Diasters

The Ukraine Ceasefire Is A Failure — Will NATO Be Forced To Intervene? — Videos

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Articles, Blogroll, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, Enivornment, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Rifles, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Story 2: The Ukraine Ceasefire Is A Failure — Will NATO Be Forced To Intervene? — Videos

ceasefire-cartooncartoon ceasefire ukraine160085_600

_80980240_ukraine_ceasefire_lines_12.02.2015_624map2015-02-15_wor_7022384_I132-Russian-Tanks-Enter-Ukraine-600x399 easternukraineIslamic-States-Libya-affiliate-beheads-21-Coptic-Christians-from-Egyptukraine-ceaseFire-2-2-15-WEBukraine-maprussian_language_map_ukraine_73363841_ukraine_crimea_russia_map3_624easternukraineships-russia-s-black-sea-fleet-during-naval-parade-sevastopol-crimea-july-2014-photodpa_6-russia-will-add-80-new-warships-to-black-sea-fleetSoviet_and_Russian_Black_Sea_Fleet

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BBC News Ukraine crisis BBC meets last few Donetsk residents

Kerry says arming Ukrainian forces has not been ruled out

Conversation: Arming Ukraine with Lethal Weapons has Risks

Former U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz discusses Ukraine ceasefire

Ceasefire appears to be failing in Ukraine

Ceasefire appears to be failing in Ukraine. Pro-Russian rebels now control key town

Shaky ceasefire in Ukraine

East Ukraine Opinion: Soldiers and residents in Artemivsk doubt ceasefire will last

Ukraine: Fighting continues despite truce

Fierce fighting is said to be continuing in the key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, as the new ceasefire appears to be failing.

Rebels say they have taken most of the town, but the government says it is still in its control.

Gas Pipeline Blast Caught On Video, Hit By Shell In Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine and Natural Gas

Ukraine promised not to steal Russian gas from Europe

Russia halts plans for natural gas pipleine to Europe

Russia Expands Its Natural Gas Infrastructure (Agenda)

Caspian pipeline politics of Europe, Russia and China

Russia supplies more then 25 percent of Europe’s hydrocarbon needs. Ever since the natural gas cutoffs in 2006 and 2009, the European countries have been searched for ways to reduce their dependency on Russian oil and natural gas. In this context, the crisis in Ukraine has sparked a new drive for the search for alternative sources of energy. One project that is of particular interest, but underappreciated in the media, is the Trans-Caspian pipeline. If realized it would significantly change the energy map of Europe in the long term.

Fulcrium – Like it or not, Russian natural gas is here to stay – panel on European Energy Security

The LBS GES Energy Security panel addressed geo-political issues and challenges decision-makers face in the pursuit of European energy supply security in the wake of the Ukraine Crisis. Bottom line: The EU will remain dependent on Russian natural gas for decades to come irrespective of sanctions, source of supply diversification, and renewables agendas ! Likewise Moscow is dependent on the EU for 60% of Gazprom’s revenues. Like it or not, the EU and Russia are highly co-dependent as far as Russian natural gas is concerned.

Days after this debate took place, Russian President Vladimir Putin shelved the $40bn South Stream project designed to bypass Ukraine as the key transit state for Russian gas to Europe. And in a further twist, on 16 December 2014, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Bulgaria to enter into dialogue with Moscow to revive the South Stream project. Perhaps this is a signal of a softening EU stance in order to rebuild economic ties with Russia, more out of a necessity to safeguard Germany’s and Bulgaria’s interests. Other countries which stood to gain from South Stream, including Serbia and Hungary, also want to rescue the project. Russia supplies about 25 percent of EU gas needs; half of that flows via Ukrainian transit pipelines. The EU’s most powerful economy, Germany, is still highly dependent on Russian natural gas, importing 30% of it’s annual gas consumption from Russia.

Panel Chair: Raju Patel, Chief Executive, Fulcrium

Panellists:

Vladimir Drebentsov, Vice President, BP Russia / Head of Russia & CIS Economics, BP Plc

Dr Tatiana Mitrova, Head of Oil and Gas Department in the Energy Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ERI RAS), Board Director – E.ON Russia

Andrew Risk, Senior Associate – Political Risk, GPW + Co

David Buchan, Senior Research Fellow, The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies

Impact on world energy markets of Ukraine Crisis

The Effect of the Ukrainian Crisis on the Economy | Made in Germany

Psaki. Minsk Ceasefire. 19 Feb 2015 (Ukraine)

Ukraine: EU says ceasefire agreement not a failure

Military Forces Pull Out Of Besieged Ukrainian Town – Feb 19, 2015

Putin Tells Kiev to Let Troops Surrender as Ukraine Ceasefire Unravels

NATO Slams Russian Role in Ukraine Conflict: Stoltenberg says Kremlin must end insurgent support

Will the Ukraine-Russia deal stick?

WW3 NEWS UPDATE: The Strategic Role of UKRAINE in WW3

The Road to World War 3: Oil Prices, Ukraine, Russia, America, Collapse U.S. Dollar

Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum

The Role of Russia and NATO in Ukraine’s Civil War

Paul Craig Roberts: The Real Story Behind Oil Prices

The Road to World War 3: Ukraine, Russia and American Imperialism

 

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The American People’s Grievance: Barack Obama Is An Islamic Terrorist Denier — Evil or Stupid? — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Yes, Both –Videos

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Articles, Babies, Blogroll, Bomb, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Constitution, Coptic Christian, Crisis, Demographics, Diasters, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Education, Energy, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Missiles, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Public Sector, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Story 1: The  American People’s Grievance: Barack Obama Is An Islamic Terrorist Denier — Evil or Stupid? — Stupid Is As Stupid Does — Yes, Both –Videos
barack obama

“Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam.  That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”  And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam.  That’s how they recruit.  That’s how they try to radicalize young people.  We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.  Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek.  They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.  (Applause.)  And we are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”  

~President Barack Obama, February 18, 2015

Guns-to-Terrorist-590-LI islam5 islamic-terrorism-cartoon-bok obama-see-no-terrorism-political-cartoon obama-terrorist-dinner-cartoon tv is

Forrest Gump (1/10) Best Movie Quote – Life is Like a Box of Chocolates (1994)

Obama schools Right Wing It is not Islamic Terrorism!

Afterburner w/Bill Whittle — Showtime: Evil or Stupid?

TERRORIST NATION

Bernard Haykel: How Islamic is the Islamic State?

“To say that IS is outside of the interpretive parameters of Islam is factually incorecct. […] There is no question that these people are drawign inspiration from Islamic texts. And they know these texts better than most Muslims”, Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies responds to an open rejection letter of the IS movement signed by 126 Sunni scholars.

Talking to War and Peace Talk, Professor Haykel also shared insights on the strand of Islamic tradition IS draws on and the reasons why these Sunni critics have been hesistant to condemn IS members as heretics.

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.

The Folly of Bombing the Islamic State

“Bin Laden was very proud that he had only spent 500.000 dollars on the 9/11 attacks. The US in response to those attacks has probably spent 3 trillion dollars. So as a return on investment, Bin Laden has done really well”.

Professor Bernard Haykel of Princeton University’s Department of Near Eastern Studies elaborates on the current US-led airstrike-campaign against the Islamic State. He explores how that will be framed by the jihadist Sunni movements Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, and argues that these strikes will confirm their narrative of a conspiracy between the West, the Jews and the Shia Muslims. He stresses that “IS is not a Western problem, it is a Middle Eastern problem”. He also argues very strongly against foreign intervention, saying that: “Every time the West has intervened in the Middle East for the last 200 years it has led to a much worse situation both for the people of the region and for the West.”

The interview was recorded in Amsterdam on November 14, 2014.

Prof Haykel on the Islamic State and Al Qaeda

Is a Fractured Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s Future?

Genieve Abdo and Bernard Haykel – “Understanding the Complexities of Sunni — Shi’a Relations”

Who are the Muslim Brotherhood? – Truthloader

U.S. Policy and Islamism after the Arab Spring – Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”

The History of the Muslim Brotherhood in 3 minutes

Muslim Brotherhood in America: The Overview

The American Muslim Brotherhood President – Barack Hussein Obama

The Great Deception New World Order & Muslim Brotherhood

An Alternative for U.S. Policy – Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”

Islamism and Intervention against ISIS — Shimon Shamir – Clip from “Reflections on Islamism”

Reflections on Islamism: From the Muslim Brotherhood to the Islamic State

Obama Behind Muslim Brotherhood Caliphate Conspiracy

Former Muslim Brotherhood member: “Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim Terrorist”

Barack Obama is a Member of the Muslim Brotherhood

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

Why doesn’t Obama say “Islamic” terrorism?

While Obama Appeases Islamic Terrorists, Egyptian President Condemns Them! • Kelly File • 1/9/15 •

President Obama Islam Speech Summit Extremism (Full Speech) – We aren’t at war with Islam

Forrest Gump (1/9) Movie CLIP – Peas and Carrots (1994) HD

Remarks by the President in Closing of the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism

South Court Auditorium

4:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat.

Well, thank you, Lisa, for the introduction.  Lisa is an example of the countless dedicated public servants across our government, a number of who are here today, who are working tirelessly every single day on behalf of the security and safety of the American people.  So we very much appreciate her.  And thanks to all of you for your attendance and participation in this important summit.

For more than 238 years, the United States of America has not just endured, but we have thrived and surmounted challenges that might have broken a lesser nation.  After a terrible civil war, we repaired our union.  We weathered a Great Depression, became the world’s most dynamic economy.  We fought fascism, liberated Europe.  We faced down communism — and won.  American communities have been destroyed by earthquakes and tornadoes and fires and floods — and each time we rebuild.

The bombing that killed 168 people could not break Oklahoma City.  On 9/11, terrorists tried to bring us to our knees; today a new tower soars above New York City, and America continues to lead throughout the world.  After Americans were killed at Fort Hood and the Boston Marathon, it didn’t divide us; we came together as one American family.

In the face of horrific acts of violence — at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, or at a Jewish community center outside Kansas City — we reaffirmed our commitment to pluralism and to freedom, repulsed by the notion that anyone should ever be targeted because of who they are, or what they look like, or how they worship.

Most recently, with the brutal murders in Chapel Hill of three young Muslim Americans, many Muslim Americans are worried and afraid.  And I want to be as clear as I can be:  As Americans, all faiths and backgrounds, we stand with you in your grief and we offer our love and we offer our support.

My point is this:  As Americans, we are strong and we are resilient.  And when tragedy strikes, when we take a hit, we pull together, and we draw on what’s best in our character — our optimism, our commitment to each other, our commitment to our values, our respect for one another.  We stand up, and we rebuild, and we recover, and we emerge stronger than before.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

And I say all this because we face genuine challenges to our security today, just as we have throughout our history.  Challenges to our security are not new.  They didn’t happen yesterday or a week ago or a year ago.  We’ve always faced challenges.  One of those challenges is the terrorist threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL.  But this isn’t our challenge alone.  It’s a challenge for the world.  ISIL is terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq, beheads and burns human beings in unfathomable acts of cruelty.  We’ve seen deadly attacks in Ottawa and Sydney and, Paris, and now Copenhagen.

So, in the face of this challenge, we have marshalled the full force of the United States government, and we’re working with allies and partners to dismantle terrorist organizations and protect the American people.  Given the complexities of the challenge and the nature of the enemy — which is not a traditional army — this work takes time, and will require vigilance and resilience and perspective.  But I’m confident that, just as we have for more than two centuries, we will ultimately prevail.

And part of what gives me that confidence is the overwhelming response of the world community to the savagery of these terrorists — not just revulsion, but a concrete commitment to work together to vanquish these organizations.

At the United Nations in September, I called on the international community to come together and eradicate this scourge of violent extremism.  And I want to thank all of you — from across America and around the world — for answering this call.  Tomorrow at the State Department, governments and civil society groups from more than 60 countries will focus on the steps that we can take as governments.  And I’ll also speak about how our nations have to remain relentless in our fight — our counterterrorism efforts — against groups that are plotting against our counties.

But we are here today because of a very specific challenge  — and that’s countering violent extremism, something that is not just a matter of military affairs.  By “violent extremism,” we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people.  We also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists –the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence.  We all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist, so there’s no way to predict who will become radicalized.  Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths — which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths.  It’s not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.

But we are here at this summit because of the urgent threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL.  And this week we are focused on prevention — preventing these groups from radicalizing, recruiting or inspiring others to violence in the first place.  I’ve called upon governments to come to the United Nations this fall with concrete steps that we can take together.  And today, what I want to do is suggest several areas where I believe we can concentrate our efforts.

First, we have to confront squarely and honestly the twisted ideologies that these terrorist groups use to incite people to violence.  Leading up to this summit, there’s been a fair amount of debate in the press and among pundits about the words we use to describe and frame this challenge.  So I want to be very clear about how I see it.

Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy.  They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam.  That’s why ISIL presumes to declare itself the “Islamic State.”  And they propagate the notion that America — and the West, generally — is at war with Islam.  That’s how they recruit.  That’s how they try to radicalize young people.  We must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.  Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek.  They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists.  (Applause.)  And we are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.  (Applause.)  

Now, just as those of us outside Muslim communities need to reject the terrorist narrative that the West and Islam are in conflict, or modern life and Islam are in conflict, I also believe that Muslim communities have a responsibility as well.  Al Qaeda and ISIL do draw, selectively, from the Islamic texts.  They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith, that Islam is somehow inherently violent, that there is some sort of clash of civilizations.

Of course, the terrorists do not speak for over a billion Muslims who reject their hateful ideology.  They no more represent Islam than any madman who kills innocents in the name of God represents Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Hinduism.  No religion is responsible for terrorism.  People are responsible for violence and terrorism.  (Applause.)

And to their credit, there are respected Muslim clerics and scholars not just here in the United States but around the world who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith.  They want to make very clear what Islam stands for.  And we’re joined by some of these leaders today.  These religious leaders and scholars preach that Islam calls for peace and for justice, and tolerance toward others; that terrorism is prohibited; that the Koran says whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind.  Those are the voices that represent over a billion people around the world.

But if we are going to effectively isolate terrorists, if we’re going to address the challenge of their efforts to recruit our young people, if we’re going to lift up the voices of tolerance and pluralism within the Muslim community, then we’ve got to acknowledge that their job is made harder by a broader narrative that does exist in many Muslim communities around the world that suggests the West is at odds with Islam in some fashion.

The reality — which, again, many Muslim leaders have spoken to — is that there’s a strain of thought that doesn’t embrace ISIL’s tactics, doesn’t embrace violence, but does buy into the notion that the Muslim world has suffered historical grievances  — sometimes that’s accurate — does buy into the belief that so many of the ills in the Middle East flow from a history of colonialism or conspiracy; does buy into the idea that Islam is incompatible with modernity or tolerance, or that it’s been polluted by Western values.

So those beliefs exist.  In some communities around the world they are widespread.  And so it makes individuals — especially young people who already may be disaffected or alienated — more ripe for radicalization.  And so we’ve got to be able to talk honestly about those issues.  We’ve got to be much more clear about how we’re rejecting certain ideas.

So just as leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorists like ISIL genuinely represent Islam, Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there’s an inherent clash in civilizations.  Everybody has to speak up very clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents doesn’t defend Islam or Muslims, it damages Islam and Muslims.  (Applause.)

And when all of us, together, are doing our part to reject the narratives of violent extremists, when all of us are doing our part to be very clear about the fact that there are certain universal precepts and values that need to be respected in this interconnected world, that’s the beginnings of a partnership.

As we go forward, we need to find new ways to amplify the voices of peace and tolerance and inclusion — and we especially need to do it online.  We also need to lift up the voices of those who know the hypocrisy of groups like ISIL firsthand, including former extremists.  Their words speak to us today.  And I know in some of the discussions these voices have been raised: “I witnessed horrible crimes committed by ISIS.”  “It’s not a revolution or jihad…it’s a slaughter…I was shocked by what I did.”  “This isn’t what we came for, to kill other Muslims.”  “I’m 28 — is this the only future I’m able to imagine?”  That’s the voice of so many who were temporarily radicalized and then saw the truth.  And they’ve warned other young people not to make the same mistakes as they did.  “Do not run after illusions.”  “Do not be deceived.”  “Do not give up your life for nothing.”  We need to lift up those voices.

And in all this work, the greatest resource are communities themselves, especially like those young people who are here today.  We are joined by talented young men and women who are pioneering new innovations, and new social media tools, and new ways to reach young people.  We’re joined by leaders from the private sector, including high-tech companies, who want to support your efforts.  And I want to challenge all of us to build new partnerships that unleash the talents and creativity of young people — young Muslims — not just to expose the lies of extremists but to empower youth to service, and to lift up people’s lives here in America and around the world.  And that can be a calling for your generation.

So that’s the first challenge — we’ve got to discredit these ideologies.  We have to tackle them head on.  And we can’t shy away from these discussions.  And too often, folks are, understandably, sensitive about addressing some of these root issues, but we have to talk about them, honestly and clearly.  (Applause.)  And the reason I believe we have to do so is because I’m so confident that when the truth is out we’ll be successful.     Now, a second challenge is we do have to address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances.  Poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist, any more than poverty alone causes somebody to become a criminal.  There are millions of people — billions of people  — in the world who live in abject poverty and are focused on what they can do to build up their own lives, and never embrace violent ideologies.

Conversely, there are terrorists who’ve come from extraordinarily wealthy backgrounds, like Osama bin Laden.  What’s true, though, is that when millions of people — especially youth — are impoverished and have no hope for the future, when corruption inflicts daily humiliations on people, when there are no outlets by which people can express their concerns, resentments fester.  The risk of instability and extremism grow.  Where young people have no education, they are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and radical ideas, because it’s not tested against anything else, they’ve got nothing to weigh.  And we’ve seen this across the Middle East and North Africa.

And terrorist groups are all too happy to step into a void. They offer salaries to their foot soldiers so they can support their families.  Sometimes they offer social services — schools, health clinics — to do what local governments cannot or will not do.  They try to justify their violence in the name of fighting the injustice of corruption that steals from the people — even while those terrorist groups end up committing even worse abuses, like kidnapping and human trafficking.

So if we’re going to prevent people from being susceptible to the false promises of extremism, then the international community has to offer something better.  And the United States intends to do its part.  We will keep promoting development and growth that is broadly shared, so more people can provide for their families.  We’ll keep leading a global effort against corruption, because the culture of the bribe has to be replaced by good governance that doesn’t favor certain groups over others.

Countries have to truly invest in the education and skills and job training that our extraordinary young people need.  And by the way, that’s boys and girls, and men and women, because countries will not be truly successful if half their populations — if their girls and their women are denied opportunity.  (Applause.)  And America will continue to forge new partnerships in entrepreneurship and innovation, and science and technology, so young people from Morocco to Malaysia can start new businesses and create more prosperity.

Just as we address economic grievances, we need to face a third challenge — and that’s addressing the political grievances that are exploited by terrorists.  When governments oppress their people, deny human rights, stifle dissent, or marginalize ethnic and religious groups, or favor certain religious groups over others, it sows the seeds of extremism and violence.  It makes those communities more vulnerable to recruitment.  Terrorist groups claim that change can only come through violence.  And if peaceful change is impossible, that plays into extremist propaganda.

So the essential ingredient to real and lasting stability and progress is not less democracy; it’s more democracy.  (Applause.)  It’s institutions that uphold the rule of law and apply justice equally.  It’s security forces and police that respect human rights and treat people with dignity.  It’s free speech and strong civil societies where people can organize and assemble and advocate for peaceful change.  It’s freedom of religion where all people can practice their faith without fear and intimidation.  (Applause.)  All of this is part of countering violent extremism.

Fourth, we have to recognize that our best partners in all these efforts, the best people to help protect individuals from falling victim to extremist ideologies are their own communities, their own family members.  We have to be honest with ourselves.  Terrorist groups like al Qaeda and ISIL deliberately target their propaganda in the hopes of reaching and brainwashing young Muslims, especially those who may be disillusioned or wrestling with their identity.  That’s the truth.  The high-quality videos, the online magazines, the use of social media, terrorist Twitter accounts — it’s all designed to target today’s young people online, in cyberspace.

And by the way, the older people here, as wise and respected as you may be, your stuff is often boring — (laughter) — compared to what they’re doing.  (Applause.)  You’re not connected.  And as a consequence, you are not connecting.

So these terrorists are a threat, first and foremost, to the communities that they target, which means communities have to take the lead in protecting themselves.  And that is true here in America, as it’s true anywhere else.  When someone starts getting radicalized, family and friends are often the first to see that something has changed in their personality.  Teachers may notice a student becoming withdrawn or struggling with his or her identity, and if they intervene at that moment and offer support, that may make a difference.

Faith leaders may notice that someone is beginning to espouse violent interpretations of religion, and that’s a moment for possible intervention that allows them to think about their actions and reflect on the meaning of their faith in a way that’s more consistent with peace and justice.  Families and friends, coworkers, neighbors, faith leaders — they want to reach out; they want to help save their loved ones and friends, and prevent them from taking a wrong turn.

But communities don’t always know the signs to look for, or have the tools to intervene, or know what works best.  And that’s where government can play a role — if government is serving as a trusted partner.  And that’s where we also need to be honest.  I know some Muslim Americans have concerns about working with government, particularly law enforcement.  And their reluctance is rooted in the objection to certain practices where Muslim Americans feel they’ve been unfairly targeted.

So, in our work, we have to make sure that abuses stop, are not repeated, that we do not stigmatize entire communities.  Nobody should be profiled or put under a cloud of suspicion simply because of their faith.  (Applause.)  Engagement with communities can’t be a cover for surveillance.  We can’t “securitize” our relationship with Muslim Americans — (applause) — dealing with them solely through the prism of law enforcement. Because when we do, that only reinforces suspicions, makes it harder for us to build the trust that we need to work together.

As part of this summit, we’re announcing that we’re going to increase our outreach to communities, including Muslim Americans. We’re going to step up our efforts to engage with partners and raise awareness so more communities understand how to protect their loved ones from becoming radicalized.  We’ve got to devote more resources to these efforts.  (Applause.)

And as government does more, communities are going to have to step up as well.  We need to build on the pilot programs that have been discussed at this summit already — in Los Angeles, in Minneapolis, in Boston.  These are partnerships that bring people together in a spirit of mutual respect and create more dialogue and more trust and more cooperation.  If we’re going to solve these issues, then the people who are most targeted and potentially most affected — Muslim Americans — have to have a seat at the table where they can help shape and strengthen these partnerships so that we’re all working together to help communities stay safe and strong and resilient.  (Applause.)

And finally, we need to do what extremists and terrorists hope we will not do, and that is stay true to the values that define us as free and diverse societies.  If extremists are peddling the notion that Western countries are hostile to Muslims, then we need to show that we welcome people of all faiths.

Here in America, Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.  (Applause.)  Generations of Muslim immigrants came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and build up America.  The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s.  America’s first mosque — this was an interesting fact — was in North Dakota.  (Laughter.)

Muslim Americans protect our communities as police officers and firefighters and first responders, and protect our nation by serving in uniform, and in our intelligence communities, and in homeland security.  And in cemeteries across our country, including at Arlington, Muslim American heroes rest in peace having given their lives in defense of all of us.  (Applause.)

And of course that’s the story extremists and terrorists don’t want the world to know — Muslims succeeding and thriving in America.  Because when that truth is known, it exposes their propaganda as the lie that it is.  It’s also a story that every American must never forget, because it reminds us all that hatred and bigotry and prejudice have no place in our country.  It’s not just counterproductive; it doesn’t just aid terrorists; it’s wrong.  It’s contrary to who we are.

I’m thinking of a little girl named Sabrina who last month sent me a Valentine’s Day card in the shape of a heart.  It was the first Valentine I got.  (Laughter.)  I got it from Sabrina before Malia and Sasha and Michelle gave me one.  (Laughter.)  So she’s 11 years old.  She’s in the 5th grade.  She’s a young Muslim American.  And she said in her Valentine, “I enjoy being an American.”  And when she grows up, she wants to be an engineer — or a basketball player.  (Laughter.)  Which are good choices. (Laughter.)  But she wrote, “I am worried about people hating Muslims…If some Muslims do bad things, that doesn’t mean all of them do.”  And she asked, “Please tell everyone that we are good people and we’re just like everyone else.”  (Applause.)  Now, those are the words — and the wisdom — of a little girl growing up here in America, just like my daughters are growing up here in America.  “We’re just like everybody else.”  And everybody needs to remember that during the course of this debate.

As we move forward with these challenges, we all have responsibilities, we all have hard work ahead of us on this issue.  We can’t paper over problems, and we’re not going to solve this if we’re always just trying to be politically correct. But we do have to remember that 11-year-old girl.  That’s our hope.  That’s our future.  That’s how we discredit violent ideologies, by making sure her voice is lifted up; making sure she’s nurtured; making sure that she’s supported — and then, recognizing there are little girls and boys like that all around the world, and us helping to address economic and political grievances that can be exploited by extremists, and empowering local communities, and us staying true to our values as a diverse and tolerant society even when we’re threatened — especially when we’re threatened.

There will be a military component to this.  There are savage cruelties going on out there that have to be stopped.  ISIL is killing Muslims at a rate that is many multiples the rate that they’re killing non-Muslims.  Everybody has a stake in stopping them, and there will be an element of us just stopping them in their tracks with force.  But to eliminate the soil out of which they grew, to make sure that we are giving a brighter future to everyone and a lasting sense of security, then we’re going to have to make it clear to all of our children — including that little girl in 5th grade — that you have a place. You have a place here in America.  You have a place in those countries where you live.  You have a future.

Ultimately, those are the antidotes to violent extremism.  And that’s work that we’re going to have to do together.  It will take time.  This is a generational challenge.  But after 238 years, it should be obvious — America has overcome much bigger challenges, and we’ll overcome the ones that we face today.  We will stay united and committed to the ideals that have shaped us for more than two centuries, including the opportunity and justice and dignity of every single human being.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END

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Senator Cruz Hails Victory of 26 States in Federal District Court with Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s Stopping Obama From Issuing of Work Permit Cards (Employment Authorization Document) for 4-5 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

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Story 1: Senator Cruz Hails Victory of 26 States in Federal District Court with  Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s Stopping Obama From Issuing of Work Permit Cards (Employment Authorization Document) for 4-5 Million Illegal Aliens in U.S. — Videos
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US judge temporarily halts Obama’s immigration orders

A judge in Texas has temporarily halted a plan by US President Barack Obama to give a reprieve from deportation to millions of undocumented people.

The ruling by US District Judge Andrew Hanen gives a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit aiming to permanently stop the orders.

Some parts of the policy would have started to take effect on Wednesday.

US Attorney General Eric Holder said he is seeking to overturn the Texas ruling and the courts will ultimately decide.

The coalition of states, led by Texas and made up of mostly conservative states in the South and Midwest, say the order would increase costs for law enforcement, health care and education.

On Tuesday the White House defended the legality of its policy, announced by President Obama in November after immigration-reform efforts had failed repeatedly in Congress.

President Obama’s unilateral move angered Republicans who are working to stop the executive action.

The House has approved a bill that would remove funding for the policies from the Department of Homeland Security’s budget. The measure has failed to pass the Senate and President Obama is expected to veto the bill.

Republicans hailed Mr Hanen’s injunction.

“The Texas court decision reached last night is a major turning point in the fight to stop Obama’s lawless amnesty,” said Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican.

The White House has said Obama’s executive order is not out of legal bounds and that the US Supreme Court and Congress have said federal officials can set priorities in enforcing immigration laws.

Twelve states as well as Washington DC and the US Conference of Mayors have come out in support of President Obama’s action, saying it would stimulate the economy.

The first of President Obama’s orders – to expand a programme that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the US illegally as children – was set to start on Wednesday.

The other major part of President Obama’s order, which extends deportation protections to parents of US citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until 19 May.

Judge Nap: ‘Rare Ruling Against Obama Could Delay Amnesty Forever

Judge Andrew Napolitano said today that a new federal court ruling could actually delay President Obama’s immigration amnesty “forever.”

On FBN’s “Varney & Co.,” the judge explained the meaning behind the new ruling that temporarily blocks the implementation of Obama’s executive actions on immigration.

The ruling came late Monday after 26 states asked the court to delay the implementation until after the conclusion of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Obama’s orders.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen granted the preliminary injunction Monday after hearing arguments in Brownsville, Texas, last month. He wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states will “suffer irreparable harm in this case.”

“The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action.

The first of Obama’s orders — to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — was set to start taking effect Wednesday. The other major part of Obama’s order, which extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until May 19.

Napolitano called Hanen’s ruling “rare,” saying one federal judge usually does not decide to stop the president from doing something. He said it’s more common for a federal judge to let an appeals court decide.

“You could count on one hand the number of times a single federal judge has done this to a President of the United States since World War II and you would not use all your fingers,” he said.

The case now moves to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that covers New Orleans and Houston.

Napolitano said the amnesty program is on hold “probably forever” unless the appeals court decides to overturn Hanen’s injunction.

He said it will probably take longer than two years – Obama’s remaining time in office – for the overall case to wind its way through the courts.

“The judge said the feds will probably lose and there is probably irreparable harm to the states, therefore I am going to stop this from happening and I’m going to stop it right now,” he explained.

Texas Judge’s Immigration Rebuke May Be Hard To Challenge

President Barack Obama’s administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said. In his ruling on Monday that upended plans to shield millions of people from deportation, U S District Judge Andrew Hanen avoided diving into sweeping constitutional questions or tackling presidential powers head-on. Instead, he faulted Obama for not giving public notice of his plans. The failure to do so, Hanen wrote, was a violation of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act, which requires notice in a publication called the Federal Register as well as an opportunity for people to submit views in writing. The ruling, however narrow, marked an initial victory for 26 states that brought the case alleging Obama had exceeded his powers with executive orders that would let up to 4. 7 million illegal immigrants stay without threat of deportation.

It’s a very procedural point – that he did this too quickly, said Michael Kagan, a law professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Hanen’s ruling left in disarray U S policy toward the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally. Obama said on Tuesday he disagreed with the ruling and expected his administration to prevail in the courts. The U S Justice Department was preparing an appeal of Hanen’s temporary injunction to the 5th U S Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Obama said. The court could consider an emergency request to block Hanen’s ruling, potentially within days, although most of the 23 judges on the court were appointed by Republican presidents. There was no consensus among lawyers with expertise in administrative law and immigration law on whether Hanen would be reversed on appeal. But they said the judge was wise to focus on an area of administrative law where legal precedent is sometimes fuzzy. In the near term, the narrow approach allowed Hanen to issue a temporary injunction barring federal agencies from putting Obama’s plans into place. An appointee of President George W. Bush, Hanen had previously criticized U S immigration enforcement as too lax.

BRAKE ON PRESIDENTIAL ACTIONHanen’s ruling turned on the Administrative Procedure Act’s requirement that a proposed rule or regulation appear in the Federal Register so people have a chance to comment. The Federal Register is a daily journal of U S government proceedings. The notice and comment requirement acts as a brake on all presidents, slowing their plans by months or years. The requirement, though, does not apply to interpretative rules or legislative rules, an exception that Justice Department lawyers said applied to Obama’s announcement in November.

For Hanen, the pivotal question became whether the new rules, such as granting work permits to potentially millions of illegal immigrants, was binding on federal agents or merely general guidance. He ruled that they were binding, and that Obama should have allowed for notice and comment. Lawyers with expertise in administrative law said there was little guidance from the U S Supreme Court on what qualifies as a rule that needs to be published, leaving disagreement among lower courts and a grey area for Hanen to work in. The case law as to what qualifies as a legislative rule is remarkably unclear, said Anne Joseph O’Connell, a University of California Berkeley law professor.

LENGTHY PROCESS LOOMSO’Connell said it was hard to predict how the appeals court would rule in the end, although she thought it was likely the court would lift Hanen’s temporary injunction and allow the Obama administration to begin putting its program in place. The subject is not strictly partisan, she said, because sometimes a liberal interest group might favor a strict requirement for notice and comment. An appeal before the 5th Circuit could take months, as lawyers file written briefs.

Immigration Delays Likely as DOJ Weighs Legal Options

Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s immigration executive action

Obama weighs in on Texas judge’s immigration ruling

Federal judge temporarily blocks Obama’s immigration executive action

No Clear End in Sight to Avoid Shutdown of Department of Homeland Security

Obama’s New Jobs Program: Work Permits for Illegal Aliens

Ted Cruz: White House ‘Counterfeiting Immigration Documents’

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believes that the Obama administration is “counterfeiting immigration documents” under the president’s immigration plan.

Speaking to Fox News following a federal judge’s decision to temporarily halt President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, the potential Republican presidential contender said the commander in chief is ignoring federal law.

“One of the things it points out is the president has claimed, rather absurdly, that the basis of his authority is ‘prosecutorial discretion.’ That he’s simply choosing not to prosecute 4.5 million people here illegally,” Cruz told Fox News. “But what the district court concluded, quite rightly, is they’re doing far more than that. The administration is printing work authorizations. It is affirmatively acting in contravention of federal law. Basically, what its doing is counterfeiting immigration documents, because the work authorizations its printing are directly contrary to the text of federal law. It is dangerous when the president ignores federal law.”

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen’s decision late Monday puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare from deportation as many as 5 million people who are in the U.S. illegally.

In a memorandum accompanying his order, Hanen said the lawsuit should go forward and that the states would “suffer irreparable harm in this case” without a preliminary injunction.

“The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle,” he wrote, adding that he agreed that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a “virtually irreversible” action.

Talking to reporters in the Oval Office, Obama said he disagreed with the ruling by Hanen that the administration had exceeded its authority. But he said that, for now, he must abide by it.

“We’re not going to disregard this federal court ruling,” Obama said, but he added that administration officials would continue to prepare to roll out the program. “I think the law is on our side and history is on our side,” he said.

Cruz called it a “major victory for the rule of law.”

“It’s interesting, (Obama) said the law is on his side. There’s at least one person who calls himself a legal scholar who disagrees, and his name is Barack Obama,” Cruz said. “Twenty-two times President Obama has admitted he doesn’t have the authority to issue unilateral amnesty. Twenty-two times he says the constitution doesn’t allow it. He said, ‘This is not a monarchy.’ That’s his quote. And then after the last election, he said never mind and issued it anyway.”

Obama’s directives would make more than 4 million immigrants in the United States illegally eligible for three-year deportation stays and work permits. Mostly those are people who have been in the country for more than five years and have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. Applications for the first phase were to begin Wednesday, when as many as 300,000 immigrants brought illegally to the country as children could begin applying for an expansion of Obama’s 2012 program aimed at the younger immigrants known as Dreamers.

Hanen’s ruling late Monday night, in a case brought by 26 states led by Texas, said that Obama and his Homeland Security Department lacked the authority to take the actions they did.

“No statute gives the DHS the discretion it is trying to exercise here,” wrote Hanen, and he issued a stay blocking the actions from taking effect. His order was not a big surprise from a Republican-appointed judge who has showed a hard line on border issues.

The Obama administration could seek a stay of his order in addition to appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Justice Department was deciding its next move.

He said, “I’ve always expected that this is a matter that will ultimately be decided by a higher court — if not the Supreme Court then a federal court of appeals.”

http://washington.cbslocal.com/2015/02/18/ted-cruz-white-house-counterfeiting-immigration-documents/

Federal Judge Blocks Implementation of Obama’s Executive Amnesty, For Now

By Patrick Brennan

A federal judge for the Southern District of Texas granted an injunction tonight blocking the implementation of President Obama’s sweeping executive action on immigration from November, which offered a form of temporary legal status and work authorization to millions of illegel immigrants. The judge, Andrew Hanen, is considering a case brought by the attorney generals of 26 states, which alleges that the executive action is improper and unconstitutional, and will harm the states by forcing them to pay for some benefits granted to newly legal immigrants, such as drivers’ licenses, and for higher law-enforcement costs.

The federal government is expected to immediately ask for a stay of the injunction. That would allow the feds to resume the process of preparing to grant quasi-legal status to millions of illegal immigrants — applications for one category of the president amnesty were to open this week. For now, that can’t happen; the decision from a higher court will probably take a few weeks.

Whatever the final decision is, this ruling should a bit of ammunition for Republicans who are currently trying to force some Democrats into agreeing to a government-funding bill in Congress that blocks the implementation of the order, which many Democrats once opposed.

Such an injunction isn’t granted unless the judge feels the plaintiffs have “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits.” Hanen’s ruling offers analysis of whether the states have standing to sue (on a number of grounds, he says they do), and whether they have a good chance at success.

The basic argument from the states that Hanen favors isn’t one about constitutional improprieties (he doesn’t get to that question, which the states have raised); it’s that the Department of Homeland Security has effectively created a whole new program and procedure without following any of the legally necessary steps. The Obama administration’s use of deferred action amounts to new rulemaking, Hanen suggests, because there’s so little evidence that the system, based on DACA, involves case-by-case discretion, as the feds claim it does.

Josh Blackman, a professor at the South Texas College of Law who’s written about the executive-amnesty issue for NR, has analysis of the full ruling here.

The ruling is certainly exciting for those who were troubled by the president’s actions, but a few reasons why not to get too excited:

The Fifth Circuit, the federal-court region that includes Texas, could stay the injunction relatively soon, though, allowing the granting of legal status to go forward. (Although the program could, in theory, eventually still be struck down.)

Hanen is not necessarily anything but a mainstream judge, but he is a Bush appointee who, the Times notes, has a record of hawkish immigration opinions. That has no bearing on the logic of his decision, but it might suggest other judges won’t necessarily agree with Hanen’s reasoning.

Whether states even have the right to challenge the president’s action isn’t entirely clear, partly because immigration enforcement is almost exclusively a federal domain. Attorney Ian Smith laid out the states’ case for standing on NROhere. Congressional Republicans have said they’d like to challenge the president’s order in court, too; their case for standing is considered more far-fetched. On the upside, the judge’s decision in Texas grants standing to the states on multiple grounds where they argue they have it, though not all of them.

Relatedly, courts are just pretty deferential when it comes to fights between the other two branches. Hanen’s ruling notes this repeatedly, maintaining that in order for the courts to halt the executive branch, it has to be actively, affirmatively doing something unauthorized, rather than just overstepping its bounds or abdicating its powers.

An Obama-appointed federal judge ruled in December that Sheriff Joe Arpaio didn’t have standing to sue over the president’s actions — a different case, for sure, but not entirely separate, since the 26 states involved in this case are alleging that legalized immigrants pose a law-enforcement threat, as Arpaio argued, too. The other case that has gone against Obama on this issue, a Pennsylvania federal judge’s ruling that the amnesty is unconstitutional, has been considered flimsy and overreaching; Blackman notes that Hanen’s decision is much better reasoned.​

The lawsuit just challenges the executive action announced in November, which offers “deferred action” status, a form of theoretically temporary legal residency and work authorization, to illegal immigrants with specific ties to the U.S. — the parents of citizens, etc. The categories in all add up to 4 to 5 million eligible illegal aliens.

That comes on top of the close to a million illegal immigrants eligible for deferred action under the president’s 2012 executive action, which allowed illegal immigrants who’d come here at a young age and met a few other criteria to stay. The Texas court decision examines that program, known as DACA, in detail, but it isn’t at issue in the case. A number of outlets refer to this injunction as halting “DACA expansions,” which is true, but a bit of a misnomer: The “DACA expansions” are deferred action for adults and childhood arrivals who were older or otherwise ineligible for the DACA program the president started in 2012. They’re not really the same thing, and DACA itself — the status it gave to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and the application process they can still begin now if they haven’t gotten status — is unaffected.

This differs slightly from the political strategy Republicans have put forth in Congress: The bill the House passed earlier this year to fund the Department of Homeland Security would halt the DACA program, block the implementation of the president’s November action, and undo some of his other executive immigration policies, too.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/398741/federal-judge-blocks-implementation-obamas-executive-amnesty-now-patrick-brennan?utm_source=co2hog

Federal judge halts Obama amnesty; White House to appeal

By Stephen Dinan

A federal judge late Monday halted President Obama’s deportation amnesty, ruling he overstepped his powers in trying to grant legal status and “benefits and privileges” to millions of illegal immigrants, in a stunning decision that chides the president and throws the White House’s plans into disarray just a day before applications were to be accepted.

The White House said it will appeal Judge Andrew S. Hanen’s decision, but it’s unclear whether the case could reach the circuit court in New Orleans or even the Supreme Court before Wednesday, which is when the Homeland Security Department had planned to begin accepting the first applications under the new amnesty.

“The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence,’ ” Judge Hanen wrote in issuing an injunction. “In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”


SEE ALSO: FLASHBACK: Bush-appointee judge scorched Homeland Security before eviscerating amnesty


In the immediate sense, the ruling will become a major part of the debate over homeland security funding that has roiled Capitol Hill, with Republicans insisting Mr. Obama’s actions were unconstitutional and should be halted through Congress’s spending power, and Democrats backing their president by filibustering to block funding for the Homeland Security Department altogether.

The ruling doesn’t mean those illegal immigrants are going to be deported immediately — indeed, Judge Hanen said they are likely not to be deported at all under Mr. Obama, who had set “priorities” putting them in little danger of ever being kicked out of the country, even without the formal amnesty.

The judge said Mr. Obama does have the right to set those priorities, but said it is likely a step too far for him to have set up a proactive program to grant them other benefits.

“The DHS may continue to prosecute or not prosecute these illegally-present individuals, as current laws dictate. This has been the status quo for at least the last five years and there is little-to-no basis to conclude that harm will fall upon the defendants if it is temporarily prohibited from carrying out the … program.”

One immigrant-rights group called his decision “judicial vigilantism,” while another called it a “minor legal bump” and said it’s “merely a matter of time” before they win legal status.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest was dismissive of the judge’s ruling, saying it contradicted Mr. Obama’s own lawyers, who told him he was “well within his legal authority.”

“Top law enforcement officials, along with state and local leaders across the country, have emphasized that these policies will also benefit the economy and help keep communities safe. The district court’s decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision,” Mr. Earnest said early Tuesday.

Judge Hanen’s exhaustive opinion, which ran to 123 pages, eviscerated the administration’s legal arguments. Where Mr. Obama claimed he was only issuing “guidance” and using his powers of prosecutorial discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, the judge ruled that wording was “disingenuous” and ignored the substance of what the president was trying to do.

He also said Mr. Obama hurt his own case by saying he’d acted to “change the law,” implying a much more substantive legal program than his administration was arguing in court.

The president’s new plan, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, announced in November, was designed to cover more than 4 million illegal immigrant parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, granting them a three-year stay of deportation, Social Security numbers and work permits to compete legally for jobs. The November order also expanded a 2012 program for so-called Dreamers, or illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

The initial Dreamer program is still in place, and covers more than 600,000 illegal immigrants, but Judge Hanen halted its expansion, as well as the new program for parents.

About 95 percent of those who applied for the 2012 Dreamer program were approved, while nobody who didn’t meet the strict criteria was — both factors that Judge Hanen said suggested this wasn’t “discretion,” but rather a new substantive legal policy that should have gone through the usual rule-making process.

“While [the program] does not provide legal permanent residency, it certainly provides a legal benefit in the form of legal presence (plus all that it entails) — a benefit not otherwise available in immigration laws,” the judge wrote. “In this case, actions speak louder than words.”

Still, almost none of those who would have been approved for the amnesty are in danger of deportation, thanks to Mr. Obama’s other, less-noticed policies that order immigration agents only to go after illegal immigrants with serious criminal records. That likely means only a couple million of the nearly 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. are likely to be in any danger of deportation.

Immigrant-rights advocates had expected the ruling and had been working ahead of time to discredit Judge Hanen, saying he had a “bias” against them, based on a December 2013 ruling.

In that ruling, Judge Hanen had spotted the surge of illegal immigrant children crossing the border earlier on, and had been critical of how Homeland Security officials had handled it, accusing them of being complicit in human trafficking because they would deliver the children to their illegal immigrant parents in the U.S. without trying to deport either party.

Last summer’s spike in illegal immigrant children from Central America bore out Judge Hanen’s concerns, with the administration belatedly admitting that the ease of getting across the border and being connected with family here in the U.S. was helping spur the surge.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/17/judge-andrew-s-hanen-halts-obama-amnesty/

Obama’s Amnesty Hits a Legal Roadblock
If a Texas judge’s temporary stay against it is upheld, it could be headed to the Supreme Court.

ate Monday, a federal district judge in Texasissued a temporary injunction that bars the Obama administration from proceeding with the president’s unilateral decree of effective amnesty for millions of illegal aliens.

To be clear, the order issued by Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. court for the southern district of Texas in Brownsville is a temporary stay. It is not a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit brought by 26 states that claim they will suffer profound financial and other damage from the president’s lawless executive action — an action that Obama himself many times conceded would be lawless before he finally took it late last year.

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Today, the Justice Department will seek an emergency order from the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to block Judge Hanen’s injunction. There is a good chance the Justice Department will succeed, at least temporarily. If the Fifth Circuit blocks the injunction, that, too, would not be a ruling on the merits of the case. It would just mean a return to the status quo that allows Obama to proceed with the implementation of his amnesty decree.

I imagine we will know by late this afternoon whether the Fifth Circuit will set aside the district court’s injunction.

Judge Hanen’s order would temporarily prevent the Obama administration from implementing the executive action — in particular, the issuance of positive legal benefits, like work permits, for illegal aliens despite the lack of statutory authorization. The stay would also allow Judge Hanen a chance to issue a final ruling on the merits of the case. Again, he has not at this point conclusively ruled that Obama’s executive amnesty violates the Constitution or other federal law.

To justify issuing the stay, however, he had to decide that the states that brought the lawsuit had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits. That is, in Hanen’s judgment, they have shown that they probably (1) have standing to sue, (2) will show that Obama violated the law, and (3) will suffer concrete harm from the violation (particularly economic harm).

The big question in the case is standing: Is the case properly brought by the states? If the Fifth Circuit, on an emergency appeal of the stay by the Justice Department, decides there is a likelihood that the states do not have standing, then it will vacate Judge Hanen’s stay. The appellate court could find a probability that standing is lacking because, for example, federal jurisprudence holds that immigration is mainly a federal responsibility, or because the harm the states say they will suffer from the executive amnesty is too speculative. (Again, note that we are talking about “likelihood” and “probability” here because these are preliminary, predictive determinations. The case has not been fully presented and ruled upon at this point.)

If the Fifth Circuit were to vacate the stay, that, again, would not be a ruling on the merits of the case. It would simply revert matters to where they stood before Judge Hanen’s order on Monday, meaning the administration could move ahead with its plans while we await a final ruling on the merits from Judge Hanen.

If, on the Justice Department’s emergency appeal, the Fifth Circuit were to decline to disturb Judge Hanen’s stay, there are at least three possibilities: (1) the Justice Department could appeal Judge Hanen’s stay to the Supreme Court; (2) the administration could accept the decision and hold off implementation of the executive order while waiting for Judge Hanen to issue a final ruling (which, all signs indicate, will go against the president); or (3) the president could do what he often does with statutes and court decisions that interfere with his agenda: simply ignore the judicial stay and begin implementing his amnesty decree.

I would bet on (1), an appeal to the Supreme Court. I do believe that Obama is inclined to (3), the lawless route, if all else fails. Obviously, however, the president would rather win in court if he can. That necessitates moving ahead with the judicial process while there are still rounds to play. The administration has a decent chance of getting the stay vacated in either the Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court. Even if that fails, and Judge Hanen, as expected, renders a final decision against the president, the administration has a decent shot at getting such a ruling reversed by the Fifth Circuit or the Supreme Court. I expect the president to play this out. It may take many months, at least, and during that time there is a reasonable chance that some tribunal will lift the stay and allow him to begin implementing the amnesty pending a final appellate ruling on the merits.

This underscores what I have beenarguing for some time. The courts are a very unlikely avenue for checking presidential lawlessness. The proper constitutional way to check the president’s executive order is for Congress to deny the funding needed to implement it. That is what Republicans in the House have done, by fully funding the lawful activities of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) but denying the funding for the unlawful executive amnesty. Democrats are blocking that legislation in the Senate, in the hope that, as the budget deadline approaches, the pro-Obama press (with regrettable help from George Will and Senator John McCain, among others) will convince the country that it is somehow the Republicans who are “shutting down” DHS.

On that score, I will briefly repeat what I’ve contended before:

The fact that politicians hang a sign that says “Homeland Security” on a dysfunctional bureaucratic sprawl does not mean that denying funds to that bureaucracy would harm actual homeland security in any material way.

We have a DHS only because of typical Beltway overreaction to a crisis — the need to be seen as “doing something” in response to public anger over the government’s misfeasance prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Homeland security in the United States is more than adequately provided for by the hundreds of billions of dollars that continue to be spent each year — and that Congress has already approved for this year — on the Justice Department, the FBI, the 17-agency intelligence community, the armed forces, and state and local police forces.

We did not have a DHS before 2003, and if it disappeared tomorrow, no one would miss it.

The agencies in DHS that actually contribute to protection of the homeland could easily be absorbed by other government departments (where they were housed before DHS’s creation).

Under Obama, the immigration law-enforcement components of DHS are not enforcing the immigration laws. Why should taxpayers expend billions of dollars on agencies that do not fulfill, and under this president have no intention of fulfilling, the mission that is the rationale for the funding?

In any event, as we await the next round in the courts, the speedy and certain way to stop a lawless president is to deny him the money he needs to carry out his designs.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/398755/obamas-amnesty-hits-legal-roadblock-andrew-c-mccarthy/page/0/1

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The Man Who Could Bring Obama Down By Telling What The Central Intelligence Agency Was Doing in Benghazi, Libya, Shipping Arms To Syrian Al-Qaida Islamic Jihadist Terrorists, General David H. Petraeus? — Videos

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Story 1: The Man Who Could Bring Obama Down By Telling What The Central Intelligence Agency Was Doing in Benghazi, Libya, Shipping Arms To Syrian Al-Qaida Islamic Jihadist Terrorists, General David H. Petraeus? — Videos

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LIBYA No US Consulate In Benghazi But CIA Operation, Hired Militia Linked To Extremist

Treason: Benghazi Revelations Could Sink Obama

The Real Reason Petraeus Resigned

The Media Syria Al Nusra John McCain

White House relations with CBS, ABC, NBC – #Benghazi Gun Running

Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?

Benghazi Attack Cover Up! Obama Armed Al Qaeda?

Stefan Molyneux speaks with Roger Aronoff on the recent findings of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, White House lies, the United States selling weapons to Libyan rebels, Muammar Gaddafi’s desire to surrender, the possibility of Obama’s impeachment, Hillary Clinton’s involvement and the impact this could have on the next presidential election.

Wayne Madsen: Benghazi Bombshell Insiders Confirm CIA Sent Missiles to FSA Rebels

Benghazi Attack Was Cover For Al Qaeda Arms Deal

Rooney Questions CIA on Benghazi: How Did They Know When Attack Would End?

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Benghazi terrorist attacks, Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-17) questioned the former CIA Acting Director on why a decision was made not to send a military response, since the Administration could not have known how long the attack would continue. Rooney also focused on how future attacks could be prevented.

Charges eyed for Petraeus in classified leaks to mistress

FBI and Justice prosecutors recommend felony charges against Petraeus

Benghazi Gate Blackmail? – FBI Investigation Hanging Over Fmr CIA Dir David Petraeus – Happening Now

White House ‘Held Affair Over Petraeus’s Head’ For Favorable Testimony On Benghazi

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer on Tuesday said the White House used David Petraeus’s affair to get the CIA director to give testimony about the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that was in line with the administration’s position on the matter.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think the really shocking news today was that General Petraeus thought and hoped he could keep his job. He thought that it might and it would be kept secret, and that he could stay in his position. I think what that tells us is really important. It meant that he understood that the FBI obviously knew what was going on. He was hoping that those administration officials would not disclose what had happened, and therefore hoping that he would keep his job. And that meant that he understood that his job, his reputation, his legacy, his whole celebrated life was in the hands of the administration, and he expected they would protect him by keeping it quiet.

Peter King, Carl Levin `This Week` Interview: David Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi investigation

Gen. Petraeus knew all about running guns in Bengazi, U.S. in bed with Al Qaeda there (Glenn Beck)

Official: Harassing Emails Led to FBI Probe

CNBC: Benghazi is not about Libya! “It’s An NSC Operation Moving Arms & Fighters Into Syria”

The resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus is not about an extramarital affair with his biographer, reserve Army officer Paula Broadwell. It’s about U.S. policy in the Middle East, the ongoing “color revolutions,” and specifically the operation underway to arm al-Qaeda, the FSA in Syria, and overthrow the al-Assad regime.

Radio talk show host John Baxter told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow the step-down may be part of a deal made by Petraeus to avoid testifying before a closed-door session of the Senate Intelligence Committee next week about the CIA’s role in the September 11 assault on the diplomatic facility and a CIA annex in Benghazi.

The House Intelligence Committee has also scheduled a hearing to grill Petraeus and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matt Olsen.

The chairman of the House committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, has vehemently criticized the Obama administration for its role in the attack that left ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

“Benghazi is not about Libya, Benghazi is about the policy of the Obama administrtion to involve the United States without clarity to the Americvan people, not only in Libya but throughout the whole of the Arab world now in turmoil,” Baxter told Kudlow. “Benghazi is about the NSC directing an operation that is perhaps shadowy, perhaps a presidential finding, perhaps doesn’t, that takes arms and men and puts them into Syria in the guise of the Free Syria Army (FSA).”

Obama LIED About Benghazi Attack!!! (Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer Interview)

Petraeus affair snares another top General

David Petraeus Scandal: Truth Behind Resignation, Paula Broadwell

Paula Broadwell spilling secret CIA information

David Petraeus Resigns Over Affair With Biographer Paula Broadwell

Alumni Symposium 2012: Paula Broadwell

IRAQ HEARINGS: Sen. Obama Questions Gen. Petraeus

Interesting Benghazi Conspiracy angle – Was there possible involvement with CIA Director Petraeus?

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

Patriot Act Used To Spy on CIA Director

OBAMA CONFRONTED ON BENGHAZI – Stutters Through Response

Petraeus is Key Witness to Benghazi Scandal

Prosecutors weigh charges against David Petraeus involving classified information

 

By Sari Horwitz and Adam Goldman January 9
Federal prosecutors have recommended that David H. Petraeus face charges for providing classified documents to his biographer, raising the prospect of criminal proceedings against the retired four-star general and former CIA director.

The recommendation follows a federal probe into how the biographer, Paula Broadwell, apparently obtained classified records several years ago while working on a book about Petraeus. Broadwell was also his mistress, and the documents were discovered by investigators during the scandal that forced Petraeus’s resignation as CIA director in 2012.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. must decide whether to pursue charges against Petraeus, the former top U.S. commander in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment, as did Robert B. Barnett, a lawyer for Petraeus.

Both Petraeus and Broadwell have denied in the past that he provided her with classified information. Investigators have previously focused on whether his staff gave her sensitive documents at his instruction.

Prosecutors recommend charges against Petraeus(0:44)
The U.S. federal prosecutors have recommended bringing charges against former CIA chief David Petraeus, raising the prospect of criminal proceedings against him.
The prosecutors’ recommendation was first reported Friday evening on the Web site of the New York Times, which said Petraeus has rejected the possibility of a plea deal.

The FBI has been pushing to resolve several high-profile counterespionage investigations that have lingered for months and in some cases years. In addition to the case involving Petraeus and Broadwell, the bureau wants the Justice Department to decide whether to pursue charges against veteran State Department diplomat Robin Raphel and retired Marine Gen. James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, who until 2011 was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Cartwright was the target of a Justice Department investigation into the leak of information about the Stuxnet cyberattack against Iran’s nuclear program. The details of Raphel’s case remain murky, but officials have said classified information was found at her home.

FBI agents believe they have strong cases against all four of them, said another U.S. official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. Each of the cases is considered sensitive given the involvement of high-ranking officials in the U.S. government.
The Justice Department has also faced political pressure to resolve the Petraeus matter. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), now the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote Holder last month expressing concern the case has continued to linger.

“At this critical moment in our nation’s security, Congress and the American people cannot afford to have this voice silenced or curtailed by the shadow of a long-running, unresolved investigation marked by leaks from anonymous sources,” said McCain, adding that he wasn’t seeking action “on behalf of any particular interest — and don’t presume to judge the outcome of any investigation.”

Federal investigators first searched Broadwell’s home in Charlotte in November 2012 and seized dozens of boxes of records as well as computer equipment. Aides to Petraeus have said they were often tasked to provide military records or other documents to Broadwell for her work on her book about him. That book, “All In,” was published in January 2012.

Any classified information investigators discovered could expose both her and Petraeus to charges. It is a crime to remove classified information from secure, government locations as well as to provide that information to others not authorized to receive it.

Petraeus now spends his time teaching and giving speeches; he also serves as chairman of the KKR Global Institute, a part of the private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

The 2012 investigation into Petraeus was triggered when Broadwell allegedly sent threatening e-mails to another woman who was a friend of Petraeus, Jill Kelley of Tampa. Kelley alerted an FBI agent she knew to seek protection and to help track down whoever had sent the e-mails.

The FBI traced the messages to Broadwell, a married Army reservist, and in the course of its investigation, uncovered explicit e-mails between Broadwell and Petraeus.

Investigators said they were at first concerned about the possibility that Petraeus, then the director of the CIA, had had his e-mail hacked. Further investigation led to the discovery of the affair with Broadwell.
Petraeus had become CIA director a short time earlier, in September 2011. His resignation cut short his time at the agency and also seemed to scuttle long-rumored presidential aspirations.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/prosecutors-weigh-charges-against-david-petraeus-involving-classified-information/2015/01/09/d6b4bb36-9854-11e4-aabd-d0b93ff613d5_story.html

REPORT: David Petraeus May Be Charged With Leaking Classified Information To His Former Mistress

Former General David Petraeus’s 2012 adultery scandal may end up costing him more than just his job as CIA director.

Citing anonymous government officials, the New York Times is reporting that federal prosecutors with the FBI and the Department of Justice have recommended that Petraeus be charged with a felony for providing classified information to his mistress and biographer, Paula Broadwell, who was also an Army Reserve officer.

Petraeus has been under investigation for unauthorized leaks related to the affair and Broadwell’s book since the scandal broke. Holder was supposed to decide on charging Petraeus by the end of last year. But the legal process has unfolded slowly, with the retired general showing “no interest in a plea deal that would spare him an embarrassing trial,” according to the Times.

The charges would represent a stunning turnabout for the celebrated former US commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and one of the military’s major proponents of counter-insurgency doctrine. As the Times puts it, Attorney General Eric Holder now has to decide “whether to seek an indictment that could send the pre-eminent military officer of his generation to prison.”

Petraeus abruptly resigned as CIA director on Nov. 10, 2012 after admitting that he had carried on an extra-marital affair with Broadwell the year before. For someone in a less sensitive position in government, such marital indiscretions aren’t necessarily a career-ender.

But for the director of the US’s top intelligence agency it’s nothing less than a national security risk. The affair could have provided potential blackmail fodder to foreign intelligence agencies while raising the possibility of just the kind of security breach Petraeus may now be charged with. After all, once classified information is in the hands of a single unauthorized individual, it can leak even further, the people beyond the intended recipient. And as CIA director, Petraeus security clearance was virtually limitless.

The Petraeus scandal quickly took on a tawdry aspect as news of the affair broke in the days after President Barack Obama’s re-election. It turns out the adultery was exposed because Jill Kelley, a friend of Petraeus who lived near US Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Florida and was active in local military support circles, had allegedly received threatening emails from a jealous Broadwell that she later reported to the FBI. The resulting investigation uncovered Petraeus’s affair with Broadwell and ended the retired general’s career in government.

But the possible charges shows that there’s a deeply serious side to this soap opera, with a sitting CIA director possibly violating his security clearance, thus proving that the affair had the potential to endanger US national security.

Business Insider reached out to Robert Barnett, the lawyer Petraeus hired in the aftermath of his resignation, for comment. He declined to comment.

http://www.businessinsider.com/new-york-times-reports-david-petraeus-may-be-charged-with-leaking-classified-information-2015-1

 

Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi Reveals Damning New Report

Editor’s Note – The following is the latest interim report from the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. The commission is part of Accuracy in Media(AIM) of which MG Paul E. Vallely, CEO of Stand Up America US is a charter member. The following are also members of the commission:

Roger Aronoff  (Editor, Accuracy in Media)Capt. Larry Bailey, (SEAL), USN (Ret.)Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Benway, U.S. Army Special Forces (Retired)Col. Dick Brauer Jr., USAF (Ret.)Lt. Col. Dennis B. Haney, USAF (Ret.)B/Gen. Charles Jones, USAF (Ret.)Clare Lopez, former CIA officerAdmiral James Lyons (Ret.)General Thomas McInerney (Ret.)Col. Wayne Morris USMC (Ret.)Chet NagleJohn A. ShawKevin Shipp, former CIA officerWayne Simmons, former CIA officerFormer Congressman and Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Allen West.

The following story was published in the UK in the Daily Mail. Roger Aronoff also posted a letter to the press that you can read here. Roger Cover Letter Interim Report 4-22-14 (2).

Here is the full 30-page Interim Report published by the commission.

Benghazi attack could have been prevented if US hadn’t ‘switched sides in the War on Terror’ and allowed $500 MILLION of weapons to reach al-Qaeda militants, reveals damning report

  • Citizens Committee on Benghazi claims the US government allowed arms to flow to al-Qaeda-linked militants who opposed Muammar Gaddafi
  • Their rise to power, the group says, led to the Benghazi attack in 2012
  • The group claims the strongman Gaddafi offered to abdicate his presidency, but the US refused to broker his peaceful exit
  • The commission, part of the center-right Accuracy In Media group, concluded that the Benghazi attack was a failed kidnapping plot
  • US Ambassador Chris Stevens was to be captured and traded for ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman, who hatched the 1993 WTC bombing plot

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR

Published at the Citizens’s Commission on Benghazi and cross-posted at the UK’s Daily Mail

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.

‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.

She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.

‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..

‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’

The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition. (See Video Below)

The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James 'Ace' Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke

On September 11, 2012 armed terror-linked militias attacked U.S. diplomatic outposts in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans and driving the United States out of that part of the country

‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’

‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.

Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’

‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.

‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.

Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.

‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’

In March 2011, Kubic said, U.S. Army Africa Commander General Carter told NBC News that the U.S. military was not actively targeting Muammar Gaddafi. That, Kubic revealed, was a signal to the Libyan dictator that there was a chance for a deal.

Gaddafi responded by ‘verifiably … pull[ing] his forces back from key rebel-held cities such as Benghazi and Misrata.’

Christopher Stevens served as the U.S. Ambassador to Libya from June 2012 to September 11, 2012 when he was killed in the attack

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January 23 that it mattered little why the Benghazi diplomatic compound was attacked: 'What difference, at this point, does it make?'

Gaddafi wanted only two conditions to step down: permission to keeo fighting al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the lifting of sactions against him, his family, and those loyal to him.

The Obama administration’s unwillingness to help broker a peaceful exit for the Libyan strongman, ‘led to extensive loss of life (including four Americans)’ when al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities in the city of Benghazi,’ the commission told reporters.

Retired Admiral Chuck Kubic said the White House refused to let the Pentagon pursue a peaceful exit for Muammar Gaddafi: 'We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize, but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours'

The White House and the National Security Staff did not immediately respond to questions about the group’s findings.

‘We don’t claim to have all the answers here,’ said Roger Aronoff, whose center-right group Accuracy in Media sponsored the group and its work.

‘We hope you will, please, pursue this,’ he told reporters. ‘Check it out. Challenge us.’

The commission and AIM filed 85 document requests under the Freedom Of Information Act, hitting the Department of Defense, State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency with demand after demand.

But most of its information has come from insiders with deep knowledge of the flow of weapons in Libya and elsewhere in the African Maghreb.

Admiral James ‘Ace’ Lyons told the group that he believes the raid on the Benghazi compound was intended as a kidnapping exercise, aimed at snatching U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and demanding a prisoner swap for the ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman.

Abdel-Rahman is serving a life sentence in federal prison for planning the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center garage in New York City. He also masterminded a plan, later foiled, to blow up the United Nations, both the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and a federal building where the FBI had a base of operations.

A senior FBI source, Lyons said Tuesday, ‘told me that was the plan.’

The attack, history shows, grew in intensity and resulted in the deaths of Stevens and three other U.S. personnel.

Lyons also said U.S. claims that it lacked the resources to mount a counterattack in time to save lives is false.

‘I’m going to tell you that’s not true,’ he said. ‘We had a 130-man unit of forces at Sigonella [AFB in Italy]. They were ready to go.’

‘The flight time from Sigonella to Benghazi is roughly an hour.’

Killed: An image captured by a cellular phone camera shows the arrest of strongman Muammar Gaddafi in Sirte, Libya on October 20, 2011

Former CIA officer Clare Lopez accused the U.S. government of allowing arms to flow to al-Qaeda militants who opposed Gaddafi in 2011, 'switching sides in the war on terror'

Some of the group’s claims strain credibility, including the assertion that the Obama administration’s early effort to blame the Benghazi attack on a protest against a crude anti-Muslim YouTube video ‘appears to have been well-coordinated with U.S.Muslim Brotherhood organizations as well as Islamic state members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).’

Those groups, the commission noted, ‘all joined in condemnation of the video, and, even more troubling, issued calls for restrictions on Americans’ free speech rights.’

But Simmons, the former CIA officer, criticized the Obama administration on the familiar refrain of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exclaiming in a Senate hearing that it mattered little why the Benghazi facilities were struck.

‘They believed they were going to be saved, that they were going to be rescued, but they weren’t,’ Simmons said of the four Americans who died.

‘I know who made the decision, in my heart of hearts, to leave our war fighters there and be blown up. And then to have one of the most powerful politicians in our country sit there and say, “What difference does it make?” – should be an alarm bell for all Americans.

‘It haunts me,’ Simmons said. ‘I play that line over, and over, and over, and over in my mind.’

The group has called for a Select Congressional Committee to investigate the Benghazi episode. A total of 189 House members have signed on to a bill that would create the committee, which would be bipartisan and have sweeping powers to subpoena the executive branch.

House Speaker John Boehner, Lopez said Tuesday, ‘he blocked it. One has to wonder if he and Congress have had some sort of briefing on what happened.’

Kubic insisted that Congress is unable to break logjams in the Obama administration and find out what happened in the days leading up to and following the Benghazi attack without a new committee.

‘If they don’t have strong subpoena power, if they don’t have the ability to do long-term cross examination, it won’t work,’ he said.

 

The Benghazi Scandal Is “Obama’s Watergate” But Worse

This article was first published by Global Research on May 2, 2014.

A trail of emails released Tuesday appears to shed yet more light on the Benghazi cover-up story that continues to nag President Obama and then Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. The latest exposure indicates that both Obama and Clinton knew that UN Secretary Susan Rice’s claim to the press that the attack on the Benghazi compound killing Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was due to an anti-Muslim youtube video was a complete lie. This latest piece of incriminating evidence is what Republicans are now calling their “smoking gun” despite months that have stretched into years of the Congressional investigation led by Representative Darrel Issa (R-CA). His so called investigation that was supposed to uncover the truth behind that fateful day of September 11th, 2012 has often been labeled “a witch hunt” by Democrats and supporters of Obama and Hillary Clinton.

This week’s news may be the needed breakthrough that will ultimately lead to the unveiling of what many critics of the Obama administration have been claiming all along. And that is Obama and Hillary purposely withheld the truth from the American public for fear that it would derail Obama’s reelection less than two months after the death of the four Americans in Benghazi. In retrospect now Obama’s rush to war in Syria last September is far better understood when taking a hard look at the 2012 Benghazi embassy attack.

The so called Arab spring uprising revolts in Middle Eastern and North African nations in fact have been the result of covert manipulation by the CIA. After getting rid of our one time allies in Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, next on the US regime-change hit list came Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. In 2007 retired General Wesley Clark revealed a neocon plan he became privy to a couple weeks after 9/11 of the ambitious Bush administration agenda to take down seven sovereign governments in the next five years that included Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Iran.

With gusto President Obama inherited this same agenda and proceeded to finish the job in removing Libya’s longtime dictator Gaddafi. And so began the NATO air bombardment of Libya killing many innocent victims that softened the resistance to an all out assault on Gaddafi’s military forces largely spearheaded by al Qaeda mercenaries from all over the Middle East as well as native Libyan al Qaeda affiliated militia groups, some from Benghazi.

In the spring of 2011 even prior to Gaddafi’s capture and killing, as an envoy to the rebel coalition the future Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens was sent to Benghazi, a city in eastern Libya that has long been a hotbed of Islamic extremism that includes various Al Qaeda affiliated groups and militias. Stevens spoke Arabic and had twenty years of foreign diplomatic service experience when he was selected to become the Ambassador after the fall of the Gaddafi government. The State Department resent him to work back in Benghazi rather than the Libyan capitol Tripoli to assist the area’s transition to the new puppet government the US had installed. But because Benghazi and eastern Libya had a history of resisting national governance, Stevens faced an uphill struggle and near impossible task. Beginning in June of 2012, a full three months prior to the Benghazi embassy compound attack that killed the Ambassador and three other Americans, Stevens’ requests for increased security began falling on deaf ears in Washington. Stevens’ boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, failed to heed any of his increasingly urgent calls. Just days prior to the embassy onslaught, the British consulate had been attacked and all its diplomatic staff were safely evacuated away.

Last year efforts to blame Stevens for irresponsibly turning down security offered in Benghazi were anonymously leaked, insisting that the ambassador twice had turned down offers of increased military security from AFRICOM commander General Ham.

For obvious reasons the now retired general refuses to discuss what he knew or did not know of the events leading up to the Benghazi attack. However, throughout the aftermath of the Americans’ deaths, Stevens’ own deputy ambassador Gregory Hicks in Tripoli has maintained that he never knew of any such alleged offers made to Stevens for more security.

Since the strategy targeting Ambassador Stevens as the sole reason for the lack of security at his embassy compound clearly backfired, a whitewashed report was released last year by the Accountability Review Board. The two men behind this report are Hillary’s buddies Ambassador Pickering and former Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullens. Thus no surprise that they decided from the outset that it would not be necessary to even bother to interview Hillary, satisfied to blame it on lower level State Department bureaucrats’ error in judgment not to supply adequate security. The alleged failure to authorize proper military security was because the Benghazi compound was relegated to being a temporary outpost. Of course this is just another feeble attempt to shield Queen Hillary who sent Stevens herself to Benghazi fully aware of it being an al Qaeda trouble spot.

But Benghazi under the cover of the State Department was ideal for the covert CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) needed to coordinate arms smuggling that Obama, Hillary and then CIA Director Petraeus were knee deep in. Stevens ultimately may have felt he was being used as the convenient decoy for the clandestine activity he wanted no part of.

Years earlier as a former Peace Corps volunteer and a seasoned career diplomat, becoming a lookout for an immoral criminal gun running operation may not have been what he had signed on for as the Libyan Ambassador. Thus, he very likely voiced his objection to what his bosses in Washington were misusing him for, and as vindictive and petty as Obama and Hillary are, Stevens was likely punished for not going along with their program. Hence, all his urgent pleas that began as early as June 2012, a full three months prior to the September attack, requesting increased security were ignored, including his desperate cry for help moments before his murder on the night of the 11th. Meanwhile, as he and three other Americans lay dying, back in the States Obama was flying out West to another high brow fundraiser so he could self-servingly get reelected.

What is most certain is that this trouble spot region was the hub of activity for special ops units comprised of special forces and a large number of CIA operatives in conjunction with British MI6. The CIA safely defended annex in Benghazi a mere mile and a half from the embassy compound was the largest CIA station in North Africa. The annex housed 35 CIA personnel responsible for coordinating the large arms smuggling operation to Syria, circumventing Congress by calling the CIA mission a liaison operation.

Two former special ops operatives Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy, authors of ‘Benghazi: The Definitive Report,’ have since claimed that a bureaucratic breakdown in communication between CIA and JSOC caused local Benghazi radicals to attack and kill Americans on 9/11/12. They believe that just days before an assassination carried out by Special Operations of a popular Libyan CIA informant had angered an al Qaeda affiliated militia called Ansar al-Sharia to launch the attack as retribution. The former Special Ops boys, one of whom was friends with one of the killed Americans Glen Doherty, speculated that the root cause of the American embassy deaths was the result of the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing in the over-compartmentalized, ultra-guarded secrecy of competing clandestine intelligence operations and that this problem commonly serves as a major barrier and significant dysfunction of American foreign policy in general. They believe the Ambassador was probably only peripherally aware of the high presence of CIA and JSOC operations in the area but was never directly involved or looped in.

This claim appears to be a disinformation ploy to again absolve the higher ups Obama and Clinton of any responsibility. It did little to quiet the conjecture surrounding the attack that Stevens knew too much and had become a thorn in the side of the hierarchical status quo.

Though the former special ops authors may have offered small minor details on the Benghazi story, obviously far more was going down than they alluded to. On October 26th, 2012 a mere two weeks prior to the David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell affair broke as the scandalous headlines, Broadwell hyping her ‘All In’ biography of the general spoke at the University of Denver divulging her inside scoop on the Benghazi attack that had taken place a month and a half earlier. She claimed the attack on the compound was probable payback for CIA detaining local members from the same Libyan militia responsible for the assault. Or that the attackers may have been attempting to free their prisoners. Though only one news reporter from Fox paid any attention to Paula at the time, once their tryst was exposed a short time afterwards, much speculation raised the issue that Broadwell unwittingly revealed classified information that could well have been leaked through her intimacy with the then CIA Director. That the mistress was privy to such insider lowdown compromising sensitive US intelligence operations headquartered at the CIA Benghazi annex is a very real possibility, especially since classified documents were later uncovered at her North Carolina home.

In view of the CIA’s fervent denial that any prisoners were detained in Benghazi and Obama’s January 2009 executive order outlawing the CIA business of holding prisoners, Paula shooting her mouth off as an insider know-it-all implicated her lover Petraeus and his CIA as criminals engaging in an unlawful operation. But then that illegal activity amounts to small peanuts in comparison to the much bigger crime being committed by her lover CIA boss Petraeus and his crime bosses Obama and Hillary for using the same Libyan al Qaeda militants who murdered the four Americans on 9/11/12 to smuggle guns from Benghazi across international borders to be used against Assad in Syria.

Despite Ambassador Stevens’ repeated requests for more security, it was never given. So when about 150 members of the local militia Ansar al-Sharia stormed the gates of the compound carrying machine guns and rocket propelled grenades (RPG’s), the handful of unarmed Libyan security contractors instantly fled and soon enough the building was engulfed in flames. The nearby annex in Benghazi where thirty-five CIA operatives worked was called during the crisis to assist those Americans at the embassy. CIA security officer Tyrone Woods convinced his supervisor at the annex with five other security personnel to rush to the embassy’s aid. Both Woods and Glen Doherty were former Navy Seals commandos who died from bullet wounds at the second attack at the annex killed by a mortar after Sean Smith, an information officer, and Ambassador Stevens had already died from smoke inhalation. According to authors Webb and Murphy, due to Woods and Doherty’s heroics along with four other CIA analysts, the remaining embassy staff were apparently able to safely escape the burning compound. An overhead surveillance drone had been dispatched above the compound prior to that second attack that occurred at the annex. President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton and CIA Director Petraeus were all informed of the crisis unfolding during the afternoon local Washington time. Yet they chose to not even bother contacting the Marines stationed in the capital Tripoli, allegedly figuring they would take too long to arrive on the scene in Benghazi. So after ignoring the Ambassador’s pleas urging for more security for three straight months, they coldly refused to order any further military assistance at the time the four Americans lost their lives.

Instead they ordered UN Ambassador Susan Rice to later lie to the American public claiming that the attack was instigated by that anti-Moslem youtube video. Under the increasing pressure of Benghazi questions, suddenly Hillary keeled over with a brain clot to conveniently dodge any more heat. And of course Petraeus was soon engulfed in scandal with his mistress Broadwell, retiring from the CIA and out of sight for months thereafter, conveniently ducking from his hot seat. And then soon enough Clinton was resigning as Secretary of State, evading any further scrutiny as the Ambassador’s boss most responsible for the deaths of the four Americans.

Another piece of incriminating evidence is that the FBI team sent in to investigate the Benghazi murders never even arrived at the crime scene until three weeks after the attack, making sure that vital forensic evidence could be conveniently lost, confiscated or destroyed. Despite having videotape that allowed individual attackers to be identified by name, they all still remain free to this day. Eleven months after the attack the US Justice Department last August in a hollow gesture officially charged the alleged suspects in a sealed indictment. But without them in custody, it means nothing.

Clinton strategically figured she would lay low long enough out of the public spotlight to effectively distance herself from Benghazi to make another run for President in 2016. But while briefly still back on the job and those nagging Benghazi questions weren’t going away fast enough, she completely lost it, screaming, “What difference at this point does it make?” – obviously all the difference in the world to her and her buddy Barrack. On 9/11 the year before last, Obama, Clinton and Petraeus sacrificed four American lives that day to preserve their own careers as powerful evil despots who with blind ambition would stop at nothing to remain in power.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton have both gone to great lengths to make sure that their cover-up concealing the truth never gets exposed. With the attack taking place less than two months prior to Obama’s reelection, they are determined that the truth never sees the light of day. However, big cracks are looming in their wall of defense and their lies are falling like a house of cards. Mounting evidence indicates both Obama and Clinton were engaged in a highly covert and illicit arms smuggling operation moving weapons from Libya through Turkey to the anti-Assad rebels in Syria. And at stake for Obama and Clinton was their future plans to win the presidential election in 2012 and 2016.

On August 2nd, 2013 three full weeks prior to the sarin gas attack in the Damascus suburb killing scores of Syrian civilians including children, UK’s Telegraph reporter Damien McElroy wrote an article asserting that Obama and Hillary are guilty as charged, engaging in a gun-running operation that included surface to air missiles and even chemical weapons speculating that a “false flag operation” might occur as a deceptive ploy to make false accusations against Assad. Again, this article came out three weeks PRIOR to Obama accusing Assad of using chemical weapons. No coincidence in the timing. Since then renowned investigative reporter Seymour Hersh who broke the My Lai massacre story and cover-up during the Vietnam War and a host of other journalists have since provided convincing evidence that the chemical attack last August was committed by US backed al Qaeda rebels.

And those 35 CIA agents stationed at the nearby Benghazi annex, word came out that every month since the event they have been required to undergo polygraph tests just to ensure they keep quiet. One insider even told CNN last year, “You jeopardize your family as well if you talk to anyone about what happened.”

Aside from Obama, Hillary and Petraeus evading accountability at all cost, what is most incriminating is that the very same Al Qaeda jihadists armed, financed and supported with American taxpayer dollars during the Libyan regime-change are the exact same individuals who have gotten away with murdering those four Americans in Benghazi. For more than three years now America and Saudi Arabia have been sponsoring and funding al Qaeda affiliated militia groups from all over the Middle East and North Africa fighting Assad forces in Syria in the latest regime-change war. When the murders went down on 9/11/12, Hillary’s State Department had been acting as a cover supporting al Qaeda elements smuggling arms to Syria to fight in that so called civil war. Much of Gaddafi’s huge stash of arms had been looted, falling into the hands of American-backed rebel forces in Libya, including chemical weapons that were never accounted for. By pure accident, the Benghazi tragedy reveals the ongoing war by proxy that the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel have been waging against Syria and its strongest allies Iran and Russia.

As a side note, ex-CIA Director Petraeus was allowed to retain his full status as a retired four star general at full pay despite committing adultery while still serving as Afghanistan War commander when military personnel of lower rank are customarily demoted and forced to retire at a lower pension rate for the exact same offense of adultery. Mistress Paula Broadwell also suffered no formal consequence regarding her retention rank as major in the US Army Reserves. It seems obvious that Petraeus has been rewarded for his loyal silence on the Benghazi incident. Additionally, several days after Petraeus ducked out of sight in disgrace after resigning as CIA Director, Petraeus’ wife as the victim of his adulterous affair was suddenly being promoted by Obama to a new cushy position made especially for her earning near Petraeus’ retirement pension of $200,000 per year.

Then just over a week after his CIA resignation Petraeus was called in to testify before the House Intelligence Committee but given a free pass in his not having to testify under a sworn oath to disclose the full truth of what he knew. So he proceeded to lie before Congress claiming that he consistently said that an al Qaeda affiliated militia group was behind the attack. In fact Petraeus secretly flew to Libya immediately after the attack and upon his return to the US a couple days later Petraeus held the official administration line they knew to be false that the Benghazi attack was due to the bogus anti-Moslem video. Of course with the scandal causing his own presidential ambitions to be thoroughly shattered, Petraeus more recently has gone on public record stating that Hillary Clinton would make “an excellent president.” Clearly he is towing the line as a good little boy for keeping his mouth shut for Hillary and Barrack.

Obama lied when he promised to ensure that those guilty of the attack would be brought to justice. Now going on two years later not one of the attackers has even been apprehended or arrested. With the murderers in the Benghazi assault still at large, many of the attackers afterwards moved on with the arms they were helping to smuggle to join US-supported rebel forces fighting the Assad government in Syria. They may have been silenced by now, secretly killed by judge, jury and executioner President Obama in his lust to kill his enemies with drone missile attacks. In any event, rest assure none of the perpetrators behind the Benghazi attack will ever be captured alive or prosecuted. They simply know too much. Last 9/11/13 barely a peep was heard from the mainstream media on the very first anniversary of the Benghazi tragedy. The reason is all too obvious.

Many of the family members of the murdered Americans felt that Obama and his administration were responsible for their loved ones deaths. Some complained about Obama’s condolences as brusk, insincere and insensitive. They were disturbed further with Obama’s response on a 60 Minutes segment in late January 2013. Obama and Hillary were answering questions about Benghazi when Obama quoted Defense Secretary Robert Gates, “At this moment somewhere, somehow, somebody in the federal government’s screwing up” as he turned to Hillary laughing at his joke about their Benghazi screw-up that killed four Americans. They also had to be upset hearing the president on another occasion callously dismissing the Benghazi tragedy as “a sideshow.”

Not surprisingly, the US installed puppet government in Libya has been of no assistance in its lack of cooperation with revealing any further details of the attack. Last June the chaos, lawlessness and terror in Benghazi only continued as thirty-one Libyans protesting their grievances against an al Qaeda militia group were brutally massacred outside the al Qaeda headquarters. The entire eastern region of Libya today is still not under control of the national government, which has largely been taken over by US backed al Qaeda affiliates. Libya today is in complete shambles steeped in corruption, instability and violence.

Meanwhile, the two American criminals most responsible for the attack, President Obama and presidential heir-apparent Hilary Clinton need to be held accountable for their crimes along with their other partner-in-crime General Petraeus. With the belated truth behind Benghazi slowly coming out, Obama should be impeached and Hillary must never become president. Ironically the crime of Nixon’s Watergate cover-up that brought down the first and only president in US history forced to resign in disgrace pales in comparison to the crimes committed by the likes of the Obama administration.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now focuses on writing.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-benghazi-scandal-is-obamas-watergate-but-worse/5380238

 

Jihadism

 

Jihadism (jihadist movement, jihadi movement and variants) is used to refer to contemporary armed jihad in Islamic fundamentalism. The term “jihadism” is coined in the 2000s and mostly used to cover Islamic insurgency and terrorism since that time, but it has also been extended to cover both Mujahideen guerilla warfare and Islamic terrorism with an international scope since it arose in the 1980s, since the 1990s substantially represented by the al-Qaeda network.

Contemporary jihadism ultimately has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th century ideological developments of Islamic revivalism, developed intoQutbism and related ideologies during the mid 20th century. Its rise was re-enforced by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and has been propagated in various armed conflicts throughout the 1990s and 2000s. A specifically Salafist jihadism has been diagnosed within the Salafi movement of the 1990s by Gilles Kepel.[citation needed][year needed]

Jihadism with an international, Pan-Islamist scope in this sense is also known as Global Jihadism. Generally the term jihadism denotes SunniIslamist armed struggle. Sectarian tensions led to numerous forms of (Salafist and other Islamist) jihadism in opposition of Shia Islam, Sufi Islamand Ahmadi Islam.

Terminology

Further information: Jihad

The term “jihadism” has been in use since about 2000, reportedly at first in the form “jihadist-Salafism“,[1] and soon reduced to “jihadism”, according to Martin Kramer (2003) first in the Indian and Pakistani media. “At present, jihadism is used to refer to the most violent persons and movements in contemporary Islam, including al-Qaeda.” Gilles Kepel is associated with early usage of the term (French djihadisme), and the term has seen wider use in French media since about 2004.[2] Brachman in his Global jihadism (2008) maintains that the term is “clumsy and controversial”.[3][clarification needed]

The term “Jihadist Globalism” is also often used in relation to Jihadism; Steger (2009) maintains that the concept is “globalist” in nature, stating that “‘jihadist Islamism’ — represented by such groups as Al Qaeda, Jemaa Islamiya, Hamas and Hezbollah — is today’s most spectacular manifestation of religious globalism.” [4]

Jihad Cool is a term used by Western security experts[5] concerning the re-branding of militant Jihadism into something fashionable, or “cool”, to younger people through social media, magazines,[6] rap videos,[7] clothing,[8] toys, propaganda videos,[9] and other means.[10] It is a sub-culture mainly applied to individuals in developed nations who are recruited to travel to conflict zones on Jihad. For example Jihadi rap videos make participants look “more MTV than Mosque”, according to NPR, which was the first to report on the phenomenon in 2010.[5][11]

History

Praying Muhjahideen in Kunar Province, Afghanistan (1987).

Precursor movements

When jihadism is specifically motivated by Pan-Islamism, i.e. the ultimate aim of spreading Islam worldwide under a restored Caliphate, it is often called “Global Jihadism”. But jihadism can also be motivated regionally, in an attempt to establish an Islamic state in a specific homeland. Global Jihadism is usually involved with international Islamic terrorism, while regional jihadism takes the form of guerrilla warfare, possibly also paired with terrorist attacks.

While the western term of “jihadism” was coined only in the early 2000s, and in retrospect applied to developments since the end of the Cold War era, this type of Islamist armed uprising against a secular government goes back to the early 19th century. The transition of this form ofguerilla warfare was the decline of the great Muslim empires of the Early Modern period which could wage war on the scale of a great power and did not need to rely on asymmetric warfare (see Ottoman wars in Europe, Russo-Turkish War (1877–78), Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire). Early jihadist conflicts include:

The Fulani jihad states of West Africa, c. 1830

Modern Islamism developed in the 1920s, and there have been a number of armed “jihads” informed by this movement since then.

Rebels from the militant Islamist sectAnsar Dine in Mali

While the “jihads” waged in the 19th and early-to-mid 20th century occasionally did involve western colonial powers, the phenomenon did remain mostly limited to the Middle East and the wider Muslim World. This changed significantly with the foundation of the state of Israel and the beginning of the Arab–Israeli conflict after the end of World War II. (Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine 1981–present, Islamic Jihad Organization 1982-1993,Hamas 1987–present). This sparked the beginning of international Islamic terrorism and put “jihadism” on the global agenda.

Islamic revivalism and Salafism (1990s to present)

Main article: Salafi jihadism

The term jihadism (earlier Salafi jihadism) has arisen in the 2000s to refer to the contemporary jihadi movements, the development of which was in retrospect traced to developments of Salafism paired with the origins of Al-Qaeda in the Soviet war in Afghanistan during the 1990s.

Jihadism has been called an “offshoot” of Islamic revivalism of the 1960s and 1970s. The writings of Sayyid Qutb and Muhammad abd-al-Salam Farajprovide inspiration. The Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989) is said to have “amplified the jihadist tendency from a fringe phenomenon to a major force in the Muslim world.[12] It served to produce foot soldiers, leadership and organization. Abdullah Yusuf Azzam provided propaganda for the Afghan cause. After the war veteran jihadists returned to their home countries and dispersed to other sites of Muslim insurgency such as Algeria,Bosnia and Chechnya creating a “transnational jihadist stream.”[13]

Jihad fi sabilillah

A black flag reportedly used byCaucasian jihadists in 2002 displays the phrase al-jihad fi sabilillah above the takbir and two crossed swords.

According to scholar of Islam and Islamic history Rudoph Peters, Traditionalist Muslims “copy phrases of the classical works on fiqh” in their writings on jihad; Islamic Modernists “emphasize the defensive aspect of jihad, regarding it as tantamount to bellum justum in modern international law; and the fundamentalists (Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, Abdullah Azzam, etc.) view it as a struggle for the expansion of Islam and the realization of Islamic ideals.”[14]

Jihad has been propagated in modern fundamentalism beginning in the late 19th century, an ideology that arose in context of struggles against colonial powers in North Africa in the late 19th century, as in the Mahdist War in Sudan, and notably in the mid-20th century by Islamic revivalistauthors such as Sayyid Qutb and Abul Ala Maududi.[15]

Based on this, the phrase is re-used in modern jihadism. Thus, “Fi Sabilillah” armbands were worn by rebels in Xinjiang when battling Soviet forces,[16]and the phrase has been spotted on flags used by jihadists in Caucasia in the 2000s.

Inter-religious

Against Sikhs

A rebel camp was set up in the early 19th century by Sayyid Ahmed Barelvi after leaving India for Afghanistan. There he set up a rebel camp to launch attacks against the Sikh power which was centered in the Punjab before focusing his attention of the British.[17] Waliullah’s teachings directly inspired jihad against Sikhs between 1826 and 1831.[18]

Against Hindus

The Hindu Kush refers to a region in Northwest India and translates as the slaughter of the Hindus. It refers to an incident when Hindus were transported to Muslim courts.[19] Aurangzebsupervised a book called Fatawa al-Hindiyya which dealth with the subject of Jihad.[20] Jihad was also considered by oSIMI in response to the 2002 Gujarat riots.[21]

Against Buddhists

In 1532, Sultan Said Khan launched a jihad against Tibetan Buddhists. He thought that Lhasa was a direction of prayer for all the Chinese and therefore sought to destroy its main temple. The jihadist expedition was led by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat.[22]

Against Jews

There are references in some hadiths to jihad being launched against Jews.[23] Ayman al-Zawahiri declared a fatwa of jihad against Jews in 1998. One of the earliest Jihads against Jews occurred in 627 AD against the Jewish Banu Qurayza tribe.[24]

Against Zoroastrians

During the Muslim conquest of Persia, Jihadists caused the fall of the largely Zoroastrian Sasanian Empire. Major battles included the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and Battle of Nahāvand.[25][26]

Against pagans

During Muhammad’s lifetime, there were many battles fought between Muslims and pagans. Examples of these include the Battle of Badr and Battle of the Trench. however after conquest of Makkah in Hijri 8, Muhammad forgave all the pagan enemies which resulted in most of them converting to Islam.

Against atheists

President Reagan meeting withAfghan Mujahideen leaders in the Oval Office in 1983

During the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, many Muslims received calls for a jihad against atheists.[27] Mujahideen were recruited from various countries including Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.[28] The conflict gradually turned from one against occupation to one seen as a jihad.[29]

Against Christians

The European crusaders re-conquered much of the territory seized by the Islamic state, dividing it into four kingdoms, the most important being the state of Jerusalem. The Crusades originally had the goal of recapturing Jerusalem and the Holy Land (former Christian territory) from Muslim rule and were originally launched in response to a call from the Eastern Orthodox Byzantine Empire for help against the expansion of the Muslim Seljuk Turks into Anatolia. There was little drive to retake the lands from the crusaders, save the few attacks made by the Egyptian Fatimids. This changed, however, with the coming of Zangi, ruler of what is today northern Iraq. He took Edessa, which triggered the Second Crusade, which was little more than a 47-year stalemate. The stalemate was ended with the victory of Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi, known in the west as Saladin, over the forces of Jerusalem at the Horns of Hattin in 1187. It was during the course of the stalemate that a great deal of literature regarding Jihad was written.[6] While amassing his armies in Syria, Saladin had to create a doctrine which would unite his forces and make them fight until the bitter end, which would be the only way they could re-conquer the lands taken in the First Crusade. He did this through the creation of Jihad propaganda. It stated that any one who would abandon the Jihad would be committing a sin that could not be washed away by any means. It also put his amirs at the center of power, just under his rule. While this propaganda was successful in uniting his forces for a time, the fervor burned out quickly. Much of Saladin’s teachings were rejected after his death.

Intra-religious

Against Shia

The Syrian Civil War became a focus for Sunni fighters waging jihad on Shia. The al-Nusra Front is the largest jihadist group in Syria.[30] The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has called for jihad against the Syrian government and against that government’s Shi’ite allies.[31] Saudi Arabia backs the jihad against the Shia in Syria using proxies.[32] Sunni jihadi converge in Syria from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Kuwait, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Bosnia, other Arab states, Chechnya, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Western countries.[33]

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Martin Kramer (Spring 2003). “Coming to Terms: Fundamentalists or Islamists?”. Middle East Quarterly X (2): 65–77. “French academics have put the term into academic circulation as ‘jihadist-Salafism.’ The qualifier of Salafism—an historical reference to the precursor of these movements—will inevitably be stripped away in popular usage. “Jihadist-Salafism” is defined by Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2002), pp. 219-22; and Guilain Deneoux, “The Forgotten Swamp: Navigating Political Islam,” Middle East Policy, June 2002, pp. 69-71.”
  2. Jump up^ DJIHADISME Une déclaration de guerre contre Moubarak, Courrier International, 14 October 2004;Islamisme radical et djihadisme en ligne Le Monde 28 September 2005.
  3. Jump up^ Brachman 2008, p. 4: “Jihadism is a clumsy and controversial term.”
  4. Jump up^ Steger, Manfred B. Globalization: A Short Introduction. 2009. Oxford University Publishing, p. 127.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b Laura Italiano (June 20, 2014). “American Muslims flocking to jihadist group”. New York Post. RetrievedAugust 22, 2014.
  6. Jump up^ Steve Emerson (April 15, 2013). “Jihad is Cool: Jihadist Magazines Recruit Young Terrorists”. Family Security Matters. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  7. Jump up^ J. Dana Stuster (April 29, 2013). “9 Disturbingly Good Jihadi Raps”. Foreign Policy. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  8. Jump up^ Robert Spencer (August 7, 2014). “India: Imam arrested for distributing Islamic State t-shirts”. Jihad Watch. RetrievedAugust 22, 2014.
  9. Jump up^ Jytte Klausen (2012). “The YouTube Jihadists: A Social Network Analysis of Al-Muhajiroun’s Propaganda Campaign”. Perspectives on Terrorism 6 (1). RetrievedAugust 22, 2014.
  10. Jump up^ Cheryl K. Chumley (June 27, 2014). “Terrorists go ‘Jihad Cool,’ use rap to entice young Americans”. Washington Times. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Dina Temple-Raston (March 6, 2010). “Jihadi Cool: Terrorist Recruiters’ Latest Weapon”. National Public Radio. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
  12. Jump up^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. p. 174.
  13. Jump up^ Commins, David (2009). The Wahhabi Mission and Saudi Arabia. I.B.Tauris. pp. 156, 7.
  14. Jump up^ Peters, Rudolph (1996). Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader. Princeton: Marcus Wiener. p. 150.
  15. Jump up^ Rudolph Peters, Jihad in modern terms: a reader 2005, p. 107 and note p. 197. John Ralph Willis, “Jihad Fi Sabil Allah”, in: In the path of Allah: the passion of al-Hajj ʻUmar : an essay into the nature of charisma in Islam, Routledge, 1989,ISBN 978-0-7146-3252-0, 29-57. “Gibb [Mohammedanism, 2nd ed. 1953] rightly could conclude that one effect of the renewed emphasis in the nineteenth century on the Qur’an and Sunna in Muslim fundamentalism was to restore to jihad fi sabilillah much of the prominence it held in the early days of Islam. Yet Gibb, for all his perception, did not consider jihad within the context of its alliance to ascetic and revivalist sentiments, nor from the perspectives which left it open to diverse interpretations.” (p. 31)
  16. Jump up^ Andrew D. W. Forbes (1986). Warlords and Muslims in Chinese Central Asia: a political history of Republican Sinkiang 1911-1949. Cambridge, England: CUP Archive. p. 144. ISBN 0-521-25514-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
  17. Jump up^ Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity – Page 36
  18. Jump up^ Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia – Page 57, Ayesha Jalal – 2009
  19. Jump up^ Islamic Economics and the Final Jihad David J. Jonsson – 2006 – Page 87
  20. Jump up^ Understanding Jihad, David Cook – 2005, r 49
  21. Jump up^ Islamism and Democracy in India, p 147, Irfan Ahmad – 2009
  22. Jump up^ Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road – Page 174, Johan Elverskog – 2011 -
  23. Jump up^ Sahih Muslim 41:6985, Sahih Muslim 41:6981, Sahih Muslim 41:6982
  24. Jump up^ Guillaume, Alfred, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah. Oxford University Press, 1955
  25. Jump up^ Iranian History and Politics: The Dialectic of State and Society By Homa Katouzian, pg. 25
  26. Jump up^ The Expansion of the Saracens-The East, C.H. Becker, The Cambridge Medieval History:The Rise of the Saracens and the Foundation of the Western Empire, Vol. 2, ed. John Bagnell Bury, (MacMillan Company, 1913), 348.
  27. Jump up^ The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global – Page 68, Fawaz A. Gerges – 2009 -
  28. Jump up^ Aging Early: Collapse of the Oasis of Liberties – Page 47, Mirza Aman – 2009
  29. Jump up^ Withdrawing Under Fire, Joshua L. Gleis – 2011
  30. Jump up^ “Inside Jabhat al Nusra – the most extreme wing of Syria’s struggle”. 2 December 2012.
  31. Jump up^ Maggie Fick (June 14, 2013). “Egypt Brothers backs Syria jihad, slams Shi’ites”. Reuters.
  32. Jump up^ Robert F. Worth (Jan 7, 2014). “Saudis Back Syrian Rebels Despite Risks”. New York Times.
  33. Jump up^ Mark Hosenball (May 1, 2014). “In Iraq and Syria, a resurgence of foreign suicide bombers”. The Economist.
  34. Jump up^ Darion Rhodes, Salafist-Takfiri Jihadism: the Ideology of the Caucasus Emirate, International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, March 2014

Literature

  • Abbas, Tahir (2007). Islamic Political Radicalism: A European Perspective. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-2528-4.
  • Akbarzadeh, Shahram (2010). Islam and Political Violence: Muslim Diaspora and Radicalism in the West. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84511-473-2.
  • Al-Rasheed, Madawi (2009). Dying for Faith: Religiously Motivated Violence in the Contemporary World. I B Tauris & Co Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84511-687-3.
  • Aslan, Reza (2010). Global Jihadism. ISBN 978-3-639-25006-0.
  • Gilles Kepel, Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam (2000, 2002, 2006).
  • Brachman, Jarret (2008). Global jihadism: theory and practice. vol. 10 of Cass series on political violence, Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-45241-0.*The Devolution of Jihadism: From Al Qaeda to Wider Movement. Stratfor. 2010. ISBN 978-1-4537-4664-6.
  • Coolsaet, Rik (2008). Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge in Europe. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-7217-3.
  • Hegghammer, Thomas (2010). Jihad in Saudi Arabia: Violence and Pan-Islamism since 1979. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-51858-1.
  • Khosrokhavar, Farhad (2009). Inside Jihadism: Understanding Jihadi Movements Worldwide. Paradigm. ISBN 978-1-59451-616-0.
  • Lahoud, Nelly (2010). The Jihadis’ Path to Self-destruction. C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84904-062-4.
  • Lohlker (ed.), Rüdiger (2013). Jihadism: Online Discourses and Representations. Vienna University Press. ISBN 978-3-8471-0068-3.
  • Lohlker (ed.), Rüdiger (2012). New Approaches to the Analysis of Jihadism. Vienna University Press. ISBN 978-3-89971-900-0.

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

 

al-Nusra Front

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
al-Nusra Front
(Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشام‎)
Participant in the Syrian Civil War, the Syrian Civil War spillover in Lebanon, and the Global War on Terrorism
Flag of the Al-Nusra Front.svg

Flag of the al-Nusra Front
Active 23 January 2012 – present[1]
Ideology Salafist Jihadism[2]
Islamic fundamentalism[3]
Leaders Abu Mohammad al-Julani[4]
Headquarters
Area of operations
Strength 5,115–6,115 (including 50 Khorasan members)[8][9][10]
Part of
Allies
Opponents State opponents
Syria

Lebanon

United States of America

Non-State Opponents

Battles and wars Syrian Civil War

2014 military intervention against ISIL

The al-Nusra Front, or Jabhat al-Nusra, (JN, Arabic: جبهة النصرة لأهل الشامJabhat an-Nuṣrah li-Ahli ash-Shām, “The Support Front for the People of Al-Sham“), sometimes called Tanzim Qa’edat Al-Jihad fi Bilad Al-Sham or al-Qaeda in Syria,[25] is a branch of al-Qaedaoperating in Syria[26] and Lebanon.[27]

The group announced its formation on 23 January 2012, during the Syrian Civil War.[28] Since then, it has been described as both “the most aggressive and successful”[29] and “one of the most effective rebel forces” in Syria.[30] The group has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations,[31] Australia,[32] Canada, New Zealand,[33][34] Russia,[35] Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom,[36] the United States,[37] and Turkey.

Ideology

al-Nusra aims to overthrow the Assad regime and replace it with a Sunni Islamic state. Although the group is affiliated with al-Qaeda, al-Nusra does not emphasize Western targets or global jihad, focusing instead on the “near enemy” of the Syrian state.[38]

This resistance group is generally made up of native Syrian mujahideen who adhere to Sunni Islam.[39][40] Its goal is to overthrow Bashar al-Assad‘s regime in Syria and create an Islamic Emirate under Sharia law.[41][42]

In early 2014, Dr. Sami Al Oraidi, a top Sharia official in the group, acknowledged that his group is influenced by the teachings of Abu Musab al-Suri. The strategies derived from Abu Musab’s guidelines include: providing services to people, avoid being seen as extremists, maintaining strong relationships with communities and other fighting groups, and putting the focus on fighting the regime.[43]

Members of the group are accused of attacking the religious beliefs of non-Sunnis in Syria, including the Alawis.[44] New York Timesjournalist C. J. Chivers cites “some analysts and diplomats” as noting that al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant“can appear less focused on toppling” the al-Assad government than on “establishing a zone of influence spanning Iraq’s Anbar Province and the desert eastern areas of Syria, and eventually establishing an Islamic territory under their administration.”[45]

Members of the group have referred to the United States and Israel as enemies of Islam[44] and warned against Western intervention in Syria.[46] Syrian members of the group claim they are only fighting the Assad government and would not attack Western states.[46] The United States accused it of being affiliated with al-Qaeda in Iraq;[47] in April 2013, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq released an audio statement affirming this connection.[48][49][50]

Analysis

The leader, a self-proclaimed Emir, of al-Nusra goes by the name of Abu Mohammad al-Julani (also transliterated as: Mohammed and al-Jawlani, or: al-Golani), which implies that he is from the Golan Heights (al-Jawlan, in Arabic). Very little is known about him, with even his nationality unclear.[51] However, in an interview with Al Jazeera, he spoke Classical Arabic with a Syrian accent.[52]

On 18 December 2013, he gave his first television interview, to Tayseer Allouni, a journalist originally from Syria, for Al Jazeera.[52]

The structure of the group varies across Syria. In Damascus the organisation operates in an underground clandestine cell system, while in Aleppo, the group is organized along semi-conventional military lines, with units divided into brigades, regiments, and platoons.[51] All potential recruits must undertake a 10-day religious-training course, followed by a 15-to-20-day military-training program.[1]

Al-Nusra contains a hierarchy of religious bodies, with a small Majlis-ash-Shura (Consultative Council) at the top, making national decisions on behalf of the group. Religious personnel also play an important role in the regional JN leadership, with each region having a commander and a sheikh. The sheikh supervises the commander from a religious perspective and is known as dabet al-shar’i (religious commissioner).[51]

An increasing number of Americans have been attempting to join the fighting in Syria, As MD Ahmad Zarkali and Thayer al-atheim and fifty of friends specifically with al-Nusra.[53] Most recently, Sinh Vinh Ngo Nguyen, also known as Hasan Abu Omar Ghannoum, was arrested in California on 11 October 2013, on charges of attempting to travel to join Al Qaeda after reportedly having fought in Syria.[53]As of November 2013 there had also been five additional publicly disclosed cases of Americans fighting in Syria, three of which were linked to al-Nusrah.[54]

All statements and videos by the al-Nusra Front have been released by its media outlet, al-Manarah al-Bayda (The White Minaret), via the leading jihadist webforum Shamoukh al-Islam.[1]

History

Background

The Quilliam Foundation, in a briefing paper, reports that many of the group’s members are Syrians who were part of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi‘s Islamist network fighting the American forces in Iraq. Many of these Syrians remained in Iraq after the withdrawal of American forces, but upon the outbreak of Syrian civil war in 2011, the Islamic State of Iraq sent the Syrian mujahideen and individual Iraqi experts in guerrilla warfare into Syria. A number of meetings were held between October 2011 and January 2012 in Rif Dimashq and Homs where the objectives of the group were determined.[51]

The al-Nusra Front released its first public statement on January 24, 2012, in which they called for armed struggle against the Syrian government. The group claimed responsibility for the2012 Aleppo bombings, the January 2012 al-Midan bombing, the March 2012 Damascus bombings,[28] the murder of journalist Mohammed al-Saeed,[55] and possibly the 10 May 2012 Damascus bombings.[citation needed]

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said that al-Qaeda in Iraq members have gone to Syria, where the militants previously received support and weapons, in order to join the al-Nusra Front.[56] They are considered to be the best trained and most experienced fighters among the Syrian rebels.[57] The group has refused calls for a ceasefire in Syria.[58]

US intelligence agencies had originally suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq for the bombings in Aleppo and Damascus.[59] Iraq’s deputy interior minister said early February that weapons and Islamist militants were entering Syria from its country.[60] The Front claimed credit for suicide attacks in the Syrian capital of Damascus al-Zahra al-Zubaydi.[61] A defected diplomat named Nawaf al-Fares stated in an interview with the The Daily Telegraph that jihadis were used by the Syrian government in attacks against civilians so that the government could blame the deaths on Syrian rebels.[62]

Role in the Syrian Civil War

The al-Nusra Front has been a great help to Syrian rebels in the Battle of Aleppo. One rebel said that members of the group “rush to the rescue of rebel lines that come under pressure and hold them […] They know what they are doing and are very disciplined. They are like the special forces of Aleppo.”[58] After the US designated the al-Nusra Front as an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group, several rebel groups defied the US classification and rallied behind the al-Nusra Front, declaring, “We are all Jabhat Al Nusra.”[63] A Free Syrian Army (FSA) leader in Aleppo berated the move, and a FSA spokesman in Aleppo said, “We might not share the same beliefs as Jabhat al-Nusra, but we are fighting the same enemy.”[64] Some FSA fighters defected to the al-Nusra Front.[65]

While some FSA leaders are worried by the al-Nusra Front’s theocratic ideology and plans for Syria’s future, they see foreign extremists as a welcomed boost to the fight against the Assad regime, bringing experience from Iraq and Afghanistan.[46][58] While FSA has consistently stated their disapproval of al-Nusra Front’s use of suicide bombs, they have also thanked them for some suicide operations with strategic benefit, such as the attack on the Menagh Airbase.[58][66] Some disgruntled voices within the FSA accused the al-Nusra Front and others of “hijacking a revolution that began as an uprising to demand a democratic system.”[46] The leader of a rebel group in Idlib Province said “We are not fighting Bashar al-Assad to go from living in an autocratic to a religious prison”.[46] A “senior political official” of the FSA said “Their presence is reducing the popular support that we desperately need in areas where we operate […] I appreciate their motives for coming to Syria. We cannot deny Muslims their right to jihad, but we want them to leave”.[58] In some parts of Syria, “Jihadist and secular rebel groups watch each other’s military bases warily, unclasping the safety catches on their guns as they pass.”[46] Some members of the FSA believe that, after the Assad government has been overthrown, the next war will be between the FSA and the Islamists.[46]

The leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Moaz al-Khatib, called on the US to reconsider its decision to list the al-Nusra Front as a foreign terrorist organization; al-Khatib has stated that all rebel forces whose main goal is “the fall of the regime” should be left alone.[67] After the listing of al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation by the US in December 2012, a group of 29 opposition groups, including both fighting units and civilian organizations signed an online petition calling for demonstrations in its support.[68] On 14 December 2012, thousands of Syrians protested against the US move, under the slogan of “There is no terrorism in Syria except that of Assad.”[69]

Split with Islamic State of Iraq

In April 2013, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, released a recorded audio message on the Internet, in which he announced that Jabhat al-Nusra was an extension of al-Qaeda in Iraq in Syria.[48] Al-Baghdadi said that Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, had been dispatched by the group along with a group of men to Syria to meet with pre-existing cells in the country. Al-Baghdadi said that the ISI had provided Jabhat al-Nusra with the plans and strategy needed for the Syrian Civil War and had been providing them funding on a monthly basis.[70] Al-Baghdadi then declared that the two groups were officially merging under the name, Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham/the Levant (ISIS/ISIL).[70] The next day al-Julani rejected the merger and affirmed the group’s allegiance to Al-Qaeda and its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. al-Julani was quoted as saying “We inform you that neither the al-Nusra command nor its consultative council, nor its general manager were aware of this announcement. It reached them via the media and if the speech is authentic, we were not consulted.”[71]

In May 2013, Reuters reported that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the ISI, had traveled from Iraq to Syria’s Aleppo Governorate province and began recruiting members of al-Nusra. There were media reports that many of al-Nusra’s foreign fighters had left to join al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), while many Syrian fighters left the group to join other Islamist brigades.[72][73][74] Sometime in May 2013, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, the leader of al-Nusra, was injured by an airstrike conducted by the Syrian Regime.[75] In June 2013, Al Jazeera reported that it had obtained a letter written by al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri, addressed to both Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Abu Mohammad al-Julani, in which he ruled against the merger of the two organisations and appointed an emissary to oversee relations between them and put an end to tensions.[76] Later in the same month, an audio message from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was released in which he rejected al-Zawahiri’s ruling and declared that the merger of the two organizations into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was going ahead. This sequence of events is said to have caused much confusion and division amongst members of al-Nusra.[72]

Some units of al-Nusra began taking part in clashes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,[77] and in February 2014, after continued tensions, al-Qaeda publicly disavowed any relations with ISIS.[78] In the same month, al-Julani threatened to go to war with ISIS over their suspected role in the killing of senior Ahrar ash-Sham commander Abu Khaled al-Souri. al-Julani gave ISIS five days to submit evidence that they were innocent in the attack to three imprisoned Jihadist clerics, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, Abu Qatada al-Falastini, and Suleiman al-Alwan.[79] On 16 April 2014, ISIS killed al-Nusra’s Idlib chief Abu Mohammad al-Ansari together with his family, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.[80] In May 2014, open fighting soon broke out between ISIS and al-Nusra in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, leaving hundreds dead on both sides.[81] By July 2014, al-Nusra had largely been expelled from the province.[82]

In July 2014, an audio recording attributed to al-Julani appeared online, in which he said that al-Nusra planned to establish an Islamic emirate in the areas of Syria that they have a presence. A statement issued on 12 July 2014 by al-Nusra’s media channel affirmed the authenticity of the recording, but stated that they had not yet declared the establishment of an emirate.[83][84][85][86]

Attacks

During the Syrian Civil War, the group launched many attacks, mostly against targets affiliated with or supportive of the Syrian government. As of June 2013, al-Nusra Front had claimed responsibility for 57 of the 70 suicide attacks in Syria during the conflict.[87]

One of the first bombings which al-Nusra was suspected of and the first suicide attack of the war came on 23 December 2011, when two seemingly coordinated bombings occurred in the Syrian capital of Damascus, killing 44 people and wounding 166.[88]

The al-Midan bombings of January 2012 were allegedly carried out by a fighter named Abu al-Baraa al-Shami. Footage of the destruction caused by the blast was released on a jihadist forum.[59] The video asserts that the “martyrdom-seeking operation” was executed “in revenge for our mother Umm Abdullah—from the city of Homs—against whom the criminals of the regime violated her dignity and threatened to slaughter her son,” SITE reported. The video shows “an excerpt of allegiances, operations, and training of the al-Nusra Front” as well as a fighter “amongst the masses in a public demonstration, advising them to do their prayers and adhere to the rituals of Islam.”[citation needed]

The al-Nusra Front announced the formation of the “Free Ones of the Levant Brigades”, in a YouTube video statement that was released on January 23. In the statement, the group claimed that it attacked the headquarters of security in Idlib province.[89] “To all the free people of Syria, we announce the formation of the Free Ones of the Levant Brigades,” the statement said, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. “We promise Allah, and then we promise you, that we will be a firm shield and a striking hand to repel the attacks of this criminal Al Assad army with all the might we can muster. We promise to protect the lives of civilians and their possessions from security and the Shabiha [pro-government] militia. We are a people who will either gain victory or die.”[89]

The 10 May 2012 Damascus bombings were allegedly claimed by al-Nusra Front in an Internet video,[90] however, on 15 May 2012, someone claiming to be a spokesman for the group denied that the organization was responsible for the attack, saying that it would only release information through jihadist forums.[91]

On 29 May 2012, a mass execution was discovered near the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor. The unidentified corpses of 13 men had been discovered shot to death execution-style.[92] On 5 June 2012, the al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the killings, stating that they had captured and interrogated the soldiers in Deir ez-Zor and “justly” punished them with death, after they confessed to crimes.[93]

On 17 June 2012, Walid Ahmad al-Ayesh, described by Syrian authorities as the “right hand” of the al-Nusra Front, was killed when Syrian authorities discovered his hiding place. He was reportedly responsible for the making of car bombs that were used to attack Damascus in the previous months.[94] The Syrian authorities reported the killing of another prominent member of the group, Wael Mohammad al-Majdalawi, killed on 12 August 2012 in an operation conducted in Damascus.[95]

On 27 June 2012, a group of Syrian rebels attacked a pro-government TV station in the town of Drousha, just south of the capital Damascus. The station’s studios were destroyed with explosives. Seven people were killed in the attack on Al-Ikhbariya TV, including four guards and three journalists.[96] Al-Nusra claimed responsibility for the attack and published photos of 11 station employees they kidnapped following the raid.[97]

In mid-July 2012, Mohammed al-Saeed, a well-known government TV news presenter, was kidnapped by the group. On 3 August 2012, al-Nusra published a statement saying that al-Saeed had been executed.[55][98]

The scene at Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square after the attacks on 3 October 2012

On 3 October, three suicide car bombs exploded at the eastern corner of the central Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square killing 48 people,[99] as it was announced by the Ministry of interior. More than 122 people were reported to be heavily injured.[100] Al-Nusra claimed responsibility for the attack.[101]The bombs targeted the Officers’ club and the nearby buildings of the Touristic Hotel and the historic “Jouha Café”. The hotel received major damage while the café was entirely destroyed. A small building within the Officers’ club was ruined as well.[102][103]

The al-Nusra Front also claimed responsibility for attacking numerous Syrian military bases, including:

  • Aleppo district: an air defense base, on: 12 October 2012
  • Aleppo city: the Hanano barracks
  • Raqqah: the Suluq barracks

In the air defense base assault they reportedly destroyed buildings and sabotaged radar and rockets after overrunning the base in cooperation with the al-Fajr Islamic Movement and a group of Chechen fighters. During the storming of the Hanano barracks 11 soldiers were killed and they held the complex for six hours before retreating. They also claimed killing 32 soldiers during the raid on the Raqqah base.[104]

In October 2012, they joined other rebels in an attack on the Wadi Deif base around Maraat al Numan, in a prolonged fighting that turned into a siege of the base.[105] They also led an attack on the Taftanaz Air Base in November 2012, an important and strategic base for the Syrian army, containing up to 48 helicopters.[57]

The group seized three army checkpoints around Saraqeb at the end of October 2012, forcing the Syrian Army to withdraw from the area the next day. In the battle, 28 Syrian soldiers were killed as well as five Nusra fighters. Some of the captured soldiers were summarily executed after being called “Assad dogs”. The video of these executions was widely condemned, with the United Nations referring to them as probable war crimes.[106][107]

Members of the al-Nusra Front carried out two suicide attacks in early November 2012. One occurred in a rural development center in Sahl al-Ghab in Hama province, where a car bomb killed two people; while the other occurred in the Mezzeh neighbourhood of Damascus, where a suicide bomber killed 11 people.[108] The SOHR claimed a total of 50 soldiers were killed in the Sahl al-Ghab attack.[109]

Al Jazeera reported on 23 December 2012 that the al-Nusra Front had declared a “no-fly-zone” over Aleppo, using 23 mm and 57 mm anti-aircraft guns to down planes. This would include commercial flights which al-Nusra believed transported military equipment and troops. In a video sent to Al Jazeera, they warned civilians against boarding commercial flights.[110]

In February 2013, Al Nusra fighters were involved in fighting in Safira with regime reinforcements, preventing these forces from reaching their destination of the city of Aleppo. A monitoring group claims this resulted in more than two hundred casualties over a period of two weeks.[111]

Though it was initially reported that Syrian Catholic priest François Murad was beheaded at a church in Gassanieh, he was actually shot dead.[112]

The group has taken part in military operations with the Free Syrian Army.[113] Abu Haidar, a Syrian FSA co-ordinator in Aleppo‘s Saif al-Dawla district said that al-Nusra Front “have experienced fighters who are like the revolution’s elite commando troops.”[114]

In December 2013, al-Nusra abducted 13 nuns from a Christian monastery in Maaloula. They were held in the town of Yabroud until 9 March 2014, The nuns reported they had not been harassed and could keep religious symbols.[115]

As of July 2013, al-Nusra controls Ash-Shaddadeh, a town of roughly 16,000.[116]

On 28 August 2014, militants from the group kidnapped 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji from Golan Heights in the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force Zone.[117] The group demanded that it be removed from the UN’s list of terrorist organizations in exchange for the lives of the peacekeepers. In addition to UN personnel, the group routinely captures UN vehicles to use as car bombs.[118] At the same time, two groups of UN peacekeepers from Philippines were trapped under fire in nearby Rwihinah.[119] On 31 August, one group of 32 Filipinos soldiers was rescued and the other group of 40 soldiers escaped.[120] The rescue operation was carried out by Irish peacekeepers.[121] Colonel Ezra Enriquez of the Philippines, who over-saw the operations, resigned over disagreements with Indian Lieutenant General Iqbal Singh Singha. Singha had allegedly ordered the Filipinos peacekeepers to surrender arms to ensure the safe release of the Fijian soldiers.[122] On 8 September, Rodrigo Duterte, the mayor of Davao City, called for Singha’s death after he allegedly called the Filipinos soldiers cowards.[123]On 11 September, the kidnapped Fijian soldiers were released.[124]

In late October 2014, al-Nusra began attacking the Free Syrian Army and other moderate Islamist groups that it was formerly allied with, in a bid to establish its own Islamic state in the cities it controlled in the Idlib Governorate and other neighboring Governorates.[125][126]

External support

At least one Arab government[which?] has accused Qatar of helping al-Nusra.[127] The US Government has been sending weapons to rebels in Syria since at least late 2013, and perhaps as early as 2011, during the begininning phases of the conflict. These weapons have been reportedly falling into hands of extremists, such as al-Nusra and ISIL.[128][129]

al-Nusra has also been materially supported by multiple foreign fighters. Most of these fighters are from Europe and the Middle East, as pipelines to Syria from those locations are better established and navigable.[130] However, as of November 2013, there were also 6 publicly disclosed cases of American citizens and permanent residents who joined or attempted to join al-Nusrah in 2013 alone.[131]

Khorasan

Khorasan, also known as the Khorasan Group, refers to a group of senior al-Qaeda members who operate in Syria.[132] The group is reported to consist of a small number of fighters who are all on terrorist watchlists, and coordinate with the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. At an intelligence gathering in Washington, D.C. on 18 September 2014, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that “in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as ISIS.”[133] The term first appeared in news media in September 2014, although the United States had reportedly been keeping track of the group for two years previously.[134]

Weaponry and tactics

The organisation is believed to have used, at various times and in various places, the following tactics: car-bombs, suicide-attacks, targeting of checkpoints, conventional assault of military bases, assassination of political and military figures and members of the shabiha,[51] targeting (destruction/killing) of pro-government media stations and personnel.

By June 2013, there had been apparently 70 suicide-attacks in Syria. Of these, the group denied responsibility for 13 but claimed responsibility for the other 57. In June 2012, the group attacked the pro-government TV station at Drousha, near Damascus. The following month the government-TV presenter Mohammed al-Saeed disappeared; the group later declared him dead.

In June 2014 Human Rights Watch reported that several rebel groups including al-Nusra have enlisted child soldiers into their ranks.[135]

Chemical weapons

A report surfaced in June 2013 of former Iraqi Ba’ath officials supplying the chemical weapon Sarin to the al-Nusra Front through former Iraqi Brig. Gen. Adnan al-Dulaimi. The report detailed how “several former Iraqi military engineers trained the al-Nusra Front on how to use these chemical weapons” adding that all plans in this connection were prepared by al-Dulaimi and staged after Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri’s approval. The sourcing of this report is said to be an aide to al-Douri.[136]

On 30 May, Turkish newspapers reported that Turkish security forces had arrested al-Nusra fighters in the southern provinces of Mersin and Adana near the Syrian border and confiscated 2 kg of sarin gas.[137][138][139] The governor of Adana claimed that the security forces had not found sarin gas but unknown chemicals, without offering further elaboration.[140] The Turkish Ambassador to Moscow later said that tests showed the chemical seized was anti-freeze, not sarin.[141] In September six of those arrested in May were charged with attempting to acquire chemicals which could be used to produce sarin; the indictment said that it was “possible to produce sarin gas by combining the materials in proper conditions.”[142] The indictment said that “The suspects have pleaded not guilty saying that they had not been aware the materials they had tried to obtain could have been used to make sarin gas. Suspects have been consistently providing conflicting and incoherent facts on this matter.” The suspects were said to be linked to al-Nusra and to Ahrar ash-Sham.[143][144]

Designation as a terrorist organization

Countries and organizations below have officially listed the al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.

Country Date References
 Australia 28 June 2013 [145]
 Canada 7 November 2013 [146]
 France [147]
 Russia 29 December 2014 [35][148][149]
 Saudi Arabia 7 March 2014 [150]
 Turkey 4 June 2014 [151]
 United Arab Emirates [152]
 United Kingdom 19 July 2013 [153]
 United States 10 December 2012 [154]

See also

References

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External links

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front

 

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SECURING CYBERSPACE – President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and Other Cybersecurity Efforts

“In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults both in the private sector and the public sector.  Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place…But even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better, too.  Some of them are going to be state actors; some of them are going to be non-state actors.  All of them are going to be sophisticated and many of them can do some damage.

This is part of the reason why it’s going to be so important for Congress to work with us and get an actual bill passed that allows for the kind of information-sharing we need.  Because if we don’t put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant.”

 – President Obama, December 19, 2014.

 

Since the start of his Administration, when he issued the Cyberspace Policy Review — the first top-to-bottom, Administration-wide review of cybersecurity — President Obama has led efforts to better prepare our government, our economy, and our nation as a whole for the growing cyber threats we face.

That’s why in 2011 he issued his Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal, calling on Congress to take urgent action to give the private sector and government the tools they need to combat cyber threats at home and abroad.  It’s why he issued the International Strategy for Cyberspace to make clear to nations abroad the foreign policy priority cybersecurity issues have become.  And when Congress failed to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, the Administration pressed forward, issuing an Executive Order to protect critical infrastructure by establishing baseline cybersecurity standards that we developed collaboratively with industry.

Today, at a time when public and private networks are facing an unprecedented threat from rogue hackers as well as organized crime and even state actors, the President is unveiling the next steps in his plan to defend the nation’s systems.  These include a new legislative proposal, building on important work in Congress, to solve the challenges of information sharing that can cripple response to a cyberattack.  They also include revisions to those provisions of our 2011 legislative proposal on which Congress has yet to take action, and along with them, the President is extending an invitation to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to advance this urgent priority for the American people.

Specifically, today’s announcements include:

Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal

Enabling Cybersecurity Information Sharing: The Administration’s updated proposal promotes better cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and government, and it enhances collaboration and information sharing amongst the private sector.  Specifically, the proposal encourages the private sector to share appropriate cyber threat information with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), which will then share it in as close to real-time as practicable with relevant federal agencies and with private sector-developed and operated Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) by providing targeted liability protection for companies that share information with these entities.

The legislation also encourages the formation of these private-sector led Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations.  The Administration’s proposal would also safeguard Americans’ personal privacy by requiring private entities to comply with certain privacy restrictions such as removing unnecessary personal information and taking measures to protect any personal information that must be shared in order to qualify for liability protection.  The proposal further requires the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and others, to develop receipt, retention, use, and disclosure guidelines for the federal government.  Finally, the Administration intends this proposal to complement and not to limit existing effective relationships between government and the private sector.  These existing relationships between law enforcement and other federal agencies are critical to the cybersecurity mission.

Modernizing Law Enforcement Authorities to Combat Cyber Crime: Law enforcement must have appropriate tools to investigate, disrupt and prosecute cyber crime.  The Administration’s proposal contains provisions that would allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen U.S. financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity.  It also reaffirms important components of 2011 proposals to update the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a key piece of law used to prosecute organized crime, so that it applies to cybercrimes, clarifies the penalties for computer crimes, and makes sure these penalties are in line with other similar non-cyber crimes.  Finally, the proposal modernizes the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by ensuring that insignificant conduct does not fall within the scope of the statute, while making clear that it can be used to prosecute insiders who abuse their ability to access information to use it for their own purposes.

National Data Breach Reporting: As announced yesterday, the Administration has also updated its proposal on security breach reporting.  State laws have helped consumers protect themselves against identity theft while also encouraging business to improve cybersecurity, helping to stem the tide of identity theft. These laws require businesses that have suffered an intrusion to notify consumers if consumers’ personal information has been compromised.  The Administration’s updated proposal helps business and consumers by simplifying and standardizing the existing patchwork of 46 state laws (plus the District of Columbia and several territories) that contain these requirements into one federal statute, and puts in place a single clear and timely notice requirement to ensure that companies notify their employees and customers about security breaches.

White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection

On February 13, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University, to help shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats to consumers and commercial networks.

The Summit will bring together major stakeholders on cybersecurity and consumer financial protection issues – including senior leaders from the White House and across the federal government; CEOs from a wide range of industries including the financial services industry, technology and communications companies; computer security companies and the retail industry; as well as law enforcement officials, consumer advocates, technical experts, and students.  Topics at the Summit will include increasing public-private partnerships and cybersecurity information sharing, creating and promoting improved cybersecurity practices and technologies, and improving adoption and use of more secure payment technologies.

The Summit is also the next step in the President’s BuySecure Initiative, which was launched in November 2014, and will help advance national efforts the government has led over the last two years with executive orders on consumer financial protection and critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Through keynote speeches, panel discussions, and small group workshops, participants will build on efforts in the public and private sectors to further improve cybersecurity practices at a wide range of companies.

Grants to Historically Black Colleges for Cybersecurity Education

As the President stated in Executive Order 13532, “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in February 2010, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have made historic and ongoing contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of our country.  Established by visionary leaders, America’s HBCUs, for over 150 years, have produced many of the Nation’s leaders in business, government, academia, and the military, and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity. Recognizing that HBCUs serve as engines of opportunity, innovation, and economic growth, Vice President Biden will travel to Norfolk, VA on Thursday to announce that the Department of Energy will provide $25 million in grants over the next five years to support a cybersecurity education consortium consisting of 13 HBCUs and two national labs.

This program, part of the President’s jobs-driven training initiative, will help to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. job market at the same time that it helps to grow the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula for HBCUs. The participating schools include two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and research institutions in seven states, plus the Virgin Islands.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/13/securing-cyberspace-president-obama-announces-new-cybersecurity-legislat

 

Obama says hacks show need for cybersecurity law

President Barack Obama said Tuesday the cyber attacks against Sony and the Pentagon’s Central Command highlight the need for toughened laws on cybersecurity.

Obama made the comment as the White House unveiled a proposal to revive cybersecurity legislation stalled over the past few years.

“With the Sony attack that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show how much more work we need to do — both public and private sector — to strengthen our cybersecurity,” the president said at a meeting with congressional leaders.

Obama said he had spoken to the Republican leaders of the House and Senate and “I think we agreed that this is an area where we can work hard together, get some legislation done and make sure that we are much more effective in protecting the American people from these kinds of cyberattacks.”

The proposal unveiled Tuesday would allow increased sharing of information on cyber threats from the private sector with protection from liability. The measure also would criminalize the sale of stolen financial data, and require companies to notify consumers about data breaches.

A White House statement said the updated proposal “promotes better cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and government, and it enhances collaboration and information sharing amongst the private sector.”

The plan also “would allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen US financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity,” the statement said.

The proposal would shield companies from liability if they share information about cyber threats with the Department of Homeland Security, which has been setting up special units for threat analysis and sharing.

Obama was expected to make comments on the initiative later Tuesday at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center.

Obama has pressed for cybersecurity legislation to allow the private sector to share data on threats without fear of liability for any adverse consequences from the disclosures.

Earlier efforts on cybersecurity legislation have stalled amid opposition from civil libertarians who feared it could allow too much government snooping and conservatives who argued it would create a new bureaucracy.

However, concerns have been heightened by the hacking of Sony Pictures and massive data breaches affecting retailers including Target and Home Depot.

On Monday, the US Central Command suspended its Twitter page after a group declaring sympathy for Islamic State jihadists hacked its social media accounts and posted internal documents.

http://news.yahoo.com/white-house-renews-bid-cybersecurity-law-155403546.html

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Ralph Peters — Lines of Fire: A Renegade Writes on Strategy, Intelligence, and Security — Videos

Posted on January 14, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, British History, Communications, Computers, Culture, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Energy, Ethic Cleansing, European History, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Missiles, Narcissism, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

ralph-peters1lines of fire

Fox News Ralph Peters: Yesterday President Obama Chose The Side of Terrorists!

Kerry: Paris Attack Is “Vicious Act Of Violence” -Paris Terror Attack – Ralph Peters – Stuart Varney

Warning On ISIS Threat To Home Land – Lt Col Ralph Peters -The Kelly File

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters: “The President Lives in this bubble of ‘unreality’”; ISIS is drunk on blood!

Ralph Peters: The way you deal with IS is to kill them, kill the last one and then kill his pet goat

Lt Col Ralph Peters: Gen Dempsey Committed The Greatest Sin In Obama Admin He Told The Truth

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters Smoking Hot ➡ Nukes Obama Admin On Bergdahl Return To Regular Duty

Lt. Col Peters on Iraq: “The White House is lying. This president is a coward.”

Malzberg | Ralph Peters retired Army lieutenant colonel

 

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James Bamford — The Shadow Factory The Ultra Secret NSA from 911 to the Eavesdropping on America — Videos

Posted on December 27, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Books, College, Communications, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Data, Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Energy, Family, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, government, government spending, Inflation, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

9/11 NSA + CIA : James Bamford’s documentary

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The Shadow Factory

James Bamford

V. James Bamford (born September 15, 1946) is an American bestselling author and journalist noted for his writing about United Statesintelligence agencies, especially the National Security Agency (NSA).[1] Bamford has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, as a distinguished visiting professor and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harper’s, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting for his article, “The Man Who Sold The War,” published in Rolling Stone

Biography

Bamford was born on September 15, 1946 and raised in Natick, Massachusetts. During the Vietnam War, he spent three years in the United States Navy as an intelligence analyst. He was assigned to a National Security Agency unit in Hawaii — as part of his three years of active duty in the Navy during the Vietnam War. With the G.I. Bill he would earn his law degree as Juris Doctor, International Law from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.[2] Then, as a reservist in law school, he blew the whistle on the NSA when he stumbled across a program that involved illegally eavesdropping on US citizens. He testified about the program in a closed hearing before the Church Committee, the congressional investigation that led to sweeping reforms of US intelligence abuses in the 1970s.[3][4]

After graduation, he decided to write his first book about the NSA: The Puzzle Palace in 1982. At several points he was threatened with prosecution under the Espionage Act, a 1917 law. Those threats had no basis and were never carried out. Rather than practice law, he entered the field of journalism, becoming an expert on the then highly secretive NSA. His book was researched through the extensive use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).[5] As a then super-secret agency, NSA was concerned about its unveiling to the world; accordingly, the government reclassified certain documents in an effort to stop publication.[6][7] The publication of his book resulted in threats of prosecution, when the Department of Justice claimed that he was holding classified documents. His counter argument was that the documents had been given to him under review by the Carter Administration and were declassified when he got them; under an Executive Order in place at the time, documents that had been declassified could not be “reclassified”. President Ronald Reagan later issued a new Executive Order to make it possible to reclassify documents, but that could not be applied against Bamford due to Constitutional prohibition against ex post facto law.[8][9]

He next published Body of Secrets, also about the NSA, in 2001, and A Pretext for War (2004). His 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, became a New York Times best-seller and was named by The Washington Post as one of “The Best Books of 2008.” It was the third book in his NSA trilogy and focused on the NSA involvement in the 9/11 investigations and intelligence failures. The NOVA‘s The Spy Factory[10] was based on this book.

Bamford now lectures nationally in the United States and was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He also spent nearly a decade as the Washington investigative producer for ABC‘s World News Tonight. In 2006, he received the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the top prize in magazine writing.

Bamford was also a consultant for the defense of NSA whistle blower Thomas Andrews Drake.[11]

In 2014, Bamford conducted the lengthiest in person interview to date with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in Moscow. The interview was published in Wired magazine in August of that year with the title “The Most Wanted Man In the World”.[12]

Publication

Books

Articles

Date Publication Title
8/9/82 Newsday (Viewpoints Section) “The UN: A Gold Mine for U.S. Intelligence”
11/6/82 The Nation “How I Got the NSA Files . . . How Reagan Tried to Get Them Back”
12/82 The New York Times Book Review “On the Trail of a Mole”
9/9/83 The Boston Globe (Op-Ed Section) “Victim of the Long Electronic War”
10/83 Boston Observer “How We Know What We Know About KAL 007″
12/4/83 The Washington Post Magazine “Big Brother is Listening”
1/8/84 The Washington Post Magazine “The Last Flight of KAL 007: How the U.S. Watches The Soviets in the Far East”
1/13/85 The New York Times Magazine “America’s Supersecret Eyes in Space”
4/21/85 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Black Box: KAL 007 and the Superpowers; KAL Flight 007: The Hidden Story”
6/9/85 The Washington Post Book World “Stansfield Turner and the Secrets of the CIA”
4/6/86 The Washington Post Book World “The Spy Plane That Flew Into History”
5/86 Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute) “Naval Review Issue, The Walker Spy Case: Navy Medicine, Maritime Terrorism”
5/24/86 The Boston Globe (Op-Ed Section) “U.S. Satellite Photos of Plant Should Have Been Released”
7/6/86 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Searching for Security, Casey Fires at the Press”
7/13/86 The New York Times Book Review “Keeping Intelligence Smart”
8/3/86 The New York Times Book Review “When Ideology Was Thicker Than Money”
9/28/86 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Shootdown, The Target is Destroyed”
10/5/86 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “CIA Gets Billing Again in Nicaragua, as Covert Action Becomes the Norm”
11/9/86 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Satellites Show a World of Secrets, to Rival Powers and Now the Press”
1/4/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Reagan CIA: Arrogance Instead of Oversight”
1/18/87 The New York Times Magazine “Carlucci And The N.S.C.”
2/8/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “An Aspirin for the CIA, But Major Surgery Needed”
2/8/87 The Washington Post Book World “Bankrolling International Murder and Extortion”
6/14/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Ghosts of CIA Haunt Hearings”
10/11/87 Los Angeles Times Magazine “They Also Serve Who Watch and Listen”
10/18/87 The Washington Post Book World “The Nugan Hand Affair: Banking on Espionage”
11/29/87 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Carlucci: Big Man About Intelligence”
2/21/88 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “FBI: If It’s Under Cover, It May Be Out of Control”
3/6/88 Los Angeles Times Magazine “Taking on The Mob”
5/29/88 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Fighting the Drug War, Congress Opens Door to Intelligence Misdeeds”
6/88 Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute) “Book Review, Merchants of Treason”
6/26/88 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “A Pentagon of Impurity”
7/3/88 The Washington Post Book World “Where Secret Armies Clash By Night”
8/7/88 The New York Times Book Review “A Mole Without Portfolio”
9/9/88 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) Reagan’s Done Nothing to Stop the Spies
2/9/92 The New York Times Book Review “Of Cabals and Coups”
1/29/95 The New York Times Book Review “The View From the KGB”
3/3/96 Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed Section) “Has a 30-Year Mystery Unraveled?”
8/20/98 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “Our Best Spies are in Space”
8/26/99 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “Spy Stories”
11/14/99 The Washington Post (Sunday Outlook Section) “Loud and Clear: The Most Secret of Secret Agencies Operates Under Outdated Laws”
3/18/01 The New York Times Magazine “My Friend The Spy: Robert Hanssen is Accused of Deceiving the FBI. If so, He Deceived Me Too.”
4/5/01 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “The Danger of Spy Planes”
4/12/01 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Rethink Spy Missions”
8/8/01 The Guardian (London) “Attack on the USS Liberty”
8/9/01 The Guardian (London) “The Cover-Up”
8/28/01 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “Guard the Secrets, Then Catch the Spies”
9/18/01 The New York Times “Of Atomic Secrets, Loyalty and Bitter Deceit”
12/01 Nieman Reports (Harvard) “Is The Press Up to The Task of Reporting The Stories of September 11?”
1/20/02 The Washington Post Book World “The Wrong Man”
2/7/02 The New York Times “A Former CIA Cowboy and His Disillusioning Ride”
6/2/02 The Washington Post (Sunday Outlook Section) “Intelligence Failures”
7/19/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Linguist Reserve Corp Answers Terror Need”
8/27/02 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “Washington Bends The Rules”
8/29/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) Bush Wrong to Use Pretext as Excuse to Invade Iraq
9/8/02 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “War of Secrets”
9/8/02 The Washington Post Book World “Strategic Thinking”
9/14/02 The Guardian (London) “What Big Ears You Have”
9/17/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Untested Administration Hawks Clamor for War”
10/24/02 USA Today (Op-Ed Section) “Maintain CIA’s Independence”
11/24/02 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “How To (De-)Centralize Intelligence”
12/15/02 The Washington Post Book World “Shadow Warriors”
3/23/03 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Ike as Spymaster: Secrets on High”
4/27/03 The Washington Post Book World “A Look Over My Shoulder: Richard Helms at the CIA”
7/4/03 The New York Times “The Labyrinthine Morass of Spying in the Cold War”
2/29/04 The Washington Post Book World “Sowing the Whirlwind”
5/9/04 Los Angeles Times Book Review “Secret Warriors: The Great Game”
6/13/04 The New York Times (Op-Ed Section) “This Spy For Rent”
2/20/05 The Washington Post Book World “We’re Watching Them”
3/28/05 The American Conservative “Breeding Terror: The Intelligence Community Analyzes a Counterproductive War”
12/1/05 Rolling Stone “The Man Who Sold The War”
12/25/05 The New York Times (Week in Review Section) “The Agency That Could Be Big Brother”
1/9/06 The New York Times “Where Spying Starts and Stops”
4/1/06 The Atlantic Monthly “Big Brother is Listening”
8/10/06 Rolling Stone “The Next War: Iran”
8/20/06 The New York Times Book Review “Intelligence Test”
12/12/06 The Washington Post ‘Curveball’ And A Slam Dunk
1/31/07 The New York Times Bush Is Not Above the Law
3/15/12 Wired The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)”
6/12/13 Wired The Secret War
10/2/14 First Look Media The NSA and Me

See also

References

  1. Jump up^ Scott Shane (October 10, 2008). “Decades on the Trail of a Shadowy Agency”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-03-08. For 30 years, on a sometimes lonely hunt, James Bamford has pursued that great white whale of American intelligence, the National Security Agency. It has been a jarring ride at times.
  2. Jump up^ “James Bamford”. Random House. Retrieved 2011-03-08. James Bamford was raised in Natick, Massachusetts, and spent three years in the Navy before attending law school in Boston on the G.I Bill. After graduation, intrigued by the machinations of the Watergate scandal, he gravitated toward journalism. However, rather than pursue a newspaper career he decided instead to write a book. …
  3. Jump up^ The Most Wanted Man In the World
  4. Jump up^ Bamford, “The NSA and Me,” The Intercept, 10/02/2014.https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/the-nsa-and-me/
  5. Jump up^ National Security Agency: “American-Cryptology-during-the-Cold-War-1945-1989-Book-IV-Cryptologic-Rebirth-1981-1989″
  6. Jump up^ “Bamford, J. The Puzzle Palace. 1982″. NameBase. Archived from the original on 2012-01-16. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  7. Jump up^ “Report on a James Bamford Talk at Berkeley”. Lewrockwell.com. 2002-02-11. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
  8. Jump up^ James Bamford: Inside the NSA’s Largest and Most Expansive Secret Domestic Spy Center 2 of 2 on YouTube, Democracy Now, Bamford interview with Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh. 2012 Mar 12 (via youtube)
  9. Jump up^ [1]|Bamford, “The NSA and Me,” The Intercept, 10/02/2014.
  10. Jump up^ PBS Spy Factory web page
  11. Jump up^ Drake pleads guilty to misdemeanor in NSA espionage case, Tricia Bishop, 6 10 2011
  12. Jump up^ The Most Wanted Man In the World

External links

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

 

National Security Agency

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a United States intelligence agency responsible for global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes – a discipline known as Signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is also charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] The agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through clandestine means,[10] among which are bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13]

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest of U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][14] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreignhuman espionage, the NSA has no authority to conduct human-source intelligence gathering, although it is often portrayed doing so in popular culture. Instead, the NSA is entrusted with coordination and deconfliction of SIGINT components of otherwise non-SIGINT government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[15] 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.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on prominent anti-Vietnam warleaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent 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 and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. It has also created or maintained security vulnerabilities in most software and encryption, leaving the majority of the Internet susceptible to cyber attacks from the NSA and other parties. Internationally, in addition to the various data sharing concerns that persist, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[16]

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 cipherdecryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau and Military Intelligence Branch, Section 8 (MI-8). 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.[17][18]

Black Chamber

Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.[19]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber“.[20] 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 persuadedWestern Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[21]

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.[22]

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”.[19]

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.[23] 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.[23]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[23] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[24] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[24] 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).[24] In December 1951, President Harry S. Trumanordered 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.[25]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[26] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[26] 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”.[27]

Vietnam War

Main article: Project MINARET

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 destroyerUSS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[28]

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 Dr. Martin Luther King, and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[29] 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.”[29]

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[30] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agencyGovernment Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[31] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[32] Senator Frank Churchuncovered previously unknown activity,[32] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[33] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[34]

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.[32]

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.[35][36]

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’.[37] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[38] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[38] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[38]

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[39]

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.[40]

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; it was late, over budget, and didn’t do what it was supposed to do. The Baltimore Sun ran articles about this in 2006–07. The government then raided the whistleblowers’ houses. One of them, Thomas Drake, was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) in 2010 in an unusual use of espionage law. He and his defenders claim that he was actually being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project. In 2011, all 10 original charges against Drake were dropped.[41][42]

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.[42] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[43]

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.Main article: Global surveillance disclosures (2013-present)

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[44] and “commercial secrets”.[45] 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.[46][47][48] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion”(RAS).[46][49]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[50] 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.[51][52]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing them to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[53] It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[54] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[55] 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.[56][57]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[58] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers[59] as well as internet communications,[54] 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.[60] 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.[61]

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.[62]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information furnished 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, message texts, and online accounts, that support the claim.[63]

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.[64] 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;[65] 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.[66] 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;[67] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[68] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[69] 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.”[70][71] 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”.[69] 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.[55]

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.”[72]

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.[73]

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.[74]

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.[75] 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”.[65]

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”.[76] 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.[77][78][79]

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.[80][81] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[82][83] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[84]

Organizational structure

Keith B. Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency

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).[85]

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.[86]

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.[87][88]

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. New information about NSA units was revealed in top secret documents leaked byEdward Snowden since June 2013.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[89]

  • 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 buggingcomputers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.[90]
  • G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.[91]
  • 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.[92]
  • 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.”[93]
      • S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms.[94] 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.[94] Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.[95]
  • 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

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.[96]

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.[97]

There’s also an office of Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.[98]

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.[99]
  • 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.[100]

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.[101]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Ft. 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.[102] 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.[103]

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 House Armed Services Committee 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.[104] 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.[104]

Edward Snowden‘s leaking 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.[103] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[105]

Polygraphing

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.[106] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[106] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts aperiodic 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.[107]

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.[107] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[108] 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.”[109] 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.[106]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[110] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the website 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.”[111] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[110] George Maschke, the founder of the website, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.[111]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[112]

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.[104]

Insignia and memorials

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[113] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[113] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[113] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[113]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[114] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[114] 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.[115]

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

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[116] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 andUSS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[116]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[117] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names (as of 2013) carved into it.[117] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[117]

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,[118] and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC.[119] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[120][121] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[122]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[123] Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi)[124] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi),[125] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[119][126]

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.”[127] 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.[127] 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.”[127]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[128] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[127] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[129] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[130] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[129]

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“.[131] 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.[129] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[132][133][134]

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.[135]

Power consumption

Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.[123]

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.”[136]

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.[137] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[123] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[136]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at $40 million per year.[138]

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.[139]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.[140]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[140] 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.[141] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[140] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[142] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[142] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[142]

Computing

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[143]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[144] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[132] It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi).[132] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi)[132] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[145]

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.[132] Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[132]

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[138] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[138] 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.[138]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[146] 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.[135][138]

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.[147] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[138]

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,[148] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[149]

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.[150] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[151] 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.[152]As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[150]

RAF Menwith Hill has the largest NSA presence in the United Kingdom.[149]

International stations

Following the signing in 1946–1956[153] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and Echelon,[154] 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,[155] New Zealand.[156]

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.[157] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.[158]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, nearFrankfurt 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.[159]

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 inWiesbaden, Germany.[160] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[160]

Operations

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.[161]

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.”[162]

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 andciphers (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.[163]

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]

Echelon

Main article: ECHELON

Echelon was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[164] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[150]

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,[165] 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.[166]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[167] 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.[168] 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”.[169]

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.[170][171]

Data mining

Protesters against NSA data mining in Berlin wearing Bradley Manning andEdward Snowden masks.

The Real Time Regional Gateway was a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War. It consisted of gathering all Iraqi 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.[172] Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian believes that the “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director Alexander shows that “the NSA’s goal is to collect, monitor and store every telephone and internet communication” worldwide.[173] 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.[174]

The NSA began the PRISM electronic surveillance and data mining program in 2007.[175][176] PRISM gathers communications data on foreign targets from nine major U.S. internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[177] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube andApple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers. Another program, Boundless Informant, employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA, including that gathered by way of the PRISM program.[178]

Encryption

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of encryption standards 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).[179] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[180] Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[179]

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, the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and readers of the Linux Journal.[181][182]

Domestic activity

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333, 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.[citation needed]

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.”[183] 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.[184] 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.[184]

These activities, especially the publicly acknowledged domestic telephone tapping and call database programs, have prompted questions about the extent of the NSA’s activities and concerns about threats to privacy and the rule of law.[citation needed]

George W. Bush administration

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).[185]

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.[186]

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.[187]

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.[188][189]

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,[190] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[191] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[192]

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.[193]

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.[194]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[195] 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 11 April that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[196]

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.[197][198]

Domestic surveillance under Barack Obama

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.[199] United States Attorney General Eric Holderresumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[200]

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.[201][202]

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.[203]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[204]

Polling

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[205] Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[206] Gallupfound that 53% disapprove,[207] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[208]

Terrorist Attacks prevented by Domestic Surveillance

2009 New York City Subway bomb plot

According to General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack. The NSA tagged Zazi as a possible threat because he was contacting people affiliated with terrorist activity through emails, which the NSA was able to obtain through one of PRISM’s dragnets. The NSA tipped off the FBI, which began a program called Operation High-Rise. Operation High-Rise discovered that Zazi was planning to suicide bomb the New York City subway. Zazi called off the attacks after receiving a tip about law-enforcement inquiries and was later arrested.[209][210]

International activity

Telecommunication records

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between 8 February and 8 March 2013 NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, including in Germany, United Kingdom and France. NSA made 70.3 million recordings of French citizens’ telephone data from 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013.[211]

Software backdoors

Linux kernel

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on 18 September 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[212]However later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[213]

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 TorvaldsLIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[214]

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.[215][216]

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.[16] 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.[16]

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’sTailored 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.”[217]

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.[218]

Data Encryption Standard

FROSTBURG was the NSA’s first supercomputer, used from 1991-97

NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and publicblock 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.[219][220] 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.”[221]

Advanced Encryption Standard

The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to DES, the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition).[222] 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.[223]

NSA encryption systems

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

  • FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal[224]
  • KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)[225][226]
  • KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)[227]
  • KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)[226]

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

The NSA oversees encyption 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 NISTand 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.[223]

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.[233]

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,[234][235] since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard.[236] These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.[234]

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 abackdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.[237]

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.[238][239] Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.[240][241]

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.[242] The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere.[243] 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.[244][245]

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure.[246][247] 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.[248][249] It is funded by theComprehensive 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,[250] ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.[251]

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.[252]

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.[253] 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.[254]

NSANet (NSA’s Intranet)

Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access toSIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, andJWICS

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[255] It is a classified network,[256] for information up to the level ofTS/SCI[257] 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).[258]

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.[259]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[260] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[261] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[262]

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.[263]

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.[264] NCSC was part of NSA,[265] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot highRainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[266] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[266]

On July 18, 2013, Greenwald said that Snowden held “detailed blueprints of how the NSA does what they do”, thereby sparking fresh controversy.[267]

See also

References

Notes

  1. Jump up^ Thomas L. Burns, The Origins of the National Security Agency, p. 97
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “60 Years of Defending Our Nation” (PDF). National Security Agency. 2012. p. 3. Retrieved July 6, 2013. “On November 4, 2012, the National Security Agency (NSA) celebrates its 60th anniversary of providing critical information to U.S. decision makers and Armed Forces personnel in defense of our Nation. NSA has evolved from a staff of approximately 7,600 military and civilian employees housed in 1952 in a vacated school in Arlington, VA, into a workforce of more than 30,000 demographically diverse men and women located at NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, MD, in four national Cryptologic Centers, and at sites throughout the world.”
  3. Jump up^ Priest, Dana (July 21, 2013). “NSA growth fueled by need to target terrorists”. The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2013. “Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, its civilian and military workforce has grown by one-third, to about 33,000, according to the NSA. Its budget has roughly doubled.”
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Introverted? Then NSA wants you.FCW. April 2012. Retrieved July 1, 2013.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b “Prism Exposed: Data Surveillance with Global Implications”. Spiegel Online International. June 10, 2013. p. 2. “How can an intelligence agency, even one as large and well-staffed as the NSA with its 40,000 employees, work meaningfully with such a flood of information?”
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b Gellman, Barton; Greg Miller (August 29, 2013). “U.S. spy network’s successes, failures and objectives detailed in ‘black budget’ summary”. The Washington Post. p. 3. RetrievedAugust 29, 2013.
  7. Jump up^ Shane, Scott (August 29, 2013). “New Leaked Document Outlines U.S. Spending On Intelligence Agencies”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  8. Jump up^ “About NSA: Mission”. National Security Agency. Retrieved September 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b Ellen Nakashima (January 26, 2008). “Bush Order Expands Network Monitoring: Intelligence Agencies to Track Intrusions”. The Washington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2008.
  10. Jump up^ Executive Order 13470[1] 2008 Amendments to Executive Order 12333], United States Intelligence Activities, July 30, 2008 (PDF)
  11. Jump up^ Malkin, Bonnie. NSA surveillance: US bugged EU offices. The Daily Telegraph, June 30, 2013
  12. Jump up^ Ngak, Chenda. NSA leaker Snowden claimed U.S. and Israel co-wrote Stuxnet virus, CBS, July 9, 2013
  13. Jump up^ Bamford, James. The Secret War, Wired Magazine, June 12, 2013.
  14. Jump up^ Bamford, James. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency,Random House Digital, Inc., December 18, 2007
  15. Jump up^ Executive Order 134702008 Amendments to Executive Order 12333, United States Intelligence Activities, Section C.2, July 30, 2008
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b c Obar, Jonathan A.; Clement, Andrew (2013). “Internet Surveillance and Boomerang Routing: A Call for Canadian Network Sovereignty”. TEM 2013: Proceedings of the Technology & Emerging Media Track – Annual Conference of the Canadian Communication Association (Victoria, June 5–7, 2012). Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  17. Jump up^ “The National Archives, Records of the National Security Agency”. Retrieved November 22,2013.
  18. Jump up^ “The Many Lives of Herbert O. Yardley”. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  19. ^ Jump up to:a b Hastedt, Glenn P.; Guerrier, Steven W. (2009). Spies, wiretaps, and secret operations: An encyclopedia of American espionage. ABC-CLIO. p. 32. ISBN 1851098070.
  20. Jump up^ Yardley, Herbert O. (1931). The American black chamber. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press.ISBN 1591149894.
  21. Jump up^ James Bamford. “Building America’s secret surveillance state”. Reuters. RetrievedNovember 9, 2013.
  22. Jump up^ “Roman Empire to the NSA: A world history of government spying”. BBC. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013. Across Europe, they established departments called “black chambers” (from the French, cabinet noir) to read the letters of targeted individuals.
  23. ^ Jump up to:a b c “Army Security Agency Established, 15 September 1945″. United States Army. RetrievedNovember 9, 2013.
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b c Burns, Thomas L. “The Origins of the National Security Agency 1940–1952 (U)” (PDF). National Security Agency. p. 60. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  25. Jump up^ “The Creation of NSA – Part 2 of 3: The Brownell Committee” (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  26. ^ Jump up to:a b Truman, Harry S. (October 24, 1952). “Memorandum” (PDF). National Security Agency. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  27. Jump up^ Anne Gearan (June 7, 2013). “‘No Such Agency’ spies on the communications of the world”.The Washington Post. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  28. Jump up^ SCOTT SHANE (October 31, 2005). “Vietnam Study, Casting Doubts, Remains Secret”. The New York Times. The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War
  29. ^ Jump up to:a b “Declassified NSA Files Show Agency Spied on Muhammad Ali and MLK Operation Minaret Set Up in 1960s to Monitor Anti-Vietnam Critics, Branded ‘Disreputable If Not Outright Illegal’ by NSA Itself” The Guardian, 26 Sept. 2013
  30. Jump up^ Pre-Emption – The Nsa And The Telecoms | Spying On The Home Front | FRONTLINE | PBS
  31. Jump up^ Cohen, Martin. No Holiday: 80 Places You Don’t Want to Visit. New York: Disinformation Company Ltd. ISBN 978-1-932857-29-0. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b c Bill Moyers Journal (October 26, 2007). “The Church Committee and FISA”. Public Affairs Television. Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  33. Jump up^ “Book IV, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Foreign and Military Intelligence (94th Congress, Senate report 94-755)” (PDF). United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. April 23, 1976. p. 67 (72). Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  34. Jump up^ “Book II, Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans (94th Congress, Senate report 94-755)” (PDF). United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. April 26, 1976. p. 124 (108). Retrieved June 28, 2013.
  35. Jump up^ Seymour M. Hersh (February 22, 1987). “TARGET QADDAFI”. The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  36. Jump up^ David Wise (May 18, 1986). “Espionage Case Pits CIA Against News Media”. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 12, 2014. the President took an unprecedented step in discussing the content of the Libyan cables. He was, by implication, revealing that NSA had broken the Libyan code.
  37. Jump up^ Peggy Becker (October 1999). DEVELOPMENT OF SURVEILLANCE TECHNOLOGY AND RISK OF ABUSE OF ECONOMIC INFORMATION (Report). STOA, European Parliament. p. 12. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  38. ^ Jump up to:a b c Staff (June 13, 2003). “NSA honors 4 in the science of codes”. The Baltimore Sun(Tribune Company). Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  39. Jump up^ Tom Carver (8 June 2002). “America’s most powerful spy agency”. BBC. When Osama bin Laden first moved to Afghanistan, the NSA listened in to every phone call he made on his satellite phone. Over the course of two years it is believed they logged more than 2,000 minutes of conversation.
  40. Jump up^ Gorman, Siobhan (May 17, 2006). “NSA killed system that sifted phone data legally”.Baltimore Sun (Tribune Company (Chicago, IL)). Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2008. The privacy protections offered by ThinThread were also abandoned in the post–September 11 push by the president for a faster response to terrorism.
  41. Jump up^ See refs of Thomas Andrews Drake article
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b Bamford, Shadow Factory, pp. 325–340.
  43. Jump up^ <http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/bal-nsa050607,0,1517618.story>
  44. Jump up^ Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark. “Ally and Target: US Intelligence Watches Germany Closely”. Der Spiegel. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  45. Jump up^ DeYoung, Karen (August 12, 2013). “Colombia asks Kerry to explain NSA spying”. The Washington Post. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  46. ^ Jump up to:a b Memorandum of the United States in Response to the Court’s Order Dated January 28, 2009. Washington DC: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Washington DC. January 28, 2009. p. 11.
  47. Jump up^ Greenberg, Andy. “NSA Secretly Admitted Illegally Tracking Thousands Of ‘Alert List’ Phone Numbers For Years”. Forbes. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  48. Jump up^ Brandon, Russel. “NSA illegally searched 15,000 suspects’ phone records, according to declassified report”. The Verge. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
  49. Jump up^ Timm, Trevor. “Government Releases NSA Surveillance Docs and Previously Secret FISA Court Opinions In Response to EFF Lawsuit”. Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved February 25,2014.
  50. Jump up^ Greg Miller and Julie Tate, October 17, 2013, “Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program“, The Washington Post. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  51. Jump up^ Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach, Fidelius Schmid und Holger Stark. “Geheimdokumente: NSA horcht EU-Vertretungen mit Wanzen aus“. Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved June 29, 2013.
  52. Jump up^ US-Geheimdienst hörte Zentrale der Vereinten Nationen ab“. Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved August 25, 2013.
  53. Jump up^ Barton Gellman and Ashton Solanti, December 5, 2013, “NSA tracking cellphone locations worldwide, Snowden documents show”, The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  54. ^ Jump up to:a b Greenwald, Glenn; MacAskill, Ewen (6 June 2013). “NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others“. The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  55. ^ Jump up to:a b Gellman and Soltani, October 15, 2013 “NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally“, The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  56. Jump up^ Perlroth, Larson and Shane, “N.S.A. Able to Foil Basic Safeguards of Privacy on Web“, The New York Times September 5, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  57. Jump up^ Arthur, Charles “Academics criticise NSA and GCHQ for weakening online encryption“, The Guardian September 16, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  58. Jump up^ “Senators: Limit NSA snooping into US phone records”. Associated Press. RetrievedOctober 15, 2013. “Is it the goal of the NSA to collect the phone records of all Americans?” Udall asked at Thursday’s hearing. “Yes, I believe it is in the nation’s best interest to put all the phone records into a lockbox that we could search when the nation needs to do it. Yes,” Alexander replied.
  59. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald (6 June 2013). “NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily“. The Guardian. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  60. Jump up^ Court Reveals ‘Secret Interpretation’ Of The Patriot Act, Allowing NSA To Collect All Phone Call Data, September 17, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
  61. Jump up^ “Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans”. Reuters. August 5, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  62. Jump up^ Glenn Greenwald, Ryan Gallagher & Ryan Grim, November 26, 2013, “Top-Secret Document Reveals NSA Spied On Porn Habits As Part Of Plan To Discredit ‘Radicalizers’“, Huffington Post. Retrieved November 28, 2013.
  63. Jump up^ “Vast majority of NSA spy targets are mistakenly monitored”. Philadelphia News.Net. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  64. Jump up^ Greenwald, Glen, “Members of Congress denied access to basic information about NSA“,The Guardian, August 4, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  65. ^ Jump up to:a b Eddlem, T. The NSA Domestic Surveillance Lie, September 22, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  66. Jump up^ Loennig, C., “Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited“, Washington Post, August 16, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  67. Jump up^ Gellman, B. NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds, Washington Post, August 15, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  68. Jump up^ Gorman, S. NSA Officers Spy on Love Interests, Wall St Journal, August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  69. ^ Jump up to:a b Spencer Ackerman, November 19, 2013, “Fisa court documents reveal extent of NSA disregard for privacy restrictions“, The Guardian. Retrieved November 21, 2013.
  70. Jump up^ John D Bates (3 October 2011). “[redacted] “. p. 16.
  71. Jump up^ Ellen Nakashima, Julie Tate and Carol Leonnig (10 September 2013). “Declassified court documents highlight NSA violations in data collection for surveillance“. The Washington Post. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  72. Jump up^ Richard Leon, December 16, 2013, Memorandum Opinion, Klayman vs. Obama. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Reproduced on The Guardian website. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  73. Jump up^ Bazzle, Steph (27 December 2013). “Judge Says NSA’s Data Collection Is Legal”. Indyposted. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  74. Jump up^ Greenwald, Glenn (16 October 2014). “UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights”. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  75. Jump up^ Kessler, Glen, James Clapper’s ‘least untruthful’ statement to the Senate, June 12, 2013. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  76. Jump up^ Kube, C., June 27, 2013, “NSA chief says surveillance programs helped foil 54 plots”, US News on nbcnews.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  77. Jump up^ “NSA Confirms Dragnet Phone Records Collection, But Admits It Was Key in Stopping Just 1 Terror Plot”, Democracy Now August 1, 2013. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  78. Jump up^ “Indictment: USA vs Basaaly Saeed Moalin, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud and Issa Doreh”. Southern District of California July 2010 Grand Jury. Retrieved September 30, 2013.
  79. Jump up^ “54 Attacks in 20 Countries Thwarted By NSA Collection” (Press release). The Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 2013-07-23. Archived from the original on 2013-10-23. Retrieved March 14, 2014.
  80. Jump up^ “Senate caves, votes to give telecoms retroactive immunity”. Ars Technica. 13 February 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  81. Jump up^ “Forget Retroactive Immunity, FISA Bill is also about Prospective Immunity”. The Progressive. 10 July 2008. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  82. Jump up^ “Restricted Web access to the Guardian is Armywide, say officials”, Philipp Molnar, Monterey Herald, June 27, 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  83. Jump up^ Ackerman, Spencer; Roberts, Dan (June 28, 2013). “US Army Blocks Access to Guardian Website to Preserve ‘Network Hygiene’ – Military Admits to Filtering Reports and Content Relating to Government Surveillance Programs for Thousands of Personnel”. The Guardian. Retrieved June 30, 2013.
  84. Jump up^ Ackerman, Spencer (July 1, 2013). “US military blocks entire Guardian website for troops stationed abroad”. The Guardian.
  85. Jump up^ These offices are for example mentioned in a FISA court order from 2011.
  86. Jump up^ “National Security Agency”. fas.org. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  87. Jump up^ Matthew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry, New York, 2009, p. 130, 138, 156-158.
  88. Jump up^ See also the information about the historical structure of NSA that is archived at FAS.org
  89. Jump up^ TheWeek.com: The NSA’s secret org chart, September 15, 2013
  90. Jump up^ D.B. Grady. “Inside the secret world of America’s top eavesdropping spies”.
  91. Jump up^ Marc Ambinder, Solving the mystery of PRISM, June 7, 2013
  92. Jump up^ National Intelligence – a consumer’s guide (PDF) 2009, p. 34.
  93. Jump up^ Aid, Matthew M. (10 June 2013). “Inside the NSA’s Ultra-Secret China Hacking Group”.Foreign Policy. Retrieved