addition, an external special advocate that would oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would no longer be selected by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Instead, the court’s judges would designate five ‘amicus curiae‘ who possess appropriate security clearances.”[29]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated it remained “concerned that this bill omits important transparency provisions found in the USA FREEDOM Act, which are necessary to shed light on surveillance abuses”. In addition, the EFF said it believed “this bill should do more to address mass surveillance under Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, a section of law used to collect the communications of users worldwide”.[30] The Open Technology Institute commented “several other key reforms—such as provisions allowing Internet and phone companies to publish more information about the demands they receive, which OTI and a coalition of companies and organizations have been pressing for since last summer—have been removed, while the bill also provides for a new type of court order that the President has requested, allowing for continuous collection by the government of specified telephone records.”[31]

Despite the criticism from civil liberties groups, Mike Rogers, a defender of the NSA‘s surveillance practices and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the amendments. Rogers, who had his own bill which would codify the NSA’s surveillance practices in to law, called the proposed amendments a “huge improvement”. Foreign Policy wrote “any compromise to the Judiciary bill risks an insurrection from civil libertarians in Congress. Michigan Republican Justin Amash led such a revolt last year when he offered an NSA amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stripped funding for the NSA’s collection program.” “Just a weakened bill or worse than status quo? I’ll find out,” Representative Amash said.[32]

After passage of the marked up bill, USA Freedom Act co-author and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy commented that he “remain concerned that the legislation approved today does not include some of the important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency. I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.”[8]

Reaction

The Act has bipartisan support, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As of May 8, 2014, it had 150 co-sponsors in the House[1] and 21 in the Senate.[2] Viewed as one of the most comprehensive of the similar bills introduced since the NSA leaks, the USA Freedom Act has support or qualified support from a diverse range of groups such as the ACLUMozilla, and the NRA.[13][33]

Representative Justin Amash, author of the narrowly-defeated Amash Amendment, a proposal that would have de-funded the NSA, backed the legislation. “It’s getting out of control” he commented, “[Courts are issuing] general warrants without specific cause…and you have one agency that’s essentially having superpowers to pass information onto others”.[23]

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, even if the Freedom Act becomes law, the NSA could continue its bulk collection of American’s phone records. He explained that “it’s going to depend on how the [FISA] court interprets any number of the provisions” contained within the legislation.[16] Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School, stated:

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.[16]

Opponents of global surveillance have called for the bill to be strengthened. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement saying “we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling”. The ACLU wrote that “although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government’s surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support.”[34][35]

International human rights groups remain somewhat skeptical of specific provisions of the bill. For example, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern that the “bill would do little to increase protections for the right to privacy for people outside the United States, a key problem that plagues U.S. surveillance activities. Nor would the bill address mass surveillance or bulk collection practices that may be occurring under other laws or regulations, such as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or Executive Order 12333. These practices affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet communications and phone calls, not just metadata”.[36] Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International‘s Security and Human Rights Program, agreed that “any proposal that fails to ban mass surveillance, end blanket secrecy, or stop discrimination against people outside the U.S. will be a false fix”.[37]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  4. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) S.1599″. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  5. Jump up to:a b The Guardian: Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill
  6. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act

    Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ‘‘June 1, 2015’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2017’’.

  7. Jump up^ The Guardian: USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

    As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

  8. Jump up to:a b Office of Senator Patrick Leahy: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Action by the House Judiciary Committee to End Bulk Collection
  9. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status: 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361 CRS Summary”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  10. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan. “The USA Freedom Act: a look at the key points of the draft bill”Guardian.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Wilhelm, Alex (2013-10-29). “Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance”TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. Jump up^ ‘Patriot Act’ Author Seeks ‘USA Freedom Act’ to Rein In NSA – US News and World Report. Usnews.com (October 10, 2013).
  13. Jump up to:a b c Gallagher, Rhan. “U.S. Lawmakers Launch Assault on NSA Domestic Snooping”Slate.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  14. Jump up^ “USA Freedom Act Would Leash the National Security Agency”Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Sensenbrenner, Jim. “The USA Freedom Act”House.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Granick, Jennifer (2013-12-16). “NSA’s Creative Interpretations Of Law Subvert Congress And The Rule Of Law”Forbes. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  17. Jump up to:a b Leahy, Sen. Patrick; Sensenbrenner, Rep. Jim (29 October 2013). “The case for NSA reform”Politico. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  19. Jump up to:a b “Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions: Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations”AnalysisElectronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ “Bill Text 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361.IH”THOMASLibrary of Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  21. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan (2013-10-10). “Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection ‘out of business'”Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Editorial Board (2013-06-06). “President Obama’s Dragnet”. New York Times.
  23. Jump up to:a b Krietz, Andrew (2013-10-15). “Amash-backed bill aimed to end NSA spying programs garners even bipartisan support”. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Shabad, Rebecca (2014-01-16). “Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: ‘Baloney'”The Hill.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  25. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  26. Jump up^ James X. Dempsey“Why Sections 209, 212, and 220 Should be Modified” (undated). Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  27. Jump up^ “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users”American Library Association. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  28. Jump up^ ProPublica: What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do
  29. Jump up^ National Journal: House Panels Race Against Each Other to Reform NSA Spying
  30. Jump up^ EFF Statement on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s USA FREEDOM Act Amendment
  31. Jump up^ Open Technology Institute: OTI Statement on New Version of Surveillance Reform Bill, The USA FREEDOM Act
  32. Jump up^ Foreign Policy: Key NSA Defender: Congress ‘A Lot Closer’ On Surveillance Reform
  33. Jump up^ Handerson (2013-10-29). “The Freedom Act will Help Rebuild User Trust in the Internet”The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  34. Jump up^ Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman (2013-11-14). “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance”. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  35. Jump up^ Michelle Richardson (2013-10-29). “The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform”. American Civil Liberties Union.
  36. Jump up^ Human Rights Watch: US: Modest Step by Congress on NSA Reform
  37. Jump up^ Amnesty International: Congress Must Put Human Rights at the Center of Surveillance Reform

External links

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

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data it collects worldwide every day. The program has been shared with other spy agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst.[1]

The program’s existence was publicly revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden in The Sydney Morning Herald and O Globo newspapers, though the codename is mentioned in earlier articles, and like many other codenames can also be seen in job postings, and in the online resumes of employees.[2][3]

The scope of XKeyscore

XKeyscore is a complicated system and various authors have different interpretations about its actual capabilities. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explained XKeyscore as being a system which enables almost unlimited surveillance of anyone anywhere in the world, while NSA said that usage of the system is limited and restricted.

According to The Washington Post and national security reporter Marc Ambinder, XKeyscore is an NSA data-retrieval system which consists of a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of data and metadata that the NSA has already collected using other methods.[4][5]

According to Snowden and Greenwald

On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:[1]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.”
“…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”

According to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, low-level NSA analysts can via systems like XKeyscore “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[6]

He added that the NSA’s databank of collected communications allows its analysts to listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future”.[6]

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

In an official statement from July 30, 2013, the NSA said there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” The NSA also states that there are “stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”[7]

The agency defended the program, stressing that it was only used to legally obtain information about “legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests. [...] XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. [...] These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad.”[8]

Workings

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the query hierarchy

An NSA presentation about XKeyscore from 2008 says that it’s a “DNI Exploitation System/Analytic Framework”. DNI stands for Digital Network Intelligence, which means intelligence derived from internet traffic.[9] In an interview with the German Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Edward Snowden said about XKeyscore: “It’s a front end search engine”.[10]

Data sources

XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[11][12][13] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[12]

According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[14]

  1. F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
  2. FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
  3. SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[15]

  1. Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
  2. Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
  3. FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  4. Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[9]

However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[16] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[17]

Capabilities

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the differences between the various NSA database systems

For analysts, XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”, which allows them to query terabytes of raw data gathered at the aforementioned collection sites. This enables them to find targets that cannot be found by searching only the metadata, and also to do this against data sets that otherwise would have been dropped by the front-end data processing systems. According to a slide from an XKeyscore presentation, NSA collection sites select and forward less than 5% of the internet traffic to the PINWALE database for internet content.[16]

Because XKeyscore holds raw and unselected communications traffic, analysts can not only perform queries using “strong selectors” like e-mail addresses, but also using “soft selectors”, like keywords, against the body texts of e-mail and chat messages and digital documents and spreadsheets in English, Arabic and Chinese.[9]

This is useful because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous” and therefore those activities can’t be found by just looking for e-mail addresses of a target. When content has been found, the analyst might be able to find new intelligence or a strong selector, which can then be used for starting a traditional search.[9]

Besides using soft selectors, analysts can also use the following other XKeyscore capabilities:[9][18]

  • Look for the usage of Google Maps and terms entered into a search engine by known targets looking for suspicious things or places.
  • Look for “anomalies” without any specific person attached, like detecting the nationality of foreigners by analyzing the language used within intercepted emails. An example would be a German speaker in Pakistan. The Brazilian paper O Globo claims that this has been applied to Latin America and specifically to Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.[11][19]
  • Detect people who use encryption by do searches like “all PGP usage in Iran”. The caveat given is that very broad queries can result in too much data to transmit back to the analyst.
  • Showing the usage of Virtual private networks (VPNs) and machines that can potentially be hacked via TAO.
  • Track the source and authorship of a document that has passed through many hands.

Most of these things cannot be detected by other NSA tools because they operate with strong selectors (like e-mail and IP addresses and phone numbers) and the raw data volumes are too high to forward them to other NSA databases.[9]

In 2008, it was planned to add a number of new capabilities in the future, like:

Significance

The NSA slides published in The Guardian during 2013 claimed that XKeyscore had played a role in capturing 300 terrorists by 2008.[9] This claim could not be substantiated as the redacted documents do not cite instances of terrorist interventions.

A 2011 report from the NSA unit in Griesheim (Germany) says that XKeyscore made it easier and more efficient to target surveillance. Previously, analysis often accessed data they were not interested in. XKeyscore allowed them to focus on the intended topics, while ignoring unrelated data. XKeyscore also proved to be an outstanding tool for tracking active groups associated with the Anonymous movement in Germany, because it allows for searching on patterns, rather than particular individuals. An analyst is able to determine when targets research new topics, or develop new behaviors.[20]

To create additional motivation, the NSA incorporated various features from computer games into the program. For instance, analysts who were especially good at using XKeyscore could acquire “skilz” points and “unlock achievements.” The training units in Griesheim were apparently successful and analysts there had achieved the “highest average of skilz points” compared with all other NSA departments participating in the training program.[20]

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

Excerpt of an NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that reveals the BND‘s usage of the NSA’s XKeyscore to wiretap a German domestic target

According to documents Der Spiegel acquired from Snowden, the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) were also allowed to use the XKeyscore system. In those documents the BND agency was described as the NSA’s most prolific partner in information gathering.[21] This led to political confrontations, after which the directors of the German intelligence agencies briefed members of the German parliamentary intelligence oversight committee on July 25, 2013. They declared that XKeyscore has been used by the BND since 2007 and that the BfV uses a test version since 2012. The directors also explained that this program is not for collecting data, but only for analyzing them.[22]

Sweden

As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of intelligence collaboration and data sharing.[23] According to documents leaked by Snowden, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been granted access to XKeyscore.[24]

 

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No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

Enemy Of The State: Life Imitating Art –National Security Agency Targets American People — Vidoes

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National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Uses Stellar Wind and PRISM To Create Secret Dossiers On All American Citizen Targets Similar To East Germany Stasi Files–Videos

NSA’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

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NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos

Posted on March 30, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Comedy, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, European History, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Quotations, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: NSA Metadata To Be Held By Telephone Companies — Great Distraction — Still Collecting and Intercepting All Americans Telephone Calls and All Information Transmitted Over The Internet and Telephone Exchanges — Stop Deceiving The American People Mr. President — Videos

Obama: NSA Proposal Satisfies Public Concerns

 

Obama announces overhaul of NSA metadata collection

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President Obama Names Michael Rogers As New Head Of The NSA

Background Articles and Videos

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Through a PRISM, Darkly – Everything we know about NSA spying [30c3]

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

From Stellar Wind to PRISM, Boundless Informant to EvilOlive, the NSA spying programs are shrouded in secrecy and rubber-stamped by secret opinions from a court that meets in a faraday cage. The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl explains the known facts about how the programs operate and the laws and regulations the U.S. government asserts allows the NSA to spy on you.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit civil society organization, has been litigating against the NSA spying program for the better part of a decade. EFF has collected and reviewed dozens of documents, from the original NY Times stories in 2005 and the first AT&T whistleblower in 2006, through the latest documents released in the Guardian or obtained through EFF’s Freedom of Information (government transparency) litigation. EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl’s lecture will describe how the NSA spying program works, the underlying technologies, the targeting procedures (how they decide who to focus on), the minimization procedures (how they decide which information to discard), and help you makes sense of the many code names and acronyms in the news. He will also discuss the legal and policy ramifications that have become part of the public debate following the recent disclosures, and what you can do about it. After summarizing the programs, technologies, and legal/policy framework in the lecture, the audience can ask questions.

Speaker: Kurt Opsahl
EventID: 5255
Event: 30th Chaos Communication Congress [30c3] by the Chaos Computer Club [CCC]
Location: Congress Centrum Hamburg (CCH); Am Dammtor; Marseiller Straße; 20355 Hamburg; Germany
Language: english

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Inside the NSA

Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

For years the National Securities Agency, has been spying on each & every keystroke. The national headquarters of AT&T is in Missouri, where ex-employees describe a secret room. The program is called “Splitter Cut-In & Test Procedure.”

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All – Op-Docs: The Program

The filmmaker Laura Poitras profiles William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency who helped design a top-secret program he says is broadly collecting Americans’ personal data.

NSA Whistleblower: Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

William Benny – The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

‘After 9/11 NSA had secret deal with White House’

The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake speaks at National Press Club – March 15, 2013

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

The Truth About Edward Snowden

N.S.A. Spying: Why Does It Matter?

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-1/2

AT&T Whistleblower Urges Against Immunity for Telecoms in Bush Spy Program

The Senate is expected to vote on a controversial measure to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act tomorrow. The legislation would rewrite the nation’s surveillance laws and authorize the National Security Agency’s secret program of warrantless wiretapping. We speak with Mark Klein, a technician with AT&T for over twenty-two years. In 2006 Klein leaked internal AT&T documents that revealed the company had set up a secret room in its San Francisco office to give the National Security Agency access to its fiber optic internet cables.

AT&T whistleblower against immunity for Bush spy program-2/2

Enemy Of The State 1998 (1080p) (Full movie)

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

Stellar Wind was the open secret code name for four surveillance programs by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) during the presidency of George W. Bush and revealed by Thomas Tamm to The New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau.[1] The operation was approved by President George W. Bush shortly after the September 11 attacks in 2001.[2] Stellar Wind was succeeded during the presidency of Barack Obama by four major lines of intelligence collection in the territorial United States, together capable of spanning the full range of modern telecommunications.[3]

The program’s activities involved data mining of a large database of the communications of American citizens, including e-mail communications, phone conversations, financial transactions, and Internet activity.[1] William Binney, a retired Technical Leader with the NSA, discussed some of the architectural and operational elements of the program at the 2012 Chaos Communication Congress.[4]

There were internal disputes within the Justice Department about the legality of the program, because data are collected for large numbers of people, not just the subjects of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants.[4]

During the Bush Administration, the Stellar Wind cases were referred to by FBI agents as “pizza cases” because many seemingly suspicious cases turned out to be food takeout orders. According to Mueller, approximately 99 percent of the cases led nowhere, but “it’s that other 1% that we’ve got to be concerned about”.[2] One of the known uses of these data were the creation of suspicious activity reports, or “SARS”, about people suspected of terrorist activities. It was one of these reports that revealed former New York governor Eliot Spitzer’s use of prostitutes, even though he was not suspected of terrorist activities.[1]

In March 2012 Wired magazine published “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)” talking about a vast new NSA facility in Utah and says “For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail,” naming the official William Binney, a former NSA code breaker. Binney went on to say that the NSA had highly secured rooms that tap into major switches, and satellite communications at both AT&T and Verizon.[5] The article suggested that the otherwise dispatched Stellar Wind is actually an active program.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_Wind_%28code_name%29

PRISM

PRISM is a clandestine national security electronic surveillance program operated by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) since 2007.[1][2][3][Notes 1] PRISM is a government codename for a data collection effort known officially as US-984XN.[8][9] It is operated under the supervision of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[10] The existence of the program was leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013.

A document included in the leak indicated that the PRISM SIGAD was “the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports.”[11] The President’s Daily Brief, an all-source intelligence product, cited PRISM data as a source in 1,477 items in 2012.[12] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had been requiring the telecommunications company Verizon to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers’ telephone calls on an ongoing daily basis.[13][14]

According to the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, PRISM cannot be used to intentionally target any Americans or anyone in the United States. Clapper said a special court, Congress, and the executive branch oversee the program and extensive procedures ensure the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of data accidentally collected about Americans is kept to a minimum.[15] Clapper issued a statement and “fact sheet”[16] to correct what he characterized as “significant misimpressions” in articles by The Washington Post and The Guardian newspapers.[17]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US

Details of information collected via PRISM

PRISM is a “Special Source Operation” in the tradition of NSA’s intelligence alliances with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[1] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program, was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and had its legality questioned, because it was conducted without approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).[18][19][20][21] PRISM was authorized by an order of the FISC.[11] Its creation was enabled by the Protect America Act of 2007 under President Bush and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which legally immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with US intelligence collection and was renewed by Congress under President Obama in 2012 for five years until December 2017.[2][22] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 “specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant” when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[22]

PRISM was first publicly revealed on June 6, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Washington Post and The Guardian by American Edward Snowden.[2][1] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[1][2] The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including (date of joining PRISM in parentheses) Microsoft (2007), Yahoo! (2008), Google (2009), Facebook (2009), Paltalk (2009), YouTube (2010), AOL (2011), Skype (2011), and Apple (2012).[23] The speaker’s notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft.”[1]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world’s electronic communications pass through the United States, because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world’s internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[11] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[2][11]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be United States citizens, but in the process, communication data of some United States citizens are also collected unintentionally.[1] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign United States data, “it’s nothing to worry about.”[1]

Response from companies

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data “directly from the servers” of several major internet services providers.[2][1]

Initial Public Statements

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[2][24] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[25][26]

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

  • Microsoft: “We provide customer data only when we receive a legally binding order or subpoena to do so, and never on a voluntary basis. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data we don’t participate in it.”[25]
  • Yahoo!: “Yahoo! takes users’ privacy very seriously. We do not provide the government with direct access to our servers, systems, or network.”[25] “Of the hundreds of millions of users we serve, an infinitesimal percentage will ever be the subject of a government data collection directive.”[26]
  • Facebook: “We do not provide any government organization with direct access to Facebook servers. When Facebook is asked for data or information about specific individuals, we carefully scrutinize any such request for compliance with all applicable laws, and provide information only to the extent required by law.”[25]
  • Google: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a backdoor for the government to access private user data.”[25] “[A]ny suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.”[26]
  • Apple: “We have never heard of PRISM. We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”[27]
  • Dropbox: “We’ve seen reports that Dropbox might be asked to participate in a government program called PRISM. We are not part of any such program and remain committed to protecting our users’ privacy.”[25]

In response to the technology companies’ denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies’ servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[13] The Washington Post suggested, “It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing ‘collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,’ rather than directly to company servers.”[1] “[I]n context, ‘direct’ is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they’re transmitted to some other destination.[26]

“If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all,” Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[28]

Slide showing two different sources of NSA data collection. The first source the fiber optic cables of the internet handled by the Upstream program and the second source the servers of major internet companies handled by PRISM.[29]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[30] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, “I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn’t include this. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were subject to a gag order.”[31]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that “Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations.”[32] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[32] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[32] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[32] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states “Collection directly from the servers”[29] and the companies’ denials.[32]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by FISC is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[32] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[32] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[32] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or secure FTP.[33]

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. Government had authorized the communication of “about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range.” In a press release posted to their web site, Facebook reported, “For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) – was between 9,000 and 10,000.” Facebook further reported that the requests impacted “between 18,000 and 19,000″ user accounts, a “tiny fraction of one percent” of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[34]

Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received “between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)” which impacted “a tiny fraction of Microsoft’s global customer base”.[35]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be “a step backwards” from its previous, more detailed practices on its site transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[36]

Response from United States government

Executive branch

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Google and Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[13] The statement read in part, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”[37] He went on to say, “Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”[37] Clapper concluded his statement by stating “The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans.”[37] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does “not wittingly” collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[38] In an NBC News interview, Clapper said he answered Senator Wyden’s question in the “least untruthful manner by saying no”.[39]

Clapper also stated that “the NSA collects the phone data in broad swaths, because collecting it (in) a narrow fashion would make it harder to identify terrorism-related communications. The information collected lets the government, over time, make connections about terrorist activities. The program doesn’t let the U.S. listen to people’s calls, but only includes information like call length and telephone numbers dialed.”[15]

On June 8, 2013, Clapper said “the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and The Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress.”[40][10] The fact sheet described PRISM as “an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government’s statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10]

The National Intelligence fact sheet further stated that “the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, “provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency.”[10]

The President of the United States, Barack Obama, said on June 7 “What you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.”[41] He also said, “You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”[41]

In separate statements, senior (not mentioned by name in source) Obama administration officials said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[42]

Legislative branch

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens’ telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[43] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[44] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

  • June 9 “We passed the Patriot Act. We passed specific provisions of the act that allowed for this program to take place, to be enacted in operation,”[45]

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

  • June 9 “These programs are within the law”, “part of our obligation is keeping Americans safe”, “Human intelligence isn’t going to do it”.[46]
  • June 9 “Here’s the rub: the instances where this has produced good — has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks, is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this.”[47]
  • June 11 “It went fine…we asked him[ Keith Alexander ] to declassify things because it would be helpful (for people and lawmakers to better understand the intelligence programs).” “I’ve just got to see if the information gets declassified. I’m sure people will find it very interesting.”[48]

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

  • June 11 “I had, along with Joe Lieberman, a monthly threat briefing, but I did not have access to this highly compartmentalized information” and “How can you ask when you don’t know the program exists?”[49]

Representative John Boehner (R-OH), Speaker of the House of Representatives

  • June 11 “He’s a traitor”[50] (referring to Edward Snowden)

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

  • June 9, “This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.”[51] “President Obama’s claim that ‘this is the most transparent administration in history’ has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.”[51]

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

  • June 9 “One of the things that we’re charged with is keeping America safe and keeping our civil liberties and privacy intact. I think we have done both in this particular case,”[46]
  • June 9 “Within the last few years this program was used to stop a program, excuse me, to stop a terrorist attack in the United States we know that. It’s, it’s, it’s important, it fills in a little seam that we have and it’s used to make sure that there is not an international nexus to any terrorism event that they may believe is ongoing in the United States. So in that regard it is a very valuable thing,”[52]

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

  • June 9 “I don’t think the American public knows the extent or knew the extent to which they were being surveilled and their data was being collected.” “I think we ought to reopen the Patriot Act and put some limits on the amount of data that the National Security (Agency) is collecting,” “It ought to remain sacred, and there’s got to be a balance here. That is what I’m aiming for. Let’s have the debate, let’s be transparent, let’s open this up”.[46]

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

  • June 10 “We have no idea when they [ FISA ] meet, we have no idea what their judgments are”,[53]

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

  • June 6 “When the Senate rushed through a last-minute extension of the FISA Amendments Act late last year, I insisted on a vote on my amendment (SA 3436) to require stronger protections on business records and prohibiting the kind of data-mining this case has revealed. Just last month, I introduced S.1037, the Fourth Amendment Preservation and Protection Act,”[54]
  • June 9 “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level. I’m going to be asking the Internet providers and all of the phone companies: ask your customers to join me in a class-action lawsuit.”[45]

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

  • June 9 “We will be receiving secret briefings and we will be asking, I know I’m going to be asking to get more information. I want to make sure that what they’re doing is harvesting information that is necessary to keep us safe and not simply going into everybody’s private telephone conversations and Facebook and communications. I mean one of the, you know the terrorists win when you debilitate freedom of expression and privacy.”[52]

Judicial branch

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) has not acknowledged, denied or confirmed any involvement in the PRISM program at this time. It has not issued any press statement or release relating to the current situation and uncertainty.

Applicable law and practice

On June 8, 2013, the Director of National Intelligence issued a fact sheet stating that PRISM “is not an undisclosed collection or data mining program”, but rather computer software used to facilitate the collection of foreign intelligence information “under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. § 1881a).”[10] Section 702 provides that “the Attorney General [A.G.] and the Director of National Intelligence [DNI] may authorize jointly, for a period of up to 1 year from the effective date of the authorization, the targeting of persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States to acquire foreign intelligence information.”[55] In order to authorize the targeting, the A.G. and DNI need to get an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to Section 702 or certify that “intelligence important to the national security of the United States may be lost or not timely acquired and time does not permit the issuance of an order.”[55] When asking for an order, the A.G. and DNI must certify to FISC that “a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information.”[55] They do not need to specify which facilities or property that the targeting will be directed at.[55]

After getting a FISC order or determining that there are emergency circumstances, the A.G. and DNI can direct an electronic communication service provider to give them access to information or facilities to carry out the targeting and keep the targeting secret.[55] The provider then has the option to: (1) comply with the directive; (2) reject it; or (3) challenge it to FISC.

If the provider complies with the directive, it is released from liability to its users for providing the information and reimbursed for the cost of providing it.[55]

If the provider rejects the directive, the A.G. may request an order from FISC to enforce it.[55] A provider that fails to comply with FISC’s order can be punished with contempt of court.[55]

Finally, a provider can petition FISC to reject the directive.[55] In case FISC denies the petition and orders the provider to comply with the directive, the provider risks contempt of court if it refuses to comply with FISC’s order.[55] The provider can appeal FISC’s denial to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review and then appeal the Court of Review’s decision to the Supreme Court by a writ of certiorari for review under seal.[55]

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the FISA Courts had been put in place to oversee intelligence operations in the period after the death of J. Edgar Hoover. Beverly Gage of Slate said, “When they were created, these new mechanisms were supposed to stop the kinds of abuses that men like Hoover had engineered. Instead, it now looks as if they have come to function as rubber stamps for the expansive ambitions of the intelligence community. J. Edgar Hoover no longer rules Washington, but it turns out we didn’t need him anyway.”[56]

Involvement of other countries

Australia

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[57]

Canada

Canada’s national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment, said that commenting on PRISM “would undermine CSE’s ability to carry out its mandate”. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada’s standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating “We have fallen too far behind,” Stoddart wrote in her report. “While other nations’ data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a ‘soft’ approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest.” And, “when push comes to shove,” Stoddart wrote, “short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations.”[58]

Germany

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[59]

Israel

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[60] the Business Insider article[61] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM program – Verint Systems and Narus.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that “under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn’t do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information.”[62]

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. PRISM may have allowed GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to seek personal material.[63][64]

Domestic response

Unbalanced scales.svg
The neutrality of this section is disputed. Please do not remove this message until the dispute is resolved. (June 2013)

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration “has now lost all credibility on this issue,”[65] and lamented that “for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public’s calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database.”[66]

Republican and former member of Congress Ron Paul said, “We should be thankful for individuals like Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald who see injustice being carried out by their own government and speak out, despite the risk…. They have done a great service to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.”[67] Paul denounced the government’s secret surveillance program: “The government does not need to know more about what we are doing…. We need to know more about what the government is doing.”[67] He called Congress “derelict in giving that much power to the government,” and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[68]

In response to Obama administration arguments that it could stop terrorism in the cases of Najibullah Zazi and David Headley, Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said in regards to the role of PRISM and Boundless Informant interviews with parties involved in the Zazi scheme and court documents lodged in the United States and the United Kingdom indicated that “conventional” surveillance methods such as “old-fashioned tip-offs” of the British intelligence services initiated the investigation into the Zazi case.[69] An anonymous former CIA agent said that in regards to the Headley case, “That’s nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That’s not the way it happened at all.”[69] Pilkington and Watt concluded that the data-mining programs “played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”[69] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev had visited Inspire and even though Russian intelligence officials alerted U.S. intelligence officials about Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston bombings, and that the initial evidence implicating him came from his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and not from federal intelligence. In addition Daly pointed to the fact that Faisal Shahzad visited Inspire but that federal authorities did not stop his attempted terrorist plot. Daly concluded “The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety.”[70] In addition, political commentator Bill O’Reilly criticized the government, saying that PRISM did not stop the Boston bombings.[71]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA’s programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[72] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show’s first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a “faux scandal.”[72][73] George Takei, an actor who had experienced Japanese American internment, said that due to his memories of the internment, he felt concern towards the NSA surveillance programs that had been revealed.[74]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[75]

On June 11, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the NSA citing that PRISM “violates Americans’ constitutional rights of free speech, association, and privacy”.[76]

International response

Reactions of Internet users in China were mixed between viewing a loss of freedom worldwide and seeing state surveillance coming out of secrecy. The story broke just before US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in California.[77][78] When asked about NSA hacking China, the spokeswoman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said “China strongly advocates cybersecurity”.[79] The party-owned newspaper Liberation Daily described this surveillance like Nineteen Eighty-Four-style.[80] Hong Kong legislators Gary Fan and Claudia Mo wrote a letter to Obama, stating “the revelations of blanket surveillance of global communications by the world’s leading democracy have damaged the image of the U.S. among freedom-loving peoples around the world.”[81]

Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, called PRISM “a violation of EU laws”.[82]

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

The German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, Peter Schaar, condemned the program as “monstrous”.[83] He further added that White House claims do “not reassure me at all” and that “given the large number of German users of Google, Facebook, Apple or Microsoft services, I expect the German government […] is committed to clarification and limitation of surveillance.” Steffen Seibert, press secretary of the Chancellor’s office, announced that Angela Merkel will put these issues on the agenda of the talks with Barack Obama during his pending visit in Berlin.[84]

The Italian president of the Guarantor for the protection of personal data, Antonello Soro, said that the surveillance dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.[85]

William Hague, the foreign secretary of the United Kingdom, dismissed accusations that British security agencies had been circumventing British law by using information gathered on British citizens by Prism[86] saying, “Any data obtained by us from the United States involving UK nationals is subject to proper UK statutory controls and safeguards.”[86] David Cameron said Britain’s spy agencies that received data collected from PRISM acted within the law: “I’m satisfied that we have intelligence agencies that do a fantastically important job for this country to keep us safe, and they operate within the law.”[86][87] Malcolm Rifkind, the chairman of parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said that if the British intelligence agencies were seeking to know the content of emails about people living in the UK, then they actually have to get lawful authority.[87] The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office was more cautious, saying it would investigate PRISM alongside other European data agencies: “There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.”[82]

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[88]

Kim Dotcom, a German-Finnish Internet entrepreneur who owned Megaupload, which was closed by the U.S. federal government, said “We should heed warnings from Snowden because the prospect of an Orwellian society outweighs whatever security benefits we derive from Prism or Five Eyes.”[89] The Hong Kong law firm representing Dotcom expressed a fear that the communication between Dotcom and the firm had been compromised by U.S. intelligence programs.[90]

Russia has offered to consider an asylum request from Edward Snowden.[91]

Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said “We knew about their past efforts to trace our system. We have used our technical resources to foil their efforts and have been able to stop them from succeeding so far.”[92][93]

Related government Internet surveillance programs

A parallel program, code-named BLARNEY, gathers up metadata as it streams past choke points along the backbone of the Internet. BLARNEY’s summary, set down in the slides alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat, describes it as “an ongoing collection program that leverages IC [intelligence community] and commercial partnerships to gain access and exploit foreign intelligence obtained from global networks.”[94]

A related program, a big data visualization system based on cloud computing and free and open-source software (FOSS) technology known as “Boundless Informant”, was disclosed in documents leaked to The Guardian and reported on June 8, 2013. A leaked, top secret map allegedly produced by Boundless Informant revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in the U.S.[95]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PRISM_%28surveillance_program%29

ThinThread

ThinThread is the name of a project that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) pursued during the 1990s, according to a May 17, 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.[1] The program involved wiretapping and sophisticated analysis of the resulting data, but according to the article, the program was discontinued three weeks before the September 11, 2001 attacks due to the changes in priorities and the consolidation of U.S. intelligence authority.[2] The “change in priority” consisted of the decision made by the director of NSA General Michael V. Hayden to go with a concept called Trailblazer, despite the fact that ThinThread was a working prototype that protected the privacy of U.S. citizens.

ThinThread was dismissed and replaced by the Trailblazer Project, which lacked the privacy protections.[3] A consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a $280 million contract to develop Trailblazer in 2002.[4]

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

Trailblazer

Trailblazer was a United States National Security Agency (NSA) program intended to develop a capability to analyze data carried on communications networks like the Internet. It was intended to track entities using communication methods such as cell phones and e-mail.[1][2] It ran over budget, failed to accomplish critical goals, and was cancelled.

NSA whistleblowers J. Kirk Wiebe, William Binney, Ed Loomis, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer Diane Roark complained to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General (IG) about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. The complaint was accepted by the IG and an investigation began that lasted until mid-2005 when the final results were issued. The results were largely hidden, as the report given to the public was heavily (90%) redacted, while the original report was heavily classified, thus restricting the ability of most people to see it.

The people who filed the IG complaint were later raided by armed Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents. While the Government threatened to prosecute all who signed the IG report, it ultimately chose to pursue an NSA Senior Executive — Thomas Andrews Drake — who helped with the report internally to NSA and who had spoken with a reporter about the project. Drake was later charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. His defenders claimed this was retaliation.[3][4] The charges against him were later dropped, and he agreed to plead guilty to having committed a misdemeanor under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, something that Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project (which helped represent him) called an “act of civil disobedience”.[5]

Background

Trailblazer was chosen over a similar program named ThinThread, a less costly project which had been designed with built-in privacy protections for United States citizens.[4][3] Trailblazer was later linked to the NSA electronic surveillance program and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy.[3]

In 2002 a consortium led by Science Applications International Corporation was chosen by the NSA to produce a technology demonstration platform in a contract worth $280 million. Project participants included Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, and Booz Allen Hamilton. The project was overseen by NSA Deputy Director William B. Black, Jr., an NSA worker who had gone to SAIC, and then been re-hired back to NSA by NSA director Michael Hayden in 2000.[6][7][8] SAIC had also hired a former NSA director to its management; Bobby Inman.[9] SAIC also participated in the concept definition phase of Trailblazer.[10][11]

Redacted version of the DoD Inspector General audit, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the Project on Government Oversight and others. [12][5]

The NSA Inspector General issued a report on Trailblazer that “discussed improperly based contract cost increases, non-conformance in the management of the Statement of Work, and excessive labor rates for contractor personnel.” [13]

In 2004 the DoD IG report criticized the program (see the Whistleblowing section below). It said that the “NSA ‘disregarded solutions to urgent national security needs'” and “that TRAILBLAZER was poorly executed and overly expensive …” Several contractors for the project were worried about cooperating with DoD’s audit for fear of “management reprisal.”[5] The Director of NSA “nonconcurred” with several statements in the IG audit, and the report contains a discussion of those disagreements.[14]

In 2005, NSA director Michael Hayden told a Senate hearing that the Trailblazer program was several hundred million dollars over budget and years behind schedule.[15] In 2006 the program was shut down,[3] after having cost billions of US Dollars.[16] Several anonymous NSA sources told Hosenball of Newsweek later on that the project was a “wasteful failure”.[17]

The new project replacing Trailblazer is called Turbulence.[3]

Whistleblowing

According to a 2011 New Yorker article, in the early days of the project several NSA employees met with Diane S Roark, an NSA budget expert on the House Intelligence Committee. They aired their grievances about Trailblazer. In response, NSA director Michael Hayden sent out a memo saying that “individuals, in a session with our congressional overseers, took a position in direct opposition to one that we had corporately decided to follow … Actions contrary to our decisions will have a serious adverse effect on our efforts to transform N.S.A., and I cannot tolerate them.”[3]

In September 2002, several people filed a complaint with the Department of Defense IG’s office regarding problems with Trailblazer: they included Roark (aforementioned), ex-NSA senior analysts Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Senior Computer Systems Analyst Ed Loomis, who had quit the agency over concerns about its mismanagement of acquisition and allegedly illegal domestic spying.[3][18][19] A major source for the report was NSA senior officer Thomas Andrews Drake. Drake had been complaining to his superiors for some time about problems at the agency, and about the superiority of ThinThread over Trailblazer, for example, at protecting privacy.[19] Drake gave info to DoD during its investigation of the matter.[19] Roark also went to her boss at the House committee, Porter Goss, about problems, but was rebuffed.[20] She also attempted to contact William Renquist, the Supreme Court Chief Justice at the time.[19]

Drake’s own boss, Maureen Baginski, the third-highest officer at NSA, quit partly over concerns about the legality of its behavior.[3]

In 2003, the NSA IG (not the DoD IG)[19] had declared Trailblazer an expensive failure.[21] It had cost more than $1 billion.[8][22][23]

In 2005, the DoD IG produced a report on the result of its investigation of the complaint of Roark and the others in 2002. This report was not released to the public, but it has been described as very negative.[18] Mayer writes that it hastened the closure of Trailblazer, which was at the time in trouble from congress for being over budget.[3]

In November 2005, Drake contacted Siobhan Gorman, a reporter of The Baltimore Sun.[24][17][25] Gorman wrote several articles about problems at the NSA, including articles on Trailblazer. This series got her an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.[17]

In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered the FBI to find whoever had disclosed information about the NSA electronic surveillance program and its disclosure in the New York Times. Eventually, this investigation led to the people who had filed the 2002 DoD IG request, even though they had nothing to do with the New York Times disclosure. In 2007, the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe were raided by armed FBI agents. According to Mayer, Binney claims the FBI pointed guns at his head and that of his wife. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union.[3][18] None of these people were ever charged with any crime. Four months later, Drake was raided in November 2007 and his computers and documents were confiscated.

In 2010 Drake was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice on charges of obstructing justice, providing false information, and violating the Espionage Act of 1917,[17][26][27] part of President Barack Obama’s crackdown on whistleblowers and “leakers”.[24][17][28][18] The government tried to get Roark to testify to a conspiracy, and made similar requests to Drake, offering him a plea bargain. They both refused.[3]

In June 2011, the ten original charges against Drake were dropped, instead he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.[5]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AXwwSq_me4

Boundless Informant

Boundless Informant is a big data analysis and data visualization system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to give NSA managers summaries of NSA’s world wide data collection activities.[1] It is described in an unclassified, For Official Use Only Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) memo published by The Guardian.[2] According to a Top Secret heat map display also published by The Guardian and allegedly produced by the Boundless Informant program, almost 3 billion data elements from inside the United States were captured by NSA over a 30-day period ending in March 2013.

Data analyzed by Boundless Informant includes electronic surveillance program records (DNI) and telephone call metadata records (DNR) stored in an NSA data archive called GM-PLACE. It does not include FISA data, according to the FAQ memo. PRISM, a government codename for a collection effort known officially as US-984XN, which was revealed at the same time as Boundless Informant, is one source of DNR data. According to the map, Boundless Informant summarizes data records from 504 separate DNR and DNI collection sources (SIGADs). In the map, countries that are under surveillance are assigned a color from green, representing least coverage to red, most intensive.[3][4]

History

Slide showing that much of the world’s communications flow through the US.

Intelligence gathered by the United States government inside the United States or specifically targeting US citizens is legally required to be gathered in compliance with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA court).[5][6][7]

NSA global data mining projects have existed for decades, but recent programs of intelligence gathering and analysis that include data gathered from inside the United States such as PRISM were enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under President Obama in December 2012.[8]

Boundless Informant was first publicly revealed on June 8, 2013, after classified documents about the program were leaked to The Guardian.[1][9] The newspaper identified its informant, at his request, as Edward Snowden, who worked at the NSA for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.[10]

Technology

According to published slides, Boundless Informant leverages Free and Open Source Software—and is therefore “available to all NSA developers”—and corporate services hosted in the cloud. The tool uses HDFS, MapReduce, and Cloudbase for data processing.[11]

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

The FISA Amendments Act (FAA) Section 702 is referenced in PRISM documents detailing the electronic interception, capture and analysis of metadata. Many reports and letters of concern written by members of Congress suggest that this section of FAA in particular is legally and constitutionally problematic, such as by targeting U.S. persons, insofar as “Collections occur in U.S.” as published documents indicate.[12][13][14][15]

The ACLU has asserted the following regarding the FAA: “Regardless of abuses, the problem with the FAA is more fundamental: the statute itself is unconstitutional.”[16]

Senator Rand Paul is introducing new legislation called the Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013 to stop the NSA or other agencies of the United States government from violating the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution using technology and big data information systems like PRISM and Boundless Informant.[17][18]

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

ECHELON

ECHELON is a name used in global media and in popular culture to describe a signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and analysis network operated on behalf of the five signatory states to the UKUSA Security Agreement[1] (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, referred to by a number of abbreviations, including AUSCANNZUKUS[1] and Five Eyes).[2][3] It has also been described as the only software system which controls the download and dissemination of the intercept of commercial satellite trunk communications.[4]

ECHELON, according to information in the European Parliament document, “On the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)” was created to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc allies during the Cold War in the early 1960s.[5]

The system has been reported in a number of public sources.[6] Its capabilities and political implications were investigated by a committee of the European Parliament during 2000 and 2001 with a report published in 2001,[5] and by author James Bamford in his books on the National Security Agency of the United States.[4] The European Parliament stated in its report that the term ECHELON is used in a number of contexts, but that the evidence presented indicates that it was the name for a signals intelligence collection system. The report concludes that, on the basis of information presented, ECHELON was capable of interception and content inspection of telephone calls, fax, e-mail and other data traffic globally through the interception of communication bearers including satellite transmission, public switched telephone networks (which once carried most Internet traffic) and microwave links.[5]

Bamford describes the system as the software controlling the collection and distribution of civilian telecommunications traffic conveyed using communication satellites, with the collection being undertaken by ground stations located in the footprint of the downlink leg.

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

The UKUSA intelligence community was assessed by the European Parliament (EP) in 2000 to include the signals intelligence agencies of each of the member states:

  • the Government Communications Headquarters of the United Kingdom,
  • the National Security Agency of the United States,
  • the Communications Security Establishment of Canada,
  • the Defence Signals Directorate of Australia, and
  • the Government Communications Security Bureau of New Zealand.
  • the National SIGINT Organisation (NSO) of The Netherlands

The EP report concluded that it seemed likely that ECHELON is a method of sorting captured signal traffic, rather than a comprehensive analysis tool.[5]

Capabilities

The ability to intercept communications depends on the medium used, be it radio, satellite, microwave, cellular or fiber-optic.[5] During World War II and through the 1950s, high frequency (“short wave”) radio was widely used for military and diplomatic communication,[7] and could be intercepted at great distances.[5] The rise of geostationary communications satellites in the 1960s presented new possibilities for intercepting international communications. The report to the European Parliament of 2001 states: “If UKUSA states operate listening stations in the relevant regions of the earth, in principle they can intercept all telephone, fax and data traffic transmitted via such satellites.”[5]

The role of satellites in point-to-point voice and data communications has largely been supplanted by fiber optics; in 2006, 99% of the world’s long-distance voice and data traffic was carried over optical-fiber.[8] The proportion of international communications accounted for by satellite links is said to have decreased substantially over the past few years[when?] in Central Europe to an amount between 0.4% and 5%.[5] Even in less-developed parts of the world, communications satellites are used largely for point-to-multipoint applications, such as video.[9] Thus, the majority of communications can no longer be intercepted by earth stations; they can only be collected by tapping cables and intercepting line-of-sight microwave signals, which is possible only to a limited extent.[5]

One method of interception is to place equipment at locations where fiber optic communications are switched. For the Internet, much of the switching occurs at relatively few sites. There have been reports of one such intercept site, Room 641A, in the United States. In the past[when?] much Internet traffic was routed through the U.S. and the UK, but this has changed; for example, in 2000, 95% of intra-German Internet communications was routed via the DE-CIX Internet exchange point in Frankfurt.[5] A comprehensive worldwide surveillance network is possible only if clandestine intercept sites are installed in the territory of friendly nations, and/or if local authorities cooperate. The report to the European Parliament points out that interception of private communications by foreign intelligence services is not necessarily limited to the U.S. or British foreign intelligence services.[5]

Most reports on ECHELON focus on satellite interception; testimony before the European Parliament indicated that separate but similar UK-US systems are in place to monitor communication through undersea cables, microwave transmissions and other lines.[10]

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

Intelligence monitoring of citizens, and their communications, in the area covered by the AUSCANNZUKUS security agreement has caused concern. British journalist Duncan Campbell and New Zealand journalist Nicky Hager asserted in the 1990s that the United States was exploiting ECHELON traffic for industrial espionage, rather than military and diplomatic purposes.[10] Examples alleged by the journalists include the gear-less wind turbine technology designed by the German firm Enercon[5][11] and the speech technology developed by the Belgian firm Lernout & Hauspie.[12] An article in the US newspaper Baltimore Sun reported in 1995 that European aerospace company Airbus lost a $6 billion contract with Saudi Arabia in 1994 after the US National Security Agency reported that Airbus officials had been bribing Saudi officials to secure the contract.[13][14]

In 2001, the Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System recommended to the European Parliament that citizens of member states routinely use cryptography in their communications to protect their privacy, because economic espionage with ECHELON has been conducted by the US intelligence agencies.[5]

Bamford provides an alternative view, highlighting that legislation prohibits the use of intercepted communications for commercial purposes, although he does not elaborate on how intercepted communications are used as part of an all-source intelligence process.

Hardware

According to its website, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is “a high technology organization … on the frontiers of communications and data processing”. In 1999 the Australian Senate Joint Standing Committee on Treaties was told by Professor Desmond Ball that the Pine Gap facility was used as a ground station for a satellite-based interception network. The satellites were said to be large radio dishes between 20 and 100 meters in diameter in geostationary orbits.[citation needed] The original purpose of the network was to monitor the telemetry from 1970s Soviet weapons, air defence radar, communications satellites and ground based microwave communications.[15]

Name

The European Parliament’s Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System stated: “It seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, although this is a relatively minor detail.”[5] The U.S. intelligence community uses many code names (see, for example, CIA cryptonym).

Former NSA employee Margaret Newsham claims that she worked on the configuration and installation of software that makes up the ECHELON system while employed at Lockheed Martin, for whom she worked from 1974 to 1984 in Sunnyvale, California, US, and in Menwith Hill, England, UK.[16] At that time, according to Newsham, the code name ECHELON was NSA’s term for the computer network itself. Lockheed called it P415. The software programs were called SILKWORTH and SIRE. A satellite named VORTEX intercepted communications. An image available on the internet of a fragment apparently torn from a job description shows Echelon listed along with several other code names.[17]

Ground stations

The 2001 European Parliamentary (EP) report[5] lists several ground stations as possibly belonging to, or participating in, the ECHELON network. These include:

Likely satellite intercept stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 54 ff) as likely to have, or to have had, a role in intercepting transmissions from telecommunications satellites:

  • Hong Kong (since closed)
  • Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station (Geraldton, Western Australia)
  • Menwith Hill (Yorkshire, U.K.) Map (reportedly the largest Echelon facility)[18]
  • Misawa Air Base (Japan) Map
  • GCHQ Bude, formerly known as GCHQ CSO Morwenstow, (Cornwall, U.K.) Map
  • Pine Gap (Northern Territory, Australia – close to Alice Springs) Map
  • Sugar Grove (West Virginia, U.S.) Map
  • Yakima Training Center (Washington, U.S.) Map
  • GCSB Waihopai (New Zealand)
  • GCSB Tangimoana (New Zealand)
  • CFS Leitrim (Ontario, Canada)
  • Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany) (closed 1992)

Other potentially related stations

The following stations are listed in the EP report (p. 57 ff) as ones whose roles “cannot be clearly established”:

  • Ayios Nikolaos (Cyprus – U.K.)
  • BadAibling Station (BadAibling, Germany – U.S.)
    • relocated to Griesheim in 2004[19]
    • deactivated in 2008[20]
  • Buckley Air Force Base (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Fort Gordon (Georgia, U.S.)
  • Gander (Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada)
  • Guam (Pacific Ocean, U.S.)
  • Kunia Regional SIGINT Operations Center (Hawaii, U.S.)
  • Lackland Air Force Base, Medina Annex (San Antonio, Texas)

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

Room 641A

Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.[1][2]

Description

Room 641A is located in the SBC Communications building at 611 Folsom Street, San Francisco, three floors of which were occupied by AT&T before SBC purchased AT&T.[1] The room was referred to in internal AT&T documents as the SG3 [Study Group 3] Secure Room. It is fed by fiber optic lines from beam splitters installed in fiber optic trunks carrying Internet backbone traffic[3] and, as analyzed by J. Scott Marcus, a former CTO for GTE and a former adviser to the FCC, who has access to all Internet traffic that passes through the building, and therefore “the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic.”[4] Former director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group, William Binney, has estimated that 10 to 20 such facilities have been installed throughout the United States.[2]

The room measures about 24 by 48 feet (7.3 by 15 m) and contains several racks of equipment, including a Narus STA 6400, a device designed to intercept and analyze Internet communications at very high speeds.[1]

The very existence of the room was revealed by a former AT&T technician, Mark Klein, and was the subject of a 2006 class action lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against AT&T.[5] Klein claims he was told that similar black rooms are operated at other facilities around the country.

Room 641A and the controversies surrounding it were subjects of an episode of Frontline, the current affairs documentary program on PBS. It was originally broadcast on May 15, 2007. It was also featured on PBS’s NOW on March 14, 2008. The room was also covered in the PBS Nova episode “The Spy Factory”.

Lawsuit

Basic diagram of how the alleged wiretapping was accomplished. From EFF court filings[4]

More complicated diagram of how it allegedly worked. From EFF court filings.[3] See bottom of the file page for enlarged and rotated version.

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecommunication company of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans’ communications. On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.[6] A different case by the EFF was filed on September 18, 2008, titled Jewel v. NSA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

A top secret document leaked by Edward Snowden to The Guardian in 2013, originally due to be declassified on 12 April 2038.

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

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The Data Explosion Will Enable The Revolution — Videos

Posted on March 19, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Culture, Data, Data Storage, Economics, Education, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Resources, Security, Video, Wealth | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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NSA Utah Data Center Will Have 5 Zettabytes Of Memory, Equal To 312 Billion iPhones

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The Plane — The Plane — Where is the plane? — Crashed Landed — Where? Where? — Fantasy Island! Fantasy Island? — New Reality TV Series Publicity Stunt — Reality: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Hijacked — Destination Unknown — Malaysian Prime Minister News Conference — Videos

Posted on March 15, 2014. Filed under: Airplanes, American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crashed, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Education, Faith, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, history, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Missing airliner may have flown on for 7 hours

By , and , Updated: Saturday, March 15, 12:40 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that a missing passenger jet was steered off course after its communications systems were intentionally disabled and could have potentially flown for seven additional hours.

In the most comprehensive account to date of the plane’s fate, Najib drew an ominous picture of what happened aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying investigators had determined there was “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

Najib said the investigation had “refocused” to look at the crew and passengers. A Malaysia Airlines representative, speaking to relatives of passengers in Beijing, said the Malaysian government had opened a criminal investigation into the plane’s disappearance.

(See: New map shows possible search corridors for the Malaysia Airlines flight.)

The plane’s whereabouts remain unknown one week after it disappeared from civilian radar shortly after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur. But Najib, citing newly analyzed satellite data, said the plane could have last made contact anywhere along one of two corridors: one stretching from northern Thailand toward the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, the other, more southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the remote Indian Ocean.

U.S. officials previously said they believed the plane could have remained in the air for several extra hours, and Najib said Saturday that the flight was still communicating with satellites until 8:11 a.m. — 7 ½ hours after takeoff, and more than 90 minutes after it was due in Beijing. There was no further communication with the plane after that time, Najib said. If the plane was still in the air, it would have been nearing its fuel limit.

“Due to the type of satellite data,” Najib said, “we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.”

A U.S. official with knowledge of the investigation on Friday said the only thing the satellite can tell is how much it would need to adjust its antenna to get the strongest signal from the plane. It cannot provide the plane’s exact position or which direction it flew, just how far the plane is, roughly, from the last good data-transmission location when the digital datalink system was actually sending data up to the satellite.

The U.S. official said the search area is somewhere along the arc or circumference of a circle with a diameter of thousands of miles.

The new leads about the plane’s end point, though ambiguous, have drastically changed a search operation involving more than a dozen nations. Malaysia on Saturday said that efforts would be terminated in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, the spot where the plane first disappeared from civilian radar.

Malaysian authorities are now likely to look for help from other countries in Southeast and South Asia, seeking mysterious or unidentified readings that their radar systems might have picked up.

The plane, based on one potential end point, could have spent nearly all its flight time over the Indian Ocean as it headed to an area west of Australia. But if the plane traveled in the direction of Kazakhstan or Turkmenistan, it would present a more perplexing scenario in which it would have evaded detection for hours while flying through a volatile region where airspace is heavily monitored: Burma, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and western China are all in the neighborhood of that path, as is the United States’ Bagram air base, which is in Afghanistan.

U.S. officials in Afghanistan would not comment on the possibility that the plane had flown over that country, but that scenario seems unlikely given the tight western control over Afghan airspace.

Afghan officials said they rely on Americans on such matters. “We do not know what has happened to the plane or if it has overflown Afghan air space. We do not have a radar. Go and ask the Americans,” said a senior Afghan official.

A Pakistani official said his country has not yet been asked by Malaysia to share its radar data, but will provide them if asked.

“Given the strong radar system that we have, and also that India and other countries in the region have, it’s very difficult for a plane to fly undetected for so long,” said Abid Qaimkhan, a spokesman for Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Malaysia has confirmed that a previously unknown radar trail picked up by its military was indeed MH370. That blip suggests the plane had cut west, across the Malaysian peninsula, after severing contact with the ground. Malaysia received help in analyzing that radar data from the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and the British Air Accident Investigation Branch.

Malaysian investigators now believe that the Boeing-777 airliner, bound for Beijing with 227 passengers, deliberately cut a series of communications systems as it headed toward the boundary of Malaysian airspace. U.S. officials and aviation experts say the plane could have been hijacked by somebody with aviation knowledge or sabotaged by a crew member.

Investigators have not yet presented a clear scenario of what could have happened on board. Reuters reported that Malaysian police on Saturday searched the home of the plane’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, who had more than three decades of commercial flight experience. A senior Malaysian police official refused to confirm the search.

Zaharie had a flight simulator at his home, something that appeared in a YouTube video posted from his unconfirmed YouTube account. Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said Friday that “everyone is free to do their own hobby” and that it isn’t unusual for pilots to have home simulators.

U.S. officials have said that the plane, shortly after being diverted, reached an altitude of 45,000 feet and “jumped around a lot.” But the airplane otherwise appeared to operate normally. Significantly, the transponder and a satellite-based communication system did not stop at the same time, as they would if the plane had exploded, disintegrated or crashed into the ocean.

Najib said Saturday that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, was disabled just as MH370 reached the eastern coast of Malaysia. The transponder was then switched off, Najib said, as the aircraft neared the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.

According to the Malaysian government, a satellite that tracked the aircraft was located more than 22,000 miles above sea level. Even after the ACARS system was disconnected, the satellite still received some basic signal from the plane — what one U.S. official described as a “handshake.” Though no data was being transmitted, the satellite continued to reach out to the plane on an hourly basis and received confirmation that the plane was still flying.

“There’s no circuit breaker that would allow you to shut off the handshake,” the official said.

That satellite handshake took place on a system operated by Inmarsat, a British satellite company that provides global mobile telecommunications services.

U.S. officials declined to say how closely that handshake allowed them to track the path of the missing plane. But one U.S. official explained that the satellite wasn’t able to read the plane’s exact location or even what direction it flew. Instead, the satellite was able to determine how far the plane had traveled since the last known spot where ACARS was transmitting data. That could explain how Malaysia created two possible arcs where the plane might have traveled.

Najib said Saturday that the search for MH370 had entered a “new phase.” The U.S. Navy, already positioned to the west of the Malaysian peninsula, was planning to meet tonight to discuss whether and how to redeploy its assets, spokesman Cmdr. William Marks said.

Indian officials said Saturday morning that they were still awaiting new orders in response to the Malaysian prime minister’s statement that the official search focus shift from the South China Sea to the two “corridors” west of Malaysia.

“Nothing is certain. These are all probabilities,” said Captain D.K. Sharma, a spokesman for the India Navy. “Let the new orders come. Let’s see how we respond.”

India has now expanded its search from the area around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — where five vessels and four planes have been deployed — to the north and west, by adding four additional aircraft to scour the massive Bay of Bengal — two P-8I anti-submarine and electronic intelligence planes and three other military aircraft, including a C-130J and two Dorniers. Search teams from the Indian military had spent much of the day Friday searching the jungles on remote islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, most of which are uninhabited, but so far have come up empty.

Other nations along the Bay of Bengal are now the expanding search as well. Gowher Rizvi, an adviser to Bangladesh’s prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said that country had deployed two aircraft and two frigates in the Bay of Bengal.

Harlan reported from Kuala Lumpur, and Gowen reported from New Delhi. Liu Liu contributed from Beijing. Tim Craig contributed from Pakistan, Joel Achenbach, Adam Goldman and Sari Horwitz contributed from Washington and Rama Lakshmi contributed from New Delhi.

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Snowden Speaks At SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, Texas — Videos

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Education, External Hard Drives, Faith, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

FULL: Edward Snowden and ACLU at SXSW

Snowden Appears Via Video Conference At SXSW Panel

 

 

Snowden’s first live: ‘Constitution being violated on massive scale’ (FULL VIDEO)

Speaking remotely from Russia on Monday, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden told attendees at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas that encryption is still a powerful deterrent against government surveillance.

“Obama Is BIG BROTHER And He’s A LIAR!”

 Edward Snowden looms over Pulitzer Prizes

By DYLAN BYERS | 3/13/14 5:03 AM EDT Updated: 3/13/14 8:27 AM EDT

Next month, the trustees who oversee America’s most distinguished journalistic award could face their toughest decision in at least four decades.

The issue before the Pulitzer Prize Board: Does it honor reporting by The Washington Post and The Guardian based on stolen government documents that are arguably detrimental to the national security of the United States, and which were provided by a man who many see as a traitor? Or, does it pass over what is widely viewed as the single most significant story of the year — if not the decade — for the sake of playing it safe?

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The politically charged debate surrounding the National Security Agency’s widespread domestic surveillance program, and the man who revealed it, Edward Snowden, is certain to prompt intense discussion for the 19-member Board as it gathers to decide this year’s winners, according to past Board members, veteran journalists and media watchdogs. The debate echoes the historic decision in 1972, when the Board honored The New York Times for its reporting on Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers, they said.

(WATCH: Edward Snowden speaks at SXSW festival)

“This is an institutional question for them,” said Robert Kaiser, the veteran Washington Post journalist and a previous Pulitzer Prize finalist. “This is a very good argument to have, and there are members of that Board who are going to raise these questions and want to talk about them.”

The risks are manifold, and there is no easy answer: Honoring the NSA reporting — particularly in the coveted category of Public Service — would inevitably be perceived as a political act, with the Pulitzer committee invoking its prestige on behalf of one side in a bitter national argument. In effect, it would be a rebuttal to prominent establishment voices in both parties who say that Snowden’s revelations, and the decision by journalists to publish them, were the exact opposite of a public service. President Barack Obama has said that Snowden’s leaks “could impact our operations in ways that we may not fully understand for years to come.” Former Vice President Dick Cheney has called him “a traitor.” Snowden, who is living in Russia, is facing three felony charges in a criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department.

Yet to pass on the NSA story would be to risk giving the appearance of timidity, siding with the government over the journalists who are trying to hold it accountable and ignoring the most significant disclosure of state secrets in recent memory. It would also look like a willful decision to deny the obvious: No other event has had as dramatic an impact on national and international debates over state surveillance and individual privacy. Last December, in a move that Snowden later described as vindication, a federal district judge ruled that the NSA surveillance Snowden exposed most likely violates the Constitution. Another judge later found the surveillance lawful.

(Also on POLITICO: Snowden Inc.)

“The stories that came out of this completely changed the agenda on the discussion on privacy and the NSA,” said David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker. “There’s an enormous public good in that, and it’s yet to be proven at all that somehow did great damage to national security.”

Two teams are being considered for their work on the NSA leaks, POLITICO has confirmed. One is made up of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, who published the first landmark report on the NSA’s collection of Verizon phone records, and have since played an integral role in building upon those revelations. The other is Poitras and Barton Gellman, who reported on the wide-ranging surveillance program known as “PRISM” for The Washington Post.

Here, too, the Board faces a challenge: In the eyes of privacy advocates, Greenwald’s work has been much more consequential in the larger arc of the Snowden story, and it was Greenwald who flew to Hong Kong to meet with Snowden and earn his trust. But Greenwald, a staunch anti-surveillance advocate with a brash, outsider’s persona, is not the type of journalist the Pulitzer Board has typically admired. Gellman, by contrast, with his serious and soft-spoken demeanor and decades in the business, comes straight out of Pulitzer central casting. But on what grounds could the Pulitzers recognize Gellman and not Greenwald?

(Also on POLITICO: Snowden: Hill, FISA need watchdog)

All of these questions will be on the table when the Pulitzer committee meets on April 10 and 11. The winners will be announced on Monday, April 14, at a 3 p.m. news conference at Columbia’s Journalism School.

Sig Gissler, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, and several board members declined to comment on the group’s approach to the NSA reporting, citing the confidentiality of the selection process. “Jurors sign oaths of confidentiality. We certainly do not comment on what is or is not entered or nominated,” Gissler said.

Both Greenwald and Gellman also declined to comment, as did the top editors at The Guardian and The Washington Post. Submissions in each category have already been considered by separate juries, which nominate three finalists to the Board. The Board then considers those nominations for the prizes; with a three-fourths vote, they can move a submission to a different category or recommend another work for consideration. The Guardian’s reporting was conducted through its U.S. outlet in New York, making it eligible for submission.

Several journalists believe that Snowden’s actions should have no bearing on the Pulitzer board’s considerations. It is the reporting that is being honored, not the source, they said.

(Also on POLITICO: Snowden still stirring the political pot)

“The question always is, ‘What was the best journalism produced in the past year?’ And it’s hard to think of a story that has had the impact of the NSA revelations,” said Rem Rieder, the media editor and columnist at USA Today . “These articles made public really important information that the public needs to know, and started a very important national debate over something that should not be decided unilaterally by the executive branch without public input or knowledge.”

Others have a harder time drawing such a definitive line. Michael Kinsley, the veteran political columnist and commentator, has wondered if there isn’t a dubious double standard in the way journalists are honored as heroes while their sources are portrayed as criminals. “If Snowden is guilty of a crime, why isn’t Bart Gellman guilty also?” he asked in an essay for The New Republic last year. Kinsley declined to comment for this piece.

Many of Snowden’s critics are often quick to paint Greenwald, Snowden’s staunchest public advocate, as an accomplice. James Clapper, President Obama’s director of national intelligence, even referred to “Snowden and his accomplices” while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee in January.

Whatever the Board’s intention, the decision to give an award to any NSA-related journalism would almost certainly be interpreted as a vindication of Snowden’s efforts, many said. That perceived declaration would surely invite blowback from those who see Snowden in a negative light. In January, after The New York Times editorial board called for clemency for Snowden, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) accused the paper’s editors of being “apologists for terrorists.”

The complications don’t end there. If the Board does decide to honor the reporting on the NSA, it will then have to wrestle with the fact that reporters from two publications were involved in the revelations. Though the Board has given dual awards in the past — the last occasion was in 2006 when The New Orleans Times-Picayune and the Biloxi-Gulfport Sun Herald split the Public Service award for their coverage of Hurricane Katrina — Greenwald’s role as an advocate could further impact the decision. The Brazil-based lawyer, who now works for Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, has kept a high profile throughout the past nine months, publicly advocating on Snowden’s behalf — and against the U.S. government — in television appearances, news interviews, and on social media.

“This institution [the Pulitzers] has a tendency to take itself awfully seriously,” said Kaiser, who described Greenwald’s work as “causist” reporting. “Whether committed causes should get a Pulitzer Prize for any kind of reporting is an open question. They’ll have to decide how judgmental they need to be.”

Gellman’s more traditional handling of the NSA story may have more appeal to the board. Instead of jumping into the fray on a near-daily basis, fighting on Twitter and giving contentious cable news interviews, Gellman has produced a few comprehensive reports that sought to put new revelations in a greater context. His ties to The Washington Post have also given the NSA story the imprimatur of “old media” integrity, which the Board is said to value.

Finally, there is the issue of effort. Though Greenwald and Gellman have dismissed the suggestion that Snowden’s trove of NSA files simply fell into their laps, the Pulitzer Board could feel conflicted about giving an award to the recipients of stolen documents when other applicants may have dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting on, say, a local government issue. In several instances throughout its history, the Board has honored reporting based to a significant degree on the amount of effort and diligence shown by the reporters.

“The one wild card is the degree of difficulty question,” Rieder said. “Not to minimize the role of the reporters — it’s not just stenography. You have to sift through the information, present it clearly, explain why it matters, put it in context, etc. The real challenge would be if you had entries where reporters had to go to extraordinary lengths to pry out information of vital interest to the public, as opposed to having it turned over to them. If you had examples of great magnitude, that would make it complicated. That said, this was clearly the story of last year.”

“There’s a real question about whether this is reporting,” Kaiser said. “It might be a public service award, but it’s not a great reporting coup when a source comes to you and hands you this stuff.”

Both Greenwald and Gellman have adamantly dismissed the suggestion that they were merely stenographers for Snowden. Greenwald in particular traveled to Hong Kong and spent hours working with Snowden and earning his trust. Greenwald also continues to pore over the files in his possession, and says he has published just a small fraction of what Snowden gave him.

While the Board refuses to discuss next month’s awards, there are precedents that shed light on how that committee may decide to handle the NSA-related submissions.

In 1972, after what The Associated Press then described as “unprecedented debate,” the Pulitzer committee gave The New York Times the Public Service award for Neil Sheehan’s reporting on the Pentagon Papers, which he had received from former military analyst Daniel Ellsberg. At the time the award was given, Ellsberg was awaiting trial on charges of theft, which were later dropped.

Michael Gartner, the former NBC News president and Iowa newspaperman who spent 10 years on the Pulitzer Board, said he saw no substantive difference between the journalism that resulted from Ellsberg and Snowden’s stolen documents.

“I’m sure that there will be great debates over Snowden’s stuff, but really wasn’t that precedent set with the Pentagon Papers? The nature of the theft might be different, but isn’t the journalism the same — great stories produced from documents that were leaked by an employee of a private contractor?” Gartner wrote in an email. “I can make a distinction between Ellsberg and Snowden, if I have to, based on the nature of what they stole, but how can the board make a distinction between what was published then and what was published now? Reporting is reporting. If I were arguing for the Snowden stuff — and I would — that is the argument I would make.”

In 2006, the Pulitzer committee honored James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times for their reporting on the George W. Bush administration’s secret wiretapping program. That decision, too, was a subject of intense internal debate. President Bush had personally asked the Times not to publish the article, and the committee’s decision to honor Risen and Lichtblau’s report was seen as a public rebuke of Bush administration policies.

Last month, in a move that set the stage for April’s Pulitzer debate, Long Island University gave both the Greenwald and Gellman teams the George Polk Award for National Security Reporting.

John Darnton, the curator of the Polk Awards, said he received emails from critics who, seemingly unaware of the precedent set by the Pentagon Papers, blasted the group’s decision to honor reporting based on stolen government documents. One of those emails came from Accuracy In Media, the conservative watchdog.

In a lengthy email to POLITICO, Cliff Kincaid, director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, criticized Snowden and Greenwald for threatening national security.

“Political figures in both political parties agree that Snowden is a traitor. So what does that make his enablers in the media? They are certainly not journalists who deserve journalism prizes,” Kincaid wrote. “Journalism awards should not be given to recipients of stolen national security documents whose work has made America more vulnerable to terrorist attacks and its military personnel more likely to die at the hands of terrorists or enemy regimes.”

To date, no substantial evidence has emerged publicly that any of Greenwald or Gellman’s reporting has compromised America’s national security or military personnel, although intelligence officials have said they’ve detected changes in how groups like Al Qaeda communicate as a result of the broad controversy.

In the end, Darnton said the 10-member Polk panel hardly thought twice about the decision to bestow awards on Greenwald and Gellman.

“In the case of the NSA coverage, we began with a predisposition to seriously consider it because the repercussions were immense,” he explained. “There was a bit of discussion, but not much. The story itself is just so significant — there was no great dissent.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/edward-snowden-pulitzer-prize-washington-post-guardian-nsa-104608_Page2.html

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CIA Spied On Senate and Deleted Documents — Feinstein Hypocrit or Defender of Privacy — Stop Watching Us CIA and NSA! Video

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Climate, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Data Storage, Economics, Education, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Rants, Raves, Security, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

Stop Watching Us: The Video

Activists protest Sen. Feinstein’s ‘hypocritical’ support of NSA surveillance

 

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Dianne Feinstein: CIA Is Spying on the Senate

 

Feinstein: CIA Spied on Senate Committee

 

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How the Government Tracks You: NSA Surveillance

CIA Spies on Senate Staffers: A Troubling Pattern Is Reinforced

 

Senator Dianne Feinstein—who traditionally is a stalwart defender of the intelligence community—came out swinging against them this week. While on the floor of the Senate, she laid bare a two year long struggle concerning CIA spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers investigating CIA’s early 2000s torture and enhanced interrogation techniques. The spying by CIA crosses a line when it comes to Congressional oversight of the intelligence community. And it’s an emblem of the extreme imbalance between the power of Congress and the power of the intelligence community. If the intelligence community thinks they can act in such a way towards the people who are supposed to oversee them, what else do they think they can do?

How Did This Happen?

According to Senator Feinstein, the spying occurred in a facility provided by CIA to Senate Intelligence staffers. As part of the investigation, CIA agreed to not interfere with the facility or with the Senate Intelligence staff’s computers. After the staffers found a smoking gun document (an internal CIA review) that contradicted CIA’s own conclusions, the staffers—just like with previous documents—transferred it back to their own facility in the Senate. Soon after, the CIA found out about the possession and deleted files on the Senate staffers’ computers not once, but twice. Over 800 documents were deleted. Staffers do not know what those deleted documents contained.

The Oversight Regime Must Be Fixed

Senator Feinstein’s speech is the first step to ensuring Congressional oversight prevails, but the Department of Justice, which is currently conducting an investigation, should not be the only entity to review the details. The latest breach of trust by the intelligence community must spur Congress to exert their oversight powers and begin a full investigation into these actions and the oversight regime at-large.

These are pressing topics. It’s clear that the lack of oversight was a key factor in many of the egregious intelligence activities we learned about from the documents provided by Edward Snowden. The intelligence community evaded answering questions fully, or providing key documents to the intelligence committees. CIA spying is more proof that the oversight regime needs an overhaul. First and foremost, the American people—and Congress—need an oversight regime that works.

A Long Term Pattern

Some people are aghast at CIA’s actions. Details about the spying are sparse; however, it seems CIA may be guilty—at the minimum—of obstruction laws. But we’ve seen this before from the intelligence community. And we don’t have to draw from examples in the 1960s and 70s when the intelligence community was spying on Martin Luther King Jr. or anti-Vietnam activists. All we have to do is look at the past decade.

After the attacks on September 11, it took years for Senator Jay Rockefeller—then the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Community—to get a briefing and key documents for the entire committee about intelligence community actions. More recently, we saw obfuscation by the intelligence community in 2009 when it misled the FISA court. And just last year, the Director of National Intelligence, General James Clapper, lied to Congress about collecting data on innocent Americans. We also know members of Congress describe intelligence briefings as a game of 20 questions. Despite CIA’s original cooperation, it seems clear CIA did not want the Senate staffers to conduct a full investigation.

It should be obvious to anyone that these actions paint a picture—and confirm a pattern—of out-of-control intelligence agencies. The American public is losing a tremendous amount of trust in the intelligence community—trust that is necessary for the intelligence community to conduct its job. But it’s even more dangerous to the government body that is supposed to oversee the intelligence community: Congress.

Congress Must Act

Senator Feinstein’s concern over CIA spying on her staff should extend to a concern about NSA’s collection of all Americans’ calling records. Both actions are examples of intelligence community overreach and abuse of their authorities. There are serious problems when the stalwart defender of the intelligence community takes to the Senate floor to discuss problems with the committee’s oversight.

Beyond Senator Feinstein, Congress must retake its oversight role. For far too long has the intelligence community run roughshod over the intelligence committees. Time and time again, we’ve seen the inability for the intelligence community to grapple with the behemoth of the intelligence community. This must stop. An investigation should be carried out not only into CIA spying, but into the oversight regime as a whole, the classification system, and the egregious actions by the intelligence community—including the activities of NSA. All of these topics are core problems concerning the inability for the Senate Intelligence Committee to be fully briefed—or even grasp—intelligence community actions. This week may have been a loss for Congressional oversight, but members of Congress must reassert their power. Their duty to serve as representatives of the American people demand it.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/03/cia-spies-senate-staffers-troubling-pattern-reinforced

 

 

Rand Paul on alleged CIA-Senate hacking: ‘This cannot happen in a free country’

By Joel Gehrke
 
 Heads should roll at the CIA if Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proves that intelligence officers hacked her staff’s computers as part of a dispute over a committee report on waterboarding, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told reporters.”There’s an incredible arrogance to me that the CIA thinks they can spy on a committee that is providing oversight for the CIA, and I think it’s a real, very serious constitutional breach,” Paul said outside the Senate chamber on Thursday. “This cannot happen in a free country.”Feinstein took to the Senate floor Tuesday to allege that “the CIA just went and searched the committee’s computers.” CIA director John Brennan denied Feinstein’s allegations, telling NBC, “The CIA was in no way spying on [the committee] or the Senate.” That denial has some lawmakers withholding judgement on the matter, at least for now.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., praised Feinstein. “I tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you’re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly,” Pelosi said during her weekly press briefing Thursday morning. “Not without evidence — when I say evidence, [I mean] documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.”

http://washingtonexaminer.com/rand-paul-on-alleged-cia-senate-hacking-this-cannot-happen-in-a-free-country/article/2545625

Feinstein: CIA searched Intelligence Committee computers

By , and Adam Goldman, Published: March 11// // E-mail the writers//

A behind-the-scenes battle between the CIA and Congress erupted in public Tuesday as the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee accused the agency of breaking laws and breaching constitutional principles in an alleged effort to undermine the panel’s multi-year investigation of a controversial interrogation program.Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) accused the CIA of ­secretly removing documents, searching computers used by the committee and attempting to intimidate congressional investigators by requesting an FBI inquiry of their conduct — charges that CIA Director John Brennan disputed within hours of her appearance on the Senate floor.

Video

<caption> Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned whether a CIA search of congressional records might have undermined government oversight during a Senate floor speech Tuesday. </caption>

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) questioned whether a CIA search of congressional records might have undermined government oversight during a Senate floor speech Tuesday.

Read more:

Why the CIA and lawmakers are feuding

Why the CIA and lawmakers are feuding

Adam Goldman MAR 11

What you need to know about the dispute over an investigation o the agency’s interrogation program.

 

Transcript: Feinstein says CIA searched Intelligence panel computers

Transcript: Feinstein says CIA searched Intelligence panel computers

MAR 11

“Let me say up front that I come to the Senate floor reluctantly,” she said.

 

Transcript: Brennan says his agency has done nothing wrong

MAR 11

“If I did something wrong, I will go to the president and I will explain to him exactly what I did and what the findings were,” he said.

 

Senators praise Feinstein speech, want answers from CIA

Senators praise Feinstein speech, want answers from CIA

Ed O’Keefe MAR 11

If true, “this is Richard Nixon stuff,” one senator says.

 

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//

<:ARTICLE>Feinstein described the escalating conflict as a “defining moment” for Congress’s role in overseeing the nation’s intelligence agencies and cited “grave concerns” that the CIA had “violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.”Brennan fired back during a previously scheduled speech in Washington, saying that “when the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”

The dueling claims exposed bitterness and distrust that have soared to new levels as the committee nears completion of a 6,000-page report that is expected to serve as a scathing historical record of the agency’s use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods on terrorism suspects held at secret CIA prisons overseas after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Displaying flashes of anger during her floor speech, Feinstein said her committee would soon deliver the report to the White House and push for declassification of a document that lays bare “the horrible details of the CIA program that never, never, never should have existed.”

The latest dispute is in some ways a proxy for a deeper conflict over that document. The CIA and the committee are at odds over many of the report’s conclusions about the effectiveness of the interrogation program, but they are battling primarily over tension that surfaced during the investigation.

Feinstein’s remarks provided the most detailed account of that investigation, describing an arrangement in which the CIA set up a secret facility in Northern Virginia with computers where committee investigators were promised unfettered access to millions of operational cables, executive memos and other files on the interrogation program.

The disagreement between Feinstein and Brennan centers on whether agency employees or committee staff members — or both — abused their access to that shared network to gain an upper hand.

Feinstein implied that the CIA sabotaged the committee’s efforts from the outset, loading a massive amount of files on computers with no index, structure or ability to search. “It was a true document dump,” she said.

Over a period of years, investigators pored over more than 6.2 million classified records furnished by the CIA, using a search tool that agency technical experts agreed to install. But U.S. officials said the committee gained access to a set of documents that the agency never intended to share, files that were generated at the direction of former director Leon E. Panetta as part of an effort to take an inventory of the records being turned over to Feinstein’s panel.

The two sides have engaged in heated exchanges in recent days over the nature of those files and how they were obtained.

Referring to them as the “Panetta internal review,” Feinstein insisted that committee staff members discovered the documents during an ordinary search of the trove. She said they are particularly valuable because in tracking the flow of documents, CIA employees in some cases drew conclusions about their contents that match the subsequent interpretations made by committee staff members.

Jeremy Bash, Panetta’s former chief of staff, said Tuesday that that was never the director’s intent. Panetta “did not request an internal review of the interrogation program,” he said. “He asked the CIA staff to keep track of documents that were being provided. . . . He asked that they develop short summaries of the material, so that we would know what was being provided.”

Meanwhile, a letter that Brennan distributed to the CIA workforce on Tuesday raised questions about Feinstein’s claims and her awareness of how and when the committee obtained what she is calling the Panetta review files.

The letter, which Brennan sent to Feinstein on Jan. 27 and which was attached to a message he sent the workforce, recounts a meeting they had weeks earlier to discuss the matter. During that meeting, Feinstein said she didn’t know that the committee already had copies of the Panetta review. Brennan pushed her to explain why the panel had recently requested the files when they were already in its possession.

“You informed me that you were not aware that the committee staff already had access to the materials you had requested,” Brennan wrote, according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post. Brennan urged Feinstein to work with the agency to determine how the committee had obtained the documents, a request she ultimately rejected, officials said.

The CIA began to suspect that the panel had obtained those files this year after lawmakers referred to the supposed “internal review” publicly. U.S. officials said CIA security personnel then checked the logs of the computer system it had set up for the committee, and found that the files had been moved to a part of the network that was off-limits to the CIA.

 

“They did something to get those documents,” said a U.S. official briefed on the matter. A security “firewall was breached. They figured out a work-around to get it.” The official declined to elaborate.

Feinstein said the review documents were “identified using the search tool provided by the CIA” but she was careful not to say precisely how they were obtained. “We don’t know whether the documents were provided intentionally by the CIA, unintentionally by the CIA, or intentionally by a whistleblower,” she said.

She acknowledged, however, that committee investigators made hard copies of those files and whisked them away to its offices on Capitol Hill, in part because the committee had previously seen cases in which more than 900 pages of records dis­appeared from the database with no explanation.

Feinstein expressed outrage that the CIA referred the matter to the FBI. “There is no legitimate reason to allege to the Justice Department that Senate staff may have committed a crime,” she said, describing the move as a “potential effort to intimidate this staff, and I am not taking it lightly.”

She also noted that the referral was made by Robert Eatinger, the CIA’s acting general counsel, who previously served as the top lawyer for the department that ran the CIA’s secret prisons, and who “is mentioned by name more than 1,600 times in our study.”

Feinstein, who has been a staunch supporter of other CIA programs including its drone campaign, said the agency may have violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, as well as laws against domestic surveillance.

Although Republicans on the committee initially voted in favor of opening the investigation, GOP members abandoned the effort after it began and none has voted to endorse it.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the intelligence panel, told Bloomberg News that the dispute is “more complicated than what’s being put out there by Senator Feinstein or others. . . . I don’t think anyone has a clean hand and I think it’s important for the full truth to come out. I think people may be surprised to learn that, in this case, there were no good guys and maybe two or three bad ones.”

 

[Read a full transcript of Feinstein’s remarks.]

Brennan said he had ordered the CIA’s inspector general to review the agency’s conduct. The inspector general, in turn, has issued a separate referral seeking a Justice Department review.

Asked whether he would resign if the CIA was found to be in the wrong, Brennan said he would let the president decide his fate. “If I did something wrong, I will go to the president,” the director said. “He is the one who can ask me to stay or to go.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/feinstein-cia-searched-intelligence-committee-computers/2014/03/11/982cbc2c-a923-11e3-8599-ce7295b6851c_story.html

 

 

 

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Senator Rand Paul Wins CPAC Poll for Second Year In A Row — Republican Candidate for President in 2016 — We Are The Champions — I Stand With Rand — Videos

Posted on March 9, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, Heroes, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, Math, media, Monetary Policy, Money, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nuclear Power, Obamacare, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Public Sector, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Rand Paul wins CPAC 2014 Presidential Straw Poll C-SPAN

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Champions are made from something they have deep inside of them a desire, a dream, a vison.

~ Mahatma Gandhi

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Queen- live at Wembley Stadium 12-07-1986 Saturday (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second

Rubio and Ryan, GOP leaders in Congress all see big drops in support

Sen. Rand Paul demolished his competition in the 2014 Washington Times/CPAC presidential preference straw poll on Saturday, winning 31 percent of the vote — nearly three times the total of second-place Sen. Ted Cruz.

The poll also found a strong plurality of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference believe marijuana should be fully legalized, with 41 percent saying it’s time to change the law and tax it. Another 21 percent said it should be legalized only for medicinal purposes, while just 31 percent said it should remain illegal in all cases.


SEE ALSO: CPAC 2014 straw poll results


In the presidential poll, Mr. Cruz’s 11 percent was a big improvement for the freshman senator, who won just 4 percent in last year’s straw poll. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third with 9 percent and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fourth with 8 percent in results that signal growing discontent with the GOP establishment in Washington.

Indeed, CPAC voters now have an unfavorable view of Republicans in Congress, with 51 percent saying they disapprove of the job the GOP is doing on Capitol Hill. Just last year the GOP had a 54 percent approval rating, and in 2012 they held a 70 percent approval rating.

But a series of tough votes over the last few months that saw Republican leaders work with President Obama to boost spending and raised the government’s debt limit have deepened a rift between the GOP’s leadership on Capitol Hill and conservative activists around the country.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., Thursday, March 6, 2014. Thursday marks the first day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which brings together prospective presidential candidates, conservative opinion leaders and tea party activists from coast to coast. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Enlarge PhotoSen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Committee annual … more >

That could be one reason why Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote December’s budget deal that boosted spending in 2014 and 2015, saw his standing with CPAC voters cut in half — from 6 percent support in last year’s presidential straw poll to just 3 percent this year.

Sen. Marco Rubio suffered an even bigger drop, falling from 23 percent and second place in 2013 to seventh place, with 6 percent, this year.

“I like Ted Cruz, I like Rand Paul, I like Mike Lee. I like Rubio, but less now than I did a year ago because of immigration,” said David Fitzwilliam, 83.


SEE ALSO: Rand Paul urges conservatives to fight with him for liberty


For Mr. Paul, the victory is his second in a row, and he saw his support climb from 25 percent last year to 31 percent this year.

“He is the only true liberty candidate who focuses on civil liberties more than anybody else,” said Al Seltzinger, 36, from Baltimore. “I think the way the nation is going today with the government and the president going against the Constitution that we need someone who holds strict to the Constitution and whose voting record is pretty solid when it comes to the Constitution.”

Mr. Cruz also jumped from just 4 percent last year — when he was a newly sworn-in senator — to his 11 percent this year.

Mr. Carson, who gained prominence with a 27-minute speech challenging Mr. Obama when the two appeared at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast, is also on the rise. In last year’s straw poll, taken just after that speech, he garnered 4 percent of the vote, but jumped to 9 percent this year.

“I love Ted Cruz, I love Rand Paul, but Ben Carson is all of the above,” said Jean Carlton, a 71-year-old CPAC attendee who said the doctor’s lack of Washington experience was a big plus.

For his part Mr. Christie, who has faced political troubles back home in New Jersey after his staffers caused a traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge to punish a town mayor, seems to be holding steady among activists. He rose from 7 percent last year to 8 percent support this year.

In his speech to the conference on Thursday, Mr. Christie argued that the GOP needs to not only pick a conservative champion, but pick a candidate who can get elected.

“We can’t govern if we can’t win,” he said.

That resonated with some CPAC straw poll voters.

“I think he has the best chance in the general election. I am less optimistic about his chances in the primary, but he seems to be more palatable to Independents and Democrats. I think electability is the main concern,” said Matthew Smith, a 19-year-old student at Yale University.

This year’s straw poll listed 25 potential candidates, which is far more than usual. The high number signals just how wide open the GOP’s presidential contest is with two years to go before the first caucuses and primaries.

On the Democratic side, meanwhile, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton easily leads the rest of her party’s field in national and state polling.

Previous versions of The Washington Times/CPAC poll showed that the audience that gathers in Washington leans younger and more libertarian than the conservative movement throughout the country, which likely gives Mr. Paul a boost with this crowd here.

Indeed, his father, then-Rep. Ron Paul, won the straw poll twice on a similar libertarian-minded message, though he struggled to translate that support into votes when it came to primaries and caucuses.

The straw poll was conducted between Thursday and Saturday afternoon, and 2,459 votes were cast.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/8/rand-paul-wins-2014-cpac-straw-poll-ted-cruz-finis/

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Warning You Are Being Tracked — The Secret Surveillance Security State — Vidoes

Posted on March 5, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Faith, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 219: February 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 217: February 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 216: February 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 214: February 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 212: February 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 211: February 14, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 210: February 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 209: February 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 208: February 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 204: February 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 203: February 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 202: January 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 201: January 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 200: January 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 199: January 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 198: January 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 197: January 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 196: January 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 195: January 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 194: January 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 193: January 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 192: January 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 191: January 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 190: January 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 189: January 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 188: January 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 187: January 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 186: January 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 185: January 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 184: December 19, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 183: December 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 182: December 16, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 181: December 13, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 180: December 12, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 179: December 11, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 178: December 5, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 177: December 2, 2013

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShow 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

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Story 1: Warning You Are Being Tracked — The Secret Surveillance Security State — Vidoes

RFID Blocker Sleeves

Katherine Albrecht interview with Campaign for Liberty Part 1

Katherine Albrecht interview with Campaign for Liberty Part 2

Katherine Albrecht interview with Campaign for Liberty Part 3

WARNING RFID FOR EVERYONE

Katherine Albrecht, RFID expert , Genesis Communications Network Radio Host, and Author of the Book Spychips sat down with Steve Vasquez on April 20th to discuss Real Id and the Enhanced Drivers license.
What does it all mean? Legislation for total control and tracking.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This video may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes only. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 106A-117 of the U.S. Copyright Law

Katherine Albrecht – Spychips THREAT! Resist RFID & Electronic Surveillance!

The Enhanced Driver License: A Dream Realized

Texas Schools Track Students with RFID Chips! (Nanny of the Month, Nov ’12)

TEXAS Students to be TRACKED With MICROCHIPS. PUNISHMENTS For NON COMPLIANCE

RFID Chip Required in Obama’s Health Care Bill

Police State IBM VeriChip RFID Implant + Edible RFID Tracking Chips

0

The Fight Against the Total Surveillance State in Our Schools

Students in San Antonio are now being required to carry identification cards containing an RFID chip which allows school administrators to track their movements throughout the school day. While some are passively accepting the program, one brave student, Andrea Hernandez, is asserting her right to privacy. As John Whitehead explains in this week’s vodcast, the battle playing out in San Antonio could be the turning point in the resistance to the total surveillance state.

Students Required to Wear MicroChips on School Campus

Advanced RFID Student ID Card Identification System-Student Safety

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Snowden Used Automated Web Crawler To Scrap Data From Over 1.7 Million Restricted National Security Agency Files — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

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Story 2: The Pronk Pops Show 207, February 10, 2014, Story 1: Snowden Used Automated Web Crawler To Scrap Data From Over 1.7 Million Restricted National Security Agency Files — Videos

Snowden Used Common, Low-Cost Tool To Get NSA Files: Report

Edward Snowden, v 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

Dick Cheney ‘This Week’ Interview – Former Vice President on NSA Spying Revelations and GOP Politics

A Massive Surveillance State Glenn Greenwald Exposes Covert NSA Program Collecting Calls, Emails

Web Crawler – CS101 – Udacity

Web scraping the easy way

Python Web Scraping Tutorial 1 (Intro To Web Scraping)

Web Scraping Techniques

Web scraping: Reliably and efficiently pull data from pages that don’t expect it

2014 Best Scraper pro gold email and phone extractor harvestor review- website scraping lead

Lecture -38 Search Engine And Web Crawler – Part-I

Lecture -39 Search Engine And Web Crawlers: Part-II

Web Scraping Review 1

Web Scraping Review 2

Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.

By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT

Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.”

The findings are striking because the N.S.A.’s mission includes protecting the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence computer systems from cyberattacks, especially the sophisticated attacks that emanate from Russia and China. Mr. Snowden’s “insider attack,” by contrast, was hardly sophisticated and should have been easily detected, investigators found.

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Officials say Mr. Snowden used “web crawler” software. Channel 4/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Moreover, Mr. Snowden succeeded nearly three years after the WikiLeaks disclosures, in which military and State Department files, of far less sensitivity, were taken using similar techniques.

Mr. Snowden had broad access to the N.S.A.’s complete files because he was working as a technology contractor for the agency in Hawaii, helping to manage the agency’s computer systems in an outpost that focuses on China and North Korea. A web crawler, also called a spider, automatically moves from website to website, following links embedded in each document, and can be programmed to copy everything in its path.

Mr. Snowden appears to have set the parameters for the searches, including which subjects to look for and how deeply to follow links to documents and other data on the N.S.A.’s internal networks. Intelligence officials told a House hearing last week that he accessed roughly 1.7 million files.

Among the materials prominent in the Snowden files are the agency’s shared “wikis,” databases to which intelligence analysts, operatives and others contributed their knowledge. Some of that material indicates that Mr. Snowden “accessed” the documents. But experts say they may well have been downloaded not by him but by the program acting on his behalf.

Agency officials insist that if Mr. Snowden had been working from N.S.A. headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., which was equipped with monitors designed to detect when a huge volume of data was being accessed and downloaded, he almost certainly would have been caught. But because he worked at an agency outpost that had not yet been upgraded with modern security measures, his copying of what the agency’s newly appointed No. 2 officer, Rick Ledgett, recently called “the keys to the kingdom” raised few alarms.

“Some place had to be last” in getting the security upgrade, said one official familiar with Mr. Snowden’s activities. But he added that Mr. Snowden’s actions had been “challenged a few times.”

In at least one instance when he was questioned, Mr. Snowden provided what were later described to investigators as legitimate-sounding explanations for his activities: As a systems administrator he was responsible for conducting routine network maintenance. That could include backing up the computer systems and moving information to local servers, investigators were told.

But from his first days working as a contractor inside the N.S.A.’s aging underground Oahu facility for Dell, the computer maker, and then at a modern office building on the island for Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology consulting firm that sells and operates computer security services used by the government, Mr. Snowden learned something critical about the N.S.A.’s culture: While the organization built enormously high electronic barriers to keep out foreign invaders, it had rudimentary protections against insiders.

“Once you are inside the assumption is that you are supposed to be there, like in most organizations,” said Richard Bejtlich, the chief security strategist for FireEye, a Silicon Valley computer security firm, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “But that doesn’t explain why they weren’t more vigilant about excessive activity in the system.”

Investigators have yet to answer the question of whether Mr. Snowden happened into an ill-defended outpost of the N.S.A. or sought a job there because he knew it had yet to install the security upgrades that might have stopped him.

“He was either very lucky or very strategic,” one intelligence official said. A new book, “The Snowden Files,” by Luke Harding, a correspondent for The Guardian in London, reports that Mr. Snowden sought his job at Booz Allen because “to get access to a final tranche of documents” he needed “greater security privileges than he enjoyed in his position at Dell.”

Through his lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Snowden did not specifically address the government’s theory of how he obtained the files, saying in a statement: “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”

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The headquarters of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of Edward J. Snowden’s former employers, in McLean, Va. He had broad access to National Security Agency files as a contractor in Hawaii. Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

The N.S.A. declined to comment on its investigation or the security changes it has made since the Snowden disclosures. Other intelligence officials familiar with the findings of the investigations underway — there are at least four — were granted anonymity to discuss the investigations.

In interviews, officials declined to say which web crawler Mr. Snowden had used, or whether he had written some of the software himself. Officials said it functioned like Googlebot, a widely used web crawler that Google developed to find and index new pages on the web. What officials cannot explain is why the presence of such software in a highly classified system was not an obvious tip-off to unauthorized activity.

When inserted with Mr. Snowden’s passwords, the web crawler became especially powerful. Investigators determined he probably had also made use of the passwords of some colleagues or supervisors.

But he was also aided by a culture within the N.S.A., officials say, that “compartmented” relatively little information. As a result, a 29-year-old computer engineer, working from a World War II-era tunnel in Oahu and then from downtown Honolulu, had access to unencrypted files that dealt with information as varied as the bulk collection of domestic phone numbers and the intercepted communications of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and dozens of other leaders.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0

Officials say web crawlers are almost never used on the N.S.A.’s internal systems, making it all the more inexplicable that the one used by Mr. Snowden did not set off alarms as it copied intelligence and military documents stored in the N.S.A.’s systems and linked through the agency’s internal equivalent of Wikipedia.

The answer, officials and outside experts say, is that no one was looking inside the system in Hawaii for hard-to-explain activity. “The N.S.A. had the solution to this problem in hand, but they simply didn’t push it out fast enough,” said James Lewis, a computer expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has talked extensively with intelligence officials about how the Snowden experience could have been avoided.

Nonetheless, the government had warning that it was vulnerable to such attacks. Similar techniques were used by Chelsea Manning, then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted of turning documents and videos over to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Evidence presented during Private Manning’s court-martial for his role as the source for large archives of military and diplomatic files given to WikiLeaks revealed that he had used a program called “wget” to download the batches of files. That program automates the retrieval of large numbers of files, but it is considered less powerful than the tool Mr. Snowden used.

The program’s use prompted changes in how secret information is handled at the State Department, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, but recent assessments suggest that those changes may not have gone far enough. For example, arguments have broken out about whether the N.S.A.’s data should all be encrypted “at rest” — when it is stored in servers — to make it harder to search and steal. But that would also make it harder to retrieve for legitimate purposes.

Investigators have found no evidence that Mr. Snowden’s searches were directed by a foreign power, despite suggestions to that effect by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, in recent television appearances and at a hearing last week.

But that leaves open the question of how Mr. Snowden chose the search terms to obtain his trove of documents, and why, according to James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, they yielded a disproportionately large number of documents detailing American military movements, preparations and abilities around the world.

In his statement, Mr. Snowden denied any deliberate effort to gain access to any military information. “They rely on a baseless premise, which is that I was after military information,” Mr. Snowden said.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, told lawmakers last week that Mr. Snowden’s disclosures could tip off adversaries to American military tactics and operations, and force the Pentagon to spend vast sums to safeguard against that. But he admitted a great deal of uncertainty about what Mr. Snowden possessed.

“Everything that he touched, we assume that he took,” said General Flynn, including details of how the military tracks terrorists, of enemies’ vulnerabilities and of American defenses against improvised explosive devices. He added, “We assume the worst case.”

ttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0

Web Crawler

A Web crawler is an Internet bot that systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of Web indexing.

A Web crawler may also be called a Web spider,[1] an ant, an automatic indexer,[2] or (in the FOAF software context) a Web scutter.[3]

Web search engines and some other sites use Web crawling or spidering software to update their web content or indexes of others sites’ web content. Web crawlers can copy all the pages they visit for later processing by a search engine that indexes the downloaded pages so that users can search them much more quickly.

Crawlers can validate hyperlinks and HTML code. They can also be used for web scraping (see also data-driven programming).

Overview

A Web crawler starts with a list of URLs to visit, called the seeds. As the crawler visits these URLs, it identifies all the hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to visit, called the crawl frontier. URLs from the frontier are recursively visited according to a set of policies.

The large volume implies that the crawler can only download a limited number of the Web pages within a given time, so it needs to prioritize its downloads. The high rate of change implies that the pages might have already been updated or even deleted.

The number of possible URLs crawled being generated by server-side software has also made it difficult for web crawlers to avoid retrieving duplicate content. Endless combinations of HTTP GET (URL-based) parameters exist, of which only a small selection will actually return unique content. For example, a simple online photo gallery may offer three options to users, as specified through HTTP GET parameters in the URL. If there exist four ways to sort images, three choices of thumbnail size, two file formats, and an option to disable user-provided content, then the same set of content can be accessed with 48 different URLs, all of which may be linked on the site. This mathematical combination creates a problem for crawlers, as they must sort through endless combinations of relatively minor scripted changes in order to retrieve unique content.

As Edwards et al. noted, “Given that the bandwidth for conducting crawls is neither infinite nor free, it is becoming essential to crawl the Web in not only a scalable, but efficient way, if some reasonable measure of quality or freshness is to be maintained.”[4] A crawler must carefully choose at each step which pages to visit next.

Crawling policy

The behavior of a Web crawler is the outcome of a combination of policies:[5]

  • a selection policy that states which pages to download,
  • a re-visit policy that states when to check for changes to the pages,
  • a politeness policy that states how to avoid overloading Web sites, and
  • a parallelization policy that states how to coordinate distributed web crawlers.

Selection policy

Given the current size of the Web, even large search engines cover only a portion of the publicly available part. A 2005 study showed that large-scale search engines index no more than 40-70% of the indexable Web;[6] a previous study by Steve Lawrence and Lee Giles showed that no search engine indexed more than 16% of the Web in 1999.[7] As a crawler always downloads just a fraction of the Web pages, it is highly desirable that the downloaded fraction contains the most relevant pages and not just a random sample of the Web.

This requires a metric of importance for prioritizing Web pages. The importance of a page is a function of its intrinsic quality, its popularity in terms of links or visits, and even of its URL (the latter is the case of vertical search engines restricted to a single top-level domain, or search engines restricted to a fixed Web site). Designing a good selection policy has an added difficulty: it must work with partial information, as the complete set of Web pages is not known during crawling.

Cho et al. made the first study on policies for crawling scheduling. Their data set was a 180,000-pages crawl from the stanford.edu domain, in which a crawling simulation was done with different strategies.[8] The ordering metrics tested were breadth-first, backlink count and partial Pagerank calculations. One of the conclusions was that if the crawler wants to download pages with high Pagerank early during the crawling process, then the partial Pagerank strategy is the better, followed by breadth-first and backlink-count. However, these results are for just a single domain. Cho also wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Stanford on web crawling.[9]

Najork and Wiener performed an actual crawl on 328 million pages, using breadth-first ordering.[10] They found that a breadth-first crawl captures pages with high Pagerank early in the crawl (but they did not compare this strategy against other strategies). The explanation given by the authors for this result is that “the most important pages have many links to them from numerous hosts, and those links will be found early, regardless of on which host or page the crawl originates.”

Abiteboul designed a crawling strategy based on an algorithm called OPIC (On-line Page Importance Computation).[11] In OPIC, each page is given an initial sum of “cash” that is distributed equally among the pages it points to. It is similar to a Pagerank computation, but it is faster and is only done in one step. An OPIC-driven crawler downloads first the pages in the crawling frontier with higher amounts of “cash”. Experiments were carried in a 100,000-pages synthetic graph with a power-law distribution of in-links. However, there was no comparison with other strategies nor experiments in the real Web.

Boldi et al. used simulation on subsets of the Web of 40 million pages from the .it domain and 100 million pages from the WebBase crawl, testing breadth-first against depth-first, random ordering and an omniscient strategy. The comparison was based on how well PageRank computed on a partial crawl approximates the true PageRank value. Surprisingly, some visits that accumulate PageRank very quickly (most notably, breadth-first and the omniscient visit) provide very poor progressive approximations.[12][13]

Baeza-Yates et al. used simulation on two subsets of the Web of 3 million pages from the .gr and .cl domain, testing several crawling strategies.[14] They showed that both the OPIC strategy and a strategy that uses the length of the per-site queues are better than breadth-first crawling, and that it is also very effective to use a previous crawl, when it is available, to guide the current one.

Daneshpajouh et al. designed a community based algorithm for discovering good seeds.[15] Their method crawls web pages with high PageRank from different communities in less iteration in comparison with crawl starting from random seeds. One can extract good seed from a previously-crawled-Web graph using this new method. Using these seeds a new crawl can be very effective.

Restricting followed links

A crawler may only want to seek out HTML pages and avoid all other MIME types. In order to request only HTML resources, a crawler may make an HTTP HEAD request to determine a Web resource’s MIME type before requesting the entire resource with a GET request. To avoid making numerous HEAD requests, a crawler may examine the URL and only request a resource if the URL ends with certain characters such as .html, .htm, .asp, .aspx, .php, .jsp, .jspx or a slash. This strategy may cause numerous HTML Web resources to be unintentionally skipped.

Some crawlers may also avoid requesting any resources that have a “?” in them (are dynamically produced) in order to avoid spider traps that may cause the crawler to download an infinite number of URLs from a Web site. This strategy is unreliable if the site uses a rewrite engine to simplify its URLs.

URL normalization

Main article: URL normalization

Crawlers usually perform some type of URL normalization in order to avoid crawling the same resource more than once. The term URL normalization, also called URL canonicalization, refers to the process of modifying and standardizing a URL in a consistent manner. There are several types of normalization that may be performed including conversion of URLs to lowercase, removal of “.” and “..” segments, and adding trailing slashes to the non-empty path component.[16]

Path-ascending crawling

Some crawlers intend to download as many resources as possible from a particular web site. So path-ascending crawler was introduced that would ascend to every path in each URL that it intends to crawl.[17] For example, when given a seed URL of http://llama.org/hamster/monkey/page.html, it will attempt to crawl /hamster/monkey/, /hamster/, and /. Cothey found that a path-ascending crawler was very effective in finding isolated resources, or resources for which no inbound link would have been found in regular crawling.

Many path-ascending crawlers are also gallery — from a specific page or host.

Focused crawling

Main article: Focused crawler

The importance of a page for a crawler can also be expressed as a function of the similarity of a page to a given query. Web crawlers that attempt to download pages that are similar to each other are called focused crawler or topical crawlers. The concepts of topical and focused crawling were first introduced by Menczer[18][19] and by Chakrabarti et al.[20]

The main problem in focused crawling is that in the context of a Web crawler, we would like to be able to predict the similarity of the text of a given page to the query before actually downloading the page. A possible predictor is the anchor text of links; this was the approach taken by Pinkerton[21] in the first web crawler of the early days of the Web. Diligenti et al.[22] propose using the complete content of the pages already visited to infer the similarity between the driving query and the pages that have not been visited yet. The performance of a focused crawling depends mostly on the richness of links in the specific topic being searched, and a focused crawling usually relies on a general Web search engine for providing starting points.

Academic-focused crawler

An example of the focused crawlers are academic crawlers, which crawls free-access academic related documents, such as the citeseerxbot, which is the crawler of CiteSeerX search engine. Other academic search engines are Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search etc. Because most academic papers are published in PDF formats, such kind of crawler is particularly interested in crawling PDF, PostScript files, Microsoft Word including their zipped formats. Because of this, general open source crawlers, such as Heritrix, must be customized to filter out other MIME types, or a middleware is used to extract these documents out and import them to the focused crawl database and repository.[23] Identifying whether these documents are academic or not is challenging and can add a significant overhead to the crawling process, so this is performed as a post crawling process using machine learning or regular expression algorithms. These academic documents are usually obtained from home pages of faculties and students or from publication page of research institutes. Because academic documents takes only a small faction in the entire web pages, a good seed selection are important in boosting the efficiencies of these web crawlers.[24] Other academic crawlers may download plain text and HTML files, that contains metadata of academic papers, such as titles, papers, and abstracts. This increases the overall number of papers, but a significant fraction may not provide free PDF downloads.

Re-visit policy

The Web has a very dynamic nature, and crawling a fraction of the Web can take weeks or months. By the time a Web crawler has finished its crawl, many events could have happened, including creations, updates and deletions.

From the search engine’s point of view, there is a cost associated with not detecting an event, and thus having an outdated copy of a resource. The most-used cost functions are freshness and age.[25]

Freshness: This is a binary measure that indicates whether the local copy is accurate or not. The freshness of a page p in the repository at time t is defined as:

F_{p}(t)={\begin{cases}1&{{\rm {if}}}~p~{{\rm {~is~equal~to~the~local~copy~at~time}}}~t\&{{\rm {otherwise}}}\end{cases}}

Age: This is a measure that indicates how outdated the local copy is. The age of a page p in the repository, at time t is defined as:

A_{p}(t)={\begin{cases}0&{{\rm {if}}}~p~{{\rm {~is~not~modified~at~time}}}~t\\t-{{\rm {modification~time~of}}}~p&{{\rm {otherwise}}}\end{cases}}

Coffman et al. worked with a definition of the objective of a Web crawler that is equivalent to freshness, but use a different wording: they propose that a crawler must minimize the fraction of time pages remain outdated. They also noted that the problem of Web crawling can be modeled as a multiple-queue, single-server polling system, on which the Web crawler is the server and the Web sites are the queues. Page modifications are the arrival of the customers, and switch-over times are the interval between page accesses to a single Web site. Under this model, mean waiting time for a customer in the polling system is equivalent to the average age for the Web crawler.[26]

The objective of the crawler is to keep the average freshness of pages in its collection as high as possible, or to keep the average age of pages as low as possible. These objectives are not equivalent: in the first case, the crawler is just concerned with how many pages are out-dated, while in the second case, the crawler is concerned with how old the local copies of pages are.

Two simple re-visiting policies were studied by Cho and Garcia-Molina:[27]

Uniform policy: This involves re-visiting all pages in the collection with the same frequency, regardless of their rates of change.

Proportional policy: This involves re-visiting more often the pages that change more frequently. The visiting frequency is directly proportional to the (estimated) change frequency.

(In both cases, the repeated crawling order of pages can be done either in a random or a fixed order.)

Cho and Garcia-Molina proved the surprising result that, in terms of average freshness, the uniform policy outperforms the proportional policy in both a simulated Web and a real Web crawl. Intuitively, the reasoning is that, as web crawlers have a limit to how many pages they can crawl in a given time frame, (1) they will allocate too many new crawls to rapidly changing pages at the expense of less frequently updating pages, and (2) the freshness of rapidly changing pages lasts for shorter period than that of less frequently changing pages. In other words, a proportional policy allocates more resources to crawling frequently updating pages, but experiences less overall freshness time from them.

To improve freshness, the crawler should penalize the elements that change too often.[28] The optimal re-visiting policy is neither the uniform policy nor the proportional policy. The optimal method for keeping average freshness high includes ignoring the pages that change too often, and the optimal for keeping average age low is to use access frequencies that monotonically (and sub-linearly) increase with the rate of change of each page. In both cases, the optimal is closer to the uniform policy than to the proportional policy: as Coffman et al. note, “in order to minimize the expected obsolescence time, the accesses to any particular page should be kept as evenly spaced as possible”.[26] Explicit formulas for the re-visit policy are not attainable in general, but they are obtained numerically, as they depend on the distribution of page changes. Cho and Garcia-Molina show that the exponential distribution is a good fit for describing page changes,[28] while Ipeirotis et al. show how to use statistical tools to discover parameters that affect this distribution.[29] Note that the re-visiting policies considered here regard all pages as homogeneous in terms of quality (“all pages on the Web are worth the same”), something that is not a realistic scenario, so further information about the Web page quality should be included to achieve a better crawling policy.

Politeness policy

Crawlers can retrieve data much quicker and in greater depth than human searchers, so they can have a crippling impact on the performance of a site. Needless to say, if a single crawler is performing multiple requests per second and/or downloading large files, a server would have a hard time keeping up with requests from multiple crawlers.

As noted by Koster, the use of Web crawlers is useful for a number of tasks, but comes with a price for the general community.[30] The costs of using Web crawlers include:

  • network resources, as crawlers require considerable bandwidth and operate with a high degree of parallelism during a long period of time;
  • server overload, especially if the frequency of accesses to a given server is too high;
  • poorly written crawlers, which can crash servers or routers, or which download pages they cannot handle; and
  • personal crawlers that, if deployed by too many users, can disrupt networks and Web servers.

A partial solution to these problems is the robots exclusion protocol, also known as the robots.txt protocol that is a standard for administrators to indicate which parts of their Web servers should not be accessed by crawlers.[31] This standard does not include a suggestion for the interval of visits to the same server, even though this interval is the most effective way of avoiding server overload. Recently commercial search engines like Google, Ask Jeeves, MSN and Yahoo! Search are able to use an extra “Crawl-delay:” parameter in the robots.txt file to indicate the number of seconds to delay between requests.

The first proposed interval between successive pageloads was 60 seconds.[32] However, if pages were downloaded at this rate from a website with more than 100,000 pages over a perfect connection with zero latency and infinite bandwidth, it would take more than 2 months to download only that entire Web site; also, only a fraction of the resources from that Web server would be used. This does not seem acceptable.

Cho uses 10 seconds as an interval for accesses,[27] and the WIRE crawler uses 15 seconds as the default.[33] The MercatorWeb crawler follows an adaptive politeness policy: if it took t seconds to download a document from a given server, the crawler waits for 10t seconds before downloading the next page.[34] Dill et al. use 1 second.[35]

For those using Web crawlers for research purposes, a more detailed cost-benefit analysis is needed and ethical considerations should be taken into account when deciding where to crawl and how fast to crawl.[36]

Anecdotal evidence from access logs shows that access intervals from known crawlers vary between 20 seconds and 3–4 minutes. It is worth noticing that even when being very polite, and taking all the safeguards to avoid overloading Web servers, some complaints from Web server administrators are received. Brin and Page note that: “… running a crawler which connects to more than half a million servers (…) generates a fair amount of e-mail and phone calls. Because of the vast number of people coming on line, there are always those who do not know what a crawler is, because this is the first one they have seen.”[37]

Parallelisation policy

A parallel crawler is a crawler that runs multiple processes in parallel. The goal is to maximize the download rate while minimizing the overhead from parallelization and to avoid repeated downloads of the same page. To avoid downloading the same page more than once, the crawling system requires a policy for assigning the new URLs discovered during the crawling process, as the same URL can be found by two different crawling processes.

Architectures

High-level architecture of a standard Web crawler

A crawler must not only have a good crawling strategy, as noted in the previous sections, but it should also have a highly optimized architecture.

Shkapenyuk and Suel noted that:[38]

While it is fairly easy to build a slow crawler that downloads a few pages per second for a short period of time, building a high-performance system that can download hundreds of millions of pages over several weeks presents a number of challenges in system design, I/O and network efficiency, and robustness and manageability.

Web crawlers are a central part of search engines, and details on their algorithms and architecture are kept as business secrets. When crawler designs are published, there is often an important lack of detail that prevents others from reproducing the work. There are also emerging concerns about “search engine spamming“, which prevent major search engines from publishing their ranking algorithms.

Crawler identification

Web crawlers typically identify themselves to a Web server by using the User-agent field of an HTTP request. Web site administrators typically examine their Web servers‘ log and use the user agent field to determine which crawlers have visited the web server and how often. The user agent field may include a URL where the Web site administrator may find out more information about the crawler. Examining Web server log is tedious task therefore some administrators use tools such as CrawlTrack[39] or SEO Crawlytics[40] to identify, track and verify Web crawlers. Spambots and other malicious Web crawlers are unlikely to place identifying information in the user agent field, or they may mask their identity as a browser or other well-known crawler.

It is important for Web crawlers to identify themselves so that Web site administrators can contact the owner if needed. In some cases, crawlers may be accidentally trapped in a crawler trap or they may be overloading a Web server with requests, and the owner needs to stop the crawler. Identification is also useful for administrators that are interested in knowing when they may expect their Web pages to be indexed by a particular search engine.

Crawling the deep web

A vast amount of web pages lie in the deep or invisible web.[41] These pages are typically only accessible by submitting queries to a database, and regular crawlers are unable to find these pages if there are no links that point to them. Google’s Sitemaps protocol and mod oai[42] are intended to allow discovery of these deep-Web resources.

Deep web crawling also multiplies the number of web links to be crawled. Some crawlers only take some of the URLs in <a href="URL"> form. In some cases, such as the Googlebot, Web crawling is done on all text contained inside the hypertext content, tags, or text.

Strategic approaches may be taken to target deep Web content. With a technique called screen scraping, specialized software may be customized to automatically and repeatedly query a given Web form with the intention of aggregating the resulting data. Such software can be used to span multiple Web forms across multiple Websites. Data extracted from the results of one Web form submission can be taken and applied as input to another Web form thus establishing continuity across the Deep Web in a way not possible with traditional web crawlers.

Pages built on AJAX are among those causing problems to web crawlers. Google has proposed a format of AJAX calls that their bot can recognize and index[43]

Web crawler bias

A recent study based on a large scale analysis of robots.txt files showed that certain web crawlers were preferred over others, with Googlebot being the most preferred web crawler.[citation needed]

Examples

This article may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing less pertinent examples. See Wikipedia’s guide to writing better articles for further suggestions. (May 2012)

The following is a list of published crawler architectures for general-purpose crawlers (excluding focused web crawlers), with a brief description that includes the names given to the different components and outstanding features:

  • Yahoo! Slurp was the name of the Yahoo! Search crawler until Yahoo! contracted with Microsoft to use bingbot instead.
  • Bingbot is the name of Microsoft’s Bing webcrawler. It replaced Msnbot.
  • FAST Crawler[44] is a distributed crawler, used by Fast Search & Transfer, and a general description of its architecture is available.[citation needed]
  • Googlebot[37] is described in some detail, but the reference is only about an early version of its architecture, which was based in C++ and Python. The crawler was integrated with the indexing process, because text parsing was done for full-text indexing and also for URL extraction. There is a URL server that sends lists of URLs to be fetched by several crawling processes. During parsing, the URLs found were passed to a URL server that checked if the URL have been previously seen. If not, the URL was added to the queue of the URL server.
  • PolyBot[38] is a distributed crawler written in C++ and Python, which is composed of a “crawl manager”, one or more “downloaders” and one or more “DNS resolvers”. Collected URLs are added to a queue on disk, and processed later to search for seen URLs in batch mode. The politeness policy considers both third and second level domains (e.g.: http://www.example.com and www2.example.com are third level domains) because third level domains are usually hosted by the same Web server.
  • RBSE[45] was the first published web crawler. It was based on two programs: the first program, “spider” maintains a queue in a relational database, and the second program “mite“, is a modified www ASCII browser that downloads the pages from the Web.
  • WebCrawler[21] was used to build the first publicly available full-text index of a subset of the Web. It was based on lib-WWW to download pages, and another program to parse and order URLs for breadth-first exploration of the Web graph. It also included a real-time crawler that followed links based on the similarity of the anchor text with the provided query.
  • World Wide Web Worm[46] was a crawler used to build a simple index of document titles and URLs. The index could be searched by using the grep Unix command.
  • WebFountain[4] is a distributed, modular crawler similar to Mercator but written in C++. It features a “controller” machine that coordinates a series of “ant” machines. After repeatedly downloading pages, a change rate is inferred for each page and a non-linear programming method must be used to solve the equation system for maximizing freshness. The authors recommend to use this crawling order in the early stages of the crawl, and then switch to a uniform crawling order, in which all pages are being visited with the same frequency.
  • WebRACE[47] is a crawling and caching module implemented in Java, and used as a part of a more generic system called eRACE. The system receives requests from users for downloading web pages, so the crawler acts in part as a smart proxy server. The system also handles requests for “subscriptions” to Web pages that must be monitored: when the pages change, they must be downloaded by the crawler and the subscriber must be notified. The most outstanding feature of WebRACE is that, while most crawlers start with a set of “seed” URLs, WebRACE is continuously receiving new starting URLs to crawl from.

In addition to the specific crawler architectures listed above, there are general crawler architectures published by Cho[48] and Chakrabarti.[49]

Open-source crawlers

  • DataparkSearch is a crawler and search engine released under the GNU General Public License.
  • GNU Wget is a command-line-operated crawler written in C and released under the GPL. It is typically used to mirror Web and FTP sites.
  • GRUB is an open source distributed search crawler that Wikia Search used to crawl the web.
  • Heritrix is the Internet Archive‘s archival-quality crawler, designed for archiving periodic snapshots of a large portion of the Web. It was written in Java.
  • ht://Dig includes a Web crawler in its indexing engine.
  • HTTrack uses a Web crawler to create a mirror of a web site for off-line viewing. It is written in C and released under the GPL.
  • ICDL Crawler is a cross-platform web crawler written in C++ and intended to crawl Web sites based on Website Parse Templates using computer’s free CPU resources only.
  • mnoGoSearch is a crawler, indexer and a search engine written in C and licensed under the GPL (*NIX machines only)
  • Norconex HTTP Collector is a web spider, or crawler, written in Java, that aims to make Enterprise Search integrators and developers’s life easier (licensed under GPL).
  • Nutch is a crawler written in Java and released under an Apache License. It can be used in conjunction with the Lucene text-indexing package.
  • Open Search Server is a search engine and web crawler software release under the GPL.
  • PHP-Crawler is a simple PHP and MySQL based crawler released under the BSD License. Easy to install it became popular for small MySQL-driven websites on shared hosting.
  • tkWWW Robot, a crawler based on the tkWWW web browser (licensed under GPL).
  • Scrapy, an open source webcrawler framework, written in python (licensed under BSD).
  • Seeks, a free distributed search engine (licensed under Affero General Public License).
  • YaCy, a free distributed search engine, built on principles of peer-to-peer networks (licensed under GPL).

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

Web scraping

Web scraping (web harvesting or web data extraction) is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites. Usually, such software programs simulate human exploration of the World Wide Web by either implementing low-level Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), or embedding a fully-fledged web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

Web scraping is closely related to web indexing, which indexes information on the web using a bot or web crawler and is a universal technique adopted by most search engines. In contrast, web scraping focuses more on the transformation of unstructured data on the web, typically in HTML format, into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a central local database or spreadsheet. Web scraping is also related to web automation, which simulates human browsing using computer software. Uses of web scraping include online price comparison, contact scraping, weather data monitoring, website change detection, research, web mashup and web data integration.

Techniques

Web scraping is the process of automatically collecting information from the World Wide Web. It is a field with active developments sharing a common goal with the semantic web vision, an ambitious initiative that still requires breakthroughs in text processing, semantic understanding, artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions. Web scraping, instead, favors practical solutions based on existing technologies that are often entirely ad hoc. Therefore, there are different levels of automation that existing web-scraping technologies can provide:

  • Human copy-and-paste: Sometimes even the best web-scraping technology cannot replace a human’s manual examination and copy-and-paste, and sometimes this may be the only workable solution when the websites for scraping explicitly set up barriers to prevent machine automation.
  • Text grepping and regular expression matching: A simple yet powerful approach to extract information from web pages can be based on the UNIX grep command or regular expression-matching facilities of programming languages (for instance Perl or Python).
  • HTTP programming: Static and dynamic web pages can be retrieved by posting HTTP requests to the remote web server using socket programming.
  • HTML parsers. Many websites have large collections of pages generated dynamically from an underlying structured source like a database. Data of the same category are typically encoded into similar pages by a common script or template. In data mining, a program that detects such templates in a particular information source, extracts its content and translates it into a relational form called a wrapper. Wrapper generation algorithms assume that input pages of a wrapper induction system conform to a common template and that they can be easily identified in terms of a URL common scheme.[1]. Moreover, some semi-structured data query languages, such as XQuery and the HTQL, can be used to parse HTML pages and to retrieve and transform page content.
  • DOM parsing: By embedding a full-fledged web browser, such as the Internet Explorer or the Mozilla browser control, programs can retrieve the dynamic content generated by client-side scripts. These browser controls also parse web pages into a DOM tree, based on which programs can retrieve parts of the pages.
  • Web-scraping software: There are many software tools available that can be used to customize web-scraping solutions. This software may attempt to automatically recognize the data structure of a page or provide a recording interface that removes the necessity to manually write web-scraping code, or some scripting functions that can be used to extract and transform content, and database interfaces that can store the scraped data in local databases.
  • Vertical aggregation platforms: There are several companies that have developed vertical specific harvesting platforms. These platforms create and monitor a multitude of “bots” for specific verticals with no man-in-the-loop,[clarification needed] and no work related to a specific target site. The preparation involves establishing the knowledge base for the entire vertical and then the platform creates the bots automatically. The platform’s robustness is measured by the quality of the information it retrieves (usually number of fields) and its scalability (how quick it can scale up to hundreds or thousands of sites). This scalability is mostly used to target the Long Tail of sites that common aggregators find complicated or too labor-intensive to harvest content from.
  • Semantic annotation recognizing: The pages being scraped may embrace metadata or semantic markups and annotations, which can be used to locate specific data snippets. If the annotations are embedded in the pages, as Microformat does, this technique can be viewed as a special case of DOM parsing. In another case, the annotations, organized into a semantic layer,[2] are stored and managed separately from the web pages, so the scrapers can retrieve data schema and instructions from this layer before scraping the pages.
  • Computer vision web-page analyzers. There are efforts using machine learning and computer vision that attempt to identify and extract information from web pages by interpreting pages visually as a human being might.[3]

Legal issues

Web scraping may be against the terms of use of some websites. The enforceability of these terms is unclear.[4] While outright duplication of original expression will in many cases be illegal, in the United States the courts ruled in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service that duplication of facts is allowable. U.S. courts have acknowledged that users of “scrapers” or “robots” may be held liable for committing trespass to chattels,[5][6] which involves a computer system itself being considered personal property upon which the user of a scraper is trespassing. The best known of these cases, eBay v. Bidder’s Edge, resulted in an injunction ordering Bidder’s Edge to stop accessing, collecting, and indexing auctions from the eBay web site. This case involved automatic placing of bids, known as auction sniping. However, in order to succeed on a claim of trespass to chattels, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant intentionally and without authorization interfered with the plaintiff’s possessory interest in the computer system and that the defendant’s unauthorized use caused damage to the plaintiff. Not all cases of web spidering brought before the courts have been considered trespass to chattels.[7]

One of the first major tests of screen scraping involved American Airlines, and a firm called FareChase.[8] AA successfully obtained an injunction from a Texas trial court, stopping FareChase from selling software that enables users to compare online fares if it also searches AA’s website. The airline argued that FareChase’s websearch software trespassed on AA’s servers when it collected the publicly available data. FareChase filed an appeal in March 2003. By June, FareChase and AA agreed to settle and the appeal was dropped.[9]

Southwest Airlines has also challenged screen-scraping practices, and has involved both FareChase and another firm, Outtask, in a legal claim. Southwest Airlines charged that the screen-scraping is Illegal since it is an example of “Computer Fraud and Abuse” and has led to “Damage and Loss” and “Unauthorized Access” of Southwest’s site. It also constitutes “Interference with Business Relations”, “Trespass”, and “Harmful Access by Computer”. They also claimed that screen-scraping constitutes what is legally known as “Misappropriation and Unjust Enrichment”, as well as being a breach of the web site’s user agreement. Outtask denied all these claims, claiming that the prevailing law in this case should be US Copyright law, and that under copyright, the pieces of information being scraped would not be subject to copyright protection. Although the cases were never resolved in the Supreme Court of the United States, FareChase was eventually shuttered by parent company Yahoo!, and Outtask was purchased by travel expense company Concur.[10]

Although these are early scraping decisions, and the theories of liability are not uniform, it is difficult to ignore a pattern emerging that the courts are prepared to protect proprietary content on commercial sites from uses which are undesirable to the owners of such sites. However, the degree of protection for such content is not settled, and will depend on the type of access made by the scraper, the amount of information accessed and copied, the degree to which the access adversely affects the site owner’s system and the types and manner of prohibitions on such conduct.[11]

While the law in this area becomes more settled, entities contemplating using scraping programs to access a public web site should also consider whether such action is authorized by reviewing the terms of use and other terms or notices posted on or made available through the site. In the latest ruling in the Cvent, Inc. v. Eventbrite, Inc. In the United States district court for the eastern district of Virginia, the court ruled that the terms of use should be brought to the users’ attention In order for a browse wrap contract or license to be enforced.[12]

In the plaintiff’s web site during the period of this trial the terms of use link is displayed among all the links of the site, at the bottom of the page as most sites on the internet. This ruling contradicts the Irish ruling described below. The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the browse wrap restrictions were enforceable in view of Virginia’s adoption of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)—a uniform law that many believed was in favor on common browse wrap contracting practices.[13]

Outside of the United States, in February 2006, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court (Copenhagen) ruled that systematic crawling, indexing, and deep linking by portal site ofir.dk of real estate site Home.dk does not conflict with Danish law or the database directive of the European Union.[14]

In 2009 Facebook won one of the first copyright suits against a known web scraper. This laid the groundwork for numerous lawsuits that tie any web scraping with a direct copyright violation and very clear monetary damages. The most recent case being AP v Meltwater, where the courts stripped what is referred to as fair use on the internet.[15]

In a February 2010 case complicated by matters of jurisdiction, Ireland’s An Ard-Chúirt delivered a verdict that illustrates the inchoate state of developing case law. In the case of Ryanair Ltd v Billigfluege.de GmbH, Ireland’s High Court ruled Ryanair’s “click-wrap” agreement to be legally binding. In contrast to the findings of the United States District Court Eastern District of Virginia and those of the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court, Mr. Justice Michael Hanna ruled that the hyperlink to Ryanair’s terms and conditions was plainly visible, and that placing the onus on the user to agree to terms and conditions in order to gain access to online services is sufficient to comprise a contractual relationship. Where here may be another legal issue, of data non-valid or incorrect information, as most of data mixed with lot of “Junk” or “Spam”. Where with respect to data ware house there are: may be limitation of query interface, inconsistence output and rapid change in data by admin without any notice. [16] The decision is under appeal in Ireland’s Supreme Court, the Cúirt Uachtarach na hÉireann.[17]

In Australia, the Spam Act 2003 outlaws some forms of web harvesting, although this only applies to email addresses.[18][19]

Technical measures to stop bots

The administrator of a website can use various measures to stop or slow a bot. Some techniques include:

  • Blocking an IP address. This will also block all browsing from that address.
  • Disabling any web service API that the website’s system might expose.
  • Bots sometimes declare who they are (using user agent strings) and can be blocked on that basis (using robots.txt); ‘googlebot‘ is an example. Some bots make no distinction between themselves and a human browser.
  • Bots can be blocked by excess traffic monitoring.
  • Bots can sometimes be blocked with tools to verify that it is a real person accessing the site, like a CAPTCHA. Bots are sometimes coded to explicitly break specific Captcha patterns.
  • Commercial anti-bot services: Companies offer anti-bot and anti-scraping services for websites. A few web application firewalls have limited bot detection capabilities as well.
  • Locating bots with a honeypot or other method to identify the IP addresses of automated crawlers.
  • Using CSS sprites to display such data as phone numbers or email addresses, at the cost of accessibility to screen reader users.

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

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Making Sense of Today’s January Jobs Report

February 7th 2014 CNBC Stock Market Squawk Box (January Jobs Report)

gdp_large

sgs-emp

non-farm-payrolls-wide-201312

Employment Level

145,224,000

Series Id:           LNS12000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status:  Employed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

employment_level
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138451(1) 138599 138752 139309 139247 139148 139179 139427 139393 139111 139030 139266
2011 139287(1) 139422 139655 139622 139653 139409 139524 139904 140154 140335 140747 140836
2012 141677(1) 141943 142079 141963 142257 142432 142272 142204 142947 143369 143233 143212
2013 143384(1) 143464 143393 143676 143919 144075 144285 144179 144270 143485 144443 144586
2014 145224(1)

Civilian Labor Force

155,460,000

Series Id:           LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Civilian_Labor_Force_Level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153404(1) 153720 153964 154642 154106 153631 153706 154087 153971 153631 154127 153639
2011 153198(1) 153280 153403 153566 153526 153379 153309 153724 154059 153940 154072 153927
2012 154328(1) 154826 154811 154565 154946 155134 154970 154669 155018 155507 155279 155485
2013 155699(1) 155511 155099 155359 155609 155822 155693 155435 155473 154625 155284 154937
2014 155460(1)

Labor Force Participation Rate

63.0%

Series Id:           LNS11300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status:  Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

labor_participation_rate

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.9 63.8 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.7 63.6 63.6
2013 63.6 63.5 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.5 63.4 63.2 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.8
2014 63.0

Unemployment Level

10,236,000

Series Id:           LNS13000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

unemployment_level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 14953 15121 15212 15333 14858 14483 14527 14660 14578 14520 15097 14373
2011 13910 13858 13748 13944 13873 13971 13785 13820 13905 13604 13326 13090
2012 12650 12883 12732 12603 12689 12702 12698 12464 12070 12138 12045 12273
2013 12315 12047 11706 11683 11690 11747 11408 11256 11203 11140 10841 10351
2014 10236

Unemployment Rate

6.6%

Series Id:           LNS14000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over

unemployment_rate_U_3
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.7 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.5 9.8 9.4
2011 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.2 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.1 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.9
2013 7.9 7.7 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.0 6.7
2014 6.6

Employment-Population Ratio

58.8%

Series Id:           LNS12300000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Employment-Population Ratio
Labor force status:  Employment-population ratio
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 64.6 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.4 64.5 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.3 64.4
2001 64.4 64.3 64.3 64.0 63.8 63.7 63.7 63.2 63.5 63.2 63.0 62.9
2002 62.7 63.0 62.8 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.7 62.7 63.0 62.7 62.5 62.4
2003 62.5 62.5 62.4 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.1 62.1 62.0 62.1 62.3 62.2
2004 62.3 62.3 62.2 62.3 62.3 62.4 62.5 62.4 62.3 62.3 62.5 62.4
2005 62.4 62.4 62.4 62.7 62.8 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.8 62.8 62.7 62.8
2006 62.9 63.0 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.0 63.1 63.1 63.3 63.3 63.4
2007 63.3 63.3 63.3 63.0 63.0 63.0 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7 62.9 62.7
2008 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.7 62.5 62.4 62.2 62.0 61.9 61.7 61.4 61.0
2009 60.6 60.3 59.9 59.8 59.6 59.4 59.3 59.1 58.7 58.5 58.6 58.3
2010 58.5 58.5 58.5 58.7 58.6 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.3 58.2 58.3
2011 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.4 58.2 58.2 58.3 58.4 58.4 58.5 58.5
2012 58.5 58.5 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.4 58.6 58.8 58.7 58.6
2013 58.6 58.6 58.5 58.6 58.7 58.7 58.7 58.6 58.6 58.2 58.6 58.6
2014 58.8

Unemployment Rate – 16-19 Yrs

20.7%

Series Id:           LNS14000012
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Unemployment Rate - 16-19 yrs.
Labor force status:  Unemployment rate
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 to 19 years

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 12.7 13.8 13.3 12.6 12.8 12.3 13.4 14.0 13.0 12.8 13.0 13.2
2001 13.8 13.7 13.8 13.9 13.4 14.2 14.4 15.6 15.2 16.0 15.9 17.0
2002 16.5 16.0 16.6 16.7 16.6 16.7 16.8 17.0 16.3 15.1 17.1 16.9
2003 17.2 17.2 17.8 17.7 17.9 19.0 18.2 16.6 17.6 17.2 15.7 16.2
2004 17.0 16.5 16.8 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.8 16.7 16.6 17.4 16.4 17.6
2005 16.2 17.5 17.1 17.8 17.8 16.3 16.1 16.1 15.5 16.1 17.0 14.9
2006 15.1 15.3 16.1 14.6 14.0 15.8 15.9 16.0 16.3 15.2 14.8 14.6
2007 14.8 14.9 14.9 15.9 15.9 16.3 15.3 15.9 15.9 15.4 16.2 16.8
2008 17.8 16.6 16.1 15.9 19.0 19.2 20.7 18.6 19.1 20.0 20.3 20.5
2009 20.7 22.3 22.2 22.2 23.4 24.7 24.3 25.0 25.9 27.2 26.9 26.7
2010 26.0 25.6 26.2 25.4 26.5 26.0 25.9 25.6 25.8 27.3 24.8 25.3
2011 25.5 24.1 24.3 24.5 23.9 24.8 24.8 25.1 24.5 24.2 24.1 23.3
2012 23.5 23.8 24.8 24.6 24.2 23.7 23.7 24.4 23.8 23.8 23.9 24.0
2013 23.5 25.2 23.9 23.7 24.1 23.8 23.4 22.6 21.3 22.0 20.8 20.2
2014 20.7

Average Weeks Unemployed

35.4 Weeks

Series Id:           LNS13008275
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Average Weeks Unemployed
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number of weeks
Age:                 16 years and over
average_weeks_unemployed
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 13.1 12.6 12.7 12.4 12.6 12.3 13.4 12.9 12.2 12.7 12.4 12.5
2001 12.7 12.8 12.8 12.4 12.1 12.7 12.9 13.3 13.2 13.3 14.3 14.5
2002 14.7 15.0 15.4 16.3 16.8 16.9 16.9 16.5 17.6 17.8 17.6 18.5
2003 18.5 18.5 18.1 19.4 19.0 19.9 19.7 19.2 19.5 19.3 19.9 19.8
2004 19.9 20.1 19.8 19.6 19.8 20.5 18.8 18.8 19.4 19.5 19.7 19.4
2005 19.5 19.1 19.5 19.6 18.6 17.9 17.6 18.4 17.9 17.9 17.5 17.5
2006 16.9 17.8 17.1 16.7 17.1 16.6 17.1 17.1 17.1 16.3 16.2 16.1
2007 16.3 16.7 17.8 16.9 16.6 16.5 17.2 17.0 16.3 17.0 17.3 16.6
2008 17.5 16.9 16.5 16.9 16.6 17.1 17.0 17.7 18.6 19.9 18.9 19.9
2009 19.8 20.2 20.9 21.7 22.4 23.9 25.1 25.3 26.6 27.5 28.9 29.7
2010 30.3 29.9 31.6 33.3 33.9 34.5 33.8 33.6 33.4 34.2 33.9 34.8
2011 37.2 37.5 39.2 38.7 39.5 39.7 40.4 40.2 40.2 39.1 40.3 40.7
2012 40.1 40.0 39.4 39.3 39.6 40.0 38.8 39.1 39.4 40.3 39.2 38.0
2013 35.4 36.9 37.0 36.6 36.9 35.7 36.7 37.0 36.8 36.0 37.1 37.1
2014 35.4

Median Weeks Unemployed

16.0 weeks

Series Id:           LNS13008276
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Median Weeks Unemployed
Labor force status:  Unemployed
Type of data:        Number of weeks
Age:                 16 years and over

median_weeks_unemployed

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 5.8 6.1 6.0 6.1 5.8 5.7 6.0 6.3 5.2 6.1 6.1 6.0
2001 5.8 6.1 6.6 5.9 6.3 6.0 6.8 6.9 7.2 7.3 7.7 8.2
2002 8.4 8.3 8.4 8.9 9.5 11.0 8.9 9.0 9.5 9.6 9.3 9.6
2003 9.6 9.5 9.7 10.2 9.9 11.5 10.3 10.1 10.2 10.4 10.3 10.4
2004 10.6 10.2 10.2 9.5 9.9 11.0 8.9 9.2 9.6 9.5 9.7 9.5
2005 9.4 9.2 9.3 9.0 9.1 9.0 8.8 9.2 8.4 8.6 8.5 8.7
2006 8.6 9.1 8.7 8.4 8.5 7.3 8.0 8.4 8.0 7.9 8.3 7.5
2007 8.3 8.5 9.1 8.6 8.2 7.7 8.7 8.8 8.7 8.4 8.6 8.4
2008 9.0 8.7 8.7 9.4 7.9 9.0 9.7 9.7 10.2 10.4 9.8 10.5
2009 10.7 11.7 12.3 13.1 14.2 17.2 16.0 16.3 17.8 18.9 19.8 20.1
2010 20.0 19.9 20.5 22.1 22.3 25.0 22.2 20.9 20.2 21.4 21.0 22.0
2011 21.5 21.2 21.7 20.9 21.6 22.1 21.8 22.2 21.9 20.7 20.9 20.6
2012 20.9 20.0 19.6 19.2 19.8 19.8 17.2 18.2 18.7 20.0 18.6 17.8
2013 16.0 17.7 18.1 17.3 16.9 16.2 15.8 16.5 16.4 16.5 17.0 17.1
2014 16.0

Not in Labor Force, Searched for Work and Available

2,592,000

Series Id:                       LNU05026642
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:                    (Unadj) Not in Labor Force, Searched For Work and Available
Labor force status:              Not in labor force
Type of data:                    Number in thousands
Age:                             16 years and over
Job desires/not in labor force:  Want a job now
Reasons not in labor force:      Available to work now
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 1207 1281 1219 1216 1113 1142 1172 1097 1166 1044 1100 1125 1157
2001 1295 1337 1109 1131 1157 1170 1232 1364 1335 1398 1331 1330 1266
2002 1532 1423 1358 1397 1467 1380 1507 1456 1501 1416 1401 1432 1439
2003 1598 1590 1577 1399 1428 1468 1566 1665 1544 1586 1473 1483 1531
2004 1670 1691 1643 1526 1533 1492 1557 1587 1561 1647 1517 1463 1574
2005 1804 1673 1588 1511 1428 1583 1516 1583 1438 1414 1415 1589 1545
2006 1644 1471 1468 1310 1388 1584 1522 1592 1299 1478 1366 1252 1448
2007 1577 1451 1385 1391 1406 1454 1376 1365 1268 1364 1363 1344 1395
2008 1729 1585 1352 1414 1416 1558 1573 1640 1604 1637 1947 1908 1614
2009 2130 2051 2106 2089 2210 2176 2282 2270 2219 2373 2323 2486 2226
2010 2539 2527 2255 2432 2223 2591 2622 2370 2548 2602 2531 2609 2487
2011 2800 2730 2434 2466 2206 2680 2785 2575 2511 2555 2591 2540 2573
2012 2809 2608 2352 2363 2423 2483 2529 2561 2517 2433 2505 2614 2516
2013 2443 2588 2326 2347 2164 2582 2414 2342 2302 2283 2096 2427 2360
2014 2592

Total Unemployment Rate U-6

12.7%

Series Id:           LNS13327709
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status:  Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data:        Percent or rate
Age:                 16 years and over
Percent/rates:       Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.2 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.1 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 16.0 16.1 16.3 15.9 15.6 15.2
2012 15.1 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.8 14.8 14.9 14.7 14.7 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.4 14.3 13.8 13.9 13.8 14.2 13.9 13.6 13.6 13.7 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                      USDL-14-0168
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 7, 2014

Technical information:
Household data:        (202) 691-6378  •  cpsinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/cps
Establishment data:    (202) 691-6555  •  cesinfo@bls.gov  •  www.bls.gov/ces

Media contact:         (202) 691-5902  •  PressOffice@bls.gov

                                 THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- JANUARY 2014

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 113,000 in January, and the unemployment rate
was little changed at 6.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment grew in construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and mining. 

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 |                        Changes to the Employment Situation Data                    |
 |                                                                                    |
 |Establishment survey data have been revised as a result of the annual benchmarking  |
 |process and the updating of seasonal adjustment factors. Also, household survey data|
 |for January 2014 reflect updated population estimates. See the notes at the end of  |
 |this release for more information about these changes.                              |
 |                                                                                    |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons, at 10.2 million, and the unemployment rate, at
6.6 percent, changed little in January. Since October, the jobless rate has decreased by
0.6 percentage point. (See table A-1.)  (See the note and tables B and C for information
about the effect of annual population adjustments to the household survey estimates.) 

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.2 percent), adult
women (5.9 percent), teenagers (20.7 percent), whites (5.7 percent), blacks (12.1 percent),
and Hispanics (8.4 percent) showed little change in January. The jobless rate for Asians
was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), down by 1.7 percentage points over the year.
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.6 million,
declined by 232,000 in January. These individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the
unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million over the year.
(See table A-12.)

After accounting for the annual adjustment to the population controls, the civilian labor
force rose by 499,000 in January, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.0
percent. Total employment, as measured by the household survey, increased by 616,000 over
the month, and the employment-population ratio increased by 0.2 percentage point to 58.8
percent. (See table A-1. For additional information about the effects of the population
adjustments, see table C.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as
involuntary part-time workers) fell by 514,000 to 7.3 million in January. These individuals
were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to
find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In January, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed
from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in
the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in
the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for
work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 837,000 discouraged workers in January, about
unchanged from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for
work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.8 million persons
marginally attached to the labor force in January had not searched for work for reasons such
as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 113,000 in January. In 2013, employment growth
averaged 194,000 per month. In January, job gains occurred in construction, manufacturing,
wholesale trade, and mining. (See table B-1.)

Construction added 48,000 jobs over the month, more than offsetting a decline of 22,000 in
December. In January, job gains occurred in both residential and nonresidential building
(+13,000 and +8,000, respectively) and in nonresidential specialty trade contractors
(+13,000). Heavy and civil engineering construction also added 10,000 jobs.

Employment in manufacturing increased in January (+21,000). Over the month, job gains
occurred in machinery (+7,000), wood products (+5,000), and motor vehicles and parts
(+5,000). Manufacturing added an average of 7,000 jobs per month in 2013.

In January, wholesale trade added 14,000 jobs, with most of the increase occurring in
nondurable goods (+10,000).

Mining added 7,000 jobs in January, compared with an average monthly gain of 2,000 jobs
in 2013.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in January (+36,000).
The industry added an average of 55,000 jobs per month in 2013. Within the industry,
professional and technical services added 20,000 jobs in January. 

Leisure and hospitality employment continued to trend up over the month (+24,000). Job
growth in the industry averaged 38,000 per month in 2013. 

Employment in health care was essentially unchanged in January for the second consecutive
month.  Health care added an average of 17,000 jobs per month in 2013. 

Employment in retail trade changed little in January (-13,000). Within the industry, sporting
goods, hobby, book, and music stores lost 22,000 jobs, offsetting job gains in the prior 3
months. In January, motor vehicle and parts dealers added 7,000 jobs.

In January, federal government employment decreased by 12,000; the U.S. Postal Service
accounted for most of this decline (-9,000).

Employment in other major industries, including transportation and warehousing, information,
and financial activities, showed little or no change over the month.

In January, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged
at 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.7 hours, and factory
overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.5 hours. (See
tables B-2 and B-7.)

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents to
$24.21. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 46 cents, or 1.9 percent. In
January, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees
increased by 6 cents to $20.39. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for November was revised from +241,000 to
+274,000, and the change for December was revised from +74,000 to +75,000. With these
revisions, employment gains in November and December were 34,000 higher than previously
reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since
the last published estimates and the monthly recalculation of seasonal factors. The annual
benchmark process also contributed to the revisions in this news release.

_____________
The Employment Situation for February is scheduled to be released on Friday, March 7, 2014,
at 8:30 a.m. (EST).

                                  Revisions to Establishment Survey Data

In accordance with annual practice, the establishment survey data released today have been
benchmarked to reflect comprehensive counts of payroll jobs for March 2013. These counts
are derived principally from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which
enumerates jobs covered by the UI tax system. The benchmark process results in revisions
to not seasonally adjusted data from April 2012 forward. Seasonally adjusted data from
January 2009 forward are subject to revision. In addition, data for some series prior to
2009, both seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, incorporate revisions.

The total nonfarm employment level for March 2013 was revised upward by 369,000 (+347,000
on a not seasonally adjusted basis, or 0.3 percent). The average benchmark revision over
the past 10 years was plus or minus 0.3 percent. 

This revision incorporates the reclassification of jobs in the QCEW. Private household
employment is out of scope for the establishment survey. The QCEW reclassified some
private household employment into an industry that is in scope for the establishment
survey--services for the elderly and persons with disabilities. This reclassification
accounted for an increase of 466,000 jobs in the establishment survey. This increase of
466,000 associated with reclassification was offset by survey error of -119,000 for a
total net benchmark revision of +347,000 on a not seasonally adjusted basis. Historical
time series have been reconstructed to incorporate these revisions. 

The effect of these revisions on the underlying trend in nonfarm payroll employment was
minor. For example, the over-the-year change in total nonfarm employment for 2013 was
revised from 2,186,000 to 2,322,000 seasonally adjusted. Table A presents revised total
nonfarm employment data on a seasonally adjusted basis for January through December 2013.

All revised historical CES data, as well as an article that discusses the benchmark and
post-benchmark revisions and other technical issues can be accessed through the CES
homepage at www.bls.gov/ces/. Information on the data released today also may be obtained
by calling (202) 691-6555.

Table A. Revisions in total nonfarm employment, January-December 2013, seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    |                                    |                                
                    |                Level               |      Over-the-month change     
                    |---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Year and month  |    As     |           |            |    As    |         |           
                    |previously |    As     | Difference |previously|   As    | Difference
                    |published  |  revised  |            |published | revised |           
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    |           |           |            |          |         |           
          2013      |           |           |            |          |         |           
                    |           |           |            |          |         |           
 January............|  134,839  |  135,261  |     422    |    148   |    197  |      49   
 February...........|  135,171  |  135,541  |     370    |    332   |    280  |     -52   
 March..............|  135,313  |  135,682  |     369    |    142   |    141  |      -1   
 April..............|  135,512  |  135,885  |     373    |    199   |    203  |       4   
 May................|  135,688  |  136,084  |     396    |    176   |    199  |      23   
 June...............|  135,860  |  136,285  |     425    |    172   |    201  |      29   
 July...............|  135,949  |  136,434  |     485    |     89   |    149  |      60   
 August.............|  136,187  |  136,636  |     449    |    238   |    202  |     -36   
 September..........|  136,362  |  136,800  |     438    |    175   |    164  |     -11   
 October............|  136,562  |  137,037  |     475    |    200   |    237  |      37   
 November...........|  136,803  |  137,311  |     508    |    241   |    274  |      33   
 December (p).......|  136,877  |  137,386  |     509    |     74   |     75  |       1   
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   p = preliminary

                Adjustments to Population Estimates for the Household Survey

Effective with data for January 2014, updated population estimates have been used in the
household survey. Population estimates for the household survey are developed by the U.S.
Census Bureau. Each year, the Census Bureau updates the estimates to reflect new information
and assumptions about the growth of the population since the previous decennial census. The
change in population reflected in the new estimates results from adjustments for net
international migration, updated vital statistics and other information, and some
methodological changes in the estimation process. 

In accordance with usual practice, BLS will not revise the official household survey estimates
for December 2013 and earlier months. To show the impact of the population adjustments, however,
differences in selected December 2013 labor force series based on the old and new population
estimates are shown in table B. 

The adjustments increased the estimated size of the civilian noninstitutional population in
December by 2,000, the civilian labor force by 24,000, employment by 22,000, and unemployment
by 2,000. The number of persons not in the labor force was reduced by 22,000. The total
unemployment rate, employment-population ratio, and labor force participation rate were
unaffected. 

Data users are cautioned that these annual population adjustments can affect the comparability
of household data series over time. Table C shows the effect of the introduction of new
population estimates on the comparison of selected labor force measures between December 2013
and January 2014. Additional information on the population adjustments and their effect on
national labor force estimates is available at www.bls.gov/cps/cps14adj.pdf.

Table B. Effect of the updated population controls on December 2013 estimates by sex, race, and
Hispanic or Latino ethnicity, not seasonally adjusted
(Numbers in thousands)

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
                                        |      |     |      |       |        |       |            
                                        |      |     |      |       |  Black |       |            
                                        |      |     |      |       |    or  |       |  Hispanic  
                  Category              | Total| Men | Women| White | African| Asian | or Latino  
                                        |      |     |      |       |American|       | ethnicity  
                                        |      |     |      |       |        |       |            
________________________________________|______|_____|______|_______|________|_______|____________
                                        |      |     |      |       |        |       |            
  Civilian noninstitutional population..|    2 |  29 |  -27 |   -65 |     48 |    33 |     -57    
    Civilian labor force................|   24 |  24 |    0 |   -17 |     34 |    15 |     -38    
      Participation rate................|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |    .0 |     .0 |    .0 |      .0    
     Employed...........................|   22 |  22 |    0 |   -16 |     31 |    14 |     -34    
      Employment-population ratio.......|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |    .0 |     .0 |    .0 |      .0    
     Unemployed.........................|    2 |   3 |   -1 |    -1 |      4 |     1 |      -4    
      Unemployment rate.................|   .0 |  .0 |   .0 |    .0 |     .0 |    .0 |      .0    
    Not in labor force..................|  -22 |   4 |  -27 |   -48 |     14 |    18 |     -18    
________________________________________|______|_____|______|_______|________|_______|____________

   NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates for the above race groups
(white, black or African American, and Asian) do not sum to totals because data are not presented
for all races. Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race.

Table C. December 2013-January 2014 changes in selected labor force measures,
with adjustments for population control effects
(Numbers in thousands)

______________________________________________________________________________
                                       |           |            |             
                                       |           |            |  Dec.-Jan.  
                                       | Dec.-Jan. |    2014    |   change,   
                                       |  change,  | population |  after re-  
                Category               |    as     |   control  |  moving the 
                                       | published |   effect   |  population 
                                       |           |            |   control   
                                       |           |            |  effect (1) 
_______________________________________|___________|____________|_____________
                                       |           |            |             
  Civilian noninstitutional population.|    170    |       2    |     168     
    Civilian labor force...............|    523    |      24    |     499     
      Participation rate...............|     .2    |      .0    |      .2     
     Employed..........................|    638    |      22    |     616     
      Employment-population ratio......|     .2    |      .0    |      .2     
     Unemployed........................|   -115    |       2    |    -117     
      Unemployment rate................|    -.1    |      .0    |     -.1     
    Not in labor force.................|   -353    |     -22    |    -331     
_______________________________________|___________|____________|_____________

   (1) This Dec.-Jan. change is calculated by subtracting the population 
control effect from the over-the-month change in the published seasonally
adjusted estimates.
   NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 |                                                                                    |
 |                            Change to the Household Survey Tables                   |
 |                                                                                    |
 |Effective with this release, household survey table A-10 includes two new seasonally|
 |adjusted series for women age 55 and over--the number of unemployed persons and the |
 |unemployment rate. These replace the series that were previously displayed for this |
 |group, which were not seasonally adjusted.                                          |
 |                                                                                    |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 |                                                                                    |
 |               Updated Veteran Weighting Methodology for Household Survey           |
 |                                                                                    |
 |Beginning with data for January 2014, estimates for veterans in table A-5 of this   |
 |release incorporate updated weighting procedures. The new weighting methodology more|
 |accurately reflects the current demographic composition of the veteran population.  |
 |The primary impact of the change was an increase in the "Gulf War-era I" veteran    |
 |population and a decrease in the number of veterans in the "Other service periods"  |
 |category. The updated methodology had little effect on unemployment rates for       |
 |veterans, regardless of gender or period of service. Additional information on the  |
 |effect of the change on labor force estimates for veterans is available at          |
 |www.bls.gov/cps/vetsweights2014.pdf.                                                |
 |                                                                                    |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Employment Situation Summary Table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted

HOUSEHOLD DATA
Summary table A. Household data, seasonally adjusted
[Numbers in thousands]

CategoryJan.
2013Nov.
2013Dec.
2013Jan.
2014Change from:
Dec.
2013-
Jan.
2014Employment status Civilian noninstitutional population244,663246,567246,745246,915-Civilian labor force155,699155,284154,937155,460-Participation rate63.663.062.863.0-Employed143,384144,443144,586145,224-Employment-population ratio58.658.658.658.8-Unemployed12,31510,84110,35110,236-Unemployment rate7.97.06.76.6-Not in labor force88,96391,28391,80891,455- Unemployment rates Total, 16 years and over7.97.06.76.6-Adult men (20 years and over)7.46.76.36.2-Adult women (20 years and over)7.26.26.05.9-Teenagers (16 to 19 years)23.520.820.220.7-White7.16.15.95.7-Black or African American13.812.411.912.1-Asian (not seasonally adjusted)6.55.34.14.8-Hispanic or Latino ethnicity9.78.78.38.4- Total, 25 years and over6.55.85.65.4-Less than a high school diploma12.010.69.89.6-High school graduates, no college8.17.37.16.5-Some college or associate degree7.06.46.16.0-Bachelor’s degree and higher3.83.43.33.2- Reason for unemployment Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs6,6755,7315,3665,407-Job leavers984890862818-Reentrants3,5203,0653,0362,937-New entrants1,2741,1691,2011,184- Duration of unemployment Less than 5 weeks2,7532,4392,2552,434-5 to 14 weeks3,0772,5852,5062,429-15 to 26 weeks1,8671,7421,6511,689-27 weeks and over4,7074,0443,8783,646- Employed persons at work part time Part time for economic reasons7,9837,7237,7717,257-Slack work or business conditions5,1174,8694,8844,405-Could only find part-time work2,6132,4992,5922,571-Part time for noneconomic reasons18,55618,85818,73119,165- Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted) Marginally attached to the labor force2,4432,0962,4272,592-Discouraged workers804762917837– December – January changes in household data are not shown due to the introduction of updated population controls.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Category Jan.
2013
Nov.
2013
Dec.
2013(p)
Jan.
2014(p)
EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)
Total nonfarm 197 274 75 113
Total private 219 272 89 142
Goods-producing 43 68 -13 76
Mining and logging 3 1 1 7
Construction 23 32 -22 48
Manufacturing 17 35 8 21
Durable goods(1) 9 19 2 15
Motor vehicles and parts 3.5 4.7 3.3 4.7
Nondurable goods 8 16 6 6
Private service-providing(1) 176 204 102 66
Wholesale trade 16.9 16.8 10.2 13.9
Retail trade 26.9 22.3 62.7 -12.9
Transportation and warehousing 9.8 32.4 10.6 9.9
Information -1 1 -10 0
Financial activities 8 -4 3 -2
Professional and business services(1) 45 73 4 36
Temporary help services 4.9 36.6 30.1 8.1
Education and health services(1) 17 25 -4 -6
Health care and social assistance 23.5 24.4 1.1 1.5
Leisure and hospitality 47 37 20 24
Other services 7 -1 7 4
Government -22 2 -14 -29
WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES(2)
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES
Total nonfarm women employees 49.4 49.5 49.5 49.4
Total private women employees 48.0 48.0 48.0 47.9
Total private production and nonsupervisory employees 82.6 82.6 82.6 82.6
HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES
Total private
Average weekly hours 34.4 34.5 34.4 34.4
Average hourly earnings $23.75 $24.15 $24.16 $24.21
Average weekly earnings $817.00 $833.18 $831.10 $832.82
Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3) 97.5 99.6 99.4 99.5
Over-the-month percent change 0.2 0.5 -0.2 0.1
Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4) 110.5 114.8 114.6 114.9
Over-the-month percent change 0.4 0.8 -0.2 0.3
HOURS AND EARNINGS
PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
Total private
Average weekly hours 33.6 33.7 33.5 33.5
Average hourly earnings $19.95 $20.30 $20.33 $20.39
Average weekly earnings $670.32 $684.11 $681.06 $683.07
Index of aggregate weekly hours (2002=100)(3) 104.9 107.1 106.6 106.7
Over-the-month percent change -0.2 0.5 -0.5 0.1
Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2002=100)(4) 139.8 145.3 144.8 145.3
Over-the-month percent change 0.1 0.8 -0.3 0.3
DIFFUSION INDEX(5)
(Over 1-month span)
Total private (264 industries) 64.0 66.9 56.4 61.2
Manufacturing (81 industries) 56.8 65.4 59.9 54.3
Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(p) Preliminary
NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2013 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

Weakness Continues as 113,000 Jobs Are Added in January

Employers added jobs at a slower-than-expected pace in January, the second month in a row that hiring has been disappointing and a sign that the labor market remains anemic despite indications of growth elsewhere in the economy.

Payrolls increased by 113,000, the Labor Department reported Friday morning, well below the gain of 180,000 that economists expected. The unemployment rate, based on a separate survey of households that was more encouraging, actually fell by a tenth of a percentage point, to 6.6 percent.

The data for January come after an even more disappointing report on the labor market for December, which was revised upward only slightly Friday, to show a gain of just 75,000 jobs, from 74,000. The level of hiring in January was also substantially below the average monthly gain of 178,000 positions over the last six months, as well as the monthly addition of 187,000 over the last year.

The two weak months in a row will prompt questions about whether the Federal Reserve acted prematurely when policy makers in December voted to begin scaling back the central bank’s expansive stimulus efforts.

The new data is not expected to alter the Fed’s course, economists said, but another poor report on hiring next month might force policy makers to rethink their plan when they next meet in late March.

“In one line: grim,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, in a note to clients Friday morning.

While seasonal adjustments may have played a role and upward revisions for hiring in October and November were more encouraging, he said, “The payroll rebound clearly is disappointing; none of the ground lost in December was recovered.”

Other economists conceded the picture for January was hardly bright, but cautioned it was too soon to conclude there had been a fundamental loss of momentum in the economy, especially given seasonal fluctuations in the data and the possibility that weather inhibited some hiring.

“We’re not seeing the takeoff that people wanted to see, but it’s not a disaster,” said Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas. “The 113,000 figure is definitely way below trend, but we want another month or two of data before we can draw conclusions.”

One mystery economists will be focusing on is why employment gains have not kept up with economic growth as measured by gross domestic product, which picked up substantially in the second half of 2013. The annualized pace of expansion was 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, and 4.1 percent in the third quarter.

One reason may be that new technologies are allowing employers to make do with fewer workers, for instance the use of automated customer service systems instead of call centers, or Internet retailers’ taking over from brick-and-mortar stores where sales associates prowl the floors.

Another shift is evident from the yawning gap in employment for college graduates versus workers who lack a high school diploma. For people with a college degree or higher, the jobless rate was 3.1 percent, compared with 9.6 percent for Americans who did not finish high school.

Wintry conditions that held back hiring were blamed for the weakness in December, a theory popular among more optimistic economists after those numbers came out in early January.

But despite what seems like an endless series of snowstorms on the East Coast and arctic conditions in the Midwest recently, the reference week for the latest survey was Jan. 12-18, when conditions were fairly normal as Januaries go, limiting some of the impact of the weather in this report.

In the report on January, one sector holding back payrolls was the government, which shrank by 29,000 jobs in January. Excluding that loss, private employers added 142,000 positions, a slightly better showing.

Several other sectors which had been strong in recent months – education and health care as well as retailing – also lost positions, contributing to the overall weakness.

The falloff in hiring in the health care sector was especially notable. In December and January together, just 2,600 health care positions were filled. By contrast, as recently as November, nearly 25,000 health care workers were added to payrolls.

Although this area of the economy is going through a transformation as President Obama’s new health care plan is slowly introduced, that is unlikely to have caused the abrupt slowdown in hiring, said Ethan Harris, a head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. If anything, he said, the law should create new jobs in the sector as health care coverage is expanded, even if higher costs for some employers result in job cuts elsewhere in the economy.

As for retail, which lost nearly 13,000 jobs in January, some of that reduction could have essentially been because of excessive hiring in December, Mr. Harris said, when stores added nearly 63,000 positions as the holiday shopping season peaked. The cuts may also have been spurred by weak results at some retailers, with chains like J. C. Penney announcing major job cuts last month, and Loehmann’s, the venerable discounter, now in liquidation.

The employment-population ratio, which has been falling as more workers drop out of the job market, edged up 0.2 percentage points to 58.8 percent. In recent years, the exit of people from the work force has reduced the unemployment rate, but it is a sign that people are giving up hope of finding a job in the face of slack conditions, hardly the way policy makers would like to see joblessness come down.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/business/us-economy-adds-113000-jobs-unemployment-rate-at-6-6.html?_r=0

EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014
BEA 14-03

* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.

Lisa S. Mataloni: (202) 606-5304 (GDP) gdpniwd@bea.gov
Recorded message: (202) 606-5306
Jeannine Aversa: (202) 606-2649 (News Media)
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product, 4th quarter and annual 2013 (advance estimate)
      Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property
located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013
(that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the
Bureau of Economic Analysis.  In the third quarter, real GDP increased 4.1 percent.

The Bureau emphasized that the fourth-quarter advance estimate released today is based on
source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see the box on page 4
and “Comparisons of Revisions to GDP” on page 5). The “second” estimate for the fourth quarter, based
on more complete data, will be released on February 28, 2014.

The increase in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected positive contributions from
personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory
investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions
from federal government spending and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in
the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in the fourth quarter reflected a deceleration in private inventory
investment, a larger decrease in federal government spending, a downturn in residential fixed
investment, and decelerations in state and local government spending and in nonresidential fixed
investment that were partly offset by accelerations in exports and in PCE and a deceleration in imports.

The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,
increased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8 percent in the third.
Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.7 percent in
the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in the third.

_______
FOOTNOTE. Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise
specified. Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates. Percent
changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized. “Real” estimates are in chained (2009)
dollars. Price indexes are chain-type measures.

This news release is available on www.bea.gov along with the Technical Note and Highlights
related to this release.
_______

Real personal consumption expenditures increased 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.0 percent in the third. Durable goods increased 5.9 percent, compared with an
increase of 7.9 percent. Nondurable goods increased 4.4 percent, compared with an increase of 2.9
percent. Services increased 2.5 percent, compared with an increase of 0.7 percent.

Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with
an increase of 4.8 percent in the third. Nonresidential structures decreased 1.2 percent, in contrast to an
increase of 13.4 percent. Equipment increased 6.9 percent, compared with an increase of 0.2 percent.
Intellectual property products increased 3.2 percent, compared with an increase of 5.8 percent. Real
residential fixed investment decreased 9.8 percent, in contrast to an increase of 10.3 percent.

Real exports of goods and services increased 11.4 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with
an increase of 3.9 percent in the third. Real imports of goods and services increased 0.9 percent,
compared with an increase of 2.4 percent.

Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 12.6 percent
in the fourth quarter, compared with a decrease of 1.5 percent in the third. National defense decreased
14.0 percent, compared with a decrease of 0.5 percent. Nondefense decreased 10.3 percent, compared
with a decrease of 3.1 percent. Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross
investment increased 0.5 percent, compared with an increase of 1.7 percent.

The change in real private inventories added 0.42 percentage point to the fourth-quarter change
in real GDP after adding 1.67 percentage points to the third-quarter change. Private businesses
increased inventories $127.2 billion in the fourth quarter, following increases of $115.7 billion in the
third quarter and $56.6 billion in the second.

Real final sales of domestic product — GDP less change in private inventories — increased 2.8
percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5 percent in the third.

Gross domestic purchases

Real gross domestic purchases — purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced — increased 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.9 percent in the
third.

Disposition of personal income

Current-dollar personal income increased $69.4 billion (2.0 percent) in the fourth quarter,
compared with an increase of $140.0 billion (4.0 percent) in the third. The deceleration in personal
income primarily reflected downturns in personal dividend income and in farm proprietors’ income and
a deceleration in personal current transfer receipts that were partly offset by an acceleration in wages
and salaries.

Personal current taxes increased $23.7 billion in the fourth quarter, in contrast to a decrease of
$11.0 billion in the third.

Disposable personal income increased $45.7 billion (1.5 percent) in the fourth quarter, compared
with an increase of $151.0 billion (5.0 percent) in the third. Real disposable personal income increased
0.8 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in the third.

Personal outlays increased $118.6 billion (4.0 percent) in the fourth quarter, compared with an
increase of $113.4 billion (3.9 percent) in the third. Personal saving — disposable personal income less
personal outlays — was $545.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $618.0 billion in the third.

The personal saving rate — personal saving as a percentage of disposable personal income — was
4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 4.9 percent in the third. For a comparison of personal
saving in BEA’s national income and product accounts with personal saving in the Federal Reserve
Board’s financial accounts of the United States and data on changes in net worth, go to
www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/Nipa-Frb.asp.

Current-dollar GDP

Current-dollar GDP — the market value of the nation’s output of goods and services — increased
4.6 percent, or $189.6 billion, in the fourth quarter to a level of $17,102.5 billion. In the third quarter,
current-dollar GDP increased 6.2 percent, or $251.9 billion.

2013 GDP

Real GDP increased 1.9 percent in 2013 (that is, from the 2012 annual level to the 2013 annual
level), compared with an increase of 2.8 percent in 2012.

The increase in real GDP in 2013 primarily reflected positive contributions from personal
consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, residential fixed investment, nonresidential fixed investment,
and private inventory investment that were partly offset by a negative contribution from federal
government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in 2013 primarily reflected a deceleration in nonresidential fixed
investment, a larger decrease in federal government spending, and decelerations in PCE and in exports
that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports and a smaller decrease in state and local government
spending.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.2 percent in 2013, compared with an
increase of 1.7 percent in 2012.

Current-dollar GDP increased 3.4 percent, or $558.4 billion, in 2013, compared with an increase
of 4.6 percent, or $710.8 billion, in 2012.

During 2013 (that is, measured from the fourth quarter of 2012 to the fourth quarter of 2013) real
GDP increased 2.7 percent. Real GDP increased 2.0 percent during 2012. The price index for gross
domestic purchases increased 1.1 percent during 2013, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in
2012.

________
BOX. Information on the assumptions used for unavailable source data is provided in a technical note
that is posted with the news release on BEA’s Web site. Within a few days after the release, a detailed
“Key Source Data and Assumptions” file is posted on the Web site. In the middle of each month, an analysis
of the current quarterly estimate of GDP and related series is made available on the Web site; click on
Survey of Current Business, “GDP and the Economy.” For information on revisions, see “Revisions to GDP, GDI,
and Their Major Components.

________

BEA’s national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
and BEA news releases are available without charge on BEA’s Web site at www.bea.gov. By visiting
the site, you can also subscribe to receive free e-mail summaries of BEA releases and announcements.

* * *

Next release — February 28, 2014 at 8:30 A.M. EST for:
Gross Domestic Product: Fourth Quarter and Annual 2013 (Second Estimate)

* * *

Release dates in 2014

Gross Domestic Product

2013: IV and 2013 annual 2014: I 2014: II 2014: III

Advance… January 30 April 30 July 30 October 30
Second…. February 28 May 29 August 28 November 25
Third….. March 27 June 25 September 26 December 23

Corporate Profits

Preliminary… …… May 29 August 28 November 25
Revised……. March 27 June 25 September 26 December 23

Comparisons of Revisions to GDP

Quarterly estimates of GDP are released on the following schedule: the “advance” estimate, based on
source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency, is released near the end of the
first month after the end of the quarter; as more detailed and more comprehensive data become available,
the “second” and “third” estimates are released near the end of the second and third months, respectively.
The “latest”” estimate reflects the results of both annual and comprehensive revisions.

Annual revisions, which generally cover the quarters of the 3 most recent calendar years, are usually carried
out each summer and incorporate newly available major annual source data. Comprehensive (or benchmark)
revisions are carried out at about 5-year intervals and incorporate major periodic source data, as well as
improvements in concepts and methods that update the accounts to portray more accurately the evolving U.S.
economy.

The table below shows comparisons of the revisions between quarterly percent changes of current-dollar
and of real GDP for the different vintages of the estimates. From the advance estimate to the second estimate (one
month later), the average revision to real GDP without regard to sign is 0.5 percentage point, while from the
advance estimate to the third estimate (two months later), it is 0.6 percentage point. From the advance estimate to
the latest estimate, the average revision without regard to sign is 1.3 percentage points. The average revision
(with regard to sign) from the advance estimate to the latest estimate is 0.3 percentage point, which is larger
than the average revisions from the advance estimate to the second or to the third estimates. The larger average
revisions to the latest estimate reflect the fact that comprehensive revisions include major improvements, such as
the incorporation of BEA’s latest benchmark input-output accounts. The quarterly estimates correctly indicate the
direction of change of real GDP 97 percent of the time, correctly indicate whether GDP is accelerating or
decelerating 72 percent of the time, and correctly indicate whether real GDP growth is above, near, or below trend
growth more than four-fifths of the time.

Revisions Between Quarterly Percent Changes of GDP: Vintage Comparisons
[Annual rates]

Vintages Average Average without Standard deviation of
compared regard to sign revisions without
regard to sign

____________________________________________________Current-dollar GDP_______________________________________________

Advance to second……………….. 0.2 0.5 0.4
Advance to third………………… .2 .7 .4
Second to third…………………. .0 .3 .2

Advance to latest……………….. .3 1.3 1.0

________________________________________________________Real GDP_____________________________________________________

Advance to second……………….. 0.1 0.5 0.4
Advance to third………………… .1 .6 .4
Second to third…………………. .0 .2 .2

Advance to latest……………….. .3 1.3 1.0

NOTE. These comparisons are based on the period from 1983 through 2010.http://bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdpnewsrelease.htm

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A Matter of Trust — Do You Believe The National Security Agency and The House Armed Services Committee That Snowden Is A Traitor? The Same People That Have Been Spying On The American People For Decades And Lying About It– Fat Chance

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Leading members of the House Armed Services Committee emerged from a classified briefing on the Edward Snowden leaks Wednesday afternoon “shocked” at the amount of information he reportedly leaked beyond the NSA surveillance programs.

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), chairman of the Armed Service panel’s Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee and also a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the briefing on the defense consequences of Snowden’s leaks was “very highly classified,” and therefore details couldn’t be discussed.

Thornberry did say that lawmakers “left the briefing disturbed and angered” after hearing that the leaks by the former Booz Allen Hamilton employee “went well beyond programs associated with the NSA and data collection.”

He characterized the leaks as so severe that they “compromise military capability and defense of the country” and “could cost lives” — while they “will certainly cost billions to repair.”

“His actions were espionage, plain and simple,” Thornberry said.

Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) read his statement rather than making comments on the fly “because of the seriousness of this issue and the sensitivity” of the information they’d just heard.

“Ed Snowden isn’t a whistleblower; he’s a traitor,” McKeon said.

No matter what opinion people hold of the data collection programs, he added, people should be “shocked and outraged to find that a substantial amount of the information has nothing to do with the NSA.”

“He’s given our enemies an edge and put American lives at risk,” said the chairman.

McKeon said Americans should “demand” that Snowden be “brought to justice” and not be extended any sort of deal by the government.

http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2014/02/05/lawmakers-disturbed-and-angered-after-classified-briefing-reveals-extent-of-snowden-defense-leaks/

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Story 1: Republican Leadership Including Congressman Paul Ryan Betray American Worker By Advocating Legal Status For 30-50 Illegal Aliens — Americans Do Not Trust Ryan or Obama — Something Big Has To Happen: Focus on Deporting Illegal Aliens And Reducing American Citizens Unemployment Rate! — Videos — Videos

paul-ryan

unemployment_minimum_wage USA-Immigration-by-Decade

legal immgration immigration_against_population 2011-0318-origins illegal_immigration

however-the-reported-number-of-annual-apprehensions-carried-out-by-the-border-control-has-been-decreasing-steadily

criminal-aliens-removed

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paul_ryan_2

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paul_ryan_2

Immigration reform unlikely in 2014, says Rep. Paul Ryan

Days after House Republicans unveiled a roadmap for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system, one of its backers said legislation is unlikely to pass during this election year.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said distrust of President Barack Obama runs so deep in the Republican caucus that he’s skeptical the GOP-led House would pass any immigration measure. He said a plan that puts security first could only pass if lawmakers believe the administration would enforce it — an unlikely prospect given Republicans’ deep opposition to Obama.

“This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach,” Ryan said.

Last week, House Republicans announced their broad concerns for any immigration overhaul but emphasized they would tackle the challenge bill-by-bill. Immigration legislation is a dicey political question for the GOP. The party’s conservative base opposes any measure that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants living here illegally, but many in the party worry that failing to act could drive many voters to Democratic candidates. In 2012, Obama won re-election with the backing of 71 percent of Hispanic voters and 73 percent of Asian voters. The issue is important to both blocs.

Republicans have preemptively been trying to blame the White House for immigration legislation’s failure, even before a House bill comes together. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said “there’s a lot of distrust of this administration in implanting the law.” And Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., last week warned that distrust of Obama would trump the desire to find a solution for the estimated 11 million people living in the United States illegally.

“We just don’t think government will enforce the law anyway,” Rubio said, recounting conversations he’s had with fellow Republicans.

House Republicans are pushing a piecemeal approach to immigration that puts a priority on security before considering a pathway for those here illegally to earn citizenship. That strategy runs counter to a comprehensive bill, passed through the Senate seven months ago with bipartisan support, that includes a long and difficult pathway to citizenship.

The White House, meanwhile returned to its position that any legislation must include a way for those living here illegally to earn citizenship and that the system cannot divide Americans into two classes — citizens and noncitizens.

“We ought to see a pathway to citizenship for people,” White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday. “We don’t want to have a permanent separation of classes or two permanent different classes of Americans in this country.”

Last week, Obama suggested that he’s open to a legal status for immigration that falls short of citizenship, hinting he could find common ground with House Republicans.

“I’m going to do everything I can in the coming months to see if we can get this over the finish line,” Obama said Friday.

Obama’s flexibility was a clear indication of the president’s desire to secure an elusive legislative achievement before voters decide in the fall whether to hand him even more opposition in Congress. Republicans are expected to maintain their grip on the House and have a legitimate shot at grabbing the majority in the Senate.

McDonough said the White House remains optimistic that legislation that includes citizenship could reach the president’s desk: “We feel pretty good that we’ll get a bill done this year.”

Not so, countered Ryan, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee in 2012.

“Here’s the issue that all Republicans agree on: We don’t trust the president to enforce the law,” he added.

Asked whether immigration legislation would make its way to Obama for him to sign into law, Ryan said he was skeptical: “I really don’t know the answer to that question. That is clearly in doubt.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican and son of immigrants, said Congress needs to address the “completely backwards system” not because it’s good politics for the GOP but because it’s the right thing to do.

“If the president had been serious about this the last five years, we’d be further along in this discussion,” Jindal said. “But I think it’s also right the American people are skeptical.”

Ryan spoke to ABC’s “This Week.” Cantor was interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” McDonough appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS. Jindal spoke to CNN’s “State of the Union.”
http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/national/immigration-reform-unlikely-in-2014-says-rep-paul-ryan

Text of Republicans’ Principles on Immigration

Standards for Immigration Reform

PREAMBLE

Our nation’s immigration system is broken and our laws are not being enforced. Washington’s failure to fix them is hurting our economy and jeopardizing our national security. The overriding purpose of our immigration system is to promote and further America’s national interests and that is not the case today. The serious problems in our immigration system must be solved, and we are committed to working in a bipartisan manner to solve them. But they cannot be solved with a single, massive piece of legislation that few have read and even fewer understand, and therefore, we will not go to a conference with the Senate’s immigration bill. The problems in our immigration system must be solved through a step-by-step, common-sense approach that starts with securing our country’s borders, enforcing our laws, and implementing robust enforcement measures. These are the principals guiding us in that effort.

Border Security and Interior Enforcement Must Come First

It is the fundamental duty of any government to secure its borders, and the United States is failing in this mission. We must secure our borders now and verify that they are secure. In addition, we must ensure now that when immigration reform is enacted, there will be a zero tolerance policy for those who cross the border illegally or overstay their visas in the future. Faced with a consistent pattern of administrations of both parties only selectively enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, we must enact reform that ensures that a President cannot unilaterally stop immigration enforcement.

Implement Entry-Exit Visa Tracking System

A fully functioning Entry-Exit system has been mandated by eight separate statutes over the last 17 years. At least three of these laws call for this system to be biometric, using technology to verify identity and prevent fraud. We must implement this system so we can identify and track down visitors who abuse our laws.

Employment Verification and Workplace Enforcement

In the 21st century it is unacceptable that the majority of employees have their work eligibility verified through a paper based system wrought with fraud. It is past time for this country to fully implement a workable electronic employment verification system.

Reforms to the Legal Immigration System

For far too long, the United States has emphasized extended family members and pure luck over employment-based immigration. This is inconsistent with nearly every other developed country. Every year thousands of foreign nationals pursue degrees at America’s colleges and universities, particularly in high skilled fields. Many of them want to use their expertise in U.S. industries that will spur economic growth and create jobs for Americans. When visas aren’t available, we end up exporting this labor and ingenuity to other countries. Visa and green card allocations need to reflect the needs of employers and the desire for these exceptional individuals to help grow our economy.

The goal of any temporary worker program should be to address the economic needs of the country and to strengthen our national security by allowing for realistic, enforceable, usable, legal paths for entry into the United States. Of particular concern are the needs of the agricultural industry, among others. It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers.

Youth

One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children through no fault of their own, those who know no other place as home. For those who meet certain eligibility standards, and serve honorably in our military or attain a college degree, we will do just that.

Individuals Living Outside the Rule of Law

Our national and economic security depend on requiring people who are living and working here illegally to come forward and get right with the law. There will be no special path to citizenship for individuals who broke our nation’s immigration laws – that would be unfair to those immigrants who have played by the rules and harmful to promoting the rule of law. Rather, these persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits). Criminal aliens, gang members, and sex offenders and those who do not meet the above requirements will not be eligible for this program. Finally, none of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/31/us/politics/text-of-republicans-principles-on-immigration.html?_r=0

Why Pro-Amnesty Republicans Are So Desperate To Pass Immigration Reform This Year

John Hawkins

The most intriguing question about the latest GOP push on immigration is one that no one seems to be asking: Why does the Republican Party seem so determined to push immigration reform this year?

At first glance, it makes no sense whatsoever.

After all, because of Obamacare the electoral landscape is so tilted towards the GOP that it looks likely we’ll add seats in the House and take the Senate back. With the filibuster as good as dead, why wouldn’t Republicans want to write a tough immigration bill on their terms in 2015 and force Obama to either sign on to it or veto a bill that the public supports?

Furthermore, Obama is illegally giving out work permits, refusing to deport most captured illegals and he has illegitimately created a DREAM ACT by fiat. This is a man who has made absolutely clear that he has no intention of enforcing immigration law; so how do you make any kind of deal that relies on his implementing even tougher rules? Realistically, you don’t. Until the immigration laws that are already on the books are being enforced, talking about making new, tougher laws in exchange for the carrot of legalized status or citizenship is a farce.

In addition, the Democrats’ policy on illegal immigration is driven by one overriding goal: they want as many illegal immigrants as possible in the United States so they can eventually turn them into voters. If they can transform 10 million, 20 million, or 50 million illegal immigrants into citizens, they’d be happy to do it because they correctly believe the vast majority of them will be Democrat voters. How could we possibly negotiate a good deal when the people who control the White House AND the Senate think like that?

Of course, some Republicans claim that passing this deal would help the GOP with Hispanics. However, there’s very little evidence to support that assertion.

Ronald Reagan received 37% of the Hispanic vote in 1984, signed an amnesty in 1986, and then in 1988, George H.W. Bush got 30% of the Hispanic vote. Chances are, we wouldn’t even do that well in 2016 since Presidents tend to get the credit for legislation that’s signed on their watch. Who got credit for welfare reform and balancing the budget in the nineties? Bill Clinton or the Republicans in Congress who forced him to do it? Bill Clinton. Here’s an even better example: Who got credit for the 1964 Civil Rights Act? LBJ, who was known to drop the N-word from time to time or the Republicans in Congress who voted for it in greater numbers percentage-wise than the Democrats? Lyndon Johnson got all the credit.

If you don’t believe me, take it from the biggest Republican advocate of amnesty in the Senate, John McCain.

“Let’s say we enact it, comprehensive immigration reform, I don’t think it gains a single Hispanic voter.” — John McCain

Worse yet, if the GOP signs on to a legalization bill that falls short of giving illegals citizenship, it’s entirely possible that it would work against us politically with Hispanics. The Democrats would call it “racist,” an “apartheid,” and claim we are making illegals into “second class citizens.” In other words, passing the bill could hurt the GOP in the short term with Hispanic voters and demographically flood conservatism out of existence over the long term if the Republicans cave yet again and give those illegals citizenship.

On top of all that, the bill that 14 Republicans signed onto in the Senate would have been an absolute disaster if it had been passed by the House. The bill legalized illegals on day one, put them on a path to citizenship and gave the same Obama Administration that isn’t enforcing our laws today plenty of discretion in deciding how the law would be enforced in the future. Even the CBO, which is constrained by unrealistic rules in projecting the impact of laws said that the bill would only reduce illegal immigration by about 25 percent a year.Since enforcing the laws that are already on the books would do that, there was absolutely no reason to believe the law would succeed. If Republicans and Democrats collaborating together came up with a law that bad, what makes anyone think the Republicans in the House could do any better? John Boehner does two things well: cry and give in. Negotiation isn’t his strong suit.

So if politically it makes more sense for the GOP to wait until 2015 to take up immigration, we know the bill won’t help the GOP with Hispanics and we know the Democrats have no intention of honoring any security provisions, then why bother? It’s almost as if the House Leadership in the GOP is willing to pay a big price to pass a bill, even though they know it has no chance of working…and there’s the big secret.

There are a lot of businesses out there that want an endless supply of cheap labor, which would be fine, except that they want everyone else to pay for it. An illegal alien with no car insurance, no health insurance, who claims he has 14 kids so he can get an earned income tax credit can work cheaper than a law abiding American. So, when the illegal crashes his car, you pay for it. When he gets sick, you pay for it. Your taxes put his kids through school. Your taxes pay the bills if he goes to jail. Your tax dollars go into his pocket when he cheats on his taxes — meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce crowd makes so much money off of these illegals that they can afford to donate some of it to politicians like John Boehner, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham and John McCain in order to get them to keep the gravy train going.

Ironically, the reason they’re so desperate to ram the bill through this year is because the political landscape looks so favorable to Republicans right now. Since the filibuster is essentially dead, if the GOP adds seats in the House and takes over the Senate, suddenly the GOP wouldn’t be able to use, “It was the best deal Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi would sign off on” as an excuse for signing on to a terrible bill. Additionally, both John McCain and Marco Rubio are up for reelection in 2016 and could face strong primary challenges. That means the two biggest advocates of amnesty in the Senate would both have to at least pretend that they want to “build the dang fence.” and stop illegal immigration in 2015. Moreover, no legitimate contender for President on the Republican side is going to back an amnesty bill. All of them would oppose a terrible bill because the primary voters would insist on it. That means the GOP would either have to legitimately deal with the issue in 2015, which Boehner, Ryan, Rubio, McCain, Graham, etc. have no intention of doing, or they’d have to wait to see what the landscape looks like in 2017.

In other words, this whole immigration push that the GOP leadership in the House is embracing is a scam. It doesn’t matter what they tell you, what they promise or how good they make it sound; immigration reform this year would be about as legitimate as a letter from a Nigerian prince.

http://townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2014/01/28/why-proamnesty-republicans-are-so-desperate-to-pass-immigration-reform-this-year-n1785691/page/full

On immigration, what do GOP House leaders mean by ‘enforcement triggers’?

By Byron York

The House Republican leadership, meeting here at the party’s winter retreat, kept its new immigration reform “principles” as secret as nuclear codes. Old immigration hands on the Hill, who might have been expected to play a big part in producing the document, were barely consulted. When Speaker John Boehner’s office wanted a knowledgeable Hill staffer to take a look at the work in progress, the person was invited into a room to examine a draft — no copying or note-taking allowed. And the paper remained a mystery to almost all GOP lawmakers until Boehner unveiled it at a members-only meeting at the freezing Hyatt resort on Maryland’s Eastern Shore late Thursday afternoon.

Boehner had his reasons. The principles were going to be the first step in what could well be an ugly and divisive immigration fight inside the House GOP. So why let the opponents get a head start?

Now that the principles — all 804 words of them — have been released, it’s clear those opponents will have a lot to work with. What the GOP calls its “Standards for Immigration Reform” is almost all boilerplate, mostly indistinguishable from the Senate Gang of Eight “framework” that Boehner and other House Republicans rejected.

There’s the standard talk about how the U.S. immigration system is “broken.” There are calls for more border enforcement. More interior enforcement, like employment verification and an entry-exit visa system. Provisions for guest workers. Special consideration of young immigrants. It’s all been seen before.

And then there are by-now familiar guidelines for the handling of the 11 or 12 million immigrants in the country illegally. “These persons could live legally and without fear in the U.S.,” the principles say, “but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families (without access to public benefits).”

That, too, is all standard issue. But then, in the very last sentence of the principles, comes the key to the whole thing: “None of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced.”

It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of immigration reform in Congress depends on whether Republican leaders mean what they say in that single sentence.

If they do, and the GOP insists on actual border security measures being in place — not just passed, not just contemplated, but actually in place — before illegal immigrants are allowed to register for legal status, then there will likely be significant Republican support for such a bill. (It might well be a deal-killer for most Democrats, but that is another story.)

If, on the other hand, GOP lawmakers wiggle around the clear meaning of the principles’ last sentence to allow legalization to begin before security measures have been implemented, then the party will be back to the same divisions and animosities that have plagued Republicans since the terrible fights over immigration reform in 2006 and 2007.

Right now, it’s impossible to say which way GOP leaders will go. But there are signs that the wiggling is already underway.

In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a leading advocate of reform, described a system in which illegal immigrants could come forward and receive probationary status while — not after — border security work is being done. “…You can be on probation, and you have to satisfy the terms of your probation while the border’s getting secured,” Ryan said.

That — legalization first, followed by completed security — is an entirely different scenario from the one described in the principles. If Republican leaders insist on legalization before security measures are implemented, they’ll likely lose many, many rank-and-file conservative lawmakers.

Of course, the principles give Republicans some room to maneuver. Just what will those “specific enforcement triggers” be? They certainly won’t be a complete security overhaul of the Mexican border. More likely, Republicans will ultimately stipulate that the Border Patrol have complete “situational awareness” — that is, surveillance capability — of the border and also implement interior enforcement measures. But the bottom line is that some work will have to be finished before legalization begins.

At various times in the last few months, it has appeared that immigration reform in the House was dead. Then it seemed to roar back to life. Now, for the first time, the House GOP leadership has committed itself to a set of reform guidelines. Which means the real fight is just beginning.

http://washingtonexaminer.com/on-immigration-what-do-gop-house-leaders-mean-by-enforcement-triggers/article/2543221?custom_click=rss

House GOP Floats Legalization Path for Immigrants

Republicans lay out tough path for undocumented immigrants to get legal status

By Alex Rogers

House Republican leaders on Thursday proposed giving undocumented immigrants a path to legal status if America’s borders are secured and immigrants meet specific requirements, in a broad outline for reform that represents the party’s most substantive play on the issue in years.

The one-page set of “principles,” distributed by party leaders to rank-and-file lawmakers at a House GOP retreat here, laid out strict conditions for adult immigrants to obtain legal status. “These persons could live here legally and without fear in the U.S., but only if they were willing to admit their culpability, pass rigorous background checks, pay significant fines and back taxes, develop proficiency in English and American civics, and be able to support themselves and their families” without public benefits, according to the document. The children of undocumented immigrants would have to pass eligibility standards and either serve in the military or attain a college degree. The GOP outline also calls for Congress to implement a “workable” electronic employment verification system, an entry-exit visa tracking system that prevents fraud and verifies identity, and a visa program designed to keep high skilled immigrants working in the country. The legalization measures would only take effect once “specific enforcement triggers have been implemented.”

Just a few months after the House blocked a comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate, the latest move could breathe new life into a lethargic movement for changing what both parties agree is a broken system. Some members of House Republican leadership have previously supported such provisions, but many conservative lawmakers recoil at anything that resembles amnesty for immigrants here illegally. The proposal comes at a moment when Republican leaders are increasingly worried that their low approval ratings among a growing population of Hispanic voters could once again harm their prospects of taking back the White House.

“I think it’s time to deal with it,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters. “It’s been turned into a political football. I think it’s unfair.”

Reform advocates, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the business-backed Chamber of Commerce, applauded the effort as a significant breakthrough. “We welcome the House Republicans to the immigration debate,” Frank Sharry, executive director of pro-reform group America’s Voice, said in a statement. “It’s about time.”

The question now is whether Democrats, who have already acquiesced on tactics in voicing a willingness to pass immigration reform in pieces rather than in a comprehensive bill, will also be willing to move in the GOP’s direction on policy. Pulling Democrats away from compromise is the belief that stronger reforms remain a political winner, especially important considering the difficult climate they face in the coming midterm elections. “I think that any immigration bill that the Republicans advocate that stops short of a path to citizenship is going to damage them permanently with Hispanic voters,” Joel Benenson, President Barack Obama‘s chief pollster, told reporters on Wednesday.

And Boehner signaled that his first offer could be the last. “These standards are as far as we are willing to go,” he said.

Democrats, who prefer a full path to citizenship for all immigrants in the country illegally, welcomed the news as a step forward.

“While these standards are certainly not everything we would agree with, they leave a real possibility that Democrats and Republicans, in both the House and Senate, can in some way come together and pass immigration reform that both sides can accept,” New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “It is a long, hard road, but the door is open.”

The Obama administration reacted cautiously.

“We’ve seen those reports and we will closely look at the document when it is released,” a White House official said. “The President’s principles on immigration reform are well established. We welcome the process moving forward in the House, and we look forward to working with all parties to make immigration reform a reality.”

In the short term, Republicans could likely pick up seats in the House and Senate without having to deal with immigration. A recent Pew Research poll found that “dealing with illegal immigration” is one of the lowest priorities for Americans. Some conservative pundits have decried doing anything on immigration reform for fear that it will take attention off President Barack Obama’s divisive health care reform law. The Madison Project, a conservative group, immediately decried the principles as “politically tone-deaf.”

http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/30/immigration-reform-house-gop-republican-principles/

Paul Ryan working behind the scenes to push comprehensive immigration legislation

By Paul Kane and Ed O’Keef

Two weeks after the end of his failed vice-presidential bid, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was already thinking ahead to another big fight: immigration reform. And he was thinking about it in a bipartisan way.Ryan ran into his old friend, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.), and urged him to restart his effort to get a comprehensive immigration package through Congress. Ryan’s arguments stemmed from a religious and economic foundation, not from the huge political liability the issue had become for the Republican Party during the 2012 presidential campaign.“You’re a Catholic; I’m a Catholic; we cannot have a permanent underclass of Americans exploited in America,” Ryan told Gutierrez, according to the Democrat’s recollection of the November discussion.Given those sentiments, and the drubbing the GOP ticket took among Latino voters, supporters of an immigration overhaul expected Ryan to emerge as the House’s most prominent public voice on the issue.Instead, as the issue has grown more contentious with the recent passage of a sprawling 1,200-page Senate bill, Ryan has worked quietly behind the scenes, declining to become the public face of the issue and leaving the effort without any prominent sponsors among the House GOP leadership.The 43-year-old congressman, whose own political future remains bright enough that some regard him as a 2016 presidential contender, has been using that stature to prod Gutierrez’s bipartisan group of seven House members to keep trying for a still-elusive compromise.He has held private meetings with members of the group and has reached out to other Republicans to try to find support for a comprehensive plan that would include a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.On Wednesday afternoon, Ryan made a similar plea at a special immigration meeting of the House Republican Conference. He linked stronger border security and citizenship for undocumented workers to a more vibrant economy, according to people in the room.But Wednesday’s meeting was behind closed doors, leaving Ryan’s imprint largely invisible to the public — just as it was eight months ago in his chance meeting with Gutierrez in the House gym.That is a clear example of how Ryan intends to handle his support for a comprehensive plan, according to associates. Dan Senor, who was Ryan’s top policy aide in the 2012 campaign, said Ryan will make an aggressive case for a bipartisan bill in his own way.“His approach is not to do a million TV interviews, but to thoughtfully engage his colleagues, usually behind closed doors. So look for Ryan to make a full-throated, optimistic, pro-growth case for immigration reform; not through a big media rollout, but by talking directly to his colleagues,” Senor, who remains close to Ryan, said Wednesday.Ryan’s role will be different from that of another 40-something Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), who became the highest-profile GOP supporter of the Senate’s legislation. Rubio helped craft the legislative language in bipartisan talks among eight senators, then aggressively sold the deal to skeptical conservative audiences in dozens and dozens of radio and TV appearances, sometimes several in a single day.The bill passed the Senate in late June with 68 votes, 14 of them from Republicans, but it now faces an uphill battle in a House dominated by conservatives from deep-red districts where citizenship for illegal immigrants remains blasphemy.Many Republican elders now believe it’s essential to revive the GOP’s long-term prospects on a national level, leading to their support of Rubio and Ryan’s work despite the short-term risk of angering the party’s conservative base.Complicating the legislation’s passage is that it has become something of a political orphan in the House, lacking support from any high-profile lawmaker. Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have taken a hands-off approach, suggesting that a public embrace of policy specifics would harm the process.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is moving piecemeal bills dealing with border security and worker visas while opposing citizenship for immigrants here illegally. The bipartisan group of seven House members, led by Gutierrez and three rank-and-file Republicans, has been unable to reach a deal that they could push as a group.

That leaves Ryan, a longtime supporter of immigration legislation dating back to his 2006 support for Gutierrez’s bill that included citizenship rights, as the most prominent House backer of a comprehensive deal. His advisers say he is a “bridge builder” on the issue, hoping to reassure both proponents such as Gutierrez and staunch conservatives who have come to worship Ryan’s acumen on deficits.

While some Republicans make the case for political expediency, hoping to lure Latino voters in elections, Ryan sells his argument as an “economic-based immigration system,” one aide said. The idea is that the economy will be better served by bringing the raft of undocumented workers currently serving in low-wage jobs into the legal workforce and setting up the right number of visas for skilled employees in key industries.

“Immigration will help improve that, so that we have the labor we need to get the economic growth that we want, so that America can be a fast-growing economy in the 21st century. Immigration helps us get the labor force that we need so that we can have the kind of growth we want,” Ryan said last month at an event at the National Association of Manufacturers. He added: “If you come here and put your hand over your heart, and you pledge allegiance to the American flag, we want you.”

Deeply trusted’

Ryan’s standing among House conservatives remains as strong as ever.

“What he brings is experience and trust. He’s deeply trusted in our conference,” said Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), a junior member of the leadership and one of Ryan’s top acolytes on the Budget Committee.

Ryan’s chairmanship of the Budget Committee ends next year, and no one seems certain what he wants next. Some expect him to pursue a presidential bid, while others view him as a logical successor to Boehner as speaker.

His fundraising schedule is now packed with events benefiting fellow House Republicans, not Lincoln Day dinners in key presidential primary battlegrounds. That leaves many assuming he wants to stay in the House, with the gavel at the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee an increasingly likely prize.

TED CRUZ HAS A STERN MESSAGE TO REPUBLICANS CURRENTLY PUSHING FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is hoping fellow Republican House leaders take heed and not push for immigration reform measures this year with mid-term elections so closely at hand.

But that’s not what’s happening.

Republicans, along with leadership, are meeting at a three day retreat along Maryland’s eastern shore Thursday, and the top piece of business is immigration. Republican House Speaker John Boehner, from Ohio and Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, among others, are trying to advance immigration legislation prior to heading into the midterm election campaign.

The senator said in a statement emailed to TheBlaze that “amnesty is wrong in any circumstance.”

Republicans need to focus on winning against Obama’s failed policies and not push for immigration legislation that is already presenting numerous legal obstacles and will demoralize voters, many of whom are opposed to amnesty, he added.

“Right now, Republican leadership in both chambers is aggressively urging Members to stand down on virtually every front: on the continuing resolution, on the budget, on the farm bill, on the debt ceiling,” Cruz said. “They may or may not be right, but their argument is that we should focus exclusively on Obamacare and on jobs. In that context, why on earth would the House dive into immigration right now? It makes no sense, unless you’re Harry Reid. Republicans are poised for an historic election this fall–a conservative tidal wave much like 2010. The biggest thing we could do to mess that up would be if the House passed an amnesty bill–or any bill perceived as an amnesty bill–that demoralized voters going into November.”

Republican leadership outlined in their immigration reform plan support for giving probationary legal status to most of the 11 million illegal immigrants, according to Rep. Ryan’s interview on MSNBC Wednesday.
The proposal, say opponents, is that a probationary status will be difficult to revoke if someone illegal is working legally in the country and has a family.

Cruz said he recognizes that the current immigration system is broken. He said, however, Republicans should wait until next year, contending it would make more sense “so that we are negotiating a responsible solution with a Republican Senate majority rather than with Chuck Schumer.”

“Anyone pushing an amnesty bill right now should go ahead and put a ‘Harry Reid for Majority Leader’ bumper sticker on their car, because that will be the likely effect if Republicans refuse to listen to the American people and foolishly change the subject from Obamacare to amnesty,” he said.

 http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/01/30/ted-cruz-has-a-stern-message-to-republicans-currently-pushing-for-immigration-reform/

DID SHOWDOWN KILL BOEHNER’S IMMIGRATION DREAMS?

Immigration is the zombie of political issues–even when it is dead, it is still alive. The combination of the Democratic Party, business interests, and a GOP operative class yearning for its promise of improved standing with Hispanic voters means that you can never really count it out.

That said, it is hard to imagine Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) moving forward after yesterday’s closed-door showdown. According to estimates from those who were in the room–both in favor of moving forward and against–the dozens of GOP lawmakers who spoke were at least 80-20 against bringing a bill to the floor this year.

There is a palpable sense of disappointment among those interested in moving forward. In private conversations, the word that is used is that the meeting was “predictable.” The same people in the GOP conference who kept Boehner from moving on a bill in 2013 are just as opposed in 2014.

Immigration hawks, meanwhile, sense they scored a major victory.

“I don’t understand why House leadership would bring this issue up now,” Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina (R) tells me, adding, “After yesterday, that feeling is strengthened based on the overwhelming pushback from Conference meeting attendees.”

Boehner himself, despite having almost single-handedly resurrected immigration reform from life support over the last two months, was surprisingly tepid in his remarks to the conference.

He even suggested this is just not in the cards.

“These standards are as far as we are willing to go. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said yesterday that for her caucus, it is a special path to citizenship or nothing. If Democrats insist on that, then we are not going to get anywhere this year,” Boehner told members, according to a source in the room.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who outside of Boehner is the biggest force pushing the conference to bring forward legislation, also seemed to be feeling the heat.

As Drudge Report popped with hit after hit against amnesty yesterday–including Boehner with a superimposed sombrero hat and Sen. Ted Cruz’s warning that immigration reform could doom the GOP in 2014–Ryan came into the reporters’ filing center here to do an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

First Ryan veered right from the leadership’s talking points about wanting to partner with President Obama on a “year of action,” sternly rebuking the president for flouting the law. Then he strongly embraced the Tea Party, sounding Jim DeMint-esque in his argument that it has been a positive political force for the GOP.

On immigration, Ryan started with “I do not think you should have a special path to citizenship,” and moved to doubts about whether the GOP could work with Obama on the issue because he’s untrustworthy.

In the closed-door meeting, Ryan’s support was lukewarm. He only implied the GOP should move forward on a bill, trailing off from his point that there is never a perfect time to consider a big issue like immigration.

It is always a surprise when the zombie turns out to still be moving, but after tomorrow, we are going to be in the calm prelude scenes for a long time.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/01/31/Did-Showdown-Kill-Boehners-Immigration-Dreams

Buchanan: Boehner Will Lose Speakership if He Pushes for Immigration Reform

By Andrew Johnson

Pat Buchanan warns that an imminent Republican debate over immigration will play into the hands of the Democratic party. With the widespread unpopularity of Obamacare, Republicans should instead focus on the embattled health-care law ahead of the 2014 midterm election. By pivoting to the issue of immigration, Republicans are “walking right into the trap.”

“You will have a war inside the Republican party — a Balkan war — this year, which will knock it off its present gain,” he said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show​. Buchanan cautioned John Boehner against the pursuit of immigration reform, saying it would be his “last hurrah” and arguing that it would spell the end of his speakership. Boehner will end up “with a nice job at a trade association” as a reward from immigration-backers if he pushes for reforms, Buchanan said.

Recent reports indicate that House leadership plans to unveil a brief statement of immigration principles at their annual retreat that begins on Wednesday that includes a legal status, though not citizens, for undocumented immigrants.

“It’s probably or almost certainly true that the Chamber of Commerce and the big-business folks want the immigration deal solved,” he added, but called on opponents of an amnesty measure to “rise up and stop it” before the push advances.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/369865/buchanan-boehner-will-lose-speakership-if-he-pushes-immigration-reform-andrew-johnson

Background Articles and Videos

Paul Ryan

Paul Davis Ryan (born January 29, 1970) is an American politician and member of the Republican Party who has served as the United States Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st congressional district since 1999 and as Chairman of the House Budget Committee since 2011. He was the Republican Party nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2012 election.[1][2] Ryan was born and raised in Janesville, Wisconsin, and is a graduate of Miami University in Ohio. He worked as an aide to legislators Bob KastenSam Brownback, and Jack Kemp, and as a speechwriter before winning election to the U.S. House in 1998.

On August 11, 2012, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced that he had selected Ryan to be his vice-presidential running mate.[3] Ryan was officially nominated at theRepublican convention in Tampa on August 29, 2012.[4] On November 6, 2012, Romney and Ryan were defeated in the general election by the incumbent Barack Obama and Joe Biden, although Ryan won reelection to his congressional seat.[5]

Early life and education

Ryan was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, the youngest of four children of Elizabeth A. “Betty” (née Hutter) and Paul Murray Ryan, a lawyer.[9][10][11] A fifth-generation Wisconsinite, his father was of Irish ancestry and his mother is of German and English ancestry.[12] One of Ryan’s paternal ancestors settled in Wisconsin prior to the Civil War.[13] His great-grandfather, Patrick William Ryan (1858–1917), founded an earthmoving company in 1884, which later became P. W. Ryan and Sons and is now known as Ryan Incorporated Central.[14][15] Ryan’s grandfather was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin by President Calvin Coolidge.[16]

Ryan attended St. Mary’s Catholic School in Janesville, where he played on the seventh-grade basketball team.[17] He attended Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville, where he was elected president of his junior class, and thus became prom king.[18] As class president Ryan was a representative of the student body on the school board.[19] Following his sophomore year, Ryan took a job working the grill at McDonald’s.[19] He was on his high school’s ski, track and varsity soccer teams and played basketball in a Catholic recreational league.[20][21][22] He also participated in several academic and social clubs including the Model United Nations.[19][20] Ryan and his family often went on hiking and skiing trips to the Colorado Rocky Mountains.[10][16]

When he was 16, Ryan found his 55-year-old father lying dead in bed of a heart attack.[16][19] Following the death of his father, Ryan’s grandmother moved in with the family, and because she had Alzheimer’s, Ryan helped care for her while his mother commuted to college in Madison, Wisconsin.[19] After his father’s death Ryan received Social Security survivors benefits until his 18th birthday, which were saved for his college education.[23][24][25]

Ryan majored in economics and political science at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio,[26] where he became interested in the writings of Friedrich HayekLudwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman.[19] He often visited the office of libertarian professor Richard Hart to discuss the theories of these economists and of Ayn Rand.[19][27] Hart introduced Ryan to the National Review,[19] and with Hart’s recommendation Ryan began an internship in the D.C. office of Wisconsin Senator Bob Kasten where he worked with Kasten’s foreign affairs adviser.[19][28] Ryan also attended the Washington Semesterprogram at American University.[29] Ryan worked summers as a salesman for Oscar Mayer and once got to drive the Wienermobile.[16][27][30] During college, Ryan was a member of the College Republicans,[31] and volunteered for the congressional campaign of John Boehner.[27] He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta social fraternity.[32] Ryan received a Bachelor of Arts in 1992 with a double major in economics and political science.[26]

Political philosophy

At a 2005 Washington, D.C. gathering celebrating the 100th anniversary of Ayn Rand‘s birth,[33][34] Ryan credited Rand as inspiring him to get involved in public service.[35] In a speech that same year at the Atlas Society, he said he grew up reading Rand, and that her books taught him about his value system and beliefs.[36][37] Ryan required staffers and interns in his congressional office to read Rand[37] and gave copies of her novel Atlas Shrugged as gifts to his staff for Christmas.[38][39] In his Atlas Society speech, he also described Social Security as a “socialist-based system”.[40]

In 2009, Ryan said, “What’s unique about what’s happening today in government, in the world, in America, is that it’s as if we’re living in an Ayn Rand novel right now. I think Ayn Rand did the best job of anybody to build a moral case ofcapitalism, and that morality of capitalism is under assault.”[38]

In April 2012, after receiving criticism from Georgetown University faculty members on his budget plan, Ryan rejected Rand’s philosophy as an atheistic one, saying it “reduces human interactions down to mere contracts”.[41] He also called the reports of his adherence to Rand’s views an “urban legend” and stated that he was deeply influenced by his Roman Catholic faith and by Thomas Aquinas.[42] Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, maintains that Ryan is not a Rand disciple, and that some of his proposals do not follow Rand’s philosophy of limited government; Brook refers to Ryan as a “fiscal moderate”.[43]

In August 2012, after Romney chose him as his running mate, the Associated Press published a story saying that while the Tea Party movement had wanted a nominee other than Romney, it had gotten “one of its ideological heroes” in the Vice Presidential slot. According to the article, Ryan supports the Tea Party’s belief in “individual rights, distrust of big government and an allegorical embrace of the Founding Fathers”.[44]

Early career

Betty Ryan reportedly urged her son to accept a congressional position as a staff economist attached to Senator Kasten’s office, which he did after graduating in 1992.[28][45] In his early years working on Capitol Hill, Ryan supplemented his income by working as a waiter, as a fitness trainer, and at other jobs.[16][30]

A few months after Kasten lost to Democrat Russ Feingold in the November 1992 election, Ryan became a speechwriter for Empower America (now FreedomWorks), a conservative advocacy group founded by Jack KempJeane Kirkpatrick, and William Bennett.[16][46][47] Ryan later worked as a speechwriter for Kemp,[48] the Republican vice presidential candidate in the 1996 United States presidential election. Kemp became Ryan’s mentor, and Ryan has said he had a “huge influence”.[49] In 1995, Ryan became the legislative director for then-U.S. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas. In 1997 he returned to Wisconsin, where he worked for a year as a marketing consultant for the construction company Ryan Incorporated Central, owned by his relatives.[19][46][50]

U.S. House of Representatives

Elections

Ryan was first elected to the House in 1998, winning the 1st District seat of Mark Neumann, a two-term incumbent who had vacated his seat to make an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. Ryan won the Republican primary over 29-year-old pianist Michael J. Logan of Twin Lakes,[51] and the general election against Democrat Lydia Spottswood.[52] This made him the second-youngest member of the House.[19]

Reelected seven times, Ryan has never received less than 55 percent of the vote. He defeated Democratic challenger Jeffrey C. Thomas in the 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2006 elections.[53] (In 2002, Ryan also faced Libertarian candidate George Meyers.) In 2008, Ryan defeated Democrat Marge Krupp in the 2008 election.[53] In the 2010 general election, he defeated Democrat John Heckenlively and Libertarian Joseph Kexel.

Ryan faced Democratic nominee Rob Zerban in the 2012 House election. As of July 25, 2012, Ryan had over $5.4 million in his congressional campaign account, more than any other House member.[54][55] Finance, insurance and real estate was the sector that contributed most to his campaign.[56] Under Wisconsin election law, Ryan was allowed to run concurrently for vice president and for Congress[57] and was not allowed to remove his name from the Congressional ballot after being nominated for the vice presidency.[58] Ryan was reelected in 2012 with 55% of his district’s vote.[59]

Tenure

Ryan became the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee in 2007,[60] then chairman in 2011 after Republicans took control of the House. That same year he was selected to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address.[61]

Official U.S. Congress portrait of Ryan in 2011

During his 13 years in the House, Ryan has sponsored more than 70 bills or amendments,[62] of which two were enacted into law.[63] One, passed in July 2000, renamed a post office in Ryan’s district; the other, passed in December 2008, lowered the excise tax on arrow shafts.[64][65] Ryan has also co-sponsored 975 bills,[63] of which 176 have passed.[66] 22 percent of these bills were originally sponsored by Democrats.[63]

In 2010, Ryan was a member of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (Bowles-Simpson Commission), which was tasked with developing a plan to reduce the federal deficit. He voted against the final report of the commission.[67]

In 2012, Ryan accused the nation’s top military leaders of using “smoke and mirrors” to remain under budget limits passed by Congress.[68][69] Ryan later said that he misspoke on the issue and calledGeneral Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to apologize for his comments.[70]

As of mid-2012, Ryan had been on seven trips abroad as part of a congressional delegation.[71]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Constituent services

In fiscal year 2008, Ryan garnered $5.4 million in congressional earmarks for his constituency, including $3.28 million for bus service in Wisconsin, $1.38 million for the Ice Age Trail, and $735,000 for the Janesville transit system.[73] In 2009, he successfully advocated with the Department of Energy for stimulus funds for energy initiatives in his district.[73] Other home district projects he has supported include a runway extension at the Rock County Airport, an environmental study of the Kenosha Harbor, firefighting equipment for Janesville, road projects in Wisconsin, and commuter rail and streetcar projects in Kenosha.[74] In 2008, Ryan pledged to stop seeking earmarks.[74] Prior to that he had sought earmarks less often than other representatives.[74] Taxpayers for Common Sense records show no earmarks supported by Ryan for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.[73] In 2012 Ryan supported a request for $3.8 million from theDepartment of Transportation for a new transit center in Janesville,[74] which city officials received in July.[75]

Ryan was an active member of a task force established by Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle that tried unsuccessfully to persuade GM to keep its assembly plant in Janesville open.[76] He made personal contact with GM executives to try to convince them to save or retool the plant, offering GM hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer-funded incentives.[76]

Following the closing of factories in Janesville and Kenosha, constituents expressed dissatisfaction with his votes and support.[77] During the 2011 Congressional summer break, Ryan held town hall meetings by telephone with constituents, but no free, in-person listening sessions. The only public meetings Ryan attended in his district required an admission fee of at least $15.[78][79] In August, 2011, constituents in Kenosha and Racine protested when Ryan would not meet with them about economic and employment issues, after weeks of emailed requests from them.[77][78][80] Ryan’s Kenosha office locked its doors and filed a complaint with the police, who told the protesters that they were not allowed in Ryan’s office.[77][78][80] Ryan maintains a mobile office to serve constituents in outlying areas.[81]

Political positions

In the 111th Congress, Ryan sided with a majority of his party in 93% of House votes in which he has participated, and sided with the overall majority vote of all House votes 95% of the time.[82]

Ryan has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 91/100.[83] The 2011 National Journal Vote Ratings rated Paul Ryan 68.2 on the conservative scale, being more conservative than 68% of the full House, and ranked as the 150th most conservative member based on roll-call votes.[84]

Fiscal, education, and health care policy

Ryan voted for the two Bush tax cuts (in 2001 and 2003),[85] the 2003 bill that created the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit,[86][87] and the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the $700 billion bank bailout.[88][89] Ryan was one of 32 Republicans in the House to vote for the auto industry bailout.[90][91][92] A number of commentators have criticized Ryan’s votes for what they believe were deficit-causing policies during the George W. Bush administration as being inconsistent with fiscal conservatism.[88][93][94][95] In 2011 President Barack Obama criticized Ryan as being “not on the level” for describing himself as a fiscal conservative while voting for these policies, as well as two “unpaid for” wars.[96] Columnist Ezra Klein wrote in 2012 that “If you know about Paul Ryan at all, you probably know him as a deficit hawk. But Ryan has voted to increase deficits and expand government spending too many times for that to be his north star.”[97]

Obama initially viewed Ryan as a Republican who could help to reduce the federal deficit. Speaking of Ryan’s budget proposal, Obama called it a “serious proposal” and found both points of agreement and disagreement, saying “some ideas in there that I would agree with, but there are some ideas that we should have a healthy debate about because I don’t agree with them.”[98]

In 1999, Ryan voted in favor of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, which repealed certain provisions of the Depression-era Glass–Steagall Act that regulated banking.[99] Ryan sponsored a 2008 bill that would repeal the requirement that theFederal Reserve System reduce unemployment.[62] Ryan voted to extend unemployment insurance in 2002, 2008 and 2009, but has voted against further extensions since then.[100] Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.[101] Ryan also voted against the Credit CARD Act of 2009 and the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which Ryan characterized as “class warfare“.[102]

Ryan voted against the 2010 health care reform act supported by Obama and congressional Democrats in 2010,[87][103] and to repeal it in 2012.[104][105]

In 2004 and 2005, Ryan pushed the Bush administration to propose the privatization of Social Security. Ryan’s proposal ultimately failed when it did not gain the support of the then-Republican presidential administration.[19]

Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute notes that on “‘education, training, employment, and social services,’ the Ryan budget would spend 33% less” than Obama’s budget plan over the next decade.[106] In particular, the Ryan plan tightens eligibility requirements for Pell Grants and freezes the maximum Pell Grant award at the current level. According to an analysis by the Education Trust, this would result in more than 1 million students losing Pell Grants over the next 10 years. Additionally, under Ryan’s plan, student loans would begin to accrue interest while students are still in school.[107][108][109] Ryan states that his education policy is to “allocate our limited financial resources effectively and efficiently to improve education”.[110] Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic said that Ryan’s vision on education policy is to “cut and privatize”.[109]

Ryan voted for the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001.[111] Ryan is a supporter of for-profit colleges and opposed the gainful employment rule, which would have ensured that vocational schools whose students were unable to obtain employment would stop receiving federal aid.[109] Ryan is a supporter of private school vouchers and voted to extend the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program in 2011.[109] The National Education Association teachers’ union has criticized Ryan’s positions on education.[111][vague]

Ryan has consistently supported giving the president line-item veto power.[62]

In the fall of 2013 Ryan suggested using discussions regarding raising the federal debt ceiling as “leverage” to reduce federal spending.[112][113]

Budget proposals

Ryan speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. on February 10, 2011

On May 21, 2008, Ryan introduced H.R. 6110, the Roadmap for America’s Future Act of 2008, commonly referred to as the “Ryan budget”.[114] This proposed legislation outlined changes toentitlement spending, including a controversial proposal to replace Medicare with a voucher program for those currently under the age of 55.[19][115][116] The Roadmap found only eight sponsors and did not move past committee.[19][117]

On April 1, 2009, Ryan introduced his alternative to the 2010 United States federal budget. This alternative budget would have eliminated the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009and imposed a five-year spending freeze on all discretionary spending.[118][119] It would have also phased out Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service model; instead it would offer fixed sums in the form of vouchers for those under the age of 55, with which Medicare beneficiaries could buy private insurance.[120] Ryan’s proposed budget would also have allowed taxpayers to opt out of the federal income taxation system with itemized deductions, and instead pay a flat 10 percent of adjusted gross income up to $100,000 for couples ($50,000 for singles) and 25 percent on any remaining income.[119] It was ultimately rejected in the Democrat-controlled House by a vote of 293–137, with 38 Republicans in opposition.[121]

On January 27, 2010, Ryan released a modified version of his Roadmap, H.R. 4529: Roadmap for America’s Future Act of 2010.[122][123] The modified plan would provide across-the-board tax cuts by reducing income tax rates; eliminate income taxes on capital gains, dividends, and interest; and abolish the estate tax, and Alternative Minimum Tax. The plan would also replace the corporate income tax with a border-adjusted business consumption tax of 8.5%.[124] The plan would privatize a portion of Social Security,[125][126] eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance,[126] and privatize Medicare for those under the age of 55.[125][126] Chief actuary of Medicare Rick Foster compared Ryan’s “Roadmap” with the 2010 healthcare reform in congressional hearings, stating that while both had “some potential” to make healthcare prices “more sustainable”, he was more “confident” in Ryan’s plan.[127]

Economist and columnist Paul Krugman criticized Ryan’s plan as making overly optimistic assumptions and proposing tax cuts for the wealthy.[128] Krugman further called the plan a “fraud” saying it relies on severe cuts in domestic discretionary spending and “dismantling Medicare as we know it” by suggesting the voucher system, which he noted was similar to a failed attempt at reform in 1995.[128] In contrast, columnist Ramesh Ponnuru, writing in the National Review, argued that Ryan’s plan would lead to less debt than current budgets.[129] Economist Ted Gayer wrote that “Ryan’s vision of broad-based tax reform, which essentially would shift us toward a consumption tax… makes a useful contribution to this debate.”[130]

In subsequent years, Ryan also developed budget plans that proposed privatizing Medicare for those currently under the age of 55,[131] funding Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program through block grants to the states,[19][132][133] and other changes.

On April 11, 2011, Ryan introduced H.Con.Res. 34, a federal budget for fiscal year 2012.[134] The House passed this Ryan Plan on April 15, 2011, by a vote of 235–193. Four Republicans joined all House Democrats in voting against it.[135][136] A month later, the bill was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 57–40, with five Republicans and most Democrats in opposition.[137]

Ryan with President Obama during a bipartisan meeting on health insurance reform, February 25, 2010

On March 23, 2012 Ryan introduced a new version of his federal budget for the fiscal year 2013.[138] On March 29, 2012, the House of Representatives passed the resolution along partisan lines, 228 yeas to 191 nays; ten Republicans voted against the bill, along with all the House Democrats.[139] Ryan’s budget seeks to reduce all discretionary spending in the budget from 12.5% of GDP in 2011 to 3.75% of GDP in 2050.[140]

Ryan has proposed that Medicaid be converted into block grants but with the federal government’s share of the cost cut by some $800 billion over the next decade. Currently, Medicaid is administered by the states, subject to federal rules concerning eligibility, and the amount paid by the federal government depends on the number of people who qualify. His plan would also undo a Reagan-era reform by which the federal government prohibited the states from requiring that a patient’s spouse, as well as the patient, deplete all of his or her assets before Medicaid would cover long-term care.[19][132][133][141]

An analysis by the CBO showed that the Ryan plan would not balance the budget for at least 28 years, partly because the changes in Medicare would not affect anyone now older than 55.[142]Former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker and Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, praised the budget for making tough choices. Walker believes it needs to go even further, tackling Social Security and defense spending.[143] In contrast, David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, has declared that Ryan’s budget “is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices” and would “do nothing to reverse the nation’s economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse”.[144]Ezra Klein also criticized the budget for making “unrealistic assumptions”.[140] The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities was highly critical of Ryan’s budget proposal, stating that it would shift income to the wealthy while increasing poverty and inequality.[145]

Parts of the 2012 Ryan budget were criticized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its proposed cuts to housing and food stamp programs.[146][147] Faculty and administrators of Georgetown University challenged what they called Ryan’s “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching” when defending his plan,[148][149] but Ryan rejected their criticism.[150]

In March 2013, Ryan submitted a new budget plan for Fiscal Year 2014 to the House. It would set to balance the budget by 2023 by repealing Obama’s PPACA and institute federal vouchers into Medicare. [151] Ryan has cited health care, education and food safety as examples of “runaway” federal spending.[152] This budget, House Concurrent Resolution 25, was voted on by the House on March 21, 2013 and it passed 221-207.[153]

On December 10, 2013, Ryan announced that he and Democratic Senator Patty Murray had reached a compromise agreement on a two-year, bipartisan budget bill, called the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. The deal would cap the federal government’s spending for Fiscal Year 2014 at $1.012 trillion and for Fiscal Year 2015 at $1.014.[154] The proposed deal would eliminate some of the spending cuts required by the sequester ($45 billion of the cuts scheduled to happen in January 2014 and $18 billion of the cuts scheduled to happen in 2015).[154] The deal offsets the spending increases by raising airline fees and changing the pension contribution requirements of new federal workers.[6] Overall the fee increases and spending reductions total about $85 billion over a decade.[155] Ryan said that he was “proud” of the agreement because “it reduces the deficit – without raising taxes.”[156]

Some conservative Republicans objected to Ryan’s budget proposal. Republican Raul Labrador criticized the “terrible plan,” saying that “it makes promises to the American people that are false. Today the Democrats realized they were right all along, that we would never hold the line on the sequester.” Other conservatives were more positive: “It achieves most of the things we would like to see when we have divided government,” said Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.).[6]

Social, environmental, and science issues

In 2010, Ryan described himself as being “as pro-life as a person gets”[157] and has been described as an “ardent, unwavering foe of abortion rights“.[158] As of 2012 according to Bloomberg, Ryan has co-sponsored 38 measures in the U.S. Congress that restrict abortion.[159] The National Right to Life Committee has consistently given Ryan a “100 percent pro-life voting record” since he took office in 1999. NARAL Pro-Choice America has noted that Ryan has “cast 59 votes” (including procedural motions and amendments which don’t have co-sponsors[159]) “on reproductive rights while in Congress and not one has been pro-choice”.[160] He believes all abortions should be illegal, including those resulting from rape or incest, and only makes an exception for cases where the woman’s life is at risk.[161][162]

During Ryan’s 1998 campaign for Congress, he “expressed his willingness to let states criminally prosecute women who have abortions,” telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the time that he “would let states decide what criminal penalties would be attached to abortions”, and while not stating that he supports jailing women who have an abortion, stated: “if it’s illegal, it’s illegal.”[161] In 2009, he cosponsored the Sanctity of Life Act, which would provide that fertilized eggs “shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood” and would have given “the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories … the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions”.[163][164][165]

Ryan has also supported legislation that would impose criminal penalties for certain doctors who perform “partial-birth abortions“.[158] Ryan voted against continued federal aid for Planned Parenthood and Title X family planningprograms.[158][166] He also opposed giving over-the-counter status for emergency contraceptive pills.[87][167] Ryan was one of 227 co-sponsors of the 2011 No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act bill in the House of Representatives that would have limited funding for federally funded abortions to victims of “forcible rape”. “Forcible rape” was not defined in the bill, which critics said would result in excluding date rape, statutory rape, or other situations where the victim had diminished mental capacity. The language was removed from the bill before the House passed the bill, the Senate did not vote on the bill.[168]

Ryan opposes same-sex marriage, had previously supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, opposed the repeal of the don’t ask, don’t tell policy, voted against same-sex couples adopting children in Washington D.C., and voted against a bill that would expand federal hate crime laws to cover offenses based on a victim’s sexual orientation .[158][162][169] Unlike most of his fellow Republicans, Ryan voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2007, which would’ve prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.[158] The Human Rights Campaign, a GLBT rights organization, has frequently given Ryan a 0/100 rating on its legislative scorecard.[170]During Paul Ryan’s 2012 vice presidential bid, he was endorsed by two gay conservative organizations, GOProud[171] and the Log Cabin Republicans.[172] On April 30, 2013, Ryan came out in favor of same-sex couples adopting children. He also said he had always supported civil unions. He also said that if the US Supreme Court declares the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, then he believes it will become a federalist issue for states to decide same-sex marriage.[173][174]

Ryan has supported the rights of gun owners and opposed stricter gun control measures.[158][175] He voted against a bill for stronger background check requirements for purchases at gun shows and supports federal concealed-carry reciprocity legislation, which would allow a person with a permit to carry a concealed firearm in one state to carry a firearm in every other state, a top National Rifle Association (NRA) priority.[175] Ryan, who owns a rifle and a shotgun, is an NRA member, has received an “A” rating from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action and has been endorsed by the organization every cycle he has been in Congress.

Ryan favors a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning. He also voted to withdraw federal funding of NPR.[158]

In the past, Ryan supported legislation that would have allowed some illegal immigrants to apply for temporary guest-worker status, including one bill that would provide a pathway to permanent residence status (a Green Card) for such immigrants. However, more recently Ryan “has adopted a firm anti-amnesty, enforcement-first stance” on illegal immigration.[176] Ryan voted against the DREAM Act, a bill that would provide conditional permanent residency to illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children if they attend college or serve in the military, and meet other criteria.[165] He also voted in favor of the Secure Fence Act of 2006.[87][177] Ryan has said “we must first secure the border and stem the flow of illegal immigration, and then work to increase legal immigration through an enforceable guest worker program” before pursuing a “piecemeal” reform such as the DREAM Act.[178]

Ryan opposed the Stop Online Piracy Act, stating that “it creates the precedent and possibility for undue regulation, censorship and legal abuse.”[179]

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV), the Sierra Club, and other environmentalists have criticized Ryan’s record on environmental issues, with Ryan earning 3 percent on the LCV 2011 National Environmental Scorecard.[180] He opposes cap and trade and opposed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.[181] In an 2009 editorial, Ryan has accused climatologists of using “statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change” and he criticized the EPA’s classification of carbon dioxide as a pollutant.[181] Ryan supports a 10-year $40 billion tax break for the petroleum industry, and has proposed cutting funding for renewable energy research and subsidies.[182]

Foreign and military policy

Ryan has been described by Larry Sabato as “just a generic Republican on foreign policy”.[183][184]

Ryan voted in 2001 and 2004 to end the embargo on Cuba,[185][186][187][188] but later reversed his positions, and, since 2007, has voted for maintaining the embargo.[188] In 2008, Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “If we’re going to have free trade with China, why not Cuba?”[187]

Ryan was a “reliable supporter of the [George W. Bush] administration’s foreign policy priorities” who voted for the 2002 Iraq Resolution, authorizing President George W. Bush to use military force in Iraq.[71] Ryan also voted for the Iraq War troop surge of 2007.[71] In May 2012, Ryan voted for H.R. 4310,[citation needed] which would increase defense spending, including spending for the Afghanistan War and for various weapon systems, to the level of $642 billion – $8 billion more than previous spending levels.[189]

In 2009, Ryan termed the Obama administrations’ “reset” of relations with Russia as “appeasement“.[190] Daniel Larison of The American Conservative wrote that Ryan “seems to conceive of U.S. power abroad mostly in terms of military strength” and “truly is a product of the era of George W. Bush”.[190]

In 2011, Ryan pointed to his support for over $10 billion in cuts to national security spending as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 that included $50 billion in near-term budget cuts and a sequestration system to force further budget cuts.[191] In 2012, Ryan explained his support for defense spending sequestration in the hope that this would open common ground with the Democrats on deficit reduction.[192] In January 2013, he said that sequestration would likely occur because the Democrats offered no alternative.[193] Ryan’s comments have lead defense industry leaders to pin their final hopes on the chance that Congress will at least allow the Pentagon to reprogram the coming cuts.[194] In March 2013, Ryan outlined a budget that provided $2 trillion less for defense over a ten-year period than the platform he had run on the previous fall.[195]

2012 Vice Presidential campaign

Mitt Romney with Paul Ryan after introducing him as his running mate, for the 2012 presidential election, in Norfolk, Virginiaon August 11, 2012

Dan Balz of The Washington Post wrote that Ryan was promoted as a candidate for Vice President “by major elements of the conservative opinion makers, including The Wall Street Journaleditorial page, the Weekly Standard and the editor of National Review“.[196]

On August 11, 2012 the Romney campaign officially announced Ryan as its choice for Vice President through its “Mitt’s VP” mobile app[197] as well as by the social networking serviceTwitter,[198] about 90 minutes before Romney’s in-person introduction.[citation needed] Before the official announcement in Norfolk, it was reported that Romney made his decision, and offered the position to Ryan on August 1, 2012,[199] the day after returning from a foreign policy trip through the United KingdomPoland and Israel.[200] On August 11, 2012, Ryan formally accepted Romney’s invitation to join his campaign as his running mate, in front of the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, Virginia.[201] Ryan is the major parties’ first-ever vice-presidential candidate fromWisconsin.[202]

According to a statistical-historical analysis conducted by Nate Silver, “Ryan is the most conservative Republican member of Congress to be picked for the vice-presidential slot since at least 1900″ and “is also more conservative than any Democratic nominee [for vice president who previously served in the Congress] was liberal, meaning that he is the furthest from the center” of any vice presidential candidate chosen from Congress since the turn of the 20th century.[203] This analysis, using the DW-NOMINATE statistical system,[203] has been described as “one of the more statistically rigorous approaches to Ryan’s congressional voting record”.[204] Political scientist Eric Schickler commented that while Ryan “may well be the most conservative vice presidential nominee in decades,” the NOMINATE methodology “is not suited to making claims about the relative liberalism or conservatism of politicians” over a long time span.[204] A USA Today/Gallup poll found that 39% thought Ryan was an “excellent” or “pretty good” vice presidential choice, compared to 42% who felt he was a “fair” or “poor” choice.[205]

Ryan formally accepted his nomination at the 2012 Republican National Convention on August 29, 2012.[206] In his acceptance speech, he promoted Mitt Romney as the presidential candidate,[207] supported repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),[207] said that he and Romney had a plan to generate 12 million new jobs over the ensuing four years,[207] and promoted founding principles as a solution: “We will not duck the tough issues—we will lead. We will not spend four years blaming others—we will take responsibility. We will not try to replace our founding principles, we will reapply our founding principles.”[207]

The speech was well received by the convention audience and praised for being well-delivered.[208][209] Some fact-checkers noted that there were important factual omissions and that he presented details out of context.[210][211][212][213]Conservative media (including Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post,[214] the Investor’s Business Daily,[215] and Fox News[216]) disputed some of the fact-checkers’ findings. Politifact.com rated 33 of Ryan’s statements which it suspected of being false or misleading: True:10.5%, Mostly True:18%, Half True:21%, Mostly False:36%, False:9% Pants on Fire:6% [217]

On October 11, 2012, Ryan debated his Democratic counterpart, incumbent Vice President Joe Biden, in the only Vice Presidential debate of the 2012 election cycle.[218][219]

Romney and Ryan lost the 2012 Presidential election, but Ryan retained his seat in the House of Representatives.[220][221] Ryan attended the second inauguration of Barack Obama out of what he said is “obligation”,[222][223][224] where he was booed by a group lead by a lawyer with the Voting Section of the Department of Justice.[225][226][227]

Personal life

Ryan married Janna Little, a tax attorney,[23] in 2000.[228] Little, a native of Oklahoma, is a graduate of Wellesley College, and George Washington University Law School.[23] Her cousin is former Democratic Representative Dan Boren, also of Oklahoma.[229] The Ryans live in the Courthouse Hill Historic District of Janesville, Wisconsin.[20] They have three children: Liza, Charles, and Sam.[230] A Roman Catholic, Ryan is a member of St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Janesville, and was an altar boy.[231][232]

Because of a family history of fatal heart attacks before age 60, Ryan pursues an intense cross-training fitness program called P90X.[233] He is “fairly careful” about what he eats[16] and makes his own bratwurst and Polish sausage[11]

In a radio interview Ryan said that he had run a marathon in under three hours;[234] he later stated that he forgot his actual time and was just trying to state what he thought was a normal time.[235] His one official marathon time is recorded as slightly over four hours.[236][237]

Ryan is a fisherman and bowhunter, and a member of the Janesville Bowmen archery association.[23] He stated that he has made close to 40 climbs of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains, or Fourteeners[citation needed] and is a fan of theGreen Bay Packers.[238] His musical preferences include BeethovenRage Against the Machine, and Led Zeppelin.[239][240]

Awards and honors

Electoral history

Year Office District Democratic Republican Other
1998 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Lydia Spottswood 43% Paul Ryan 57%
2000 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 33% Paul Ryan 67%
2002 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 31% Paul Ryan 67% George Meyers (L) 2%
2004 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 33% Paul Ryan 65%
2006 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Jeffrey Thomas 37% Paul Ryan 63%
2008 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Marge Krupp 35% Paul Ryan 64% Joseph Kexel (L) 1%
2010 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District John Heckenlively 30% Paul Ryan 68% Joseph Kexel (L) 2%
2012 U.S. House of Representatives Wisconsin 1st District Rob Zerban 43% Paul Ryan 55% Keith Deschler (L) 2%
2012 Vice-President of the United States - Joe Biden 51% Paul Ryan 47% James P. Gray (L) 1%

References

On December 10, 2013, Ryan and Democratic Senator Patty Murray announced that they had negotiated a two-year, bipartisan budget, known as the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013.[6][7] The budget agreement was the first to pass Congress with the two chambers controlled by different parties since 1986.[8]

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

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