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American People Leaving Both Democratic and Republican Parties In Search of A Party With Principles and Leaders With Integrity and Defenders of The United States Constitution — A New Direction For America — Videos

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Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015 To be posted by 10 pm Tuesday

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 462 May 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 438: March 31, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 437: March 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 436: March 27, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 435: March 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 434: March 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 433: March 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Story 1: American People Leaving Both Democratic and Republican Parties In Search of A Party With Principles and Leaders With Integrity and Defenders of The United States Constitution — A New Direction For America — Videos

Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side Of Heaven

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Gallup: Partisan split at historic level

Most Political Independents Ever In USA

How Are Conservative And Liberal Brains Different?

Poll Record High 42 Percent Americans Identify As Independents

Against the USA, Naked Communist Conspiracy Is Unfolding, NWO

1.U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2.U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3.Develop the illusion that total disarmament by the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4.Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation
5.Extension of long-term loans to Russia & satellites.
6.Provide American aid to all nations regardless
7.Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8.Set up East and West Germany as separate states under supervision of the U.N.
9.Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the U.S. has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10.Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11.Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. Demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
12.Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13.Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14.Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15.Capture one or both of the political parties.
16.Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17.Get control of the schools. Promote Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations.
18.Gain control of all student newspapers.
19.Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20.Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
21.Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22.Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
23.Control art critics and directors of art museums.
24.Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech.
25.Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity 26.Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
27.Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible as a “religious crutch.”
28.Eliminate prayer or religious expression in the schools
29.Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30.Discredit the American Founding Fathers.
31.Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history
32.Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture; education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33.Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of communism
34.Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35.Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36.Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37.Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38.Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand or treat.
39.Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40.Discredit the family. Encourage promiscuity, masturbation, easy divorce.
41.Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding to suppressive influence of parents.
42.Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use “united force” to solve economic, political or social problems.
43.Overthrow all colonial governments before natives are ready for self-government.
44.Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45.Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction over domestic problems and individuals alike.

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy

youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAdu0N1-tvU]

The Quigley Formula – G. Edward Griffin lecture

CORPORATE FASCISM: The Destruction of America’s Middle Class

MIDNIGHT RIDE Trailer – 2

Robert Welch in 1974 reveals NWO

Robert Welch Speaks: A Touch of Sanity (1965)

Robert Welch Speaks: In One Generation (1974)

Countdown to Financial Collapse – A Conversation with G. Edward Griffin

WRCFresnoTV — G. Edward Griffin — The Federal Reserve, Taxes, The I.R.S. & Solutions

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

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

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

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

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

Series Id:           LNS15000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After reaching a more than two-year high in early 2015, Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the U.S. continues to fall. Twenty-six percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the way things are going in the nation in May, down slightly from 32% in January and February.

Satisfaction With the Direction of the U.S.

The latest data are from Gallup’s May 6-10 poll.

Satisfaction jumped nine points in January to 32%, a promising sign that Americans’ moods were improving after a year of lower figures throughout 2014, ranging between 20% and 27%. Since February, though, satisfaction has dipped only slightly each month, but these small drops have resulted in a six-point decline since the beginning of the year. Satisfaction remains below the 36% historical average for Gallup’s trend dating back to 1979.

The drop in Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going parallels the recent decline in economic confidence. Americans had a more positive outlook on the economy at the dawn of 2015, but these views, like satisfaction, have edged down in recent months.

Satisfaction With the Direction of the U.S. vs. Economic Confidence

Views of the nation’s direction have certainly been brighter in the past. Majorities of Americans were typically satisfied with the direction of the U.S. between 1998 and mid-2002 — including a record high of 71% in February 1999. But satisfaction declined steadily in the latter half of President George W. Bush’s presidency as the public grew disillusioned with the war in Iraq and the national economy suffered. This dip in satisfaction culminated in 7% of Americans, a record low, saying they were satisfied with the direction of the nation in October 2008 as the global economy collapsed and the U.S. stock market plummeted.

Satisfaction improved significantly during the first year of President Barack Obama’s term — reaching 36% in August 2009. It has not returned to that level since, ranging between 11% and 33% throughout Obama’s time in office.

Americans Still List Economy, Gov’t and Unemployment as Top Problems

Though the 14% of Americans who name dissatisfaction with government, Congress and politicians as the top problem facing the U.S. has fallen five points since April, it still remains the most commonly mentioned problem — a distinction it has held for six months.

The economy in general (12%) and unemployment (10%) have remained at the top of the list for several years. But mentions of these issues are down significantly from their recent peaks — the economy reached a high of 37% in 2012, and unemployment reached a high of 39% in 2011.

Trends in Top

Race relations and racism (8%), immigration (6%), a decline in moral, religious and family ethics (6%), the state of the healthcare system (5%) and terrorism (5%) were also among the most frequently cited problems facing the nation.

Most Commonly Named Problems in April 2015 vs. May 2015

Bottom Line

After years of dysfunctional government, the economy and unemployment dominating Americans’ mentions of the top problem facing the nation, fewer mention these problems now than in recent years. Still, these three problems remain at the forefront of Americans’ concerns, and may be driving Americans’ high level of dissatisfaction with the nation’s direction.

Although Americans’ confidence in the economy is higher this year than in recent years, it is still negative. And while fewer mention dysfunctional government as the nation’s top problem, Americans still strongly disapprove of Congress’ performance and remain divided on Obama’s.

Meanwhile, mentions of unemployment as a top problem have dipped as more U.S. workers report their workplaces are hiring and the unemployment rate as reported by the BLS declines. But unemployment still remains one of the most frequently cited problems.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183248/americans-satisfaction-direction-wanes.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

Trend: Party affiliation in U.S. plus leaners

Story Highlights

  • Congressional job approval at 19%, essentially unchanged
  • Approval of GOP Congress similar among Republicans and Democrats

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional job approval, currently at 19%, remains stuck near historical lows, despite a number of recent high-profile legislative achievements.

Congressional Job Approval Ratings: 2001-2015

Over the past month, Congress has confirmed the stalled nomination of Attorney General Loretta Lynch and both chambers passed a bill that was signed into law regarding Medicare. Bills that would authorize limited congressional oversight on any international agreement with Iran and help victims of human trafficking passed the Senate with little or no opposition. The uptick in activity, though hardly historic, is notable compared with the past two Congresses. Those Congresses, marked by divided control of the two chambers, were known for their entrenched partisan gridlock and few legislative accomplishments. And Americans didn’t care for their inability to agree — they gave Congress its lowest approval ever over this time period. Gallup found in June 2013, six months into the previous Congress, that gridlock and ineffectiveness were the most frequently cited reason for Americans’ disapproval of Congress.

Several months into this new Congress, the accomplishments that have been realized could give one the impression that the gridlock is softening, particularly over the past month. But these achievements have had virtually no impact on Congress’s job approval compared with early April (15%).

And, of course, Congress is far from working perfectly now, even if the pace of work appears to have increased. Most dramatically, the Senate failed to overcome a Democratic filibuster Tuesday afternoon that would give the president enhanced authority in negotiating trade bills, though the May survey was conducted before this occurrence. Legislation authorizing the use of military force in Iraq and Syria to fight ISIS, proposed by the administration and which many members of Congress support, remains stalled.

GOP Congress Has Low Approval Among Republicans

A key reason the current 114th Congress appears to be having more legislative success than the two Congresses before it is that the House and Senate are now under one party’s control. Unified GOP control of Capitol Hill should, at least in theory, boost Republicans’ overall approval of Congress. But the expected “Republican rally” for Congress has yet to materialize — 21% of Republicans and Republican leaners approve of Congress, not much different from the 18% of independents and of Democrats who approve. Nor is Republican support notably higher than the 15% it reached in 2014, despite the decided Republican tilt of this year’s legislature.

Congressional Job Approval, by Party Identification, May 2015

Bottom Line

After years of dysfunction, Congress is moving forward on key pieces of legislation. No longer shackled by split control — though still facing a president of the opposite party — the legislative branch is suddenly finding some areas of agreement. But even if it appears that the gridlock is easing, the overwhelming majority of Americans still disapprove of Congress. If Congress continues passing bipartisan legislation, more Americans might soften their stance. Still, it may be that Americans are largely not aware of or impressed by Congress’ recent legislative successes. Or it may be that the hit to Congress’ reputation over the last several years — evident not only in dismal job approval ratings, but also fallinglevels of trust and confidence — will take a long time to reverse.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183128/five-months-gop-congress-approval-remains-low.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

Story Highlights

  • 31% say they are socially liberal, 31% socially conservative
  • This is the first time conservatives have not outnumbered liberals
  • Conservatives maintain edge on economic issues

PRINCETON, N.J. — Thirty-one percent of Americans describe their views on social issues as generally liberal, matching the percentage who identify as social conservatives for the first time in Gallup records dating back to 1999.

Trend: Americans' Self-Description of Views on Social Issues

Gallup first asked Americans to describe their views on social issues in 1999, and has repeated the question at least annually since 2001. The broad trend has been toward a shrinking conservative advantage, although that was temporarily interrupted during the first two years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Since then, the conservative advantage continued to diminish until it was wiped out this year.

The newfound parity on social ideology is a result of changes in the way both Democrats and Republicans describe their social views. The May 6-10 Gallup poll finds a new high of 53% of Democrats, including Democratic-leaning independents, describing their views on social issues as liberal.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Social Issues, Democrats and Democratic Leaners, 2001-2015

Democrats were more likely to describe their views on social issues as moderate rather than liberal from 2001 to 2005. Since then, socially liberal Democrats have outnumbered socially moderate Democrats in all but one year.

Meanwhile, the 53% of Republicans and Republican leaners saying their views on social issues are conservative is the lowest in Gallup’s trend. The drop in Republicans’ self-identified social conservatism has been accompanied by an increase in moderate identification, to 34%, while the percentage identifying as socially liberal has been static near 10%.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Social Issues, Republicans and Republican Leaners, 2001-2015

These trends echo the pattern in Gallup’s overall ideology measure, which dates back to 1992 and shows increasing liberal identification in recent years. As with the social ideology measure, the longer-term shifts are mainly a result of increasing numbers of Democrats describing their views as liberal rather than moderate. That may reflect Democrats feeling more comfortable in describing themselves as liberal than they were in the past, as much as a more leftward shift in Democrats’ attitudes on political, economic and social issues.

Conservatives Still Lead Liberals on Economic Issues

In contrast to the way Americans describe their views on social issues, they still by a wide margin, 39% to 19%, describe their views on economic issues as conservative rather than liberal. However, as on social ideology, the gap between conservatives and liberals has been shrinking and is lower today than at any point since 1999, with the 39% saying they are economically conservative the lowest to date.

Trend: Americans' Self-Description of Views on Economic Issues

Currently, 64% of Republicans identify as conservative economically, which is down from 70% the previous two years and roughly 75% in the early years of the Obama presidency. During George W. Bush’s administration, Republicans were less likely to say they were economic conservatives, with as few as 58% doing so in 2004 and 2005. The trends suggest Republicans’ willingness to identify as economic conservatives, or economic moderates, is influenced by the party of the president in office, and perhaps the types of financial policies the presidential administration is pursuing at the time.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Economic Issues, Republicans and Republican Leaners, 2001-2015

Democrats are also contributing to the trend in lower economic conservative identification. While the plurality of Democrats have consistently said they are economically moderate, Democrats have been more likely to identify as economic liberals than as economic conservatives since 2007. The last two years, there has been a 15-percentage-point gap in liberal versus conservative identification among Democrats on economic matters.

Trend: Ideological Identification on Economic Issues, Democrats and Democratic Leaners, 2001-2015

Implications

Americans’ growing social liberalism is evident not only in how they describe their views on social issues but also in changes in specific attitudes, such as increased support for same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana. These longer-term trends may be attributable to changing attitudes among Americans of all ages, but they also may be a result of population changes, with younger, more liberal Americans entering adulthood while older, more conservative adults pass on. Gallup found evidence that population replacement is a factor in explaining changes in overall ideology using an analysis of birth cohorts over time.

The 2016 presidential election will thus be contested in a more socially liberal electorate — and a less economically conservative one — than was true of prior elections. Economically and socially conservative candidates may still appeal to the Republican Party base in the primaries, but it may be more important now than in the past for the GOP nominee to be a bit less conservative on social issues in order to appeal to the broader general electorate.

And while Americans are less economically conservative than in the past, economic conservatives still outnumber economic liberals by about 2-to-1. As a result, Democrats must be careful not to nominate a candidate who is viewed as too liberal on economic matters if their party hopes to hold the White House beyond 2016.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 6-10, 2015, with a random sample of 1,024 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/183386/social-ideology-left-catches-right.aspx?utm_source=Politics&utm_medium=newsfeed&utm_campaign=tiles

AGAINST THE GRAIN
Democrats’ Vanishing Future

Hillary Clinton is not the only Democratic comeback candidate on the 2016 ticket. Senate Democrats are betting on the past to rebuild their party for the future.

BY JOSH KRAUSHAAR

One of the most underappreciated stories in recent years is the deterioration of the Democratic bench under President Obama’s tenure in office. The party has become much more ideologically homogenous, losing most of its moderate wing as a result of the last two disastrous midterm elections. By one new catch-all measure, a party-strength index introduced by RealClearPolitics analysts Sean Trende and David Byler, Democrats are in their worst position since 1928. That dynamic has manifested itself in the Democratic presidential contest, where the bench is so barren that a flawed Hillary Clinton is barreling to an uncontested nomination.

But less attention has been paid to how the shrinking number of Democratic officeholders in the House and in statewide offices is affecting the party’s Senate races. It’s awfully unusual to see how dependent Democrats are in relying on former losing candidates as their standard-bearers in 2016. Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, Pennsylvania’s Joe Sestak, Indiana’s Baron Hill, and Ohio’s Ted Strickland all ran underwhelming campaigns in losing office in 2010—and are looking to return to politics six years later. Party officials are courting former Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to make a comeback bid, despite mediocre favorability ratings and the fact that she lost a race just months ago that most had expected her to win. All told, more than half of the Democrats’ Senate challengers in 2016 are comeback candidates.

On one hand, most of these candidates are the best choices Democrats have. Feingold and Strickland are running ahead of GOP Sens. Ron Johnson and Rob Portman in recent polls. Hill and Hagan boast proven crossover appeal in GOP-leaning states that would be challenging pickups. Their presence in the race gives the party a fighting chance to retake the Senate.

(RELATED: What’s Next In the House Benghazi Committee’s Hillary Clinton Investigation)

But look more closely, and the reliance on former failures is a direct result of the party having no one else to turn to. If the brand-name challengers didn’t run, the roster of up-and-coming prospects in the respective states is short. They’re also facing an ominous historical reality that only two defeated senators have successfully returned to the upper chamber in the last six decades. As political analyst Stu Rothenberg put it, they’re asking “voters to rehire them for a job from which they were fired.” Senate Democrats are relying on these repeat candidates for the exact same reason that Democrats are comfortable with anointing Hillary Clinton for their presidential nomination: There aren’t any better alternatives.

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For a portrait of the Democrats’ slim pickings, just look at the political breakdown in three of the most consequential battleground states. Republicans hold 12 of Ohio’s 16 House seats, and all six of their statewide offices. In Wisconsin, Republicans hold a majority of the state’s eight House seats and four of five statewide partisan offices. In Pennsylvania, 13 of the 18 representatives are Republicans, though Democrats hold all the statewide offices. (One major caveat: Kathleen Kane, the Democrats’ once-hyped attorney general in the state, is under criminal investigation and has become a political punchline.) These are all Democratic-friendly states that Obama carried twice.

If Strickland didn’t run, the party’s hopes against Portman would lie in the hands of 30-year-old Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who would make unexpected history as one of the nation’s youngest senators with a victory. (Sittenfeld is still mounting a long-shot primary campaign against Strickland.) Without Feingold in Wisconsin, the party’s only logical option would be Rep. Ron Kind, who has regularly passed up opportunities for a promotion. Former Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett already lost to Gov. Scott Walker twice, and businesswoman Mary Burke disappointed as a first-time gubernatorial candidate last year. And despite the Democratic establishment’s publicized carping over Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, the list of alternatives is equally underwhelming: His only current intra-party opposition is from the mayor of Allentown.

(RELATED: Hillary Clinton to Launch Her Campaign, Again)

In the more conservative states, the drop-off between favored recruits and alternatives is even more stark. Hagan would be a flawed nominee in North Carolina, but there’s no one else waiting in the wings. The strongest Democratic politician, Attorney General Roy Cooper, is running for governor instead. And in Indiana, the bench is so thin that even the GOP’s embattled governor, Mike Pence, isn’t facing formidable opposition. Hill, who lost congressional reelection campaigns in both 2004 and 2010, is not expected to face serious primary competition in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Dan Coats.

Even in the two swing states where the party landed young, up-and-coming recruits to run, their options were awfully limited. In Florida, 32-year-old Rep. Patrick Murphy is one of only five House Democrats to represent a district that Mitt Romney carried in 2012—and his centrism has made him one of the most compelling candidates for higher office. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly rallied behind his campaign (in part to squelch potential opposition from firebrand congressman Alan Grayson). But if Murphy didn’t run, the alternatives would have been limited: freshman Rep. Gwen Graham and polarizing Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz being the most logical alternatives.

In Nevada, Democrats boast one of their strongest challengers in former state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, vying to become the first Latina ever elected to the Senate. But her ascension is due, in part, to the fact that other talented officeholders lost in the 2014 statewide wipeout. Democratic lieutenant-governor nominee Lucy Flores, hyped by MSNBC as a “potential superstar,” lost by 26 points to her GOP opponent. Former Secretary of State Ross Miller, another fast-rising pol, badly lost his bid for attorney general against a nondescript Republican. By simply taking a break from politics, Cortez Masto avoided the wave and kept her prospects alive for 2016.

(RELATED: Newly Released Clinton Email Detail Benghazi Correspondence)

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This isn’t an assessment of Democratic chances for a Senate majority in 2017; it’s a glaring warning for the party’s longer-term health. If Clinton can’t extend the Democrats’ presidential winning streak—a fundamental challenge, regardless of the political environment—the party’s barren bench will cause even more alarm for the next presidential campaign. And if the Democrats’ core constituencies don’t show up for midterm elections—an outlook that’s rapidly becoming conventional wisdom—Democrats have serious challenges in 2018 as well. It’s why The New Yorker’s liberal writer John Cassidy warned that a Clinton loss next year could “assign [Republicans] a position of dominance.”

By focusing on how the electorate’s rapid change would hand Democrats a clear advantage in presidential races, Obama’s advisers overlooked how the base-stroking moves would play in the states. Their optimistic view of the future has been adopted by Clinton, who has been running to the left even without serious primary competition.

But without a future generation of leaders able to compellingly carry the liberal message, there’s little guarantee that changing demographics will secure the party’s destiny. The irony of the 2016 Senate races is that Democrats are betting on the past, running veteran politicians to win them back the majority—with Clinton at the top of the ticket. If that formula doesn’t work, the rebuilding process will be long and arduous.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/against-the-grain/democrats-vanishing-future-20150521

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

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Criminal Biker Gangs aka Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGSs) in Waco, Texas Kill 9 and Islamic State Takes Back Ramadi, Iraq — U.S. Army’s Delta force kills senior ISIS commander — Videos

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Story 1: 3 Criminal Biker Gangs aka Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGSs) in Waco, Texas Kill 9 and Islamic State Takes Back Ramadi, Iraq — U.S. Army’s Delta force kills senior ISIS commander — Videos

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs)

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from single chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their transnational scope, these OMGs are able to coordinate drug smuggling operations in partnership with major international drug-trafficking

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ocgs/gangs/motorcycle.htmlorganizations (DTOs).

bandidosclubs19n-6-web

9_biker_gang_members_killed_in_wild_Texa_waco-shootingwaco-shooting (2)bike gang  waco-shooting (1)  headerimage.imgwaco-shooting (3)

9 Dead in Waco Biker Gang Shooting 18 Injured 5-17-15

Biker brawl breaks out at Waco restaurant

Waco Biker Gang Shooting. 9 Dead At Waco Shooting Twin Peaks

Waco Shooting Updates — Ten people killed in Waco, Texas biker gang shooting

[AERIAL FOOTAGE] Biker Gang Shootout Waco, Texas – 17 May 2015

( ORIGINAL FOOTAGE ) Waco Texas Shooting 9 biker gangs Dead In Waco Texas

9 dead in Texas biker brawl

Gunfire erupted Sunday among rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leaving at least nine people dead, according to police.

Authorities had anticipated trouble and pre-positioned officers.

“There were at least three rival gang groups here this morning for whatever reason. As they were here, we had officers on scene. We expected issues,” said Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a police spokesman. He later said there were at least five gangs.

The fight broke out at Twin Peaks restaurant and spilled into the parking lot. It quickly escalated from hands and feet, as weapons, to gunfire, Swanton said.

Police: 5 gangs involved in Texas biker shooting

“In my nearly 35 years of law enforcement experience,” he said, “this is the most violent and gruesome scene that I have dealt with.”

Bikers shot at each other and at officers, who returned fire.

Swanton expressed anger at Twin Peaks, which he claims had been less than helpful in dealing with gangs in the past. He declined to identify the specific groups involved in Sunday’s shooting.

“Are we frustrated? Sure. Because we feel like there may have been more that could have been done by a business to prevent this,” he said.

Corporate management at Twin Peaks released a statement saying it was reviewing the circumstances of the shooting. The Waco restaurant is franchised.

“We are thankful no employees, guests or police were injured in this senseless violence outside the restaurant, and our sympathies are with the families of those killed,” the statement said.

To escape the fight, some restaurant customers and employees took cover in the freezer, according to CNN affiliate KWTX. The station reported that more than 100 weapons were recovered, and Waco police said officers were continuing to arrest people arriving with weapons.

Swanton told reporters that eight people were dead on the scene and another was pronounced dead at an area hospital. A total of 18 people were taken to the hospital. It was not immediately clear whether that figure included the person who died. All those injured or dead are believed to be bikers.

No officers were hurt, Swanton said, praising their response.

“Their action has saved lives in keeping this from spilling into a very busy Sunday morning,” the spokesman said. “Thank goodness the officers were here, and took the action that they needed to take to save numerous lives.”

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/17/us/texas-shooting/index.html

Police: Deadly Waco biker gang shooting is capital murder

The Cossacks, a smaller, local Texas gang, had been challenging the Bandidos’ dominance, including discussing a possible alliance with rival gang the Hell’s Angels, Steve Cook, executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association, told Vox.

The biggest provocation came, he said, when the Cossacks began wearing a Texas patch on their clothing, which was “basically a slap in the face” to the Bandidos.

“We knew the tensions with the Cossacks were as high as they’d ever been,” he said. “I don’t think anybody could have forecasted it to the degree that it happened.”

Cook said Sunday’s shootout parallels previous encounters between the Bandidos and Hells Angels. Cook told The Washington Post that the shootout started because the Cossacks, backed by the Angels, challenged the Bandidos for control of Texas. Several other bike gangs might have joined the battle, too, angry over recent killings by Bandidos members, he said.

“My perception is that the Cossacks have been flirting, if you will, with Hell’s Angles,” Cook said. “If I’m a Bandido, my immediate reaction is: ‘These guys are going to try to make a move and bring an international gang into our state, which is going to cause a war.'”

Cook said he hoped Sunday’s shooting will draw more attention to the gangs. “Maybe it’ll be time for law enforcement and the public to take the blinders off and recognize these groups for what they are: criminals.”

Talking to reporters on Sunday, Waco Police spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton cautioned that the groups involved in the shootout were not “a friendly group of motorcycle enthusiasts,” but criminal gangs.

Cook agreed. “They can pretend like they’re these fraternal organizations — I can’t tell you the last time the Kiwanis and the Shriners had a shootout at a public venue.”

http://www.usatoday.com/story/neallbany%20times%20unionws/2015/05/18/waco-shootout-motorcycle-gangs/27525021/

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs and Photos

Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. OMGs are highly structured criminal organizations whose members engage in criminal activities such as violent crime, weapons trafficking, and drug trafficking. There are more than 300 active OMGs within the United States, ranging in size from single chapters with five or six members to hundreds of chapters with thousands of members worldwide. The Hells Angels, Mongols, Bandidos, Outlaws, and Sons of Silence pose a serious national domestic threat and conduct the majority of criminal activity linked to OMGs, especially activity relating to drug-trafficking and, more specifically, to cross-border drug smuggling. Because of their transnational scope, these OMGs are able to coordinate drug smuggling operations in partnership with major international drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs).

  • Bandidos Motorcycle Club

    The Bandidos Motorcycle Club (Bandidos) is an OMG with a membership of 2,000 to 2,500 persons in the U.S. and in 13 other countries. The Bandidos constitute a growing criminal threat to the U.S. Law enforcement authorities estimate that the Bandidos are one of the two largest OMGs operating in the U.S., with approximately 900 members belonging to 93 chapters. The Bandidos are involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine. The Bandidos are most active in the Pacific, Southeastern, Southwestern and the West Central regions of the U.S. The Bandidos are expanding in each of these regions by forming additional chapters and allowing members of supporting clubs, known as “puppet” or “duck” club members who have sworn allegiance to another club but who support and do the “dirty work” of a mother club – to form new or join existing Bandidos chapters.

    Bandidos tattoos on the back Bandidos Jacket Bandidos jacket
    Bandidos Banner Bandidos logos on jacket
  • Black Pistons Motorcycle Club

    The Black Pistons Motorcycle Club (Black Pistons) is the official support club for the Outlaws Motorcycle Club (Outlaws). Established in 2002 with the backing of the Outlaws, the Black Pistons have expanded rapidly throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. The Black Pistons have an estimated 70 domestic chapters in 20 states and an unknown number of foreign chapters in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Norway and Poland. The exact number of Black Pistons members is unknown but the figure is estimated to be more than 200 in the U.S. The Outlaws use the Black Pistons chapters as a recruitment source for prospective Outlaws members. The Outlaws also use the Black Pistons chapters to conduct criminal activity, especially for the transportation and distribution of drugs. Members of the Black Pistons are also known to engage in assault, extortion, fraud, intimidation and theft.

    Black Pistons Logo Black Pistons Jacket
  • Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

    The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (Hells Angels) is an OMG with between 2,000 and 2,500 members who belong to over 230 chapters in the U.S. and in 26 foreign countries. The Hells Angels pose a criminal threat on six continents. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Hells Angels have more than 92 chapters in 27 states with a membership in excess of 800 persons. The Hells Angels are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of marijuana and methamphetamine. Additionally, the Hells Angels are involved in the transportation and distribution of cocaine, hashish, heroin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), ecstasy, PCP (phencyclidine) and diverted pharmaceuticals. The Hells Angels are also involved in other criminal activity including assault, extortion, homicide, money laundering and motorcycle theft.

    Hells Angels tattoo Hells Angels Californina Jacket Hells Angels 26th World Run, 29th Europe Run Prague - Bohemia
    Hells Angels poster Hells Angels California and Minnesota Hells Angels California, Nevada and New York
  • Mongols Motorcycle Club

    The Mongols Motorcycle Club (Mongols) is an extremely violent OMG that poses a serious criminal threat to the Pacific and Southwestern regions of the U.S. The Mongols are engaged in the transportation and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. The Mongols are also known to frequently commit violent crime including assault, intimidation and murder in defense of their territory, and to uphold the reputation of the club. A majority of the Mongols membership consists of Hispanic males who live in the Los Angeles area, and many are former street gang members with a long history of using violence to settle grievances. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms (ATF) have called the Mongols the most violent and dangerous OMG in the nation. In the 1980’s the Mongols seized control of Southern California from the Hells Angels, and today, the Mongols are allied with the Bandidos, the Outlaws, the Sons of Silence and the Pagans against the Hells Angels. The Mongols have also maintained their ties with Hispanic street gangs in Los Angeles.

    Mongols tattoos on back of the head and neck Mongols Inidana Jacket Mongols California Jacket and Outlaws Indiana Jacket
    Mongols California Jacket
  • Outlaws Motorcycle Club

    The Outlaws Motorcycle Club (Outlaws) have more than 1,700 members who belong to 176 chapters in the U.S. and in 12 foreign countries. U.S. law enforcement authorities estimate that the Outlaws have more than 86 chapters in 20 states with over 700 members. The Outlaws also identify themselves as the A.O.A. (American Outlaws Association) and the Outlaws Nation. The Outlaws are the dominant OMG in the Great Lakes region. The Outlaws are involved in the production, transportation and distribution of methamphetamine, the transportation and distribution of cocaine, marijuana and, to a lesser extent, ecstasy. The Outlaws engage in various criminal activities including arson, assault, explosives, extortion, fraud, homicide, intimidation, kidnapping, money laundering, prostitution, robbery, theft and weapons violations. The Outlaws compete with the Hells Angels for both members and territory.

    Outlaw Motorcycle Gang member on a motorcycle Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Detroit Outlaw Motorcycle Gang tattoos on the chest
    Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Tee Shirt Bay City Outlaw Motorcycle Gang tattoos on the chest and arm Outlaw Motorcycle Gang jacket Illinois
    Outlaw Motorcycle tattoo Outlaw Motorcycle Gang member tattoo on the back, shoulder and arms Outlaw Motorcycle Gang member close up tattoo on the back
    Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Australia and Germany Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Outlaw Motorcycle Gang
    Outlaw Motorcycle Gang tattoos on stomach and chest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Inidana Jacket
  • Pagans Motorcycle Club

    The Pagans Motorcycle Club (Pagans) is a violent OMG whose membership distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and PCP (phencyclidine). The Pagans are one of the most prominent OMGs in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Pagans have an estimated 200 to 250 members among 41 chapters in 11 states. The Pagans have been tied to traditional organized crime groups in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York and have engaged in criminal activities such as arson, assault, bombing, extortion and murder.

    Pagans tattoos on the forearem Pagans motorcycle jacket Pagans jean jacket
    Pagans logo Pagans tattoo Pagans logo
  • Sons of Silence

    Sons of Silence Motorcycle Club (SOSMC) is one of the largest OMGs in the United States, with 250 to 275 members among 30 chapters in 12 states. The club also has five chapters in Germany. SOSMC members have been implicated in numerous criminal activities, including murder, assault, drug trafficking, intimidation, extortion, prostitution operations, money laundering, weapons trafficking, and motorcycle and motorcycle parts theft.

    Sons of Silence National motorcycle jacket Support the Sons of Silence Nation T-Shirt (Slogan) The Greatest Pleasure in Life is doing what people say can't be done and doing it with the people you Love! - It's Not an Attitude It's a Way of Life Sons of Silence National advertisement
  • Vagos Motorcycle Club

http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ocgs/gangs/motorcycle.html

iraq-map-ramadiWAR ZONESiraq-ethnic-mapSunni-Shia-Map-PEW

ISIL militants take full control of Iraq’s Ramadi

ISIS captures Ramadi

May 17 2015 Breaking News IRAN led Shiite paramilitaries have been deployed to Ramadi Iraq

ISIL seizes Iraq’s Ramadi

Islamic State ‘seizes Iraqi city of Ramadi’ – BBC News

Watch: ‘Islamic State forces’ march into Ramadi after seizing the Iraqi city

ISIS Seizes Government Headquarters in Ramadi, Iraq

PBS NewsHour Weekend full episode May 17, 2015

US Special Forces Secret Night Mission kills senior ISIS Commander Abu Sayyaf in Syria

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U.S. Army’s Delta force kills senior ISIS commander

U.S. troops kill ISIS leader

Syria: 1st SFOD-D Kill Abu Sayyaf, Capture His Wife, Free Yazidi Slave Girl, Secure Intelligence

ISIS Leader Killed USA (Boots On The Ground)

Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to Islamic State as police, military retreat

By Hugh Naylor and Mustafa Salim

Mideast_Iraq_Islamic_State

The capital of Anbar province fell to Islamic State militants Sunday as hundreds of police personnel, soldiers and tribal fighters abandoned the city, prompting the Iraqi premier to order Iranian-aligned Shiite militias to join the fight to win back control.
The fall of Ramadi represented a huge victory for the Islamic State and dealt a profound blow to Iraq’s U.S.-backed government, led by Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, and its military campaign to drive the extremist group out of the war-torn country. Just 24 hours before, officials in Baghdad announced that military reinforcements had been dispatched to defend the city, capital of Iraq’s largest province, against a brutal assault that began on Thursday.
But by Sunday, even the roads to Baghdad, 80 miles to the east, appeared vulnerable to the militant advance.
“Ramadi has fallen,” Muhannad Haimour, a spokesman for the Anbar governor told the Associated Press. “The city was completely taken…It was a gradual deterioration. The military is fleeing.”
Sunday’s developments, including Abadi’s decision to deploy Shiite militias to the country’s Sunni heartland, could complicate the U.S.-led campaign targeting the extremist group, which in recent days has included American airstrikes against militant positions in Ramadi in an effort to keep the city in government hands. U.S. officials have expressed concern over the divisive, sectarian-motivated — and increasingly powerful — Iranian-backed Shiite militias.
Carried by state television on Sunday evening, Abadi’s announcement, which contained few details, also included a plea for pro-government forces not to abandon their positions in Anbar.
The rapid disintegration of pro-government forces in Ramadi conjured memories of the Islamic State’s similar lighting defeat of Iraq’s weak military during sweeping advances throughout northern areas of the country last summer. Security forces retreated from the Malaab area of Ramadi at 1:30 p.m., abandoning about 60 military vehicles, including military-grade Humvees, to the militants, said Col. Nasser al-Alwani of the Ramadi police force. About half of the abandoned vehicles were sent by the U.S.-backed government on Saturday to reinforce the neighborhood, he added.
“Today, everybody retreated from the Malaab area, including counterterrorism units, army and police,” he said by telephone. Along with soldiers and counterterrorism units, the force of about 400 police officers who fall under Alwani’s command retreated in their vehicles to the east, he said. Islamic State fighters besieged them on all roads, forcing them to abandon the vehicles and escape on foot. A military convoy from the al-Habbaniyah air base later retrieved the fleeing Iraqi forces, he added.
“The retreat was complete chaos. There was no organization,” Alwani said, describing attacks by “hundreds” of Islamic State militants.
Earlier in the day, militants posted a statement on social media by the Islamic State that described Sunday’s events as a major military success, saying that the group “had imposed its control over all of Ramadi.”
In Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the group captured in June, loud street celebrations were being held that involved fighters shooting automatic weapons into the air and passing out candy, according to a resident in the city. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing concern for his safety.
“The streets are full of cars honking horns and shouting Allahu Akbar because of Ramadi,” he said in a Facebook message.
In a sign of the seriousness over the situation in Anbar, the prime minister’s order to Shiite militias came just hours after Anbar’s provincial council voted in favor of allowing the irregular forces — known by the government as “popular mobilization units” — to participate in the battle to retake the city.
Iraqis, particularly in the Sunni-dominated province, are wary of the militias and the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. The Islamic State has capitalized on Sunni grievances to take control of most of most of Anbar.
“We voted yes to the measure,” said Kahtan Abed, officer manager for the provincial council’s head, Sabah Karhout. “We took this decision because we have nowhere else to turn. We’ve literally lost everything.”
Diplomats, analysts and Iraqis say that the powerful militias threaten to undermine Iraq’s government as well as delicate sectarian relations in the country. With aid from Shiite Iran, the militiamen carried out scores of attacks against American soldiers when U.S. forces were still fighting in Iraq. But more recently, the militias have proved to be a crucial force in retaking territory, including the city of Tikrit last month, from the Islamic State.
An official in one of the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, Kitaeb Hezbollah, confirmed by text message that the group’s militiamen have mobilized and been put on high alert. Jawad al-Talibawi, a spokesman for the armed wing of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, another Iran-aligned militia, said the group had mobilized 1,500 members of its special forces to enter Anbar. The fighters had spent months battling in Syria’s civil war against rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, also an ally of Iran.
“Those 1,500 fighters are now awaiting the order to go in,” Talibawi said by telephone.
Omar al-Alwani, a pro-government tribal fighter from Ramadi, said no soldiers are left to defend eastern roads to the capital, Baghdad. He said he was among those who fled Malaab with the group of pro-government forces, which he estimated at more than 500. They left behind weapons that included artillery, machine-gun trucks and machine guns, he said.
“Daesh seized the police station, the big mosque” in the area, he said, adding that Islamic State fighters surrounded the area police station and fatally shot the senior officer there, Col. Muthana al-Jabari. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.
He and others expressed concern about several hundred pro-government forces who are still surrounded by militants in a military operations hub in the city. According to unconfirmed reports, as many as 40 people in that facility were killed Sunday in two suicide bombings.
“Only God can help those people now. There is no one left to protect them,” said Alwani the tribal fighter.
However, Majed Abdullah, a captain in the Iraqi army who was besieged in the compound, said that scores of pro-government forces managed to escape the facility. They drove away, heading west, he said, adding that they left behind dozens on wounded soldiers and police. It is unclear whether the Islamic State has entered the compound, although there is fear that those who have been left behind could be executed by the militants.
“We’re on the Iraq-Jordan highway now and we’re waiting for orders to either reconstitute our forces and attack or retreat entirely,” Abdullah said by telephone. Using car bombings and heavy shelling, Islamic State militants launched a surprise attack Thursday on Ramadi, capturing most of the city’s neighborhoods by the following day. Residents, pro-government forces and officials accuse the militants of carrying out dozens of executions and systematic destruction of homes belonging to members of the security services.
Before the assault on Thursday, the Islamic State had already taken control of most of Anbar during sweeping advances last summer throughout Iraq.
Just under a decade ago, U.S.-backed Sunni tribes in Anbar led a revolt against al-Qaeda in Iraq, the precursor to the Islamic State. But frustration with Iraq’s Shiite-led government persuaded a number of tribesmen in the province to side with the Islamic State.
Rafia al-Fahdawi, an elder in the province’s Albu Fahed tribe, expressed doubt that a similar tribal uprising could be waged at the moment against the extremist group. On Saturday, he and dozens of fellow Sunni tribal leaders also issued a call for Shiite militias to intervene in Anbar.
“The army has let us down. The SWAT team has let us down. We can’t depend on these forces, and we need forces that are inspired to fight hard,” he said, referring to the militias.

Islamic State captures government compound in Ramadi

An Iraqi official says Islamic State militants have captured the main government compound inRamadi, the capital of the western Anbar province, after fierce clashes with security forces.

Ramadi’s Mayor Dalaf al-Kubaisi says the militants raised the black flag of the IS group over the area on Friday after troops were forced to withdraw from the compound, which houses most of the city’s government offices.

He says the IS militants are now attacking the Anbar Operation Command, the military headquarters for the province.

U.S. troops saw some of the heaviest fighting of the eight-year Iraq intervention in Anbar, and Ramadi was a major insurgent stronghold.

The IS assault on the government compound began with three nearly simultaneous suicide car bombings that killed 10 police and wounded seven others.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/15/islamic-state-captures-government-compound-ramadi/#ixzz3aWZxTx2I
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Careless tweets costs jihadis: ISIS orders fighters to stop giving away their tactics by bragging on social media

  • Embarrassing defeats at Kobane and Tikrit has left ISIS feeling under pressure 
  • Fighters continue to join social media despite the threat of frequent suspensions
  • A series of social media blunders has previously led to fighters giving away their positions and tactics 
  • Islamic State have recently launched new offensives for the Baiji oil fields and the Iraqi city of Ramadi

Following heavy defeats at Tikrit in Iraq and the appalling costly siege of Kobane, Islamic State have launched their own  social media rules to censor coverage on its recent defeats.

The image of the rules began to circulate on social media, two weeks after Islamic State was forced to abandon the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

With ISIS propaganda team releasing endless sets of dull publicity photos from life inside Iraq and Syria, the senior commanders appear keen to eradicate any hint of problems within the group’s territory.

The media crackdown appears to be an attempt by ISIS senior commanders to eradicate any knowledge of the extremist group's defeats or internal problems.

The media crackdown appears to be an attempt by ISIS senior commanders to eradicate any knowledge of the extremist group’s defeats or internal problems.

Some ISIS supporters on social media appear to be exasperated by the apparent leaking of information and discussions of the defeat at Tikrit.

Some ISIS supporters on social media appear to be exasperated by the apparent leaking of information and discussions of the defeat at Tikrit.

Specific details like the manufacturing of new weapons and any pictures of ISIS fighters, have been deemed by ISIS as a breach of online security. 

Perhaps the strangest and most unclear rule reads: ‘The stupendous spread of Mujahideen along a specific locations’ It appears unknown what the extremist group meant by ‘the stupendous spread of mujahideen.’

Whilst it remains unknown how Islamic State will manage to enforce these rules, the jihadi group has previously struggled to keep any control of its fighters and supporters on social media.

One exasperated ISIS supporter wrote: ‘Brothers, please stop posting news about anything in Tirkit or Ramadi walla. You are doing more harm to the mujahideen than good. Fear Allah.’ 

Some of the rules, particularly regarding the publishing information on the location of fighters and the use of tactics, appears to come after a series of calamitous social media errors by some fighters.  

Islamic State fighter Mark Taylor, originally from New Zealand, shot to fame after accidentally tweeting his location whilst fighting in Syria.

Taylor forgot to turn off the geo-locator setting on his account, allowing intelligence services to successfully track his every movement. He even managed to give away where he was living in al-Tabaqah, south west Raqqa. 

19-year-old Ali Kalantar's death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah. Halane quickly deleted the tweets but not before a screenshot had sent them viral.

Known as Ali Al-Farsi, 19-year-old Ali Kalantar’s death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah.

British terror twin Zahra Halane (left) and Kiwi fighter Mark Taylor (right), have both been criticised by ISIS supporters for giving away information on fighters and locations.

Islamic State commander fear that with the deadly coalition air strikes decimating their ranks, such lapses in security is proving costly. 

In particular female jihadis have been criticized by fellow ISIS supporters for their loose lipped attitude on social media. One of the British terror twins, Zahra Halane, has previously broken the rules by announcing the death of her husband on social media.

Known as Ali Al-Farsi, 19-year-old Ali Kalantar’s death was first tweeted by Halane, under the nom de guerre, Umm Jafar al-Britaniyah. Halane quickly deleted the tweets but not before a screenshot had sent them viral. 

Islamic State propaganda remains highly important to their strategy for recruitment and legitimacy. ISIS media continue to churn out endless propaganda photos from inside ISIS territory.

Islamic State propaganda remains highly important to their strategy for recruitment and legitimacy. ISIS media continue to churn out endless propaganda photos from inside ISIS territory.

Islamic State fighters have recently made worrying gains near the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Anbar province. Shiite paramilitary groups and other reinforcements are reportedly heading to Ramadi to provide support against the ISIS threat.

Islamic State fighters have recently made worrying gains near the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Anbar province. Shiite paramilitary groups and other reinforcements are reportedly heading to Ramadi to provide support against the ISIS threat.

New propaganda photos from Anbar province claim that ISIS were warmly welcomed as they entered a nearby town near Ramadi.

New propaganda photos from Anbar province claim that ISIS were warmly welcomed as they entered a nearby town near Ramadi.

Islamic State continue to launch new offensives, targeting the strategic Iraqi oil fields at Baiji and the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.

Islamic State continue to launch new offensives, targeting the strategic Iraqi oil fields at Baiji and the city of Ramadi in Anbar province.

Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound in Salahuddin province.

Parts of the oil fields have frequently changed hands between the Iraqi army and militants from Islamic State. Due to its remote desert location, it has proved to be a difficult base to maintain.

Newly published photos and a brief video shows dozens of ISIS fighters celebrating inside the oil field’s facilities.

It remains unknown how long they will manage to hold out before the Baghdad forces re-take it.

Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound

Using suicide bombers to destroy the surrounding fence, Islamic State fighters have been managed to fight their way inside the oil field compound

Situated in Salahuddin province, the Baiji oil fields has long been seen as a key stategic target for Islamic State. it remains unknown how long they will manage to hold out before the Baghdad forces re-take it.

 Newly published photos and a brief video shows dozens of ISIS fighters celebrating inside the oil fields facilities.

 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3043193/Careless-tweets-costs-jihadis-ISIS-orders-fighters-stop-giving-away-tactics-bragging-social-media.html

Delta Force Commandos Kill Key ISIS Leader in Ground Raid in Syria

In a ground raid deep in Syrian territory, U.S. special operations forces killed a top ISIS leader who they were attempting to capture and interrogate about American hostages and how the terror group finances its war machine, the Obama

a pretty good fight on the ground.
Battle for control in Syria

Battle for control in Syria

U.S. conducts raid in Syria, says it kills senior Islamic State leader

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United States Economy Keeps Stagnating Along With Low Real GDP Economic Growth Rates Below 3% and Labor Participation Rates Below 66% — Obama’s Failed Economic Policies and Massive Deficits and Debt — Videos

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Story 2: United States Economy Keeps Stagnating Along With Low Real GDP Economic Growth Rates Below 3% and Labor Participation Rates Below 66% — Obama’s Failed Economic Policies and Massive Deficits and Debt — Videos

sgs-emp

gdp_large

Ep 81: The April Jobs Report and My Encounter With Ben Bernanke

U.S. gains 223,000 jobs in April

Labor Force Participation Rate

Labor participation rate is down to unprecedented levels

Governor Perry: Labor Force Participation Rate Reveals a ‘Sick Economy’

WSJ Markets Wrap: May 8, 2015

Modern Wall Street AM Anticipation: May 8, 2015

Weekly Market Wrap Up – May, 8 2015

May 8, 2015 Financial News – Business News – Stock Exchange – NYSE – Market News

Closing Bell Happy Hour: May 8, 2015

April Produces Encouraging Jobs Report

Civilian Labor Force Level

157,072,00

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

civilian labor force

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 142267(1) 142456 142434 142751 142388 142591 142278 142514 142518 142622 142962 143248
2001 143800 143701 143924 143569 143318 143357 143654 143284 143989 144086 144240 144305
2002 143883 144653 144481 144725 144938 144808 144803 145009 145552 145314 145041 145066
2003 145937(1) 146100 146022 146474 146500 147056 146485 146445 146530 146716 147000 146729
2004 146842(1) 146709 146944 146850 147065 147460 147692 147564 147415 147793 148162 148059
2005 148029(1) 148364 148391 148926 149261 149238 149432 149779 149954 150001 150065 150030
2006 150214(1) 150641 150813 150881 151069 151354 151377 151716 151662 152041 152406 152732
2007 153144(1) 152983 153051 152435 152670 153041 153054 152749 153414 153183 153835 153918
2008 154063(1) 153653 153908 153769 154303 154313 154469 154641 154570 154876 154639 154655
2009 154210(1) 154538 154133 154509 154747 154716 154502 154307 153827 153784 153878 153111
2010 153484(1) 153694 153954 154622 154091 153616 153691 154086 153975 153635 154125 153650
2011 153314(1) 153227 153377 153566 153492 153350 153276 153746 154085 153935 154089 153961
2012 154445(1) 154739 154765 154589 154899 155088 154927 154726 155060 155491 155305 155553
2013 155825(1) 155396 155026 155401 155562 155761 155632 155529 155548 154615 155304 155047
2014 155486(1) 155688 156180 155420 155629 155700 156048 156018 155845 156243 156402 156129
2015 157180(1) 157002 156906 157072
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Labor Force Participation Rate

62.8%

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

Civilian labor force participation

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.3 67.1 67.1 66.9 66.9 66.9 66.8 66.9 67.0
2001 67.2 67.1 67.2 66.9 66.7 66.7 66.8 66.5 66.8 66.7 66.7 66.7
2002 66.5 66.8 66.6 66.7 66.7 66.6 66.5 66.6 66.7 66.6 66.4 66.3
2003 66.4 66.4 66.3 66.4 66.4 66.5 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 65.9
2004 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 66.0 66.1 66.1 66.0 65.8 65.9 66.0 65.9
2005 65.8 65.9 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0
2006 66.0 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.1 66.2 66.3 66.4
2007 66.4 66.3 66.2 65.9 66.0 66.0 66.0 65.8 66.0 65.8 66.0 66.0
2008 66.2 66.0 66.1 65.9 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.1 66.0 66.0 65.9 65.8
2009 65.7 65.8 65.6 65.7 65.7 65.7 65.5 65.4 65.1 65.0 65.0 64.6
2010 64.8 64.9 64.9 65.2 64.9 64.6 64.6 64.7 64.6 64.4 64.6 64.3
2011 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.2 64.1 64.0 64.0 64.1 64.2 64.1 64.1 64.0
2012 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.8 63.8 63.7 63.5 63.6 63.7 63.6 63.7
2013 63.7 63.5 63.3 63.4 63.4 63.4 63.3 63.2 63.2 62.8 63.0 62.8
2014 63.0 63.0 63.2 62.8 62.8 62.8 62.9 62.9 62.7 62.8 62.9 62.7
2015 62.9 62.8 62.7 62.8

 

Employment Level

 

148, 523, 000

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

employment level

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 136559(1) 136598 136701 137270 136630 136940 136531 136662 136893 137088 137322 137614
2001 137778 137612 137783 137299 137092 136873 137071 136241 136846 136392 136238 136047
2002 135701 136438 136177 136126 136539 136415 136413 136705 137302 137008 136521 136426
2003 137417(1) 137482 137434 137633 137544 137790 137474 137549 137609 137984 138424 138411
2004 138472(1) 138542 138453 138680 138852 139174 139556 139573 139487 139732 140231 140125
2005 140245(1) 140385 140654 141254 141609 141714 142026 142434 142401 142548 142499 142752
2006 143150(1) 143457 143741 143761 144089 144353 144202 144625 144815 145314 145534 145970
2007 146028(1) 146057 146320 145586 145903 146063 145905 145682 146244 145946 146595 146273
2008 146378(1) 146156 146086 146132 145908 145737 145532 145203 145076 144802 144100 143369
2009 142152(1) 141640 140707 140656 140248 140009 139901 139492 138818 138432 138659 138013
2010 138438(1) 138581 138751 139297 139241 139141 139179 139438 139396 139119 139044 139301
2011 139267(1) 139400 139649 139610 139639 139392 139520 139940 140156 140336 140780 140890
2012 141633(1) 141911 142069 141953 142231 142400 142270 142277 142953 143350 143279 143280
2013 143328(1) 143429 143374 143665 143890 144025 144275 144288 144297 143453 144490 144671
2014 145206(1) 145301 145796 145724 145868 146247 146401 146451 146607 147260 147331 147442
2015 148201(1) 148297 148331 148523
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.

Unemployment Level
8,549,000

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

Unemployment Level
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 5708 5858 5733 5481 5758 5651 5747 5853 5625 5534 5639 5634
2001 6023 6089 6141 6271 6226 6484 6583 7042 7142 7694 8003 8258
2002 8182 8215 8304 8599 8399 8393 8390 8304 8251 8307 8520 8640
2003 8520 8618 8588 8842 8957 9266 9011 8896 8921 8732 8576 8317
2004 8370 8167 8491 8170 8212 8286 8136 7990 7927 8061 7932 7934
2005 7784 7980 7737 7672 7651 7524 7406 7345 7553 7453 7566 7279
2006 7064 7184 7072 7120 6980 7001 7175 7091 6847 6727 6872 6762
2007 7116 6927 6731 6850 6766 6979 7149 7067 7170 7237 7240 7645
2008 7685 7497 7822 7637 8395 8575 8937 9438 9494 10074 10538 11286
2009 12058 12898 13426 13853 14499 14707 14601 14814 15009 15352 15219 15098
2010 15046 15113 15202 15325 14849 14474 14512 14648 14579 14516 15081 14348
2011 14046 13828 13728 13956 13853 13958 13756 13806 13929 13599 13309 13071
2012 12812 12828 12696 12636 12668 12688 12657 12449 12106 12141 12026 12272
2013 12497 11967 11653 11735 11671 11736 11357 11241 11251 11161 10814 10376
2014 10280 10387 10384 9696 9761 9453 9648 9568 9237 8983 9071 8688
2015 8979 8705 8575 8549

U- 3 Unemployment Rate

5.4%

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

unemployment rate

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 4.0 4.1 4.0 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.1 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
2001 4.2 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.9 5.0 5.3 5.5 5.7
2002 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.7 5.7 5.7 5.9 6.0
2003 5.8 5.9 5.9 6.0 6.1 6.3 6.2 6.1 6.1 6.0 5.8 5.7
2004 5.7 5.6 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.6 5.5 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.4 5.4
2005 5.3 5.4 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.0 5.0 4.9 5.0 5.0 5.0 4.9
2006 4.7 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4
2007 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.7 4.6 4.7 4.7 4.7 5.0
2008 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.0 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.1 6.1 6.5 6.8 7.3
2009 7.8 8.3 8.7 9.0 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
2010 9.8 9.8 9.9 9.9 9.6 9.4 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.8 9.3
2011 9.2 9.0 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.1 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.8 8.6 8.5
2012 8.3 8.3 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.2 8.0 7.8 7.8 7.7 7.9
2013 8.0 7.7 7.5 7.6 7.5 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.0 6.7
2014 6.6 6.7 6.6 6.2 6.3 6.1 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.8 5.6
2015 5.7 5.5 5.5 5.4

Not In Labor Force

93,194,000

Series Id:           LNS15000000
Seasonally Adjusted
Series title:        (Seas) Not in Labor Force
Labor force status:  Not in labor force
Type of data:        Number in thousands
Age:                 16 years and over

Not in labor force

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 69142 69120 69338 69267 69853 69876 70398 70401 70645 70782 70579 70488
2001 70088 70409 70381 70956 71414 71592 71526 72136 71676 71817 71876 72010
2002 72623 72010 72343 72281 72260 72600 72827 72856 72554 73026 73508 73675
2003 73960 74015 74295 74066 74268 73958 74767 75062 75249 75324 75280 75780
2004 75319 75648 75606 75907 75903 75735 75730 76113 76526 76399 76259 76581
2005 76808 76677 76846 76514 76409 76673 76721 76642 76739 76958 77138 77394
2006 77339 77122 77161 77318 77359 77317 77535 77451 77757 77634 77499 77376
2007 77506 77851 77982 78818 78810 78671 78904 79461 79047 79532 79105 79238
2008 78554 79156 79087 79429 79102 79314 79395 79466 79790 79736 80189 80380
2009 80529 80374 80953 80762 80705 80938 81367 81780 82495 82766 82865 83813
2010 83349 83304 83206 82707 83409 84075 84199 84014 84347 84895 84590 85240
2011 85390 85624 85623 85580 85821 86140 86395 86125 85986 86335 86351 86624
2012 87824 87696 87839 88195 88066 88068 88427 88840 88713 88491 88870 88797
2013 88838 89432 89969 89774 89801 89791 90124 90430 90620 91766 91263 91698
2014 91429 91398 91077 92019 91993 92114 91975 92210 92601 92414 92442 92898
2015 92544 92898 93175 93194

Total Unemployment Rate U-6

10.8%

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

u6-unemploment rate

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2000 7.1 7.2 7.1 6.9 7.1 7.0 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8 7.1 6.9
2001 7.3 7.4 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.9 7.8 8.1 8.7 9.3 9.4 9.6
2002 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.7 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.6 9.7 9.8
2003 10.0 10.2 10.0 10.2 10.1 10.3 10.3 10.1 10.4 10.2 10.0 9.8
2004 9.9 9.7 10.0 9.6 9.6 9.5 9.5 9.4 9.4 9.7 9.4 9.2
2005 9.3 9.3 9.1 8.9 8.9 9.0 8.8 8.9 9.0 8.7 8.7 8.6
2006 8.4 8.4 8.2 8.1 8.2 8.4 8.5 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.1 7.9
2007 8.4 8.2 8.0 8.2 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.4 8.8
2008 9.2 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.7 10.1 10.5 10.8 11.0 11.8 12.6 13.6
2009 14.2 15.2 15.8 15.9 16.5 16.5 16.4 16.7 16.7 17.1 17.1 17.1
2010 16.7 17.0 17.1 17.1 16.6 16.4 16.4 16.5 16.8 16.6 16.9 16.6
2011 16.2 16.0 15.9 16.1 15.8 16.1 15.9 16.1 16.3 15.8 15.5 15.2
2012 15.2 15.0 14.5 14.6 14.8 14.8 14.8 14.6 14.7 14.4 14.4 14.4
2013 14.5 14.3 13.8 14.0 13.8 14.2 13.8 13.6 13.6 13.7 13.1 13.1
2014 12.7 12.6 12.6 12.3 12.1 12.0 12.2 12.0 11.7 11.5 11.4 11.2
2015 11.3 11.0 10.9 10.8

Employment Situation Summary

Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until                  USDL-15-0838
8:30 a.m. (EDT) Friday, May 8, 2015

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

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


                      THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- APRIL 2015


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the 
unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and 
business services, health care, and construction. Mining employment 
continued to decline.

Household Survey Data

In April, both the unemployment rate (5.4 percent) and the number of 
unemployed persons (8.5 million) were essentially unchanged. Over the 
year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down 
by 0.8 percentage point and 1.1 million, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Asians increased 
to 4.4 percent. The rates for adult men (5.0 percent), adult women (4.9 
percent), teenagers (17.1 percent), whites (4.7 percent), blacks (9.6 
percent), and Hispanics (6.9 percent) showed little or no change in April. 
(See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks increased by 241,000 
to 2.7 million in April. The number of long-term unemployed (those 
jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little at 2.5 million, accounting 
for 29.0 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number 
of long-term unemployed has decreased by 888,000. (See table A-12.)

In April, the civilian labor force participation rate (62.8 percent) 
changed little. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained 
within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. The employment-
population ratio held at 59.3 percent in April and has been at this level 
since January. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes 
referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 6.6 
million in April, but is down by 880,000 from a year earlier. These 
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working 
part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were 
unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In April, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor 
force, little changed over the year. (The data are not seasonally 
adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and 
were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 
12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not 
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 756,000 discouraged workers 
in April, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not 
seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently 
looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. 
The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor 
force in April had not searched for work for reasons such as school 
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 223,000 in April, after 
edging up in March (+85,000). In April, employment increased in 
professional and business services, health care, and construction, 
while employment in mining continued to decline. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 62,000 jobs in April. 
Over the prior 3 months, job gains averaged 35,000 per month. In 
April, services to buildings and dwellings added 16,000 jobs, 
following little change in March. Employment continued to trend up 
in April in computer systems design and related services (+9,000), 
in business support services (+7,000), and in management and 
technical consulting services (+6,000).

Health care employment increased by 45,000 in April. Job growth was 
distributed among the three major components--ambulatory health care 
services (+25,000), hospitals (+12,000), and nursing and residential 
care facilities (+8,000). Over the past year, health care has added 
390,000 jobs.

Employment in construction rose by 45,000 in April, after changing 
little in March. Over the past 12 months, construction has added 
280,000 jobs. In April, job growth was concentrated in specialty 
trade contractors (+41,000), with employment gains about evenly 
split between the residential and nonresidential components. 
Employment declined over the month in nonresidential building 
construction (-8,000).

In April, employment continued to trend up in transportation and 
warehousing (+15,000).

Employment in mining fell by 15,000 in April, with most of the job 
loss in support activities for mining (-10,000) and in oil and gas 
extraction (-3,000). Since the beginning of the year, employment 
in mining has declined by 49,000, with losses concentrated in 
support activities for mining.

Employment in other major industries, including manufacturing, 
wholesale trade, retail trade, information, financial activities, 
leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change 
over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls 
remained at 34.5 hours in April. The manufacturing workweek for 
all employees edged down by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and factory 
overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.2 hours. The average workweek 
for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls was unchanged at 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private 
nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents to $24.87. Over the past 12 
months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.2 percent. 
Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and 
nonsupervisory employees edged up by 2 cents to $20.90 in April. 
(See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was 
revised from +264,000 to +266,000, and the change for March was 
revised from +126,000 to +85,000. With these revisions, 
employment gains in February and March combined were 39,000 
lower than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job 
gains have averaged 191,000 per month.

_____________
The Employment Situation for May is scheduled to be released 
on Friday, June 5, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

Civilian noninstitutional population247,439249,899250,080250,266186Civilian labor force155,420157,002156,906157,072166Participation rate62.862.862.762.80.1Employed145,724148,297148,331148,523192Employment-population ratio58.959.359.359.30.0Unemployed9,6968,7058,5758,549-26Unemployment rate6.25.55.55.4-0.1Not in labor force92,01992,89893,17593,19419Unemployment rates
Total, 16 years and over6.25.55.55.4-0.1Adult men (20 years and over)5.95.25.15.0-0.1Adult women (20 years and over)5.74.94.94.90.0Teenagers (16 to 19 years)19.117.117.517.1-0.4White5.34.74.74.70.0Black or African American11.410.410.19.6-0.5Asian5.94.03.24.41.2Hispanic or Latino ethnicity7.56.66.86.90.1Total, 25 years and over5.24.54.44.50.1Less than a high school diploma8.88.48.68.60.0High school graduates, no college6.35.45.35.40.1Some college or associate degree5.65.14.84.7-0.1Bachelor’s degree and higher3.32.72.52.70.2Reason for unemployment
Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs5,1534,1804,1894,136-53Job leavers786884875828-47Reentrants2,6312,6552,6892,685-4New entrants1,05297281586853Duration of unemployment
Less than 5 weeks2,4512,4312,4882,7292415 to 14 weeks2,3462,2232,3122,307-515 to 26 weeks1,5091,3351,2531,139-11427 weeks and over3,4132,7092,5632,525-38Employed persons at work part time
Part time for economic reasons7,4606,6356,7056,580-125Slack work or business conditions4,5173,8474,0693,885-184Could only find part-time work2,6242,4262,3372,37437Part time for noneconomic reasons18,91519,83719,73320,056323Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)
Marginally attached to the labor force2,1602,1592,0552,115Discouraged workers783732738756– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htmEmployment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjustedhttp://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.b.htm2015 April Job Cut Report: Cuts Surge to 61,582, 3-Year High

Falling oil prices contributed to a 68 percent surge in job cuts last month, as US-based employers announced workforce reductions totaling 61,582 in April, up from 36,594 in March, according to the latest report on monthly layoffs released Thursday by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The April total was 53 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when 40,298 planned job cuts were recorded. It represents the highest monthly total since May 2012 (61,887) and the highest April total since 2009 (132,590).

Year to date, employers have announced 201,796 planned job cuts, which marks a 25 percent increase from the 161,639 layoffs tracked in the first four months of 2014. This is the largest four-month total since 2010.

Driving the increased pace of job cutting in April and for the year is the dramatic decline in oil prices, which is forcing producers and suppliers to cut production. Of the 61,582 job cut announced last month, 20,675 or 34 percent were directly attributed to oil prices.

For the year, oil prices were blamed for 68,285 job cuts, or about 34 percent of the 201,796 planned layoffs announced between January 1 and April 30.

“Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Halliburton have all announced multiple rounds of job cuts in recent months, including April. The largest job cut of the month came from Schlumberger, which announced that it will shed 11,000 workers, in addition to the 9,000 laid off in January,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“The jobs that are most vulnerable are those in the field – engineers, oil rig operators, drill operators, refinery operators, etc. Managers and executives in the corporate offices are more secure, but the drop in oil prices is leading to increased merger activity, which could put more executives at risk of job loss,” said Challenger.

Most of the oil-related layoffs have occurred in the energy sector, which is the top job-cutting industry to date, with 57,556 planned cuts. That is more than double the second-ranked retail sector, which has announced 26,096 job cuts this year.

The pace of retail sector job cuts is slightly higher than a year ago, when these employers announced 25,224 job cuts through the first four months.

“Low oil prices should be helping retailers. However, the extra money in Americans’ wallets do not appear to be making it into the nation’s cash registers. Retail sales have been lackluster, at best. Furthermore, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble announced in April that it would reduce its headcount by as many as 6,000 workers over the next two years, following a poor earnings report,” noted Challenger.

“We could be witnessing the after-effect of the severe and protracted recession. Much like the generation that lived through the Great Depression, those who scraped by during the recession are being extra careful with their money. Another factor is that not everyone’s boat is rising with the tide. Many Americans are still struggling to find work and those that do are not earning as much they once did,” he said.

https://www.challengergray.com/press/press-releases/2015-april-job-cut-report-cuts-surge-61582-3-year-high

 

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

CategoryApr.
2014Feb.
2015Mar.
2015Apr.
2015Change from:
Mar.
2015-
Apr.
2015

Employment status

 

Civilian noninstitutional population

247,439249,899250,080250,266186

Civilian labor force

155,420157,002156,906157,072166

Participation rate

62.862.862.762.80.1

Employed

145,724148,297148,331148,523192

Employment-population ratio

58.959.359.359.30.0

Unemployed

9,6968,7058,5758,549-26

Unemployment rate

6.25.55.55.4-0.1

Not in labor force

92,01992,89893,17593,19419

Unemployment rates

 

Total, 16 years and over

6.25.55.55.4-0.1

Adult men (20 years and over)

5.95.25.15.0-0.1

Adult women (20 years and over)

5.74.94.94.90.0

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

19.117.117.517.1-0.4

White

5.34.74.74.70.0

Black or African American

11.410.410.19.6-0.5

Asian

5.94.03.24.41.2

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

7.56.66.86.90.1

Total, 25 years and over

5.24.54.44.50.1

Less than a high school diploma

8.88.48.68.60.0

High school graduates, no college

6.35.45.35.40.1

Some college or associate degree

5.65.14.84.7-0.1

Bachelor’s degree and higher

3.32.72.52.70.2

Reason for unemployment

 

Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs

5,1534,1804,1894,136-53

Job leavers

786884875828-47

Reentrants

2,6312,6552,6892,685-4

New entrants

1,05297281586853

Duration of unemployment

 

Less than 5 weeks

2,4512,4312,4882,729241

5 to 14 weeks

2,3462,2232,3122,307-5

15 to 26 weeks

1,5091,3351,2531,139-114

27 weeks and over

3,4132,7092,5632,525-38

Employed persons at work part time

 

Part time for economic reasons

7,4606,6356,7056,580-125

Slack work or business conditions

4,5173,8474,0693,885-184

Could only find part-time work

2,6242,4262,3372,37437

Part time for noneconomic reasons

18,91519,83719,73320,056323

Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)

 

Marginally attached to the labor force

2,1602,1592,0552,115

Discouraged workers

783732738756

 

– Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.

ESTABLISHMENT DATA
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
CategoryApr.
2014Feb.
2015Mar.
2015(p)Apr.
2015(p)

EMPLOYMENT BY SELECTED INDUSTRY
(Over-the-month change, in thousands)

 

Total nonfarm

33026685223

Total private

31326194213

Goods-producing

5820-2131

Mining and logging

6-14-12-15

Construction

4131-945

Manufacturing

11301

Durable goods(1)

1261-1

Motor vehicles and parts

0.53.4-0.76.0

Nondurable goods

-1-3-12

Private service-providing

255241115182

Wholesale trade

14.910.49.9-4.5

Retail trade

42.723.124.512.1

Transportation and warehousing

12.99.48.115.2

Utilities

-0.80.91.01.3

Information

5703

Financial activities

9979

Professional and business services(1)

72493562

Temporary help services

13.8-4.413.216.1

Education and health services(1)

39613561

Health care and social assistance

29.738.730.655.6

Leisure and hospitality

4561-617

Other services

151016

Government

175-910

(3-month average change, in thousands)

 

Total nonfarm

248265184191

Total private

237261186189

WOMEN AND PRODUCTION AND NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES
AS A PERCENT OF ALL EMPLOYEES(2)

 

Total nonfarm women employees

49.449.349.349.3

Total private women employees

47.947.947.947.9

Total private production and nonsupervisory employees

82.782.582.582.4

HOURS AND EARNINGS
ALL EMPLOYEES

 

Total private

 

Average weekly hours

34.534.634.534.5

Average hourly earnings

$24.34$24.78$24.84$24.87

Average weekly earnings

$839.73$857.39$856.98$858.02

Index of aggregate weekly hours (2007=100)(3)

100.5103.1102.8103.0

Over-the-month percent change

0.30.3-0.30.2

Index of aggregate weekly payrolls (2007=100)(4)

116.8121.9121.9122.3

Over-the-month percent change

0.30.30.00.3

DIFFUSION INDEX
(Over 1-month span)(5)

 

Total private (263 industries)

69.862.059.557.0

Manufacturing (80 industries)

58.154.445.650.6

Footnotes
(1) Includes other industries, not shown separately.
(2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries.
(3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours.
(4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls.
(5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
(p) Preliminary

NOTE: Data have been revised to reflect March 2014 benchmark levels and updated seasonal adjustment factors.

 

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Pronk Pops Show 432: March 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 431: March 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 430: March 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 429: March 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 428: March 17, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 427: March 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 426: March 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 425: March 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 424: March 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 423: February 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Story 1: Nobody Does It Better Spying On People of The World — National Security Agency — Turnkey Tyranny Turned On The American People — NSA Budget $100 Billion Plus Paid By The American People — The Patriot Act Expires On June 1, 2015 — Both Republican and Democratic Parties Will Renew It! — Secret Security Surveillance State —  Alive, Well and Growing — Videos

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Fourth Amendment

The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that “each man’s home is his castle”, secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government.  It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment

all your data Patriot Act Renewal patriot act patriotact shopping 4 snowden nsaNSA-Shark-cartoonobama-nsa-cartoon-chappatte-495x357patriots duty, obama cartoons

Carly Simon – Nobody Does It Better

Appellate Court Rules NSA’s Phone Data Collection Is Illegal

McConnell to Push for Pure PATRIOT Act Extension

INTERVIEW with NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: Confirm EVERYONE in US is under VIRTUAL SURVEILLANCE since 9/11

What You Didn’t Know About The NSA Bluffdale Spy Center – From Former NSA Director Bill Binney

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

30c3 keynote with Glenn Greenwald [30c3]

FISA Court: Telecoms okay with NSA data collection

US Supreme Court refuses to let Americans challenge FISA eavesdropping law

FISA Section 215: A Debate about Its Legality, Usefulness and Civil Liberties

The creepy spying power buried in the Patriot Act

Real Talk: The Patriot Act

Patriot Act Powers – GOP Fights To Renew NSA Surveillance Law – Fox & Friends

Marco Rubio blasts colleagues over renewing NSA spying powers

Rand Paul Stalling Patriot Act Extension!

The Obama Administration’s War on Whistleblowers–7 Whistleblowers speak at News Conference 04-27-15

Top NSA Whistleblower William Binney Exposes the Tyranny 3/20/15

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

Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

‘NSA owns entire network anywhere in the world’ – whistleblower William Binney

NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All: The Program | Op-Docs | The New York Times

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

Alleged NSA whistleblower warns of “turnkey tyranny” in U.S.

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

Glenn Greenwald: The NSA Can “Literally Watch Every Keystroke You Make”

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Prevails in Unprecedented Obama Admin Crackdown

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

29C3 Panel: Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, William Binney on whistleblowing and surveillance

Everything We Know About NSA Spying: “Through a PRISM, Darkly” – Kurt Opsahl at CCC

FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Government Surveillance (HBO)

The Lame Duck Show: Turn Key Tyranny Solutions

PBS Nova S36E11 The Spy Factory Full Documentary

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

Full Documentaries – National Security Agency Secrets – (NSA) Special Documentary

NSA can spy on 98 percent of the world

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Glenn Greenwald on Domestic Surveillance: NSA Warrantless Wiretapping Controversy (2006)

Enemy of the State (1998) Predicts Edward Snowden’s Revelations

Enemy Of The State – The NSA Can Read The Time Off Your F**king Wristwatch!

Will Smith | Enemy of the State 1998 Movie Full HD

Ron Paul to Congress: DO NOT Extend the “PATRIOT” Act!

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA?

(Good Will Hunting)

N.S.A. Phone Data Collection Is Illegal, Appeals Court Rules

THE COMPUTERS ARE LISTENING

HOW THE NSA CONVERTS SPOKEN WORDS INTO SEARCHABLE TEXT

Most people realize that emails and other digital communications they once considered private can now become part of their permanent record.

But even as they increasingly use apps that understand what they say, most people don’t realize that the words they speak are not so private anymore, either.

Top-secret documents from the archive of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency can now automatically recognize the content within phone calls by creating rough transcripts and phonetic representations that can be easily searched and stored.

The documents show NSA analysts celebrating the development of what they called “Google for Voice” nearly a decade ago.

Though perfect transcription of natural conversation apparently remains the Intelligence Community’s “holy grail,” the Snowden documentsdescribe extensive use of keyword searching as well as computer programs designed to analyze and “extract” the content of voice conversations, and even use sophisticated algorithms to flag conversations of interest.

The documents include vivid examples of the use of speech recognition in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in Latin America. But they leave unclear exactly how widely the spy agency uses this ability, particularly in programs that pick up considerable amounts of conversations that include people who live in or are citizens of the United States.

Spying on international telephone calls has always been a staple of NSA surveillance, but the requirement that an actual person do the listening meant it was effectively limited to a tiny percentage of the total traffic. By leveraging advances in automated speech recognition, the NSA has entered the era of bulk listening.

And this has happened with no apparent public oversight, hearings or legislative action. Congress hasn’t shown signs of even knowing that it’s going on.

The USA Freedom Act — the surveillance reform bill that Congress is currently debating — doesn’t address the topic at all. The bill would end an NSA program that does not collect voice content: the government’s bulk collection of domestic calling data, showing who called who and for how long.

Even if becomes law, the bill would leave in place a multitude of mechanisms exposed by Snowden that scoop up vast amounts of innocent people’s text and voice communications in the U.S. and across the globe.

Civil liberty experts contacted by The Intercept said the NSA’s speech-to-text capabilities are a disturbing example of the privacy invasions that are becoming possible as our analog world transitions to a digital one.

“I think people don’t understand that the economics of surveillance have totally changed,” Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, told The Intercept.

“Once you have this capability, then the question is: How will it be deployed? Can you temporarily cache all American phone calls, transcribe all the phone calls, and do text searching of the content of the calls?” she said. “It may not be what they are doing right now, but they’ll be able to do it.”

And, she asked: “How would we ever know if they change the policy?”

Indeed, NSA officials have been secretive about their ability to convert speech to text, and how widely they use it, leaving open any number of possibilities.

That secrecy is the key, Granick said. “We don’t have any idea how many innocent people are being affected, or how many of those innocent people are also Americans.”

I Can Search Against It

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was trained as a voice processing crypto-linguist and worked at the agency until 2008, told The Intercept that he saw a huge push after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to turn the massive amounts of voice communications being collected into something more useful.

Human listening was clearly not going to be the solution. “There weren’t enough ears,” he said.

The transcripts that emerged from the new systems weren’t perfect, he said. “But even if it’s not 100 percent, I can still get a lot more information. It’s far more accessible. I can search against it.”

Converting speech to text makes it easier for the NSA to see what it has collected and stored, according to Drake. “The breakthrough was being able to do it on a vast scale,” he said.

More Data, More Power, Better Performance

The Defense Department, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), started funding academic and commercial research into speech recognition in the early 1970s.

What emerged were several systems to turn speech into text, all of which slowly but gradually improved as they were able to work with more data and at faster speeds.

In a brief interview, Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA’s Information Innovation Office, indicated that the government’s ability to automate transcription is still limited.

Kaufman says that automated transcription of phone conversation is “super hard,” because “there’s a lot of noise on the signal” and “it’s informal as hell.”

“I would tell you we are not very good at that,” he said.

In an ideal environment like a news broadcast, he said, “we’re getting pretty good at being able to do these types of translations.”

A 2008 document from the Snowden archive shows that  transcribing news broadcasts was already working well seven years ago, using a program called Enhanced Video Text and Audio Processing:

(U//FOUO) EViTAP is a fully-automated news monitoring tool. The key feature of this Intelink-SBU-hosted tool is that it analyzes news in six languages, including Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, Spanish, English, and Farsi/Persian. “How does it work?” you may ask. It integrates Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) which provides transcripts of the spoken audio. Next, machine translation of the ASR transcript translates the native language transcript to English. Voila! Technology is amazing.

A version of the system the NSA uses is now even available commercially.

Experts in speech recognition say that in the last decade or so, the pace of technological improvement has been explosive. As information storage became cheaper and more efficient, technology companies were able to store massive amounts of voice data on their servers, allowing them to continually update and improve the models. Enormous processors, tuned as “deep neural networks” that detect patterns like human brains do, produce much cleaner transcripts.

And the Snowden documents show that the same kinds of leaps forward seen in commercial speech-to-text products have also been happening in secret at the NSA, fueled by the agency’s singular access to astronomical processing power and its own vast data archives.

In fact, the NSA has been repeatedly releasing new and improved speech recognition systems for more than a decade.

The first-generation tool, which made keyword-searching of vast amounts of voice content possible, was rolled out in 2004 and code-named RHINEHART.

“Voice word search technology allows analysts to find and prioritize intercept based on its intelligence content,” says an internal 2006 NSA memo entitled “For Media Mining, the Future Is Now!

The memo says that intelligence analysts involved in counterterrorism were able to identify terms related to bomb-making materials, like “detonator” and “hydrogen peroxide,” as well as place names like “Baghdad” or people like “Musharaf.”

RHINEHART was “designed to support both real-time searches, in which incoming data is automatically searched by a designated set of dictionaries, and retrospective searches, in which analysts can repeatedly search over months of past traffic,” the memo explains (emphasis in original).

As of 2006, RHINEHART was operating “across a wide variety of missions and languages” and was “used throughout the NSA/CSS [Central Security Service] Enterprise.”

But even then, a newer, more sophisticated product was already being rolled out by the NSA’s Human Language Technology (HLT) program office. The new system, called VoiceRT, was first introduced in Baghdad, and “designed to index and tag 1 million cuts per day.”

The goal, according to another 2006 memo, was to use voice processing technology to be able “index, tag and graph,” all intercepted communications. “Using HLT services, a single analyst will be able to sort through millions of cuts per day and focus on only the small percentage that is relevant,” the memo states.

A 2009 memo from the NSA’s British partner, GCHQ, describes how “NSA have had the BBN speech-to-text system Byblos running at Fort Meade for at least 10 years. (Initially they also had Dragon.) During this period they have invested heavily in producing their own corpora of transcribed Sigint in both American English and an increasing range of other languages.” (GCHQ also noted that it had its own small corpora of transcribed voice communications, most of which happened to be “Northern Irish accented speech.”)

VoiceRT, in turn, was surpassed a few years after its launch. According to the intelligence community’s “Black Budget” for fiscal year 2013, VoiceRT was decommissioned and replaced in 2011 and 2012, so that by 2013, NSA could operationalize a new system. This system, apparently called SPIRITFIRE, could handle more data, faster. SPIRITFIRE would be “a more robust voice processing capability based on speech-to-text keyword search and paired dialogue transcription.”

Extensive Use Abroad

Voice communications can be collected by the NSA whether they are being sent by regular phone lines, over cellular networks, or through voice-over-internet services. Previously released documents from the Snowden archive describe enormous efforts by the NSA during the last decade to get access to voice-over-internet content like Skype calls, for instance. And other documents in the archive chronicle the agency’s adjustment to the fact that an increasingly large percentage of conversations, even those that start as landline or mobile calls, end up as digitized packets flying through the same fiber-optic cables that the NSA taps so effectively for other data and voice communications.

The Snowden archive, as searched and analyzed by The Intercept, documents extensive use of speech-to-text by the NSA to search through international voice intercepts — particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Mexico and Latin America.

For example, speech-to-text was a key but previously unheralded element of the sophisticated analytical program known as the Real Time Regional Gateway (RTRG), which started in 2005 when newly appointed NSA chief Keith B. Alexander, according to the Washington Post, “wanted everything: Every Iraqi text message, phone call and e-mail that could be vacuumed up by the agency’s powerful computers.”

The Real Time Regional Gateway was credited with playing a role in “breaking up Iraqi insurgent networks and significantly reducing the monthly death toll from improvised explosive devices.” The indexing and searching of “voice cuts” was deployed to Iraq in 2006. By 2008, RTRG was operational in Afghanistan as well.

A slide from a June 2006 NSA powerpoint presentation described the role of VoiceRT:

VoiceRT: Index/Search of Voice Cuts

Keyword spotting extended to Iranian intercepts as well. A 2006 memoreported that RHINEHART had been used successfully by Persian-speaking analysts who “searched for the words ‘negotiations’ or ‘America’ in their traffic, and RHINEHART located a very important call that was transcribed verbatim providing information on an important Iranian target’s discussion of the formation of a the new Iraqi government.”

According to a 2011 memo, “How is Human Language Technology (HLT) Progressing?“, NSA that year deployed “HLT Labs” to Afghanistan, NSA facilities in Texas and Georgia, and listening posts in Latin America run by the Special Collection Service, a joint NSA/CIA unit that operates out of embassies and other locations.

“Spanish is the most mature of our speech-to-text analytics,” the memo says, noting that the NSA and its Special Collections Service sites in Latin America, have had “great success searching for Spanish keywords.”

The memo offers an example from NSA Texas, where an analyst newly trained on the system used a keyword search to find previously unreported information on a target involved in drug-trafficking. In another case, an official at a Special Collection Service site in Latin America “was able to find foreign intelligence regarding a Cuban official in a fraction of the usual time.”

In a 2011 article, “Finding Nuggets — Quickly — in a Heap of Voice Collection, From Mexico to Afghanistan,” an intelligence analysis technical director from NSA Texas described the “rare life-changing instance” when he learned about human language technology, and its ability to “find the exact traffic of interest within a mass of collection.”

Analysts in Texas found the new technology a boon for spying. “From finding tunnels in Tijuana, identifying bomb threats in the streets of Mexico City, or shedding light on the shooting of US Customs officials in Potosi, Mexico, the technology did what it advertised: It accelerated the process of finding relevant intelligence when time was of the essence,” he wrote. (Emphasis in original.)

The author of the memo was also part of a team that introduced the technology to military leaders in Afghanistan. “From Kandahar to Kabul, we have traveled the country explaining NSA leaders’ vision and introducing SIGINT teams to what HLT analytics can do today and to what is still needed to make this technology a game-changing success,” the memo reads.

Extent of Domestic Use Remains Unknown

What’s less clear from the archive is how extensively this capability is used to transcribe or otherwise index and search voice conversations that primarily involve what the NSA terms “U.S. persons.”

The NSA did not answer a series of detailed questions about automated speech recognition, even though an NSA “classification guide” that is part of the Snowden archive explicitly states that “The fact that NSA/CSS has created HLT models” for speech-to-text processing as well as gender, language and voice recognition, is “UNCLASSIFIED.”

Also unclassified: The fact that the processing can sort and prioritize audio files for human linguists, and that the statistical models are regularly being improved and updated based on actual intercepts. By contrast, because they’ve been tuned using actual intercepts, the specific parameters of the systems are highly classified.

“The National Security Agency employs a variety of technologies in the course of its authorized foreign-intelligence mission,” spokesperson Vanee’ Vines wrote in an email to The Intercept. “These capabilities, operated by NSA’s dedicated professionals and overseen by multiple internal and external authorities, help to deter threats from international terrorists, human traffickers, cyber criminals, and others who seek to harm our citizens and allies.”

Vines did not respond to the specific questions about privacy protections in place related to the processing of domestic or domestic-to-international voice communications. But she wrote that “NSA always applies rigorous protections designed to safeguard the privacy not only of U.S. persons, but also of foreigners abroad, as directed by the President in January 2014.”

The presidentially appointed but independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) didn’t mention speech-to-text technology in itspublic reports.

“I’m not going to get into whether any program does or does not have that capability,” PCLOB chairman David Medine told The Intercept.

His board’s reports, he said, contained only information that the intelligence community agreed could be declassified.

“We went to the intelligence community and asked them to declassify a significant amount of material,” he said. The “vast majority” of that material was declassified, he said. But not all — including “facts that we thought could be declassified without compromising national security.”

Hypothetically, Medine said, the ability to turn voice into text would raise significant privacy concerns. And it would also raise questions about how the intelligence agencies “minimize” the retention and dissemination of material— particularly involving U.S. persons — that doesn’t include information they’re explicitly allowed to keep.

“Obviously it increases the ability of the government to process information from more calls,” Medine said. “It would also allow the government to listen in on more calls, which would raise more of the kind of privacy issues that the board has raised in the past.”

“I’m not saying the government does or doesn’t do it,” he said, “just that these would be the consequences.”

A New Learning Curve

Speech recognition expert Bhiksha Raj likens the current era to the early days of the Internet, when people didn’t fully realize how the things they typed would last forever.

“When I started using the Internet in the 90s, I was just posting stuff,” said Raj, an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute. “It never struck me that 20 years later I could go Google myself and pull all this up. Imagine if I posted something on alt.binaries.pictures.erotica or something like that, and now that post is going to embarrass me forever.”

The same is increasingly becoming the case with voice communication, he said. And the stakes are even higher, given that the majority of the world’s communication has historically been conducted by voice, and it has traditionally been considered a private mode of communication.

“People still aren’t realizing quite the magnitude that the problem could get to,” Raj said. “And it’s not just surveillance,” he said. “People are using voice services all the time. And where does the voice go? It’s sitting somewhere. It’s going somewhere. You’re living on trust.” He added: “Right now I don’t think you can trust anybody.”

The Need for New Rules

Kim Taipale, executive director of the Stilwell Center for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology Policy, is one of several people who tried a decade ago to get policymakers to recognize that existing surveillance law doesn’t adequately deal with new global communication networks and advanced technologies including  speech recognition.

“Things aren’t ephemeral anymore,” Taipale told The Intercept. “We’re living in a world where many things that were fleeting in the analog world are now on the permanent record. The question then becomes: what are the consequences of that and what are the rules going to be to deal with those consequences?”

Realistically, Taipale said, “the ability of the government to search voice communication in bulk is one of the things we may have to live with under some circumstances going forward.” But there at least need to be “clear public rules and effective oversight to make sure that the information is only used for appropriate law-enforcement or national security purposes consistent with Constitutional principles.”

Ultimately, Taipale said, a system where computers flag suspicious voice communications could be less invasive than one where people do the listening, given the potential for human abuse and misuse to lead to privacy violations. “Automated analysis has different privacy implications,” he said.

But to Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, the distinction between a human listening and a computer listening is irrelevant in terms of privacy, possible consequences, and a chilling effect on speech.

“What people care about in the end, and what creates chilling effects in the end, are consequences,” he said. “I think that over time, people would learn to fear computerized eavesdropping just as much as they fear eavesdropping by humans, because of the consequences that it could bring.”

Indeed, computer listening could raise new concerns. One of the internal NSA memos from 2006 says an “important enhancement under development is the ability for this HLT capability to predict what intercepted data might be of interest to analysts based on the analysts’ past behavior.”

Citing Amazon’s ability to not just track but predict buyer preferences, the memo says that an NSA system designed to flag interesting intercepts “offers the promise of presenting analysts with highly enriched sorting of their traffic.”

To Phillip Rogaway, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Davis, keyword-search is probably the “least of our problems.” In an email to The Intercept, Rogaway warned that “When the NSA identifies someone as ‘interesting’ based on contemporary NLP [Natural Language Processing] methods, it might be that there is no human-understandable explanation as to why beyond: ‘his corpus of discourse resembles those of others whom we thought interesting'; or the conceptual opposite: ‘his discourse looks or sounds different from most people’s.’”

If the algorithms NSA computers use to identify threats are too complex for humans to understand, Rogaway wrote, “it will be impossible to understand the contours of the surveillance apparatus by which one is judged.  All that people will be able to do is to try your best to behave just like everyone else.”

Next: The NSA’s best kept open secret.

Readers with information or insight into these programs are encouraged to get in touch, either by email, or anonymously via SecureDrop.

Documents published with this article:

Research on the Snowden archive was conducted by Intercept researcher Andrew Fishman

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/05/nsa-speech-recognition-snowden-searchable-text/

 

Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act

EFF sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the 10th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act in October 2011 for answers about “secret interpretations” of a controversial section of the law. In June 2013, a leaked FISA court order publicly revealed that “secret interpretation”: the government was using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect the phone records of virtually every person in the United States.

Prior to the revelations, several senators warned that the DOJ was using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to support what government attorneys called a “sensitive collection program,” targeting large numbers of Americans. The language of Section 215 allows for secret court orders to collect “tangible things” that could be relevant to a government investigation – a far lower threshold and more expansive reach than a warrant based on probable cause.  The list of possible “tangible things” the government can obtain is seemingly limitless, and could include everything from driver’s license records to Internet browsing patterns.

In response to a court order in our lawsuit, in September 2013, the government released hundreds of pages of previously secret FISA documents detailing the court’s interpretation of Section 215, including an opinion excoriating the NSA for misusing its mass surveillance database for years. In October 2013, the government released a second batch of documents related to Section 215, which showed, among other things, that the NSA had collected cell site location without notifying its oversight committees in Congress or the FISA court.

EFF’s lawsuit came after the DOJ failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the interpretation and use of Section 215.  The suit demanded records describing the types of “tangible things” that have been collected so far, the legal basis for the “sensitive collection program,” and information on the how many people have been affected by Section 215 orders.

The lawsuit remains ongoing.

https://www.eff.org/foia/section-215-usa-patriot-act

Background Articles and Videos

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

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

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

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

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Inside the NSA

Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

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

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

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

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

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

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

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

The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

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

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

The Truth About Edward Snowden

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

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

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

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

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

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

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

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRISM

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

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

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

History

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

Details of information collected via PRISM

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

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

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

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

Response from companies

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

Initial Public Statements

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

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

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

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

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

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

Response from United States government

Executive branch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislative branch

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

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

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

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

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

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

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

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

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

Judicial branch

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

Applicable law and practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Involvement of other countries

Australia

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

Canada

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

Germany

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

Israel

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

New Zealand

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

United Kingdom

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

Domestic response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International response

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

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

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related government Internet surveillance programs

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

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

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

ThinThread

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

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

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

Trailblazer

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whistleblowing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boundless Informant

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

Technology

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

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

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

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

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

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

ECHELON

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

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

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

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

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

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

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

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

Capabilities

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

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

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

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

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

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

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

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

Hardware

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

Name

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

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

Ground stations

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

Likely satellite intercept stations

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

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

Other potentially related stations

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

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

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

Room 641A

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

Description

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

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

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

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

Lawsuit

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

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

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

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

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

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

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

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

Section summary of the Patriot Act, Title II

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

President George W. Bush gestures as he addresses an audience Wednesday, July 20, 2005 at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Md., encouraging the renewal of provisions of the Patriot Act.

The following is a section summary of the USA PATRIOT Act, Title II. The USA PATRIOT Act was passed by the United States Congress in 2001 as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures gave increased powers of surveillance to various government agencies and bodies. This title has 25 sections, with one of the sections (section 224) containing a sunset clause which sets an expiration date, 31 December 2005, for most of the title’s provisions. On 22 December 2005, the sunset clause expiration date was extended to 3 February 2006.

Title II contains many of the most contentious provisions of the act. Supporters of the Patriot Act claim that these provisions are necessary in fighting the War on Terrorism, while its detractors argue that many of the sections of Title II infringe upon individual and civil rights.

The sections of Title II amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and its provisions in 18 U.S.C., dealing with “Crimes and Criminal Procedure“. It also amends the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. In general, the Title expands federal agencies’ powers in intercepting, sharing, and using private telecommunications, especially electronic communications, along with a focus on criminal investigations by updating the rules that govern computer crime investigations. It also sets out procedures and limitations for individuals who feel their rights have been violated to seek redress, including against the United States government. However, it also includes a section that deals with trade sanctions against countries whose government supports terrorism, which is not directly related to surveillance issues.

Contents

 [hide

Sections 201 & 202: Intercepting communications

Patriot Act Titles
Title I: Enhancing Domestic Security against Terrorism
Title II: Enhanced Surveillance Procedures
Title III: International Money Laundering Abatement and Anti-terrorist Financing Act of 2001
Title IV: Protecting the border
Title V: Removing obstacles to investigating terrorism
Title VI: Providing for victims of terrorism, public safety officers and their families
Title VII: Increased information sharing for critical infrastructure protection
Title VIII: Strengthening the criminal laws against terrorism
Title IX: Improved intelligence
Title X: Miscellaneous

Two sections dealt with the interception of communications by the United States government.

Section 201 is titled Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism. This section amended 18 U.S.C. § 2516 (Authorization for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications) of the United States Code. This section allows (under certain specific conditions) the United States Attorney General (or some of his subordinates) to authorize a Federal judge to make an order authorizing or approving the interception of wire or oral communications by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), or another relevant U.S. Federal agency.

The Attorney General’s subordinates who can use Section 201 are: the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, any Assistant Attorney General, any acting Assistant Attorney General, any Deputy Assistant Attorney General or acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division who is specially designated by the Attorney General.

The amendment added a further condition which allowed an interception order to be carried out. The interception order may now be made if a criminal violation is made with respect to terrorism (defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2332):

Note: the legislation states that title 18, section 2516(1), paragraph (p) of the United States Code was redesignated (moved) to become paragraph (q). This paragraph had been previously redesignated by two other pieces of legislation: the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996[dead link][1] and by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (see section 201(3)).[2]

Section 202 is titled Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses, and amended the United States Code to include computer fraud and abuse in the list of reasons why an interception order may be granted.[3][4]

Section 203: Authority to share criminal investigative information

Section 203 (Authority to share criminal investigation information) modified the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure with respect to disclosure of information before the grand jury (Rule 6(e)). Section 203(a) allowed the disclosure of matters in deliberation by the grand jury, which are normally otherwise prohibited, if:

  • a court orders it (before or during a judicial proceeding),
  • a court finds that there are grounds for a motion to dismiss an indictment because of matters before the Grand Jury,
  • if the matters in deliberation are made by an attorney for the government to another Federal grand jury,
  • an attorney for the government requests that matters before the grand jury may reveal a violation of State criminal law,
  • the matters involve foreign intelligence or counterintelligence or foreign intelligence information. Foreign intelligence and counterintelligence was defined in section 3 of the National Security Act of 1947,[5] and “foreign intelligence information” was further defined in the amendment as information about:
    1. an actual or potential attack or other grave hostile acts of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;
    2. sabotage or international terrorism by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; or
    3. clandestine intelligence activities by an intelligence service or network of a foreign power or by an agent of foreign power; or
    4. information about a foreign power or foreign territory that relates to the national defense or the security of the United States or the conduct of the foreign affairs of the United States.’.
    5. information about non-U.S. and U.S. citizens

203(a) gave the court the power to order a time within which information may be disclosed, and specified when a government agency may use information disclosed about a foreign power. The rules of criminal procedure now state that “within a reasonable time after such disclosure, an attorney for the government shall file under seal a notice with the court stating the fact that such information was disclosed and the departments, agencies, or entities to which the disclosure was made.”

Section 203(b) modified 18 U.S.C. § 2517, which details who is allowed to learn the results of a communications interception, to allow any investigative or law enforcement officer, or attorney for the Government to divulge foreign intelligence, counterintelligence or foreign intelligence information to a variety of Federal officials. Specifically, any official who has obtained knowledge of the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, or evidence derived from this could divulge this information to any Federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense, or national security official. The definition of “foreign intelligence” was the same as section 203(a), with the same ability to define “foreign intelligence” to be intelligence of a non-U.S. and U.S. citizen. The information received must only be used as necessary in the conduct of the official’s official duties.[6]

The definition of “foreign intelligence information” is defined again in Section 203(d).

Section 203(c) specified that the Attorney General must establish procedures for the disclosure of information due to 18 U.S.C. § 2517 (see above), for those people who are defined as U.S. citizens.[7]

Section 204: Limitations on communication interceptions

Section 204 (Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communication) removed restrictions from the acquisition of foreign intelligence information from international or foreign communications. It was also clarified that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 should not only be the sole means of electronic surveillance for just oral and wire intercepts, but should also include electronic communication.[8][9]

Section 205: Employment of translators by the FBI

Under section 205 (Employment of translators by the Federal Bureau of Investigation), the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is now allowed to employ translators to support counterterrorism investigations and operations without regard to applicable Federal personnel requirements and limitations. However, he must report to the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee the number of translators employed and any legal reasons why he cannot employ translators from federal, state, or local agencies.[10]

Section 206: Roving surveillance authority

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978[11] allows an applicant access to all information, facilities, or technical assistance necessary to perform electronic surveillance on a particular target. The assistance given must protect the secrecy of and cause as little disruption to the ongoing surveillance effort as possible. The direction could be made at the request of the applicant of the surveillance order, by a common carrier, landlord, custodian or other specified person. Section 206 (Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) amended this to add:

or in circumstances where the Court finds that the actions of the target of the application may have the effect of thwarting the identification of a particular person.

This allows intelligence agencies to undertake “roving” surveillance: they do not have to specify the exact facility or location where their surveillance will be done. Roving surveillance was already specified for criminal investigations under 18 U.S.C. § 2518(11), and section 206 brought the ability of intelligence agencies to undertake such roving surveillance into line with such criminal investigations. However, the section was not without controversy, as James X. Dempsey, the Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Technology, argued that a few months after the Patriot Act was passed the Intelligence Authorization Act was also passed that had the unintended effect of seeming to authorize “John Doe” roving taps — FISA orders that identify neither the target nor the location of the interception (see The Patriot Debates, James X. Dempsey debates Paul Rosenzweig on section 206).[12]

Section 207: Duration of FISA surveillance on agents of a foreign powe

Previously FISA only defined the duration of a surveillance order against a foreign power (defined in 50 U.S.C. § 1805(e)(1)) . This was amended by section 207 (Duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power) to allow surveillance of agents of a foreign power (as defined in section 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)(A)) for a maximum of 90 days. Section 304(d)(1) was also amended to extend orders for physical searches from 45 days to 90 days, and orders for physical searches against agents of a foreign power are allowed for a maximum of 120 days. The act also clarified that extensions for surveillance could be granted for a maximum of a year against agents of a foreign power.[13]

Section 208: Designation of judges

Section 103(A) of FISA was amended by Section 208 (Designation of judges) of the Patriot Act to increase the number of federal district court judges who must now review surveillance orders from seven to 11. Of these, three of the judges must live within 20 miles (32 km) of the District of Columbia.[14]

Section 209: Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants

Section 209 (Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants) removed the text “any electronic storage of such communication” from title 18, section 2510 of the United States Code. Before this was struck from the Code, the U.S. government needed to apply for a title III wiretap order[15] before they could open voice-mails, however now the government only need apply for an ordinary search. Section 2703, which specifies when a “provider of electronic communication services” must disclose the contents of stored communications, was also amended to allow such a provider to be compelled to disclose the contents via a search warrant, and not a wiretap order. According to Vermont senator Patrick Leahy, this was done to “harmonizing the rules applicable to stored voice and non-voice (e.g., e-mail) communications”.[16][17]

Section 210 & 211: Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications

The U.S. Code specifies when the U.S. government may require a provider of an electronic communication service to hand over communication records.[18] It specifies what that provider must disclose to the government,[19] and was amended by section 210 (Scope of subpoenas for records of electronic communications) to include records of session times and durations of electronic communication as well as any identifying numbers or addresses of the equipment that was being used, even if this may only be temporary. For instance, this would include temporarily assigned IP addresses, such as those established by DHCP.[20]

Section 211 (Clarification of scope) further clarified the scope of such orders. 47 U.S.C. § 551 (Section 631 of the Communications Act of 1934) deals with the privacy granted to users of cable TV. The code was amended to allow the government to have access to the records of cable customers, with the notable exclusion of records revealing cable subscriber selection of video programming from a cable operator.[21]

Section 212: Emergency disclosure of electronic communications

Section 212 (Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb) amended the US Code to stop a communications provider from providing communication records (not necessarily relating to the content itself) about a customer’s communications to others.[22] However, should the provider reasonably believe that an emergency involving immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person then the communications provider can now disclose this information. The act did not make clear what “reasonably” meant.

A communications provider could also disclose communications records if:

  • a court orders the disclosure of communications at the request of a government agency (18 U.S.C. § 2703)
  • the customer allows the information to be disclosed
  • if the service provider believes that they must do so to protect their rights or property.

This section was repealed by the Homeland Security Act of 2002 — this act also created the Homeland Security Department — and was replaced with a new and permanent emergency disclosure provision.[23]

Section 213: Delayed search warrant notification

Section 213 (Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant) amended the US Code to allow the notification of search warrants[24] to be delayed.[25] This section has been commonly referred to as the “sneak and peek” section, a phrase originating from the FBI[citation needed] and not, as commonly believed, from opponents of the Patriot Act. The U.S. government may now legally search and seize property that constitutes evidence of a United States criminal offense without immediately telling the owner. The court may only order the delayed notification if they have reason to believe it would hurt an investigation — delayed notifications were already defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2705 — or, if a search warrant specified that the subject of the warrant must be notified “within a reasonable period of its execution,” then it allows the court to extend the period before the notification is given, though the government must show “good cause”. If the search warrant prohibited the seizure of property or communications, then the search warrant could then be delayed.

Before the Patriot Act was enacted, there were three cases before the United States district courts: United States v. Freitas, 800 F.2d 1451 (9th Cir. 1986); United States v. Villegas, 899 F.2d 1324 (2d Cir. 1990); and United States v. Simons, 206 F.3d 392 (4th Cir. 2000). Each determined that, under certain circumstances, it was not unconstitutional to delay the notification of search warrants.[26]

Section 214: Pen register and trap and trace authority

FISA was amended by section 214 (Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA) to clarify that pen register and trap and trace surveillance can be authorised to allow government agencies to gather foreign intelligence information.[27] Where the law only allowed them to gather surveillance if there was evidence of international terrorism, it now gives the courts the power to grant trap and traces against:

  • non-U.S. citizens.
  • those suspected of being involved with international terrorism,
  • those undertaking clandestine intelligence activities

Any investigation against U.S. citizens must not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[28]

Section 215: Access to records and other items under FISA

This section is commonly referred to as the “library records” provision[29] because of the wide range of personal material that can be investigated.[30][31]

FISA was modified by section 215 (Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) to allow the Director of the FBI (or an official designated by the Director, so long as that official’s rank is no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) to apply for an order to produce materials that assist in an investigation undertaken to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The act specifically gives an example to clarify what it means by “tangible things”: it includes “books, records, papers, documents, and other items”.

It is specified that any such investigation must be conducted in accordance with guidelines laid out in Executive Order 12333 (which pertains to United States intelligence activities). Investigations must also not be performed on U.S. citizens who are carrying out activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Any order that is granted must be given by a FISA court judge or by a magistrate judge who is publicly designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to allow such an order to be given. Any application must prove that it is being conducted without violating the First Amendment rights of any U.S. citizens. The application can only be used to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a U.S. citizen or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

This section of the PATRIOT Act is controversial because the order may be granted ex parte, and once it is granted — in order to avoid jeopardizing the investigation — the order may not disclose the reasons behind why the order was granted.

The section carries a gag order stating that “No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section”. Senator Rand Paul stated that the non-disclosure is imposed for one year,[32] though this is not explicitly mentioned in the section.

In order to protect anyone who complies with the order, FISA now prevents any person who complies with the order in “good faith” from being liable for producing any tangible goods required by the court order. The production of tangible items is not deemed to constitute a waiver of any privilege in any other proceeding or context.

As a safeguard, section 502 of FISA compels the Attorney General to inform the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate of all such orders granted. Every six months, the Attorney General must also provide a report to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate which details the total number of applications made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things and the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied.[33]

During a House Judiciary hearing on domestic spying on July 17, 2013 John C. Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform “a second or third hop query” through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.[34] “Hops” refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with.[34][35] NSA officials had said previously that data mining was limited to two hops, but Inglis suggested that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has allowed for data analysis extending “two or three hops”.[36]

This section was reauthorized in 2011.

Section 216: Authority to issue pen registers and trap and trace devices[edit]

Section 216 (Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap and trace devices) deals with three specific areas with regards to pen registers and trap and trace devices: general limitations to the use of such devices, how an order allowing the use of such devices must be made, and the definition of such devices.

Limitations

18 U.S.C. § 3121 details the exceptions related to the general prohibition on pen register and trap and trace devices. Along with gathering information for dialup communications, it allows for gathering routing and other addressing information. It is specifically limited to this information: the Act does not allow such surveillance to capture the actual information that is contained in the communication being monitored. However, organisations such as the EFF have pointed out that certain types of information that can be captured, such as URLs, can have content embedded in them. They object to the application of trap and trace and pen register devices to newer technology using a standard designed for telephones.

Making and carrying out orders

It also details that an order may be applied for ex parte (without the party it is made against present, which in itself is not unusual for search warrants), and allows the agency who applied for the order to compel any relevant person or entity providing wire or electronic communication service to assist with the surveillance. If the party whom the order is made against so requests, the attorney for the Government, law enforcement or investigative officer that is serving the order must provide written or electronic certification that the order applies to the targeted individual.

If a pen register or trap and trace device is used on a packet-switched data network, then the agency doing surveillance must keep a detailed log containing:

  1. any officer or officers who installed the device and any officer or officers who accessed the device to obtain information from the network;
  2. the date and time the device was installed, the date and time the device was uninstalled, and the date, time, and duration of each time the device is accessed to obtain information;
  3. the configuration of the device at the time of its installation and any subsequent modification made to the device; and
  4. any information which has been collected by the device

This information must be generated for the entire time the device is active, and must be provided ex parte and under seal to the court which entered the ex parte order authorizing the installation and use of the device. This must be done within 30 days after termination of the order.

Orders must now include the following information:[37]

  • the identifying number of the device under surveillance
  • the location of the telephone line or other facility to which the pen register or trap and trace device is to be attached or applied
  • if a trap and trace device is installed, the geographic limits of the order must be specified

This section amended the non-disclosure requirements of 18 U.S.C. § 3123(d)(2) by expanding to include those whose facilities are used to establish the trap and trace or pen register or to those people who assist with applying the surveillance order who must not disclose that surveillance is being undertaken. Before this it had only applied to the person owning or leasing the line.

Definitions

The following terms were redefined in the US Code’s chapter 206 (which solely deals with pen registers and trap and trace devices):