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When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

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Story 1: When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

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Story 1: When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

 

Obama Just Endangered 250 Million Americans, UNBELIEVABLE!

Aerosolizing ONE DROP of EBOLA = 1/2 MILLION DEAD

NIH Wants Blood From ‘NATURALLY’ Exposed Ebola Survivors in Congo

Dallas Ebola Victim Acquired His Infection On His Aircraft +50% Probability

Pestilence : Mutating Airborne Ebola Virus Diagnosed inside the US for the first time (Oct 02, 2014)

Experts worry Ebola could mutate to spread by air | Breaking News

DALLAS EBOLA WARNING, AIRBORNE RISK HIGH.

The Secret Ebola Open Border Connection Revealed: Special Report

Saudi Arabia Stringent Ebola checks for 3 million Haj pilgrims – LoneWolf Sager

Ebola – What You’re Not Being Told

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Officials Monitor Contacts of Ebola Patient in Texas

Ebola: The Gear Worn To Prevent Infection

Up to 100 possibly exposed to U.S. Ebola patient; four isolated

Shocking! Over 80 Possible Ebola Victims in Dallas

Ebola Virus in Dallas Texas US – Ebola Patients 80 to 100 people being checks Presbyterian!!!

Ebola in Texas – Ebola outbreak 2014 Texas Ebola Patient Thomas Duncan Virus Timeline!

Ebola Virus Symptoms | Ebola Virus effects on Human Body

Ebola Unleashed: Bioweapons 101

Saudi Arabia bans Haj pilgrims from Ebola hotspots

Ebola’s spread to US “inevitable”

Patient with Ebola-like symptoms in Washington D.C. at Howard University Hospital

Ebola In D.C. Patient With Ebola Like Symptons At Howard University Hospital

Patient Showing Signs of Ebola Reportedly Quarantined in D.C. Hospital

Ebola crisis: United States patient’s flat cleaned by specialists

Washington DC hospital admits patient with possible Ebola Virus US – Ebola Patients In DC 10/3/2014!

Saudi Arabia’s first suspected Ebola victim dies, as death tolls tops 900

Ebola Outbreak: Saudi Arabia Bans Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia From Hajj

Suspected Ebola victim dies in Saudi Arabia.

Ebola-Infected Patient Escapes Quarantine In Search Of Food

U.S. Democrat Congressman Demands Travel Ban From Ebola Infected Countries

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Michael Osterholm on the Bird Flu in China

Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: Session Two: The Economics

Watch experts analyze the economic effects of pandemic influenza including on the labor force and trade.
This session was part of a CFR symposium, Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy, which was cosponsored with Science Magazine.

SPEAKERS:
Yanzhong Huang, Director, Center for Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University
Andrew Jack, Pharmaceutical Correspondent, Financial Times
Michael T. Osterholm, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota (via teleconference)
PRESIDER:
Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

 

Saudi Arabia bans Ebola-stricken countries from hajj pilgrimage

With the arrival of approximately two million people from around the world in Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage, there are a group of pilgrims who were not welcomed.

The Saudi government has banned the entry of travelers from three countries currently dealing with the Ebola epidemic: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The decision to reject visa requests from these countries has affected 7,400 people, according to the Associated Press.

Hospitals in Saudi Arabia are also preparing in the event of an outbreak by setting up isolation and surgery units as well as dispatching medical staff to airports.

Despite banning pilgrim seekers from West Africa, Saudi officials are granting visas to pilgrims travelling from Nigeria. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz International Airport has provided them with two exclusive lounges as a precaution.

“So far 118,000 pilgrims have arrived by air from Nigeria. There was not a single suspected case of the deadly virus among anyone of them,” said Abdul Ghani Al-Malki, supervisor of hajj affairs at the airport.

Saudi officials have also been closely monitoring incoming flights from Kenya, Congo and other countries with reported cases of Ebola. Al-Malki told the local Saudi Gazettethat airport’s health inspection center ensured that planes and their passengers were not only free of Ebola, but other contagious diseases as well. “We have double-checked the papers that prove the airplanes had been sprayed twice before taking off to their destinations.”

The current death toll from Ebola in West Africa rose to 3,338, according to the World Health Organization report released Wednesday.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/saudi-arabia-bans-pilgrims-ebola-stricken-countriespilgrims-ebola-stricken-countries-banned-hajj/

 

Saudi Arabia plays down Ebola concern for Hajj pilgrimage

Some in the crowd wore face masks – a possible precaution over Ebola fears

Two million Muslims have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage, a five-day ritual central to Islam.

This year there have been concerns pilgrims may spread the contagious diseases Ebola and MERS.

Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj takes place, played down fears on Ebola, having banned pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Their decision has excluded 7,400 Muslims, though it is estimated that 1.4m of the pilgrims are international.

Some of the numbers involved in 2014’s Hajj – in 60 seconds

Saudi Arabia has claimed this year’s Hajj is Ebola free as pilgrims flooded into Mina, 5km (three miles) from the holy city of Mecca, for the start of the pilgrimage.

As well as refusing visas to those from the three countries worst hit by Ebola, Saudi authorities asked all visitors to fill out medical screening cards and detail their travels over the past three weeks.

But Ebola is not the only disease concerning the Saudi government.

MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, hit Saudi Arabia badly in the spring of this year.

Since 2012, there have been more than 750 cases of MERS in the country. Of this total 319 people died, some of whom were health workers.

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The meaning of Hajj

Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, archivePilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca, the building is the most sacred place in Islam and the direction of prayer for Muslims
  • Hajj is an annual five-day pilgrimage which all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lives, if they can afford it
  • It is the fifth and final pillar of Islam and is supposed to cleanse Muslims of sin and bring them closer to each other and God
  • The pilgrims, or Hajjis, wear simple white garments called “ihram” which give them all equal status
  • Those going on the hajj are required to abstain from sex, not to argue, kill anything or hunt and to avoid shaving and cutting their nails
  • Pilgrims perform several rituals during the hajj including walking counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba in Mecca, drinking from the Zam Zam Well and performing a symbolic stoning of the devil.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29461229

Will Airborne Ebola Become A Modern Global Plague?

The last several months have led to much confusion about the spread of the Ebola virus. Health officials and governments first denied that a serious threat existed and took no significant action to prevent its spread outside of West Africa. Then, after it had made it’s way to six different countries in the region, officials at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control started to panic. Apathy gave way to the real fear that we were facing a virus on a whole different scale than ever before.

At its current rate, some mathematical models show that the virus could infect anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 by the end of the year, with over 4,000 people worldwide having been infected thus far. About 2,300 people, over 50% of those who have contracted it, have died.

Fired Up Obama to Immigration Activists: ‘No Force On Earth Can Stop Us’

‘Si se puede, si votamos! Yes, we can, if we vote!’

 BY DANIEL HALPER

A fired up President Barack Obama had a message to immigration activists at a dinner this evening in Washington, D.C.: “no force on earth can stop us.”

 

“The clearest path to change is to change [the voter turnout] number,” said Obama “Si se puede, si votamos! Yes, we can, if we vote!”

“You know, earlier this year, I had a chance to host a screening of the film Cesar Chavez at the White House, and I was reminded that Cesar organized for nearly 20 years before his first major victory. He never saw that time as a failure. Looking back, he said, I remember the families who joined our movement and paid dues long before there was any hope of winning contracts. I remember thinking then that with spirit like that, no force on earth could stop us.

“That’s the promise of America then and that’s the promise of America now. People who love this country can change it. America isn’t Congress. America isn’t Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kids a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger. America is the student who defies the odds to become the first in the family to go to college. The citizen who defies the cynics and goes out there and votes. The young person who comes out of the shadows to demand the right to dream. That’s what America is about.

“And six years ago, I asked you to believe, and tonight, I ask you to keep believing, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in your ability to bring about change. Because in the end, DREAMer is more than just a title, it’s a pretty good description of what it means to be an American.

http://engine.4dsply.com/Bridge/Index?width=850&height=650&url=%2FRedirect.engine%3FPerformanceTest%3Dnull%26MediaId%3D15307%26PId%3D17982%26MediaSegmentId%3D11932%26PoolId%3D26%26SiteId%3D523%26ZoneId%3D2029%26Country%3DUnited%20States%26Bid%3D10.57807%26MaxBid%3D16%26currentUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.weeklystandard.com%252Fblogs%252Ffired-obama-immigration-activists-no-force-earth-can-stop-us_808488.html

 

Patient Being Evaluated for Possible Ebola at D.C.’s Howard University Hospital

A patient with Ebola-like symptoms who had recently traveled to Nigeria is being treated at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., a hospital spokesperson confirmed late Friday morning.

That person has been admitted to the hospital in stable condition and is isolated. The medical team is working with the CDC and other authorities to monitor the patient’s condition.

“In an abundance of caution, we have activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including isolating the patient,” said hospital spokesperson Kerry-Ann Hamilton in a statement. “Our medical team continues to evaluate and monitor progress in close collaboration with the CDC and the Department of Health.”

Hamilton did not share further details about the patient, citing privacy reasons, but said the hospital will provide updates as warranted.

The D.C. Department of Health released a statement shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, saying that the department has been working with the CDC and Howard University Hospital to monitor “any patients displaying symptoms associated with the Ebola virus.”

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in D.C., said the statement.

At Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland, a patient is in isolation with “flu-like symptoms and a travel history that matches criteria for possible Ebola,” according to a statement from the hospital. Lab results indicate the patient has another illness.

“We are working closely with the Montgomery County Health Department and State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) as well as the CDC to manage this case and to ensure we continue to be prepared to care for patients with Ebola symptoms,” the statement said.

“We will only be making an announcement if and when there is a laboratory confirmed case, and that announcement would be made in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC,” Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Mary Anderson said.

The White House announced Friday that senior administration officials will hold a briefing on the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola pandemic at 4:30 p.m., NBC News reported.

As public health advocates had warned, the raging Ebola outbreak in West Africa has begun to affect Westerners, though the disease is difficult to spread casually.

Thursday, news broke that a freelance NBC cameraman covering the outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia had tested positive for Ebola after experiencing symptoms of the disease.

The cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, had been working with chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. NBC News is flying Mukpo and the entire team back to the U.S. so Mukpo can be treated and the team can be quarantined for 21 days.

Snyderman told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she and the rest of her crew have shown no signs of the disease and have taken precautions while covering the outbreak, including washing their hands with bleach.

The crew are quarantining themselves as a precaution.

Ebola is contagious only when infected people are showing symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who have been exposed to Ebola will show signs of it within 21 days of exposure, the CDC said.

“There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC.

On Tuesday, the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, flew from his hometown of Monrovia, Liberia, and through Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 20 before entering the United States via Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. He then traveled on to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Duncan, a Liberian man with family in the United States, first went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sept. 25 but was sent home. He returned to the hospital via ambulance Sunday.

On Friday, he was listed in serious but stable condition.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Patient-With-Ebola-Like-Symptoms-Being-Treated-at-Howard-University-Hospital-278025181.html

U.S. Ebola Screening Widens

Officials Say About 100 Individuals Will Be Monitored for Potential Exposure

The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded to approximately 100, and four members of a family close to the U.S. patient were ordered to remain in their Dallas home. (Photo: AP)

The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded Thursday to roughly 100, as health officials cast a wide net to try to prevent the one confirmed case of the disease from sparking an outbreak.

Four members of a family close to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with the virus, were ordered to remain in their Dallas home and not receive any visitors until at least Oct. 19, to pass the 21-day maximum incubation period for the often-deadly disease.

The 100 people being screened represent a “very wide net,” including some who possibly had brief encounters with Mr. Duncan, Texas health officials said. They added that the number is likely to drop as they narrow the list to those actually at potential risk of infection.

Thursday, an American freelance journalist in Liberia tested positive for the disease, his father and his employer, NBC News, said. The 33-year-old man is tentatively scheduled to be transported back to the U.S. on Sunday.

In Mr. Duncan’s case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said officials so far have identified only “a handful” of individuals who may have had close contact with him.

The public health search comes as authorities in Liberia grapple with how Mr. Duncan managed to leave their country and bring Ebola to the U.S. despite government efforts to stop transmission of the virus, a journey that took him from a neighborhood of tin-roof houses in a West African capital to an isolation ward at a Dallas hospital.

Before traveling to Texas via Belgium, Mr. Duncan escorted a woman to a treatment ward in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where she was turned away and died of the virus within hours, said Irene Seyou, Mr. Duncan’s next-door neighbor.

In a community near where U.S. victim Thomas Eric Duncan lived in Monrovia, many have died and children are worried they will be taken away. Glenna Gordon for The Wall Street Journal

On Sept. 16, several health workers arrived in Mr. Duncan’s neighborhood in Monrovia to investigate a report that a pregnant 18-year-old woman, recently sent home from a nearby clinic, had shown Ebola symptoms that included vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding, said Prince Toe and other members of the Ebola Response Team in the capital’s 72nd community.

But when the team arrived in the neighborhood, residents insisted the pregnant teenager had been in a car accident, said Mr. Toe, the unit’s supervisor. When the neighbors grew rowdy at being pressed for information, the team turned back, he said.

At Liberia’s airport, the temperatures of arriving and departing passengers are checked three times by security guards—at the entrance, before the check-in desk and at the metal detectors—to screen out those who display Ebola’s hallmark early symptom, a fever.

Passengers are asked to fill out questionnaires about whether they had been in contact with any Ebola victims. Mr. Duncan lied on those forms—and would be prosecuted for doing so if he returns to Liberia—the Associated Press reported Liberia’s government as saying Thursday.

Mr. Duncan is in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, which initially sent him home with antibiotics after he complained of illness, only to accept him on Sunday after he returned in an ambulance. Hospital officials have since conceded that they erred by not taking him in initially after he mentioned his symptoms and country of origin.

Hospital officials said Thursday that Mr. Duncan’s condition continued to be serious. Dr. Frieden of the CDC said Mr. Duncan’s physicians were discussing the possible use of experimental treatments with his family.

Edward Goodman, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s epidemiologist, said the team of doctors treating Mr. Duncan has received guidelines from the CDC but that there is no specific treatment for Ebola other than supportive measures, such as keeping the patient well hydrated to avoid organ damage and supplying oxygen.

Most of the 100 people Texas is tracking for potential Ebola exposure haven’t been ordered to stay home. Officials said they ordered four of Mr. Duncan’s family members to remain in their home because the family disobeyed their request to stay there. They said the family, which was examined Thursday, hadn’t developed any symptoms. A law enforcement official is stationed outside their apartment to make sure they don’t leave.

Ebola is a highly contagious virus, but only if you come into contact with certain bodily fluids of those infected. What do scientists know about how it’s transmitted? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the highest elected official in Dallas County, said there were no plans to issue similar orders for other people. Local and state health officials said they had delivered groceries to the family and were arranging for a contractor to clean the apartment. Mr. Jenkins said it appeared that sealed bags filled with Mr. Duncan’s belongings, including his clothes and sheets, were still inside, and that the family had pushed mattresses against the wall.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings sought to assure the public that the risk of contagion was minimal. “We’re getting the word out and people are starting to understand what has happened,” he said.

Still, at schools attended by five children who came into contact with Mr. Duncan, attendance was down to 86% from the 95% level that is normal, said Mike Miles, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, who added that custodians were doing extra cleaning.

While officials sought to control the panic over Ebola in Texas, some people who had come into contact with Mr. Duncan wondered why he hadn’t received treatment sooner.

Joe Joe Jallah said he met Mr. Duncan last week when visiting Mr. Jallah’s former wife, Louise Troh, the same woman Mr. Duncan had come to see in the U.S.

Ms. Troh declined to speak about the situation when reached by phone.

Mr. Jallah, who has a daughter with Ms. Troh, said he listened as Mr. Duncan described how dire things had become in Liberia, and how rigorous the health screenings were during his trip to the U.S.

Several days later, on Saturday, Mr. Jallah said he heard that Mr. Duncan had fallen ill at Ms. Troh’s apartment. Concerned, Mr. Jallah went back.

“He was lying down on the floor with a comforter. He said he was sick and that he had no appetite,” Mr. Jallah said.

“I said, ‘Did you go to the hospital?’ He said, ‘Yes, but they did nothing for me,’” Mr. Jallah recalled. “I said, ‘You should eat so you can gain strength.’”

The next day, Mr. Jallah said he returned after his daughter, Youngor Jallah, a nurse’s aide who visits her mother frequently, called, sounding frantic and saying that Mr. Duncan was still sick.

Ms. Jallah said Mr. Duncan had been up all night with diarrhea. His eyes were red, he seemed exhausted and had no appetite for the breakfast she made. He tried to drink some tea. Ms. Jallah took his temperature and it was 104, she said.

Ms. Jallah decided to call an ambulance. When emergency workers came, she informed them that Mr. Duncan was sick and had traveled to Dallas from a virus stricken-region in Africa. The workers put masks over their faces.

Ms. Jallah said she has since been told she and her family must stay in their home for 17 more days.

“I am concerned for myself. When I took his blood pressure, I never had no protection. I worry about my kids. My kids were over there with my mom,” she said.

“I am worried about him too,” she added.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-ebola-screening-grows-1412293227?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_health

Michael Osterholm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a prominent public health scientist and a nationally recognized biosecurity expert in the United States.[1] Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, a professor in the School of Public Health, and an adjunct professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School.[2]

Career

From 1975 to 1999, Osterholm served in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including as state epidemiologist and Chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section from 1984 to 1999. While at the MDH, Osterholm strengthened the departments role in infectious disease epidemiology, notably including numerous foodborne disease outbreaks, the association between tampons and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and the transmission of hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in healthcare workers. Other work included studies regarding the epidemiology of infectious diseases in child-care settings, vaccine-preventable diseases (particularly Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B), Lyme disease, and other emerging and re-emerging infections.

From 2001 through early 2005, Osterholm, in addition to his role at CIDRAP, served as a Special Advisor to then–HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. In April 2002, Osterholm was appointed to the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), until the eventual appointment of Julie Gerberding as director.

Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity in 2005.

Biosecurity

Osterholm has been particularly outspoken on the lack of international prepardness for an influenza pandemic.[3][4] Osterholm has also been an international leader against the use of biological agents as weapons targeted toward civilians.

Other

Osterholm serves on the editorial boards of five journals, and is a reviewer for another two dozen. He is a past president of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and has served on the CDC National Center for Infectious Diseases Board of Scientific Counselors from 1992 to 1997.

Osterholm serves on the IOM Forum on Emerging Infections. He has served on the IOM Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century and the IOM Committee on Food Safety, Production to Consumption, and he was a reviewer for the IOM Report on Chemical and Biological Terrorism. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Defense, and the CDC.

Honors

Osterholm has received numerous honors for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Luther College, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of theNational Academy of Sciences.

References

  1. Jump up^ “Plague War: Interviews: Michael Osterholm”. Frontline. PBS. 1998-10-01. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  2. Jump up^ “Global Conference 2006″. Milken Institute. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  3. Jump up^ “Renewed warning over flu pandemic”. BBC News. 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  4. Jump up^ Osterholm MT (May 2005). “Preparing for the next pandemic”. N. Engl. J. Med. 352 (18): 1839–42. doi:10.1056/NEJMp058068. PMID 15872196. Retrieved 2008-07-02.

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Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

Posted on September 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crisis, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Films, Fiscal Policy, Food, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, Government Land Ownership, government spending, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Obamacare, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Programming, Public Sector, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Securities and Exchange Commission, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Story 1: Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
09/17/2014 12,767,522,798,389.80 4,997,219,915,398.95 17,764,742,713,788.75

 

TABLE I -- SUMMARY OF TREASURY SECURITIES OUTSTANDING, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                              By the Public         Holdings
Marketable:
  Bills.......................................        1,450,293                     1,704                1,451,998
  Notes.......................................        8,109,269                     7,365                8,116,634
  Bonds.......................................        1,521,088                        57                1,521,144
  Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.....        1,031,836                        52                1,031,888
  Floating Rate Notes  21  ...................          109,996                         0                  109,996
  Federal Financing Bank  1  .................                0                    13,612                   13,612
Total Marketable  a...........................       12,222,481                    22,790 2             12,245,271
Nonmarketable:
  Domestic Series.............................           29,995                         0                   29,995
  Foreign Series..............................            2,986                         0                    2,986
  State and Local Government Series...........          105,440                         0                  105,440
  United States Savings Securities............          177,030                         0                  177,030
  Government Account Series...................          193,237                 4,993,277                5,186,514
  Hope Bonds 19...............................                0                       494                      494
  Other.......................................            1,443                         0                    1,443
Total Nonmarketable  b........................          510,130                 4,993,771                5,503,901
Total Public Debt Outstanding ................       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
TABLE II -- STATUTORY DEBT LIMIT, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                                 By the Public 17, 2Holdings
Debt Subject to Limit: 17, 20
  Total Public Debt Outstanding...............       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
  Less Debt Not Subject to Limit:
    Other Debt ...............................              485                         0                      485
    Unamortized Discount  3...................           15,742                    12,421                   28,163
    Federal Financing Bank  1     ............                0                    13,612                   13,612
    Hope Bonds 19.............................                0                       494                      494
  Plus Other Debt Subject to Limit:
    Guaranteed Debt of Government Agencies  4                 *                         0                        *
  Total Public Debt Subject to Limit .........       12,716,386                 4,990,033               17,706,419
  Statutory Debt Limit  5.....................................................................                   0
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY
THE BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
www.TreasuryDirect.gov

Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding

The Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding includes the monthly interest for:

Amortized discount or premium on bills, notes and bonds is also included in the monthly interest expense.

The fiscal year represents the total interest expense on the Debt Outstanding for a given fiscal year. This includes the months of October through September. View current month details (XLS Format, File size 199KB, uploaded 09/05/2014).

Note: To read or print a PDF document, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader (v5.0 or higher) software installed on your computer. You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Website.

If you need help downloading…

Interest Expense Fiscal Year 2014
August $27,093,517,258.24
July $29,260,530,745.98
June $97,565,768,696.69
May $32,081,384,628.40
April $31,099,852,014.96
March $26,269,559,883.36
February $21,293,863,450.50
January $19,498,592,676.78
December $88,275,817,263.03
November $22,327,099,682.97
October $16,451,313,332.09
Fiscal Year Total $411,217,855,816.94
Available Historical Data Fiscal Year End
2013 $415,688,781,248.40
2012 $359,796,008,919.49
2011 $454,393,280,417.03
2010 $413,954,825,362.17
2009 $383,071,060,815.42
2008 $451,154,049,950.63
2007 $429,977,998,108.20
2006 $405,872,109,315.83
2005 $352,350,252,507.90
2004 $321,566,323,971.29
2003 $318,148,529,151.51
2002 $332,536,958,599.42
2001 $359,507,635,242.41
2000 $361,997,734,302.36
1999 $353,511,471,722.87
1998 $363,823,722,920.26
1997 $355,795,834,214.66
1996 $343,955,076,695.15
1995 $332,413,555,030.62
1994 $296,277,764,246.26
1993 $292,502,219,484.25
1992 $292,361,073,070.74
1991 $286,021,921,181.04
1990 $264,852,544,615.90
1989 $240,863,231,535.71
1988 $214,145,028,847.73

chart

fredgraph

fredgraph

BND-10-Year-Treasury-Yield-09122014

 JIM ROGERS Financial disaster coming – Dollar collapse – Countries Move Away From USD

US Fed signals move to normalize monetary policy

Dollar Meltdown, Massive Financial Bubble, Economic Collapse Marc Faber

Peter Schiff Iraq Crisis Threatens Global Economy

Peter Schiff – Fantasy About US Recovery Is Not Going To Materialize

Most important video Americans will see today – Doug Casey Interview

James Grant: Two Alternative Outcomes From Fed Policy – Much Higher Inflation or More Money Printing

Investor Jim Grant on Bubbles And Bargains

Jim Rogers Discusses Concern Over The Market

Jim Rogers On Economic Collapse And The US Debt‬

US Economy 2014 Collapse – *Peter Schiff* – FED will cause Huge Economic Crisis!

US ECONOMY COLLAPSE WILL LEAVE MILLIONS IN POVERTY

There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly

US Massive Financial Crisis Coming

Dan Mitchell Discussing Harvard Survey, Arguing for Growth over Class Warfare

The Coming Stock Market Crash and The Death of Money with Jim Rickards

Market Crash, Economic collapse 2014, The coming of World War 3 – Stock Market

Forbes: Obama’s Economic Reforms Are the Definition of Insanity

Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

Doug Casey-No Way Out-Stock, Bond and Real Estate Markets Will Collapse

Russia conspired to destroy US dollar with China – clip from Meltdown America documentary

http://www.caseyresearch.com/lg/meltdown-video

 

 

Here a bubble, there a bubble: Ol’ Marc Faber

Even after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at new all-time highs, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber keeps sounding the alarm.

“We have a bubble in everything, everywhere,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Faber has long argued that the Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchasing programs and near-zero interest rates have inflated stock prices.

The catalyst for a market decline, as he sees it, could be a “raise in interest rates, not engineered by the Fed,” referring an increase in bond yields.

 

Faber also expressed concern about American consumers. “Their cost of living have gone up more than the salary increases, so they’re getting squeezed. So that’s why retailing is not doing particularly well.”

A real black swan event, he argued, would be a global recession. “The big surprise will be that the global economy slows down and goes into recession. And that will shock markets.”

If economies around the world can’t recovery with the Fed and other central banks pumping easy money into the system, that would send a dire message, Faber added. He believes the best way for world economies to recover is to cut the size of government.

Read MoreBond market hears Fed hawks; stocks see doves

There’s a dual-economy in the U.S. and around the world with the rich doing really well and others struggling, he said. “[But] the rich will get creamed one day, especially in Europe, on wealth taxes.”

On the other end of the market spectrum, longtime stock market bull Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Tuesday (ahead of Wednesday’s Fed policy statement leaving interest rate guidance unchanged) that he stands by his Dow 18,000 prediction.

The Wharton School professor sees second half economic growth of 3 to 4 percent, S&P 500 earnings near $120, and the start of Fed rate hikes in the spring or summer of 2015

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102016166

 

Fed and TWTR Overvaluation, Evidence of Looming Market Crash: Stockman

The Federal Reserve Wednesday reassured investors that it will hold interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after it ends the bond-buying program known as quantitative easing in October. In response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) closed at a new record high.

Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and author of the book, The Great Deformation, David Stockman, has significant concerns about that very policy.

“I’m worried… that we’ve got the greatest bubble created by a central bank in human history,” he told Yahoo Finance.

In a recent blog post, Stockman offered a handful of high-flying stocks as evidence of what he sees as “madness.”

                                               “…Twitter, is all that is required to remind us that once

                                               again markets are trading in the nosebleed section

                                               of history, rivaling even the madness of March 2000.”

Behind the madness

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Stockman blamed Fed policy for creating that madness.

“We have been shoving zero-cost money into the financial markets for 6-years running,” he said. “That’s the kerosene that drives speculative trading – the carry trades. That’s what the gamblers use to fund their position as they move from one momentum play and trade to another.”

And that, he says, is not sustainable. While Stockman believes tech stocks are especially overvalued, he warns that it’s not just tech valuations that are inflated. “Everything’s massively overvalued, and it’s predicated on zero-cost overnight money that continues these carry trades; It can’t continue.”

And he still believes, as he has for some time – so far, incorrectly – that there will be a day of reckoning.

“When the trades begin to unwind because the carry cost has to normalize, you’re going to have a dramatic re-pricing dislocation in these financial markets.”

As Yahoo Finance’s Lauren Lyster points out in the associated video, investors who heeded Stockman’s advice last year would have missed out on a 28% run-up in stocks. But Stockman remains steadfast in his belief that the current Fed policy and the resultant market behavior can not continue. “I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”

 

 

Federal Reserve Statistical Release, H.4.1, Factors Affecting Reserve Balances; title with eagle logo links to Statistical Release home page
Release Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014
Release dates | Data Download Program (DDP) | About | Announcements | Technical Q&As
Current release  Other formats: Screen reader | ASCII | PDF (21 KB)


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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release

H.4.1

Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions and Condition Statement of Federal Reserve Banks September 11, 2014

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Reserve Bank credit 4,377,690 +    4,183 +  761,693 4,379,719
Securities held outright1 4,159,537 +    2,675 +  765,361 4,160,521
U.S. Treasury securities 2,439,657 +    2,671 +  401,376 2,440,637
Bills2          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,325,368 +    2,678 +  386,333 2,326,351
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   11,737     97,755
Inflation compensation3     16,534 -        7 +    3,306     16,531
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,868     41,562
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,317 +        4 +  386,851 1,678,322
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,963 -      219 +    5,815    208,907
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,664 +       21 -   12,958    -18,654
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0
Loans        291 -        8 +       18        352
Primary credit         10 -       18 -        8         53
Secondary credit          0          0          0          0
Seasonal credit        247 +        9 +       94        266
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility7         34          0 -       68         34
Other credit extensions          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC8      1,664 -        1 +      171      1,665
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC9         63          0 -        1         63
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC10         22          0          0         22
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC11         44          0 -       80         44
Float       -675 -       69 +       94       -627
Central bank liquidity swaps12         77 +        1 -      243         77
Other Federal Reserve assets13     26,369 +    1,784 +    3,517     27,349
Foreign currency denominated assets14     22,933 -      353 -      737     22,801
Gold stock     11,041          0          0     11,041
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0      5,200
Treasury currency outstanding15     46,103 +       14 +      820     46,103
Total factors supplying reserve funds 4,462,967 +    3,844 +  761,776 4,464,863

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions (continued)

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Currency in circulation15 1,292,467 -      442 +   84,956 1,291,993
Reverse repurchase agreements16    266,584 +      818 +  173,996    267,602
Foreign official and international accounts    102,228 -      296 +    9,640    107,303
Others    164,356 +    1,115 +  164,356    160,299
Treasury cash holdings        165 +        4 +       23        164
Deposits with F.R. Banks, other than reserve balances     52,715 -    6,170 -   19,233     53,117
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0
U.S. Treasury, General Account     39,081 -    3,787 +      530     31,872
Foreign official      5,432 -    1,134 -    3,562      5,241
Other17      8,202 -    1,248 -   16,201     16,004
Other liabilities and capital18     63,991 -        1 +      818     63,033
Total factors, other than reserve balances,
absorbing reserve funds
1,675,922 -    5,792 +  240,561 1,675,910
Reserve balances with Federal Reserve Banks 2,787,045 +    9,636 +  521,214 2,788,954

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of
the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Includes credit extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to eligible borrowers through the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.
8. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
12. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned
to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the
foreign central bank.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.  Also, includes Reserve Bank premises and equipment net of allowances for depreciation.
14. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
15. Estimated.
16. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
17. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
18. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury. Refer to table 8 and table 9.

Sources: Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

1A. Memorandum Items

Millions of dollars

Memorandum item Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Securities held in custody for foreign official and international accounts 3,338,309 -      417 +   61,832 3,343,937
Marketable U.S. Treasury securities1 3,010,563 -      456 +   86,414 3,016,027
Federal agency debt and mortgage-backed securities2    285,805 +       28 -   29,008    285,934
Other securities3     41,942 +       12 +    4,427     41,976
Securities lent to dealers     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
Overnight facility4     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
U.S. Treasury securities      9,860 +    1,721 -    1,405     10,373
Federal agency debt securities        810 -       72 -       23        750

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities and U.S. Treasury STRIPS at face value, and inflation compensation on TIPS. Does not include securities pledged as collateral to foreign official and international account holders against reverse repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve presented in tables 1, 8, and 9.
2. Face value of federal agency securities and current face value of mortgage-backed securities, which is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
3. Includes non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities, supranationals, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, and commercial paper at face value.
4. Face value. Fully collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
2. Maturity Distribution of Securities, Loans, and Selected Other Assets and Liabilities, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Remaining Maturity Within 15
days
16 days to
90 days
91 days to
1 year
Over 1 year
to 5 years
Over 5 year
to 10 years
Over 10
years
All
Loans1        118        234          0          0          0        352
U.S. Treasury securities2
Holdings          0         90      3,194 1,037,162    742,261    657,930 2,440,637
Weekly changes          0          0          0 +    1,615 -        1 +    2,037 +    3,651
Federal agency debt securities3
Holdings      1,556      1,329      3,584     32,746          0      2,347     41,562
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Mortgage-backed securities4
Holdings          0          0          0         10      4,698 1,673,614 1,678,322
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0 +      863 -      857 +        6
Asset-backed securities held by
TALF LLC5
         0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Central bank liquidity swaps7         77          0          0          0          0          0         77
Reverse repurchase agreements6    267,602          0    267,602
Term deposits          0          0          0          0

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
…Not applicable.

1. Excludes the loans from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden
Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC. The loans were eliminated when preparing the FRBNY’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation
under generally accepted accounting principles.
2. Face value. For inflation-indexed securities, includes the original face value and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the
original face value of such securities.
3. Face value.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Face value of asset-backed securities held by TALF LLC, which is the remaining principal balance of the underlying assets.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.

3. Supplemental Information on Mortgage-Backed Securities

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Mortgage-backed securities held outright1 1,678,322
Commitments to buy mortgage-backed securities2     80,643
Commitments to sell mortgage-backed securities2          0
Cash and cash equivalents3          4
1. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
2. Current face value. Generally settle within 180 days and include commitments associated with outright transactions, dollar rolls, and coupon swaps.
3. This amount is included in other Federal Reserve assets in table 1 and in other assets in table 8 and table 9.

4. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC1      1,665
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to JPMorgan Chase & Co.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On June 26, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended credit to Maiden Lane LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns and to manage those assets through time to maximize repayment of the credit extended and to minimize disruption to financial markets. Payments by Maiden Lane LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of the LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to JPMorgan Chase & Co., and interest due to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Any remaining funds will be paid to the FRBNY.

5. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane II LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC1         63
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Deferred payment and accrued interest payable to subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The deferred payment represents the portion of the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings due to subsidiaries of American
International Group, Inc. in accordance with the asset purchase agreement. The fair value of this payment and accrued interest payable are
included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On December 12, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane II LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. (AIG subsidiaries). Payments by Maiden Lane II LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane II LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, and deferred payment and interest due to AIG subsidiaries. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG subsidiaries.

6. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane III LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC1         22
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane III LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) on which the Financial Products group of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has written credit default swap (CDS) contracts. In connection with the purchase of CDOs, the CDS counterparties will concurrently unwind the related CDS transactions. Payments by Maiden Lane III LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane III LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to AIG, and interest due to AIG. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG.

7. Information on Principal Accounts of TALF LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Asset-backed securities holdings1          0
Other investments, net         44
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC         44
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Funding provided by U.S. Treasury to TALF LLC, including accrued interest payable3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) under theauthority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The TALF is a facility under which the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended loans with a term of up to five years to holders of eligible asset-backed securities. The Federal Reserve closed the TALF for new loan extensions in 2010. The loans provided through the TALF to eligible borrowers are non-recourse, meaning that the obligation of the borrower can be discharged by surrendering the collateral to the FRBNY.

TALF LLC is a limited liability company formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a TALF loan. TALF LLC has committed, for a fee, to purchase all asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in conjunction with a TALF loan at a price equal to the TALF loan plus accrued but unpaid interest. Prior to January 15, 2013, the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) committed backup funding to TALF LLC, providing credit protection to the FRBNY. However, the accumulated fees and income collected through the TALF and held by TALF LLC now exceed the remaining amount of TALF loans outstanding. Accordingly, the TARP credit protection commitment has been terminated, and TALF LLC has begun to distribute excess proceeds to the Treasury and the FRBNY. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037          0          0
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0
Coin      1,930 +        8 -       62
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements, and loans 4,351,126 +    3,534 +  756,847
Securities held outright1 4,160,521 +    3,657 +  763,739
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637 +    3,651 +  399,549
Bills2          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,326,351 +    3,661 +  385,784
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   10,546
Inflation compensation3     16,531 -       10 +    3,219
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,654
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322 +        6 +  386,844
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907 -      132 +    5,820
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654 +       19 -   12,787
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Loans        352 -       10 +       75
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC7      1,665 +        1 +      167
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC8         63          0 -        1
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC9         22          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0 -       68
Items in process of collection (0)         94 -       22 -       31
Bank premises      2,255          0 -       29
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77 +        1 -      243
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801 -      404 -      925
Other assets13     25,095 +    2,704 +    3,719
Total assets (0) 4,421,408 +    5,821 +  759,373

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes, net of F.R. Bank holdings 1,247,980 -    2,086 +   84,510
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602 +   17,296 +  175,438
Deposits (0) 2,842,072 -    8,612 +  499,663
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954 -   24,799 +  513,312
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872 +   10,836 +    1,852
Foreign official      5,241 -    1,326 -    3,524
Other15 (0)     16,004 +    6,676 -   11,978
Deferred availability cash items (0)        721 -      482 -      163
Other liabilities and accrued dividends16      6,693 -      299 -    1,529
Total liabilities (0) 4,365,067 +    5,817 +  757,919
Capital accounts
Capital paid in     28,170 +        2 +      726
Surplus     28,170 +        2 +      726
Other capital accounts          0          0          0
Total capital     56,341 +        4 +    1,454

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037        352      4,125        338        464        824      1,349        706        278        173        291        880      1,257
Special drawing rights certificate acct.      5,200        196      1,818        210        237        412        654        424        150         90        153        282        574
Coin      1,930         32         94        124        123        320        222        276         25         46        153        182        332
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements,
and loans
4,351,126     88,009 2,670,390    104,231     94,993    243,168    240,542    177,833     53,725     26,795     57,330    132,586    461,524
Securities held outright1 4,160,521     84,160 2,553,576     99,673     90,839    232,534    229,991    170,046     51,317     25,497     54,804    126,772    441,311
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Bills2          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds3 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562        841     25,509        996        907      2,323      2,298      1,699        513        255        547      1,266      4,409
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322     33,949 1,030,093     40,207     36,644     93,803     92,777     68,595     20,701     10,285     22,107     51,139    178,021
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907      4,226    128,220      5,005      4,561     11,676     11,548      8,538      2,577      1,280      2,752      6,365     22,159
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654       -377    -11,449       -447       -407     -1,043     -1,031       -762       -230       -114       -246       -568     -1,979
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Loans        352          1         44          0          0          0         34         11         61        132         20         17         33
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane LLC7      1,665          0      1,665          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane II LLC8         63          0         63          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane III LLC9         22          0         22          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0         44          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Items in process of collection         94          0          0          0          0          0         93          0          0          1          0          0          0
Bank premises      2,255        121        434         74        110        222        209        198        124         97        243        224        200
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77          4         25          6          6         16          4          2          1          0          1          1         11
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801      1,037      7,335      1,714      1,813      4,754      1,311        629        192         96        240        381      3,299
Other assets13     25,095        535     15,039        739        546      1,547      1,374      1,014        356        219        347        798      2,580
Interdistrict settlement account          0 +   10,547 -   58,585 +    2,678 +    9,252 +      197 +    8,040 -   10,297 -   10,950 -    2,083 -      134 +    2,635 +   48,701
Total assets 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974     44,572    489,349     42,766     65,118    103,568    212,875     94,569     37,360     21,242     36,783    115,911    179,862
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks    195,994      5,311     63,063      6,357      8,870     11,177     20,690     11,915      4,937      4,278      5,302     25,736     28,359
Federal Reserve notes, net 1,247,980     39,261    426,285     36,409     56,248     92,391    192,186     82,654     32,423     16,964     31,481     90,175    151,503
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602      5,413    164,244      6,411      5,843     14,956     14,793     10,937      3,301      1,640      3,525      8,154     28,385
Deposits 2,842,072     53,409 2,030,175     62,876     40,791    131,999     42,547     75,315      7,510      6,356     22,882     38,429    329,783
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954     53,397 1,977,410     62,837     40,788    131,731     42,538     75,306      7,510      6,355     22,881     38,428    329,774
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872          0     31,872          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Foreign official      5,241          2      5,214          3          3          8          2          1          0          0          0          1          6
Other15     16,004         11     15,679         36          0        260          7          7          0          0          1          0          3
Deferred availability cash items        721          0          0          0          0          0        611          0          0        110          0          0          0
Interest on Federal Reserve notes due
to U.S. Treasury16
     1,693         19      1,199         20         10         23         86         73         20         12         20         54        155
Other liabilities and accrued
dividends17
     5,000        167      2,179        211        208        544        361        282        142        118        126        208        454
Total liabilities 4,365,067     98,270 2,624,083    105,927    103,101    239,913    250,583    169,261     43,395     25,200     58,034    137,021    510,279
Capital
Capital paid in     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Surplus     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Other capital          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Total liabilities and capital 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Includes the original face value of inflation-indexed securities and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of such securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation below.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation below.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation below.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation below.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate
equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Represents the estimated weekly remittances to U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes or, in those cases where the Reserve Bank’s net earnings are not sufficient to equate surplus to capital paid-in, the deferred asset for interest on Federal Reserve notes. The amount of any deferred asset, which is presented as a negative amount in this line, represents the amount of the Federal Reserve Bank’s earnings that must be retained before remittances to the U.S. Treasury resume. The amounts on this line are calculated in accordance with Board of Governors policy, which requires the Federal Reserve Banks to remit residual earnings to the U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.
17. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation below.

Note on consolidation:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has extended loans to several limited liability companies under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. On June 26, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane LLC, which was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns. On November 25, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane III LLC, which was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations on which the Financial Products group of the American International Group, Inc. has written credit default swap contracts. On December 12, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane II LLC, which was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board authorized the FRBNY to extend credit to TALF LLC, which was formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a loan extended under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of TALF LLC, because of the two beneficiaries of the LLC, the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury, the FRBNY is primarily responsible for directing the financial activities of TALF LLC. The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of the other LLCs cited above because it will receive a majority of any residual returns of the LLCs and absorb a majority of any residual losses of the LLCs. Consistent with generally accepted accounting principles, the assets and liabilities of these LLCs have been consolidated with the assets and liabilities of the FRBNY in the preparation of the statements of condition shown on this release. As a consequence of the consolidation, the extensions of credit from the FRBNY to the LLCs are eliminated, the net assets of the LLCs appear as assets on the previous page (and in table 1 and table 8), and the liabilities of the LLCs to entities other than the FRBNY, including those with recourse only to the portfolio holdings of the LLCs, are included in other liabilities in this table (and table 1 and table 8).

10. Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes: Federal Reserve Agents’ Accounts

Millions of dollars

Federal Reserve notes and collateral Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks not subject to collateralization    195,994
Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized 1,247,980
Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes 1,247,980
Gold certificate account     11,037
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged1,2 1,231,743
Other assets pledged          0
Memo:
Total U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities1,2 4,160,521
Less: Face value of securities under reverse repurchase agreements    257,508
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities eligible to be pledged 3,903,013

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes face value of U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities held outright, compensation to adjust for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities, and cash value of repurchase agreements.
2. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.

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The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians — The War on Christians! — Videos

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Story 1: The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians —  The War on Christians! — Videos

selectcommittegowdy

obama-cia-leon-panetta-twice-denied-military-backup-us-embassy-libya-benghazi

The Tyrant’s Liars Club

liars_club

Benghazi Select Committee Holds First Public Hearing Trey Gowdy On The Record

Watch Live: Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing

President Obama announces bipartisan House and Senate support of his plan to arm rebels in Syria

Islamic State: Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels approved

Rand Paul Lambasts White House, Congress for Arming Syrian Rebels

General: Benghazi ‘Botched Arms Deal’ To Muslim Brotherhood And Al Qaeda

Chairman Gowdy’s Questioning in First Benghazi Select Committee Hearing

Trey Gowdy Demands Answers On Benghazi

Rand Paul Destroys Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi-Gate During Capitol Hill Press Conference

Chaffetz: Clinton’s Top Aides Involved In Benghazi Documents Scrub

Hillary allies secretly removed Benghazi documents damaging to her ahead of ARB probe

Obama Admin Lied To Us! They Knew Who Attack Us In Benghazi, Libya On 9-11!!

RUSH: Benghazi Cover-Up Blown Wide Open And Nobody’s Talking About It

CIA Arming Syrian Rebels With Missiles, Taxpayer Dollars

Congress Passes War Funding To Support Obama’s ISIS Fight

The Benghazi Select Committee: Many Questions Remain Unanswered

Patrick Cockburn on the rise of the Islamic State

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance

Patrick Cockburn: U.S. Turns Blind Eye As Saudis Fund Jihadists in Syrian Conflict (2 of 2)

Syria – Who are Jabhat al-Nusra? – Truthloader

Who are ISIS? – Truthloader

 

benghazi-we-will-find-out-what-difference-does-it-make

13_hours

benghazi_us_cons_624map

650px-U.S._mission_and_annex_map_for_2012_Benghazi_attacksmcannex_mapcia_annex

manpads

Thousands of Surface To Air Missiles Are Missing In Libya

Libya rebels discover Gaddafi’s huge tank store in Tripoli ready for battle

The largest arms depot in Africa ( Alqaha)been taking over by Libyan freedom fighters

Benghazi, Arms for Rebels & Obama Lies About Syrian Chemical Weapons

FSA rebels shoot down SAA aircraft with 9K38 “Igla” MANPADS

Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front): Reports on Terror Group from CNN & Al-Jazeera… Purpose Explained!

13 Hours – Full Interview of the Three Benghazi Survivors – Fox News

Benghazi – The Truth Behind The Smokescreen – Bret Baier Reporting

Glenn Beck Why Obama Hid the Truth of Benghazi

Rep. Trey Gowdy blasts Jay Carney and Ambassador Susan Rice: I want to know why we were lied to!

Susan Rice Caught Lying About Benghazi – Rep. Trey Gowdy Whistleblower Questioning

Treason Exposed! Obama Used Benghazi Attack to Cover Up Arms Shipments to Muslim Brotherhood

CIA Pressuring Agents With Knowledge Of Benghazi To Keep Silent

SYRIA CNBC: Benghazi Is Not About Libya But An Operation To Put Arms & Men In Syria

Retired Lt Gen Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

SYRIA Rand Paul “Maybe We Were Facilitating Arms Leaving Libya Going Through Turkey Into Syria”

Rand Paul Blasts Stupid Senate for Wanting to Arm Syrian al-Qaeda Fighters

Sen. Rand Paul: ‘Worldwide War on Christianity’ Ignored by Obama, Media

House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels; CR Passes (Updated) (Video)

After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate.

House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.

A vote on the spending bill, which will continue government spending through Dec. 11 at a $1.012 trillion level, was delayed last week so lawmakers could attach a request from the president to give him Title 10 authority to fight the Islamic State group.

That authority would allow the Obama administration to equip Syrian rebels for the intended purpose of fighting ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Obama praised the House and urged the Senate to follow suit on the legislation, which he reiterated is not an authorization for the use of U.S. troops in Syria.

“Today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces,” he said in a statement

Just before the CR vote, lawmakers voted 273-156 to adopt the Syrian rebel amendment. 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voted against it.

As voting on the amendment took place, members stared at the board in the House chamber showing who was voting for the amendment and who was voting against it. Despite a tally that was never really close, it was a dramatic vote.

Much of the debate on the CR turned into a debate on the proposal to arm Syrian rebels, and, more broadly, the specter of another war in the Middle East. In fact, the CR has become such a proxy for the Syria amendment that the Club for Growth, a conservative group opposed to the spending bill, withdrew its key vote on the legislation, explaining that the vote was now largely driven by foreign policy.

But if it were true that foreign policy was driving decisions on the CR, then it was the memories of past foreign policy decisions largely driving this current debate.

Liberal Democrats and some conservative Republicans worried on the House floor that this initial authorization was the first step of a larger military entanglement.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a staunch opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said the six-hour debate on the amendment reminded her of “the failure to have a thorough and robust debate in the wake of 9/11,” which, she said resulted in an overly broad authorization that was a “blank check for perpetual war.”

Other members voted against the amendment because they worried of an opposite effect. Louisiana Republican John Fleming expressed concern that the authorization was “little more than an incremental strategy, not unlike the one used in Vietnam.”

“History warns of the dangers of such approaches,” Fleming said. “By moving hesitantly in piecemeal fashion, the enemy has more time to learn, adapt and get stronger. This is a recipe for a stalemate and failure.”

Many other lawmakers expressed concern over the stated strategy of arming the Free Syrian Army. They said there was no guarantee those rebels would always be allies of the United States, or that they wouldn’t simply use their U.S.-supplied weapons to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of ISIL.

The Obama administration says there will be a thorough vetting process before any Syrian rebel is handed a weapon, but, by Wednesday, many lawmakers remained less than convinced. California Republican Dana Rohrabacher called the administration’s plan “wishful thinking, not realistic planning.”

But congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle insisted the authority was needed.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Wednesday that Obama deserved the support of Democrats in what she acknowledged was a “war vote,” but a proposal that was “discrete” and “short-term.”

“It is not pleasant, it’s not easy,” Pelosi later said on the House floor. “It’s hard. But it really is necessary for the House to approve this.”

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said ISIL was already threatening U.S. allies in the Middle East and in Europe.  ”And if left unchecked,” he said, “it will surely threaten us here at home.”

The ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, Adam Smith of Washington, argued that arming Syrian rebels would deny ISIL a “safe-haven,” and Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, who sponsored the amendment, said there was “no doubt” that any strategy to defeat ISIL would need to include a Syria component.

The plan to arm Syrian rebels is a middle-of-the-road response to the rise of ISIL. It isn’t an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as the amendment explicitly indicates, and it won’t, by itself, dismantle terrorists in the region. But it’s not nothing.

Speaker John A. Boehner appealed to his conference by arguing this was a first step toward defeating ISIL, saying Congress had a responsibility to give the president this authority. While hetold reporters Tuesday there’s “a lot more” the U.S. needed to be doing to address ISIL, the Ohio Republican said there was “no reason not to do what the president asked us to do.”

Already, GOP leaders seem to be indicating that the House may soon consider a new authorization for use of military force for the Middle East, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthytelling reporters on Monday that, “after November,” there may be an “opportunity” to debate a larger military authorization.

As for the CR itself, the 10-week extension, if it is — as expected — agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, will force lawmakers to return after the midterm elections and begin work on a more permanent spending solution. Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he was hopeful the House and Senate could work out an omnibus package similar to the one lawmakers worked out in January 2014.

“It is my sincere hope that if this CR is enacted, we can use the coming months wisely to craft agreement on all 12 bills by Dec. 11,” said the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Nita M. Lowey of New York. “There is absolutely no reason to punt our responsibilities into the new year and new Congress.”

Conservatives had pushed for a longer CR — one that would fund the government until, say, March 1, 2015 — so that a new Congress, perhaps one with a Senate under Republican control, could set the spending levels. Conservatives also voiced concern over extending the Export-Import Bank until June 30, 2015. They wanted to simply let the credit agency expire.

But the reauthorization until June 30 seemed to scare Democrats more than Republicans. Democrats are showing unease that they won’t have a must-pass bill in June to which they can attach another extension of the Ex-Im Bank, and they worry that decoupling the agency from a spending bill will ultimately kill it.

Democrats seemed to understand, however, that holding up the CR over the length of extension on such an inside-the-Beltway issue would not be politically advantageous just before an election.

Passing the CR allows both Republicans and Democrats to get back to their districts early and campaign for about six weeks before the midterms. While the House is scheduled to be in session next week, most aides expect McCarthy to cancel the remaining legislative days before November and send everyone to the campaign trail early.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/house-votes-to-arm-syrian-rebels-passes-cr/?dcz=

Clinton insiders screened Benghazi documents before ARB probe, official says

 BY ED MORRISSEY

Just how unfettered was that “unfettered access” promised by the State Department to the Accountability Review Board in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack two years ago? According to one of the four officials punished and then cleared by State for the failures that led to the death of four men, a weekend housecleaning operation kept the ARB from seeing some of the most explosive documentation related to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Sharyl Attkisson that the operation was supervised by advisers within Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, in this Daily Signal exclusive:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. …

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Not long afterward, two people high up the State Department chain arrived to check on the operation. Attkisson describes them as “close confidants” of Hillary Clinton, probably from Maxwell’s own description, although neither are named in Attkisson’s report. Maxwell says that both of them accompanied him into another office with a fourth person, where they personally vetted more documents:

Maxwell says after those two officials arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.

“I didn’t feel good about it,” he said.

Don’t expect that this will disappear as quietly. Maxwell says that members of the select House committee on Benghazi have already deposed him on this weekend filing session, including both chair Trey Gowdy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz told Attkisson that he is “100% confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”

The ARB has insisted all along that they conducted a thorough and independent probe, a claim at which Maxwell scoffs on both counts in Attkisson’s report. This could let them off the hook, though. If State conspired to hide evidence from them, it will give the ARB an opening to withdraw their report — which would be a PR move entirely, since the ARB had no authoritative status otherwise — and give Congress even more validation for pursuing this in select-committee form. If Maxwell testifies to this in open session and the BSC finds one or more corroborating witnesses, it will put this right back front and center. And we may still yet hear from the unnamed advisers, too, as to what their orders were, and who gave them.

Benghazi Post-Attack Satellite Revelations

Benghazi, Libya showing the locations of the U. S. Consulate and CIA Annex on the outskirts of town

Perplexing questions yet remain surrounding the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Satellite images taken before and AFTER the attacks, which anyone can view on Google Earth, show evidence of the attacks at both the Consulate and CIA Annex. They help clarify conditions on the ground at the time.

Google Earth (GE) is an incredibly useful online tool. With it, armchair sleuths at home can uncover important details about news events that get overlooked by the big shot mainstream media.

Such is the case with the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Geography and News Events

Google Earth provides two unique capabilities to the armchair sleuth:

  • A scalable geographic look at any place on Earth and its surroundings
  • A history of images of that place to investigate its background and history

Most important for investigating the Benghazi attacks is that the most current GE satellite image of both the Consulate and CIA Annex were taken on 9/17/2012, just 6 days after the attack.

GE’s image history is used to go back and forth between before and after images to identify evidence of the attacks visible from space.

For the attack on the CIA Annex this is particularly important because Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed when hit by mortar fire while defending the Annex from a rooftop position.

The U.S. Consulate


—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Plainly visible on the satellite image of the Consulate complex are the burned out remains of two vehicles, the charred remains of burnt furniture next to one of the vehicles and the couch and other things tossed into the swimming pool by either the terrorists or looters.

GE shows us that the U.S. Consulate is located on the outskirts of Benghazi in a very open area surrounded by an orchard and soccer field. Contrary to news reports, GE tells us it is in a narrow rectangular shaped property about 300 feet wide and 800 feet long.

The property is surrounded by trees with no visible wall. It was built as a residence. It has two gates.
The back gate has no defenses whatsoever.

The consulate has three main buildings and a guardhouse at the front gate. The front gate has been fortified with barriers since October of 2011. Those barriers are the only visible signs of increased security at the Consulate. The unprotected back gate opens onto Fourth Ring Road, one of the main streets circling Benghazi.

Its three main structures are the consulate building, a detached Ambassador’s residence with saferoom where Ambassador Stephens was found; and a nearby guard barracks near the front gate.

GE history reveals the main consulate building, detached residence and swimming pool were a lonely patch of dirt in August of 2007 and that they were under construction in June of 2009. Little has changed since then.

During the consulate attack Navy SEAL Woods and others came from the CIA Annex, fought their way to consulate, rescued staff and recovered the body of Sean Smith. They took them back to the CIA Annex from the consulate.

The CIA Annex

CIA Annex showing where mortar rounds struck building tops and grounds

Line of sight, the CIA Annex complex is located about a mile from the consulate next to what appears to be a large warehouse with many buildings.

The annex is within a thick wall surrounding a 300 X 400 foot rectangle. It is better fortified and much more defensible than the consulate. It is also closer to civilian targets.

The annex took mortar fire. Mortar strikes show up as distinct smudges on the satellite image near the red dots. Navy SEALs Doherty and Woods were killed by one of the rooftop mortar strikes.

GE history reveals the annex was built some time after June 28th, 2009.

Conclusions

From satellite images it is easy to see why Ambassador Stephens would be seriously concerned about consulate security, especially given all the al Qaeda activity in area and previous attacks.

The consulate, originally built as someone’s house, was barely modified after it was acquired by the U.S. government. It is not even clear from satellite imagery that it had a surrounding wall. Its unguarded back gate opens onto a main Benghazi street and is easily penetrable.

The Annex is better protected and was successfully defended against a physical breach, albeit at the cost of Doherty and Woods who gave their lives defending the annex from a rooftop position.

Woods and Doherty probably deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroic efforts.

Armchair sleuthing reveals this immutable fact… the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places in the world, was woefully under-protected at the time of the attacks. The warning signs of another inevitable attack were all present. Those up the chain of command had been told.

Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and the others didn’t stand a chance.
Someone MUST be held accountable!

Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away

In May CNN’s Jake Tapper argued that the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an attack on September 11, 2012, should be scrutinized.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) agreed, saying: “There are questions that must be asked of the CIA and this must be done in a public way.”

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and  of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi.

Here’s what we know:

benghaziThe attack

At about 9:40 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, a mob of Libyans attacked a building housing U.S. State Department personnel. At 10:20 p.m. Americans arrived from a CIA annex located 1.2 miles away, to help the besieged Americans. At 11:15 p.m. they fled with survivors back to the secret outpost.

Armed Libyans followed them and attacked the annex with rockets and small arms from around midnight to 1:00 a.m., when there was a lull in the fighting.

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA security contractor, was with a team of Joint Special Operations Command military operators and CIA agents in Tripoli at the time of the attack. When they received word of the assault on the mission, Doherty and six others bribed the pilots of small jet with $30,000 cash for a ride to Benghazi.

At about 5:15 a.m., right after Doherty’s group arrived, the attackers began shooting mortars at the annex, leading to the death of Doherty and fellow former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Tyrone Woods.

At 6 a.m. Libyan forces from the military intelligence service arrived and subsequently took more than 30 Americans — only seven of whom were from the State Department — to the Benghazi airport.

So the CIA’s response to go to the mission where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was located, after being held back for 20 minutes, saved American lives but also ended up exposing the annex.

And according to Paula Broadwell, the mistress of David Petraeus when he was CIA director, the CIA may have provided an impetus for the attack by holding prisoners: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back.”charlene lamb

At its heart a CIA operation’

The top-secret presence and location of the CIA outpost was first acknowledged by Charlene Lamb, a top official in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, during Congressional testimony in October.

Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Darrell Issa immediately called a point of order when Lamb exposed the location of the annex, and asked for the revelation to be stricken from the record.

“I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz. said. “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

In November The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. mission in Benghazi “was at its heart a CIA operation.”

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the CIA was leading a “concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover … MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems]” looted from the stockpiles of toppled Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The State Department “consulate” served as diplomatic cover for the previously-hidden annex.

AnnexWeapons from Benghazi to Syria

Also in October we reported the connection between Ambassador Stevens, who died in the attack, and a reported September shipment of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles (i.e. MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades from Benghazi to Syria through southern Turkey.

That 400-ton shipment — “the largest consignment of weapons” yet for Syrian rebels — was organized by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was the newly-appointed head of the Tripoli Military Council.

In March 2011 Stevens, the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan rebels, worked directly with Belhadj while he headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Stevens’ last meeting on Sept. 11 was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

Syrian rebels subsequently began shooting down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets with SA-7s akin to those in Qaddafi’s looted stock. (The interim Libyan government also sent money and fighters to Syria.)

What did the CIA know?

Collectively these details raise the question of what the CIA knew, given that Agency operatives in Libya were rounding up SA-7s, ostensibly to destroy them, while operatives in southern Turkey were funneling weapons to the rebels.

The State Department told CNN that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries, but it “can’t speak for any other agencies.”

Ambassador Stevens certainly would have known if the new Libyan government was sending 400 tons of heavy weapons to Turkey from Benghazi’s port.

Just like the CIA would know if those the weapons arrived in Turkey and began showing up in Syria.

Journalist Damien Spleeters created this sourced map, drawing info shared on social media such as YouTube, that gives an idea of the MANPADS presence in Syria.

We’ve added red tag noting the Turkish port, Iskenderun, where the massive SA-7 shipment docked.

And this map of nearby Turkish highways shows that the heavy weapons could have been transported from the port to the Syrian city of Aleppo in three hours.

syriaOther intriguing details

This week Nancy Youssef of McClatchy reported that Ambassador Stevens twice turned down offers for additional security, despite specifically asking for more men in cables to the State Department.

Right after the attack American Matthew VanDyke, who fought with Libyan rebels during their revolution, told us he suspected that extremist groups in the nearby mountains — who felt marginalized by the new Libyan government — “saw their opportunity to pounce.”

In May Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) told CNN: “I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria. … Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex? I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered.”

So now that the White House has released more than 100 pages of Benghazi emails, and the State Department’s role during and after the attack have been probed ad nauseam, the only thing to explore is “whatever [the CIA] was doing.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-cia-mission-in-benghazi-2013-8

UN has testimony showing Syrian rebels used sarin gas

WW3 UPDATE – U.S. Intelligence: Rebels Used Sarin Gas

U.N. Strong Suspicions That Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

Syria Gas Attack – ‘Eyes Twitching, Noses Foaming’ (CNN, 30Aug13)

Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Caught with Sarin Gas inside Turkey

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (1 of 2)

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (2 of 2)

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

U.S. Ship Finishes Neutralizing Syria’s Worst Chemical Arms: Pentagon

Syrian Sarin gas chemicals destroyed.

 

 

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

Obama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.

*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdoğan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

 

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.

He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability: ‘In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.’ Obama’s certainty was echoed at the time by Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, who told the New York Times: ‘No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence’ directly linking Assad and his regime to the sarin attacks.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’

The complaints focus on what Washington did not have: any advance warning from the assumed source of the attack. The military intelligence community has for years produced a highly classified early morning intelligence summary, known as the Morning Report, for the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; a copy also goes to the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The Morning Report includes no political or economic information, but provides a summary of important military events around the world, with all available intelligence about them. A senior intelligence consultant told me that some time after the attack he reviewed the reports for 20 August through 23 August. For two days – 20 and 21 August – there was no mention of Syria. On 22 August the lead item in the Morning Report dealt with Egypt; a subsequent item discussed an internal change in the command structure of one of the rebel groups in Syria. Nothing was noted about the use of nerve gas in Damascus that day. It was not until 23 August that the use of sarin became a dominant issue, although hundreds of photographs and videos of the massacre had gone viral within hours on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. At this point, the administration knew no more than the public.

Obama left Washington early on 21 August for a hectic two-day speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania; according to the White House press office, he was briefed later that day on the attack, and the growing public and media furore. The lack of any immediate inside intelligence was made clear on 22 August, when Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters: ‘We are unable to conclusively determine [chemical weapons] use. But we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened … on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.’ The administration’s tone had hardened by 27 August, when Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, told reporters – without providing any specific information – that any suggestions that the Syrian government was not responsible ‘are as preposterous as suggestions that the attack itself didn’t occur’.

On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

The Post report also provided the first indication of a secret sensor system inside Syria, designed to provide early warning of any change in status of the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal. The sensors are monitored by the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that controls all US intelligence satellites in orbit. According to the Postsummary, the NRO is also assigned ‘to extract data from sensors placed on the ground’ inside Syria. The former senior intelligence official, who had direct knowledge of the programme, told me that NRO sensors have been implanted near all known chemical warfare sites in Syria. They are designed to provide constant monitoring of the movement of chemical warheads stored by the military. But far more important, in terms of early warning, is the sensors’ ability to alert US and Israeli intelligence when warheads are being loaded with sarin. (As a neighbouring country, Israel has always been on the alert for changes in the Syrian chemical arsenal, and works closely with American intelligence on early warnings.) A chemical warhead, once loaded with sarin, has a shelf life of a few days or less – the nerve agent begins eroding the rocket almost immediately: it’s a use-it-or-lose-it mass killer. ‘The Syrian army doesn’t have three days to prepare for a chemical attack,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘We created the sensor system for immediate reaction, like an air raid warning or a fire alarm. You can’t have a warning over three days because everyone involved would be dead. It is either right now or you’re history. You do not spend three days getting ready to fire nerve gas.’ The sensors detected no movement in the months and days before 21 August, the former official said. It is of course possible that sarin had been supplied to the Syrian army by other means, but the lack of warning meant that Washington was unable to monitor the events in Eastern Ghouta as they unfolded.

The sensors had worked in the past, as the Syrian leadership knew all too well. Last December the sensor system picked up signs of what seemed to be sarin production at a chemical weapons depot. It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian army was simulating sarin production as part of an exercise (all militaries constantly carry out such exercises) or actually preparing an attack. At the time, Obama publicly warned Syria that using sarin was ‘totally unacceptable’; a similar message was also passed by diplomatic means. The event was later determined to be part of a series of exercises, according to the former senior intelligence official: ‘If what the sensors saw last December was so important that the president had to call and say, “Knock it off,” why didn’t the president issue the same warning three days before the gas attack in August?’

The NSA would of course monitor Assad’s office around the clock if it could, the former official said. Other communications – from various army units in combat throughout Syria – would be far less important, and not analysed in real time. ‘There are literally thousands of tactical radio frequencies used by field units in Syria for mundane routine communications,’ he said, ‘and it would take a huge number of NSA cryptological technicians to listen in – and the useful return would be zilch.’ But the ‘chatter’ is routinely stored on computers. Once the scale of events on 21 August was understood, the NSA mounted a comprehensive effort to search for any links to the attack, sorting through the full archive of stored communications. A keyword or two would be selected and a filter would be employed to find relevant conversations. ‘What happened here is that the NSA intelligence weenies started with an event – the use of sarin – and reached to find chatter that might relate,’ the former official said. ‘This does not lead to a high confidence assessment, unless you start with high confidence that Bashar Assad ordered it, and began looking for anything that supports that belief.’ The cherry-picking was similar to the process used to justify the Iraq war.

*The White House needed nine days to assemble its case against the Syrian government. On 30 August it invited a select group of Washington journalists (at least one often critical reporter, Jonathan Landay, the national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, was not invited), and handed them a document carefully labelled as a ‘government assessment’, rather than as an assessment by the intelligence community. The document laid out what was essentially a political argument to bolster the administration’s case against the Assad government. It was, however, more specific than Obama would be later, in his speech on 10 September: American intelligence, it stated, knew that Syria had begun ‘preparing chemical munitions’ three days before the attack. In an aggressive speech later that day, John Kerry provided more details. He said that Syria’s ‘chemical weapons personnel were on the ground, in the area, making preparations’ by 18 August. ‘We know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.’ The government assessment and Kerry’s comments made it seem as if the administration had been tracking the sarin attack as it happened. It is this version of events, untrue but unchallenged, that was widely reported at the time.

An unforeseen reaction came in the form of complaints from the Free Syrian Army’s leadership and others about the lack of warning. ‘It’s unbelievable they did nothing to warn people or try to stop the regime before the crime,’ Razan Zaitouneh, an opposition member who lived in one of the towns struck by sarin, told Foreign Policy. The Daily Mail was more blunt: ‘Intelligence report says US officials knew about nerve-gas attack in Syria three days before it killed over 1400 people – including more than 400 children.’ (The number of deaths attributable to the attack varied widely, from at least 1429, as initially claimed by the Obama administration, to many fewer. A Syrian human rights group reported 502 deaths; Médicins sans Frontières put it at 355; and a French report listed 281 known fatalities. The strikingly precise US total was later reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been based not on an actual body count, but on an extrapolation by CIA analysts, who scanned more than a hundred YouTube videos from Eastern Ghouta into a computer system and looked for images of the dead. In other words, it was little more than a guess.)

Five days later, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to the complaints. A statement to the Associated Press said that the intelligence behind the earlier administration assertions was not known at the time of the attack, but recovered only subsequently: ‘Let’s be clear, the United States did not watch, in real time, as this horrible attack took place. The intelligence community was able to gather and analyse information after the fact and determine that elements of the Assad regime had in fact taken steps to prepare prior to using chemical weapons.’ But since the American press corps had their story, the retraction received scant attention. On 31 August the Washington Post, relying on the government assessment, had vividly reported on its front page that American intelligence was able to record ‘each step’ of the Syrian army attack in real time, ‘from the extensive preparations to the launching of rockets to the after-action assessments by Syrian officials’. It did not publish the AP corrective, and the White House maintained control of the narrative.

So when Obama said on 10 September that his administration knew Assad’s chemical weapons personnel had prepared the attack in advance, he was basing the statement not on an intercept caught as it happened, but on communications analysed days after 21 August. The former senior intelligence official explained that the hunt for relevant chatter went back to the exercise detected the previous December, in which, as Obama later said to the public, the Syrian army mobilised chemical weapons personnel and distributed gas masks to its troops. The White House’s government assessment and Obama’s speech were not descriptions of the specific events leading up to the 21 August attack, but an account of the sequence the Syrian military would have followed for any chemical attack. ‘They put together a back story,’ the former official said, ‘and there are lots of different pieces and parts. The template they used was the template that goes back to December.’ It is possible, of course, that Obama was unaware that this account was obtained from an analysis of Syrian army protocol for conducting a gas attack, rather than from direct evidence. Either way he had come to a hasty judgment.

The press would follow suit. The UN report on 16 September confirming the use of sarin was careful to note that its investigators’ access to the attack sites, which came five days after the gassing, had been controlled by rebel forces. ‘As with other sites,’ the report warned, ‘the locations have been well travelled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the mission … During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.’ Still, the New York Times seized on the report, as did American and British officials, and claimed that it provided crucial evidence backing up the administration’s assertions. An annex to the UN report reproduced YouTube photographs of some recovered munitions, including a rocket that ‘indicatively matches’ the specifics of a 330mm calibre artillery rocket. The New York Times wrote that the existence of the rockets essentially proved that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack ‘because the weapons in question had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency’.

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally. He told me that it was ‘something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop’. The rocket in the photos, he added, fails to match the specifications of a similar but smaller rocket known to be in the Syrian arsenal. The New York Times, again relying on data in the UN report, also analysed the flight path of two of the spent rockets that were believed to have carried sarin, and concluded that the angle of descent ‘pointed directly’ to their being fired from a Syrian army base more than nine kilometres from the landing zone. Postol, who has served as the scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon, said that the assertions in the Times and elsewhere ‘were not based on actual observations’. He concluded that the flight path analyses in particular were, as he put it in an email, ‘totally nuts’ because a thorough study demonstrated that the range of the improvised rockets was ‘unlikely’ to be more than two kilometres. Postol and a colleague, Richard M. Lloyd, published an analysis two weeks after 21 August in which they correctly assessed that the rockets involved carried a far greater payload of sarin than previously estimated. The Times reported on that analysis at length, describing Postol and Lloyd as ‘leading weapons experts’. The pair’s later study about the rockets’ flight paths and range, which contradicted previous Times reporting, was emailed to the newspaper last week; it has so far gone unreported.

The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the US and the UN as a terrorist organisation. Al-Nusra is known to have carried out scores of suicide bombings against Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim sects inside Syria, and to have attacked its nominal ally in the civil war, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA). Its stated goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and establish sharia law. (On 25 September al-Nusra joined several other Islamist rebel groups in repudiating the FSA and another secular faction, the Syrian National Coalition.)

Two months later, a White House statement announced a change in the assessment of Syrian culpability and declared that the intelligence community now had ‘high confidence’ that the Assad government was responsible for as many as 150 deaths from attacks with sarin. More headlines were generated and the press was told that Obama, in response to the new intelligence, had ordered an increase in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. But once again there were significant caveats. The new intelligence included a report that Syrian officials had planned and executed the attacks. No specifics were provided, nor were those who provided the reports identified. The White House statement said that laboratory analysis had confirmed the use of sarin, but also that a positive finding of the nerve agent ‘does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed or who was responsible for the dissemination’. The White House further declared: ‘We have no reliable corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.’ The statement contradicted evidence that at the time was streaming into US intelligence agencies.

Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military.

On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin. A sample of the sarin that had been used was also recovered – with the help of an Israeli agent – but, according to the consultant, no further reporting about the sample showed up in cable traffic.

Independently of these assessments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assuming that US troops might be ordered into Syria to seize the government’s stockpile of chemical agents, called for an all-source analysis of the potential threat. ‘The Op Order provides the basis of execution of a military mission, if so ordered,’ the former senior intelligence official explained. ‘This includes the possible need to send American soldiers to a Syrian chemical site to defend it against rebel seizure. If the jihadist rebels were going to overrun the site, the assumption is that Assad would not fight us because we were protecting the chemical from the rebels. All Op Orders contain an intelligence threat component. We had technical analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, weapons people, and I & W [indications and warnings] people working on the problem … They concluded that the rebel forces were capable of attacking an American force with sarin because they were able to produce the lethal gas. The examination relied on signals and human intelligence, as well as the expressed intention and technical capability of the rebels.’

There is evidence that during the summer some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were troubled by the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria as well as by Obama’s professed desire to give rebel factions non-lethal support. In July, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, provided a gloomy assessment, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee in public testimony that ‘thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces’ would be needed to seize Syria’s widely dispersed chemical warfare arsenal, along with ‘hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers’. Pentagon estimates put the number of troops at seventy thousand, in part because US forces would also have to guard the Syrian rocket fleet: accessing large volumes of the chemicals that create sarin without the means to deliver it would be of little value to a rebel force. In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, Dempsey cautioned that a decision to grab the Syrian arsenal could have unintended consequences: ‘We have learned from the past ten years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state … Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.’

The CIA declined to comment for this article. Spokesmen for the DIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were not aware of the report to Shedd and, when provided with specific cable markings for the document, said they were unable to find it. Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

The administration’s public affairs officials are not as concerned about al-Nusra’s military potential as Shedd has been in his public statements. In late July, he gave an alarming account of al-Nusra’s strength at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. ‘I count no less than 1200 disparate groups in the opposition,’ Shedd said, according to a recording of his presentation. ‘And within the opposition, the al-Nusra Front is … most effective and is gaining in strength.’ This, he said, ‘is of serious concern to us. If left unchecked, I am very concerned that the most radical elements’ – he also cited al-Qaida in Iraq – ‘will take over.’ The civil war, he went on, ‘will only grow worse over time … Unfathomable violence is yet to come.’ Shedd made no mention of chemical weapons in his talk, but he was not allowed to: the reports his office received were highly classified.

*

A series of secret dispatches from Syria over the summer reported that members of the FSA were complaining to American intelligence operatives about repeated attacks on their forces by al-Nusra and al-Qaida fighters. The reports, according to the senior intelligence consultant who read them, provided evidence that the FSA is ‘more worried about the crazies than it is about Assad’. The FSA is largely composed of defectors from the Syrian army. The Obama administration, committed to the end of the Assad regime and continued support for the rebels, has sought in its public statements since the attack to downplay the influence of Salafist and Wahhabist factions. In early September, John Kerry dumbfounded a Congressional hearing with a sudden claim that al-Nusra and other Islamist groups were minority players in the Syrian opposition. He later withdrew the claim.

In both its public and private briefings after 21 August, the administration disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons. This was the message conveyed in the various secret briefings that members of Congress received in the days after the attack, when Obama was seeking support for his planned missile offensive against Syrian military installations. One legislator with more than two decades of experience in military affairs told me that he came away from one such briefing persuaded that ‘only the Assad government had sarin and the rebels did not.’ Similarly, following the release of the UN report on 16 September confirming that sarin was used on 21 August, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’

It is not known whether the highly classified reporting on al-Nusra was made available to Power’s office, but her comment was a reflection of the attitude that swept through the administration. ‘The immediate assumption was that Assad had done it,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘The new director of the CIA, [John] Brennan, jumped to that conclusion … drives to the White House and says: “Look at what I’ve got!” It was all verbal; they just waved the bloody shirt. There was a lot of political pressure to bring Obama to the table to help the rebels, and there was wishful thinking that this [tying Assad to the sarin attack] would force Obama’s hand: “This is the Zimmermann telegram of the Syrian rebellion and now Obama can react.” Wishful thinking by the Samantha Power wing within the administration. Unfortunately, some members of the Joint Chiefs who were alerted that he was going to attack weren’t so sure it was a good thing.’

The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex. Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal. Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)

The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons. It appears possible that at some point he was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans.

The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council, dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as al-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm: ‘no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer [chemical] weapons.’ The resolution also calls for the immediate notification of the Security Council in the event that any ‘non-state actors’ acquire chemical weapons. No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone. There may be more to negotiate.

 

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Drone Warfare — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Data, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Heroes, history, Homicide, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama defends US drone attacks

Peter Singer: Drone Warfare

The Morality of Drone Warfare

DRONE WARS, PART ONE: THE DRONE LANDSCAPE

DRONE WARS, PART TWO: THE DRONE ECONOMY

DRONE WARS, PART THREE: THE DRONE MORALITY

Drone Boom Why Drones Aren’t Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore

Drone Laws Restrict Civilian UAV’s but allow Government

Rise of the Drones(full documentary)HD

RISE OF THE DRONES – NOVA (full documentary)

The Costs of Drone Warfare – Documentary

Richard Clarke – U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

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Obama’s Kill List–Drones–Remotely Piloted Aircraft–RPAs–Killing Machines–We Don’t Torture Terrorists–We Kill Americans, Civilians and Children in Undeclared Wars–Obama is Judge, Jury, and Executioner–Hope, Change, and Murder, Inc.–The Mass Murderer In The White House–Videos

NSA–Now Spying on Americans: Big Brother Government Spying On Americans–Progressives Minding Your Business Without Warrants–Remotely Piloted Aircraft a.k.a.Drones–Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISA)–Videos

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Peter Brimelow — Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster — Videos

Posted on July 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Catholic Church, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medicine, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

aliennation

peter_brimelow

VDARE.com

What Price Mass Immigration – Peter Brimelow Introduction

 

Peter Brimelow of VDare on How Republican Party Has to be More White

Alien Nation: America’s Immigration Disaster

Mr. Brimelow discussed his book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, published by Random House. The book focuses on U.S. immigration policy and cycles of control on immigration. Mr. Brimelow argues that legislation passed in 1965 has resulted in negative trends in immigration to the United States, including an influx of immigrants from a very few countries that he says are engulfing America. The author says that the latest immigration wave consists of immigrants who are less educated, less skilled, and less likely to share American ideals, which he argues is a detriment to American culture.

Peter Brimelow Reflects on Immigration in America, Post-Alien Nation

Michael Coren Interviews Peter Brimelow

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The Meaning of Independence Day — Video

Posted on July 3, 2014. Filed under: American History, College, Communications, Constitution, Education, High School, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Raves, Talk Radio, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

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The Meaning of Independence Day – Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

Dr. Michael Berliner, co-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ayn Rand Institute, former professor of philosophy and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, reminds us of the true meaning of Independence Day.

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Speaker of House Boehner To Establish Select Committee on Benghazi — Oversight Committee Subpoenas Secretary of State John Kerry — Videos

Posted on May 4, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Drones, Education, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Narcissism, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Strategy, Talk Radio, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 255: May 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 254: May 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 253: April 30, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 250: April 25, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 246: April 17, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 242: April 11, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 237: April 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 236: April 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 235: March 31, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 206: February 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 205: February 5, 2014

Story 2: Speaker of House Boehner To Establish Select Committee on Benghazi — Oversight Committee Subpoenas Secretary of State John Kerry — Videos

Judge Jeanine Pirro Opening Statement – Benghazi Scandal Biggest Cover-up Since Watergate

Benghazi Scandal – Where Was Obama? – Visitor Logs Show He Had Debate Prep Night – Fox & Friends

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 1 of 5

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 2 of 5

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 3 of 5

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 4 of 5 – Military Option

Fox News Reporting – Benghazi White House Cover-Up Revealed? – Part 5 of 5 – What We Now Know

Benghazi Scandal – Peters: If There’s 1 Chances In Hell, You Try! – Kerry To Testify – Lt Col Peters

Benghazi Scandal Obama’s Paid Liar New Documents Revealed

Rep. Schiff on Fox News Sunday: Benghazi Select Committee A “Colossal Waste of Time

House To Form Select Committee On Benghazi To Get To The Truth – Special Report 1st Segment

Benghazi Scandal – Uncovering The Truth Speaker Forming Select Committee On Benghazi – Trey Gowdy

Boehner To Appoint Select Benghazi Committee

Congressman Mark Meadows (R-NC) discusses Benghazi on Fox News

McCarthy: Boehner Not Calling for Select Committee for Benghazi ‘Inexplicable’

Fmr. WH Spox to Baier on Benghazi

Bret Baier: Jay Carney’s Spin On Benghazi Briefing Materials “Surreal”

Chaffetz: Someone should be fired for Benghazi

Special Ops Vets Rally on Capitol Steps for Benghazi Select Committee

Wolf Calls For House Select Committee To Investigate Benghazi Attack

Rep. Frank Wolf on Benghazi – Politicizing the FBI & the CIA

SYRIA Rand Paul “Maybe We Were Facilitating Arms Leaving Libya Going Through Turkey Into Syria”

CNN Benghazi Claims: Report alleges CIA operatives in Libya were sending weapons to Syrian rebels

SYRIA Geraldo Rivera: My Sources Say The US Running Libya Arms To Syrian Rebels

SYRIA CNBC: Benghazi Is Not About Libya But An Operation To Put Arms & Men In Syria

Unguarded Weapons in Libya

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Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

SOCOM and the Secret Missions of Special Ops (Full Documentary)

CIA Covert Action in Iran, Vietnam, Laos, the Congo, Cuba, and Guatemala: Documentary Film (1965)

A covert operation (also as CoveOps or covert ops) is a military, intelligence or law enforcement operation that is carried clandestinely and, often, outside of official channels. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. It is normally sponsored by taxes from the government.

Under United States law, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is the sole US Government agency legally allowed to carry out Covert Action. The CIA’s authority to conduct Covert Action comes from the National Security Act of 1947. President Ronald Reagan issued Executive Order 12333 titled in 1984. This order defined covert action as “special activities”, both political and military, that the US Government could legally deny. The CIA was also designated as the sole authority under the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act and in Title 50 of the United States Code Section 413(e). The CIA must have a “Presidential Finding” issued by the President of the United States in order to conduct these activities under the Hughes-Ryan amendment to the 1991 Intelligence Authorization Act. These findings are then monitored by the oversight committees in both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result of this framework, the CIA “receives more oversight from the Congress than any other agency in the federal government.” The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, responsible for Covert Action and “Special Activities”. These special activities include covert political influence and paramilitary operations. The division is overseen by the United States Secretary of State.

The following persons are known to have participated in covert operations, as distinct from clandestine intelligence gathering (espionage) either by their own admission or by the accounts of others: Robert Baer Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš, Czechoslovak British-trained agents sent to assassinate one of the most important Nazis, Reinhard Heydrich, in 1942 as part of Operation Anthropoid. Aaron Franklin, World War II US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer who created a fake group of the German Army, made up of POWs, with the mission of killing Hitler. As a colonel, he was the first commander of United States Army Special Forces. Charles Beckwith, US Army colonel who was an early exchange officer with the British Special Air Service (SAS), and created the Delta Force (1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta) based on the SAS. Gary Berntsen, CIA field officer and team leader during Operation Enduring Freedom Wendell Fertig, United States Army Reserve officer who organized large Filipino guerrilla forces against the Japanese in World War II Virginia Hall, American who first worked for the British Special Operations Executive, then for the American Office of Strategic Services in German-occupied France. Only U.S. woman to receive the Distinguished Service Cross. Eric Haney, founding member of Delta Force. Michael Harari, Israeli Mossad officer who led assassination operations (Operation Wrath of God) against PLO members accused of the 1972 Munich Massacre. Bruce Rusty Lang, commander of a mixed United States Army Special Forces & Montagnard (Degar/Bru people) commando Recon Team (RT Oklahoma) of Command and Control North, Studies and Observations Group. Previously served on Project 404, U.S. Embassy Laos, Assistant Army Attaché (“Secret War” in Laos 1970). Edward Lansdale, United States Air Force officer (and eventually major general) seconded to the CIA, and noted for his work with Ramon Magsaysay against the Hukbalahap insurgency in Philippines during the early 1950s, and later involved in Operation Mongoose against Cuba. T. E. Lawrence, British “Lawrence of Arabia” who organized Arab forces during World War I. Alain Mafart, French DGSE officer convicted, in New Zealand, for sinking the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior. Richard Meadows, United States Army Special Forces officer known for many operations, including the POW rescue attempt at Son Tay, North Vietnam, and for deep operations in support of Operation Eagle Claw.

America’s Roundtable: Congressman Frank Wolf Calls for Select Committee – Benghazi Terrorist Attack

‘Protestors’ fly Al Qaeda Flag at US embassy on Sept 11, 2012 Cairo, Egypt

‘US has supported Arab uprisings, and now it’s blowback time’

Petraeus Testifies CIA’s Benghazi, Libya Talking Points Were Changed – Megyn Kelly

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Boehner to Establish Select Committee on Benghazi

Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House.  These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen.  In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.

“The administration’s withholding of documents – emails showing greater White House involvement in misleading the American people – is a flagrant violation of trust and undermines the basic principles of oversight upon which our system of government is built.  And it forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?

“The House committees that have been investigating this attack have done extraordinary work, using their subpoena power, holding dozens of hearings, and conducting hundreds of interviews.  Without this work we would not know much that we do today.  But it’s clear that questions remain, and the administration still does not respect the authority of Congress to provide proper oversight.  This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level.  I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims.

“Four Americans died at the hands of terrorists nearly 20 months ago, and we are still missing answers, accountability, and justice.  It’s time that change.”

 

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/boehner-establish-select-committee-benghazi

 

Boehner announces special committee on Benghazi, Kerry subpoenaed

 

House Republicans moved on two fronts Friday to dig for answers on Benghazi, with Speaker John Boehner announcing a special committee to investigate and a key panel subpoenaing Secretary of State John Kerry to testify.

In a significant shift, Boehner announced that the House will vote on establishing a select committee to investigate, on the heels of newly released emails that raised additional questions about the White House’s response.

Top Republicans claimed those emails should have been released to Congress months ago, and Boehner signaled those concerns prompted him to rethink the need for a select committee.

“Americans learned this week that the Obama Administration is so intent on obstructing the truth about Benghazi that it is even willing to defy subpoenas issued by the standing committees of the People’s House. These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen,” he said in a statement.

“In light of these new developments, the House will vote to establish a new select committee to investigate the attack, provide the necessary accountability, and ensure justice is finally served.”

Boehner has long faced pressure from rank-and-file members to form such a panel to probe the attacks which killed four Americans including a U.S. ambassador, and until now had resisted. Fox News is told the speaker made the decision Thursday to go forward with a vote.

The committee is expected to be bipartisan, and Fox News is told Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., is among those being considered to lead it.

House GOP Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the “continued obstruction” made clear that a select committee is needed. Many of the details are still being worked out but Boehner claimed the panel, if approved in a vote by the full House, would have “robust authority.”

He called the alleged “withholding” of documents a “flagrant violation of trust.”

“This dismissiveness and evasion requires us to elevate the investigation to a new level,” Boehner said.

But Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid blasted the decision as an election-year stunt. “There have already been multiple investigations into this issue and an independent Accountability Review Board is mandated under current law,” Reid said in a statement. “For Republicans to waste the American people’s time and money staging a partisan political circus instead of focusing on the middle class is simply a bad decision.”

The movement comes after newly released emails raised questions about the White House role in pushing faulty claims about the attacks.

The emails in question were obtained and published by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. One email showed White House adviser Ben Rhodes discussing a “prep call” with then-U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, before she went on several Sunday shows and made controversial and flawed statements linking the attack to an anti-Islam Internet video.

The email from Rhodes emphasized the role of the Internet video — leading to GOP charges that this “smoking gun” shows the White House politicized the tragedy.

The White House maintains the “prep call” was in reference to protests elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

On the heels of those documents, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also announced Friday that it has issued the subpoena for Kerry to testify at a May 21 hearing. The chairman of that committee has accused the administration of hiding records following an earlier subpoena.

“The State Department’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack has shown a disturbing disregard for the Department’s legal obligations to Congress,” Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Kerry.

He added: “Compliance with a subpoena for documents is not a game. Because your Department is failing to meet its legal obligations, I am issuing a new subpoena to compel you to appear before the Committee to answer questions about your agency’s response to the congressional investigation of the Benghazi attack.”

Before the subpoena was announced, Boehner also called on Kerry to testify before Congress in light of these revelations.

A State Department official voiced surprise at the announcement, telling Fox News that the department has been cooperating with the committee all along.

White House officials have pushed back hard on Republican claims that the Rhodes email was a “smoking gun” that proves the administration politicized the attack.

Former White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told Fox News on Thursday that he wished the documents had been released earlier.

“I bet you every single person in that White House wished that email has been released earlier. I wish it too because it tells us nothing new, It tells us what we said privately was what we said publicly, because that is what we thought had occurred,” Vietor said.

As for the special committee, one of the biggest backers of such a panel, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., commended Boehner for the decision.

He also cited Fox News’ reporting. “In the case of Benghazi, much credit goes to FOX News’ Catherine Herridge and Bret Baier for their tenacious commitment to this story and investigation,” he said in a statement.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/05/02/house-committee-subpoenas-kerry-over-benghazi-documents/

 

 

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The Federal Reserve’s Near Zero Interest Rate Policy Has Hurt Savers — Videos

Posted on April 26, 2014. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, IRS, Law, liberty, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

 

 

 

How the Fed is hurting seniors

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1-Year-Treasury-Bill-Yield

6-Month-Treasury-Bill-Yield

JIM ROGERS When the FED stops PRINTING FIAT CURRENCY the COLLAPSE will be here. PREPARE NO

Fed to keep interest rates low

Peter Schiff: The Fed Won’t Stop The Monetary Heroin Until We Die Of An Overdose

Keiser Report, QE means banks treat savers like dirt (04July13)

Jeremy Stein: Policy Doesn’t Work as Well for Those Near the “Zero Lower Bound”

Why The Federal Reserve’s 0% Interest Rate Policy Hurts Economy & Savers

Rick Santelli: Who is Benefitted/Hurt from the Fed’s Easy Policy

What’s the Deal with Zero Interest Rate Policy? – Laissez Faire Today Exclusive

Ron Paul Hearing on the Fed’s Manipulation of Interest Rates — 9/21/12

Lew Rockwell explains how the Federal Reserve Enables War, Empire, and Destroys the Middle Class

Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP) & Inflation

 

Opinion: The low-interest-rate policy does more harm than good

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth


Bloomberg

Seniors, wake up and call Janet Yellen. With an increase in interest rates next year, as Chair Yellen implied in her press conference on Wednesday, she can restore your savings accounts to relevance. The end for low rates might be in sight, and that is good news, despite the initial reaction from markets.

Chair Yellen continued the taper, and suggested that she would start to raise rates when the taper was over. The Fed has plenty of wiggle room, though, because it will keep current policies “until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially in a context of price stability,” according to the Federal Open Market Committee statement . That is a fuzzy goal that should not give much hope to those who want a sounder system.

Back in the 1970s or 1980s or 1990s, you might have expected a 5% interest rate or higher on your savings to generate income for your golden years. Now, it is not even 1%.

Ten years ago, in 2004, the federal funds rate was about 1%. Then, it temporarily climbed to a plateau of about 5.25% between the summers of 2006 and 2007. However, from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009, the rate declined to practically zero and has remained there.

Income inequality is “the defining challenge of our time,” President Obama said last December, and a zero interest rate for savers contributes to inequality. Those with stock portfolios gain because asset prices are inflated as people look for higher returns. Seniors on fixed incomes have to get returns somehow, and junk bonds and riskier stocks are the answer for many.

Economists and politicians tend to believe in the greatest good for the greatest number. But the idea of a system in which the returns to frugal saving are zero with certainty, while the returns to investing money in risky high-yield stocks and bonds — a form of gambling — often pays off, is troubling, to say the least. It might pay for a senior to invest in riskier assets in the short run, but if interest rates rise to historical levels and the stock markets adjust down, such senior investors will suffer.

It is not only gambling that pays off, it is also borrowing. With mortgage rates at historic lows, people can take on a lot of debt.

So winners from low rates include those who want to borrow, and those who hold stocks and commodities. Losers include those who save and lend because they receive less in interest payments from their assets.

This situation disproportionately affects seniors. According to data from the Census Bureau, seniors ages 65 and over made an average of $3,239 from interest in 2012, and an average of $32,849 in total income. Thus, just under 10% of their income came from interest. In contrast, people ages 25 to 64 earned an average of $1,356 annually from interest, and $47,364 in total income. Less than 3% of income came from interest for people ages 25 to 64.

McKinsey concluded in a November 2013 report that from 2007 to 2012, defined-benefit pension plans and guaranteed-rate life insurance plans lost $270 billion of income due to the Fed’s low-interest-rate policies because they have far more interest bearing assets than liabilities. McKinsey estimated that American households have lost $360 billion of income. On average, American households are net savers.

The big winners of the Fed’s policies were the U.S. government, which gained about $900 billion, and non-financial corporations, which gained $310 billion.

McKinsey calculated that households headed by people under the age of 45 are net debtors and so have benefitted from lower rates. In particular, those households with heads ages 35 to 44 have gained $1,700 more in spending each year because of lower rates. Those under 35 gained $1,500 a year.

The losers are the seniors, especially household heads aged 75 and over, who lost $2,700 a year in income. Those aged between 65 and 74 lost $1,900.

If markets were perfectly liquid, seniors would be able to take advantage of falling interest rates to refinance their mortgages. But many seniors have no mortgage. Those that do are often unwilling to refinance. Others, even though they might want to refinance, find that their houses are worth less than the mortgage, and they cannot meet tighter credit standards.

Keeping interest rates low is not only bad for seniors and savers, it is bad for the economy as a whole. In a global marketplace, low interest rates in the United States discourage lending to the United States. The reason the Fed had to step in to buy Treasury paper is that there is lower demand because of ultra-low interest rates. When interest rates rise, and eventually they will, many parts of our financial system will have a rude awakening and a difficult adjustment. Our deficit will balloon with our high level of debt. Many businesses predicated on low interest rates will fail.

Small- and mid-sized economies cannot pretend that easy money is a successful monetary policy. Japan and Europe have tried easy money. It has not worked. The United States has performed slightly better, not because easy money is a good policy, but because people around the world still look to the dollar as a safe haven in times of trouble. And the world today has more than its fair share of troubles.

All Americans, and seniors in particular, will be better when the Fed abandons its low-interest-rate policy, despite some initial turbulence. Almost five years into the recovery, economic growth is stunted, and labor force participation rates are at 1978 levels. Seniors always tell their children they know better — now they should tell Janet Yellen to let those rates rise.

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-the-fed-is-hurting-seniors-2014-03-21

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Senator Harry Reid Calls Cliven Bundy Rancher Supporters Domestic Terrorists — Videos

Posted on April 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Faith, Family, Federal Government, Fraud, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Rants, Regulations, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wealth, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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Reid says Bundy supporters are nothing but domestic terrorists

Harry Reid accuses Cliven Bundy Nevada Ranch supporters of being ‘domestic terrorists’ – LoneWolf

Nevada Rancher Vs Federal Agents – Judge Andrew Napolitano On O’Reilly Factor

COMPLETE INTERVIEW: Rand Paul On Harry Reid Calling Bundy Supporters Domestic Terrorists

 

 

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16 Year Old Teenager Stabs 20 in High School — Progressives Call For Registration of All Knives, Concealed Knife Carry Permits and Ban On All Assault Knives — Will Baseball Bats Be Next? — Videos

Posted on April 10, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Culture, Diasters, Economics, Education, Freedom, High School, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Rants, Security, Talk Radio, Terrorism, Video, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1:16 Year Old Teenager Stabs 20 in High School — Progressives Call For Registration of All Knives, Concealed Knife Carry Permits and Ban On All Assault Knives — Will Baseball Bats Be Next? —  Videos

Kitchen-knives

20_hurt_in_Pennsylvania_school_stabbing_1492980000_4031342_ver1.0_640_480franklin-regional-hs-600franklin2 the_stabber stabber_2Alex Hribal suspect

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News Wrap: Teenager stabs students at Pennsylvania school

High School Stabbing Franklin Regional High School Murrysville Pennsylvania 20 Students

Alex Hribal Did High School Stabbing At Franklin High Murrysville Pennsylvania

BREAKING: Surgeon Reports Over Mass Stabbing at Franklin High School

Mass Stabbing 20 Students injured Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville PA YouTube

BREAKING: Mass Stabbing Suspect Alex Hribal to be Tried as Adult

News Wrap: Teenager stabs students at Pennsylvania school

CNN Contributor Compares MASS Stabbing VS Shooting: You Get Your Hands Dirty

Suspect in School Stabbing Spree Is ‘Confused, Scared and Depressed’

Alex Hribal, the 16-year-old student who police say stabbed 22 people at his Pennsylvania high school Wednesday, is “confused, scared and depressed,” his attorney told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

“I think he understands what he did,” attorney Patrick Thomassey said in an interview with “Good Morning America.”

“I don’t think he at this point understands the gravity of what he did. I don’t think he realizes how severely injured some of these people are. And, hopefully, there’s no death involved in any of these. We’re praying that everybody is all right.”

Knife-Wielding Pa. Student Wounds at Least 22 in Stabbing Spree

Thomassey said he’s unaware of any signs of Hribal’s being bullied, adding that the teen’s parents are shocked and horrified.

“They could not have predicted that this was going to happen,” he said. “They don’t understand how this occurred.”

The stabbing spree happened at Franklin Regional High School in Murrysville, a suburb located about 20 miles east of Pittsburgh. Morgan Ritchey, who said she had two classes with Hribal, described him as being “a little misunderstood.”

I just always felt like he had a different side to him that nobody knew and it was, like, hard to uncover,” said Ritchey. Hribal, a sophomore, used two 8-to-10 inch “kitchen-type” “straight” knives in the attack, which started shortly after 7 a.m., police said. Murrysville Police Officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, a school resource officer, heard a disturbance in the hallway and joined a school security guard to go find out what was happening, according to a police affidavit. The guard and officer split up. The next time Yakshe saw the guard, he was leaning against a wall, bleeding from his stomach. Sam King, the school’s assistant principal, told police he saw Hribal stab the security guard. King tackled the teen and subdued him while Yakshe handcuffed him. King heard one of the victims say, “I’ve been stabbed,” he told police. Authorities charged Hribal as an adult with four counts of attempted criminal homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of weapons on school property. He was being held without bail in a juvenile detention center in Westmoreland County. Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said someone pulled a fire alarm during the attack, raising attention and getting students and teachers to evacuate. “When we got there we saw a hallway in chaos, as you can imagine,” Seefeld said at a news conference. “There was a lot of evidence of blood on the floors and in the hallway, we had students running about, trying to get out of the area.” Nate Moore, 15, was stabbed during the rampage and said he had to be treated with 15 stitches. “It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead,” Moore told The Associated Press. Student Gracey Evans said heroes emerged during the attack. “My best friend, he stepped in front of me and in the meantime, he got stabbed in the back protecting me,” she said. “You couldn’t step a single place without pretty much stepping in blood.” At least 22 people were injured after the stabbings at the start of the school day, Westmoreland County emergency management spokesman Dan Stevens said. The motive for the rampage is under investigation. Seefeld said officials were unaware of any warning signs from the suspect, a sophomore at the school. At least four people with injuries emergency management officials described as “serious” were flown to hospitals for treatment. Others were not actually stabbed, he said, and some of their injuries included cuts and scrapes. http://gma.yahoo.com/suspect-school-stabbing-spree-confused-scared-depressed-115319444–abc-news-topstories.html

A BLANK LOOK, FOLLOWED BY BLOODSHED AT HIGH SCHOOL

It was just before the start of class and the hallways were packed with students at their lockers or chatting with friends.

Nate Moore was walking to homeroom, book in hand, when a classmate he knew to be quiet and unassuming tackled a freshman boy a few feet in front of him. Moore thought it was the start of a fistfight and went to break it up.

But 16-year-old Alex Hribal wasn’t throwing punches — he was stabbing his victim in the belly, Moore said. The suspect got up and slashed Moore’s face, then took off down the hall, where authorities said he stabbed and slashed other students in an attack that injured 21 students and a security guard — and might have been even worse but for the “heroes” who Pennsylvania’s governor said helped prevent further injury or loss of life.

An assistant principal tackled and subdued Hribal, who was charged Wednesday night with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault and jailed without bail. Authorities said he would be prosecuted as an adult.

The suspect’s motive remained a mystery.

“He wasn’t saying anything,” Moore recalled hours later. “He didn’t have any anger on his face. It was just a blank expression.”

At a brief hearing Wednesday night, District Attorney John Peck said that after he was taken into custody, Hribal made comments suggesting he wanted to die. Defense attorney Patrick Thomassey described him as a good student who got along with others, and asked for a psychiatric examination.

Thomassey told ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday that any defense he offers would likely be based on Hribal’s mental health. He said he hoped to move the charges against the teenager to juvenile court, where he could be rehabilitated. If convicted as an adult, Hribal faces likely decades in prison.

Thomassey told several media outlets that Hribal is remorseful, though he acknowledged his client didn’t appear to appreciate the gravity of his actions.

“At this point, he’s confused, scared and depressed. Over the next few days we’ll try to figure out what the heck happened here,” Thomassey told ABC. “I think he understands what he did. … I don’t think he realizes how severely injured some of these people are.”

At least five students were critically wounded in the attack, including a boy who was on a ventilator after a knife pierced his liver, missing his heart and aorta by only millimeters, doctors said. He had additional surgery overnight, they said.

The rampage comes after decades in which U.S. schools have focused their emergency preparedness on mass shootings, not stabbings.

While knife attacks at schools are not unusual, they’re most often limited to a single victim, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

Nevertheless, there have been at least two major stabbing attacks at U.S. schools over the past year, the first at a community college in Texas last April that wounded at least 14 people, and another, also in Texas, that killed a 17-year-old student and injured three others at a high school last September.

The attack in Pittsburgh unfolded shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday, a few minutes before the start of classes at 1,200-student Franklin Regional High School, in an upper-middle-class area 15 miles east of Pittsburgh. By Thursday morning, the school was no longer being treated as a crime scene, according to police and school officials, who said they expected it to reopen Monday.

Mia Meixner, 16, said the freshman boy who was tackled tried to fight back, then, when his assailant got off him, stood up and lifted his shirt to reveal a midsection covered in blood.

“He had his shirt pulled up and he was screaming, ‘Help! Help!'” said another witness, Michael Float, 18. “He had a stab wound right at the top right of his stomach, blood pouring down.”

As students rushed to the boy’s aid, the attacker slashed Moore before taking off around a bend.

“It was really fast. It felt like he hit me with a wet rag because I felt the blood splash on my face. It spurted up on my forehead,” said Moore, whose gashed right cheek required 11 stitches.

The boy ran down about 200 feet of hallway, slashing and stabbing other students with kitchen knives about 8 to 10 inches long, police said. The assault touched off a “stampede of kids” yelling, “Run! Get out of here! Someone has a knife!” according to Meixner.

Assistant Principal Sam King heard the commotion and found a chaotic scene in the blood-soaked hall.

“I’ve been stabbed,” he heard a student say, according to a police affidavit.

King then saw Hribal stab a security guard, who leaned against the wall, bleeding from his stomach, the affidavit said. King tackled Hribal and kept him on the floor until a school police officer handcuffed him.

The rampage lasted about five minutes.

“There are a number of heroes in this day. Many of them are students,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a visit to the town. “Students who stayed with their friends and didn’t leave their friends.”

He also commended cafeteria workers, teachers and teacher’s aides who put themselves at risk to help others.

Looking for a motive, Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said investigators were checking reports of a threatening phone call between Hribal and another student the night before. He didn’t say whether the suspect received or made the call.

The FBI went to the boy’s house, and local media reports said agents removed at least one computer along with other items.

Meixner and Moore called the attacker a shy and quiet boy who largely kept to himself, but they said he was not an outcast and they saw no indication before the attack that he might be violent.

“He was never mean to anyone, and I never saw people be mean to him,” Meixner said. “I never saw him with a particular group of friends.”

During the attack, the boy had a “blank look,” she said. “He was just kind of looking like he always does, not smiling, not scowling or frowning.”

___

Associated Press writers Michael Rubinkam in northeastern Pennsylvania, Joe Mandak in Pittsburgh and JoAnn Loviglio in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

http://www.breitbart.com/system/wire/ap_9a58be3772564946b1e85a87f10519ca

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Breaking News: Shooting At Fort Hood in Texas — 16 Wounded From Gunshots and 4 Dead Including Shooter — Shelter in Place — PTSD and Suicides of Afgan and Iraq War Veterans — The War Within — Videos

Posted on April 2, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Crime, Diasters, government, government spending, Homicide, liberty, Life, Links, media, Politics, Press, Radio, Talk Radio, Video, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Ivan_Lopez

Sources have confirmed to CBS 11 that this image is that of suspected shooter 34-year-old Ivan Lopez.

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Sources have confirmed to CBS 11 that this image is that of suspected shooter 34-year-old Ivan Lopez.

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Fort Hood Shooter Was On Psych Meds

Fort Hood Shooting: Four dead and 16 injured in another mass shooting

Army: Alleged Shooter Saw No Combat in Iraq

President Obama Delivers a Statement on Fort Hood

WATCH: Fort Hood Shooting Military News Conference 4/2/2014

Fort Hood Soldier Opens Fire On Army Base

 

Fort Hood shooting – exclusive Footage shooter at Military army Base Texas! 4/2/2014

 

President Obama Fort Hood Shooting Military Base 2014 | SPEECH

[YOUTUBE=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8-g2fNKJIg]

Multiple Fatalities In Shooting At Fort Hood – April 2, 2014

Fort Hood Shooting Base on Lockdown Several injured by Active Shooter

 

Fort Hood Texas shooting police scanner April 2 2014

Fort Hood TX Shooting April 2014 Dispatch Audio, Part 1

CNN: “A” SHOOTER IN FORT HOOD INCIDENT IS DEAD!

Shooting at Fort Hood Military Base | At least one dead | Raw Footage

Shooting in Fort Hood April 02 2014

(Original) Full Video: Shooting At Fort Hood Military Post ~ Today April 2, 2014

Fort Hood Shooting In Texas! (SHOOTER IS DEAD!)

Shooting At Fort Hood Military Post Base! (April 2, 2014)

BREAKING: Mass Shooting At Fort Hood Military Base Multiple Casualties – APRIL 2, 2014

BREAKING: Shooting at Fort Hood Military Base – 1 Death Confirmed

7News : Shooting at Fort Hood military base

Fort Hood Shooting In Texas At Fort Hood Military Base | 1 Death Confirmed

Islamic Jihad : Three Stages of Islamic Jihad 

November 5, 2009

Broken Heart: “For The Record” on the Fort Hood Shooting

Soldier Opens Fire At Fort Hood; 4 Dead, Several Injured

A soldier opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide at the same post where more than a dozen people were slain in a 2009 attack, authorities said.

The shooter, 34-year-old Ivan Lopez who served in Iraq in 2011, had been undergoing an assessment to determine whether he had post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the senior officer on the base. He was also undergoing psychiatric treatment for depression.

FULL COVERAGE OF FORT HOOD SHOOTING

There was no indication the attack was related to terrorism, Milley said “although we are not ruling anything out.”

A Texas congressman said the shooting happened at a medical center. Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also identified the suspect as Ivan Lopez. But additional details about the gunman were not immediately available.

The injured were taken to Darnall Army Community Hospital at Fort Hood and other local hospitals. Dr. Glen Couchman, chief medical officer at Scott and White Hospital in Temple, said the first four people admitted there had gunshots to chest, abdomen, neck and extremities and that their conditions range from stable to “quite critical.”  At last check, nine patients had been admitted to Scott and White.

The 2009 assault on Fort Hood was the deadliest attack on a domestic military installation in U.S. history. Thirteen people were killed and more than 30 wounded.

After the shooting began, the Army’s official Twitter feed said the post had been locked down. Hours later, all-clear sirens sounded.

On Wednesday evening, a fatigue-clad soldier and a military police officer stood about a quarter-mile from the main gate waving away traffic. Other lanes were blocked by a police car and van.

Meanwhile, relatives of soldiers waited for news about their loved ones.

Tayra DeHart, 33, said she had last heard from her husband, a soldier at the post, that he was safe, but that was hours earlier.

“The last two hours have been the most nerve-racking I’ve ever felt. I know God is here protecting me and all the soldiers, but I have my phone in my hand just hoping it will ring and it will be my husband,” DeHart said.

Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of the shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She said she called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover, immediately to make sure he was OK, but he could not even tell her exactly what was going on, only that the base was locked down.

“I’m still hearing conflicting stories about what happened and where the shooting was exactly,” Conover said in a telephone interview, explaining that she still did not know how close the incident was to her husband.

“I just want him to come home,” said Conover, who moved to Fort Hood with her husband and three daughters two years ago.

President Barack Obama vowed that investigators would get to the bottom of the shooting.

In a hastily arranged statement in Chicago, Obama said he was following the situation closely. He said the shooting brought back painful memories of the 2009 attack.

Obama reflected on the sacrifices that troops stationed at Fort Hood have made – including enduring multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They serve with valor. They serve with distinction, and when they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe,” Obama said. “We don’t yet know what happened tonight, but obviously that sense of safety has been broken once again.”

The president spoke without notes or prepared remarks in the same room of a steakhouse where he had just met with about 25 donors at a previously scheduled fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. White House officials quickly pushed tables to the side of the room to make room for Obama to speak to the nation.

The November 2009 attack happened inside a crowded building where soldiers were waiting to get vaccines and routine paperwork after recently returning from deployments or preparing to go to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death last year in that mass shooting. He said he acted to protect Islamic insurgents abroad from American aggression.

According to testimony during Hasan’s trial last August, Hasan walked inside carrying two weapons and several loaded magazines, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great!” – and opened fire with a handgun.

Witnesses said he targeted soldiers as he walked through the building, leaving pools of blood, spent casings and dying soldiers on the floor. Photos of the scene were shown to the 13 officers on the military jury.

The rampage ended when Hasan was shot in the back by Fort Hood police officers outside the building. He was paralyzed from the waist down and is now on death row at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

After that shooting, the military tightened security at bases nationwide. Those measures included issuing security personnel long-barreled weapons, adding an insider-attack scenario to their training and strengthening ties to local law enforcement, according to Peter Daly, a vice admiral who retired from the Navy in 2011. The military also joined an FBI intelligence-sharing program aimed at identifying terror threats.

 

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2014/04/02/search-for-active-shooter-on-fort-hood-base/

3 Victims, Gunman Dead After Second Fort Hood Mass Shooting

Deceased are all military personnel, Fort Hood official says

By Frank Heinz

Four people are dead, including the gunman, and another 16 are injured in a mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army post Wednesday. One of the survivors is in grave condition, NBC News reports.

More than four hours after the shooting, all-clear sirens sounded as the lockdown at the post was lifted. Hundreds of cars began streaming from the giant complex, many including children who had been kept locked-down in schools since gunshots were first reported at about 4:30 p.m.

A military official told NBC News that the deceased shooter, identified as 34-year-old enlisted Army soldier Ivan Lopez, took his own life and appeared to be the only shooter, despite an earlier report of two possible gunmen.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, the commanding general at Fort Hood, refused to identify the gunman during a news conference Wednesday night pending notification of family members.

Milley said the sequence of events are not 100 percent clear but that investigators believe the shooting began when a soldier assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) fired shots at individuals in the 1st Medical Brigade. Milley said the shooter then left that building, got into a vehicle and continued firing. He then went to another building at the post, went inside and opened fire.  The gunman, when confronted by a military police officer, put his gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

The gunman was armed with a single weapon, a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he had recently purchased, Milley said.

The gunman had served four months in Iraq in 2011 and was currently under diagnosis for post traumatic stress disorder, but had not been officially diagnosed with PTSD, Milley said. He added the shooter was undergoing behavioral health care for depression and anxiety, had a self-reported traumatic brain injury and was not physically injured in combat.

NBC News learned that Lopez served with the Puerto Rican Army National Guard and was an E4 in the U.S. Army.  NBC News reported that the shooter was in uniform and that the shooting rampage may have resulted from an argument with other soldiers in the motor pool and was not related to terrorism.

The names of the victims have not yet been released, though Milley did confirm that all of the victims are military personnel.  Officials at Fort Hood said the names of the victims will be released 24 hours after all family have been notified.

Temple Hospital Taking Fort Hood Patients

Baylor Scott & White Hospital in Temple confirms they have a command center in place and have received nine patients from the post.

All patients are in the intensive care unit; three are critical and five are serious.  The ninth patient is en route, as of 10:20 p.m. Wednesday night.

In an update early Wednesday night, Glen Couchman, chief medical officer for Baylor Scott & White Memorial Hospital, said patients are receiving treatment for wounds to their chest, abdomen, neck and extremities and range from “stable to quite critical.”

“This is another sad day for Central Texas,” Couchman said. He said the hospital planned to offer another update on the conditions of the victims later in the evening.

Officials at Baylor Scott & White said the blood center closed at 8 p.m., but will be open for donations from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Investigation Continues

Officials at Fort Hood said Wednesday that there is no indication the mass shooting is related to terrorism.

The investigation by law enforcement is ongoing and post officials were reluctant to reveal any further information about what may have led to the rampage.

Milley said the investigation into the shooting continues and that nothing is being ruled out as a cause at this point. The investigation is being conducted with the support of The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Texas Rangers, The Texas Department of Public Safety, military police, Army CID, the Killeen Police Department and the Harker Heights Police Department.

During the lockdown of the base, officials with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety were called in to help to secure the perimeter of the largest active duty armored post in the U.S. Armed Services.

Obama, Gov. Perry Respond

President Barack Obama addressed the shooting in brief remarks in Chicago, where he was attending a fundraiser Wednesday night.

“We’re following it closely. The situation is fluid right now … I want to just assure all of us we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened,” he said. “We’re heartbroken something like this might have happened again.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement Wednesday as well. “Today, Fort Hood was once again stricken by tragedy,” he said. “Fort Hood has proven its resilience before, and will again.”

Perry was one of several politicians who tweeted messages following the news of the shooting, many of whom called for prayers for the post and Central Texas.

Mom Stuck at Fort Hood With 4-Year-Old During Shooting

Charlotte Spencer was picking up her 4-year-old son from soccer practice on the Fort Hood post when Wednesday’s shooting occurred.

Spencer said her son had just climbed in the car when a woman came over a loudspeaker telling everyone to shelter in place immediately.

“The siren came over and she was like, ‘This is an emergency. Get in your homes, lock your doors, lock your windows, turn off your AC units and turn off your heaters if you have them running. Just stay in place. This is an active emergency,’” Spencer described.

Spencer said she tried to delicately explain the all too familiar situation to her young son.

“It Sounded Powerful”

Antonio Ortiz, 30, who lives a quarter of a mile from the east gate of Fort Hood, told NBC News he heard a commotion and went outside to hear alarms going off and announcements for people to stay inside. He went back in and turned on the TV news, then soon after heard a barrage of gunshots.

“It sounded powerful,” Ortiz said, adding that while it seemed to be coming from the base, he couldn’t rule out the possibility someone in the civilian neighborhood was shooting.

“I’m scared for my son. He’s 7,” Ortiz said. “But I do have a 12-gauge pump shotgun.”

Tayra DeHart, 33, said she had last heard from her husband, a soldier at the post, that he was safe, but that was hours earlier.

“The last two hours have been the most nerve-wracking I’ve ever felt. I know God is here protecting me and all the soldiers, but I have my phone in my hand just hoping it will ring and it will be my husband,” DeHart said.

Brooke Conover, whose husband was on base at the time of the shooting, said she found out about it while checking Facebook. She said she called her husband, Staff Sgt. Sean Conover, immediately to make sure he was OK, but he couldn’t even tell her exactly what was going on, only that the base was locked down.

“I’m still hearing conflicting stories about what happened and where the shooting was exactly,” Conover said in a telephone interview, explaining that she still doesn’t know how close the incident was to her husband.

“I just want him to come home,” said Conover, who moved to Fort Hood with her husband and three daughters two years ago.

Tragic History at Fort Hood

In November 2009, 13 people were killed and more than 30 others injured when Maj. Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, opened fire on dozens of people at the post. Hasan was paralyzed during an exchange of gunfire and, in late 2013, was sentenced to death.  He is currently awaiting execution.

In February, officials at the Central Texas Army post said the site of the 2009 massacre, a processing center also known as Building 42003, had been razed.

Hasan’s rampage isn’t the most recent mass shooting at a U.S. military installation.  Last September, a lone gunman with ties to North Texas, Aaron Alexis, killed 12 when he opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard.

Largest Active-Duty Military Base

Fort Hood covers a total of 340 square miles and supports multiple units, a corps headquarters and a robust mobilization mission. It is home to two full divisions, the 1st Cavalry Division and 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and 12 additional units.

Around 50,000 soldiers work at Fort Hood, and there are an additional 150,000 civilians who support the base.

The post is about 60 miles north of the capital city of Austin, 50 miles south of Waco, 160 miles south of Dallas and 150 miles north of San Antonio

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Active-Shooter-Reported-at-Fort-Hood-253636461.html

FBI, military hunt ex-Army recruit suspected of plotting ‘Ft. Hood-inspired jihad’

EXCLUSIVE: The FBI is searching for a recent Army recruit believed to be planning a “Fort Hood-inspired jihad against U.S. soldiers,” FoxNews.com has learned.

The alert, whose legitimacy was confirmed by military and law enforcement officials, stated that a man identified as Booker had told friends of his “intention to commit jihad.” Booker, who is also known as Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, was recruited by the U.S. Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for basic training on April 7. But he was discharged last week, apparently after law enforcement authorities learned of his alleged plan.

Both the FBI and the 902d Military Intelligence Group at Fort Leavenworth are involved in the hunt.

The alert, a copy of which was obtained by FoxNews.com, was sent out by the FBI’s Kansas City Division on Friday and distributed through the U.S. Marine Corps. The portion obtained by FoxNews.com did not include Hassan’s photo or age. It was also sent to the Kansas City Police Department, which could indicate authorities believe he may have remained in the area where he was recruited.

The alert is titled, “Planned Fort Hood-inspired Jihad against US Soldiers by Army Recruit” and was issued “to inform and protect officers who may encounter this individual or others exhibiting the same aspirations.” The source of the information contained in the alert was listed as “An FBI agent.”

According to the alert:

“On 20 March 2014, the Kansas City Division FBI became aware of an individual named BOOKER aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan who had publicly stated his intention to commit jihad, bidding farewell to his friends and making comments indicating his jihad was imminent. BOOKER had been recruited by the US Army in Kansas City, Mo., in February 2014 and was scheduled to report for Basic Training on 7 April 2014. Kansas City Division Agents interviewed BOOKER on 20 March 2014.”

Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Ty Balzer confirmed the alert’s legitimacy, but referred questions to the FBI. A spokeswoman with the Kansas City Division of the FBI — the same division responsible for sending out the alert and who, according to the alert, spoke with Booker on March 20 — said she did “not have any information to provide in regards to your inquiry.”

Law enforcement sources familiar with the alert said it appeared to suggest that there may be others in addition to Booker who also might have expressed similar intentions to commit jihad against U.S. military installations.

A military source said it appeared the bulletin was provided by the FBI, then distributed by the Marine Corps under the normal protocol of sharing any information relating to a potential threat to U.S. military installations or personnel.

A spokesman for the Kansas City recruiting station where Booker enlisted referred FoxNews.com’s questions to 902d Military Intelligence Group, which did not immediately return requests for comment.

The Fort Hood shooting, referenced in the alert, took place on Nov. 5, 2009. U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist who had become a radical Muslim while serving in the military, killed 13 people and injured dozens more inside the Texas Army base. Hasan, who represented himself at a military trial after clashing with his appointed attorneys, was sentenced to death in August.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/01/military-hunts-one-time-recruit-planning-ft-hood-style-jihad/

 

Shooting Confirmed at Fort Hood Army Base

NBC News reports there may be two shooters, one down, one at-large

 

Multiple people have been injured and the search for the gunman is underway after a shooting at the Fort Hood Army post Wednesday afternoon.

Reports of an active shooter triggered a lockdown at Fort Hood, with local sheriff’s deputies and the FBI immediately responding.
As many as eight people may be injured, and there may have been two shooters, NBC News reported. One of those was believed to be “down,” while the second was believed to be at-large, according to NBC News.

Fort Hood confirmed that a shooting occurred at the base, though the number of people injured and the severity of their injuries has not been confirmed.

Just after 5 p.m. local time, the base tweeted that all personnel were being asked to shelter in place, close doors and stay away from windows.

The shooting is believed to have taken place at the Medical Brigade Building. Local NBC affiliate KCEN-TV reported there were also reports of victims at the Battle Simulation Center.

Central Texas College’ campus was evacuated due to the shooting, with all personnel and students asked to leave and all classes canceled.

Officials with the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and Texas Department of Public Safety are helping to secure the perimiter of the base.

In November 2009, 13 people were killed and more than 30 others injured when Maj. Nidal Hasan opened fire on dozens of people at the base. Hasan was paralyzed during an exchange of gunfire and, in late 2013, was sentenced to death. He is currently awaiting execution.

 

 

Background Articles and Videos

US Soldier Suicides: Congress to increase efforts to curb high rate of military suicides

 

Vets Rally to Curb Military Suicides

Iraq and Afghanistan veterans express pain and pride of war

According to a new survey, 89 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans say they would join the military again, while also reporting a spike in suicide, reduced physical wellness and feelings of disconnection. Gwen Ifill talks to two veterans, Tom Tarantino of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Nathan Smith of Hire Heroes USA, as well as Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post.

Tens of thousands of Afghan, Iraq war veterans homeless in 2013

Quick Facts: Plight of US veterans

On Afghan War 11th Anniversary, Vets Confront Mental Health Crisis, Suicide, Violence 1 of 3

On the 11th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, we take a look at the invisible wounds of war here at home. Since the war began on Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the Sept. 11th attacks, at least 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died. Some 2.4 million U.S. soldiers have served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the psychological toll of the wars is mounting. Last year, the Veterans Administration treated almost 100,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and soldier suicides reached an all-time high this year.

On Afghan War 11th Anniversary, Vets Confront Mental Health Crisis, Suicide, Violence 2 of 3

On Afghan War 11th Anniversary, Vets Confront Mental Health Crisis, Suicide, Violence 3 of 3

ALEX JONES INFOWARS – US VETERANS – RECORD SUICIDES DUE TO PTSD

Between Iraq and a Hard Place – PTSD and Suicides in Iraq

Veterans of PTSD PBS NOW

The War Within 1 of 4

The War Within 2 of 4

The War Within 3 of 4

The War Within 4 of 4

Marines PTSD Suicide CPL Anthony Clay Ward, USMC, FOX 2/11 Iraq War

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Veterans statistics: PTSD, Depression, TBI, Suicide.

The following veterans statistics are from a major study done by the RAND Corporation (full pdf of study), a study by the Congressional Research Service, the Veterans Administration, and the US Surgeon General.

PTSD statistics are a moving target that is fuzzy: do you look only at PTSD diagnosed within one year of return from battle? Do you only count PTSD that limits a soldier’s ability to go back into battle or remain employed, but that may have destroyed a marriage or wrecked a family? Do you look at the PTSD statistics for PTSD that comes up at any time in a person’s life: it is possible to have undiagnosed PTSD for 30 years and not realize it–possibly never or until you find a way to get better and then you realize there is another way to live. When you count the PTSD statistic of “what percentage of a population gets PTSD,” is your overall starting group combat veterans, veterans who served in the target country, or all military personnel for the duration of a war?

And veterans PTSD statistics get revised over time. The findings from the NVVR Study (National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study) commissioned by the government in the 1980s initially found that for “Vietnam theater veterans” 15% of men had PTSD at the time of the study and 30% of men had PTSD at some point in their life. But a 2003 re-analysis found that “contrary to the initial analysis of the NVVRS data, a large majority of Vietnam Veterans struggled with chronic PTSD symptoms, with four out of five reporting recent symptoms when interviewed 20-25 years after Vietnam.” (see also NVVR review)

There is a similar problem with suicide statistics. The DoD and their researchers tend to lose track of military personnel once they retire, and not all suicides will be counted as a military suicide (plus, is a person who drinks themselves to death committing suicide?). A recent study found U.S. veteran suicide rates to be be as high as 5,000 a year. See suicide statistics (bottom of page).

Summary of Veterans Statistics for PTSD, TBI, Depression and Suicide.

    • there are over 2.3 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (compared to 2.6 million Vietnam veterans who fought in Vietnam; there are 8.2 million “Vietnam Era Veterans” (personnel who served anywhere during any time of the Vietnam War)
    • at least 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have PTSD and/or Depression. (Military counselors I have interviewed state that, in their opinion, the percentage of veterans with PTSD is much higher; the number climbs higher when combined with TBI.) Other accepted studies have found a PTSD prevalence of 14%; see a complete review of PTSD prevalence studies, which quotes studies with findings ranging from 4 -17% of Iraq War veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder)
    • 50% of those with PTSD do not seek treatment
    • out of the half that seek treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment (RAND study)
    • 19% of veterans may have traumatic brain injury (TBI)
    • Over 260,000 veterans from OIF and OEF so far have been diagnosed with TBI. Traumatic brain injury is much more common in the general population than  previously thought: according to the CDC, over 1,700,000 Americans have a traumatic brain injury each year; in Canada 20% of teens had TBI resulting in hospital admission or that involved over 5 minutes of unconsciousness (VA surgeon reporting in BBC News)
    • 7% of veterans have both post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury
    • rates of post-traumatic stress are greater for these wars than prior conflicts
    • in times of peace, in any given year, about 4% (actually 3.6%) of the general population have PTSD (caused by natural disasters, car accidents, abuse, etc.)
    • recent statistical studies show that rates of veteran suicide are much higher than previously thought (see suicide prevention page).
    • PTSD distribution between services for OND, OIF, and OEF: Army 67% of cases, Air Force 9%, Navy 11%, and Marines 13%. (Congressional Research Service, Sept. 2010)
    • recent sample of 600 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan found: 14% post-traumatic stress disorder; 39% alcohol abuse; 3% drug abuse. Major depression also a problem. “Mental and Physical Health Status and Alcohol and Drug Use Following Return From Deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan.” Susan V. Eisen, PhD
    • Oddly, statistics for veteran tobacco use are never reported alongside PTSD statistics, even though increases in rates of smoking are strongly correlated with the stress of deployment and combat, and smoking statistics show that tobacco use is tremendously damaging and costly for soldiers.
    • More active duty personnel die by own hand than combat in 2012 (New York Times)

Other veterans PTSD statistics references and sources:

 

U.S. Suicide Rate Surged Among Veterans
Eli Clifton

Suicides among United States military veterans ballooned by 26 percent from 2005 to 2007, according to new statistics released by the Veterans Affairs (VA) department. 

“Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, fully 20 percent of them are acts by veterans,” said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki at a VA-sponsored suicide prevention conference on Monday. “That means on average 18 veterans commit suicide each day. Five of those veterans are under our care at VA.”

The spike in the suicide rate can most clearly be attributed to the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the high number of veterans returning to the U.S. with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

”We have now nearly two million vets of Iraq and Afghanistan and we still haven’t seen the type of mobilisation of resources necessary to handle an epidemic of veteran suicides,” Aaron Glantz, an editor at New America Media editor and author of “The War Comes Home”, told IPS.

”With [President Barack] Obama surging in Afghanistan coupled with his unwillingness to withdraw speedily from Iraq, it means we have more veterans who have served more and more tours and as a result we have an escalating number of people coming home with PTSD, depression and other mental health issues,” Glantz continued.

Health officials have pointed to the multiple tours of duty served by many U.S. soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq as one of the stresses placed on military personnel that differs from previous wars fought by the U.S.

“The unfortunate truth is that the real challenge begins when these service men and women return home and readjust to day-to-day life,” said Rep. Michael McMahon, co-founder of the Congressional Invisible Wounds Caucus.

“The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs must be prepared with the appropriate staff and funding to conduct post-deployment psychological screenings with a mental health professional for all service men and women,” he said. “Evidently, the paper questionnaires currently in use simply do not suffice. How many more young men and women must die before we provide the necessary mental health care?”

The VA estimated that in 2005, the suicide rate per 100,000 veterans among men ages 18-29 was 44.99, but jumped to 56.77 in 2007.

A Rand Corporation report last year found that as many as 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans exhibited symptoms of PTSD or depression.

”As I’ve often asked, mostly of myself, but also of others from time to time, why do we know so much about suicides but so little about how to prevent them?” said Shinseki.

The VA came under attack by veterans’ groups in April 2008, when internal emails sent by the VA’s head of mental health, Dr. Ira Katz, showed that the VA was attempting to conceal the number of suicides committed by veterans.

Under the Obama administration, the approach to handling the increasing number of suicides appears to have shifted, with a greater focus on transparency – the VA is holding a three-day conference on suicide this week. Last year, Obama announced a 25-billion-dollar increase in the VA’s budget over the next five years.

While the emphasis on greater transparency, particularly with regards to PTSD and mental health issues, and increased funding for the VA has been welcomed, many are still concerned that the troop surge in Afghanistan and the ongoing U.S. role in Iraq will put ever greater strains on the VA and its ability to deal with soldiers returning from multiple tours of duty.

”The first Gulf War was over in a matter of months. This war has gone on for nine years in Afghanistan and seven years in Iraq. There are two million vets, most of whom have served multiple tours,” said Glantz.

”What this means is that the military has never faced the stress it faces now. Not even in Vietnam where we had a draft and most soldiers only served one tour. In Iraq and Afghanistan everyone’s on the frontlines all the time. Even being in a vehicle going from one military base to another is extremely dangerous,” he said.

Shinseki cited the fact that of the 18 veterans who commit suicide each day, five are under the care of the VA, as evidence that both the VA’s efforts to prevent suicides are falling short and that the VA is failing to bring enough veterans under its care.

Suicides among active duty personnel have also risen, with 147 reported suicides in the Army from January through November 2009 – an increase from 127 in the same period of 2008.

Among non-active duty reserve soldiers, 50 suicides were reported in 2008 but the number had risen to 71 during the first 11 months of 2009.

Suicide rates in all four services of the military are significantly higher than in the general population, with 52 Marines, 48 sailors, and 41 members of the Air force committing suicide in 2009.

The final figures for suicides in the Army during 2009 will be released Thursday.

http://ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=2784

 

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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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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 233: March 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 232: March 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 231: March 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 230: March 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 229: March 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 228: March 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 227: March 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 226: March 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 225: March 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 224: March 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 223: March 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 222: March 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 221: February 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 220: February 27, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 218: February 25, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 215: February 20, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 213: February 18, 2014

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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

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

NSA – Changes To Metadata Program – Special Report All Star

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

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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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Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney Gets Scripted Questions and Provides Written Answers In Advance of Actual Press Conference — Suck Up Journalism — Puppeteer Press — Videos

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Jay Carney Denies Charge of Most Secretive White House Ever – 1/26/14 – ABC Interview

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‘My mistake and I own up to it': Phoenix reporter reverses course, says White House Press Secretary Jay Carney DOESN’T get daily briefing questions in advance

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR

  • Catherine Anaya of KPHO-TV in Phoenix claimed Carney told reporters that White House correspondents often tell him their questions ahead of time
  • ‘If only this were true,’ Carney told MailOnline
  • Anaya later walked back her story, but said that she was asked to submit a local-news question in writing before Wednesday’s White House briefing
  • She conceded Thursday that she shouldn’t have said the practice is common
  • Anaya also broke protocol by telling viewers about an ‘off the record’ meeting with Carney
  • She said in a statement that she was mistaken about that also, but the statement disappeared from KPHO-TV’s website in less than 30 minutes

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denied on Thursday a television news reporter’s day-old claim that reporters often ‘provide the questions to him in advance,’ before his daily briefings, and that he sometimes provides answers on paper before taking the podium.

WIthin hours, the Phoenix reporter at the center of a quick-drying controversy admitted she got the whole thing wrong.

Phoenix news anchor Catherine Anaya reported Wednesday night on KPHO-TV5 that in an ‘off the record’ meeting, Carney had told a handful of local TV reporters that White House correspondents often tell him before daily briefings what they’ll be asking.

‘If only this were true,’ Carney told MailOnline Thursday morning.

By mid-afternoon Anaya, fresh of a Washington-to-Phoenix flight, walked parts of her story back in an email to MailOnline. But she insisted that she herself was asked to submit a question in advance for Carney on Wednesday afternoon.

‘As a local journalist I had no issue providing my proposed question in advance,’ she told MailOnline, ‘because I wanted to make sure it was an appropriate q[uestion] for a national briefing and I wanted to make sure it was appropriate for Mr. Carney.’

‘[B]ut in discussing it with a staff member the night before, we decided I would save it for the president. I was attempting to not waste national time on a local question, but in my attempt at explaining that I unintentionally made it sound like that experience applied to everyone.’

‘That is my mistake,’ Anaya added, ‘and I own up to it.’

Meanwhile, KPHO-TV issued a separate statement attributed to Anaya, but the CBS affiliate station quickly deleted it from its website.

Assignment Editor Scott Davis told MailOnline that it ‘apparently … was not the correct statement.’

Anaya’s on-air commentary remains on the website, however.

‘We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with a coffee with Press Secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing,’ she said on the air, before making a stunning breach of journalistic protocol by reporting on an ‘off the record’ meeting and airing a photo of it.

Published and yanked: The statement KPHO deleted

KPHO-TV issued this extended quote Thursday afternoon from Catherine Anaya, and then quickly withdrew it, saying in an email that ‘apparently that was not the correct statement':

‘It seems much had been inferred about my observations following my White House visit yesterday.

‘First, I did not take notes during our coffee with Jay Carney because it was off the record. But when I referenced the meeting in my live reports I did say that it was a great opportunity to talk about the challenges of his day and how he has to be so well-versed on many topics each day.

‘In my live report I also wanted to share my impression of my experience in getting a question answered during the briefing. I was indeed asked to provide my question in advance. Because my question was largely of local interest, I chose to save it for my interview with the President instead.

‘My mistake was to lump that experience with my coffee meeting reference, inadvertently giving Mr. Carney credit for that when in fact it did not come from him. I regret giving anyone the impression that it was from conversation I had with Mr. Carney.

I do not attend those briefings regularly and cannot speak directly to the process for non-visiting journalists.

None of my observations stemmed from my off-the-record meeting with Jay Carney.’

‘And this was off-the-record,’ she reported, ‘so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well-versed on every single day.’

‘And then he also mentioned that a lot of times,’ Anaya added, ‘unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask – or the correspondents – they are provided to him in advance.’

‘So then he knows what he’s going to be answering and sometimes those correspondents and reporters also have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports for later on.’

Anaya responded to a request for comment hours later. Davis initially told MailOnline that she was on a plane and unavailable.

But the White House was quick to dismiss her account of what Carney said. Carney himself tweeted a second denial after this report was first published.

Anaya’s recounting of her day at the White House aired Wednesday in at least two separate on-air reports. One was uploaded to a hastily created YouTube account and then reported by The Weekly Standard.

It’s unknown who published that video online.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2585306/White-House-Press-Secretary-Jay-Carney-denies-TV-reporters-claim-gets-daily-briefing-questions-IN-ADVANCE.html

Reporter: WH Press Secretary Gets Questions from Reporters Before Press Briefing

A CBS reporter from Arizona reveals that President Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney, receives questions from the press in advance of his daily press briefing. In fact, she says, the reporters often receive the answers in advance of the briefing, too.

According to the reporter, Jay Carney told her this yesterday at the White House:

It was a very busy day. We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with a coffee with press secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing,” says the reporter.

“And this was the off-the-record so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well versed on every single day.

“And then he also mentioned that a lot of times, unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask — the correspondents — they are provided to him in advance. So then he knows what he’s going to be answering and sometimes those correspondents and reporters also have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports for later on. So that was very interesting.”

The reporter, from a local CBS Arizona affiliate, interviewed President Obama yesterday.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/reporter-wh-press-secretary-gets-questions-reporters-press-briefing_785607.html

EXCLUSIVE: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney denies TV reporter’s claim that he gets daily briefing questions IN ADVANCE

  • Catherine Anaya of KPHO-TV in Phoenix claims Carney told journalists that White House correspondents often tell him their questions ahead of time
  • ‘If only this were true,’ Carney told MailOnline
  • Anaya broke journalistic protocol by telling viewers about Carney’s alleged habit even though the meeting she attended was ‘off the record’
  • She visited the White House as part of a cattle-call for local TV anchors, who each got four minutes with President Obama

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney is denying a television news reporter’s claim that reporters often ‘provide the questions to him in advance,’ before his daily briefings, and that he sometimes provides answers on paper before taking the podium.

‘If only this were true,’ Carney told MailOnline Thursday morning.

He was responding to a claim from KPHO-TV5 anchor Catherine Anaya, who reported Wednesday night on what she called an ‘off the record’ meeting yesterday morning between Carney and a handful of local TV reporters hand-picked to interview President Barack Obama.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

‘We started here shortly after 8 o’clock with a coffee with Press Secretary Jay Carney inside his office in the West Wing,’ Anaya said on the air, before making a stunning breach of journalistic protocol by reporting on an ‘off the record’ meeting and airing a photo of it.

‘And this was off-the-record,’ she reported, ‘so we were able to ask him all about some of the preparation that he does on a regular basis for talking to the press in his daily press briefings. He showed us a very long list of items that he has to be well-versed on every single day.’

‘And then he also mentioned that a lot of times,’ Anaya added, ‘unless it’s something breaking, the questions that the reporters actually ask – or the correspondents – they are provided to him in advance.’

A longer broadcast segment, in which Anaya makes the same claim about Carney’s advance knowledge of daily briefing questions, appears on KPHO’s website.

‘They provide the questions to him in advance,’ she said in that report. ‘And so he is already preparing for the answer. And sometimes – in some cases, I should say – he actually prepares that answer for them, so that they can have that to work on their reports later on.’

Anaya also told viewers that she was limited to four minutes for her brief encounter with the president, but ‘stretched it to six.’ At the beginning of KPHO’s video, she’s seen glancing off-camera to see if her time has started.

The interview was conducted with both parties standing up in the White House Diplomatic Room.

‘The reason why we’re standing, I was told by one of his staffers, is because he likes to get comfortable when he’s sitting, and he tends to get very chatty,’ she said.

‘And so this was another way to keep him – and us – at the four minutes that they were suggesting that we not go over.’

‘Yeah,’ responded anchor Adam Longo, ‘and it sounds like the pressure is on when some guy is standing behind him with a countdown clock. That’s a little ridiculous.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2585306/White-House-Press-Secretary-Jay-Carney-denies-TV-reporters-claim-gets-daily-briefing-questions-IN-ADVANCE.html#ixzz2wWZbsBb8
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Reporters Held to 4 Minutes With President By Countdown Clock, Looming Aide, and Standing Up

According to a local CBS Arizona affiliate, President Obama and his team have 3 tactics to make sure reporters stick to the 4 minutes the White House has allotted them to interview the leader of the world: a countdown clock, a looming aide, and they have to conduct the interview with the president while standing up.

One CBS anchor called the measures “a little ridiculous.”

“We immediately launched into our interview because there was a person standing behind him actually counting down to the four minutes. And by the time he answered my last question, I realized that we had already gone over the four minutes, so that’s why I took an opportunity to sort of ask a lighter question afterward because I figured at that point, you know, why not? I have nothing to lose,” said the local reporter.

“But what was interesting–a side note–is the reason why we’re standing, I was told by one of his staffers, is because he likes to get comfortable when he’s sitting and he tends to get very chatty. And so this was another way to keep him–and us–at the four minutes that they were suggesting that we not go over.”

Said the local anchor, “Yeah, and it sounds like the pressure is on when some guy is standing behind him with a countdown clock. That’s a little ridiculous.”

President Obama gave a round of interviews to local affiliates yesterday in the White House. Only the CBS Arizona affiliate revealed the process behind the scenes.

White House Reporters: No, Questions Are Not Submitted to Jay Carney in Advance

by Evan McMurry

Currently the banner story at Drudge:

So, what’s up with that? CBS-5′s Catherine Anaya, one of several local reporters who interviewed President Barack Obama on Wednesday, filed a report claiming that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said questions for press briefings were submitted in advance.

“So he knows what he’s going to be answering,” Anaya said, “and sometimes those correspondents and reporters have those answers printed in front of them, because of course it helps when they’re producing their reports later on.”

The claim was picked up by the Weekly Standard, where it was then mined by the Drudge Report for the siren above.

Members of the White House Press Corps unequivocally denied the story:

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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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Neocon Warmonger Senate John McCain Off To Beat The War Drums — Go Home Senator — American People Want No US Intervention Into Ukraine! — Drums Beating Along The Black Sea — Videos

Posted on March 13, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Constitution, Economics, Energy, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Security, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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