Crime

Huge Hacker Holdup — Cyber extortion Attack — NSA Ransom War — Running Sacred — Crying — It’s Over — Videos

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Cyber Attack: Ransomware causing chaos globally – BBC News

Ransomware virus ‘WannaCry’ plagues 100k computers across 99 countries

Ransomware attack takes down LA hospital for hours

WannaCry Ransomware Hits Hospitals

WannaCry Ransomware Used In Global Attacks!

WATCH: Ransomware cyberattack targets Windows users around the world

BREAKING***100 Countries Massive Global Ransomware Attack Used NSA Hacking Tool

What is ransomware and how can I protect myself?

How Ransomware Locks Your PC & Holds Your Data Hostage

Massive Ransomware Outbreak Thanks to NSA – WannaCry Worm Spreading Fast

Ransomware As Fast As Possible

The Truth About Ransomware – Webinar

What is Ransomware, How it Works and What You Can Do to Stay Protected

NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney on Tucker Carlson 03.24.2017

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

ROY ORBISON – CRYING – LIVE 1988

Roy Orbison – “Running Scared” from Black and White Night

Roy Orbison – Crying (Monument Concert 1965)

Roy Orbison – It’s Over (Monument Concert 1965)

Roy Orbison – “It’s Over” from Black and White Night

Dozens of countries hit by huge cyberextortion attack

NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack Friday that locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies.

It was believed to the biggest attack of its kind ever recorded.

The malicious software behind the onslaught appeared to exploit a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was supposedly identified by the National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes and was later leaked to the internet.

Britain’s national health service fell victim, its hospitals forced to close wards and emergency rooms and turn away patients. Russia appeared to be the hardest hit, according to security experts, with the country’s Interior Ministry confirming it was struck.

All told, several cybersecurity firms said they had identified the malicious software, which so far has been responsible for tens of thousands of attacks, in more than 60 countries. That includes the United States, although its effects there didn’t appear to be widespread, at least initially.

The attack infected computers with what is known as “ransomware” — software that locks up the user’s data and flashes a message demanding payment to release it. In the U.S., FedEx reported that its Windows computers were “experiencing interference” from malware, but wouldn’t say if it had been hit by ransomware.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at the Helsinki-based cybersecurity company F-Secure, called the attack “the biggest ransomware outbreak in history.”

Security experts said the attack appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies and organizations when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly internally from computer to computer when employees share documents and other files.

Its ransom demands start at $300 and increase after two hours to $400, $500 and then $600, said Kurt Baumgartner, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. Affected users can restore their files from backups, if they have them, or pay the ransom; otherwise they risk losing their data entirely.

Chris Wysopal of the software security firm Veracode said criminal organizations were probably behind the attack, given how quickly the malware spread.

“For so many organizations in the same day to be hit, this is unprecedented,” he said.

The security holes it exploits were disclosed several weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious group that has published what it says are hacking tools used by the NSA as part of its intelligence-gathering.

Shortly after that disclosure, Microsoft announced that it had already issued software “patches” for those holes. But many companies and individuals haven’t installed the fixes yet or are using older versions of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports and didn’t fix.

By Kaspersky Lab’s count, the malware struck at least 74 countries. In addition to Russia, the biggest targets appeared to be Ukraine and India, nations where it is common to find older, unpatched versions of Windows in use, according to the security firm.

Hospitals across Britain found themselves without access to their computers or phone systems. Many canceled all routine procedures and asked patients not to come to the hospital unless it was an emergency. Doctors’ practices and pharmacies reported similar problems.

Patrick Ward, a 47-year-old sales director, said his heart operation, scheduled for Friday, was canceled at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

Tom Griffiths, who was at the hospital for chemotherapy, said several cancer patients had to be sent home because their records or bloodwork couldn’t be accessed.

“Both staff and patients were frankly pretty appalled that somebody, whoever they are, for commercial gain or otherwise, would attack a health care organization,” he said. “It’s stressful enough for someone going through recovery or treatment for cancer.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May said there was no evidence patient data had been compromised and added that the attack had not specifically targeted the National Health Service.

“It’s an international attack and a number of countries and organizations have been affected,” she said.

Spain, meanwhile, took steps to protect critical infrastructure in response to the attack. Authorities said they were communicating with more than 100 energy, transportation, telecommunications and financial services providers about the attack.

Spain’s Telefonica, a global broadband and telecommunications company, was among the companies hit.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise around the world. In 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California said it had paid a $17,000 ransom to regain control of its computers from hackers.

Krishna Chinthapalli, a doctor at Britain’s National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery who wrote a paper on cybersecurity for the British Medical Journal, warned that British hospitals’ old operating systems and confidential patient information made them an ideal target for blackmailers.

He said many NHS hospitals in Britain use Windows XP software, introduced in 2001, and as government funding for the health service has been squeezed, “IT budgets are often one of the first ones to be reduced.”

“Looking at the trends, it was going to happen,” he said. “I did not expect an attack on this scale. That was a shock.

https://apnews.com/e8402f2faf934f7ab5419d4961d3dafe/Global-extortion-cyberattack-hits-dozens-of-nations

Global ‘WannaCry’ ransomware cyberattack seeks cash for data

LONDON (AP) — A global “ransomware” cyberattack, unprecedented in scale, had technicians scrambling to restore Britain’s crippled hospital network Saturday and secure the computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in many other nations.

The worldwide effort to extort cash from computer users spread so widely that Microsoft quickly changed its policy, making security fixes available for free for the older Windows systems still used by millions of individuals and smaller businesses.

A malware tracking map showed “WannaCry” infections popping up around the world. Britain canceled or delayed treatments for thousands of patients, even people with cancer. Train systems were hit in Germany and Russia, and phone companies in Madrid and Moscow. Renault’s futuristic assembly line in Slovenia, where rows of robots weld car bodies together, was stopped cold.

In Brazil, the social security system had to disconnect its computers and cancel public access. The state-owned oil company Petrobras and Brazil’s Foreign Ministry also disconnected computers as a precautionary measure, and court systems went down, too.

Britain’s home secretary said one in five of 248 National Health Service groups had been hit. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said all but six of the NHS trusts back to normal Saturday.

The U.K.’s National Cyber Security Center was “working round the clock” to restore vital health services, while urging people to update security software fixes, run anti-virus software and back up their data elsewhere.

Who perpetrated this wave of attacks remains unknown. Two security firms — Kaspersky Lab and Avast — said they identified the malicious software in more than 70 countries. Both said Russia was hit hardest.

These hackers “have caused enormous amounts of disruption— probably the biggest ransomware cyberattack in history,” said Graham Cluley, a veteran of the anti-virus industry in Oxford, England.

And all this may be just a taste of what’s coming, another cyber security expert warned.

Computer users worldwide — and everyone else who depends on them — should assume that the next big “ransomware” attack has already been launched, and just hasn’t manifested itself yet, Ori Eisen, who founded the Trusona cybersecurity firm in Scottsdale, Arizona, told The Associated Press.

The attack held hospitals and other entities hostage by freezing computers, encrypting data and demanding money through online bitcoin payments. But it appears to be “low-level” stuff, Eisen said Saturday, given the amount of ransom demanded — $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

He said the same thing could be done to crucial infrastructure, like nuclear power plants, dams or railway systems.

“This is child’s play, what happened. This is not the serious stuff yet. What if the same thing happened to 10 nuclear power plants, and they would shut down all the electricity to the grid? What if the same exact thing happened to a water dam or to a bridge?” he asked.

“Today, it happened to 10,000 computers,” Eisen said. “There’s no barrier to do it tomorrow to 100 million computers.”

This is already believed to be the biggest online extortion attack ever recorded, disrupting services in nations as diverse as the U.S., Ukraine, Brazil, Spain and India. Europol, the European Union’s police agency, said the onslaught was at “an unprecedented level and will require a complex international investigation to identify the culprits.”

In Russia, government agencies insisted that all attacks had been resolved. Russian Interior Ministry, which runs the national police, said the problem had been “localized” with no information compromised. Russia’s health ministry said its attacks were “effectively repelled.”

The ransomware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows that was purportedly identified by the U.S. National Security Agency for its own intelligence-gathering purposes. Hackers said they stole the tools from the NSA and dumped them on the internet.

It could have been much worse if not for a young cybersecurity researcher who helped to halt its spread by accidentally activating a so-called “kill switch” in the malicious software.

The 22-year-old Britain-based researcher, identified online only as MalwareTech, explained Saturday that he spotted a hidden web address in the “WannaCrypt” code and made it official by registering its domain name. That inexpensive move redirected the attacks to MalwareTech’s server, which operates as a “sinkhole” to keep malware from escaping.

“Because WannaCrypt used a single hardcoded domain, my registration of it caused all infections globally to believe they were inside a sandbox … thus we initially unintentionally prevented the spread,” the researcher said, humbly and anonymously, in his blog post.

His move may have saved governments and companies millions of dollars and slowed the outbreak before U.S.-based computers were more widely infected.

Indeed, while FedEx Corp. reported that its Windows computers were “experiencing interference” from malware — it wouldn’t say if it had been hit by the ransomware — other impacts in the U.S. were not readily apparent on Saturday.

That said, the threat hasn’t disappeared, the MalwareTech researcher said.

“One thing that is very important to note is our sinkholing only stops this sample and there is nothing stopping them removing the domain check and trying again, so it’s incredibly important that any unpatched systems are patched as quickly as possible,” he warned.

The kill switch also couldn’t help those already infected. Short of paying, options for these individuals and companies are usually limited to recovering data files from a backup, if available, or living without them.

Security experts said it appeared to be caused by a self-replicating piece of software that enters companies when employees click on email attachments, then spreads quickly as employees share documents.

The security holes it exploits were disclosed weeks ago by TheShadowBrokers, a mysterious hacking group. Microsoft swiftly released software “patches” to fix those holes, but many users still haven’t installed updates or still use older versions of Windows.

Microsoft had made fixes for older systems, such as 2001′s Windows XP, available only to mostly larger organizations, including Britain’s National Health Service, that paid extra for extended technical support. In light of Friday’s attacks, Microsoft announced that it’s making the fixes free to all.

Cluley said “There’s clearly some culpability on the part of the U.S. intelligence services. Because they could have done something ages ago to get this problem fixed, and they didn’t do it.”

“It’s very, very difficult these days, with encryption, to spy on people,” Cluley added. “But I don’t think that those concerns should hide the fact that ALL of us need to be protected … We’re living an online life, and we all deserve security there.”

https://apnews.com/770946e7df454d2e9acda3bdbd3ed425/Unprecedented-global-‘ransomware’-attack-seeks-cash-for-data

Ransomware

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system or data until a ransom is paid. Simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, and display a message requesting payment to unlock it. More advanced malware encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.[1] The ransomware may also encrypt the computer’s Master File Table (MFT)[2][3] or the entire hard drive.[4] Thus, ransomware is a denial-of-access attack that prevents computer users from accessing files[5] since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a legitimate file.

While initially popular in Russia, the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally;[6][7][8] in June 2013, security software vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected over 250,000 unique samples of ransomware in the first quarter of 2013, more than double the number it had obtained in the first quarter of 2012.[9] Wide-ranging attacks involving encryption-based ransomware began to increase through Trojans such as CryptoLocker, which had procured an estimated US$3 million before it was taken down by authorities,[10] and CryptoWall, which was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over $18m by June 2015.[11]

Operation

Typically, modern ransomware uses encryption to deny users’ access to their files. The software encrypts the victim’s files using a symmetric cipher with a randomly generated key, and then deletes the key, leaving only a version of it made inaccessible to the victim using public key cryptography. Only the attacker can then decrypt the symmetric key needed to restore the files.[12]

The symmetric key is randomly generated and will not assist other victims. At no point is the attacker’s private key exposed to victims and the victim need only send a very small ciphertext (the encrypted symmetric-cipher key) to the attacker.

Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan, entering a system through, for example, a downloaded file or a vulnerability in a network service. The program then runs a payload, which locks the system in some fashion, or claims to lock the system but does not (e.g., a scareware program). Payloads may display a fake warning purportedly by an entity such as a law enforcement agency, falsely claiming that the system has been used for illegal activities, contains content such as pornography and “pirated” media.[13][14][15]

Some payloads consist simply of an application designed to lock or restrict the system until payment is made, typically by setting the Windows Shell to itself,[16] or even modifying the master boot record and/or partition table to prevent the operating system from booting until it is repaired.[17] The most sophisticated payloads encrypt files, with many using strong encryption to encrypt the victim’s files in such a way that only the malware author has the needed decryption key.[12][18][19]

Payment is virtually always the goal, and the victim is coerced into paying for the ransomware to be removed—which may or may not actually occur—either by supplying a program that can decrypt the files, or by sending an unlock code that undoes the payload’s changes. A key element in making ransomware work for the attacker is a convenient payment system that is hard to trace. A range of such payment methods have been used, including wire transfers, premium-rate text messages,[20] pre-paid voucher services such as Paysafecard,[6][21][22] and the digital currency Bitcoin.[23][24][25] A 2016 census commissioned by Citrix revealed that larger business are holding bitcoin as contingency plans.[26]

History

Encrypting ransomware

The first known malware extortion attack, the “AIDS Trojan” written by Joseph Popp in 1989, had a design failure so severe it was not necessary to pay the extortionist at all. Its payload hid the files on the hard drive and encrypted only their names, and displayed a message claiming that the user’s license to use a certain piece of software had expired. The user was asked to pay US$189 to “PC Cyborg Corporation” in order to obtain a repair tool even though the decryption key could be extracted from the code of the Trojan. The Trojan was also known as “PC Cyborg”. Popp was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for his actions, but he promised to donate the profits from the malware to fund AIDS research.[27]

The notion of using public key cryptography for ransom attacks was introduced in 1996 by Adam L. Young and Moti Yung. Young and Yung critiqued the failed AIDS Information Trojan that relied on symmetric cryptography alone, the fatal flaw being that the decryption key could be extracted from the Trojan, and implemented an experimental proof-of-concept cryptovirus on a Macintosh SE/30 that used RSA and the Tiny Encryption Algorithm (TEA) to hybrid encrypt the victim’s data. Since public key crypto is used, the cryptovirus only contains the encryption key. The attacker keeps the corresponding private decryption key private. Young and Yung’s original experimental cryptovirus had the victim send the asymmetric ciphertext to the attacker who deciphers it and returns the symmetric decryption key it contains to the victim for a fee. Long before electronic money existed Young and Yung proposed that electronic money could be extorted through encryption as well, stating that “the virus writer can effectively hold all of the money ransom until half of it is given to him. Even if the e-money was previously encrypted by the user, it is of no use to the user if it gets encrypted by a cryptovirus”.[12] They referred to these attacks as being “cryptoviral extortion”, an overt attack that is part of a larger class of attacks in a field called cryptovirology, which encompasses both overt and covert attacks.[12]

Examples of extortionate ransomware became prominent in May 2005.[28] By mid-2006, Trojans such as Gpcode, TROJ.RANSOM.A, Archiveus, Krotten, Cryzip, and MayArchive began utilizing more sophisticated RSA encryption schemes, with ever-increasing key-sizes. Gpcode.AG, which was detected in June 2006, was encrypted with a 660-bit RSA public key.[29] In June 2008, a variant known as Gpcode.AK was detected. Using a 1024-bit RSA key, it was believed large enough to be computationally infeasible to break without a concerted distributed effort.[30][31][32][33]

Encrypting ransomware returned to prominence in late 2013 with the propagation of CryptoLocker—using the Bitcoin digital currency platform to collect ransom money. In December 2013, ZDNet estimated based on Bitcoin transaction information that between 15 October and 18 December, the operators of CryptoLocker had procured about US$27 million from infected users.[34] The CryptoLocker technique was widely copied in the months following, including CryptoLocker 2.0 (though not to be related to CryptoLocker), CryptoDefense (which initially contained a major design flaw that stored the private key on the infected system in a user-retrievable location, due to its use of Windows’ built-in encryption APIs),[24][35][36][37] and the August 2014 discovery of a Trojan specifically targeting network-attached storage devices produced by Synology.[38] In January 2015, it was reported that ransomware-styled attacks have occurred against individual websites via hacking, and through ransomware designed to target Linux-based web servers.[39][40][41]

Some ransomware strains have used proxies tied to Tor hidden services to connect to their command and control servers, increasing the difficulty of tracing the exact location of the criminals.[42][43] Furthermore, dark web vendors have increasingly started to offer the technology as a service.[43][44][45]

Symantec has classified ransomware to be the most dangerous cyber threat.[46]

Non-encrypting ransomware

In August 2010, Russian authorities arrested nine individuals connected to a ransomware Trojan known as WinLock. Unlike the previous Gpcode Trojan, WinLock did not use encryption. Instead, WinLock trivially restricted access to the system by displaying pornographic images, and asked users to send a premium-rate SMS (costing around US$10) to receive a code that could be used to unlock their machines. The scam hit numerous users across Russia and neighboring countries—reportedly earning the group over US$16 million.[15][47]

In 2011, a ransomware Trojan surfaced that imitated the Windows Product Activation notice, and informed users that a system’s Windows installation had to be re-activated due to “[being a] victim of fraud”. An online activation option was offered (like the actual Windows activation process), but was unavailable, requiring the user to call one of six international numbers to input a 6-digit code. While the malware claimed that this call would be free, it was routed through a rogue operator in a country with high international phone rates, who placed the call on hold, causing the user to incur large international long distance charges.[13]

In February 2013, a ransomware Trojan based on the Stamp.EK exploit kit surfaced; the malware was distributed via sites hosted on the project hosting services SourceForge and GitHub that claimed to offer “fake nude pics” of celebrities.[48] In July 2013, an OS X-specific ransomware Trojan surfaced, which displays a web page that accuses the user of downloading pornography. Unlike its Windows-based counterparts, it does not block the entire computer, but simply exploits the behavior of the web browser itself to frustrate attempts to close the page through normal means.[49]

In July 2013, a 21-year-old man from Virginia, whose computer coincidentally did contain pornographic photographs of underaged girls with whom he had conducted sexualized communications, turned himself in to police after receiving and being deceived by ransomware purporting to be an FBI message accusing him of possessing child pornography. An investigation discovered the incriminating files, and the man was charged with child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography.[50]

Leakware (also called Doxware)

The converse of ransomware is a cryptovirology attack that threatens to publish stolen information from the victim’s computer system rather than deny the victim access to it.[51] In a leakware attack, malware exfiltrates sensitive host data either to the attacker or alternatively, to remote instances of the malware, and the attacker threatens to publish the victim’s data unless a ransom is paid. The attack was presented at West Point in 2003 and was summarized in the book Malicious Cryptography as follows, “The attack differs from the extortion attack in the following way. In the extortion attack, the victim is denied access to its own valuable information and has to pay to get it back, where in the attack that is presented here the victim retains access to the information but its disclosure is at the discretion of the computer virus”.[52] The attack is rooted in game theory and was originally dubbed “non-zero sum games and survivable malware”. The attack can yield monetary gain in cases where the malware acquires access to information that may damage the victim user or organization, e.g., reputational damage that could result from publishing proof that the attack itself was a success.

Mobile ransomware

With the increased popularity of ransomware on PC platforms, ransomware targeting mobile operating systems have also proliferated. Typically, mobile ransomware payloads are blockers, as there is little incentive to encrypt data since it can be easily restored via online synchronization.[53] Mobile ransomware typically targets the Android platform, as it allows applications to be installed from third-party sources.[53][54] The payload is typically distributed as an APK file installed by an unsuspecting user; it may attempt to display a blocking message over top of all other applications,[54] while another used a form of clickjacking to cause the user to give it “device administrator” privileges to achieve deeper access to the system.[55]

Different tactics have been used on iOS devices, such as exploiting iCloud accounts and using the Find My iPhone system to lock access to the device.[56] On iOS 10.3, Apple patched a bug in the handling of JavaScript pop-up windows in Safari that had been exploited by ransomware websites.[57]

Notable examples

Reveton

A Reveton payload, fraudulently claiming that the user must pay a fine to the Metropolitan Police Service

In 2012, a major ransomware Trojan known as Reveton began to spread. Based on the Citadel Trojan (which itself, is based on the Zeus Trojan), its payload displays a warning purportedly from a law enforcement agency claiming that the computer has been used for illegal activities, such as downloading unlicensed software or child pornography. Due to this behaviour, it is commonly referred to as the “Police Trojan”.[58][59][60] The warning informs the user that to unlock their system, they would have to pay a fine using a voucher from an anonymous prepaid cash service such as Ukash or Paysafecard. To increase the illusion that the computer is being tracked by law enforcement, the screen also displays the computer’s IP address, while some versions display footage from a victim’s webcam to give the illusion that the user is being recorded.[6][61]

Reveton initially began spreading in various European countries in early 2012.[6] Variants were localized with templates branded with the logos of different law enforcement organizations based on the user’s country; for example, variants used in the United Kingdom contained the branding of organizations such as the Metropolitan Police Service and the Police National E-Crime Unit. Another version contained the logo of the royalty collection society PRS for Music, which specifically accused the user of illegally downloading music.[62] In a statement warning the public about the malware, the Metropolitan Police clarified that they would never lock a computer in such a way as part of an investigation.[6][14]

In May 2012, Trend Micro threat researchers discovered templates for variations for the United States and Canada, suggesting that its authors may have been planning to target users in North America.[63] By August 2012, a new variant of Reveton began to spread in the United States, claiming to require the payment of a $200 fine to the FBI using a MoneyPak card.[7][8][61]In February 2013, a Russian citizen was arrested in Dubai by Spanish authorities for his connection to a crime ring that had been using Reveton; ten other individuals were arrested on money laundering charges.[64] In August 2014, Avast Software reported that it had found new variants of Reveton that also distribute password stealing malware as part of its payload.[65]

CryptoLocker

Encrypting ransomware reappeared in September 2013 with a Trojan known as CryptoLocker, which generated a 2048-bit RSA key pair and uploaded in turn to a command-and-control server, and used to encrypt files using a whitelist of specific file extensions. The malware threatened to delete the private key if a payment of Bitcoin or a pre-paid cash voucher was not made within 3 days of the infection. Due to the extremely large key size it uses, analysts and those affected by the Trojan considered CryptoLocker extremely difficult to repair.[23][66][67][68]Even after the deadline passed, the private key could still be obtained using an online tool, but the price would increase to 10 BTC—which cost approximately US$2300 as of November 2013.[69][70]

CryptoLocker was isolated by the seizure of the Gameover ZeuS botnet as part of Operation Tovar, as officially announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on 2 June 2014. The Department of Justice also publicly issued an indictment against the Russian hacker Evgeniy Bogachev for his alleged involvement in the botnet.[71][72] It was estimated that at least US$3 million was extorted with the malware before the shutdown.[10]

CryptoLocker.F and TorrentLocker

In September 2014, a wave of ransomware Trojans surfaced that first targeted users in Australia, under the names CryptoWall and CryptoLocker (which is, as with CryptoLocker 2.0, unrelated to the original CryptoLocker). The Trojans spread via fraudulent e-mails claiming to be failed parcel delivery notices from Australia Post; to evade detection by automatic e-mail scanners that follow all links on a page to scan for malware, this variant was designed to require users to visit a web page and enter a CAPTCHA code before the payload is actually downloaded, preventing such automated processes from being able to scan the payload. Symantec determined that these new variants, which it identified as CryptoLocker.F, were again, unrelated to the original CryptoLocker due to differences in their operation.[73][74] A notable victim of the Trojans was the Australian Broadcasting Corporation; live programming on its television news channel ABC News 24 was disrupted for half an hour and shifted to Melbourne studios due to a CryptoWall infection on computers at its Sydney studio.[75][76][77]

Another Trojan in this wave, TorrentLocker, initially contained a design flaw comparable to CryptoDefense; it used the same keystream for every infected computer, making the encryption trivial to overcome. However, this flaw was later fixed.[35] By late-November 2014, it was estimated that over 9,000 users had been infected by TorrentLocker in Australia alone, trailing only Turkey with 11,700 infections.[78]

CryptoWall

Another major ransomware Trojan targeting Windows, CryptoWall, first appeared in 2014. One strain of CryptoWall was distributed as part of a malvertising campaign on the Zedo ad network in late-September 2014 that targeted several major websites; the ads redirected to rogue websites that used browser plugin exploits to download the payload. A Barracuda Networks researcher also noted that the payload was signed with a digital signature in an effort to appear trustworthy to security software.[79] CryptoWall 3.0 used a payload written in JavaScript as part of an email attachment, which downloads executables disguised as JPG images. To further evade detection, the malware creates new instances of explorer.exe and svchost.exe to communicate with its servers. When encrypting files, the malware also deletes volume shadow copies, and installs spyware that steals passwords and Bitcoin wallets.[80]

The FBI reported in June 2015 that nearly 1,000 victims had contacted the bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center to report CryptoWall infections, and estimated losses of at least $18 million.[11]

The most recent version, CryptoWall 4.0, enhanced its code to avoid antivirus detection, and encrypts not only the data in files but also the file names.[81]

Fusob

Fusob is one of the major mobile ransomware families. Between April 2015 and March 2016, about 56 percent of accounted mobile ransomwares was Fusob.[82]

Like a typical mobile ransomware, it employs scare tactics to extort people to pay a ransom.[83] The program pretends to be an accusatory authority, demanding the victim to pay a fine from $100 to $200 USD or otherwise face a fictitious charge. Rather surprisingly, Fusob suggests using iTunes gift cards for payment. Also, a timer clicking down on the screen adds to the users’ anxiety as well.

In order to infect devices, Fusob masquerades as a pornographic video player. Thus, victims, thinking it is harmless, unwittingly download Fusob.[84]

When Fusob is installed, it first checks the language used in the device. If it uses Russian or certain Eastern European languages, Fusob does nothing. Otherwise, it proceeds on to lock the device and demand ransom. Among victims, about 40% of them are in Germany with the United Kingdom and the United States following with 14.5% and 11.4% respectively.

Fusob has lots in common with Small, which is another major family of mobile ransomware. They represented over 93% of mobile ransomwares between 2015 and 2016.

WannaCry

In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware attack spread though the Internet, using an exploit vector that Microsoft had issued a “Critical” patch for (MS17-010) two months before on March 14, 2017. The ransomware attack infected over 75,000 users in over 99 countries, using 20 different languages to demand money from users. The attack affected Telefónica and several other large companies in Spain, as well as parts of the British National Health Service (NHS),[85] FedEx, Deutsche Bahn, as well as the Russian Interior Ministry and Russian telecom MegaFon.[86]

Mitigation

As with other forms of malware, security software might not detect a ransomware payload, or, especially in the case of encrypting payloads, only after encryption is under way or complete, particularly if a new version unknown to the protective software is distributed.[87] If an attack is suspected or detected in its early stages, it takes some time for encryption to take place; immediate removal of the malware (a relatively simple process) before it has completed would stop further damage to data, without salvaging any already lost.[88][89]

Alternately, new categories of security software, specifically deception technology, can detect ransomware without using a signature-based approach. Deception technology utilizes fake SMB shares which surround real IT assets. These fake SMB data shares deceive ransomware, tie the ransomware up encrypting these false SMB data shares, alert and notify cyber security teams which can then shut down the attack and return the organization to normal operations. There are multiple vendors[90] that support this capability with multiple announcements in 2016.[91]

Security experts have suggested precautionary measures for dealing with ransomware. Using software or other security policies to block known payloads from launching will help to prevent infection, but will not protect against all attacks. Keeping “offline” backups of data stored in locations inaccessible to the infected computer, such as external storage drives, prevents them from being accessed by the ransomware, thus accelerating data restoration.[23][92]

There are a number of tools intended specifically to decrypt files locked by ransomware, although successful recovery may not be possible.[2][93] If the same encryption key is used for all files, decryption tools use files for which there are both uncorrupted backups (plaintext in the jargon of cryptanalysis) and encrypted copies; recovery of the key, if it is possible, may take several days.[94]

See also

References

WannaCry ransomware attack

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WannaCry ransomware attack
Wana Decrypt0r screenshot.png

Screenshot of the ransom note left on an infected system
Date 12 May 2017 (ongoing)
Location Worldwide
Also known as WannaCrypt, WanaCrypt0r
Type Cyber-attack
Theme Ransomware encrypting hard disk with $300 demand
Cause EternalBlue exploit
Participants Unknown
Outcome More than 230,000 computers infected[1]

WannaCry, also known by the names WannaCrypt,[2] WanaCrypt0r 2.0,[3] Wanna Decryptor[4] and other similar names, is a ransomware program targeting Microsoft Windows. In May 2017, a large cyber-attack using it was launched, infecting over 230,000 computers in 99 countries, demanding ransom payments in bitcoin in 28 languages. The attack has been described by Europol as unprecedented in scale.[5]

The attack affected Telefónica and several other large companies in Spain, as well as parts of Britain’s National Health Service (NHS),[6] FedEx and Deutsche Bahn.[7][8][9] Other targets in at least 99 countries were also reported to have been attacked around the same time.[10][11]

WannaCry is believed to use the EternalBlue exploit, which was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency[12][13] to attack computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems.[3][14] Although a patch to remove the underlying vulnerability had been issued on 14 March 2017,[15] delays in applying security updates left some users and organisations vulnerable.[16] Microsoft has taken the unusual step of releasing updates for the unsupported Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and patches for Windows 8 operating systems.[2][17]

A kill switch has been found in the code, which prevents new infections. This has been activated by researchers and should slow or stop the spread. However, different versions of the attack may be released and all vulnerable systems still have an urgent need to be patched.

Background

The purported infection vector, EternalBlue, was released by the hacker group The Shadow Brokers on 14 April 2017,[18][19] along with other tools apparently leaked from Equation Group, which is believed to be part of the United States National Security Agency.[20][21]

EternalBlue exploits vulnerability MS17-010[15] in Microsoft‘s implementation of the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol. Microsoft had released a “Critical” advisory, along with an update patch to plug the vulnerability a month before, on 14 March 2017.[15] This patch only fixed Windows Vista and later operating systems but not the older Windows XP.

Countries initially affected[22]

On 12 May 2017, WannaCry began affecting computers worldwide.[23] After gaining access to the computers, via local area network (LAN), an email attachment, or drive-by download, the ransomware encrypts the computer’s hard disk drive,[24][25] then attempts to exploit the SMB vulnerability to spread to random computers on the Internet,[26] and “laterally” between computers on the same LAN.[27] As with other modern ransomware, the payload displays a message informing the user that files have been encrypted, and demands a payment of $300 in bitcoin within three days.

The Windows vulnerability is not a zero-day flaw, but one for which Microsoft had made available a security patch on 14 March 2017,[15] nearly two months before the attack. The patch was to the Server Message Block (SMB) protocol used by Windows.[28] Organizations that lacked this security patch were affected for this reason, although there is so far no evidence that any were specifically targeted by the ransomware developers.[28] Any organization still running the older Windows XP[29] were at particularly high risk because until 13 May,[2] no security patches had been released since April 2014.[30] Following the attack, Microsoft released a security patch for Windows XP.[2]

According to Wired, affected systems will also have had the DOUBLEPULSAR backdoor installed; this will also need to be removed when systems are cleaned up.[31]

Impact

The ransomware campaign was unprecedented in scale according to Europol.[5] The attack affected many NHS hospitals in the UK.[32] On 12 May, some NHS services had to turn away non-critical emergencies, and some ambulances were diverted.[7][33] In 2016, thousands of computers in 42 separate NHS trusts in England were reported to be still running Windows XP.[29]Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK in Tyne and Wear, one of Europe‘s most productive car manufacturing plants, halted production after the ransomware infected some of their systems. Renault also stopped production at several sites in an attempt to stop the spread of the ransomware.[34][35]

List of affected organizations

Response

Several hours after the initial release of the ransomware on 12 May 2017, a “kill switch” hardcoded into the malware was discovered. This allowed the spread of the initial infection to be halted by registering a domain name.[52] However, the kill switch appears to be a coding mistake on the part of the criminals, and variants without the kill switch are expected to be created.[53][54]

Reactions

Upon learning about the impact on the NHS, Edward Snowden said that if the NSA “had privately disclosed the flaw used to attack hospitals when they found it, not when they lost it, [the attack] may not have happened”.[55]

British Prime Minister Theresa May said of the ransomware, “This is not targeted at the NHS. It is an international attack. A number of countries and organizations have been affected.”[56]

Microsoft has created security patches for its now-unsupported versions of Windows, including Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003.[57]

See also

___

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Totalitarians of Lying Lunatic Left Attempt to Suppress Speech of Conservatives, Libertarians, and Classical Liberals — Something New — Go On Offense And Attack The Collectivist Totalitarians — Battle For Berkeley — Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge — Why the Right Won — Chief of Police Orders Police Officers To Stand Down — Security Is The New Shut-Up — Shame On UC Berkeley — Videos

Posted on April 22, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Education, Freedom, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, media, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Speech, Strategy, Success, Television, Video, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

Image result for berkely april 15, 2017Image result for berkely april 15, 2017Image result for berkely april 15, 2017Image result for berkely april 15, 2017Image result for cartoons berkely april 15, 2017Image result for berkely april 15, 2017Image result for cartoons berkely april 15, 2017Image result for berkely april 15, 2017Image result for cartoons berkely april 15, 2017Image result for berkely april 15, 2017

Berkeley Pro Free Speech Protesters Chase Out AntiFA

The Battle of Berkeley in 81 seconds

Berkeley Protesters Take the Pepsi Challenge

Antifa and UC Berkeley: LIVE with Tim Pool

CALLING OUT THE BERKELEY VIOLENCE

UNDERCOVER AS ANTIFA WITH JOEY SALADS

LEFT VS RIGHT DOUBLE STANDARDS IN MEDIA

UC Berkley Must Be Disciplined For Furthering Leftist Violence Against Conservatives

Battle of Berkeley: Why the Right Won

Published on Apr 17, 2017

Berkeley erupted into political violence on April 15th, 2017, with leftwing radicals attacking the Freedom Rally hosted by Trump supporters. The Antifa thugs were roundly defeated by the Freedom Rally attendees, but where did this violence start? I discuss the events that lead up to this day and uncover the progression of leftwing violence that’s destroying a city that once celebrated free speech.

Lauren Southern And The Madness Behind The Battle Of Berkeley

THE BEAUTIFUL LAUREN SOUTHERN; ProudBoys and Some Ugly Antifa

Battle of Berkeley 3 FULL DAY[ANTIFA Vs FREE SPEECH PROTESTERS]Patriots Day Rally Ft. Based Stickman

Trump Supporters chase Antifa down the street at FREE SPEECH Rally in Berkeley

Battle of Berkeley 3 as Antifa circled the park

2017 The Battle for Berkeley LARP!

Patriot’s Day Riot in the Streets

Mark Steyn Security is the new shutup to conservatives

Why UC Berkeley shouldn’t have canceled Ann Coulter’s speech

UC Berkeley Cancels Coulter Appearance Over Security Concerns

Conservative Commentator Ann Coulter To Speak At UC Berkeley

Did Mark Levin Get Berkeley To Reverse Decision To Cancel Speech By Ann Coulter?

Ben Shapiro Interviews Based Stickman on Berkeley Riots & Ann Coulter being BANNED

Ben Shapiro interviews Ann Coulter; Adios America; 7/13/2015; C-Span

UC Berkeley Presses Campus Republicans To Cancel Another Conservative Speaker

WARNING:TRUMP SUPPORTERS ATTACKED AT BERKELEY BY ANTI TRUMP PROTESTERS

Free Speech Battle For Berkeley, California! | Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux

Berkeley Mayor Connected to Antifa

Tucker Carlson Has UC Berkeley Protest Leader Yvette Felarca Explain Fascism

Lauren Southern Coverage of Antifa vs Trump Supporters Battle

Berkeley April 15,Based stick man Antifa smashing

ANTIFA VS America Compilation

Antifa Reddit Admits They Lost Berkeley Battle with Trump Supporters

Berkeley April 15,BAMN leader Yvette Felarca assaults patriots

Berkeley Leftists Riot Against Milo (Mini Documentary: Arrest Yvette Felarca Part 2)

Handicap Senior Citizen U.S Military Vet Stands Up & Cucks Antifa

Is It Wrong To Bash Antifa Leftist Scum?

Berkeley Police Refuse To Stop the Riots – When Told People are Being Beaten, Officer Says “…and?”

Hannity, Alt Left Pile On, Mayhem in Berkeley, Pres Obama’s Failures

Does Free Speech Offend You?

Ann Coulter: Attorney General Jeff Sessions Needs to Investigate UC Berkeley For Cancelling Speech

Ann Coulter rejects Berkeley’s proposal to reschedule speech

Berkeley reschedules Coulter speech after backlash

Ann Coulter Discusses Berkeley w/ Prager

Ben Shapiro on Free Speech, College Campuses, and The Regressive Left

Ben Shapiro – Practical Tactics For Fighting The Left

Thomas Sowell — Dismantling America

TAKE IT TO THE LIMITS: Milton Friedman on Libertarianism

One World Government & Collectivism – G. Edward Griffin

The Quigley Formula – G. Edward Griffin lecture

The Mainstream Media Are Enemies of Freedom, Agents of Tyranny and Must Be Overthrown

Super rich are in a conspiracy to rule the world – G. Edward Griffin – 2007

Antifa and Conservatives Throw Down At ‘Battle Of Berkeley’…

battle of berkeley
In the course of history, there have been many great battles. Thermopylae. Gettysburg. Tupac and Biggie. The forces of good and douchebag have long utilized beating the crap out of each other to resolve their grievances. Well, last weekend, yet another battle was had. Conservative and leftist blood alike was shed at what shall henceforth be referred to as the Battle of Berkeley

For the third time this year, Trump supporters and Antifa clashed on the streets of Berkeley, California. The two forces met Saturday during the pro-Trump Patriot Day rally.

Berkeley Police have arrested at least 15 people this morning and afternoon, after antifascists met Trump supporters at a pro-Trump rally. Police attempted to maintain order with poles and fence mesh, but the barriers did not stop the two sides from violently engaging.

Trump supporters had organized a Patriot Day rally, starring Lauren Southern, a former reporter for conservative Canadian outlet The Rebel Media and Kyle Chapman, a man who achieved internet stardom as “Based Stickman” after assaulting a member of Antifa with a stick at the March 4 scuffle in Berkeley, among others.

Berkeley police have confiscated banned items such as knives, flagpoles, and sticks used as weapons.

https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/antifa-conservatives-battle-of-berkeley/

Berkeley Mayor Is Member of Antifa Facebook Group that Organized Riots

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin is a member of the anti-fascist Facebook group, By Any Means Necessary, which orchestrated the riots that occurred ahead of a scheduled lecture by Milo Yiannopoulos.

Berkley Mayor Jesse Arreguin was revealed to be a member of the anti-fascist group, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), on Facebook. BAMN orchestrated the violence that shut down a scheduled lecture at UC Berkeley featuring Milo Yiannopoulos in early 2017. Arreguin is allegedly also friends with BAMN leader, Yvette Felarca, on Facebook.

They were also involved in the violent clashes earlier this month.

Felarca defended the violence that occurred ahead of Yiannopoulos’ scheduled event in a local television interview following the riots.

BAMN was investigated for engaging in terrorist activities in 2005 by the FBI. In 2009, the Department of Defense classified the group’s activities as “low-level terrorism.” In June 2016, BAMN led a violent counter-protest outside a white nationalist rally that resulted in ten people being hospitalized with stab wounds.

Often described as a “militant left-wing” activist group, BAMN frequently engages in violent forms of protests. A Berkeley newspaper noted in 2001 that the group was a front for an “an obscure Detroit-based Trotskyist political party called the Revolutionary Workers League.”

Breitbart News has reached out to Mayor Arreguin for comment.

Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about economics and higher education for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at tciccotta@breitbart.com

http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/04/21/berkeley-mayor-is-member-of-antifa-facebook-group-that-organized-riots/

Antifa wants combat training and firearms after losing the ‘Battle for Berkeley’

Brandon Morse

Antifa wants combat training and firearms after losing the ‘Battle for Berkeley’

Antifa members have begun discussions about arming themselves with better training and firearms after they were routed by Trump supporters during the “Battle of Berkeley” in California.

Last week supporters of President Donald Trump clashed with members of the leftist group known as Antifa (short for anti-fascist) in Berkeley California. The meeting of the two groups soon erupted in violence, with Antifa using mace, M80’s, and various other weapons to attack Trump supporters.

According to Rebel Media’s Lauren Southern, Trump supporters were told by police not to bring any weapons, as police would protect them. Upon Anitfa’s arrival, the police retreated, leaving the Trump supporters to utilize whatever weapons they could get their hands on. Regardless, the Trump supporters routed Antifa after one of their members threw a smoke bomb, not realizing the wind was blowing in Antifa’s direction.

This loss prompted Antifa members to begin discussion about how they could better prepare themselves for future skirmishes against Trump supporters.

In the subreddit r/anarchism, one Anitfa member acknowledged the loss, and suggested that members find a way to become “better organized and better trained.” Another member agreed, saying that too many of their “comrades” went into battle “no combat training,” and suggested they start “seminars or something of that sort.”

This conversation continued, with suggestions for better equipment such as helmets and padding over the typical hoodie and facemask being worn. Another person on this r/anarchism thread suggested they rally behind a leader who can organize and direct actions. The conversation soon turned to weapons, however, and one member in particular suggested they bring firearms.

Not getting disarmed is a big part of the problem, yes, but we need more than flags and bats. We need to take notes from the John Brown Gun Club and get firearms and training. I know getting firearms in states and cities we have a presence in is usually a hassle, but even handguns would help. It would certainly put a psychological element in while holding fash back. Who do you think a fascist is more afraid of? People with only flags and bats, or people with flags, bats, and guns?”

screen-shot-2017-04-20-at-6-00-14-pm

screen-shot-2017-04-20-at-5-58-43-pm

Antifa is known for their willingness to use violence and intimidation to silence political, and ideological opponents. An Antifa chapter at Clemson University, known as “Upstate Antifa” have made an effort to justify the violence and destruction committed against what they loosely base as “Nazis” and “fascists.”

Recently, Antifa members inadvertently turned on one of their own after his mask was forcibly removed, spraying him with pepper spray, and hitting him with a skateboard as they retreated from pro-Trump marchers.

Another instance of violence occurred while Trump supporters and Antifa were engaging in trash talk. One of Antifa’s members used a bike lock to strike a Trump supporter in the head without warning, causing him to bleed a good deal from his scalp.

http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/04/21/antifa-wants-combat-training-and-firearms-after-losing-the-battle-for-berkely/

Conservative group threatens UC Berkeley over Ann Coulter appearance

Paige St. JohnContact Reporter

A conservative group on Friday threatened to take legal action against UC Berkeley if student sponsors are not allowed to pick the date and location for an appearance by commentator Ann Coulter.

Coulter had been scheduled to speak on the demonstration-weary campus on April 27, but Berkeley officials refused permission, citing safety concerns. Amid public criticism, the administration on Thursday agreed to set the event for May 2, at midday, in a science hall away from the central campus.

“The university’s actions violate fundamental principles of free speech, equal protection and due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” a letter from lawyers representing the conservative outreach group Young America’s Foundation warned.

It called Berkeley’s offer “transparently insincere” — noting that the new date falls during “dead week,” a time when most students are studying for final exams.

“UC Berkeley may not censor speech its administrators plainly disfavor, simply because a potential mob shares the administrators’ distaste,” the letter said.

In response, Berkeley answered that it does not have a “protectable” venue available on April 27 and raised concern about Coulter’s “disregard” for what police believe is required to keep her appearance safe.

“The Constitution permits the university to take such steps to protect public safety while facilitating expressive activities, and that is exactly what we are doing,” officials said in a prepared statement.

Coulter, who had been invited to speak about immigration, used her Twitter account Thursday to declare she would speak at Berkeley on April 27, “as I was invited to do and have a contract to do.”

Although the student groups hosting her appearance are the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeCal, the contracted sponsor for the event is Young America’s Foundation.

Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said administrators learned of Coulter’s planned arrival only after that contract was signed, preventing an assessment of how to avoid a replay of the violence that disrupted a scheduled Milo Yiannopoulos appearance at Berkeley on Feb. 1.

Large crowds swarmed the campus where the right-wing provocateur was to appear, and masked demonstrators in black garb tore down police barricades, smashed windows and set off explosives.

Since then, the university town has witnessed two demonstrations held by alt-right organizations that led to violent clashes.

“We were disappointed we couldn’t make an event work,” Mogulof said. “We believe it is important to expose our students to a diverse array of perspectives. … [They] can’t be educated in an echo chamber.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-berkeley-coulter-20170421-story.html

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Kyle Mills — Sphere of Influence — Videos

Posted on April 8, 2017. Filed under: Art, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Crime, Culture, Drug Cartels, Employment, Entertainment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiction, Fraud, Homicide, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Psychology, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for Kyle Mills books sphere of Influence

Image result for Kyle Mills books sphere of Influence

“Order to Kill” by Kyle Mills

Elliot In The Morning: Kyle Mills (Part 1 of 2) [INTERVIEW]

Elliot In The Morning: Kyle Mills (Part 2 of 2) [INTERVIEW]

Order to Kill by Kyle Mills and Vince Flynn Audiobook Excerpt

Kyle Mills (author)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the New Zealand cricketer, see Kyle Mills.
Kyle Mills
Born 1966
Occupation Novelist
Genre Political thriller
Website
kylemills.com

Kyle Mills (born 1966) is an American writer of thriller novels including Rising Phoenix, Fade, and The Second Horseman. Several of his books (Rising Phoenix, Storming Heaven, Sphere of Influence, Free Fall and Darkness Falls) include a character Mark Beamon, an FBI special agent. He also wrote The Ares Decision (2011), The Utopia Experiment (2013), and The Patriot Attack (2015), the eighth, tenth, and twelfth installments of the Covert-One series, originally created by Robert Ludlum.

Mills lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with his wife and they are both avid rock climbers. Mills grew up in Oregon, and his father was an agent with the FBI.

Novels

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_Mills_(author)

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National Security Agency Is Spying On All American Who Use The Internet and Telephone System and They Collect and Store All Your Communications — Includes Trump and Associates — No Warrant Required If President Obama Designates You A Target — Congress Is Enabling The Turnkey Two Party Tyranny — Warrentless Searches — Congress Does Nothing To Stop It! — Videos

Posted on March 17, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Data, Data Storage, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Demographics, Documentary, European History, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Friends, government spending, Heroes, history, Illegal, Immigration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), IRS, Islam, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Religion, Security, Sociology, Space, Spying, Strategy, Supreme Court, Systems, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for National security agencyImage result for NSA utah data center

Image result for NSA utah data centerImage result for NSA utah data centerImage result for National security agencyImage result for National security agency

Obama launched TWO criminal investigations on Trump׃ no evidence found

The O’Reilly Factor March 18, 2017 Fox News Pres Trump March 18, 2017

Edward Snowden Vault 7 ” Wikileaks” Obama Targeting Trump Tower Live from Russia Stream 14 03 2017

Former NSA Employee, Bill Binney, Breaks Silence Confirms Trump Wiretapping claims

NSA WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS TRUMP WAS WIRETAPPED AND MONITORED

NSA Whistleblower William Binney on The Laura Ingraham Show (3/10/2017)

Sean Hannity talks to Mark Levin , Jay Sekulow & Bill Binney about POTUS wiretapping claims

*BOMBSHELL* SEAN HANNITY, WILLIAM BINNEY and TONY SHAFFER (3/8/17) – TALK VAULT 7

Whistleblower: NSA Still Collecting Data On Every U.S. Citizen

william binney ex nsa intelligence agent discusses trump leaks with lou dobbs

Sharyl Attkisson: Presidents CAN authorize ILLEGAL surveillance and nobody would ever know!

Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 1

[youtube-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjAoVEhlrPc]

Malzberg | Sharyl Attkisson to discuss her new book “Stonewalled” | Part 2

Wyden: No to warrantless searches by the FBI through National Security Letters

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

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

NSA Surveillance and What To Do About It

Taking a Look at the NSA’s Massive Data Center

NSA’s Largest Spy Center Located in Utah (What you need to know)

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

‘State of Surveillance’ with Edward Snowden and Shane Smith (FULL EPISODE)

Edward Snowden Full Interview on Trump, Petraeus, & Having ‘No Regrets’

DOCUMENTARY: Edward Snowden – Terminal F (2015)

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

NSA paying US Companies hundreds of millions of dollars for access to data

“You’re Being Watched”: Edward Snowden Emerges as Source Behind Explosive Revelations of NSA Spying

Does the NSA Record Phone Calls? Glenn Greenwald on Warrentless Domestic Surveillance (2007)

Published on Jul 8, 2013

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (AKA “Warrantless Wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the “terrorist surveillance program”, part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. Critics, however, claimed that it was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and their handling of several hot button issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court. Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has officially continued operating under the new FISA guidelines. However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program is not known, but the NSA is or was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts are not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13] The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14] Critics of The Times have alleged that executive editor Bill Keller had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential election, and that the story that was ultimately published by The Times was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times. The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.

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

If you think you can handle the truth, well here it is folks

National Security Agency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“NSA” redirects here. For other uses, see NSA (disambiguation) and National Security Agency (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with NASA or National Security Council.
National Security Agency
Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Seal of the National Security Agency
Flag of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Flag of the National Security Agency
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland.jpg
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Agency overview
Formed November 4, 1952; 64 years ago[1]
Preceding agency
  • Armed Forces Security Agency
Headquarters Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.
39°6′32″N 76°46′17″WCoordinates: 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W
Motto “Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future.”
Employees Classified (30,000–40,000 estimate)[2][3][4][5]
Annual budget Classified (estimated $10.8 billion, 2013)[6][7]
Agency executives
Parent agency United States Department of Defense
Website www.nsa.gov

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States federal government responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA’s programs rely on “passive” electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering”.[14][15]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, NSA does not unilaterally conduct human-source intelligence gathering, despite often being portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, NSA is entrusted with assistance to and coordination of SIGINT elements at other government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[16] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][17] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of some of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide, many of whom are United States citizens, and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18]

Contents

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History

Army predecessor

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

Black Chamber

Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.[21]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber“.[22] The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[23]

Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.[24]

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[21]

World War II and its aftermath

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25]This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[28] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[29]

Vietnam War

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[30]

A secret operation, code-named “MINARET“, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[31] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.[31]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.[32]:Vol I, p.79

Church Committee hearings

Further information: Watergate scandal and Church Committee

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[33] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[34] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[35] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[35]such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[36] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[37]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[35]

From 1980s to 1990s

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[38][39]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[40] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[41] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[41] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[41]

NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.[42]

War on Terror

After Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in the 1980s, the NSA recorded all of his phone calls via satellite, logging over 2,000 minutes of conversation[43]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[44]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004. Several whistleblowers were later arrested and charged with violating federal espionage laws.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[45] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[46]

Global surveillance disclosures

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

Scope of surveillance

It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics[47] and “commercial secrets”.[48] In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[49][50][51] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).[49][52]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[53] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[54][55]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[56]It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[57] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[58] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.[59][60]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[61] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers,[62] as well as Internet communications,[57] relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[63] The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[64]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[65]

Although NSA’s surveillance activities are controversial, government agencies and private enterprises have common needs, and sometimes cooperate at subtle and complex technical levels. Big data is becoming more advantageous, justifying the cost of required computer hardware, and social media lead the trend. The interests of NSA and Silicon Valley began to converge as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data and at the same time the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. On the other hand, social media sites are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own.[66]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.[67]

Legal accountability

Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[68] Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse;[69] however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[70] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions;[71] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[72] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[73] A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[74][75] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[73] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[58]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[76]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[77]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[78]

Official responses

On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and Internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents.[79] This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.[69]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[80] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[81][82][83]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[84][85] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[86][87] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[88]

Organizational structure

Michael S. Rogers, the director of the NSA.

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[89]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

  • The Operations Directorate, which was responsible for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Technology and Systems Directorate, which develops new technologies for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Information Systems Security Directorate, which was responsible for NSA’s communications and information security missions.
  • The Plans, Policy and Programs Directorate, which provided staff support and general direction for the Agency.
  • The Support Services Directorate, which provided logistical and administrative support activities.[90]

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[91][92]

Structure

As of 2013, NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[93]

  • F – Directorate only known from unit F6, the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is a joint program created by CIA and NSA in 1978 to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.[94]
  • G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.[95]
  • I – Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which ensures availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems (national security systems).
  • J – Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
  • L – Installation and Logistics
  • M – Human Resources
  • Q – Security and Counterintelligence
  • R – Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.[96]
  • S – Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. This directorate is led by a director and a deputy director. The SID consists of the following divisions:
    • S1 – Customer Relations
    • S2 – Analysis and Production Centers, with the following so-called Product Lines:
      • S2A: South Asia, S2B: China and Korea, S2C: International Security, S2E: Middle East/Asia, S2F: International Crime, S2G: Counter-proliferation, S2H: Russia, S2I: Counter-terrorism, S2J: Weapons and Space, S2T: Current Threats
    • S3 – Data Acquisition, with these divisions for the main collection programs:
      • S31 – Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Services (CES)
      • S32 – Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage and reportedly is “the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”[97]
      • S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms.[98] A tool which details and maps the information collected by this unit is code-named Boundless Informant.
      • S34 – Collections Strategies and Requirements Center
      • S35 – Special Source Operations (SSO), which is responsible for domestic and compartmented collection programs, like for example the PRISM program.[98] Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.[99]
  • T – Technical Directorate (TD)
  • Directorate for Education and Training
  • Directorate for Corporate Leadership
  • Foreign Affairs Directorate, which acts as liaison with foreign intelligence services, counter-intelligence centers and the UKUSA-partners.
  • Acquisitions and Procurement Directorate
  • Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.[100]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[101]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, Internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[102]

A 2016 proposal would combine the Signals Intelligence Directorate with the Information Assurance Directorate into a Directorate of Operations.[103]

Watch centers

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

  • National Security Operations Center (NSOC), which is the NSA’s current operations center and focal point for time-sensitive SIGINT reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS). This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This “nerve center of the NSA” got its current name in 1996.[104]
  • NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), which is the primary NSA/CSS partner for Department of Homeland Security response to cyber incidents. The NTOC establishes real-time network awareness and threat characterization capabilities to forecast, alert, and attribute malicious activity and enable the coordination of Computer Network Operations. The NTOC was established in 2004 as a joint Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence project.[105]

Employees

The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[106]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Fort Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[107] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[108]

Security issues

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[109] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write, “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[109]

Edward Snowden‘s leaking of the existence of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule“, where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[108] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[110]

Polygraphin

Defense Security Service (DSS) polygraph brochure given to NSA applicants

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[111] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[111] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts periodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.[112]

File:NSApolygraphvideo.webm

NSA-produced video on the polygraph process

There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[112] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[113] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”[114]Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[111]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[115] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the Web site of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them — it’s not clear — describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[116] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[115] George Maschke, the founder of the Web site, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.[116]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[117]

Arbitrary firing

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee,The Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[109]

Insignia and memorials

Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[118] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[118] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[118] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[118]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[119] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[119] The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.[120]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

National Cryptologic Memorial

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[121] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[121]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[122] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013 .[122] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[122]

NSANet (NSA’s intranet)

Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access to SIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, and JWICS

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[123] It is a classified network,[124] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[125] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[126]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public Internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[127]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[128] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[129] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[130]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.[131]

National Computer Security Center

The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government.[132] NCSC was part of NSA,[133] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[134] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[134]

Facilities

Headquarters

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Baltimore,[135] and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC.[136] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[137][138] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[139]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[140] Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi)[141] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi),[142] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[136][143]

NSA headquarters building in Fort Meade (left), NSOC (right)

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.”[144] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[144] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2), or more than 68 acres (28 ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”[144]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[145] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[144] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[146] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[147] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[146]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube“.[148] The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[146] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[149][150][151]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[152]

Power consumption

Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.[140]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”[153]

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[154] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[140] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[153]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at US$40 million per year.[155]

History of headquarters

Headquarters at Fort Meade circa 1950s

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army‘s cryptographic operations.[156]Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[157]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[157] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders.[158] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[157] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[159] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[159] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[159]

Fort Meade shooting[edit]

On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9 am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his 20-year-old male passenger. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.[160][161]

The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement.[162] FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.[163]In June 2015 the FBI closed its investigation into the incident and federal prosecutors have declined to bring charges against anyone involved.[164]

An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,[165]but her later revision does not.[166] Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.[167]

Computing[edit]

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[168]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[169] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[149] It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi).[149] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi)[149] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[170]

Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54 ha; 0.21 sq mi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages.[149] Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[149]

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[155] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[155] It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[155]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[171] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[152][155]

On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative.[172] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[155]

In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill,[173] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[174]

The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA’s bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology.[175] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[176] In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed.[177] As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[175]

International stations

RAF Menwith Hill has the largest NSA presence in the United Kingdom.[174]

Following the signing in 1946–1956[178] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and ECHELON,[179] NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana,[180] New Zealand.[181]

NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.[182] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.[183]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.[184]

In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.[185] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[185]

Thailand

Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations.[186] These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.

Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.[187]

The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD.[187] The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,700–4,600 m2 (40,000–50,000 ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.[188][189]

NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. whose job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.[188]

According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[188]

The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.[188]

Mission

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[190]

According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[191]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[192]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008 by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]

Operations

Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

  • Collection overseas, which falls under the responsibility of the Global Access Operations (GAO) division.
  • Domestic collection, which falls under the responsibility of the Special Source Operations (SSO) division.
  • Hacking operations, which falls under the responsibility of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

Collection overseas

Echelon

Main article: ECHELON

Echelon was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[193] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[175]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[194] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[195]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[196] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the ECHELON surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[197] In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.[198]

NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[199][200]

Protesters against NSA data mining in Berlin wearing Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden masks.

Other SIGINT operations overseas

The NSA is also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT“, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were charged with one.[201]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[202]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[203] This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[204]

BoundlessInformant

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.[205]

BoundlessInformant employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA.[206]

Bypassing encryption

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual_EC_DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[207][208] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[209] Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[208]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[210][211]

Domestic activity

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[212] The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[213][214]

NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.”[215] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[216] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[216]

George W. Bush administration

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued.[217] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records.This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[218]

Warrantless wiretaps

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[219]

One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.[220]

Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President’s Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007 the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.[221]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[222][223]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[224] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[225] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[226]

As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.

AT&T Internet monitoring

In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.[227]

Data mining

NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.[228]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[229] mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[230]

Illegally obtained evidence

In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.[231][232]

Barack Obama administration

In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws.[233] United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[234]

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[235] Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[236] Gallup found that 53% disapprove,[237] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[238]

Section 215 metadata collection

On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon‘s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call … location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.[239][240]

In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.[241]

The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”[242]

Defenders of the program say that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots”[243] between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats.[citation needed] As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.[243]

In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015, the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013[244] in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.

The PRISM program[edit]

PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[245][246] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[247] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

June 2015 – WikiLeaks: Industrial espionage

In June 2015, Wikileaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on French companies.[248]

July 2015 – WikiLeaks: Espionage against German federal ministries[edit]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s.[249][250] Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[251]

Claims of prevented terrorist attacks

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[252] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[253][254][255][256]

Hacking operations

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

NSA’s China hacking group

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”[257][258]

Syrian internet blackout

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria‘s internet blackout in 2012.[259]

Suspected responsibility for hacking operations by the Equation Group[edit]

The espionage group named the Equation Group, described by discoverers Kaspersky Labs as one of the most advanced (if not the most advanced) in the world as of 2015,[260]:31 and connected to over 500 malware infections in at least 42 countries over many years, is suspected of being a part of NSA.[261][262] The group’s known espionage methods have been documented to include interdiction (interception of legitimate CDs sent by a scientific conference organizer by mail),[260]:15 and the “unprecedented” ability to infect and be transmitted through the hard drive firmware of several of the major hard drive manufacturers, and create and use hidden disk areas and virtual disk systems for its purposes, a feat demanding access to the manufacturer’s source code of each to achieve.[260]:16–18 The methods used to deploy the tools demonstrated “surgical precision”, going so far as to exclude specific countries by IP and allow targeting of specific usernames on discussion forums.[260]:23–26 The techniques and knowledge used by the Equation Group are considered in summary to be “out of the reach of most advanced threat groups in the world except [this group].[260]:31

Software backdoors

Linux kerne

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[263]However, later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[264]

When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

— Nils Torvalds, LIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[265]
Microsoft Windows
Main article: _NSAKEY

_NSAKEY was a variable name discovered in Microsoft‘s Windows NT 4 Service Pack 5 (which had been released unstripped of its symbolic debugging data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit public key.

IBM Notes

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[266][267]

Boomerang routing

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Hardware implanting

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees
A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald‘s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[268]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[269]Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”[270]

Role in scientific research and development[

NSA has been involved in debates about public policy, both indirectly as a behind-the-scenes adviser to other departments, and directly during and after Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman‘s directorship. NSA was a major player in the debates of the 1990s regarding the export of cryptography in the United States. Restrictions on export were reduced but not eliminated in 1996.

Its secure government communications work has involved the NSA in numerous technology areas, including the design of specialized communications hardware and software, production of dedicated semiconductors (at the Ft. Meade chip fabrication plant), and advanced cryptography research. For 50 years, NSA designed and built most of its computer equipment in-house, but from the 1990s until about 2003 (when the U.S. Congress curtailed the practice), the agency contracted with the private sector in the fields of research and equipment.[271]

Data Encryption Standard

FROSTBURG was the NSA’s first supercomputer, used from 1991 to 1997

NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and public block cipher algorithm used by the U.S. government and banking community. During the development of DES by IBM in the 1970s, NSA recommended changes to some details of the design. There was suspicion that these changes had weakened the algorithm sufficiently to enable the agency to eavesdrop if required, including speculation that a critical component—the so-called S-boxes—had been altered to insert a “backdoor” and that the reduction in key length might have made it feasible for NSA to discover DES keys using massive computing power. It has since been observed that the S-boxes in DES are particularly resilient against differential cryptanalysis, a technique which was not publicly discovered until the late 1980s, but which was known to the IBM DES team.

The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed NSA’s involvement, and concluded that while the agency had provided some assistance, it had not tampered with the design.[272][273] In late 2009 NSA declassified information stating that “NSA worked closely with IBM to strengthen the algorithm against all except brute force attacks and to strengthen substitution tables, called S-boxes. Conversely, NSA tried to convince IBM to reduce the length of the key from 64 to 48 bits. Ultimately they compromised on a 56-bit key.”[274][275]

Advanced Encryption Standard

The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to Data Encryption Standard (DES), the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition).[276] NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information (for at most two levels, e.g. SECRET information in an unclassified environment[clarification needed]) when used in NSA-approved systems.[277]

NSA encryption systems

STU-III secure telephones on display at the National Cryptologic Museum

The NSA is responsible for the encryption-related components in these legacy systems:

  • FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal[278]
  • KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)[279][280]
  • KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)[281]
  • KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)[280]
  • KY-57 VINSON tactical radio voice encryptor[281]
  • KG-84 Dedicated Data Encryption/Decryption[281]
  • STU-III secure telephone unit,[281] phased out by the STE[282]

The NSA oversees encryption in following systems which are in use today:

The NSA has specified Suite A and Suite B cryptographic algorithm suites to be used in U.S. government systems; the Suite B algorithms are a subset of those previously specified by NIST and are expected to serve for most information protection purposes, while the Suite A algorithms are secret and are intended for especially high levels of protection.[277]

SHA

The widely used SHA-1 and SHA-2 hash functions were designed by NSA. SHA-1 is a slight modification of the weaker SHA-0 algorithm, also designed by NSA in 1993. This small modification was suggested by NSA two years later, with no justification other than the fact that it provides additional security. An attack for SHA-0 that does not apply to the revised algorithm was indeed found between 1998 and 2005 by academic cryptographers. Because of weaknesses and key length restrictions in SHA-1, NIST deprecates its use for digital signatures, and approves only the newer SHA-2 algorithms for such applications from 2013 on.[287]

A new hash standard, SHA-3, has recently been selected through the competition concluded October 2, 2012 with the selection of Keccak as the algorithm. The process to select SHA-3 was similar to the one held in choosing the AES, but some doubts have been cast over it,[288][289] since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard.[290] These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.[288]

Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator

Main article: Dual_EC_DRBG

NSA promoted the inclusion of a random number generator called Dual_EC_DRBG in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s 2007 guidelines. This led to speculation of a backdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.[291]

This is now deemed to be plausible based on the fact that the output of the next iterations of the PRNG can provably be determined if the relation between two internal elliptic curve points is known.[292][293] Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.[294][295]

Clipper chip

Main article: Clipper chip

Because of concerns that widespread use of strong cryptography would hamper government use of wiretaps, NSA proposed the concept of key escrow in 1993 and introduced the Clipper chip that would offer stronger protection than DES but would allow access to encrypted data by authorized law enforcement officials.[296] The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere.[297] However, NSA’s Fortezza hardware-based encryption cards, created for the Clipper project, are still used within government, and NSA ultimately declassified and published the design of the Skipjack cipher used on the cards.[298][299]

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure.[300][301] It was originally reported to be a program to develop a system of sensors to detect cyber attacks on critical infrastructure computer networks in both the private and public sector through a network monitoring system named Einstein.[302][303] It is funded by the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.

Academic research

NSA has invested many millions of dollars in academic research under grant code prefix MDA904, resulting in over 3,000 papers (as of 2007-10-11). NSA/CSS has, at times, attempted to restrict the publication of academic research into cryptography; for example, the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers were voluntarily withheld in response to an NSA request to do so. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, in 2013 the NSA released the 643-page research paper titled, “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research,[304] ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.[305]

Patents

NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal NSA’s patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.[306]

One of NSA’s published patents describes a method of geographically locating an individual computer site in an Internet-like network, based on the latency of multiple network connections.[307] Although no public patent exists, NSA is reported to have used a similar locating technology called trilateralization that allows real-time tracking of an individual’s location, including altitude from ground level, using data obtained from cellphone towers.[308]

Legality

File:Ron Wyden and James Clapper - 12 March 2013.webm

Excerpt of James Clapper‘s false testimony to Congress on NSA surveillance programs

In the United States, at least since 2001,[309] there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence.[310] The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data,[311] specifically phone records. President Barack Obama has asked lawyers and his national security team to look at the tactics that are being used by the NSA. President Obama made a speech on January 17, 2014 where he defended the national security measures, including the NSA, and their intentions for keeping the country safe through surveillance. He said that it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn between what is too much surveillance and how much is needed for national security because technology is ever changing and evolving. Therefore, the laws cannot keep up with the rapid advancements.

President Obama did make some changes to national security regulations and how much data can be collected and surveyed.[citation needed] The first thing he added, was more presidential directive and oversight so that privacy and basic rights are not violated. The president would look over requests on behalf of American citizens to make sure that their personal privacy is not violated by the data that is being requested. Secondly, surveillance tactics and procedures are becoming more public, including over 40 rulings of the FISC that have been declassified.[citation needed] Thirdly, further protections are being placed on activities that are justified under Section 702, such as the ability to retain, search and use data collected in investigations, which allows the NSA to monitor and intercept interaction of targets overseas. Finally, national security letters, which are secret requests for information that the FBI uses in their investigations, are becoming less secretive. The secrecy of the information requested will not be indefinite and will terminate after a set time if future secrecy is not required.[citation needed] Concerning the bulk surveillance of American’s phone records, President Obama also ordered a transition from bulk surveillance under Section 215 to a new policy that will eliminate unnecessary bulk collection of metadata.

As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal.[312] It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.” [313] The new bill getting passed later in May taking its place is known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue hunting for terrorists by analyzing telephone links between callers but “keep the bulk phone records in the hands of phone companies.”[313] This would give phone companies the freedom to dispose the records in an 18-month period. The White House argued that this new ruling validated President Obama’s support of the government being extracted from bulk data collection and giving power to the telecommunications companies.

Previously, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them.[314] While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order,[315] the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users.[316] With this new ruling, telecommunications companies would not provide the NSA with bulk information. The companies would allow the disposal of data in every 18 months,[313] which is arguably putting the telecommunications companies at a higher advantage.

This ruling made the collecting of phone records illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill to re-authorize the Patriot Act.[317] Defenders of this surveillance program are claiming that judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had ruled 37 times that this kind of collection of data is, in fact, lawful.[317] The FISC is the court specifically mandated to grant surveillance orders in the name of foreign intelligence. The new ruling made by the Second District Court of Appeals now retroactively dismisses the findings of the FISC on this program.

See also

Notes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency

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President Trump Accuses Obama of Wiretapping Trump Tower — Abuse by National Security Agency — What did Obama know and When Did He Know It? — Arrogance and Abuse of Presidential Powers — Obama’s Towergate! — Turnkey Two Party Totalitarian Tyranny of Secret Surveillance Spying Security State — Videos

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Image result for cartoons obama wiretapping trump towerMark Levin Provides ProofObama Admin Wiretapped Trump Tower | Fox & Friends

Published on Mar 5, 2017

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IF THE FEDS DID WIRETAP TRUMP TOWER, IT’S NOT OBAMA WHO SHOULD WORRY

Republican president-elect Donald Trump

Early Saturday morning, President Trump fired off a series of tweets accusing, without evidence, former President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower in the month before the election. Trump compared the alleged snooping to “Nixon/Watergate,” and intimated legal action.

Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!

What makes the broader allegation so extraordinary isn’t that it is new. Quite the contrary. Various reports that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court granted Justice Department investigators a warrant to probe the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia surfaced in November. What makes Trump’s Twitter tirade so striking is what prompted it, and what it might imply if it’s true.

Anatomy of an Allegation

Baffling as it may be, it appears Trump’s accusation stems from a recent article published on Breitbart, the conservative news outlet formerly run by White House senior adviser Stephen Bannon.

“This is a somewhat stunning, in so far as the president of the United States doesn’t need to get his information about classified activity from Breitbart,” says Cato Institute fellow Julian Sanchez.

That story, “Mark Levin to Congress: Investigate Obama’s ‘Silent Coup’ Vs. Trump,” rehashes comments the titular conservative radio host made Thursday equating the previously reported FISA warrant with a “police state,” and accuses Obama of a politically motivated, covert attempt to undermine Trump and his associates.

It’s unclear just what prompted Levin’s rant, or why Trump glommed onto it. Although no one has confirmed a FISA investigation, or wiretaps in Trump Tower, several news outlets have reported the former’s existence. The most detailed account thus far, from the BBC in January, provided a timeline: The Justice Department sought a FISA warrant in June to intercept communications from two Russian banks suspected of facilitating donations to the Trump campaign. The judge reportedly rejected the warrant, as well as a narrower version sought in July. A new judge granted the order in mid-October, according to the BBC.

However strongly Trump feels that he’s right, he’d better hope he’s wrong.

None of this necessarily makes Trump’s allegations true. Even if a FISA warrant exists, it does not mean Trump Tower is tapped or that Trump specifically is the target. Further complicating things, the existence of a wiretap would not necessarily confirm the existence of a FISA warrant. Almost half of the building’s 58 floors are dedicated to commercial and office space, and any one of them—not to mention the building’s residents—could be the target of an investigation unrelated to international espionage or election tampering.

“If he has evidence that he was wiretapped without a proper FISA order being sought, that would be a huge scandal, and he should produce whatever evidence he’s got,” says Sanchez. “It’s a pretty serious claim, and it’s striking he would make it without anything solid to back it up.”

Republican Senator Ben Sasse called on the president to clarify his claims, stating that “we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.” Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis strongly denied extra-judicial surveillance of any US citizens to Politico in response to the claims..

Look past the president’s conspiracy theories, though, and one fact stands out: However strongly Trump feels that he’s right, he’d better hope he’s wrong.

Tower of FISA

If nothing else, Trump’s tweets show he doesn’t understand how the FISA system works. If he did, he may have limited himself to tweeting about Arnold Schwartzenegger quitting The Apprentice this morning.

“While the order would have been requested by some part of the executive branch, Obama can’t order anything. Nor can Trump,” says former NSA lawyer April Doss, who stresses that her comments are based only on public information. “The order has to come from the court, and the court operates independently.”

FISA court judges serve seven-year appointments, so the court’s composition doesn’t ebb and flow with the political tides. What’s more, specific laws adopted in the wake of Watergate prevent the very activity Trump accuses Obama of.

“You can’t tap the phones of a political candidate for political purposes,” says Doss.

What you could tap them for? Acting as a foreign power, or as an agent of a foreign power. In other words, spying against US interests with both knowledge and intent.

Clearing that bar is difficult, by design. FISA warrants don’t allow for broad wiretaps of, say, every call going in and out of a specific office in a 58-story Manhattan skyscraper. Federal authorities must demonstrate not just probable cause, but that a given phone line serves primarily to undermine US interests. It’s difficult, for instance, to obtain a warrant to wiretap a shared office, for fear of picking up innocent third-party conversations.

“I have high confidence that a FISA court judge would not have authorized any warrant unless it met all the requirements under the statute,” says Doss.

Trump’s wiretap claims, then, carry presumably inadvertent implications. First, based on previous reporting and the nature of FISA courts, any wiretaps within Trump Tower would be legal. And they would stem from overwhelming evidence that the Trump campaign, or someone within it, has unsavory ties to Russia or another foreign power. Otherwise, it’s unlikely those wiretaps would exist at all.

If federal authorities did have cause to listen in on Trump Tower, though, and they provided enough evidence for a FISA court to approve the snooping, Obama is not the one who ought to worry.

With additional reporting by Andy Greenberg.

This story has been updated to include responses from Obama spokesperson Kevin Lewis and GOP Senator Ben Sasse, and to reflect that FISA court judges serve seven-year terms, not lifetime tenure.

https://www.wired.com/2017/03/feds-wiretap-trump-tower-not-obama-worry/

 

Trump asks Congress to probe alleged illicit campaign investigations

AFPMarch 5, 2017
US President Donald Trump pictured during a meeting with parents and teachers at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, on March 3, 2017
US President Donald Trump pictured during a meeting with parents and teachers at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, on March 3, 2017 (AFP Photo/Nicholas KAMM)
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Washington (AFP) – President Donald Trump is asking Congress to probe “potentially politically motivated investigations” during the 2016 campaign, the White House said Sunday.

The announcement came one day after Trump took to Twitter to accuse his predecessor Barack Obama of tapping his phones ahead of the November election, without providing evidence of the explosive charge.

An Obama spokesman has denied Trump’s accusation as “simply false.”

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In his statement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer referred to unspecified reports of “potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election” as “very troubling.”

“President Donald J. Trump is requesting that as part of their investigation into Russian activity, the congressional intelligence committees exercise their oversight authority to determine whether executive branch investigative powers were abused in 2016,” Spicer said.

He added that there would be no more comment on the matter from Trump or the White House.

Trump leveled his charges against Obama early Saturday, at the end of a week in which his administration was battered by controversy over communications between Russian officials and some of his senior aides including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!” Trump wrote.

“How low has President Obama gone to tapp (sic) my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!” he wrote in another tweet, referring to the political scandal that toppled president Richard Nixon in 1974.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-asks-congress-probe-alleged-illicit-campaign-investigations-143333695.html

President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump on Inauguration Day. Mr. Trump has praised Mr. Obama repeatedly since taking office. But on Saturday, he called his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy.”CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — President Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of tapping his phones at Trump Tower the month before the election, taking to Twitter to call his predecessor a “bad (or sick) guy.”

Without offering any evidence or providing the source of his information, Mr. Trump fired off a series of Twitter messages claiming that Mr. Obama “had my ‘wires tapped.’ ” He likened the supposed tapping to “Nixon/Watergate” and “McCarthyism.”

A spokesman for Mr. Obama said any suggestion that the former president had ordered such surveillance was “simply false.”

Mr. Trump’s aides declined to clarify whether the president’s explosive allegations were based on briefings from intelligence or law enforcement officials — which could mean that Mr. Trump was revealing previously unknown details about an investigation — or on something else, like a news report.

His decision to lend the power of his office to such a charged claim against his predecessor — without offering any initial proof — was remarkable, even for a leader who has repeatedly shown himself willing to make assertions that are false or based on dubious sources.

It would have been difficult for federal agents, working within the law, to obtain a wiretap order to target Mr. Trump’s phone conversations. It would have meant that the Justice Department had gathered sufficient evidence to persuade a federal judge that there was probable cause to believe he had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal investigation or a foreign intelligence one.

Former officials pointed to longstanding laws and procedures intended to ensure that presidents cannot wiretap a rival for political purposes.

“A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” said Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for Mr. Obama. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen.”

But a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what Mr. McGahn believed was an order issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing some form of surveillance related to Mr. Trump and his associates.

The official offered no evidence to support the notion that such an order exists. If one does, it would be highly unusual for a White House to order the Justice Department to turn over such an investigative document, given the traditional independence of law enforcement matters.

It has been widely reported that there is a federal investigation, which began during the 2016 presidential campaign, into links between Trump associates and the Russians. That issue has dogged Mr. Trump for months.

In one message, which Mr. Trump sent from his Palm Beach, Fla., estate at 6:35 a.m., the president said he had “just found out” that his phones had been tapped before the election. Mr. Trump’s reference to “wires tapped” raised the possibility that he was referring to some other type of electronic surveillance and was using the idea of phone tapping loosely.

Two people close to Mr. Trump said they believed he was referring to a Breitbart News article, which aides said had been passed around among his advisers. Mark Levin, a conservative radio host, had also embraced the theory recently in a push against what right-leaning commentators have been calling the “deep state.”

The Breitbart article, published on Friday, claimed that there was a series of “known steps taken by President Barack Obama’s administration in its last months to undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and, later, his new administration.”

If Mr. Trump was motivated to take to Twitter after reading the Breitbart article or listening to Mr. Levin, he was using a presidential megaphone to spread dark theories of a broad conspiracy aimed at undermining his presidential ambitions, and later his presidency.

Even with the Breitbart article circulating, several of Mr. Trump’s advisers were stunned by the president’s morning Twitter outburst. Those advisers said they were uncertain about what specifically Mr. Trump was referring to; one surmised that he may also have been referring to a months-old news report about a secret surveillance warrant for communications at his New York offices.

One senior law enforcement official from the Obama administration, who has direct knowledge of the F.B.I. investigation into Russia and of government wiretapping, said that it was “100 percent untrue” that the government had wiretapped Mr. Trump. The official, who asked for anonymity to discuss matters related to investigations and intelligence, said the White House owed the American people an explanation for the president’s allegations.

Ben Rhodes, a former top national security aide to Mr. Obama, said in a Twitter message directed at Mr. Trump on Saturday that “no president can order a wiretap” and added, “Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are moving forward with their own investigations into Russia’s efforts to influence the election, and they have said they will examine links between Mr. Trump’s associates and the Russians.

Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, said on Friday that he believed there were “transcripts” that would help document those contacts, though he said he had not yet seen them.

Photo

Mr. Trump claimed the Obama administration ordered the phoned at his building in New York tapped. CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

“There are transcripts that provide very helpful, very critical insights into whether or not Russian intelligence or senior Russian political leaders — including Vladimir Putin — were cooperating, were colluding, with the Trump campaign at the highest levels to influence the outcome of our election,” Mr. Coons told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC. “I believe they exist.”

In a written statement on Saturday, a spokesman for Mr. Coons said that the senator “did not imply that he is aware of transcripts indicating collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” The spokesman, Sean Coit, said Mr. Coons “simply stated that a full review of all relevant transcripts and intelligence intercepts is necessary to determine if collusion took place.”

The New York Times reported in January that among the associates whose links to Russia are being scrutinized are Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign chairman; Carter Page, a businessman and foreign policy adviser to the campaign; and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative who said he was in touch with WikiLeaks at one point before it released a trove of emails from John D. Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, last August. Mr. Stone later said he had communicated with WikiLeaks through an intermediary.

Mr. Trump appeared on Saturday to suggest that warrants had been issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. He claimed that the Obama administration had once been “turned down by court” in its supposed efforts to listen in on conversations by Mr. Trump and his associates.

In the fall, the F.B.I. examined computer data showing an odd stream of activity between a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank, one of Russia’s biggest banks, whose owners have longstanding ties to Mr. Putin. While some F.B.I. officials initially believed that the computer activity indicated an encrypted channel between Moscow and New York, the bureau ultimately moved away from that view. The activity remains unexplained.

There is no confirmed evidence that the F.B.I. obtained a court warrant to wiretap the Trump Organization or was capturing communications directly from the Trump Organization.

During the transition, the F.B.I. — which uses FISA warrants to eavesdrop on the communications of foreign leaders inside the United States — overheard conversations between the Russian ambassador to the United States and Michael T. Flynn, whom Mr. Trump had named national security adviser.

Mr. Trump has pointedly and repeatedly questioned in conversations how it was that Mr. Flynn’s conversations were recorded, and wondered who could have issued a warrant.

After The Washington Post reported that Mr. Flynn and the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, had discussed sanctions that the Obama administration had just imposed on Russia, Mr. Flynn was pushed out of his post by the White House because he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of the calls.

The Breitbart article cited mainstream news reports and concluded — going beyond the public record — that the Obama administration had “obtained authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the N.S.A. rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government.”

Mr. Levin, a day earlier, railed about what he called a “much bigger scandal,” claiming — again with no evidence — that Mr. Obama and his aides had used “the instrumentalities of the federal government, intelligence activity, to surveil members of the Trump campaign and put that information out in the public.”

Several senior members of Mr. Trump’s White House staff, including his spokesman, Sean Spicer, did not respond to an email requesting on-the-record responses to more than a half-dozen questions about Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts.

Representative Adam B. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, denounced the “willingness of the nation’s chief executive to make the most outlandish and destructive claims without providing a scintilla of evidence to support them.”

Even some Republican lawmakers questioned Mr. Trump’s accusations. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska issued a statement demanding that the president reveal everything he knows about any wiretaps or warrants.

“The president today made some very serious allegations, and the informed citizens that a republic requires deserve more information,” Mr. Sasse said, adding that “we are in the midst of a civilization-warping crisis of public trust.”

Taping calls seems to hold a spot in Mr. Trump’s consciousness. He spent many years taping his own phone calls as a businessman. During the campaign, Mr. Trump’s staff members told reporters they feared that their offices were being bugged.

But Mr. Trump’s latest allegations represented a sharp change in his tone toward Mr. Obama.

The current president has frequently spoken about how much he admires Mr. Obama for the gracious way he handled the transition. But since taking office, Mr. Trump has frequently clashed with the intelligence agencies over the Russia inquiries, including efforts to examine the attempts by that country to influence the presidential election and the contacts between Mr. Trump’s aides and the Russian government.

In recent days, the president has appeared increasingly angry about leaks of information that he believes are coming from law enforcement and intelligence officials who are holdovers or recently departed from Mr. Obama’s administration.

People close to Mr. Trump have described him as determined to stop those people from sabotaging his administration. One adviser said on Friday that the president had been discussing a possible plan to try to prevent leaks from occurring. The adviser declined to elaborate on what the plan might entail.

Two senior administration officials said Mr. Trump had tried for two days to find a way to be on an offensive footing against the news articles resulting from leaks; one person close to Mr. Trump said his explosive claim was a result of that.

Mr. Trump’s mood was said to be volatile even before he departed for his weekend in Florida, with an episode in which he vented at his staff. The president’s ire was trained in particular on Mr. McGahn, his White House counsel, according to two people briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump was said to be frustrated about the decision by Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, to recuse himself from participating in any investigations of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mr. Trump has said there were no such connections. Mr. Trump, who did not learn that Mr. Sessions was recusing himself until after the decision was made, told aides that it gave an opening to his critics on the Russia issue.

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Wahhabism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wahhabism (Arabic: الوهابية‎‎, al-Wahhābiya(h)) or Wahhabi mission[1] (/wəˈhɑːbi, wɑː/;[2] Arabic: الدعوة الوهابية‎‎, ad-Da’wa al-Wahhābiya(h) ) is a sect,[3][4][5][6] religious movement or branch of Islam.[7][8][9][10] It has been variously described as “ultraconservative”,[11] “austere”,[7] “fundamentalist”,[12] or “puritan(ical)”[13][14] and as an Islamic “reform movement” to restore “pure monotheistic worship” (tawhid) by devotees,[15] and as a “deviant sectarian movement”,[15] “vile sect”[16] and a distortion of Islam by its opponents.[7][17] The term Wahhabi(ism) is often used polemically and adherents commonly reject its use, preferring to be called Salafi or muwahhid.[18][19][20] The movement emphasises the principle oftawhid[21] (the “uniqueness” and “unity” of God).[22] It claims its principal influences to be Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780–855) and Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), both belonging to the Hanbalischool,[23] although the extent of their actual influence upon the tenets of the movement has been contested.[24][25]

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and activist, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[26] He started a reform movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[27] advocating a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the intercession of saints, and the visitation to their tombs, both of which were practiced all over the Islamic world, but which he considered idolatry (shirk), impurities and innovations in Islam (Bid’ah).[9][22] Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader Muhammad bin Saudoffering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement mean “power and glory” and rule of “lands and men.”[28]

The alliance between followers of ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud’s successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a durable one. The House of Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab’s teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam[7][29] in Saudi Arabia.[30] With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports[31] (and other factors[32]), the movement underwent “explosive growth” beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.[7] The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism.[33]

The “boundaries” of Wahhabism have been called “difficult to pinpoint”,[34] but in contemporary usage, the terms Wahhabi and Salafi are often used interchangeably, and they are considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[35][36][37] However, Wahhabism has also been called “a particular orientation within Salafism”,[38] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.[39][40] Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).[30][41]

The majority of mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide strongly disagree with the interpretation of Wahhabism and consider it a “vile sect”.[16] Islamic scholars, including those from the Al-Azhar University, regularly denounce Wahhabism with terms such as “Satanic faith”.[16] Wahhabism has been accused of being “a source of global terrorism”,[42][43]inspiring the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),[44] and for causing disunity in Muslim communities by labelling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates[45] (takfir) and justifying their killing.[46][47][48] It has also been criticized for the destruction of historic shrines of saints, mausoleums, and other Muslim and non-Muslim buildings and artifacts.[49][50][51]

Definitions and etymology

Definitions

Some definitions or uses of the term Wahhabi Islam include:

  • “a corpus of doctrines”, and “a set of attitudes and behavior, derived from the teachings of a particularly severe religious reformist who lived in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century” (Gilles Kepel)[52]
  • “pure Islam” (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters’ definition),[17] that does not deviate from Sharia law in any way and should be called Islam and not Wahhabism. (King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the King of the Saudi Arabia)[53]
  • “a misguided creed that fosters intolerance, promotes simplistic theology, and restricts Islam’s capacity for adaption to diverse and shifting circumstances” (David Commins, paraphrasing opponents’ definition)[17]
  • “a conservative reform movement … the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, and [which] has influenced Islamic movements worldwide” (Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world)[54]
  • “a sect dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar” with footholds in “India, Africa, and elsewhere”, with a “steadfastly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in the tradition of Ibn Hanbal” (Cyril Glasse)[21]
  • an “eighteenth-century reformist/revivalist movement for sociomoral reconstruction of society”, “founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab” (Oxford Dictionary of Islam).[55]
  • originally a “literal revivification” of Islamic principles that ignored the spiritual side of Islam, that “rose on the wings of enthusiasm апd longing and then sank down into the lowlands of pharisaic self-righteousness” after gaining power and losing its “longing and humility” (Muhammad Asad)[56]
  • “a political trend” within Islam that “has been adopted for power-sharing purposes”, but cannot be called a sect because “It has no special practices, nor special rites, and no special interpretation of religion that differ from the main body of Sunni Islam” (Abdallah Al Obeid, the former dean of the Islamic University of Medina and member of the Saudi Consultative Council)[34]
  • “the true salafist movement”. Starting out as a theological reform movement, it had “the goal of calling (da’wa) people to restore the ‘real’ meaning of tawhid (oneness of God or monotheism) and to disregard and deconstruct ‘traditional’ disciplines and practices that evolved in Islamic history such as theology and jurisprudence and the traditions of visiting tombs and shrines of venerated individuals.” (Ahmad Moussalli)[57]
  • a term used by opponents of Salafism in hopes of besmirching that movement by suggesting foreign influence and “conjuring up images of Saudi Arabia”. The term is “most frequently used in countries where Salafis are a small minority” of the Muslim community but “have made recent inroads” in “converting” the local population to Salafism. (Quintan Wiktorowicz)[18]
  • a blanket term used inaccurately to refer to “any Islamic movement that has an apparent tendency toward misogyny, militantism, extremism, or strict and literal interpretation of the Quran and hadith” (Natana J. DeLong-Bas)[58]

Etymology

According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who “first labelled Abdul Wahhab’s school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism”. The British also adopted it and expanded its use in the Middle East.[59]

Naming controversy: Wahhabis, Muwahhidun, and Salafis

Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term. Ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person’s name to label an Islamic school.[18][46][60]

According to Robert Lacey “the Wahhabis have always disliked the name customarily given to them” and preferred to be called Muwahhidun (Unitarians).[61] Another preferred term was simply “Muslims” since their creed is “pure Islam”.[62] However, critics complain these terms imply non-Wahhabis are not monotheists or Muslims,[62][63] and the English translation of that term causes confusion with the Christian denomination (Unitarian Universalism).

Other terms Wahhabis have been said to use and/or prefer include ahl al-hadith (“people of hadith”), Salafi Da’wa or al-da’wa ila al-tawhid[64] (“Salafi preaching” or “preaching of monotheism”, for the school rather than the adherents) or Ahl ul-Sunna wal Jama’a (“people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah”),[38] Ahl al-Sunnah (“People of the Sunna”),[65] or “the reform or Salafi movement of the Sheikh” (the sheikh being ibn Abdul-Wahhab).[66] Early Salafis referred to themselves simply as “Muslims”, believing the neighboring Ottoman Caliphate was al-dawlah al-kufriyya (a heretical nation) and its self-professed Muslim inhabitants actually non-Muslim.[45][67][68][69] The prominent 20th-century Muslim scholar Nasiruddin Albani, who considered himself “of the Salaf,” referred to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s activities as “Najdi da’wah.”[70]

Many, such as writer Quinton Wiktorowicz, urge use of the term Salafi, maintaining that “one would be hard pressed to find individuals who refer to themselves as Wahhabis or organizations that use ‘Wahhabi’ in their title, or refer to their ideology in this manner (unless they are speaking to a Western audience that is unfamiliar with Islamic terminology, and even then usage is limited and often appears as ‘Salafi/Wahhabi’).”[18] A New York Timesjournalist writes that Saudis “abhor” the term Wahhabism, “feeling it sets them apart and contradicts the notion that Islam is a monolithic faith.”[71] Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for example has attacked the term as “a doctrine that doesn’t exist here (Saudi Arabia)” and challenged users of the term to locate any “deviance of the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of the Quran and Prophetic Hadiths“.[72][73] Ingrid Mattsonargues that, “‘Wahhbism’ is not a sect. It is a social movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islam of rigid cultural practices that had (been) acquired over the centuries.”[74]

On the other hand, according to authors at Global Security and Library of Congress the term is now commonplace and used even by Wahhabi scholars in the Najd,[9][75] a region often called the “heartland” of Wahhabism.[76]Journalist Karen House calls Salafi, “a more politically correct term” for Wahhabi.[77]

In any case, according to Lacey, none of the other terms have caught on, and so like the Christian Quakers, Wahhabis have “remained known by the name first assigned to them by their detractors.”[61]

Wahhabis and Salafis

Many scholars and critics distinguish between Wahhabi and Salafi. According to American scholar Christopher M. Blanchard,[78] Wahhabism refers to “a conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia,” while Salafiyya is “a more general puritanical Islamic movement that has developed independently at various times and in various places in the Islamic world.”[46]

However, many call Wahhabism a more strict, Saudi form of Salafi.[79][80] Wahhabism is the Saudi version of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders “are active and diligent” using their considerable financial resources “in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world.”[81] Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying “As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis”.[57]

Hamid Algar lists three “elements” Wahhabism and Salafism had in common.

  1. above all disdain for all developments subsequent to al-Salaf al-Salih (the first two or three generations of Islam),
  2. the rejection of Sufism, and
  3. the abandonment of consistent adherence to one of the four or five Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh).

And “two important and interrelated features” that distinguished Salafis from the Wahhabis:

  1. a reliance on attempts at persuasion rather than coercion in order to rally other Muslims to their cause; and
  2. an informed awareness of the political and socio-economic crises confronting the Muslim world.[82]

Hamid Algar and another critic, Khaled Abou El Fadl, argue Saudi oil-export funding “co-opted” the “symbolism and language of Salafism”, during the 1960s and 70s, making them practically indistinguishable by the 1970s,[83]and now the two ideologies have “melded”. Abou El Fadl believes Wahhabism rebranded itself as Salafism knowing it could not “spread in the modern Muslim world” as Wahhabism.[35]

History

The Wahhabi mission started as a revivalist movement in the remote, arid region of Najd. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Al Saud dynasty, and with it Wahhabism, spread to the holy cities of Meccaand Medina. After the discovery of petroleum near the Persian Gulf in 1939, it had access to oil export revenues, revenue that grew to billions of dollars. This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a “preeminent position of strength” in Islam around the world.[84]

In the country of Wahhabism’s founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a “trade-off” doctrinally objectionable actions such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.[85]

However, in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century several crises worked to erode Wahhabi “credibility” in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world – the November 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque by militants; the deployment of US troops in Saudi during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq; and the 9/11 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.[86]

In each case the Wahhabi establishment was called on to support the dynasty’s efforts to suppress religious dissent – and in each case it did[86] – exposing its dependence on the Saudi dynasty and its often unpopular policies.[87][88]

In the West, the end of the Cold War and the anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.[89]

Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

The founder of Wahhabism, Mohammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, was born around 1702-03 in the small oasis town of ‘Uyayna in the Najd region, in what is now central Saudi Arabia.[90] He studied in Basra,[91] in what is now Iraq, and possibly Mecca and Medina while there to perform Hajj, before returning to his home town of ‘Uyayna in 1740. There he worked to spread the call (da’wa) for what he believed was a restoration of true monotheistic worship (Tawhid).[92]

The “pivotal idea” of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching was that people who called themselves Muslims but who participated in alleged innovations were not just misguided or committing a sin, but were “outside the pale of Islam altogether,” as were Muslims who disagreed with his definition. [93]

This included not just lax, unlettered, nomadic Bedu, but Shia, Sunnis such as the Ottomans.[94] Such infidels were not to be killed outright, but to be given a chance to repent first.[95] With the support of the ruler of the town – Uthman ibn Mu’ammar – he carried out some of his religious reforms in ‘Uyayna, including the demolition of the tomb of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, one of the Sahaba (companions) of the prophet Muhammad, and the stoning to death of an adulterous woman. However, a more powerful chief (Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr) pressured Uthman ibn Mu’ammar to expel him from ‘Uyayna.[citation needed]

Alliance with the House of Saud

Further information:

1744–1818

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after unification in 1932

The ruler of nearby town, Muhammad ibn Saud, invited ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab to join him, and in 1744 a pact was made between the two. [96] Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, while ibn Abdul Wahhab “would support the ruler, supplying him with ‘glory and power.'” Whoever championed his message, ibn Abdul Wahhab promised, “will, by means of it, rule the lands and men.” [28] Ibn Saud would abandon un-Sharia taxation of local harvests, and in return God might compensate him with booty from conquest and sharia compliant taxes that would exceed what he gave up.[97] The alliance between the Wahhabi mission and Al Saud family has “endured for more than two and half centuries,” surviving defeat and collapse.[96][98] The two families have intermarried multiple times over the years and in today’s Saudi Arabia, the minister of religion is always a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family, i.e., a descendent of Ibn Abdul Wahhab.[99]

According to most sources, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab declared jihad against neighboring tribes, whose practices of praying to saints, making pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, he believed to be the work of idolaters/unbelievers.[47][63][95][100]

One academic disputes this. According to Natana DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was restrained in urging fighting with perceived unbelievers, preferring to preach and persuade rather than attack.[101] [102][103] It was only after the death of Muhammad bin Saud in 1765 that, according to DeLong-Bas, Muhammad bin Saud’s son and successor, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, used a “convert or die” approach to expand his domain,[104] and when Wahhabis adopted the takfir ideas of Ibn Taymiyya.[105]

However, various scholars, including Simon Ross Valentine, have strongly rejected such a view of Wahhab, arguing that “the image of Abd’al-Wahhab presented by DeLong-Bas is to be seen for what it is, namely a re-writing of history that flies in the face of historical fact”.[106] Conquest expanded through the Arabian Peninsula until it conquered Mecca and Medina the early 19th century.[107][108] It was at this time, according to DeLong-Bas, that Wahhabis embraced the ideas of Ibn Taymiyya, which allow self-professed Muslim who do not follow Islamic law to be declared non-Muslims – to justify their warring and conquering the Muslim Sharifs of Hijaz.[105]

One of their most noteworthy and controversial attacks was on Karbala in 1802. There, according to a Wahhabi chronicler `Uthman b. `Abdullah b. Bishr: “The Muslims” – as the Wahhabis referred to themselves, not feeling the need to distinguish themselves from other Muslims, since they did not believe them to be Muslims –

scaled the walls, entered the city … and killed the majority of its people in the markets and in their homes. [They] destroyed the dome placed over the grave of al-Husayn [and took] whatever they found inside the dome and its surroundings … the grille surrounding the tomb which was encrusted with emeralds, rubies, and other jewels … different types of property, weapons, clothing, carpets, gold, silver, precious copies of the Qur’an.”[109][110]

Wahhabis also massacred the male population and enslaved the women and children of the city of Ta’if in Hejaz in 1803.[111]

Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud managed to establish his rule over southeastern Syria between 1803 and 1812. However, Egyptian forces acting under the Ottoman Empire and led by Ibrahim Pasha, were eventually successful in counterattacking in a campaign starting from 1811.[112] In 1818 they defeated Al-Saud, leveling the capital Diriyah, executing the Al-Saud emir, exiling the emirate’s political and religious leadership,[98][113] and otherwise unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out not just the House of Saud but the Wahhabi mission as well.[114] A second, smaller Saudi state (Emirate of Nejd) lasted from 1819–1891. Its borders being within Najd, Wahhabism was protected from further Ottoman or Egyptian campaigns by the Najd’s isolation, lack of valuable resources, and that era’s limited communication and transportation.[115]

By the 1880s, at least among townsmen if not Bedouin, Wahhabi strict monotheistic doctrine had become the native religious culture of the Najd.[116]

Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud

Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia

Further information: History of Saudi Arabia

In 1901, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendent of Muhammad ibn Saud,[117] began a military campaign that led to the conquest of much of the Arabian peninsula and the founding of present-day Saudi Arabia, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.[118] The result that safeguarded the vision of Islam-based on the tenets of Islam as preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhabwas not bloodless, as 40,000 public executions and 350,000 amputations were carried out during its course, according to some estimates.[119][120][121][122]

Under the reign of Abdul-Aziz, “political considerations trumped religious idealism” favored by pious Wahhabis. His political and military success gave the Wahhabi ulama control over religious institutions with jurisdiction over considerable territory, and in later years Wahhabi ideas formed the basis of the rules and laws concerning social affairs, and shaped the kingdom’s judicial and educational policies.[123] But protests from Wahhabi ulama were overridden when it came to consolidating power in Hijaz and al-Hasa, avoiding clashes with the great power of the region (Britain), adopting modern technology, establishing a simple governmental administrative framework, or signing an oil concession with the U.S. [124] The Wahhabi ulama also issued a fatwa affirming that “only the ruler could declare a jihad”[125] (a violation of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching according to DeLong-Bas.[102])

As the realm of Wahhabism expanded under Ibn Saud into areas of Shiite (Al-Hasa, conquered in 1913) and pluralistic Muslim tradition (Hejaz, conquered in 1924–25), Wahhabis pressed for forced conversion of Shia and an eradication of (what they saw as) idolatry. Ibn Saud sought “a more relaxed approach”.[126]

In al-Hasa, efforts to stop the observance of Shia religious holidays and replace teaching and preaching duties of Shia clerics with Wahhabi, lasted only a year.[127]

In Mecca and Jeddah (in Hejaz) prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, playing cards and listening to music on the phonograph was looser than in Najd. Over the objections of Wahhabi ulama, Ibn Saud permitted both the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia at hajj.[128]

Enforcement of the commanding right and forbidding wrong, such as enforcing prayer observance and separation of the sexes, developed a prominent place during the second Saudi emirate, and in 1926 a formal committee for enforcement was founded in Mecca.[21][129] [130]

While Wahhabi warriors swore loyalty to monarchs of Al Saud, there was one major rebellion. King Abdul-Aziz put down rebelling Ikhwan – nomadic tribesmen turned Wahhabi warriors who opposed his “introducing such innovations as telephones, automobiles, and the telegraph” and his “sending his son to a country of unbelievers (Egypt)”. [131] Britain had aided Abdul-Aziz, and when the Ikhwan attacked the British protectorates of Transjordan,Iraq and Kuwait, as a continuation of jihad to expand the Wahhabist realm, Abdul-Aziz struck, killing hundreds before the rebels surrendered in 1929.[132]

Connection with the outside

Before Abdul-Aziz, during most of the second half of the 19th century, there was a strong aversion in Wahhabi lands to mixing with “idolaters” (which included most of the Muslim world). Voluntary contact was considered by Wahhabi clerics to be at least a sin, and if one enjoyed the company of idolaters, and “approved of their religion”, an act of unbelief.[133] Travel outside the pale of Najd to the Ottoman lands “was tightly controlled, if not prohibited altogether”.[134]

Over the course of its history, however, Wahhabism has become more accommodating towards the outside world.[135] In the late 1800s, Wahhabis found Muslims with at least similar beliefs – first with Ahl-i Hadith in India,[136]and later with Islamic revivalists in Arab states (one being Mahmud Sahiri al-Alusi in Baghdad).[137] The revivalists and Wahhabis shared a common interest in Ibn Taymiyya‘s thought, the permissibility of ijtihad, and the need to purify worship practices of innovation.[138] In the 1920s, Rashid Rida, a pioneer Salafist whose periodical al-Manar was widely read in the Muslim world, published an “anthology of Wahhabi treatises,” and a work praising the Ibn Saud as “the savior of the Haramayn [the two holy cities] and a practitioner of authentic Islamic rule”.[139][140]

In a bid “to join the Muslim mainstream and to erase the reputation of extreme sectarianism associated with the Ikhwan,” in 1926 Ibn Saud convened a Muslim congress of representatives of Muslim governments and popular associations.[141] By the early 1950s, the “pressures” on Ibn Saud of controlling the regions of Hejaz and al-Hasa – “outside the Wahhabi heartland” – and of “navigating the currents of regional politics” “punctured the seal” between the Wahhabi heartland and the “land of idolatry” outside.[142][143]

A major current in regional politics at that time was secular nationalism, which, with Gamal Abdul Nasser, was sweeping the Arab world. To combat it, Wahhabi missionary outreach worked closely with Saudi foreign policy initiatives. In May 1962, a conference in Mecca organized by Saudis discussed ways to combat secularism and socialism. In its wake, the World Muslim League was established.[144] To propagate Islam and “repel inimical trends and dogmas”, the League opened branch offices around the globe.[145] It developed closer association between Wahhabis and leading Salafis, and made common cause with the Islamic revivalist Muslim Brotherhood, Ahl-i Hadith and the Jamaat-i Islami, combating Sufism and “innovative” popular religious practices[144] and rejecting the West and Western “ways which were so deleterious of Muslim piety and values.”[146] Missionaries were sent to West Africa, where the League funded schools, distributed religious literature, and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. One result was the Izala Society which fought Sufism in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.[147]

An event that had a great effect on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia[148] was the “infiltration of the transnationalist revival movement” in the form of thousands of pious, Islamist Arab Muslim Brotherhood refugees from Egypt following Nasser’s clampdown on the brotherhood[149] (and also from similar nationalist clampdowns in Iraq[150] and Syria[151]), to help staff the new school system of (the largely illiterate) Kingdom.[152]

The Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology differed from the more conservative Wahhabism which preached loyal obedience to the king. The Brotherhood dealt in what one author (Robert Lacey) called “change-promoting concepts” like social justice, and anticolonialism, and gave “a radical, but still apparently safe, religious twist” to the Wahhabi values Saudi students “had absorbed in childhood”. With the Brotherhood’s “hands-on, radical Islam”, jihad became a “practical possibility today”, not just part of history.[153]

The Brethren were ordered by the Saudi clergy and government not to attempt to proselytize or otherwise get involved in religious doctrinal matters within the Kingdom, but nonetheless “took control” of Saudi Arabia’s intellectual life” by publishing books and participating in discussion circles and salons held by princes.[154] In time they took leading roles in key governmental ministries,[155] and had influence on education curriculum.[156] An Islamic university in Medina created in 1961 to train – mostly non-Saudi – proselytizers to Wahhabism,[157] became “a haven” for Muslim Brother refugees from Egypt.[158] The Brothers’ ideas eventually spread throughout the kingdom and had great effect on Wahhabism – although observers differ as to whether this was by “undermining” it[148][159] or “blending” with it.[160][161]

Growth

In the 1950s and 60s within Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi ulama maintained their hold on religious law courts, and presided over the creation of Islamic universities and a public school system which gave students “a heavy dose of religious instruction”.[162] Outside of Saudi the Wahhabi ulama became “less combative” toward the rest of the Muslim world. In confronting the challenge of the West, Wahhabi doctrine “served well” for many Muslims as a “platform” and “gained converts beyond the peninsula.”[162][163]

A number of reasons have been given for this success. The growth in popularity and strength of both Arab nationalism (although Wahhabis opposed any form of nationalism as an ideology, Saudis were Arabs, and their enemy the Ottoman caliphate was ethnically Turkish),[32] and Islamic reform (specifically reform by following the example of those first three generations of Muslims known as the Salaf);[32] the destruction of the Ottoman Empire which sponsored their most effective critics;[164] the destruction of another rival, the Khilafa in Hejaz, in 1925.[32]

Not least in importance was the money Saudi Arabia earned from exporting oil.[84]

Petroleum export era

See also: Petro-Islam

The pumping and export of oil from Saudi Arabia started during World War II, and its earnings helped fund religious activities in the 1950s and 60s. But it was the 1973 oil crisis and quadrupling in the price of oil that both increased the kingdom’s wealth astronomically and enhanced its prestige by demonstrating its international power as a leader of OPEC. By 1980, Saudi Arabia was earning every three days the income from oil it had taken a year to earn before the embargo.[165] Tens of billions of US dollars of this money were spent on books, media, schools, scholarships for students (from primary to post-graduate), fellowships and subsidies to reward journalists, academics and Islamic scholars, the building of hundreds of Islamic centers and universities, and over one thousand schools and one thousand mosques.[166][167] [168] During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a “preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam.”[84]

Afghanistan jihad

The “apex of cooperation” between Wahhabis and Muslim revivalist groups was the Afghan jihad.[169]

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Muslim Brother cleric with ties to Saudi religious institutions,[170] issued a fatwa[171] declaring defensive jihad in Afghanistan against the atheist Soviet Union, “fard ayn”, a personal (or individual) obligation for all Muslims. The edict was supported by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti (highest religious scholar), Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, among others.[172][173]

Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 35,000 individual Muslim volunteers went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and their Afghan regime. Thousands more attended frontier schools teeming with former and future fighters. Somewhere between 12,000 and 25,000 of these volunteers came from Saudi Arabia.[174] Saudi Arabia and the other conservative Gulf monarchies also provided considerable financial support to the jihad — $600 million a year by 1982.[175]

By 1989, Soviet troops had withdrawn and within a few years the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul had collapsed.[citation needed]

This Saudi/Wahhabi religious triumph further stood out in the Muslim world because many Muslim-majority states (and the PLO) were allied with the Soviet Union and did not support the Afghan jihad.[176] But many jihad volunteers (most famously Osama bin Laden) returning home to Saudi and elsewhere were often radicalized by Islamic militants who were “much more extreme than their Saudi sponsors.”[176]

“Erosion” of Wahhabism

Grand Mosque seizure

Main article: Grand Mosque Seizure

In 1979, 400–500 Islamist insurgents, using smuggled weapons and supplies, took over the Grand mosque in Mecca, called for an overthrow of the monarchy, denounced the Wahhabi ulama as royal puppets, and announced the arrival of the Mahdi of “end time“. The insurgents deviated from Wahhabi doctrine in significant details,[177] but were also associated with leading Wahhabi ulama (Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz knew the insurgent’s leader, Juhayman al-Otaybi).[178] Their seizure of Islam‘s holiest site, the taking hostage of hundreds of hajj pilgrims, and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire during the two-week-long retaking of the mosque, all shocked the Islamic world[179] and did not enhance the prestige of Al Saud as “custodians” of the mosque.

The incident also damaged all the prestige of the Wahhabi establishment. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them.[180] But Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents.[181] In part as a consequence, Sahwa clerics influenced by Brethren’s ideas were given freer rein. Their ideology was also thought more likely to compete with the recent Islamic revolutionism/third-worldism of the Iranian Revolution.[181]

Although the insurgents were motivated by religious puritanism, the incident was not followed by a crackdown on other religious purists, but by giving greater power to the ulama and religious conservatives to more strictly enforce Islamic codes in myriad ways[182] – from the banning of women’s images in the media to adding even more hours of Islamic studies in school and giving more power and money to the religious police to enforce conservative rules of behaviour.[183][184][185]

1990 Gulf War

In August 1990 Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. Concerned that Saddam Hussein might push south and seize its own oil fields, Saudis requested military support from the US and allowed tens of thousands of US troops to be based in the Kingdom to fight Iraq.[186]

But what “amounted to seeking infidels’ assistance against a Muslim power” was difficult to justify in terms of Wahhabi doctrine.[187][188]

Again Saudi authorities sought and received a fatwa from leading Wahhabi ulama supporting their action. The fatwa failed to persuade many conservative Muslims and ulama who strongly opposed US presence, including the Muslim Brotherhood-supported the Sahwah “Awakening” movement that began pushing for political change in the Kingdom.[189] Outside the kingdom, Islamist/Islamic revival groups that had long received aid from Saudi and had ties with Wahhabis (Arab jihadists, Pakistani and Afghan Islamists) supported Iraq, not Saudi.[190]

During this time and later, many in the Wahhabi/Salafi movement (such as Osama bin Laden) not only no longer looked to the Saudi monarch as an emir of Islam, but supported his overthrow, focusing on jihad (Salafist jihadists) against the US and (what they believe are) other enemies of Islam.[191][192] (This movement is sometimes called neo-Wahhabi or neo-salafi.[57][193])

After 9/11

The 2001 9/11 attacks on Saudi’s putative ally, the US, that killed almost 3,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage[194] were assumed by many, at least outside the kingdom, to be “an expression of Wahhabism”, since the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.[195] A backlash in the formerly hospitable US against the kingdom focused on its official religion that came to be considered by “some … a doctrine of terrorism and hate.”[89]

Inside the kingdom, Crown Prince Abdullah addressed the country’s religious, tribal, business and media leadership following the attacks in a series of televised gatherings calling for a strategy to correct what has gone wrong. According to author Robert Lacey, the gatherings and later articles and replies by a top cleric, Abdullah Turki, and two top Al Saud princes, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, served as an occasion to sort out who had the ultimate power in the kingdom – the Al Saud dynasty and not the ulema. It was declared that it has always been the role of executive rulers in Islamic history to exercise power and the job of the religious scholars to advise, never to govern.[196]

In 2003–04, Saudi Arabia saw a wave of Al-Qaeda-related suicide bombings, attacks on Non-Muslim foreigners (about 80% of those employed in the Saudi private sector are foreign workers[197] and constitute about 30% of the country’s population[198]) and gun battles between Saudi security forces and militants. One reaction to the attacks was a trimming back of the Wahhabi establishment’s domination of religion and society. “National Dialogues” were held that “included Shiites, Sufis, liberal reformers, and professional women.”[199] In 2009, as part of what some called an effort to “take on the ulema and reform the clerical establishment”, King Abdullah issued a decree that only “officially approved” religious scholars would be allowed to issue fatwas in Saudi Arabia. The king also expanded the Council of Senior Scholars (containing officially approved religious scholars) to include scholars fromSunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence other than the Hanbali madhabShafi’i, Hanafi and Maliki schools.[200]

Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood have deteriorated steadily. After 9/11, the then interior minister Prince Nayef, blamed the Brotherhood for extremism in the kingdom,[201] and he declared it guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and “the source of all problems in the Islamic world”, after it was elected to power in Egypt.[202] In March 2014 the Saudi government declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”.[186]

In April 2016, Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious police, who enforce Islamic law on the society and known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice), from their power to follow, chase, stop, question, verify identification, or arrest any suspected persons when carrying out duties. They are asked to only report suspicious behaviour to regular police and anti-drug units, who will decide whether to take the matter further.[203][204]

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher

A widely circulated but discredited apocryphal description of the founding of Wahhabism[205][206] known as Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (other titles have been used),[207] alleges that a British agent named Hempher was responsible for creation of Wahhabism. In the “memoir”, Hempher corrupts Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, manipulating him[208] to preach his new interpretation of Islam for the purpose of sowing dissension and disunity among Muslims so that “We, the English people, … may live in welfare and luxury.”[207]

Practices

As a religious revivalist movement that works to bring Muslims back from what it believes are foreign accretions that have corrupted Islam,[209] and believes that Islam is a complete way of life and so has prescriptions for all aspects of life, Wahhabism is quite strict in what it considers Islamic behavior. As a result, it has been described as the “strictest form of Sunni Islam”.[210]

This does not mean however, that all adherents agree on what is required or forbidden, or that rules have not varied by area or changed over time. In Saudi Arabia the strict religious atmosphere of Wahhabi doctrine is visible in the conformity in dress, public deportment, and public prayer,[211] and makes its presence felt by the wide freedom of action of the “religious police“, clerics in mosques, teachers in schools, and judges (who are religious legal scholars) in Saudi courts.[212]

Commanding right and forbidding wrong

Wahhabism is noted for its policy of “compelling its own followers and other Muslims strictly to observe the religious duties of Islam, such as the five prayers”, and for “enforcement of public morals to a degree not found elsewhere”.[213]

While other Muslims might urge abstention from alcohol, modest dress, and salat prayer, for Wahhabis prayer “that is punctual, ritually correct, and communally performed not only is urged but publicly required of men.” Not only is wine forbidden, but so are “all intoxicating drinks and other stimulants, including tobacco.” Not only is modest dress prescribed, but the type of clothing that should be worn, especially by women (a black abaya, covering all but the eyes and hands) is specified.[75]

Following the preaching and practice of Abdul Wahhab that coercion should be used to enforce following of sharia, an official committee has been empowered to “Command the Good and Forbid the Evil” (the so-called “religious police”)[213][214] in Saudi Arabia – the one country founded with the help of Wahhabi warriors and whose scholars and pious[citation needed] dominate many aspects of the Kingdom’s life. Committee “field officers” enforce strict closing of shops at prayer time, segregation of the sexes, prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol, driving of motor vehicles by women, and other social restrictions.[215]

A large number of practices have been reported forbidden by Saudi Wahhabi officials, preachers or religious police. Practices that have been forbidden as Bida’a (innovation) or shirk and sometimes “punished by flogging” during Wahhabi history include performing or listening to music, dancing, fortune telling, amulets, television programs (unless religious), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play or writing fiction (both are considered forms of lying), dissecting cadavers (even in criminal investigations and for the purposes of medical research), recorded music played over telephones on hold or the sending of flowers to friends or relatives who are in the hospital.[121][216][217][218][219][220] Common Muslim practices Wahhabis believe are contrary to Islam include listening to music in praise of Muhammad, praying to God while visiting tombs (including the tomb of Muhammad), celebrating mawlid (birthday of the Prophet),[221] the use of ornamentation on or in mosques.[222] The driving of motor vehicles by women is allowed in every country but Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia[223] and the famously strict Taliban practiced dream interpretation is discouraged by Wahhabis.[224]

Wahhabism emphasizes “Thaqafah Islamiyyah” or Islamic culture and the importance of avoiding non-Islamic cultural practices and non-Muslim friendship no matter how innocent these may appear,[225][226] on the grounds that the Sunna forbids imitating non-Muslims.[227] Foreign practices sometimes punished and sometimes simply condemned by Wahhabi preachers as unIslamic, include celebrating foreign days (such as Valentine’s Day[228] orMothers Day[225][227]) shaving, cutting or trimming of beards,[229] giving of flowers,[230] standing up in honor of someone, celebrating birthdays (including the Prophet’s), keeping or petting dogs.[219] Wahhabi scholars have warned against taking non-Muslims as friends, smiling at or wishing them well on their holidays.[71]

Wahhabis are not in unanimous agreement on what is forbidden as sin. Some Wahhabi preachers or activists go further than the official Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars in forbidding (what they believe to be) sin. Several wahhabis have declared football forbidden for a variety of reasons including it is a non-Muslim, foreign practice, because of the revealing uniforms and because of the foreign non-Muslim language used in matches.[231][232] The Saudi Grand Mufti, on the other hand has declared football permissible (halal). [233]

Senior Wahhabi leaders in Saudi Arabia have determined that Islam forbids the traveling or working outside the home by a woman without their husband’s permission – permission which may be revoked at any time – on the grounds that the different physiological structures and biological functions of the different genders mean that each sex is assigned a different role to play in the family.[234] As mentioned before, Wahhabism also forbids the driving of motor vehicles by women. Sexual intercourse out of wedlock may be punished with beheading[235] although sex out of wedlock is permissible with a slave women (Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the product of “a brief encounter” between his father Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz – the Saudi defense minister for many years – and “his slave, a black servingwoman”),[236] or was before slavery was banned in Saudi Arabia in 1962.[237]

Despite this strictness, senior Wahhabi scholars of Islam in the Saudi kingdom have made exceptions in ruling on what is haram. Foreign non-Muslim troops are forbidden in Arabia, except when the king needed them to confront Saddam Hussein in 1990; gender mixing of men and women is forbidden, and fraternization with non-Muslims is discouraged, but not at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Movie theaters and driving by women are forbidden, except at the ARAMCO compound in eastern Saudi, populated by workers for the company that provides almost all the government’s revenue. The exceptions made at KAUST are also in effect at ARAMCO.[238]

More general rules of what is permissible have changed over time. Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud imposed Wahhabi doctrines and practices “in a progressively gentler form” as his early 20th-century conquests expanded his state into urban areas, especially the Hejab.[239] After vigorous debate Wahhabi religious authorities in Saudi Arabia allowed the use of paper money (in 1951), the abolition of slavery (in 1962), education of females (1964), and use of television (1965).[237] Music, the sound of which once might have led to summary execution, is now commonly heard on Saudi radios. [239] Minarets for mosques and use of funeral markers, which were once forbidden, are now allowed. Prayer attendance which was once enforced by flogging, is no longer.[240]

Appearance

The uniformity of dress among men and women in Saudi Arabia (compared to other Muslim countries in the Middle East) has been called a “striking example of Wahhabism’s outward influence on Saudi society”, and an example of the Wahhabi belief that “outward appearances and expressions are directly connected to one’s inward state.”[222] The “long, white flowing thobe” worn by men of Saudi Arabia has been called the “Wahhabi national dress”.[241]Red-and-white checkered or white head scarves known as Ghutrah are worn. In public women are required to wear a black abaya or other black clothing that covers every part of their body other than hands and eyes.

A “badge” of a particularly pious Salafi or Wahhabi man is a robe too short to cover the ankle, an untrimmed beard,[242] and no cord (Agal) to hold the head scarf in place.[243] The warriors of the Ikhwan Wahhabi religious militia wore a white turban in place of an agal.[244]

Wahhabiyya mission

Wahhabi mission, or Dawah Wahhabiyya, is to spread purified Islam through the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim. [245] Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudi government and charities on mosques, schools, education materials, scholarships, throughout the world to promote Islam and the Wahhabi interpretation of it. Tens of thousands of volunteers[174] and several billion dollars also went in support of the jihad against the atheist communist regime governing Muslim Afghanistan.[175]

Regions

Wahhabism originated in the Najd region, and its conservative practices have stronger support there than in regions in the kingdom to the east or west of it.[246][247][248] Glasse credits the softening of some Wahhabi doctrines and practices on the conquest of the Hejaz region “with its more cosmopolitan traditions and the traffic of pilgrims which the new rulers could not afford to alienate”.[239]

The only other country “whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed”, is the small gulf monarchy of Qatar,[249][250] whose version of Wahhabism is notably less strict. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar made significant changes in the 1990s. Women are now allowed to drive and travel independently; non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol and pork. The country sponsors a film festival, has “world-class art museums”, hosts Al Jazeera news service, will hold the 2022 football World Cup, and has no religious force that polices public morality. Qatari’s attribute its different interpretation of Islam to the absence of an indigenous clerical class and autonomous bureaucracy (religious affairs authority, endowments, Grand Mufti), the fact that Qatari rulers do not derive their legitimacy from such a class.[250][251]

Views

Adherents to the Wahhabi movement identify as Sunni Muslims.[252] The primary Wahhabi doctrine is affirmation of the uniqueness and unity of God (Tawhid),[22][253] and opposition toshirk (violation of tawhid – “the one unforgivable sin”, according to Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab).[254] They call for adherence to the beliefs and practices of the salaf (exemplary early Muslims). They strongly oppose what they consider to be heteredox doctrines, particularly those held by the vast majority of Sunnis and Shiites,[255] and practices such as the veneration of Prophets and saints in the Islamic tradition. They emphasize reliance on the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith, rejecting rationalistic theology (kalam). Wahhabism has been associated with the practice of takfir (labeling Muslims who disagree with their doctrines as apostates). Adherents of Wahhabism are favourable to derivation of new legal rulings (ijtihad) so long as it is true to the essence of the Quran, Sunnah and understanding of the salaf.[256]

Theology

In theology Wahhabism is closely aligned with the Athari (traditionalist) school, which represents the prevalent theological position of the Hanbali school of law.[257][258] Athari theology is characterized by reliance on the zahir (apparent or literal) meaning of the Quran and hadith, and opposition to the rational argumentation in matters of belief favored by Ash’ari andMaturidi theology.[259][260] However, Wahhabism diverges in some points of theology from other Athari movements.[261] These include a zealous tendency toward takfir, which bears a resemblance to the Kharijites.[261][262] Another distinctive feature is a strong opposition to mysticism.[261] Although it is typically attributed to the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, Jeffry Halverson argues that Ibn Taymiyyah only opposed what he saw as Sufi excesses and never mysticism in itself, being himself a member of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order.[261] DeLong-Bas writes that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not denounce Sufism or Sufis as a group, but rather attacked specific practices which he saw as inconsistent with the Quran and hadith.[263]

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab considered some beliefs and practices of the Shia to violate the doctrine of monotheism.[264] According to DeLong-Bas, in his polemic against the “extremistRafidah sect of Shiis”, he criticized them for assigning greater authority to their current leaders than to Muhammad in interpreting the Quran and sharia, and for denying the validity of the consensus of the early Muslim community.[264] He also believed that the Shia doctrine of infallibility of the imams constituted associationism with God.[264]

David Commins describes the “pivotal idea” in Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching as being that “Muslims who disagreed with his definition of monotheism were not … misguided Muslims, but outside the pale of Islam altogether.” This put Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching at odds with that of most Muslims through history who believed that the “shahada” profession of faith (“There is no god but God, Muhammad is his messenger”) made one a Muslim, and that shortcomings in that person’s behavior and performance of other obligatory rituals rendered them “a sinner”, but “not an unbeliever.”

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not accept that view. He argued that the criterion for one’s standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God. … any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God’s power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries, including his own brother.[265]

In Ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s major work, a small book called Kitab al-Tawhid, he states that worship in Islam is limited to conventional acts of worship such as the five daily prayers (salat); fasting for Ramadan (Sawm); Dua(supplication); Istia’dha (seeking protection or refuge); Ist’ana (seeking help), and Istigatha to Allah (seeking benefits and calling upon Allah alone). Worship beyond this – making du’a or tawassul – are acts of shirk and in violation of the tenets of Tawhid (montheism).[266][page needed][267]

Ibn Abd al-Wahahb’s justification for considering majority of Muslims of Arabia to be unbelievers, and for waging war on them, can be summed up as his belief that the original pagans the prophet Muhammad fought “affirmed that God is the creator, the sustainer and the master of all affairs; they gave alms, they performed pilgrimage and they avoided forbidden things from fear of God”. What made them pagans whose blood could be shed and wealth plundered was that “they sacrificed animals to other beings; they sought the help of other beings; they swore vows by other beings.” Someone who does such things even if their lives are otherwise exemplary is not a Muslim but an unbeliever (as Ibn Abd al-Wahahb believed). Once such people have received the call to “true Islam”, understood it and then rejected it, their blood and treasure are forfeit.[268][269]

This disagreement between Wahhabis and non-Wahhabi Muslims over the definition of worship and monotheism has remained much the same since 1740, according to David Commins,[265] although, according to Saudi writer and religious television show host Abdul Aziz Qassim, as of 2014, “there are changes happening within the [Wahhabi] doctrine and among its followers.”[53]

According to another source, defining aspects of Wahhabism include a very literal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah and a tendency to reinforce local practices of the Najd.[270]

Whether the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included the need for social renewal and “plans for socio-religious reform of society” in the Arabian Peninsula, rather than simply a return to “ritual correctness and moral purity”, is disputed.[271][272]

Jurisprudence (fiqh)

Of the four major sources in Sunni fiqh – the Quran, the Sunna, consensus (ijma), and analogical reasoning (qiyas) – Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s writings emphasized the Quran and Sunna. He used ijma only “in conjunction with its corroboration of the Quran and hadith”[273] (and giving preference to the ijma of Muhammad’s companions rather than the ijma of legal specialists after his time), and qiyas only in cases of extreme necessity.[274] He rejected deference to past juridical opinion (taqlid) in favor of independent reasoning (ijtihad), and opposed using local customs.[275] He urged his followers to “return to the primary sources” of Islam in order “to determine how the Quran and Muhammad dealt with specific situations”,[276] when using ijtihad. According to Edward Mortimer, it was imitation of past juridical opinion in the face of clear contradictory evidence from hadith or Qur’anic text that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab condemned.[277] Natana DeLong-Bas writes that the Wahhabi tendency to consider failure to abide by Islamic law as equivalent to apostasy was based on the ideology of Ibn Taymiyya rather than Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s preaching and emerged after the latter’s death.[278]

According to an expert on law in Saudi Arabia (Frank Vogel), Ibn Abd al-Wahhab himself “produced no unprecedented opinions”. The “Wahhabis’ bitter differences with other Muslims were not over fiqh rules at all, but over aqida, or theological positions”.[279] Scholar David Cummings also states that early disputes with other Muslims did not center on fiqh, and that the belief that the distinctive character of Wahhabism stems from Hanbali legal thought is a “myth”.[280]

Some scholars are ambivalent as to whether Wahhabis belong to the Hanbali legal school. The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World maintains Wahhabis “rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Qur’an and the hadith”.[281] Cyril Glasse’s New Encyclopedia of Islam states that “strictly speaking”, Wahhabis “do not see themselves as belonging to any school,”[282] and that in doing so they correspond to the ideal aimed at by Ibn Hanbal, and thus they can be said to be of his ‘school’.[283] [284] According to DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab never directly claimed to be a Hanbali jurist, warned his followers about the dangers of adhering unquestionably to fiqh, and did not consider “the opinion of any law school to be binding.”[285] He did, however, follow the Hanbali methodology of judging everything not explicitly forbidden to be permissible, avoiding the use of analogical reasoning, and taking public interest and justice into consideration.[285]

Loyalty and disassociation

According to various sources—scholars,[47][286][287] [288] [289][290] former Saudi students, [291] Arabic-speaking/reading teachers who have had access to Saudi text books, [292] and journalists[293] – Ibn `Abd al Wahhab and his successors preach that theirs is the one true form of Islam. According to a doctrine known as al-wala` wa al-bara` (literally, “loyalty and disassociation”), Abd al-Wahhab argued that it was “imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or heretical Muslims”, and that this “enmity and hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims and heretical had to be visible and unequivocal”.[294][295] Even as late as 2003, entire pages in Saudi textbooks were devoted to explaining to undergraduates that all forms of Islam except Wahhabism were deviation,[292] although, according to one source (Hamid Algar) Wahhabis have “discreetly concealed” this view from other Muslims outside Saudi Arabia “over the years”.[287][296]

In reply, the Saudi Arabian government “has strenuously denied the above allegations”, including that “their government exports religious or cultural extremism or supports extremist religious education.”[297]

Politics

According to ibn Abdal-Wahhab there are three objectives for Islamic government and society: “to believe in Allah, enjoin good behavior, and forbid wrongdoing.” This doctrine has been sustained in missionary literature, sermons, fatwa rulings, and explications of religious doctrine by Wahhabis since the death of ibn Abdal-Wahhab.[75] Ibn Abd al-Wahhab saw a role for the imam, “responsible for religious matters”, and the amir, “in charge of political and military issues”.[298] (In Saudi history the imam has not been a religious preacher or scholar, but Muhammad ibn Saud[299] and subsequent Saudi rulers.[64][300])

He also taught that the Muslim ruler is owed unquestioned allegiance as a religious obligation from his people so long as he leads the community according to the laws of God. A Muslim must present a bayah, or oath of allegiance, to a Muslim ruler during his lifetime to ensure his redemption after death.[75][301] Any counsel given to a ruler from community leaders or ulama should be private, not through public acts such as petitions, demonstrations, etc. [302] [303] (This strict obedience can become problematic if a dynastic dispute arises and someone rebelling against the ruler succeeds and becomes the ruler, as happened in the late 19th century at the end of the second al-Saud state.[304] Is the successful rebel a ruler to be obeyed, or a usurper?[305])

While this gives the king wide power, respecting shari’a does impose limits, such as giving qadi (Islamic judges) independence. This means not interfering in their deliberations, but also not codifying laws, following precedents or establishing a uniform system of law courts – both of which violate the qadi’s independence.[306]

Wahhabis have traditionally given their allegiance to the House of Saud, but a movement of “Salafi jihadis” has developed among those who believe Al Saud has abandoned the laws of God.[191][192] According to Zubair Qamar, while the “standard view” is that “Wahhabis are apolitical and do not oppose the State”, there is/was another “strain” of Wahhabism that “found prominence among a group of Wahhabis after the fall of the second Saudi State in the 1800s”, and post 9/11 is associated with Jordanian/Palestinian scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and “Wahhabi scholars of the ‘Shu’aybi‘ school”.[307]

Wahhabis share the belief of Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic dominion over politics and government and the importance of dawah (proselytizing or preaching of Islam) not just towards non-Muslims but towards erroring Muslims. However Wahhabi preachers are conservative and do not deal with concepts such as social justice, anticolonialism, or economic equality, expounded upon by Islamist Muslims.[308] Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s original pact promised whoever championed his message, ‘will, by means of it, rule and lands and men.'”[28]

Population

One of the more detailed estimates of religious population in the Arabic Gulf is by Mehrdad Izady who estimates, “using cultural and not confessional criteria”, only 4.56 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region, about 4 million from Saudi Arabia, (mostly the Najd), and the rest coming overwhelmingly from the Emirates and Qatar.[30] Most Sunni Qataris are Wahhabis (46.9% of all Qataris)[30] and 44.8% of Emiratis are Wahhabis,[30] 5.7% of Bahrainisare Wahhabis, and 2.2% of Kuwaitis are Wahhabis.[30] They account for roughly 0.5% of the world’s Muslim population.[309]

Notable leaders

There has traditionally been a recognized head of the Wahhabi “religious estate”, often a member of Al ash-Sheikh (a descendant of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) or related to another religious head. For example, Abd al-Latif was the son of Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan.

  • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) was the founder of the Wahhabi movement.[310][311]
  • Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1752–1826) was the head of Wahhabism after his father retired from public life in 1773. After the fall of the first Saudi emirate, Abd Allah went into exile in Cairo where he died.[310]
  • Sulayman ibn Abd Allah (1780–1818) was a grandson of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and author of an influential treatise that restricted travel to and residing in land of idolaters (i.e. land outside of the Wahhabi area).[310]
  • Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (1780–1869) was head of the religious estate in the second Saudi emirate.[310]
  • Abd al-Latif ibn Abd al-Rahman (1810–1876) Head of religious estate in 1860 and early 1870s.[310]
  • Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Latif Al ash-Sheikh (1848–1921) was the head of religious estate during period of Rashidi rule and the early years of King Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud.[310]
  • Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al ash-Sheikh (1893–1969) was the head of Wahhabism in mid twentieth century. He has been said to have “dominated the Wahhabi religious estate and enjoyed unrivaled religious authority.”[312]
  • Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya was a female military leader who defended Mecca against recapture by Ottoman forces.

In more recent times, a couple of Wahhabi clerics have risen to prominence that have no relation to ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

  • Abdul Aziz Bin Baz (1910–1999), has been called “the most prominent proponent” of Wahhabism during his time.[313]
  • Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen (1925–2001), another “giant”. According to David Dean Commins, no one “has emerged” with the same “degree of authority in the Saudi religious establishment” since their deaths.[313]

International influence and propagation

Explanation for influence

Khaled Abou El Fadl attributed the appeal of Wahhabism to some Muslims as stemming from

  • Arab nationalism, which followed the Wahhabi attack on the Ottoman Empire
  • Reformism, which followed a return to Salaf (as-Salaf aṣ-Ṣāliḥ);
  • Destruction of the Hejaz Khilafa in 1925;
  • Control of Mecca and Medina, which gave Wahhabis great influence on Muslim culture and thinking;
  • Oil, which after 1975 allowed Wahhabis to promote their interpretations of Islam using billions from oil export revenue.[314]

Scholar Gilles Kepel, agrees that the tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974–1980 period, provided the source of much influence of Wahhabism in the Islamic World.

… the financial clout of Saudi Arabia had been amply demonstrated during the oil embargo against the United States, following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. This show of international power, along with the nation’s astronomical increase in wealth, allowed Saudi Arabia’s puritanical, conservative Wahhabite faction to attain a preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam. Saudi Arabia’s impact on Muslims throughout the world was less visible than that of Khomeini]s Iran, but the effect was deeper and more enduring. …. it reorganized the religious landscape by promoting those associations and ulemas who followed its lead, and then, by injecting substantial amounts of money into Islamic interests of all sorts, it won over many more converts. Above all, the Saudis raised a new standard – the virtuous Islamic civilization – as foil for the corrupting influence of the West.[84]

Funding factor

Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upward of $100 billion”;[315] between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year);[316] and “at least $87 billion” from 1987–2007.[317]

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith”, throughout the Muslim World, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.[318] It extended to young and old, from children’s madrasas to high-level scholarship.[319] “Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[320] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[167] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools”.[316][321]

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew,[318] and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”[322]) to be perceived as the correct interpretation—or the “gold standard” of Islam—in many Muslims’ minds.[323][324]

Militant and political Islam

According to counter-terrorism scholar Thomas F. Lynch III, Sunni extremists perpetrated about 700 terror attacks killing roughly 7,000 people from 1981–2006.[325] What connection, if any, there is between Wahhabism and theJihadi Salafis such as Al-Qaeda who carried out these attacks, is disputed.

Natana De Long-Bas, senior research assistant at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argues:

The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam during the later years of bin Laden’s lifetime. However “unrepresentative” bin Laden’s global jihad was of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news took Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.[326]

Noah Feldman distinguishes between what he calls the “deeply conservative” Wahhabis and what he calls the “followers of political Islam in the 1980s and 1990s,” such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and later Al-Qaeda leaderAyman al-Zawahiri. While Saudi Wahhabis were “the largest funders of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters and other hard-line Islamists” during this time, they opposed jihadi resistance to Muslim governments and assassination of Muslim leaders because of their belief that “the decision to wage jihad lay with the ruler, not the individual believer”.[327]

Karen Armstrong states that Osama bin Laden, like most extremists, followed the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, not “Wahhabism”.[328]

More recently the self-declared “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been described as both more violent than al-Qaeda and more closely aligned with Wahhabism.

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.[329]

According to scholar Bernard Haykel, “for Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself.” Wahhabism is the Islamic State’s “closest religious cognate.”[329]

The Sunni militant groups worldwide that are associated with the Wahhabi ideology include: Al-Shabaab, Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS.[citation needed]

Criticism and controversy

Criticism by other Muslims

Among the criticism, or comments made by critics, of the Wahhabi movement are:

  • That it is not so much strict and uncompromising as aberrant,[330] going beyond the bounds of Islam in its restricted definition of tawhid (monotheism), and much too willing to commit takfir (declare non-Muslim and subject to execution) Muslims it found in violation of Islam[331] (in the second Wahhabi-Saudi jihad/conquest of the Arabian peninsula, an estimated 400,000 were killed or wounded according to some estimates[119][120][121][122]);
  • That bin Saud’s agreement to wage jihad to spread Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s teachings had more to do with traditional Najd practice of raiding – “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre” – than with religion;[332]
  • That it has no connection to other Islamic revival movements;[333]
  • That unlike other revivalists, its founder Abd ul-Wahhab showed little scholarship – writing little and making even less commentary;[334]
  • That its rejection of the “orthodox” belief in saints, which had become a cardinal doctrine in Sunni Islam very early on,[335][336][337] represents a departure from something which has been an “integral part of Islam … for over a millennium.”[338][339] In this connection, mainstream Sunni scholars also critique the Wahhabi citing of Ibn Taymiyyah as an authority when Ibn Taymiyyah himself adhered to the belief in the existence of saints;[340]
  • That its contention towards visiting the tombs and shrines of prophets and saints and the seeking of their intercession, violate tauhid al-‘ibada (directing all worship to God alone) has no basis in tradition, in consensus or inhadith, and that even if it did, it would not be grounds for excluding practitioners of ziyara and tawassul from Islam;[331]
  • That its use of Ibn Hanbal, Ibn al-Qayyim, and even Ibn Taymiyyah‘s name to support its stance is inappropriate, as it is historically known that all three of these men revered many aspects of Sufism, save that the latter two critiqued certain practices among the Sufis of their time. Those who criticize this aspect of Wahhabism often refer to the group’s use of Ibn Hanbal’s name to be a particularly egregious error, arguing that the jurist’s love for the relics of Muhammad, for the intercession of the Prophet, and for the Sufis of his time is well established in Islamic tradition;[341]
  • That historically Wahhabis have had a suspicious willingness to ally itself with non-Muslim powers (specifically America and Britain), and in particular to ignore the encroachments into Muslim territory of a non-Muslim imperial power (the British) while waging jihad and weakening the Muslim Caliphate of the Ottomans;[342][343] and
  • That Wahhabi strictness in matters of hijab and separation of the sexes has led not to a more pious and virtuous Saudi Arabia, but to a society showing a very un-Islamic lack of respect towards women.

Initial opposition

The first people to oppose Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab were his father Abd al-Wahhab and his brother Salman Ibn Abd al-Wahhab who was an Islamic scholar and qadi. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s brother wrote a book in refutation of his brother’s new teachings, called: “The Final Word from the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sayings of the Scholars Concerning the School of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab”, also known as: “Al-Sawa`iq al-Ilahiyya fi Madhhab al-Wahhabiyya” (“The Divine Thunderbolts Concerning the Wahhabi School”).[344]

In “The Refutation of Wahhabism in Arabic Sources, 1745–1932”,[344] Hamadi Redissi provides original references to the description of Wahhabis as a divisive sect (firqa) and outliers (Kharijites) in communications between Ottomans and Egyptian Khedive Muhammad Ali. Redissi details refutations of Wahhabis by scholars (muftis); among them Ahmed Barakat Tandatawin, who in 1743 describes Wahhabism as ignorance (Jahala).

Shi’a opposition

Al-Baqi’ mausoleum reportedly contained the bodies of Hasan ibn Ali (a grandson ofMuhammad) and Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad).

In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabis under Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq and destroyed the tombs ofHusayn ibn Ali who is the grandson of Muhammad, and Ali (Ali bin Abu Talib), the son-in-law of Muhammad (see: Saudi sponsorship mentioned previously). In 1803 and 1804 the Saudis captured Mecca and Madinah and demolished various tombs of Ahl al-Bayt and Sahabah, ancient monuments, ruins according to Wahhabis, they “removed a number of what were seen as sources or possible gateways to polytheism or shirk” – such as the tomb of Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad. In 1998 the Saudis bulldozed and poured gasoline over the grave of Aminah bint Wahb, the mother of Muhammad, causing resentment throughout the Muslim World.[345][346][347]

Shi’a Muslims complain that Wahhabis and their teachings are a driving force behind sectarian violence and anti-Shia targeted killings in many countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen. Worldwide Saudi run, sponsored mosques and Islamic schools teach Wahhabi version of the Sunni Islam that labels Shia Muslims, Sufis, Christians, Jews and others as either apostates or infidels, thus paving a way for armed jihad against them by any means necessary till their death or submission to the Wahhabi doctrine. Wahhabis consider Shi’ites to be the archenemies of Islam.[348][349]

Wahhabism is a major factor behind the rise of such groups as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, while also inspiring movements such as the Taliban.[350][351][352]

Sunni opposition

The historical Ajyad Fortress of the Ottoman Empire above was razed in 2002 to in order to permit the construction of the Abraj Al Bait hotel complex in Mecca below.

One early rebuttal of Wahhabism, (by Sunni jurist Ibn Jirjis) argued that “Whoever declares that there is no god but God and prays toward Mecca is a believer”, supplicating the dead is permitted because it is not a form of worship but merely calling out to them, and that worship at graves is not idolatry unless the supplicant believes that buried saints have the power to determine the course of events. These arguments were specifically rejected as heretical by the Wahhabi leader at the time. [353]

The Syrian professor and scholar Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti criticises the Salafi movement in a few of his works.[354]

Malaysia’s largest Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council, has described Wahhabism as being against Sunni teachings, Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the National Fatwa Council, said Wahhabi followers were fond of declaring Muslims of other schools as apostates merely on the grounds that they did not conform to Wahhabi teachings.[355]

Among Sunni Muslims, the groups and organizations worldwide that oppose the Wahhabi ideology include: Al Ahbash, Al-Azhar, Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, Barelvi, Nahdlatul Ulama,Gülen movement, and Ansar dine.[citation needed]

The Sufi Islamic Supreme Council of America founded by the Naqshbandi Sufi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani classify Wahhabism as being extremist and heretical based on Wahhabism’s role as a terrorist ideology and labelling of other Muslims, especially Sufis as polytheists, a practice known as Takfir.[356][357][358][359]

Non-religious motivations

According to at least one critic, the 1744–1745 alliance between Ibn Abdul Wahhab and the tribal chief Muhammad bin Saud to wage jihad on neighboring allegedly false-Muslims, was a “consecration” by Ibn Abdul Wahhab of bin Saud tribe’s long standing raids on neighboring oases by “renaming those raids jihad.” Part of the Najd’s “Hobbesian state of perpetual war pitted Bedouin tribes against one another for control of the scarce resources that could stave off starvation.” And a case of substituting fath, “the ‘opening’ or conquest of a vast territory through religious zeal”, for the “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre.” [332]

Wahhabism in the United States

A study conducted by the NGO Freedom House found Wahhabi publications in mosques in the United States. These publications included statements that Muslims should not only “always oppose” infidels “in every way”, but “hate them for their religion … for Allah’s sake”, that democracy “is responsible for all the horrible wars… the number of wars it started in the 20th century alone is more than 130 wars,” and that Shia and certain Sunni Muslims were infidels.[360][361] In a response to the report, the Saudi government stated, “[It has] worked diligently during the last five years to overhaul its education system” but “[o]verhauling an educational system is a massive undertaking.”[362]

A review of the study by the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated[363] Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) complained the study cited documents from only a few mosques, arguing most mosques in the U.S. are not under Wahhabi influence.[364] ISPU comments on the study were not entirely negative however, and concluded:

American-Muslim leaders must thoroughly scrutinize this study. Despite its limitations, the study highlights an ugly undercurrent in modern Islamic discourse that American-Muslims must openly confront. However, in the vigor to expose strains of extremism, we must not forget that open discussion is the best tool to debunk the extremist literature rather than a suppression of First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.[364]

Concern has been expressed over the fact that U.S. university branches, like the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the Northwestern school of Journalism, housed in the wahabbi country of Qatar, are exposed to the extremist propaganda espoused by wahabist imams who preach at the Qatar Foundation mosque in Education City. Education City, a large campus where U.S. and European universities reside, hosted a series of religious prayers and lectures as part of a month-long annual Ramadan program in 2015. The prayers and lectures were held at the new lavish mosque in Doha’s Education City, which shares the same campus as prestigious schools in the U.S. like Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon. Among those who attended the lectures was a Saudi preacher who has described the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris as “the sequel to the comedy film of 9/11 “and another cleric who says, “Jews and their helpers must be destroyed.”[365] The mosque in education city has also been known to host extremist anti-semetic wahabbi preachers who speak against “Zionist aggressors” in their sermons and called upon Allah “to count them in number and kill them completely, do not spare a [single] one of them.”[365] There are further allegations which suggest that Qatar sent professors back to America for being Jewish[366] and that students attending American Universities in Qatar are required to dress in a manner that is respectful to Wahhabism.[367]

European expansion

There has been much concern, expressed in both American and European media and scholarship, over the fact that Wahhabi countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been financing mosques and buying up land all over Europe. Belgium, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy have all noted the growing influence that these Wahhabi countries have over territory and religion in Europe.[368]

The concern resonates at a local level in Europe as well. In 2016, the citizens of Brussels, Belgium overturned a 2015 decision to build a 600-person mosque next to the Qatari embassy. Fear largely emanates from the fact that Belgian citizens see the mosque as an opportunity for a Wahhabi country to exert control over Muslims in Europe, thus spreading the more extreme sect of Islam.[368]

Several articles have been written that list the Cork Islamic Cultural Center as an example of one of many properties throughout Europe, paid for by the Qatari government, in an effort to spread an extreme and intolerant form of Islam known as Wahhabism.[369][370]

The Assalam Mosque is located in Nantes, France was also a source on some controversy. Construction on the mosque began in 2009 and was completed in 2012. It is the largest mosque in its region in France. The mosque is frequently listed among examples of Qatar’s efforts to export Wahhabism, their extreme and often intolerant version of Islam, throughout Europe.[368][369]

Some of the initiatives of the Cultural Islamic Center Sesto San Giovanni in Italy, funded by Qatar Charity, have also raised concerns due to its ties to Wahhabbism. The Consortium Against Terrorist Finance (CATF) said that the mosque has a history of affiliation and cooperation with extremists and terrorists.[371] CATF notes that Qatar Charity “was named as a major financial conduit for al-Qaeda in judicial proceedings following the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania”, supported al-Qaeda operatives in Northern Mali, and was “heavily involved in Syria.”[371]

Munich Forum for Islam (MFI), also known as the Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (ZIEM), was another controversial initiative largely financed by the Wahhabi Gulf country of Qatar.[368] In 2013 German activists filed a lawsuit in opposition to the construction of the mosque. These activists expressed fear that the Qatari government aimed to build Mosques all over Europe to spread Wahhabism. But the government squashed the lawsuit. In addition to this 2014 ruling, another court ordered an anti-mosque protester to pay a fine for defaming Islam when the protester claimed that Wahhabi Islam is incompatible with democracy.[372]

The Islamic Cultural Center in Luxembourg was also funded by Qatar in what some note is an attempt by Qatar to spread Wahhabism in Europe.[373]

Destruction of Islam’s early historical sites

The Wahhabi teachings disapprove of “veneration of the historical sites associated with early Islam”, on the grounds that “only God should be worshiped” and “that veneration of sites associated with mortals leads to idolatry“.[374]However, critics point out that no Muslims venerate buildings or tombs as it is a shirk. Muslims visiting the resting places of Ahl al-Bayt or Sahabah still pray to Allah alone while remembering the Prophet’s companions and family members. Many buildings associated with early Islam, including mazaar, mausoleums and other artifacts have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia by Wahhabis from the early 19th century through the present day.[49][50] This practice has proved controversial and has received considerable criticism from Sufi and Shia Muslims and in the non-Muslim world.

Ironically, despite Wahhabi destruction of many Islamic, non-Islamic, and historical sites associated with the first Muslims, Prophet’s family, his companions and a strict prohibition of visiting such (including mosques), Saudis renovated the tomb of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, turning his birthplace into a major tourist attraction and an important place of visitation within the kingdom’s modern borders.[375]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism

Dore Gold

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dore Gold
דורי גולד
Dgold-05-master.jpg
11th Israel Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
1997–1999
Preceded by Gad Yaacobi
Succeeded by Yehuda Lancry
Personal details
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.

Dore Gold (Hebrew: דורי גולד‎‎, born 1953) is an Israeli diplomat who has served in various positions under several Israeli governments. He is the current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He was also an advisor to the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term in office. In May 2015, Netanyahu named him Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Early life

Dore Gold was born in 1953 in Hartford, Connecticut, in the United States, and was raised in a Conservative Jewish home. His primary education was spent at the Orthodox Yeshiva of Hartford.[1] In the 1970s, Gold attended Northfield Mount Hermon School (Class of 1971) and then enrolled in Columbia University. There Gold earned BA and MA in Political Science, and then a PhD in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies.[2]

He studied literary Arabic and specialized in International Law, and his doctoral dissertation was about Saudi Arabia. This research later formed the foundation for his 2003 New York Times bestseller, Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism. In the book, Gold argues that Saudi Arabia actively funds terrorism by supporting the enemies of the U.S. and attacking its allies.[3][4] Today, Gold lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Ofra, and his two children, Yael and Ariel.

Career

Dore Gold’s political career began in 1985 when Gold served as senior research associate at Tel Aviv University‘s Moshe Dayan Centre for Near East Studies. Later, he was appointed Director of the U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy Project at the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University and held this position from 1985 to 1996.[5]

Peace Negotiations

In 1991 Gold was an advisor to the Israeli delegation at the Madrid Peace Conference. From June 1996 to June 1997 he served as Foreign Policy Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[6] During the period in which Benjamin Netanyahu served as the head of the Israeli opposition, Gold was instrumental in forging the relationship between the Likud Party leadership and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in response to the strategic ties that were growing between Israel’s Labor government and the PLO under Yasser Arafat. Gold accompanied Netanyahu to meetings with the Jordanian leadership in 1994 and 1995 in London, Amman and in Aqaba. As the Foreign Policy Adviser under Netanyahu after the 1996 elections, Gold worked with the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and others in the Arab world. He was also involved in negotiations leading up to the Hebron Agreementand the Note for the Record.

East Jerusalem and the Oslo Accords

Gold himself has not written about the period in which he served as an envoy to the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world; nonetheless, a number of revelations have been disclosed by other authors. According to Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Gold and Netanyahu advisor Yitzhak Molcho were the first envoys of the newly elected Likud government to meet with Yasser Arafat in the Gaza Strip on June 27, 1996.[7] Dennis Ross relates to the “Abu-Mazen-Dore Gold” talks that ensued afterwards as a result of which the Palestinians closed down offices in East Jerusalem that Israel had argued were a violation of the Oslo Accords.[8] This was the price that Arafat had to pay for his first meeting with Netanyahu. It was a hard concession for the Palestinians, according to Ross, for it was viewed by them as a “symbolic retreat on East Jerusalem.”

Syria and the Golan Heights

On the Syrian negotiating track, former Israeli ambassador to the US, Itamar Rabinovich, describes how he concluded with Gold an understanding over the Monitoring Group for Southern Lebanon, which was followed by a direct discussion between Gold and the Syrian ambassador to the US, Walid Muallam.[9] According to the French journalist, Charles Enderline, Gold secured a commitment from Secretary of State Warren Christopher that the Rabin“deposit” on the future of the Golan Heights did not bind the State of Israel. This effort also included obtaining a new US commitment from the Clinton administration to the September 1975 Ford letter, in which it was stated that the US would give great weight to Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.[10] According to the Israeli Hebrew daily, Maariv, Christopher wrote this renewed commitment in a formal letter of assurances to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on September 19, 1996.[11]

Ambassador to the United Nations

From 1997 to 1999 Gold was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. In 1998 Gold served as a member of the Israeli delegation at the Wye River negotiations between Israel, the PLO, and then U.S. President Bill Clintonat the Wye River Plantation in Maryland.

President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

From 2000 to the present, Gold has been the president of the JCPA. Gold has much experience in US–Israel policy. His articles and books cover a wide variety of Israeli diplomacy such as: Jerusalem, the United Nations and its implications for Israel, nuclear Iran, and the United States’ relationship with Israel. One of the projects Gold has led at the JCPA is the concept of Defensible Borders for Israel.

Later life

Since 2000 Gold has served as president of the non-profit institute, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. From 2001 to 2003, Gold served as an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, most notably at the Aqaba Summit with President George W. Bush. During this period, Gold regularly appeared on US network television programs on behalf of the Sharon government, including Meet the Press, The Today Show, CNN’s Late Edition, as well as onFox and Friends. In July 2003, Gold testified as an expert before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on Saudi Arabia‘s alleged role in providing ideological and financial support for international terrorism.

Measures against Ahmadinejad

Since 2006 Gold led an international effort by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs to advocate that UN member states take legal measures against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on grounds that he violated the anti-incitement clauses of the 1948 Genocide Convention, with his repeated statements about “wiping Israel off the map.” Gold led a delegation to a conference held jointly with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the New York County Bar Association on December 14, 2006. Speakers included former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, and the US ambassador to the UN John Bolton. Senator Hillary Clinton sent a letter of support to the conference.

Gold led an Israeli delegation to a second conference at the British House of Commons on January 25, 2007 which was chaired by Lord David Trimble and supported by members of the British Labour Party and the Conservative Party. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the Israeli team. As a result of this effort, over 60 members of the House of Commons called for the indictment of Ahmadinejad. A third event organized by Gold and the International Association of Genocide Scholars was held on September 23, 2008 in Washington D.C. Speaking at the third conference was Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the UN, as well asSalih Mahmoud Osman, a member of the Sudanese Parliament and advocate for human rights in Darfur.[12]

The Doha Debates

In April 2009 Gold participated in the Doha Debates at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where he debated against the motion “this house believes that it is time for the USA to get tough on Israel” with fellow speakerHarvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Speakers for the motion were Avraham Burg, former Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and former Speaker of the Knesset and Michael Scheuer, former Chief of the CIA Bin Laden Issue Station. Gold and Dershowitz lost the debate, with 63% of the audience voting for the motion.[13]

Debate with Justice Richard Goldstone

Brandeis University invited Gold to debate Justice Richard Goldstone on November 5, 2009. The subject was the U.N. Gaza Report. Jeff Jacoby wrote in an opinion piece in the Boston Globe on November 7: “Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.N. brought facts and figures, maps and photographs, audio and video in English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Last night’s encounter marked the first time Goldstone publicly debated the report’s merits with a leading Israeli figure. It would not surprise me that he is in no hurry for a second.”[14]

Appearing at the International Criminal Court in the Hague

Ambassador Gold was invited to attend a roundtable meeting at the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, held on October 20, 2010. A total of eight specialists appeared and submitted papers. They discussed the Palestinian Authority’s declaration on January 22, 2009 recognizing the jurisdiction of the ICC, in accordance with an article in the Rome Statute, normally reserved for states. The PA was seeking the implicit recognition of the ICC Prosecutor that it already was a state.

Re-joining Netanyahu

It was announced in December 2013 that Gold would once again advise Benjamin Netanyahu. His purview will not include negotiations with the Palestinians, but will cover Israel’s relations with the U.S. and United Nations, as well as Iran policy.[15]

Director-General of the Foreign Ministry

On May 25, 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was also serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced Gold’s appointment as Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, subject to the cabinet’s approval. On October 13, 2016, Gold resigned from the Director-General’s position for personal reasons.[16]

Positions held

  • 1985–1996 – Senior research associate, Dayan Centre for Near East Studies. Director, US Foreign and Defense Policy Project at the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
  • 1991 – Advisor, Madrid Peace Conference.
  • 1996–1997 – Foreign policy advisor, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • 1997–1999 – Israeli ambassador, United Nations
  • 1998 – Israeli delegation, Wye River negotiations
  • 2000–Present – President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • 2002–2004 – Advisor, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Publications

Books

  • The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009). ISBN 1-59698-571-2
  • The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (ISBN 0786147849 / Publisher: Regnery, Blackstone Audiobooks / Date: Jan 2007)
  • Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos (Crown Forum, November, 2004). ISBN 1-4000-5475-3
  • Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Regnery, 2003). ISBN 0-89526-135-9
  • American Military Strategy in the Middle East: The Implications of the US Regional Command Structure (CENTCOM) For Israel (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense Publications), 1993.
  • Israel as an American Non-NATO Ally: Parameters of Defense and Industrial Cooperation (Boulder: Westview Press), 1992.

Selected articles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dore_Gold

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Douglas Preston — Impact — Videos

Posted on February 18, 2017. Filed under: Art, Blogroll, Books, Communications, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Culture, Entertainment, Family, Geology, Heroes, Homicide, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Literature, media, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Physics, Police, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Science, Security, Strategy, Success, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

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Impact by Douglas Preston–Audiobook Excerpt

Author Interview with Douglas Preston on his book, Blasphemy

Interview with Suspense Author Doug Preston

Douglas Preston: The Lost City of the Monkey God

Ask Amy: Ken Follett- Interview by Douglas Preston

Douglas Preston

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Douglas Preston
Born Douglas Jerome Preston
May 20, 1956 (age 60)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Occupation Novelist, journalist
Nationality American
Alma mater Pomona College
Genre Thriller, Techno-thriller, Adventure, Non-Fiction
Notable works Agent Pendergast Series, The Monster of Florence, Wyman Ford series, Gideon Crew series
Spouse Christine Preston
Relatives Richard Preston, David Preston
Website
www.prestonchild.com

Douglas Jerome Preston (born May 20, 1956) is an American author of techno-thriller and horror novels. He has written numerous novels, and although he is most well known for his collaborations with Lincoln Child (including the Agent Pendergast series and Gideon Crew series), he has also written six solo novels, primarily including the Wyman Ford series. He also has authored a number of non-fiction books on history, science, exploration, and true crime.

Life and career

Preston was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A graduate of the Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, Massachusetts, and Pomona College in Claremont, California, Preston began his writing career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

From 1978 to 1985, Preston worked for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City as a writer, editor, and manager of publications. He served as managing editor for the journal Curator and was a columnist for Natural History magazine.[1] In 1985 he published a history of the museum, Dinosaurs In The Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History, which chronicled the explorers and expeditions of the museum’s early days. The editor of that book at St. Martin’s Press was his future writing partner, Lincoln Child.[2] They soon collaborated on a thriller set in the museum titled Relic. It was subsequently made into a motion picture by Paramount Pictures starring Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, and Linda Hunt.

In 1986, Preston moved to New Mexico and began to write full-time. Seeking an understanding of the first moment of contact between Europeans and Native Americans in America, he retraced on horseback Francisco Vásquez de Coronado‘s violent and unsuccessful search for the legendary Seven Cities of Gold. That thousand mile journey across the American Southwest resulted in the book Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest. Since that time, Preston has undertaken many long horseback journeys retracing historic or prehistoric trails, for which he was inducted into the Long Riders’ Guild.[3] He has also participated in expeditions in other parts of the world, including a journey deep into Khmer Rouge-held territory in the Cambodian jungle with a small army of soldiers, to become the first Westerner to visit a lost Angkor temple. He was the first person in 3,000 years to enter an ancient Egyptian burial chamber in a tomb known as KV5 in the Valley of the Kings.[4] In 1989 and 1990 he taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. Currently, he’s an active member of the Authors Guild,[5] as well as the International Thriller Writers organization.[6]

Writing career

With his frequent collaborator Lincoln Child, he created the character of FBI Special Agent Pendergast, who appears in many of their novels, including Relic, The Cabinet of Curiosities, Brimstone, and White Fire. Additional novels by the Preston and Child team include Mount Dragon, Riptide, Thunderhead, and The Ice Limit. Later, the duo created the Gideon Crew series, which consists of Gideon’s Sword, Gideon’s Corpse, and The Lost Island.

For his solo career, Preston’s fictional debut was Jennie, a novel about a chimpanzee who is adopted by an American family. His next novel was The Codex, a treasure hunt novel with a style that was much closer to the thriller genre of his collaborations with Child. The Codex introduced the characters of Tom Broadbent and Sally Colorado. Tom and Sally return in Tyrannosaur Canyon, which also features the debut of Wyman Ford, an ex-CIA agent and (at the time) a monk-in-training. Following Tyrannosaur Canyon, Ford leaves the monastery where he is training, forms his own private investigation company, and replaces Broadbent as the main protagonist of Preston’s solo works. Ford subsequently returns in Blasphemy, Impact, and The Kraken Project.

In addition to his collaborations with Child and his solo fictional universe, Preston has written several non-fiction books of his own, mainly dealing with the history of the American Southwest. He has written about archaeology and paleontology for The New Yorker magazine and has also been published in Smithsonian, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Natural History, and National Geographic.[7][8][9][10][11]

In May, 2011, Pomona College conferred on Preston the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa).[12] He is the recipient of writing awards in the United States and Europe.[citation needed]

Involvement in the “Monster of Florence” case

Main article: Monster of Florence

In 2000, Preston moved to Florence, Italy with his young family and became fascinated with an unsolved local murder mystery involving a serial killer nicknamed the “Monster of Florence“. The case and his problems with the Italian authorities are the subject of his 2008 book The Monster of Florence, co-authored with Italian journalist Mario Spezi. The book spent three months on the New York Timesbestseller list and won a number of journalism awards in Europe and the United States.[citation needed] It is being developed into a movie by 20th Century Fox, produced by George Clooney. Clooney will play the role of Preston.[13][14]

Involvement in the Amanda Knox case

Preston has criticized the conduct of Italian prosecutor Giuliano Mignini[15] in the trial of American student Amanda Knox, one of three convicted, and eventually cleared,[16] of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in 2007. In 2009, Preston argued on 48 Hours on CBS that the case against Knox was “based on lies, superstition, and crazy conspiracy theories”.[17] In December 2009, after the verdict had been announced, he described his own interrogation by Mignini on Anderson Cooper 360° on CNN. Preston said of Mignini, “this is a very abusive prosecutor. He makes up theories. He’s … obsessed with satanic sex.”[18]

“Operation Thriller” USO Tour

In 2010, Preston participated in the first USO tour sponsored by the International Thriller Writers organization,[19] along with authors David Morrell, Steve Berry, Andy Harp, and James Rollins. After visiting with military personnel at National Navy Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the group spent several days in Kuwait and Iraq, marking “the first time in the USO’s 69-year history that authors visited a combat zone.”[20] Of the experience, Preston said, “As always, we learn a great deal from all of the amazing and dedicated people we meet.”[21]

Authors United

In 2014, during a disagreement over terms between Hachette Book Group and Amazon.com, Inc.,[22] Preston initiated an effort which became known as Authors United.[23] During the contract dispute, books by Hachette authors faced significant shipment delays, blocked availability, and reduced discounts on the Amazon website.[24] Frustrated with tactics he felt unjustly injured authors who were caught in the middle, Preston began garnering the support of like-minded authors from a variety of publishers. In the first open letter from Authors United, over 900 signatories urged Amazon to resolve the dispute and end the policy of sanctions, while calling on readers to contact CEO Jeff Bezos to express their support of authors.[25][26]Not long after, a second open letter, signed by over 1100 authors, was sent to Amazon’s board of directors asking if they personally approved the policy of hindering the sale of certain books.[27]

Describing the motivation behind the campaign, Preston explained: “This is about Amazon’s bullying tactics against authors. Every time they run into difficulty negotiating with a publisher, they target authors’ books for selective retaliation. The authors who were first were from university presses and small presses… Amazon is going to be negotiating with publishers forever. Are they really going to target authors every time they run into a problem with a publisher?”[28]

Bibliography

Novels

  • Preston, Douglas (1994). Jennie. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Tom Broadbent Novels

Wyman Ford Novels

Collaborations with Lincoln Child

Agent Pendergast series
Gideon Crew series
Short fiction
  • “Gone Fishing” from Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night (2006)
  • “Extraction” [eBook] (2012)
  • “Gaslighted: Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast” [eBook] (2014) [35]

Non-fiction

  • Dinosaurs In the Attic: An Excursion into the American Museum of Natural History (1986)
  • Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest in Pursuit of Coronado (1992) [36]
  • Talking to the Ground: One Family’s Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo (1996)
  • The Royal Road: El Camino Real from Mexico City to Santa Fe (1998)
  • Ribbons of Time: The Dalquest Research Site [photography by Walter W. Nelson, text by Preston] (2006)
  • The Monster of Florence: A True Story [with Mario Spezi] (2008)
  • Trial By Fury: Internet Savagery and the Amanda Knox Case [Kindle Single eBook] (2013)
  • Preston, Douglas (May 6, 2013). “The El Dorado machine : a new scanner’s rain-forest discoveries”. Our Far-Flung Correspondents. The New Yorker. 89 (12): 34–40.
  • The Black Place: Two Seasons [photography by Walter W. Nelson, essay by Preston] (2014)
  • The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story (2017)

See also

ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Preston

Impact (novel)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Impact
Impact-bookcover.jpg

Hardcover edition
Author Douglas Preston
Country United States
Language English
Series Wyman Ford
Genre Thriller, Science fiction
Publisher Forge Books
Publication date
January 5, 2010
Media type Print (hardback)
Pages 368 pp
ISBN 978-0-7653-1768-1
Preceded by Blasphemy
Followed by The Kraken Project

Impact is a science fiction thriller novel by American writer Douglas Preston, published on January 5, 2010 by Forge Books. The novel is the third book in the Wyman Ford series.[1][2] The book was reviewed on All Things Considered in February 2010.[citation needed]

Plot summary

Ex-CIA agent Wyman Ford returns to Cambodia to investigate the source of radioactive gemstones and uncovers an unusual impact crater. A young woman on the other side of the world photographs a meteoroid‘s passage in the atmosphere with her telescope and deduces that it must have struck on one of the islands just offshore from Round Pond, Maine. A NASA scientist analyzing data from the Mars Mapping Orbiter (MMO) spots unusual spikes in gamma ray activity. These threads intersect with discovery of an alien device that has apparently been on Deimos, one of the two moons of Mars, for at least 100 million years. Something has caused it to activate and fire a strangelet at Earth, setting off the events in the novel.

Timeline

The events in this novel follow those of The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon, and Blasphemy. As such, Wyman Ford is the protagonist once again (having appeared in Tyrannosaur Canyon and Blasphemy), and the character of Stanton Lockwood III (who debuted in Blasphemy) also returns.

See also

References

External links

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The Real Reason Hillary Clinton Lost — Adorable Deplorable Deviants (ADDs) Defeated Democrats — Narcissism Defeated Clinton — Videos

Posted on February 9, 2017. Filed under: Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Entertainment, Fraud, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, Movies, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Press, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Sociology, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Clinton: Trump supporters in ‘basket of deplorables…

Trump supporter leaves CNN anchor speechless

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Comic Relief “John Lovitz” Stand Up Comedy

Donald Trump Campares Hillary DNC to Jon Lovitz Comedy

Hillary Clinton lying for 13 minutes straight.

How to Identify a SOCIOPATH

7. Frequent and Compulsive Lying

Coming up:

10. Surface Charm and Glibness
9. Egoism and Grandiosity
8. High Sensation Seeker
7. Frequent and Compulsive Lying
6. No Guilt or Sense of Responsibility
5. Shallow Emotions
4. Empathy-free
3. Trivial Sexual Life
2. Conduct Problems Prior to Age 15
1. Sadism and Mind Games

The Sociopath

9 Ways Donald Trump Is A Sociopath

Hillary Clinton = Psychopath

Donald Trump = Sociopath

Is Donald Trump a Successful Psychopath?? (Use the Checklist!) The Psychopath Next Door

The Untruth About Donald Trump

The Truth About The Donald Trump Controversy

Why Donald Trump Won | Bill Mitchell and Stefan Molyneux

Victor Davis Hanson – The Mythologies of the 2016 Election

The language of lying — Noah Zandan

Psychopaths vs Sociopaths: What is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath?

The psychology of narcissism – W. Keith Campbell

Trump, Clinton – Narcissists? “Experts” Spew NONSENSE!

All Narcissists Are Pathological Liars

Trump: Narcissist in the White House?

Published on May 6, 2016

Full text: http://gulagbound.com/51301/how-bad-a…

Trump regards himself as omniscient, an authority on anything and everything, from aesthetics to ethics. He, therefore, lacks intellectual curiosity and regards outside advice as both superfluous and injurious (because it implies that he is less than perfect). He is likely to surround himself with timid yesmen and sycophantic acolytes and generate an impregnable echo chamber rather than a council of wise men and women.

Trump’s grasp of nuanced reality, weak as it already is, is likely to deteriorate further to the point of paranoid psychosis. Faced with opposition, however tenuous, he is likely to react by scapegoating and by inciting street or state violence against targeted groups. Trump is the state, so his enemies (anyone who as much as voices doubt or disagrees with him) is, by definition, an enemy of the state.

Owing to his self-perceived innate superiority, Trump regards himself as above and transcending laws made by lesser mortals. Laws are meant to trap and ensnare giants like him, to drag him down to the pedestrian level of mediocrity. He plays by the rules only when and if they accord with his predilections and self-interest.

Like all narcissists, Trump believes that he is universally loved, adored, and admired. He attributes this ostensible (and utterly delusional) blanket approbation to his effusive charm and irresistibility. He is firmly convinced that he can motivate people to transgress against their own moral convictions and to break the law, if necessary, just by the sheer force of his monumental personality. Trump idealizes and then rapidly devalues people, collectives, and institutions. Trump is in sempiternal flux: he is inconstant in his judgements, opinions, views, and fleeting attachments.

Trump is intellectually lazy, so he is a firm adherent of shortcuts and of “fake it till you make it”. It is a dangerous approach that led him to botch numerous business deals and inflict untold damage and suffering on thousands of people.

Trump is authoritarian in the worst sense of the word. In his disordered, chaotic mind, he is infallible (incapable of erring), omnipotent (can achieve anything if he just sets his mind to it), and omniscient (needs to learn nothing as he is the fount of all true, intuitive knowledge). This precludes any proper team work, orderly governance, institutional capacity, flow of authority and responsibility, and just plain structure. Trump is an artist, led by inconsistent and intermittent inspiration, not by reliable, old-fashioned perspiration. He is not a self-made man, but a self-conjured caricature of a self-made man. Trump is guided by his alleged inner divine wisdom. He is a malevolent guru and cult leader, not a politician or a statesman.

Ironically, Trump’s much trumpeted grandiosity is fragile because it is based on delusional and fantastic assumptions of perfection and intellectual brilliance which are hard to defend. Hence Trump’s relentless and compulsive pursuit of affirmation and adulation. He needs to be constantly idolized just to feel half human. Criticism and disagreement, however minor and well-intentioned, are perceived as unmitigated threats to the precarious house of cards that is Trump’s personality. Consequently, Trump is sadistically vindictive, aiming not just to counter such countervailing opinions regarding his Godlike status, but to deter and intimidate future critics.

Finally, aiming to disavow his own fragility and the indisputable fact that his public persona is nothing but a fabrication, Trump ostentatiously and volubly abhors and berates the weak, the meek, “losers”, “haters” (of which is a prime example), the disabled, women, minorities, and anyone else who might remind him by their very existence of how far from perfect and brilliant he is. The public Trump is about hatred, resentment, rage, envy, and other negative emotions because he is mercilessly driven by these very demons internally. Trump’s quotidien existence is a Kafkaesque trial in which he stands accused of being a mere, average, not-too-bright, mortal and is constantly found wanting and guilty as charged. His entire life is a desperate, last ditch attempt to prove wrong the prosecution in this never-ending courtroom drama.

How & Why Donald Trump Stole America. The Pathological / Malignant Narcissist. Expert

Donald Trump – Full Documentary of a Narcissistic Sociopath (Enhanced)

What is Deviance?

Deviance and Social Control YouTube

Perspectives on deviance: Differential association, labeling theory, and strain theory

Crime and Deviance: A Sociological Perspective

Introduction to Sociology – Deviance, Crime, and Social Control

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Chris Heffelfinger — Radical Islam in America: Salafism’s Journey from Arabia to the West — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Catholic Church, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Documentary, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Middle East, National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Rants, Raves, Religion, Religious, Shite, Speech, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The True Origins of Isis Ideology (Wahhabism/Salafism)

The birth of Wahhabism and the house of Saud

What is a Wahhabi and What is Wahhabism?

Wahhabism Explained

Wahhabism: The School of Ibn Taymiyyah – The Root of Terrorism?

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

100% Video Proof of Radical Muslim Terrorist Training Camps in America – Bill O’Reilly

Seymour Hersh’s Latest Bombshell: U.S. Military Undermined Obama on Syria with Tacit Help to Assad

Published on Dec 22, 2015

A new report by the Pulitzer-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh says the Joints Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Bashar al-Assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. Hersh reports the Joint Chiefs sent intelligence via Russia, Germany and Israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also claims the military even undermined a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joints Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the U.S. arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally in Moscow, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Turkey and Saudi Arabia over their support of extremist groups in Syria. Hersh joins us to detail his claims and respond to his critics.

British Empire Created Radical Islam

Published on Mar 29, 2016

The Salafist and jihadist ideology behind terror attacks in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino is a product of Wahhabism, an offshoot of Sunni Islam and the official religion of Saudi Arabia.

Prior to the 9/11 attacks Wahhabism had at best a marginal footprint in the United States. “80 percent of the 1,200 mosques operating in the US were constructed after 2001, more often than not with Saudi financing,” notes World Affairs. “As a result, Wahhabi influence over Islamic institutions in the US was considerable by 2003, according to testimony before the US Senate. Hundreds of publications, published by the Saudi government and its affiliates, and filled with intolerance toward Christians, Jews, and other Americans, had been disseminated across the country by 2006.”

The Saudis have spent billions to propagate the intolerant and hateful ideology of Wahhabism. “Between 1975 and 1987, the Saudis admit to having spent $48 billion or $4 billion per year on ‘overseas development aid,’ a figure which by the end of 2002 grew to over $70 billion (281 billion Saudi rials). These sums are reported to be Saudi state aid and almost certainly do not include private donations which are also distributed by state-controlled charities. Such staggering amounts contrast starkly with the $5 million in terrorist accounts the Saudis claim to have frozen since 9/11,” writes Alex Alexiev.

The US government has encouraged the spread of radical Wahhabism by coddling the Saudi Arabian government and insisting America shares a “special relationship” with the kingdom. The blind eye turned toward Saudi Arabia and its deplorable record in human rights was demonstrated when it was elected to the UN Human Rights Council (in fairness, the vote is primarily the fault of the UK—the British government also shares a “special relationship” with the medieval kings of Saudi Arabia and has allowed the virus of Wahhabism to spread in Britain, hence the term “Londonistan”).
http://www.infowars.com/ted-cruz-igno…

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The Third Jihad – Radical Islam’s Vision for America – (A Clarion Project Film)

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Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

David Horowitz – Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left

Robert Spencer: The Theological Aspects of Islam That Lead to Jihad

My Jihad blah, blah, blah. what`s yours?

The Leftist / Islamic Alliance

David Horowitz – Progressive Racism

Sharia Law in TEXAS | State votes to secure American Law

Shariah Law? Not in Texas, says Irving Mayor

‘Hannity’ Investigation: Do Muslims Believe Sharia Law Supersedes the U.S. Constitution?

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The Case of Kermit Gosnell — Big Lie Media Did Not Really Cover The Kermit Gosnell Trial — Videos

Posted on January 30, 2017. Filed under: Babies, Blogroll, Books, College, Corruption, Crime, Drug Cartels, Education, Employment, Fraud, Homicide, Non-Fiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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New book details Kermit Gosnell’s grisly crimes

Ann Mcaleer and Phelim Mcaleer discuss their movie about Kermit Gosnell.

Published on Mar 3, 2015

Mike talks with film makers Ann McElhinney & Phelim Mcakeer about their documentary concerning the abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and the atrocities he committed at his clinic. They discuss Gosnell’s trial and why the media was so quiet about it.

PJTV: ZoNation: Left-Wing Media Ignore the Gosnell House of Horrors

“See No Evil” – the case of Kermit Gosnell (45 minutes)

Doctor Kermit Gosnell’s ‘House of Horrors’ (Warning Very Graphic) Casa de horror

Dr. Kermit Gosnell Verdict: Guilty on three counts of first-degree murder (May 13, 2013)

‘Gosnell’ The Movie: Is America Ready for a Pro-Life Film?

Megyn Kelly’s heated debate with Kermit Gosnell’s attorney

Gosnell Trial – House of Horrors: Why The Media Has Avoided The Story

!!!Disturbing!!! MARK LEVIN on Abortion Dr. Kermit GUILTY Gosnell PLOPPED PARENTHOOD PLANNED

Gosnell 2010 interview

“Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer” Is A Disgusting, Disturbing Book. You Need To Read It.

Christine Rousselle

|
Posted: Jan 30, 2017 12:01 AM
"Gosnell: The Untold Story of America's Most Prolific Serial Killer" Is A Disgusting, Disturbing Book. You Need To Read It.

Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer manage to both grip the reader and utterly horrify them in their retelling of the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Gosnell is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Officially, he was convicted of three counts of murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter, but his actual death toll is estimated to be in the hundreds, if not thousands. Through a technique described as “snipping,” Gosnell would sever the spinal cords of infants who survived his (illegal) late-term abortions to “ensure fetal demise.”

Imagine the most disgusting place possible–something straight out of an episode of Hoarders, or one of Stephen King’s more twisted works, perhaps. Gosnell’s clinic in Philadelphia was worse. Through interviews with police officers who initially busted the clinic for being a pill mill, former patients, and former clinic employees, McElhinney and McAleer manage to paint a vivid yet utterly disturbing picture of just how disgusting the conditions were at the office. Dirty, broken equipment. Disposable equipment being re-used. Bloodstains everywhere. Girls getting STDs from procedures. Unqualified staffers administering anesthesia. A pair of cats roaming around freely. Just when you think things can’t get any more disturbing, they somehow do. It’s a miracle more women weren’t killed.

Throughout the book, the major feeling conveyed is a sense of utter despair and confusion that this was allowed to happen for as long as it did. Thanks to regulations that were designed to ensure that women had easy access to safe abortion, the clinic was not inspected for a period of 17 years. Until the police raided the place in 2010 after a tip that Gosnell was supplying drug dealers with opiates, the clinic had last been inspected in 1993. To put things into comparison, nail salons in Pennsylvania are inspected at least every other year. Yet, nobody did anything about Gosnell’s clinic for nearly two decades–even after two women died after their abortions and another came very close to being a third. Nothing.

McElhinney and McAleer do an excellent job of describing the horrors of Gosnell’s crimes without being overly preachy. McElhinney has written about how she had previously been annoyed by pro-life activists, and her writing comes off as about as objective as a person can be when confronted with crimes of this magnitude. The authors do not shy away from graphic descriptions of both the scene and of Gosnell’s victims–even if the reader may prefer they do as such.

It’s important that the utter evil is confronted head on–which in the chapter Media Malpractice, the authors outline how this story was almost swept entirely under the rug. Their effort to correct this wrong culminated in this book, and in their upcoming film.

In short: This is the most disgusting, upsetting, and utterly disturbing book I’ve ever read. Yet, in order to prevent something like this from happening ever again, it’s one that absolutely needs to be read.

Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

Kermit Gosnell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kermit Gosnell
Born Kermit Barron Gosnell
February 9, 1941 (age 75)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Criminal charge
  • State charges (Pennsylvania): First-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter (7 counts total)
  • Federal charges: Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution and aiding and abetting the distribution of oxycodone, and maintaining a place for the illegal distribution of controlled substances (12 counts total)
Criminal penalty Life without parole plus 30 years
Criminal status In custody at SCI Huntingdon
Spouse(s) Pearl Gosnell[1]
Children 6
Conviction(s) Convicted on 3 counts of first-degree murder, 1 count involuntary manslaughter, pled guilty to federal charges
Killings
Victims Convicted on four state counts, hundreds of similar incidents reported
Country United States of America
State(s) Pennsylvania

Kermit Barron Gosnell (born February 9, 1941) is an American former abortion-provider[2] who was convicted of murdering three infants who were born alive during attempted abortion procedures.[3][4][5][6][7]

Gosnell owned and operated the Women’s Medical Society clinic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he was a prolific prescriber of OxyContin.[8] In 2011, Gosnell and various co-defendant employees were charged with eight counts of murder, 24 felony counts of performing illegal abortions beyond the state of Pennsylvania’s 24-week time limit, and 227 misdemeanor counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law. The murder charges related to an adult patient, Karnamaya Mongar, who died following an abortion procedure, and seven newborns said to have been killed by having their spinal cords severed with scissors after being born alive during attempted abortions. In May 2013, Gosnell was convicted of first degree murder in the deaths of three of the infants and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Karnamaya Mongar. Gosnell was also convicted of 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion, and 211 counts of violating the 24-hour informed consent law. After his conviction, Gosnell waived his right to appeal in exchange for an agreement not to seek the death penalty. He was sentenced instead to life in prison without the possibility of parole.[9][10]

Background and early career

Kermit Gosnell was born on February 9, 1941, in Philadelphia, the only child of a gas station operator and a government clerk[11] in an African-American family.[12] He was a top student at the city’s Central High School from which he graduated in 1959.[13] Gosnell graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA with a bachelor’s degree.[14] Gosnell received his Medical Degree at the Jefferson Medical School in 1966.[13] It has been reported that he spent four decades practising medicine among the poor, including opening the Mantua Halfway House, a rehab clinic for drug addicts in the impoverished Mantua neighborhood of West Philadelphia near where he grew up, and a teen aid program.[13] He became an early proponent of abortion rights in the 1960s and 1970s and, in 1972, he returned from a stint in New York City to open up an abortion clinic on Lancaster Avenue in Mantua.[11][15] Gosnell told a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter in October 1972: “as a physician, I am very concerned about the sanctity of life. But it is for this precise reason that I provide abortions for women who want and need them”.[16]

In the same year, he also performed fifteen televised second-trimester abortions, using an experimental “Super Coil” method invented by Harvey Karman. The coils were inserted into the uterus, where they caused irritation leading to the expulsion of the fetus. However, complications from the procedure were reported by nine of the women, with three of these reporting severe complications.[17][18] The super coil experiment by Gosnell has been dubbed the “mother’s day massacre” by some.[19]

The 1972 Inquirer article also said that Gosnell was a “respected man” in his community, a finalist for the Junior Chamber of Commerce’s “Young Philadelphian of the Year” because of his work directing the Mantua Halfway House.[16] By the late 1980s, however, public records showed state tax liens were piling up against the halfway house, and the abortion clinic had a $41,000 federal tax lien.[16]

Gosnell has been married three times. His third and current wife, Pearl, had worked at the Women’s Medical Society as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until their marriage in 1990.[1] They have two children; the younger, being a minor, is being cared for by friends[20] Gosnell has four other children from his two previous marriages.[20] In covering his background, media commentators drew attention to the “incredibly diverse” portrayals of Gosnell, touching on both his community works – the creation of a drugs halfway house and teen aid program – contrasted with portrayals of his practice as an alleged abortion mill in which viable fetuses and babies were routinely killed following illegal late-term procedures.[13]

Medical practice

In 2011, he was reported to be well known in Philadelphia for providing abortions to poor minority and immigrant women.[21] It was also claimed that Gosnell charged $1,600–$3,000 for each late-term abortion.[22] Dr. Gosnell was also associated with clinics in Delaware and Louisiana. Atlantic Women’s Services in Wilmington, Delaware, was Dr. Gosnell’s place of work one day a week. The owner of Atlantic Women’s Services, Leroy Brinkley, also owned Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and facilitated the hiring of staff from there for Gosnell’s operation in Philadelphia.[23]

Legal case

Known prior complaints

  • 1989 and 1993 – cited by Pennsylvania Department of Health for having no nurses in the recovery room.[24]
  • 1996 – censured and fined in both Pennsylvania and New York states, for employing unlicensed personnel.[24]
  • Around 1996 – Pediatrician Dr Schwartz – the former head of adolescent services at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and as of 2010, Philadelphia’s health commissioner – testified in the 2010 hearing that around 1996 or 1997, he had hand-delivered a letter of complaint about Gosnell’s practice to the Secretary of Health’s office and stopped referring patients to the clinic, but received no response.[25]
  • 2000 – Civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the children of Semika Shaw, who had called the clinic the day after an abortion to report heavy bleeding, and died 3 days later of a perforated uterus and a bloodstream infection. The case alleged that Gosnell had failed to tell her to return to the clinic or seek emergency medical care. It was settled out of court in 2002 for $900,000.[16][26]
  • Around 2001 – Gosnell claimed to be providing children’s vaccines under a program administered by the Health Department’s Division of Disease Control, but was repeatedly suspended for failing to maintain logs and for storing vaccines in unsanitary and inappropriate refrigerators, and at improper temperatures.[27]
  • December 2001 – ex-employee Marcella Choung gave what the Grand Jury would later call “a detailed written complaint” to the Pennsylvania Department of State, one which she followed up with an interview in March 2002.[28]
  • 2006 – Civil lawsuit filed by patient but dismissed as out of time. The complaint was that Gosnell had been unable to complete an abortion, but then apparently failed or refused to call paramedics or other clinical emergency personnel, after the patient had needed help. The patient reported, “I really felt like he was going to let me die.”[29]

In total during the course of his career, 46 known lawsuits had been filed against Gosnell over some 32 years.[30] Observers claimed that there was a complete failure by Pennsylvania regulators who had overlooked other repeated concerns brought to their attention, including lack of trained staff, “barbaric” conditions, and a high level of illegal late-term abortions.[31]

2010 raid

The Women’s Medical Society was raided on 18 February 2010 under a search warrant by investigators from the FBI and state police. The raid was the result of a months-long investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Philadelphia Police Department, and the State’s Dangerous Drug-Offender Unit into suspected illegal drug prescription use at the practice. The investigation had also revealed the suspicious death of patient Karnamaya Mongar in 2009, which had in turn brought to light further information about unsanitary operations, use of untrained staff, and use of powerful drugs without proper medical supervision and control. Thus, when the February 2010 raid took place, staff from the Pennsylvania Department of State and Pennsylvania Department of Health also attended, as these issues were under their remit:[32]

When the team members entered the clinic, they were appalled, describing it to the Grand Jury as ‘filthy,’ ‘deplorable,’ ‘disgusting,’ ‘very unsanitary, very outdated, horrendous,’ and ‘by far, the worst’ that these experienced investigators had ever encountered. There was blood on the floor. A stench of urine filled the air. A flea-infested cat was wandering through the facility, and there were cat feces on the stairs. Semi-conscious women scheduled for abortions were moaning in the waiting room or the recovery room, where they sat on dirty recliners covered with blood-stained blankets. All the women had been sedated by unlicensed staff – long before Gosnell arrived at the clinic – and staff members could not accurately state what medications or dosages they had administered to the waiting patients. Many of the medications in inventory were past their expiration dates… surgical procedure rooms were filthy and unsanitary… resembling ‘a bad gas station restroom.’ Instruments were not sterile. Equipment was rusty and outdated. Oxygen equipment was covered with dust, and had not been inspected. The same corroded suction tubing used for abortions was the only tubing available for oral airways if assistance for breathing was needed…”[33]

[F]etal remains [were] haphazardly stored throughout the clinic– in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food containers… Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20 percent… were probably older than 24 weeks [the legal limit]… In some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the fetal skulls. The investigators found a row of jars containing just the severed feet of fetuses. In the basement, they discovered medical waste piled high. The intact 19-week fetus delivered by Mrs. Mongar three months earlier was in a freezer. In all, the remains of 45 fetuses were recovered … at least two of them, and probably three, had been viable.”[33]

Gosnell’s license to practice was suspended on 22 February 2010,[34] and these and other findings were presented to a Grand Jury on 4 May 2010. Public discussion focused on claims of unsanitary conditions and other unacceptable conditions at the practices. Media reports stated that furniture and blankets were stained with blood, freely roaming cats deposited their feces wherever they pleased, and that non-sterilized equipment was used and reused on patients.[35][36][37][38] According to the grand jury report, patients were given labor-inducing drugs by staff who had no medical training. Once labor began, the patient would be placed on a toilet. After the fetus fell into the toilet, it would be fished out, so as not to clog the plumbing. In the recovery room, patients were seated on dirty recliners covered in blood-stained blankets.[39] Prosecutors alleged that Gosnell had not been certified in either gynecology or obstetrics.[30] The Grand Jury estimated that Gosnell’s practice “took in $10,000 to $15,000 a night” additional to income from his exceedingly high level of prescriptions.[40]

2011 arrest

Gosnell was arrested on January 19, 2011, five days after the certification of the Grand Jury’s report. He was charged with eight counts of murder.[41] Prosecutors alleged that he killed seven babies born alive by severing their spinal cords with scissors, and that he was also responsible for the death in 2009 of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee from Bhutan,[42] who died in his care. Gosnell’s wife, Pearl, and eight other suspects were also arrested in connection with the case.[1][42][43] The Drug Enforcement Administration, The Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Inspector General also sought a 23-count indictment charging Gosnell and seven members of his former staff with drug conspiracy, relating to the practice’s illegally prescribing highly-addictive painkillers and sedatives outside the usual course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

  • The third degree murder charge relates to Karnamaya Mongar; according to prosecutors, Gosnell’s staff gave the 90-pound woman a lethal dose of anesthesia and painkillers. Gosnell’s lawyer asserts that Karnamaya Mongar also had in her system other drugs that did not come from Gosnell’s clinic, and that none of the infants were born alive.[44] The claim was rejected by the Grand Jury, based upon expert testimony that “it was the overdose of Demerol, not some mystery pill, that killed Mrs. Mongar.”[45]
  • The seven other murder charges are all of first degree murder; they relate to babies, whom staff have testified they saw move or cry after complete birth, and whose deaths are alleged to have resulted from subsequent lethal action. They arise because of the “born alive rule“, a principle of common law which stipulates that by default, for legal purposes, personhood arises – and therefore unlawful killing constituting murder becomes possible – immediately upon the victim’s being born alive (several US states as well as Federal legislation have more specific laws to protect fetuses and newborn babies; see fetal rights and born alive laws in the United States). Steven Massof, a clinic employee who pleaded guilty to similar charges in 2011, testified that he (Massof) had snipped the spines of more than 100 infants after they had been born alive, and that this was considered “standard procedure” at the clinic; a number of other employees had also testified to the same point.