National Security Agency (NSA_

The Pronk Pops Show — Week in Review — September 16-22, 2017

Posted on September 25, 2017. Filed under: American History, Bomb, College, Congress, Constitution, Crime, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Demographics, Diasters, Earthquake, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, Faith, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Health, Health Care, history, Illegal, Immigration, Investments, IRS, Islam, Islam, Journalism, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Nuclear, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Religious, Security, Shite, Spying, Success, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, The Pronk Pops Show, Trade Policiy, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 970, September 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 969, September 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 968, September 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 967, September 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 966, September 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 965, September 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 964, September 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 963, September 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 962, September 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 961, September 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 960, September 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 959, September 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 958, September 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 957, September 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 956, August 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 955, August 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 954, August 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 953, August 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 952, August 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 951, August 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 950, August 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 949, August 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 948, August 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 947, August 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 946, August 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 945, August 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 944, August 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 943, August 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 942, August 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 941, August 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 940, August 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 939, August 2, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 938, August 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 937, July 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 936, July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935, July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934, July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933, July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932, July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931, July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930, July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929, July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928, July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927, July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926, July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925, July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924, July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923, July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922, July 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 921, June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920, June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919, June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918, June 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 917, June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916, June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915, June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914, June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913, June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912, June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911, June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910, June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909, June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908, June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907, June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906, June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905, June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904, June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903, June 1, 2017

Image result for president trump addresses the united nationsImage result for china trade with north korea by year through 2016
Image result for earthquake Magnitude 7.1 in Mecico september 20, 2017 map

Image result for President Trump tweet on London terrerorist Attack Parson Green September 15, 2017

The Pronk Pops Show 970

September 22, 2017

Breaking Story 1: Rocket Man Kim Jong-Un Promises To Explode Hydrogen Bomb Over Pacific Ocean —

Story 2: The Democratic and Republican Party Failure To Completely Repeal Obamacare Including Repealing The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and All Related Mandates, Regulations, Taxes, Spending and Subsidies — Obamacare Collapsing — Replace Obamacare With Free Enterprise Market Capitalism Health Insurance — Keep The Federal Government Out Of The Health Insurance and Health Care Business — Videos —

Story 3: Obama’s Secret Surveillance Spy State Scandal — Misuse of Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — Gross Abuse of Power and Political Conspiracy — Violation of Fourth Amendment — Videos —

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/the-pronk-pops-show-970-september-22-2017-breaking-story-1-rocket-man-kim-jong-un-promises-to-explode-hydrogen-bomb-over-pacific-ocean-story-2-the-democratic-and-republican-party-failure-to-co/

The Pronk Pops Show 969

September 21, 2017

Story 1: President Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Institutions and People Doing Business With North Korea — Communist China Trades With and Enabled North Korea Nuclear Weapon and Missile Programs — Waiting For Embargo Banning All Trade and Investment in Communist China — Videos —

Story 2: Fed To Start Quantitative Tightening In October 2017 by Selling Some ($10 Billion Per Month or $120 Billion Per Year) of $4,500 Billion Bond Portfolio As U.S. Economy Slows in 2017? — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/the-pronk-pops-show-969-september-21-2017-story-1-president-trump-signs-executive-order-targeting-institutions-and-people-doing-business-with-north-korea-communist-china-trades-with-and-enabled/

September 23, 2017 12:13 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 968

September 20, 2017

Breaking and Developing — Story 1: 7.1 Richter Scale Earthquake Kills Over 200 In Mexico — Videos —

Story 2: Category 4 Hurricane Marie With 155 Miles Per Hour Winds, 10 Foot Flood Surge and 20 Plus Inches of Rainfall Turns Lights Out in Puerto Rico with Widespread Flooding and Damages — Videos —

Story 3: Yes The Obama Administration Was Wiretapping The Trump Campaign and Former Trump  Campaign Manager Paul Manafort — Trump Was Right and Big Lie Media Lied Again — Obama Spying Scandal Bigger Than Watergate — Videos —

Story 4:  Illegal Aliens Shout Down House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi Calling Her A Liar — When Will American Citizens Shout Down President Trump Calling Him A Liar? … President Trump and Republican Party Want Touch Back Amnesty and Pathway to  Citizenship For Illegal Aliens — Majority of American People Want All Immigration Laws Enforced — Deport and Remove All 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens In United States To Country of Origin — No Republican Re-importing of Illegal Aliens With Expedited Visas and Touch Back Amnesty and Pathway to Citizenship — Employ American Citizens Not Illegal Aliens — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/the-pronk-pops-show-968-september-20-2018-breaking-and-developing-story-1-7-1-richter-scale-earthquake-kills-over-200-in-mexico-videos-story-2-category-4-hurricane-marie-with-155-miles-per/

September 20, 2017 07:13 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 967

September 19, 2017

Story 1: President Trump United Nations Speech Names North Korea and Iran As Threats to World Peace and Critical of Those Nations (China) Who Trade With Them –Totally Destroy North Korea And The Rocket Man Mr. Kim — Videos —

Story 2: Major 7.1 Richter Scale Killer Earthquake Hits Central Mexico — 76 Miles Southwest of Mexico City Centered in Puebla state town of Raboso,  — Damages and Collapses Buildings — Over 150 Deaths — Videos —

Story 3: Category 5 Hurricane Marie With Sustained Winds of 165 Miles Per Hour and Wind Gust 195 MPH Hits Puerto Rico, British and American Virgin Islands, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-pronk-pops-show-967-september-19-2017-story-1-president-trump-united-nations-speech-names-north-korea-and-iran-as-threats-to-world-peace-and-critical-of-those-nations-china-who-trade-with-th/

September 19, 2017 05:33 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 966

September 18, 2017

Story 1: Two Islamic Terrorists Arrested For London Train Attack — United Kingdom Threat Level Lowered From Critical To Severe — Elderly Couple Took In Several Hundred Forster Children Over The Years Including Two Suspected Terrorists — Trump: “Loser Terrorist” And “Sick And Demented” — 21-Year-Old Syrian Refugee Yahyah Farroukh Named Suspect — Videos —

Story 2: Trump Wants To Increase CIA Drone Attacks — Videos —

Story 3: Third Night Of Violence In St. Louis — Protesters And Vandals Damage Property With Over 120 Arrests And 11 Police Injured — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/19/the-pronk-pops-show-966-september-18-2017-story-1-two-islamic-terrorists-arrested-for-london-train-attack-united-kingdom-threat-level-lowered-from-critical-to-severe-elderly-couple-took-in/

September 18, 2017 07:42 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 965

September 15, 2017

Breaking Story 1: Radical Islamic Terrorist Attack — Improvised Bucket Bomb Device Explodes In United Kingdom Parson Green Tube Train Station in West London During Morning Rush Hour — 29 Injured None Seriously including Children — Threat Level Raised From Severe To Critical By Prime Minister May — Videos —

Story 2: North Korea Fires Another Ballistic Missile Over Japan — Videos —

Story 3: Conservative Commentator Ben Shapiro Allowed To Speak At University of California, Berkeley, Police Arrested Nine of The Protesters –Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/the-pronk-pops-show-965-september-15-2017-breaking-story-1-radical-islamic-terrorist-attack-bucket-bomb-device-explodes-in-united-kingdom-parson-green-tube-train-station-in-west-london-during-rush/

September 16, 2017 01:45 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 964

September 14, 2017

Story 1: Did President Trump Betray His Supporters By Promising Citizenship or Pathway To Citizenship For Illegal Alien “Dreamers”? — Big Lie Media and Lying Lunatic Left Losers (Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi ) Say They Have A Deal or Understanding and Rollover Republicans Support Trump (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan) — No Wall and No Deportation For 30-60 Million Illegal Aliens Including “Dreamers” — You Were Warned Not To Trust Trump — Rollover Republicans Want Touch-back Amnesty For Illegal Aliens — Hell No — Illegal Aliens Must Go — Trump Has 48 Hours To Confirm or Deny! — Political Suicide Watch Countdown — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/the-pronk-pops-show-964-september-14-2017-story-1-did-president-trump-betray-his-supporters-by-promising-citizenship-or-pathway-to-citizenship-for-illegal-alien-dreamers-big-lie-media-and/

September 14, 2017 08:25 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 963

September 13, 2017

Story 1: American Collectivism (Resistance Is Futile) Vs. American Individualism (I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight!) — Federal Income, Capital Gains, Payroll,Estate And Gift Taxes, Budget Deficits, National Debt, Unfunded Liabilities, Democratic And Republican Parties, Two Party Tyranny Of The Warfare And Welfare State And American Empire Are The Past — The Future Is Fair Tax Less, Surplus Budgets, No Debts, No Unfunded Liabilities, And American Independence Party With A Peace And Prosperity Economy, Representative Constitutional American Republic Are The Future — Lead, Follow Or Get Out Of The Way — Those Without Power Cannot Defend Freedom — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/the-pronk-pops-show-963-september-13-2017-story-1-american-collectivism-resistance-is-futile-vs-american-individualism-i-have-not-yet-begun-to-fight-federal-income-capital-gains-payrol/

 

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The Pronk Pops Show — Week In Review — July 20-27, 2017 — Videos

Posted on July 29, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Crime, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, External Hard Drives, Farming, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, Health Care, history, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Investments, IRS, Islam, Journalism, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Narcissism, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, Obamacare, People, Philosophy, Photos, Political Correctness, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Security, Spying, Strategy, Success, Supreme Court, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Transportation, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 936,  July 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 935,  July 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934,  July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 934,  July 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 933,  July 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 932,  July 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 931,  July 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 930,  July 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 929,  July 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 928,  July 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 927,  July 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 926,  July 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 925,  July 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 924,  July 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 923,  July 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 922,  July 3, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 921,  June 29, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 920,  June 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 919,  June 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 918,  June 26, 2017 

Pronk Pops Show 917,  June 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 916,  June 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 915,  June 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 914,  June 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 913,  June 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 912,  June 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 911,  June 14, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 910,  June 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 909,  June 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 908,  June 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 907,  June 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 906,  June 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 905,  June 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 904,  June 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 903,  June 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 902,  May 31, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 901,  May 30, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 900,  May 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 899,  May 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 898,  May 23, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 897,  May 22, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 896,  May 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 895,  May 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 894,  May 16, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 893,  May 15, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 892,  May 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 891,  May 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 890,  May 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 889,  May 9, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 888,  May 8, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 887,  May 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 886,  May 4, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 885,  May 3, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 884,  May 1, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 883 April 28, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 882: April 27, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 881: April 26, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 880: April 25, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 879: April 24, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 878: April 21, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 877: April 20, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 876: April 19, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 875: April 18, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 874: April 17, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 873: April 13, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 872: April 12, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 871: April 11, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 870: April 10, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 869: April 7, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 868: April 6, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 867: April 5, 2017

Pronk Pops Show 866: April 3, 2017

 

Image result for branco cartoons r repeal of obamacareImage result for branco cartoons big government republicans failure to repeal obamacare

Image result for branco cartoons big government republicans failure to repeal obamacare

Image result for cartoons obama, rice, brennan spied on trump and american people

The Pronk Pops Show 936

July 27, 2017

Story 1surprisedbama Spy Scandal: Obama Administration Officials Including National Security Adviser Rice, CIA Director Brennan and United Nations Ambassador Power Spied On American People and Trump Campaign By Massive Unmasking Using Intelligence Community For Political Purposes — An Abuse of Power and Felonies Under U.S. Law — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/28/the-pronk-pops-show-936-story-1obama-spy-scandal-obama-administration-officials-including-national-security-adviser-rice-cia-director-brennan-and-united-nations-ambassador-power-spied-on-american/

July 28, 2017 07:12 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 935

July 26, 2017

Story 1: Trump Targets Transgender Troops — No More Gender Reassignment Surgeries In Military and Veterans Hospital — Cuts Spending By Millions Per Year — What is Next? — No More Free Viagra — Tranny Boys/Girls No More — Videos —

Story 2: Senate Fails To Pass Senator Rand Paul’s Total Repeal Amendment — Tea Party Revival Calling For Primary Challenge Against Rollover Republican Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dick Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — All Republicans in Name Only — Really Big Government Democrats — Videos —

Story 3: Trump Rally in Ohio — Neither A Rally Nor A Movement Is Not A Political Party That Votes in Congress — New Viable and Winning American Independence Party Is What Is Needed –Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://wordpress.com/post/pronkpops.wordpress.com/26375

July 27, 2017 02:28 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 934

July 26, 2017

Story 1: Pence Breaks Tie — Senate Will Debate How To Proceed With Obamacare Repeal and Replace — Videos —

Story 2: Congress Overwhelming Passes New Sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea — Long Overdue — Videos —

Story 3: Trump Again Critical Of Attorney General Sessions Apparently For Not Prosecuting Leakers and Going After Clinton Foundation Crimes — What about Obama Administration’s Spying On Trump — An Abuse of Power Using Intelligence Community for Political Purposes — Will Trump Dump Sessions? If He Does Trump Will Start To Lose His Supporters in Talk Radio and Voter Base — Direct Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein To Fire Mueller — If He Won’t Fire Him — Fire Both Mueller and Rosenstein —  Punish Your Enemies and Reward Your Friends President Trump! — “In Your Guts You Know He is Nuts” —  Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/the-pronk-pops-show-934-july-24-2017-breaking-breaking-story-1-pence-breaks-tie-senate-will-debate-how-to-proceed-with-obamacare-repeal-and-replace-videos-story-2-congress-overwhel/

July 26, 2017 07:00 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 933

July 24, 2017

Story 1: The American People Do Not Care About Phony Russian/Trump Collusion Conspiracy of The Lying Lunatic Left, Delusional Democrats and Big Lie Media — They’re Coming To Take You Away To The Funny Farm To Play with Your Ding-a-Ling — Videos —

Story 2: Trump Should Read Saul Alinski Rules For Radicals To Understand What Is Going On — Then Have Department of Justice Investigate The Clinton Charitable Foundation For Public Corruption and  Obama Administration For Abuse of Power Using Intelligence Community for Political Purposes And Then  Fire Mueller For Conflicts of Interests — The Sooner The Better — Go On Offense Stop Playing Defense — Just Do It! — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/the-pronk-pops-show-923-july-24-2017-story-1-the-american-people-do-not-care-about-phony-russiantrump-collusion-conspiracy-of-the-lying-lunatic-left-delusional-democrats-and-big-lie-media-the/

July 22, 2017 01:17 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 932

July 20, 2017

Story 1: O.J. Simpson Granted Parole When Eligible — The Juice Will Soon Be Loose — Videos —

Story 2: President Trump’s First Six Months — Videos —

Story 3: President Trump Will Keep Attorney General Sessions For Now — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/the-pronk-pops-show-932-story-1-o-j-simpson-granted-parole-when-eligible-the-juice-will-soon-be-loose-videos-story-2-president-trumps-first-six-months-videos-story-3-president-tr/

July 22, 2017 10:49 AM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 931

July 19, 2017

Story 1: “Obamacare Failed” Says President Trump — Wants Obamacare Completely  Repealed and Replaced Sooner or Later — Obama Lied To American People — Does President Trump Understand The Relationship Between Pre-existing Conditions, Guaranteed Issue, Community Rating and Adverse Selection — Many Doubt Trump Really Understands The Relationship That Is The Real Reason Obamacare Was Designed To Fail From The Beginning So It Could Be Replaced By Single Payer Government Health Care — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/20/the-pronk-pops-show-931-july-19-2017-story-1-obamacare-failed-says-president-trump-wants-obamacare-completely-repealed-and-replaced-sooner-or-later-obama-lied-to-american-people/

July 19, 2017 07:34 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 930

July 18, 2017

Story 1: Will Trump Challenge The Washington Establishment To Achieve His Promises? You Betcha. Will He Win? Long Shot –A Movement Is Not A Viable Political Party That Can Beat The Democratic Party and Republican Party and Their Allies In The Big Government Bureaucracies, Big Lie Media and The Owner Donor Class — Votes Count — Independence Party???– Videos —

Story 2: Replace Republicans With D and F Conservative Review Grades and Scores Root and Branch With Real Conservatives, Classical Liberals and Libertarians Until New Political Party Is Formed and Becomes A Viable Party — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/the-pronk-pops-show-970-july-18-2017-story-1-will-trump-challenge-the-washington-establishment-to-achieve-his-promises-yes-will-he-win-long-shot-a-movement-is-not-a-viable-political-party-tha/

July 19, 2017 01:38 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 929

July 17, 2017

Story 1: Downsizing The Federal Government or Draining The Swap: Trump Should Permanently Close 8 Departments Not Appoint People To Run Them — Cut All Other Department Budgets by 20% — Video —

Story 2: Federal Spending Breaks $4 Trillion for Fiscal Year 2017 —

Story 3: The American People and President Trump Vs. Political Elitist Establishment of The Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/the-pronk-pops-show-929-july-17-2017-story-1-downsizing-the-federal-government-or-draining-the-swap-trump-should-permanently-close-8-departments-not-appoint-people-to-run-them-cut-all-other-de/

July 17, 2017 08:21 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 928

July 13, 2017

Story 1: Senate Revised Republican Repeal and Replacement Bill A Betrayal of Voters Who Gave Republicans Control of Senate and House — Does Not Repeal All Obamacare Mandates, Regulations and Taxes but Does Bailout Insurance Industry and States Who Extended Medicaid Benefits — Trump Should Veto This Betrayal By Republican Establishment of Republican Voters — Videos —

Story 2: Estimated insolvency date of Social Security’s Trust fund is 2034 — and Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund is 2029 —  Social Security and Medicare Benefits Will Be Cut or Taxes Raised or Combination of Benefit Cuts and Tax Increases — Videos —

Story 3: Trump’s Broken Promises and Kept Promises — Good Intentions are Not Enough — Only Results Count — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/15/the-pronk-pops-show-928-july-13-2017-story-1-senate-revised-republican-repeal-and-replacement-bill-a-betray-of-voters-who-gave-republicans-control-of-senate-and-house-does-not-repeal-all-obamac/

July 14, 2017 05:00 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 927

July 12, 2017

Story 1: Putin’s Sting — How Russian Intelligence Service (FSB) Played The Washington Political Elitist Establishment (Democrats and Republicans) And Big Lie Media And How They Fell Hook, Line and Sinker for Russian Intelligence Disinformation Campaign — Russian Trump Dossier — The Dangers of Opposition Research, Confirmation Bias, True Believers, Useful Idiots, Blind Ambition and Two Party Tyranny — The Sting Redux — Videos —

Story 2: Republican Sellout The Republican Voter Base By Not Repealing Obamacare Completely — Leaves Many Obamacare Regulations, Subsidies, and Taxes In Place –Republican Replacement of Obamacare  Is A Big Bailout Bill of Insurance Industry — The Stupid Republican Party About To Commit Political Suicide — Rest In Peace — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/13/the-pronk-pops-show-927-july-12-2017-story-1-putins-sting-how-russian-intelligence-played-the-washington-political-elitist-establishment-democrats-and-republicans-and-big-lie-media-and-the/

July 12, 2017 08:04 PM PDT

The Pronk Pops Show 926

July 11, 2017

Story 1: Much Ado About Nothing — What Dirt Did The Russians Have On Hillary Clinton? — Donald Trump Jr. Wanted To Know — Smells Like A Russian Setup and/or Democrat Dirty Trick — Who Leaked The Emails To New York Times? — American People Ignoring Paranoid Progressive Propaganda of Big Lie Media — Still Waiting For Any Evidence of Trump/Russian/Putin Collusion — Clinton Collusion Conspiracy Crashing — Desperate Delusional Democrat Deniers of Reality — Videos —

Story 2: When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint A Special Counsel To Investigate Intelligence Community Leaks and Hillary Clinton Mishandling of Classified Documents and Related Pay for Play Public Corruption of Clinton Foundation? — Was Democratic Hired Opposition Research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steel Formerly of British Intelligent MI-6 Agent A Cutout For The Russian Disinformation Campaign Included in The Donald Trump — Russia Dossier? — Videos

For additional information and videos:

https://pronkpops.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/the-pronk-pops-show-926-july-11-2017-story-1-much-ado-about-nothing-what-dirt-did-the-russians-have-on-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-jr-wanted-to-know-smells-like-a-russian-setup-andor/

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President Trump Arrives In Saudi Arabia — Videos

Posted on May 20, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Radio, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Religious, Religious, Security, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Success, Sunni, Talk Radio, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

Image result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabiaImage result for trump arrives in saudi arabia

President Trump Lands in Saudi Arabia And Meets King Salman (FULL)

TRUMP ARRIVES TO ROYALTY IN SAUDI ARABIA

Trump arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for his first foreign trip as president

President Donald Trump Welcome Ceremony in Saudi Arabia at Al Yamamh Palace #2

President Trump Welcome Reception Ceremony in Saudi Arabia with King Salman

President Trump and Melania in Saudi Arabia Meet King Salman

President Trump & King Salman Dancing During Ceremony in Saudi Arabia (FULL)

President Trump Welcome Reception Ceremony in Saudi Arabia with King Salman

President Trump and Cabinet At meeting in Saudi Arabia

What a difference an election can make for the respect American leaders have for our country.

There were two very different outcomes when two American presidents greeted the king of Saudi Arabia.

All eyes were on President Trump today as he arrived in the country for his first foreign trip.

Video shows the president stepping off the plane and greeting King Salman:

Trump stood up straight as Salman appeared to bow slightly.

Trump’s posture stands in stark difference to President Obama’s in the early days of his presidency.

Cameras captured Obama bowing to King Abdullah, contorting nearly to a 90-degree angle in what many called a moment of American weakness:

Trump’s behavior was refreshingly noticeable, as several Twitter users contrasted the two reactions.

View image on Twitter

LOOK CAREFULLY at these two photos. The one on the RIGHT is a lesson in American exceptionalism: @FLOTUS no hijab, @POTUS no kowtow. 🇺🇸❤️-VJ

“Look carefully at these two photos,” recording artist Vinnie James wrote. “The one on the RIGHT is a lesson in American exceptionalism: @FLOTUS no hijab, @POTUS no kowtow.”

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/great-unlike-obama-trump-doesnt-bow-saudi-king/

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

Posted on May 13, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Computers, Corruption, Crime, Data, Data Storage, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Documentary, Education, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Security, Television, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Cyber Attack: Ransomware causing chaos globally – BBC News

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

Ransomware attack takes down LA hospital for hours

WannaCry Ransomware Hits Hospitals

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WATCH: Ransomware cyberattack targets Windows users around the world

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

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NSA Whistleblower Bill Binney on Tucker Carlson 03.24.2017

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ROY ORBISON – CRYING – LIVE 1988

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

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Dozens of countries hit by huge cyberextortion attack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global ‘WannaCry’ ransomware cyberattack seeks cash for data

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ransomware

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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

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

Operation

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

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

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

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

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

History

Encrypting ransomware

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

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

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

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

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

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

Non-encrypting ransomware

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

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

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

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

Leakware (also called Doxware)

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

Mobile ransomware

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

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

Notable examples

Reveton

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

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

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

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

CryptoLocker

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

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

CryptoLocker.F and TorrentLocker

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

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

CryptoWall

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

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

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

Fusob

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

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

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

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

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

WannaCry

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

Mitigation

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

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

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

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

See also

References

WannaCry ransomware attack

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background

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

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

Countries initially affected[22]

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

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

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

Impact

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

List of affected organizations

Response

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

Reactions

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

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

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

See also

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Sharyl Attkisson — Stonewalled — Videos

Posted on March 18, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Computers, Computers, Documentary, Education, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Links, Literacy, Mobile Phones, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Security, Spying, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for Sharyl Attkisson -- Stonewalled

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

Sharyl Attkisson Talks “Stonewalled”

Sharyl Attkisson: CBS Had Hidden Clip of Obama Contradicitng Himself on the 2012 Benghazi Attack

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

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

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

Sharyl Attkisson: why she left CBS

 

Sharyl Attkisson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sharyl Attkisson
AttkissonB52.jpg

Attkisson on USAF B-52 in 1999, one of the first journalists to fly on a combat mission over Kosovo
Born January 26, 1961 (age 56)
Sarasota, Florida, United States
Education University of Florida
Occupation Writer, journalist, television correspondent
Website sharylattkisson.com

Sharyl Attkisson (born January 26, 1961)[1] is an American author and host of the weekly Sunday public affairs program Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, which airs on television stations operated by the Sinclair Broadcast Group.[2] She was formerly an investigative correspondent in the Washington bureau for CBS News. She had also substituted as anchor for the CBS Evening News. She resigned from CBS News on March 10, 2014 after 21 years with the network. Her book Stonewalled reached number 3 on New York Times e-book non-fiction best seller list in November 2014[3] and number 5 on The New York Times combined print and e-book non-fiction best-seller list the same week.[4]

Contents

 [show] 

Early life

Attkisson was born in 1961 in Sarasota, Florida.[5] Her step-father is an orthopedic surgeon, and her brother is an emergency room physician. Attkisson graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism in 1982.[6]

Career

Attkisson began her broadcast journalism career in 1982, aged 22, as a reporter at WUFT-TV, the PBS station in Gainesville, Florida. She later worked as an anchor and reporter at WTVX-TV Fort Pierce/West Palm Beach, Florida from 1982–1985, WBNS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Columbus, Ohio from 1985–86, and WTVT Tampa, Florida (1986–1990).[7]

1990s

From 1990–1993, Attkisson was an anchor for CNN, and also served as a key anchor for CBS space exploration coverage in 1993.[8] Attkisson left CNN in 1993,[9] moving to CBS, where she anchored the television news broadcast CBS News Up to the Minute and became an investigative correspondent based in Washington, D.C.[7]

She served on the University of Florida‘s Journalism College Advisory Board (1993–1997) and was its chair in 1996.[7] The University gave her an Outstanding Achievement Award in 1997. From 1997 to 2003, Attkisson simultaneously hosted CBS News Up to the Minute and the PBS health-news magazine HealthWeek.[10]

2000s

Attkisson received an Investigative Reporters and Editors (I.R.E.) Finalist award for Dangerous Drugs in 2000.[11] In 2001, Attkisson received an Investigative Emmy Award nomination for Firestone Tire Fiasco from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.[12]

In 2002, she co-authored a college textbook, Writing Right for Broadcast and Internet News; later that same year she won an Emmy Award for her Investigative Journalism about the American Red Cross.[7] The award was presented in New York City on September 10, 2002.[13] Attkisson was part of the CBS News team that received RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2005 for Overall Excellence.[11]

In 2006, Attkisson served as Capitol Hill correspondent for CBS,[14] as one of a small number of female anchors covering the 2006 midterms.[15] Attkisson was part of the CBS News team that received RTNDA-Edward R. Murrow Awards in 2008 for Overall Excellence.[11]

In 2008, Attkisson reported that a claim by Hillary Clinton to have dodged sniper fire in Bosnia was unfounded: Clinton’s trip to Bosnia was risky, Attkisson said, but no real bullets were dodged. Attkisson was on the trip with Clinton.[16] The day after Attkisson’s report on the CBS Evening News, Clinton admitted there was no sniper fire and said she “misspoke.” [17][18]In 2009, Attkisson won an Investigative Emmy Award for Business and Financial Reporting for her exclusive reports on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and the bank bailout.[11] The award was presented on December 7 at Fordham University‘s Lincoln Center Campus in New York City.[19]

2010s[edit]

Attkisson returned to the University of Florida as a keynote speaker at the College of Journalism and Communications in 2010.[6] That same year, she received an Emmy Award nomination for her investigations into members of Congress, and she also received a 2010 Emmy Award nomination for her investigation into waste of tax dollars.[20] In July 2011, Attkisson was nominated for an Emmy Award for her Follow the Money investigations into Congressional travel to the Copenhagen climate summit, and problems with aid to Haiti earthquake victims.[11][21]

In 2011, Paul Offit criticized Attkisson’s reporting on vaccines in his book Deadly Choices as “damning by association” and lacking sufficient evidence.[22] Dr. Offit has been criticized for providing false information about Attkisson and his vaccine industry ties. [23] Attkisson has been identified in the medical literature as using problematic rhetorical tactics that “imply that because there is no conclusive answer to certain problems, vaccines remain a plausible culprit.”[24] Attkisson’s reporting was cited favorably in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine by neurosurgeon Jon Poling who wrote that Offit had “misrepresented” the case of Hannah Poling v. HHS, and that Offit’s remarks on the case were “not evidence based.”[25]

In 2012, CBS News accepted an Investigative Reporting Award given to Attkisson’s reporting on ATF’s Fast and Furious gunwalker controversy. The award was from Accuracy in Media, a non-profit news media watchdog group, and was presented at a Conservative Political Action Conference.[26]

In June 2012, Attkisson’s investigative reporting for the Gunwalker story also won the CBS Evening News the Radio and Television News Directors Association’s National Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Video Investigative Reporting. The award was presented October 8, 2012 in New York City.[27] In July 2012, Attkisson’s Gunwalker: Fast and Furious reporting received an Emmy Award[28]

On March 10, 2014, Attkisson resigned from CBS News.[29] She stated that the parting was “amicable”.[30] Politico reported that according to sources within CBS there had been tensions leading to “months of hard-fought negotiations” – that Attkisson had been frustrated over what she perceived to be the network’s liberal bias and lack of dedication to investigative reporting, as well as issues she had with the network’s corporate partners, while some[who?] within the network saw her reporting as agenda-driven and doubted her impartiality.[30]

Later that year came the release of her New York Times Best Seller, Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington (Harpers),[4] in which she accused CBS of protecting the Obama administration by not giving enough coverage to such stories as the 2012 Benghazi attack and slow initial enrollments under Obamacare.[31]

In February 2015, Attkisson gave a TEDx talk at the University of Nevada. In the talk, she said that astroturfing was swaying public opinion, legislation and media outlets.[32]

Report of Attkisson’s computer being hacked[edit]

In May 2013, while still employed at CBS, Attkisson alleged that her personal and work computers had been “compromised” for more than two years.[33] CBS News stated that it had investigated her work computer and found evidence of multiple unauthorized accesses by a third party in late 2012.[34] The U.S. Department of Justice denied any involvement.[35] In her 2014 book, she alleged that her personal computer was hacked with keystroke logging spyware, enabling an intruder to read all her e-mail messages and gain access to the passwords for her financial accounts.[36]

In late January 2015, Attkisson appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee[37] during a confirmation hearing for Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to replace outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Attkisson’s testimony concentrated on the Justice Department under Holder and was not related to Lynch’s qualifications.[by whom?] As part of her appearance in front of that committee, a report by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) was released[38] stating that “their investigation was not able to substantiate… allegations that Attkisson’s computers were subject to remote intrusions by the FBI, other government personnel, or otherwise” and the deletion seen in Attkinsson’s video “appeared to be caused by the backspace key being stuck, rather than a remote intrusion”.[39][40][41] “CBS News told the OIG that they did not conduct any analysis on her personal computer.”[42]

In February 2015, The Washington Examiner clarified that the OIG did not examine Attkisson’s compromised CBS News computer,[42] the OIG only inspected Attkisson’s personal devices.[43]

In March 2015, Attkisson and her family filed a suit against Holder, Patrick R. Donahoe and unnamed agents of the US Department of Justice, the US Postal Service and the United States in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia claiming to have been subject to illegal surveillance activities.[44][45]

Personal life[edit]

Attkisson has reached third-degree black belt in taekwondo.[5] She is married and has a daughter.[46]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Gill, Kay (2007). Who, a Directory of Prominent People. Omnigraphics. ISBN 9780780808096. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  2. Jump up^ Erik Wemple (April 22, 2015). “Sinclair Broadcast Group to launch Sunday show hosted by Sharyl Attkisson”. The Washington Post. Nash Holdings LLC. Retrieved November 22, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ “NYT Best Seller List”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b “Best Sellers: Combined Print & E-Book Nonfiction”. The New York Times]]. November 23, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b “Sharyl Attkisson, Investigative Correspondent”. CBS. Archived from the original on November 21, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b “21st Century Newsroom”. University of Florida. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c d “Sharyl Attkisson full biography”. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on August 16, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  8. Jump up^ Hogan, Alfred. “Televising the Space Age: A descriptive chronology of CBS News special coverage of space exploration from 1957 to 2003” (PDF). University of Maryland. p. 260. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  9. Jump up^ “TV Notes”. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. May 28, 1993. p. 42. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  10. Jump up^ “Sharyl Attkisson–About This Person”. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e “Sharyl Attkisson profile”. CBS News. Archived from the original on November 19, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  12. Jump up^ “The 22nd Annual News and Documentary Emmy Award Nominees Announced by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences” (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. July 19, 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 29, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014. Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson
  13. Jump up^ “23rd Annua; News & Documentary Emmy Awards – With Prominent 9/11 Coverage”. Emmyonline.org. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  14. Jump up^ “Sharyl Attkisson Is Named Cbs News Capitol Hill Correspondent”. CBS Corporation. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Stanley, Alessandra (November 8, 2006). “Election Coverage Still a Men’s Club”. The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 29, 2011.
  16. Jump up^ “Video shows tarmac welcome, no snipers”. Tampa Bay Times. March 25, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  17. Jump up^ “Clinton says she “misspoke’ about dodging sniper fire”. NYT.com. New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  18. Jump up^ “Clinton say she “misspoke” about sniper fire”. CNN.com. CNN. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  19. Jump up^ “7th Annual Business & Financial Emmy Awards – Nominations”. Emmyonline.org. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  20. Jump up^ “Full List of Nominations for the 2010 News and Documentary Emmy Awards: Television Industry news, TV ratings, analysis, celebrity event photos”. TVWeek. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  21. Jump up^ Attkisson 2011 Emmy nomination, emmyonline.tv; accessed October 28, 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Offit, Paul (2011). Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All. ISBN 0465023568.
  23. Jump up^ “Corrections for April 18”. Orange County Register. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  24. Jump up^ Kata, Anna (28 May 2012). “Anti-vaccine activists, Web 2.0, and the postmodern paradigm – An overview of tactics and tropes used online by the anti-vaccination movement”. Vaccine. 30 (25): 3778–3779. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.11.112.
  25. Jump up^ Poling, Jon (7 August 2008). “Vaccines and Autism Revisited”. NEJM. 359 (10): 655–656. doi:10.1056/NEJMc086269.
  26. Jump up^ “Loesch, Attkisson to receive AIM awards”. Politico. February 7, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  27. Jump up^ “2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award Winners”. Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved June 13, 2012.
  28. Jump up^ “33rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards nominations” (PDF). Emmyonline.tv. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  29. Jump up^ Macneal, Caitlin (March 10, 2014). “CBS Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson Resigns From Network”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  30. ^ Jump up to:a b Byers, Dylan (March 10, 2014). “Sharyl Attkisson resigns from CBS News”. Politico. Retrieved March 11, 2014.
  31. Jump up^ Smith, Kyle (October 25, 2014), “Ex-CBS reporter’s book reveals how liberal media protects Obama”, New York Post, retrieved November 3, 2014
  32. Jump up^ “Astroturf and manipulation of media messages”. YouTube.com. TEDxUniversityofNevada. February 6, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  33. Jump up^ Mirkinson, Jack (May 21, 2013). “CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson: My Computers Were Compromised, ‘Could Be Some Relationship’ To DOJ Scandals”. The Huffington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  34. Jump up^ “CBS News Confirms Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Breached”. The Huffington Post. June 14, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  35. Jump up^ “Sharyl Attkisson’s Computer Not Compromised, DOJ Says”. The Huffington Post. May 22, 2013. Retrieved November 1, 2014.
  36. Jump up^ Smith, Kyle; Golding, Bruce (October 27, 2014), “Ex-CBS reporter: Government agency bugged my computer”, New York Post, retrieved October 28, 2014
  37. Jump up^ “Why is Sharyl Attkisson testifying at Loretta Lynch’s confirmation hearing?”. Washington Post.
  38. Jump up^ “DOJ OIG Report – Sharyl Attkisson”. scribd.com.
  39. Jump up^ Hattem, Julian. “Watchdog: Attkisson wasn’t hacked, had ‘delete’ key stuck”. TheHill. Retrieved 2016-04-05.
  40. Jump up^ Groch-Begley, Hannah; Strupp, Joe (October 31, 2014). “Computer Security Experts: Attkisson Video Of Purported “Hacking” Likely Just A Stuck Backspace Key”. Media Matters for America. Retrieved January 5, 2015.
  41. Jump up^ Fisher, Max (October 31, 2014). “The video of Sharyl Attkisson getting “hacked” actually just shows a stuck delete key”. Vox. Retrieved November 2, 2014.
  42. ^ Jump up to:a b “Media Matters report on Attkisson claims”. Media Matters for America. January 29, 2015.
  43. Jump up^ T. Becket Adams (February 3, 2015). “Sharyl Attkisson: What was left out of reports on hacking”. The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 22 November 2015. The IG did not rule out computer intrusions. It did not substantiate but neither did it rule out.
  44. Jump up^ Attkisson sues government over computer intrusions, Washington Post; Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  45. Jump up^ Editorial Opinion re Attkisson, Washington Post; Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  46. Jump up^ “Attkisson biography”. Televisionnewscenter.org. Retrieved March 11, 2014.

External links[edit]

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

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Published on Jul 8, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

National Security Agency

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contents

 [show] 

History

Army predecessor

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

Black Chamber

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

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

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

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

World War II and its aftermath

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

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

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

Vietnam War

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

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

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

Church Committee hearings

Further information: Watergate scandal and Church Committee

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

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

From 1980s to 1990s

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

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

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

War on Terror

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

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

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

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

Global surveillance disclosures

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

Scope of surveillance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legal accountability

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

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

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

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

Official responses

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

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

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

Organizational structure

Michael S. Rogers, the director of the NSA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Structure

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch centers

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

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

Employees

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

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

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

Security issues

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

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

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

Polygraphin

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

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

File:NSApolygraphvideo.webm

NSA-produced video on the polygraph process

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

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

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

Arbitrary firing

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

Insignia and memorials

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

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

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

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

National Cryptologic Memorial

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

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

NSANet (NSA’s intranet)

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

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

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

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

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

National Computer Security Center

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

Facilities

Headquarters

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power consumption

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

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

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

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

History of headquarters

Headquarters at Fort Meade circa 1950s

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

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

Fort Meade shooting[edit]

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

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

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

Computing[edit]

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

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

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

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

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

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

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

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

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

International stations

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

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

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

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

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

Thailand

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mission

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

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

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

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

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

Operations

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

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

Collection overseas

Echelon

Main article: ECHELON

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

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

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

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

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

Other SIGINT operations overseas

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

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

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

BoundlessInformant

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

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

Bypassing encryption

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

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

Domestic activity

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

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

George W. Bush administration

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

Warrantless wiretaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

AT&T Internet monitoring

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

Data mining

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

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

Illegally obtained evidence

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

Barack Obama administration

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

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

Section 215 metadata collection

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

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

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

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

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

The PRISM program[edit]

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

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

June 2015 – WikiLeaks: Industrial espionage

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

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

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

Claims of prevented terrorist attacks

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

Hacking operations

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

NSA’s China hacking group

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

Syrian internet blackout

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

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

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

Software backdoors

Linux kerne

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

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

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

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

IBM Notes

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

Boomerang routing

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

Hardware implanting

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

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

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

Role in scientific research and development[

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

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

Data Encryption Standard

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

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

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

Advanced Encryption Standard

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

NSA encryption systems

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

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

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

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

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

SHA

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

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

Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator

Main article: Dual_EC_DRBG

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

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

Clipper chip

Main article: Clipper chip

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

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

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

Academic research

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

Patents

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

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

Legality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See also

Notes

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

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

Posted on March 4, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Communications, Congress, Crime, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Data, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Documentary, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security, Strategy, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Terrorism, Video, War, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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

Published on Mar 5, 2017

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

Republican president-elect Donald Trump

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

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

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

Anatomy of an Allegation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tower of FISA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With additional reporting by Andy Greenberg.

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

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

 

Trump asks Congress to probe alleged illicit campaign investigations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for book cover radical islam in america

The True Origins of Isis Ideology (Wahhabism/Salafism)

The birth of Wahhabism and the house of Saud

What is a Wahhabi and What is Wahhabism?

Wahhabism Explained

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

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

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

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

Published on Dec 22, 2015

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

British Empire Created Radical Islam

Published on Mar 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

How Did Radical Islam Get Spread Throughout the World?

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

Muslims Establishing No-Go Zones in America • 1/14/15 •

Police protected USA Islam Sharia Law Cities Christians arrested End Times News Update

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

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

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

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

The Leftist / Islamic Alliance

David Horowitz – Progressive Racism

Sharia Law in TEXAS | State votes to secure American Law

Shariah Law? Not in Texas, says Irving Mayor

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

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Master of Disaster President Obama — Legacy of Failure: Domestically and Abroad — One Success: Destroyed Democratic Party! — Videos

Posted on December 30, 2016. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, British History, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Nuclear Proliferation, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Security, Strategy, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Trade Policiy, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: |

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Obama’s Legacy of Failures – 30 documented examples

Report: ‘Obamanomics’ to Blame for Worst Economic Recovery Since 1930s

BREAKING NEWS !!! Barack Obama HAS MADE HIS FINAL IDIOTIC MOVE !!!!!!!!

Barack Obama IS DISINTEGRATING IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES !!!!!!!!

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Idiot Obama Worst President in History.

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Top 10 Worst American Presidents

 

Obama unleashes 3,853 regs, 18 for every law, record 97,110 pages of red tape

President Obama‘s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.

While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.

The 2016 total was the highest annual number of regulations under Obama. Former President Bush issued more in the wake of 9/11.

The proof that it was an overwhelming year for rules and regulations is in the Federal Register, which ended the year Friday by printing a record-setting 97,110 pages, according to the analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The annual “Unconstitutional Index” from Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, said that it was much higher under Obama than under former President George W. Bush.

“The multiple did tend to be higher during Obama administration. Bush’s eight years averaged 20, while Obama’s almost-eight have averaged 29,” said his report, first provided to Secrets.

His index is meant to show that it is the federal bureaucracy, not Congress, that levies the most rules. “There’s no pattern to any of this, since the numerators and denominators can vary widely; there had been 114 laws in 2015, and a multiple of 39. The multiple can be higher with fewer laws, or with more regulations, holding the other constant. The point is that agencies do the bulk of lawmaking, no matter the party in power,” he wrote.

President-elect Trump has promised to slash federal regulations, even pledging to cut two current rules for every one he imposes. Congressional leaders have also promised to slash rules and regulations that have escalated under Obama.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-unleashes-3853-regs-18-for-every-law-record-97110-pages-of-red-tape/article/2610592#!

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Count Down To Pardons: Will President Obama Pardon The Clinton Criminal Conspirators? Yes — Will The Clinton Criminal Conspirators Accept The Pardons? Yes — Why? Mutually Assured Destruction Of Obama and Clinton If They Do Not! — Videos

Posted on December 28, 2016. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Crime, Crisis, Education, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Money, National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Television, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Now, THEREFORE, I, BARACK H. OBAMA, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Hillary Clinton for all offenses against the United States which she, Hillary Clinton, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 21, 2009 through February 1, 2013.

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Image result for cartoon obama and clinton benghazi liesWould President Obama pardon Clinton?

President Obama doubled his presidential pardons

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[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V12RDlaOF18]

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Will Obama pardon Clinton? And if he does, will she accept?

Executive orders barring offshore drilling in most U.S. Arctic waters; an abstention at the U.N. permitting the Security Council to declare all Israeli settlement activity to be illegal and an obstacle to peace; the possibility of further action at the U.N. to formalize the administration’s comprehensive vision of a two-state solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict — President Obama is sprinting, not jogging, to the finish line.

In dashing through his last few weeks in office, will one of Obama’s final acts be to pardon Hillary Clinton for any violations of federal law she might have committed while she was secretary of State?

It’s an interesting and complex question.

We should first note that the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute Clinton would not bind the Trump administration. Until relevant statutes of limitations have expired, she could still be prosecuted by the new administration. It is possible, in my opinion, for Clinton to be prosecuted for either her improper handling of classified information on her “home brew” email server or allegations of “pay to play” arrangements between the secretary of State and donors to the Clinton Foundation, which could constitute bribery.

The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is five years from the commission of the offense; that would apply to the two categories relevant to Clinton. Her tenure as secretary of State ended Feb. 1, 2013, so it is possible that the statute of limitations will not run until Feb. 1, 2018, more than a year after Donald Trump takes office.

What looks like one question — will the president pardon Clinton? — turns out, on analysis, to be two. The first question is: Would Clinton wish to receive a pardon?

That question seems to be a proverbial no-brainer. Surely, any person who had been in federal government would be eager to receive a presidential pardon, because it eliminates even the possibility of federal prosecution. That looks like all upside and no downside.

But there is a downside, and it isn’t trivial. A pardon must be accepted by the person who is pardoned if it is to effectively stymie any prosecution.

Furthermore, there is solid legal precedent that acceptance of a pardon is equivalent to confession of guilt. A U.S. Supreme Court case from 1915 called Burdick v. U.S. establishes that principle; it has never been overturned.

If acceptance of a pardon by Clinton would amount to confession of guilt, would she nevertheless accept it? A multitude of factors would go into her decision.

She, together with her attorneys, would have to decide how likely it is that the Trump administration would prosecute her, and, if it did decide to prosecute, how likely the administration would be able to prove she had committed crimes.

Since being elected, Trump has been remarkably warm towards the person he used to call “Crooked Hillary.” But how confident could Clinton be that the Justice Department, under a Trump administration, would not prosecute?

Prosecutorial decisions are supposed to be independent of political considerations, so Trump’s recent friendliness should not be controlling once the new attorney general is in office.

If Clinton believes prosecutors might be able to make a strong case against her, the value to her of a pardon increases. If she is confident that any case against her would be weak or even futile, the pardon has less value.

If Clinton decides that, everything considered, she would prefer to receive a pardon, she would no doubt be able to convey that message to Obama, and then the ball would be in his court. Thus, the second question is: Would Obama grant Clinton’s request for a pardon?

From Obama’s perspective, the decision to grant or withhold a pardon is a political and a personal one. Legal considerations do not directly arise.

Like all presidents at the end of their terms, he is concerned about the legacy he leaves for history. Does he want his legacy to include a pardon of the secretary of State who served under him during the entirety of his first term in office?

Because acceptance of a pardon amounts to a confession of guilt, the acceptance by Clinton would, to a degree, besmirch both Clinton and also Obama. After all, Clinton was Obama’s secretary of State. If she was committing illegal acts as secretary, it happened literally on his watch.

On the other hand, if the new administration were to prosecute and convict Clinton of crimes committed while she was secretary, that might be an even greater embarrassment for Obama post-presidency.

In addition to calculations regarding his legacy, Obama and Clinton surely have developed over many years, both as opponents and as teammates, a personal relationship. If Clinton were to ask Obama for a pardon, how would that personal relationship play into his response? I cannot say.

Days after Trump won the election, the White House press secretary was asked by Jordan Fabian of The Hill whether Obama would consider pardoning Clinton. He carefully avoided a direct answer.

Instead, the press secretary said that, in cases where Obama had granted pardons, “[w]e didn’t talk in advance about those decisions.” He also expressed hope that the new administration would follow “a long tradition in this country of people in power not using the criminal justice system to exact political revenge.”

Of course, there is also a long tradition in this country that no one is above the law, no matter how high a position in government he or she might have formerly occupied.

So, those are the main considerations that would go into deciding a very complex question. It’s time for all of us to show our hands.

I’m saying yes, he will pardon her. Can you beat that?

David E. Weisberg is a semi-retired attorney and a member of the New York state bar. He currently resides in Cary, North Carolina, and has published pieces on the Social Science Research Network and in The Times of Israel.

Would Obama consider pardoning Clinton?

Trump has promised to put her in jail, but Obama could forestall that possibility with the stroke of a pen.

11/09/16 12:29 PM EST

Updated 11/09/16 02:41 PM EST

President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign was energized by calls to prosecute Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server containing classified information, but one man now has a unique power to frustrate the Trump partisans’ cries of “Lock her up!”: President Barack Obama.

Experts agree that Obama has the authority to foreclose that possibility by pardoning Clinton for any federal offenses she may have committed or could ever be prosecuted for. And he could do it whether she asks or not.

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“The president here will, I’m sure, consider using what tools he has in his last couple of weeks, including a pardon, to do what he can before Trump takes over,” said Harold Krent, dean of the Chicago-Kent College of Law. “There’s a window and presidents have used those windows to accomplish a variety of goals.”

“What he’s going to do with this power in the next two months is really a good question,” said a close observer of the pardon process who asked not be named. “There are so many things on the table….This whole event is going to cause us to think even more about: what is this power?”

But such an act of clemency for Clinton is fraught with danger to Obama’s reputation and to hers, as any move to protect the failed Democratic presidential nominee would surely trigger charges of unfairness and political favoritism, while seeming to some to be an admission of guilt.

While Trump’s campaign-rhetoric about subjecting Clinton to a special prosecutor who would put her “in jail” was stark and fired up his crowds, he seems likely to softpedal that kind of talk in the coming weeks as he looks to bridge the stark divide in the country and build legitimacy.

Indeed, Wednesday morning, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway suggested the issue of prosecuting Clinton has moved to the back burner for now.

“We did not discuss that last night since his victory. And he certainly didn’t address it with Mrs. Clinton on the phone,” Conway said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I think you heard his own words last night — to the extent that one man can as president, certainly Vice President Pence who’s phenomenal, they’re looking to unify the country. But we haven’t discussed that in recent days. And I think that it’s all in good time,” she added.

Still, a pardon would offer the only foolproof way to head off such a prosecution. And the window for Clinton’s best shot at clemency closes on Jan. 20.

Such a move by Obama could also be a boon of sorts for Trump. It would provide a convenient way for the incoming president not to follow through with a renewed investigation that could breed further resentment from Democrats.

When it comes to considering a pardon for Clinton, however, one of the biggest obstacles could be Obama’s own words.

At a press conference in August, Obama pledged to handle last-minute pardons by the book, distancing himself from the chaotic situation that played out in the final days of Bill Clinton’s presidency and tarnished his legacy.

“The process that I put in place is not going to vary depending on how close I get to the election. So it’s going to be reviewed by the pardon attorney, it will be reviewed by my White House counsel, and I’m going to, as best as I can, make these decisions based on the merits, as opposed to political considerations,” Obama said.

The White House on Wednesday refused to say whether Obama would consider pardoning Clinton , but appeared to issue a warning to Trump, saying powerful people should not exploit the criminal justice system for “political revenge.”

“As you know the president has offered clemency to a substantial number of Americans who were previously serving time in federal prisons,”, Earnest told reporters during the daily briefing. “And we didn’t talk in advance about the president’s plans to offer clemency to any of those individuals and that is because we don’t talk about the president’s thinking, particularly with respect to any specific cases that may apply to pardons or commutations.”

He added, “We have a long tradition in this country of people in power not using the criminal justice system to enact political revenge. In fact we go a long way to insulate the criminal justice system from partisan politics.”

Longtime Clinton lawyer David Kendall did not respond to a request for comment.

The legacy questions seem certain to be at the top of Obama’s mind. Ford’s pardon of Nixon was highly controversial and the time and helped cost Ford the 1976 election. Bill Clinton’s late-term pardons of financier Marc Rich and others unleashed a controversy that still mars Clinton’s image.

There are numerous precedents for a pre-trial pardon, including one in a high-profile case of mishandling classified information.

In one of his late term pardons in 2001, Clinton granted clemency to former CIA Director John Deutch, who had agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for storing classified information on his home computer. Deutch had actually signed a plea agreement, but the paperwork had never been filed in court.

Ford’s pardon of Nixon also came before any charges had been filed against him. The broadly-worded decree absolved Nixon of guilt “for all offenses against the United States which he…has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.”

Nixon never asked for or accepted the pardon, but that didn’t affect its validity. (A 1927 Supreme Court case says an unconditional pardon is valid whether or not it’s accepted by the recipient.)

Part of the fairness consideration in Clinton’s case would involve her own aides. How could Obama block a prosecution of Clinton but leave her aides and others caught up in the email fiasco without any protection?

It seems doubtful that a prosecutor would charge one or more Clinton aides or allies if she was off the hook, but it’s far from impossible. Oftentimes in such cases, aides wind up in prosecutors’ crosshairs even when higher-ranking officials escape charges.

A good example of that is Lewis (Scooter) Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney, who was charged with lying and obstruction of justice in an investigation into who leaked the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

In 2007, Libby was convicted by a jury and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. President George W. Bush commuted the sentence, sparing Libby jail time. However, Bush turned down repeated pleas from Cheney to clear Libby with a full pardon.

Wording a Clinton pardon might not be easy, lawyers say.

If Obama is fully intent on closing the book on a Clinton prosecution, he could try to sweep in not only her conduct as secretary of state, but also her statements since and anything she might have done in connection with the Clinton Foundation. Moving in that direction would again raise questions of whether Obama would excuse others or just his former secretary of state.

While pre-trial, pre-charge pardons have been uncommon in recent years, there are many examples throughout American history.

In 1974, Ford issued an amnesty for Vietnam War draft dodgers and deserters, conditioned on two years of public service in U.S.

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter issued a blanket, unconditional pardon to hundreds of thousands of men who dodged the draft during the Vietnam War era. Many had been charged, but most had not.

And in 1894, President Grover Cleveland pardoned an unnamed and uncounted number of Mormons in Utah, excusing them from prosecution for bigamy and related crimes.

The pardon power “is unlimited and unreviewable,” former House counsel Stan Brand said. “Constitutionally, certainly [Obama] could do that.”

Brand said he doubts Trump will follow through on his threats of a special prosecutor, but the former Congressional attorney acknowledged that’s a political judgment, so Clinton’s lawyers seem certain to consider the pardon option.

“If he wants to be president, he’s the president-elect now, he truly has to switch from campaign mode to governing mode,” Brand added. “I’d say good luck to them politically, if [Trump’s team] thinks that’s going to advance their agenda.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/11/would-obama-pardon-clinton-231120

BIG SURPRISE: Media Betting Obama Will Pardon Hillary Clinton Before He Leaves The White House

A lot of us figured this was coming, but now the mainstream media is predicting the obvious in print.

In a piece by contributor David Weisberg over at The Hill, he declares that Obama will make sure to pardon Hillary Clinton “for any violations of federal law she might have committed while she was secretary of state.”

Weisberg writes:

We should first note that the Obama administration’s decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton would not bind the Trump administration. Until relevant statutes of limitations have expired, she could still be prosecuted by the new administration. It is possible in my opinion for Clinton to be prosecuted for either her improper handling of classified information on “home brew,” or allegations of “pay to play” arrangements between the secretary of state and donors to the Clinton Foundation, which could constitute bribery.

The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is five years from the commission of the offense; that would apply to the two categories relevant to Mrs. Clinton. Her tenure as secretary of state ended Feb. 1, 2013, so it is possible that the statute of limitations will not run until Feb. 1, 2018, more than a year after Mr. Trump takes office.

Apparently, however, there is legal precedent for the acceptance of a pardon being equal to an admission of guilt. It was established by a 1915 U.S. Supreme Court case, Burdick v. U.S. which has never been overturned. In other words, if Hillary takes the pardon, she’s admitting she committed at least one crime she committed and needs to be pardoned for.

Then again, is it even likely Trump is actually going to prosecute Hillary anyway? Pretty much as soon as he won, he announced that he no longer planned to. Even Weisberg points out, “Since being elected, Mr. Trump has been remarkably warm towards the person he used to call ‘crooked Hillary’.” It’s been speculated Trump’s promise not to prosecute was part of the phone call ensuring Hillary would concede. Then again, they’d been pretty good friends for the two decades leading up to the election.

Weisberg goes on to say he thinks Obama’s pardon for Hillary is forthcoming. Why not. The White House won’t deny the option is being considered, even though, again, Trump has come out to say he does not plan to prosecute Hillary anyway.

Obama’s pardon of Hillary will probably be worded a lot like (if not exactlylike) Ford’s Pardon of Richard Nixon:

Now, THEREFORE, I, GERALD R. FORD, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

Hillary’s pardon will be just as ambiguously worded, to make sure and cover anything and everything (and there’s a lot to cover).

As projected, it’ll likely be dated for her entire tenure as Secretary of State, too.

This story was written by Melissa Dykes and published at The Daily Sheeple

Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State

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Clinton takes the oath of office as Secretary of State, administered by Associate Judge Kathryn Oberly as Bill Clinton holds the Bible.

Hillary Clinton served as the 67th United States Secretary of State, under President Barack Obama, from 2009 to 2013, overseeing the department that conducted the Foreign policy of Barack Obama.

She was preceded in office by Condoleezza Rice, and succeeded by John Kerry. She is also the only former First Lady of the United States to become a member of the United States Cabinet.

 

Nomination and confirmation

Within a week after the November 4, 2008, presidential election, President-elect Obama and Clinton discussed over telephone the possibility of her serving as U.S. Secretary of State in his administration.[1][2] Clinton later related, “He said I want you to be my secretary of state. And I said, ‘Oh, no, you don’t.’ I said, ‘Oh, please, there’s so many other people who could do this.'”[2] Clinton initially turned Obama down, but he persisted.[3][4] Some Democratic senators welcomed the idea of her leaving, having been allied with Obama during the campaign, and believing that Clinton had risked party disunity by keeping her candidacy going for so long.[5]

Obama and Clinton held a meeting on the subject on November 11.[6] When the possibility became public on November 14, it came as a surprising and dramatic move, especially given the long, sometimes bitter battle the two had waged during the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primaries.[1][7] Obama had specifically criticized Clinton’s foreign policy credentials during the contests, and the initial idea of him appointing her had been so unexpected that she had told one of her own aides, “Not in a million years.”[4] However, it has been reported that Obama had been thinking of the idea as far back as the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[8] Despite the aggressiveness of the campaign and the still-lingering animosities between the two campaign staffs,[9] as with many primary battles, the political differences between the candidates were never that great,[10] the two rivals had reportedly developed a respect for one another,[8] and she had campaigned for him in the general election.[4]

Consideration of Clinton was seen as Obama wanting to assemble a “team of rivals” in his administration, à la Abraham Lincoln.[4][11][12] The notion of rivals successfully working together also found applicability in other fields, such as George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in relation to Operation Overlord during World War II and Indra Nooyi keeping on her top rival for CEO at Pepsico.[10] At the same time, the choice gave Obama an image of being self-assured.[13]

Clinton was conflicted whether she wanted to take the position or remain in the Senate, and agonized over her decision.[4][6][14] While the Senate leadership had discussed possible leadership positions or other promotions in rank with her even before the cabinet position became a possibility, nothing concrete had been offered.[15] The prospect of her ever becoming Senate Majority Leader seemed dim.[5] A different complication was Bill Clinton; she told Obama: “There’s one last thing that’s a problem, which is my husband. You’ve seen what this is like; it will be a circus if I take this job”, making reference to the volatile effect Bill Clinton had had during the primaries.[3] In addition, there was a specific concern whether the financial and other involvements of Bill Clinton’s post-presidential activities would violate any conflict-of-interest rules for serving cabinet members.[14] There was as well considerable media speculation about what effect taking the position would have on her political career and any possible future presidential aspirations.[14][16] Clinton wavered over the offer, but as she later related, “But, you know, we kept talking. I finally began thinking, look, if I had won and I had called him, I would have wanted him to say yes. And, you know, I’m pretty old-fashioned, and it’s just who I am. So at the end of the day, when your president asks you to serve, you say yes, if you can.”[2] Chief of Protocol of the United States Capricia Penavic Marshall, who had known Clinton since her First Lady days, later confirmed the same rationale: “When asked to serve, she does. And her president asked.”[4]

On November 21, reports indicated that Clinton had accepted the position.[17] On December 1, President-elect Obama formally announced that Clinton would be his nominee for Secretary of State.[18] Clinton said she was reluctant to leave the Senate, but that the new position represented a “difficult and exciting adventure”.[18] As part of the nomination, Bill Clinton agreed to accept a number of conditions and restrictions regarding his ongoing activities and fundraising efforts for the Clinton Presidential Center and Clinton Global Initiative.[19]

The appointment required a Saxbe fix,[20] which was passed and signed into law in December 2008 before confirmation hearings began.[21] Confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee began on January 13, 2009, a week before the Obama inauguration. Clinton stated during her confirmation hearings that she believed that “the best way to advance America’s interests in reducing global threats and seizing global opportunities is to design and implement global solutions” and “We must use what has been called ‘smart power‘, the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural — picking the right tool or combination of tools for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of our foreign policy.”[22]

On January 15, the Committee voted 16–1 to approve Clinton.[23] Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana was the lone dissenting vote in the committee.[23] By this time, Clinton’s public favorable/unfavorable rating had reached 65 percent, the highest point in her public career since the Lewinsky scandal during her time as First Lady,[24] and 71 percent of the public approved of the nomination to the cabinet.[20]

Even before taking office, Clinton was working together with Bush administration officials in assessing national security issues. The night before the inauguration of the new president, contingency plans against a purported plot by Somali extremists against Obama and the inauguration was being discussed. Clinton argued that typical security responses were not tenable: “Is the Secret Service going to whisk him off the podium so the American people see their incoming president disappear in the middle of the inaugural address? I don’t think so.”[25] (The threat turned out to not exist.)

On January 21, 2009, Clinton was confirmed in the full Senate by a vote of 94–2.[26] Vitter and Republican Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina voted against the confirmation.[26]

Clinton took the oath of office of Secretary of State and resigned from the Senate that same day.[27] She became the first former First Lady to serve in the United States Cabinet.[28] She also became the first Secretary of State to have previously been an elected official since Edmund Muskie‘s less-than-a-year stint in 1980,[29] with Christian Herter during the Eisenhower administration being the last one before that. In being selected by her formal rival Obama, she became only the fourth person in the preceding hundred years to join the cabinet of someone they had run against for their party’s presidential nomination that election year (Jack Kemp ran against and was later chosen by George H. W. Bush to be Secretary of HUD in 1988, George W. Romney by Richard Nixon for Secretary of HUD in 1968, and Philander Knox by William Howard Taft for Secretary of State in 1908 preceded her; Obama’s pick of Tom Vilsack for Secretary of Agriculture followed her a couple of weeks later to be the next such person).

(On January 29, 2009, the constitutionality of her Saxbe fix was challenged in court by Judicial Watch;[30] on October 30, 2009, the courts dismissed the case.[31])

Staff

During the Obama presidential transition, Clinton described her own transition as “difficult … in some respects, because [she] never even dreamed of it.”[12] Then, and in the early days of her tenure, there was considerable jockeying for jobs within the department among those in “Hillaryland“, her longtime circle of advisors and staff aides, as well as others who had worked with her in the past, with not as many jobs as those desiring of them.[32][33] Obama gave Clinton more freedom to choose her staff than he did to any other cabinet member.[5][10]

Clinton’s former campaign manager, Maggie Williams, handled the staff hiring process.[32] Longtime counsel to both Clintons Cheryl Mills served as the secretary’s Counselor and Chief of Staff.[33] James B. Steinberg was named Deputy Secretary of State.[33] Jacob “Jack” Lew, once Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, was named Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, a new position.[34] This was an unusual step intended by Hillary Clinton to push to the forefront the emphasis on getting higher budget allocations from Congress and overlooking internal workings.[33][34] Anne-Marie Slaughter was appointed Director of Policy Planning with a view towards long-term policy towards Asia.[33] Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime personal assistant, was Deputy Chief of Staff for the secretary and remained a key member of Clinton’s operation.[32][35]

Much like she did at the beginning of her Senate career, Clinton kept a low profile during her early months and worked hard to familiarize herself with the culture and institutional history of the department.[33] She met or spoke with all of the living former secretaries, and especially relied upon her close friendship with Madeleine Albright.[33]

At the start of her tenure, Obama and Clinton announced several high-profile special envoys to trouble spots in the world, including former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell as Mideast envoy and Richard Holbrooke as envoy to South Asia and Afghanistan.[36] On January 27, 2009, Secretary of State Clinton appointed Todd Stern as the department’s Special Envoy for Climate Change.[37]

By May 2009, Clinton and the Obama administration intended to nominate Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, as Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID),[38] but by August 2009 his nomination was reportedly scotched by the White House for reasons unknown.[39][40] This caused Clinton, while visiting USAID, to publicly criticize the long vetting process for administration appointments[39] calling it a “nightmare” and “frustrating beyond words.”[40] In November 2009, an unconventional choice was nominated instead, Rajiv Shah, a young Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics.[40] Clinton said, “He has a record of delivering results in both the private and public sectors, forging partnerships around the world, especially in Africa and Asia, and developing innovative solutions in global health, agriculture, and financial services for the poor.”[40]

Despite some early press predictions,[33] in general Clinton’s departmental staff has avoided the kind of leaks and infighting that troubled her 2008 presidential campaign.[35] One possibly lingering line of internal tension was resolved in early 2011 when State Department spokesperson P. J. Crowley resigned after making personal comments about in-captivity leaker Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley Manning) and her treatment by the Department of Defense.[41] In other changes, Jacob Lew left in late 2010 to join the White House as Office of Management and Budget and was replaced as Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources by Thomas R. Nides (Lew would eventually become White House Chief of Staff and then the pick for U.S. Treasury Secretary for Obama’s second term),[34] and Steinberg left in mid-2011 and was replaced as Deputy Secretary by career diplomat William J. Burns.

Early themes and structural initiatives

During the transition period, Clinton sought to build a more powerful State Department.[42] She began a push for a larger international affairs budget and an expanded role in global economic issues.[42] She cited the need for an increased U.S. diplomatic presence, especially in Iraq where the U.S. Defense Department had conducted diplomatic missions.[42] U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agreed with her, and also advocated larger State Department budgets.[29] Indeed, the two, and their respective departments, would have a productive relationship, unlike the often fraught relations between State and Defense and their secretaries seen in prior administrations.[43]

In the Obama administration’s proposed 2010 United States federal budget of February 2009, there was a proposed 9.5 percent budget increase for the State Department and other international programs, from $47.2 billion in fiscal year 2009 to $51.7 billion in fiscal year 2010.[44][45] By the time of Clinton’s May 2009 testimony before the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, numbers had been restated following rounds of general federal budget cuts,[46] and the proposed fiscal year 2010 budget request for the State Department and USAID was $48.6 billion, a 7 percent increase.[47] That became the amount of increase that was obtained.[48]

Clinton also brought a message of departmental reform to the position, especially in regarding foreign aid programs as something that deserves the same status and level of scrutiny as diplomatic initiatives.[29]

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives at the State Department on her first day greeted by a standing room only crowd of Department employees.

Clinton spent her initial days as Secretary of State telephoning dozens of world leaders.[49] She said the world was eager to see a new American foreign policy and that, “There is a great exhalation of breath going on around the world. We’ve got a lot of damage to repair.”[49] She did indicate that not every past policy would be repudiated, and specifically said it was essential that the six-party talks over the North Korean nuclear weapons program continue.[50][51] Clinton re-emphasized her views during her first speech to State Department employees when she said, “There are three legs to the stool of American foreign policy: defense, diplomacy, and development. And we are responsible for two of the three legs. And we will make clear, as we go forward, that diplomacy and development are essential tools in achieving the long-term objectives of the United States. And I will do all that I can, working with you, to make it abundantly clear that robust diplomacy and effective development are the best long-term tools for securing America’s future.”[52] Clinton also soon visited the United States Agency for International Development, where she met employees and said they would be getting extra funds and attention during the new administration.[50]

She kept a low profile when diplomatic necessity or Obama’s involvement required it, but maintained an influential relationship with the president and in foreign policy decisions.[53][54] Her first 100 days found her travelling over 70,000 miles (110,000 km), having no trouble adapting to being a team player subordinate to Obama, and gaining skills as an executive.[54][55] Nevertheless, she remained an international celebrity with a much higher profile than most Secretaries of State.[29] Her background as an elected official gave her insight into the needs and fears of elected officials of other countries.[29]

By the summer of 2009, there was considerable analysis and speculation in the media of what kind of role and level of influence Clinton had within the Obama administration, with a variety of assessments being produced.[12][56][57][58] A prominent mid-July speech to the Council on Foreign Relations reasserted her role;[56] she said, “We cannot be afraid or unwilling to engage. Our focus on diplomacy and development is not an alternative to our national security arsenal.”[59]

In July 2009, Clinton announced a new State Department initiative, the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review, to establish specific objectives for the State Department’s diplomatic missions abroad.[60] The most ambitious of Clinton’s departmental reforms, it is modeled after the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review, which Clinton was familiar with from her days on the Senate Armed Services Committee.[61] The first such Review came out in December 2010. Entitled Leading Through Civilian Power, its 220 pages centered on the notion of elevating “civilian power” as a cost-effective way of responding to international challenges and defusing crises.[62][63][64] It also sought the elevation of U.S. ambassadors in coordinating work of all abroad-tasked U.S. agencies.[62] Clinton said of the underlying message, “Leading with civilians saves lives and money.”[63] She also resolved to get Congress to approve the QDDR as a required part of the State Department planning process, saying, “I am determined that this report will not merely gather dust, like so many others.”[63] Another theme of the report was the goal of empowering the female population in developing countries around the world; the QDDR mentioned women and girls some 133 times.[64] In part this reflected incorporation into the QDDR of the Hillary Doctrine, which stipulates that women’s rights and violence against women around the world should be considered issues of national security to the United States.[65] In addition, by attempting to institutionalize her goals in this area, Clinton – along with Anne-Marie Slaughter and Melanne Verveer, who also worked heavily in these efforts – were hoping that her initiatives and concerns towards the empowerment of women would persist past Clinton’s time in office as well as break a past pattern of chauvinism in the department.[64]

In September, Clinton unveiled the Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative at the annual meeting of her husband’s Clinton Global Initiative.[66][67] The goal of the new initiative is to battle hunger worldwide on a strategic basis as a key part of U.S. foreign policy, rather than just react to food shortage emergencies as they occur.[67] The secretary said that “Food security is not just about food. But it is all about security: economic security, environmental security, even national security. Massive hunger poses a threat to the stability of governments, societies and borders.”[66][67] The initiative seeks to develop agricultural economies, counter malnourishment, increase productivity, expand trade, and spur innovation in developing nations. Clinton said that women would be placed at the center of the effort, as they constitute a majority of the world’s farmers.[67] The next month, to mark World Food Day, Clinton said, “Fighting hunger and poverty through sustainable agricultural development, making sure that enough food is available and that people have the resources to purchase it, is a key foreign policy objective of the Obama administration.”[68]

During October 2009, Clinton said, “this is a great job. It is a 24/7 job”[69] and “this job is incredibly all-encompassing.”[2] She said she never thought about if she were making the same foreign policy decisions as president, and had no intention of ever running for that office again.[2][69] While some friends and former advisers thought she was primarily saying that to focus attention on her current role and that she might change her mind about running for president in the future, others felt that she was genuinely content with the direction her career and life had taken and no longer had presidential ambitions.[70]

By the close of 2009 there were 25 female ambassadors posted by other nations to Washington; this was the highest number ever.[71] This was dubbed the “Hillary effect” by some observers: “Hillary Clinton is so visible” as secretary of state, said Amelia Matos Sumbana, the Mozambique Ambassador to the United States, “she makes it easier for presidents to pick a woman for Washington.”[71] An added fact, of course, was that two other recent U.S. Secretaries of State were women, but Clinton’s international fame from her days as First Lady of the United States made her impact in this respect the greatest of the group.[71]

Clinton also included in the State Department budget for the first time a breakdown of programs that specifically concerned themselves with the well-being of women and girls around the world.[64] By fiscal 2012, the department’s budget request for such work was $1.2 billion, of which $832 million was for global health programs.[64] Additionally, she initiated the Women in Public Service Project, a joint venture between the State Department and the Seven Sisters colleges. The goal was to entice more women into entering public service, such that within four decades an equal number of men and women would be working in the field.[72]

One specific cause Clinton advocated almost from the start of her tenure was the adoption of cookstoves in the developing world, to foster cleaner and more environmentally sound food preparation and reduce smoke dangers to women. In September 2010, she announced a partnership with the United Nations Foundation to provide some 100 million such stoves around the world within the next ten years, and in subsequent travels she urged foreign leaders to adopt policies encouraging their use.[4]

In February 2010 testimony before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Secretary Clinton complained about the slow pace of Senate confirmations of Obama’s nominations to diplomatic positions, a number of which were delayed for political reasons and had been subject to holds by individual Republican senators.[73] Clinton said the problem damaged America’s image abroad: “It became harder and harder to explain to countries, particularly countries of significance, why we had nobody in position for them to interact with.”[73]

In 2009, and again in 2010 and 2011, Clinton stated that she was committed to serving out her full term as secretary, but would not commit to serving a second term should Obama be re-elected.[74]

She later used U.S. allies and what she called “convening power” to help keep the Libyan rebels unified as they eventually overthrew the Gaddafi regime.[75]

Throughout her tenure, Clinton has looked towards “smart power” as the strategy for asserting U.S. leadership and values, combining military strength with U.S. capacities in global economics, development aid, and technology.[75] In late 2011 she said, “All power has limits. In a much more networked and multipolar world we can’t wave a magic wand and say to China or Brazil or India, ‘Quit growing. Quit using your economies to assert power’ … It’s up to us to figure out how we position ourselves to be as effective as possible at different times in the face of different threats and opportunities.”[75]

Clinton has also greatly expanded the State Department’s use of social media, including Facebook and Twitter, both to get its message out and to help empower people vis à via their rulers. Clinton said, “We are in the age of participation, and the challenge … is to figure out how to be responsive, to help catalyze, unleash, channel the kind of participatory eagerness that is there.” She has tried to institutionalize this change, by making social media a focus for foreign service officers and up to the ambassadorial level. (Other Clinton initiatives were run solely out of her office and were at risk of disappearing after she left office.) By late 2011, the department had 288 Facebook accounts and 192 Twitter feeds. The change was enough for daughter Chelsea Clinton to refer to the secretary as “TechnoMom”.[75]

Regional issues and travels: 2009

Obama and Clinton speaking with one another at the 21st NATO summit in April 2009

In February 2009, Clinton made her first trip as secretary to Asia, visiting Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and China on what she described as a “listening tour” that was “intended to really find a path forward.”[76] She continued to travel heavily in her first months in office, often getting very enthusiastic responses by engaging with the local populace.[53][77]

In early March 2009, Clinton made her first trip as secretary to Israel.[78] During this time, Clinton announced that the US government will dispatch two officials to the Syrian capital to explore Washington’s relationship with Damascus.[79] On March 5, Clinton attended the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.[80] At this meeting, Clinton proposed including Iran at a conference on Afghanistan. Clinton said the proposed conference could be held on March 31 in the Netherlands.[81] On March 6, a photo-op with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov intended to demonstrate the U.S. and Russia pressing the “reset button” on their relationship, in an effort to mend frayed ties, went a bit awry due to a mistranslation.[82] (The word the Americans chose, “peregruzka”, meant “overloaded” or “overcharged”, rather than “reset”.) The episode became known as the Russian reset.[83]

During March 2009, Clinton prevailed over Vice President Joe Biden on an internal debate to send an additional 20,000 troops to Afghanistan.[84]

In June 2009, Clinton had surgery to repair a right elbow fracture caused by a fall in the State Department basement.[85] The painful injury and recuperation caused her to miss two foreign trips.[56][86] Nevertheless, during President Obama’s trip without her to Russia, Clinton was named as co-coordinator, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, of a newly created U.S.-Russian Presidential Commission to discuss nuclear, economic, and energy and environmental policies relating to the two countries.[87]

Clinton returned to the diplomatic scene and responded to the ongoing 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis, in which plans for the Honduran fourth ballot box referendum had led to the 2009 Honduran coup d’état, and which was becoming Latin America’s worst political crisis in some years.[88] In early July, she sat down with ousted President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya, who agreed on a U.S.-backed proposal to begin talks with the de facto Roberto Micheletti government.[89] Later, in September, Zelaya returned to the country, and President of Costa Rica Óscar Arias, who had become a mediator in the matter, as well as Clinton expressed hope that Zelaya’s return could break the impasse with the Micheletti government. In particular, Clinton said, “Now that President Zelaya is back it would be opportune to restore him to his position under appropriate circumstances – get on with the election that is currently scheduled for November, have a peaceful transition of presidential authority and get Honduras back to constitutional and democratic order.”[90] At the end of October, Clinton took a leading role in convincing Micheletti to accept a deal – which she termed an “historic agreement” – in which Zelaya would return to power in advance of general elections in which neither figure was running.[88] Micheletti said that Clinton had been insistent on this point: “I kept trying to explain our position to her, but all she kept saying was, ‘Restitution, restitution, restitution.'”[88] That agreement broke down, despite efforts of the State Department to revive it,[91] and Clinton and the U.S. ended up supporting the winner of the 2009 Honduran general election, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, with Clinton characterizing the elections as “free and fair” and Lobo as holding a strong commitment to democracy and the rule of constitutional law.[92]

Clinton meets with President Hugo Chávez at the Summit of the Americas on April 19, 2009

Clinton co-chaired the high-level U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, D.C. on July 27–28, 2009 and led the Strategic Track for the United States.

In August 2009, Clinton embarked on her longest trip yet, to a number of stops in Africa.[93] On August 10, 2009, at a public event in Kinshasa, a Congolese student asked her what her husband, “Mr Clinton”, thought of a Chinese trade deal with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Clinton looked irritated at the question and replied, “Wait, you want me to tell you what my husband thinks? My husband is not the secretary of state, I am. So you ask my opinion, I will tell you my opinion. I am not going to be channeling my husband.” The incident was played in newsrooms around the world. Clinton aides suggested there might have been a mistranslation, but that was not the case; however the student had later apologized to her, saying he had meant to ask what “Mr Obama” thought.[94]

In October 2009, Clinton’s intervention – including juggling conversations on two mobile phones while sitting in a limousine[95] – overcame last-minute snags and saved the signing of an historic Turkish–Armenian accord that established diplomatic relations and opened the border between the two long-hostile nations.[96][97]

Clinton with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani during an October 2009 visit to Islamabad.

In late October 2009, Clinton travelled to Pakistan, where she had staged a memorable visit in 1995 while First Lady.[29] Her arrival was followed within hours by the 28 October 2009 Peshawar bombing; in response, Clinton said of those responsible, “They know they are on the losing side of history but they are determined to take as many lives with them as their movement is finally exposed for the nihilistic, empty effort that it is.”[98] In addition to meeting with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, she also staged numerous public appearances.[29][35] In those, she let students, talk show hosts, and tribal elders repeatedly complain about and criticize American foreign policy and American actions.[29][35] Occasionally, she pushed back in a more blunt fashion than usual for diplomats, explicitly wondering why Pakistan had not been more successful in combating al Qaeda “if they wanted to.”[35] Member of Parliament and government spokesperson Farahnaz Ispahani said, “In the past, when the Americans came, they would talk to the generals and go home. Clinton’s willingness to meet with everyone, hostile or not, has made a big impression – and because she’s Hillary Clinton, with a real history of affinity for this country, it means so much more.”[29]

On the same trip, Clinton visited the Middle East, in an effort to restart the Israeli–Palestinian peace process.

In November 2009, Secretary Clinton led the U.S. delegation at the 20th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall.[99] There, she said: “Our history did not end the night the wall came down, it began anew. … To expand freedom to more people, we cannot accept that freedom does not belong to all people. We cannot allow oppression defined and justified by religion or tribe to replace that of ideology.”[100]

In December 2009, Clinton attended the Copenhagen United Nations Climate Change Conference, where she pushed forward a last-minute proposal of significant new amounts of foreign aid to help developing countries deal with the effects of global warming, in an attempt to unstick stuck negotiations and salvage some sort of agreement at the conference.[101][102] The secretary said, “We’re running out of time. Without the accord, the opportunity to mobilize significant resources to assist developing countries with mitigation and adaptation will be lost.”[101] The amount of aid she proposed, $100 billion, was in the modest terms of the Copenhagen Accord that was agreed to by the summit.[103]

Secretary Clinton finished the year with very high approval ratings.[104] She also narrowly edged out former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in being America’s most-admired woman, per a Gallup finding.[105]

Regional issues and travels: 2010

Secretary Clinton met with Celso Amorim, Foreign Minister of Brazil, in March 2010 at the Palácio do Itamaraty in Brasília

In January 2010, Secretary Clinton cut short a trip to the Asia-Pacific region in order to see firsthand the destructive effects of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and to meet with President of Haiti René Préval.[106] Clinton said she would also evaluate the relief effort and help evacuate some Americans. She stressed that her visit was designed not to interfere with ongoing efforts: “It’s a race against time. Everybody is pushing as hard as they can.”[106] The Clintons had a special interest in Haiti going back decades, to their delayed honeymoon there[107] up to Bill Clinton being the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti at the time of the earthquake.

In a major speech on January 21, 2010, Clinton, speaking on behalf of the U.S., declared that “We stand for a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas”, while highlighting how “even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.”[108] She also drew analogies between the Iron Curtain and the free and unfree Internet.[109] Her speech, which followed a controversy surrounding Google‘s changed policy toward China and censorship, appears to mark a split between authoritarian capitalism and the Western model of free capitalism and Internet access.[109][110] Chinese officials responded strongly, saying Clinton’s remarks were “harmful to Sino-American relations” and demanded that U.S. officials “respect the truth”, and some foreign policy observers thought that Clinton had been too provocative.[109] But the White House stood behind Clinton, and demanded that China provide better answers regarding the recent Chinese cyberattack against Google.[111] Clinton’s speech garnered marked attention among diplomats, as it was the first time a senior American official had clearly put forth a vision in which the Internet was a key element of American foreign policy.[111]

By early 2010, the Obama administration’s efforts towards forging a new relationship with Iran had failed to gain headway, and the U.S. adopted a policy of adopting international sanctions against it and isolating it diplomatically in order to curtail the that country’s nuclear program.[112] This was a policy more in line with Clinton’s thinking and went back to disagreements she and Obama had had during the 2008 presidential campaign.[112] Clinton was put in charge of rallying support in the United Nations for these sanctions[112] and spent considerable time over the following months and years doing so.[4][113] At times Clinton suggested the possibility of military action against Iran should economic and diplomatic actions fail to deter it from its nuclear ambitions.[113]

In February 2010, Clinton made her first visit to Latin America as secretary. The tour would take her to Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica and Guatemala and Argentina. She first visited Buenos Aires and talked to Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. They discussed Falkland Islands sovereignty and the issue of oil in the Falklands.[114] Clinton said that “We would like to see Argentina and the United Kingdom sit down and resolve the issues between them across the table in a peaceful, productive way.”[114] Clinton offered to help facilitate such discussions, but did not agree to an Argentinian request that she mediate such talks.[114][115] Within 12 hours of Clinton’s remarks, Downing Street categorically rejected a U.S. role: “We welcome the support of the secretary of state in terms of ensuring that we continue to keep diplomatic channels open but there is no need for [direct involvement].”[115] Clinton then went on to Santiago, Chile to witness the aftereffects of the 2010 Chile earthquake and to bring some telecommunications equipment to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts.[116]

In April 2010, there was a flurry of speculation that Clinton would be nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Justice John Paul Stevens‘ retirement, including a plug from ranking Senate Judiciary Committee member Orrin Hatch.[117][118] The notion was quickly quashed by the White House, which said, “The president thinks Secretary Clinton is doing an excellent job as secretary of state and wants her to remain in that position.”[117] A State Department spokesperson said that Clinton “loves her present job and is not looking for another one.”[118]

By mid-2010, Clinton and Obama had clearly forged a good working relationship without power struggles; she was a team player within the administration and a defender of it to the outside, and was careful to make sure that neither she nor her husband would upstage him.[72][119] He in turn was accommodating to her viewpoints and in some cases adopted some of her more hawkish approaches.[119] She met with him weekly, but did not have the close, daily relationship that some of her predecessors had had with their presidents, such as Condoleezza Rice with George W. Bush, James Baker with George H. W. Bush, or Henry Kissinger with Richard Nixon.[119] Nevertheless, he had trust in her actions.[4]

During an early June 2010 visit to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, Clinton dealt with questions at every stop about the recently passed and widely controversial Arizona SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law, which had damaged the image of the U.S. in Latin America.[120] When answering a question from local television reporters in Quito about it, she said that President Obama was opposed to it and that “The Justice Department, under his direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act.”[120] This was the first public confirmation that the Justice Department would act against the law;[120] a month later, it became official as the lawsuit United States of America v. Arizona. While at a hotel bar in Lima, she completed an agreement with a representative of China over which companies could be specified in a UN resolution sanctioning the nuclear program of Iran.[95] Returning to SB 1070, in August 2010 she included the dispute over it in a report to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as an example to other countries of how fractious issues can be resolved under the rule of law.[121]

Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates tour the DMZ on July 21, 2010.

In July 2010, Clinton visited Pakistan for the second time as secretary, announcing a large new U.S. economic assistance package to that country as well as a U.S.-led bilateral trade agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan.[122] She then traveled to Afghanistan for the Kabul Conference on the situation there, during which President Hamid Karzai vowed to implement much-promised legal, political, and economic reforms in exchange for a continued Western commitment there.[123] Clinton said that despite the scheduled U.S. drawdown there in 2011, the U.S. has “no intention of abandoning our long-term mission of achieving a stable, secure, peaceful Afghanistan. Too many nations – especially Afghanistan – have suffered too many losses to see this country slide backward.”[123] She then went on to Seoul and the Korean Demilitarized Zone where she and Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan and Minister of National Defense Kim Tae-young in a ‘2+2 meeting’ to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. There she said that the U.S. experience in staying in Korea for decades had led to a successful result, which might also be applicable to Afghanistan.[124] Finally, she went to Hanoi, Vietnam, for the ASEAN Regional Forum, wrapping up what The New York Times termed “a grueling trip that amounted to a tour of American wars, past and present”.[124] There she injected the U.S. into the long-running disputes over the sovereignty of the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands, much to the displeasure of the Chinese who view the South China Sea as part of their core interests, by saying “The United States has a national interest in freedom of navigation, open access to Asia’s maritime commons and respect for international law in the South China Sea.”[124]

By this time, Secretary Clinton was quite busy with another role of a kind, “M.O.T.B.” as she wrote in State Department memos, making reference to her being the mother of the bride in daughter Chelsea Clinton‘s July 31, 2010, wedding to Marc Mezvinsky.[125] She confessed in an interview in Islamabad less than two weeks before the wedding that she and her husband were both nervous wrecks, and that “You should assume that if he makes it down the aisle in one piece it’s going to be a major accomplishment. He is going to be so emotional, as am I.”[126] The event itself gained a large amount of media attention.[125]

In a September 2010 speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton emphasized the continuing primacy of American power and involvement in the world, declaring a “new American moment”.[127] Making reference to actions from reviving the Middle East talks to U.S. aid following the 2010 Pakistan floods, Clinton said that “The world is counting on us” and that “After years of war and uncertainty, people are wondering what the future holds, at home and abroad. So let me say it clearly: The United States can, must, and will lead in this new century.”[127]

With Democrats facing possible large losses in the 2010 midterm elections and President Obama struggling in opinion polls, idle speculation in Washington media circles concerning Obama’s chances in the 2012 presidential election led to the notion that Clinton would take over as Obama’s vice-presidential running mate in 2012 to add to his electoral appeal.[128] Some versions of this idea had Vice President Biden replacing her as Secretary of State if Obama won.[127][129] That it would ever happen was unlikely,[130] but did not stop the chatter; when the job swap idea was mentioned in public to Clinton, she smiled and shook her head.[127] A couple of months later, Obama shot down the idea, saying the notion was “completely unfounded” and that “they are both doing outstanding jobs where they are.”[131] (In late 2011, however, with Obama’s popularity on the decline, White House Chief of Staff William M. Daley did conduct some research into the idea of Clinton replacing Biden, but the notion was dropped when the results showed no appreciable improvement for Obama.[132])

Clinton at the Department of State building with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, and U.S. Special Envoy George J. Mitchell, at the start of direct talks on September 2, 2010

Over the summer of 2010, the stalled peace process in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict was potentially revived when the various parties involved agreed to direct talks for the first time in a while.[133] While President Obama was the orchestrator of the movement, Secretary Clinton had gone through months of cajoling just to get the parties to the table, and helped convince the reluctant Palestinians by getting support for direct talks from Egypt and Jordan.[95][133] She then assumed a prominent role in the talks; Speaking at a September 2 meeting at the State Department between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, she acknowledged that, “We’ve been here before, and we know how difficult the road ahead will be.”[134] Her role in the ongoing talks would be to take over from U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George J. Mitchell when discussions threatened to break down.[95] The talks were generally given little chance to succeed, and Clinton faced the history of many such past failures, including the near miss of her husband at the 2000 Camp David Summit.[95] Nevertheless, her prominent role in them thrust her further into the international spotlight and had the potential to affect her legacy as secretary.[95][135]

In October, Clinton embarked on a seven-nation tour of Asia and Oceania. In New Zealand she signed the “Wellington Declaration”, which normalized the diplomatic and military relationship between it and the United States.[136] The signing marked twenty-five years after the United States suspended ANZUS treaty obligations with New Zealand in the wake of the USS Buchanan incident.

Clinton maintained her high approval ratings during 2010.[137] An aggregation of polls taken during the late portion or all of 2010 showed that Clinton (and her husband as well) had by far the best favorable-unfavorable ratings of any key contemporary American political figure.[138]

In late November, WikiLeaks released confidential State Department cables, selections of which were then published by several major newspapers around the world. The leak of the cables led to a crisis atmosphere in the State Department, as blunt statements and assessments by U.S. and foreign diplomats became public.[139] Clinton led the damage control effort for the U.S. abroad, and also sought to bolster the morale of shocked Foreign Service officers.[139] In the days leading up to the publication of the cables, Clinton called officials in Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Britain, France, Afghanistan, Canada, and China to alert them to the pending disclosures.[139] She did note that some foreign leaders were accepting of the frank language of the cables, with one telling her, “Don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you.”[139][140] She harshly criticized WikiLeaks, saying: “Let’s be clear: This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community – the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.”[139] The State Department went into immediate “war room” mode in order to deal with the effects of the disclosures, and began implementing measures to try to prevent another such leak from happening in the future.[140]

A few of the cables released by WikiLeaks concerned Clinton directly: they revealed that directions to members of the foreign service had gone out in 2009 under Clinton’s name to gather biometric details on foreign diplomats, including officials of the United Nations and U.S. allies.[141] These included Internet and intranet usernames, e-mail addresses, web site URLs useful for identification, credit card numbers, frequent flier account numbers, work schedules, and other targeted biographical information in a process known as the National Humint Collection Directive.[142][143] State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said that Clinton had not drafted the directive and that the Secretary of State’s name is systematically attached to the bottom of cables originating from Washington;[144] it was unclear whether Clinton had actually seen them.[145] The guidance in the cables was actually written by the CIA before being sent out under Clinton’s name, as the CIA cannot directly instruct State Department personnel.[146][147] The disclosed cables on the more aggressive intelligence gathering went back to 2008 when they went out under Condoleezza Rice‘s name during her tenure as Secretary of State.[143] The practice of the U.S. and the State Department gathering intelligence on the U.N. or on friendly nations was not new,[145] but the surprise in this case was that it was done by other diplomats rather than intelligence agencies, and that the specific types of information being asked for went beyond past practice and was not the kind of information diplomats would normally be expected to gather.[143][146][147][148] In any case, the instructions given in these cables may have been largely ignored by American diplomats as ill-advised.[147] Responding to calls from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and a few others that Clinton possibly step down from her post due to the revelation, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “I think that is absurd and ridiculous. I think Secretary of State Clinton is doing a wonderful job.”[149]

At this early December 2010 summit in Kazakhstan, Clinton dealt with the fallout from the United States diplomatic cables leak.

On December 1, Clinton flew to a summit of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in Astana, Kazakhstan.[140][150] There she would encounter some fifty leaders who were subjects of embarrassing comments in the leaks, including President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.[140] A Kazakh official said that during such encounters, Clinton “kept her face. She didn’t run away from difficult questions.”[140] During the encounters she emphasized that the leaked cables did not reflect official U.S. policy but rather were just instances of individual diplomats giving unfiltered feedback to Washington about what they saw happening in other countries.[140] The situation led to some leaders turning her strong remarks about Internet freedom earlier in the year back against her.[140] The OSCE summit also featured a meeting between Secretary Clinton and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations.[150] In an attempt to repair the strain caused by the Humint spying relevations, Clinton expressed regret to Ban for the disclosures, but did not make an apology per se.[148][150] A U.N. statement relayed that Ban thanked Clinton “for clarifying the matter and for expressing her concern about the difficulties created.”[148]

Upon the December 13 death of veteran U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke (who had initially fallen ill during a meeting with her), Clinton presided over a spontaneous gathering of some forty senior State Department personnel and Holbrooke aides at George Washington University Hospital, reminiscing about him.[151] At a memorial service for him days later, both Clinton and her husband praised Holbrooke’s work, and she said, “Everything that we have accomplished that is working in Afghanistan and Pakistan is largely because of Richard.”[152] As it happened, however, Holbrooke had developed poor relations with the White House during his time as Afghanistan envoy, and Clinton’s vision of him forging an agreement in that country that modeled the success of his prior Dayton Accords (that resolved the Bosnian War) were unrealized.[153]

On December 22, 2010, Secretary Clinton returned to the floor of the Senate during the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress to witness the ratification, by a 71–26 margin, of the New START treaty.[154] Clinton had spent the several days beforehand repeatedly calling wavering senators and seeking to gain their support.[155]

As the year closed, Clinton was again named by Americans in Gallup’s most admired man and woman poll as the woman around the world they most admired; it was her ninth win in a row and fifteenth overall.[156]

Regional issues and travels: 2011

Clinton and President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff on Inauguration of Dilma Rousseff, January 1, 2011

Secretary Clinton began the year 2011 abroad, attending the Inauguration of Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, having been sent by President Obama to represent the U.S.[157][158] Rousseff was the first woman to rule that country. While there, she ran into Venezuelan ruler and U.S. antagonist Hugo Chávez, but the two had a pleasant exchange; Chávez said “She had a very spontaneous smile and I greeted her with the same effusiveness.”[159]

Secretary Clinton conversing with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan prior to a Gulf Cooperation Council meeting in Doha in January 2011.

In mid-January, Clinton made a four-country trip to the Middle East, visiting Yemen, Oman, The United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.[160] Speaking at a conference in Doha, she criticized Arab governments’ failure to move more rapidly vis à vis reform in unusually blunt language, saying, “In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand. The new and dynamic Middle East that I have seen needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere.”[160] Her visit to Yemen, the first such visit by a Secretary of State in 20 years, found her focusing on the dangers of terrorism emanating from that country.[161] An impromptu tour around the walled old city of Sana’a found Clinton being cheered by onlooking schoolchildren.[161] A trip and fall while boarding the departing airplane left Clinton unhurt but news services making predictable witticisms.[162]

When the 2011 Egyptian protests began, Clinton was in the forefront of the administration’s response.[163] Her initial public assessment on January 25 that the government of President Hosni Mubarak was “stable” and “looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people”[164] soon came under criticism for being tepid and behind the curve of developing events, although others agreed that the U.S. could not be out front in undermining the government of a long-term ally.[163] By the next day, Clinton was criticizing the Egyptian government’s blocking of social media sites.[164] By January 29, Obama had put Clinton in charge of sorting out the administration’s so-far confused response to developments.[165] During the frenetic day of January 30, she combined appearances on all five Sunday morning talk shows – where she stated publicly for the first time the U.S.’s view that there needed to be an “orderly transition” to a “democratic participatory government”[164] and a “peaceful transition to real democracy”, not Mubarak’s “faux democracy”[166] – with a flight to Haiti and back to mark the anniversary of its terrible earthquake, all the while engaging in conference calls again regarding Egypt.[167]

The Egyptian protests became the most critical foreign policy crisis so far for the Obama administration, and Obama came to increasingly rely upon Clinton for advice and connections.[165] Clinton had known Mubarak for some twenty years, and had formed a close relationship with Egyptian First Lady Suzanne Mubarak by supporting the latter’s human rights work.[165] Clinton originated the idea of sending Frank G. Wisner as an emissary to Cairo, to tell Mubarak not to seek another term as the country’s leader.[165] As Mubarak’s response to the protests became violent in early February, Clinton strongly condemned the actions taking place, especially those against journalists covering the events, and urged new Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman to conduct an official investigation to hold those responsible for the violence accountable.[168][169] When Wisner baldly stated that Mubarak’s departure should be delayed to accommodate an orderly transition to another government, Clinton rebuked him, but shared a bit of the same sentiment.[170] Mubarak did finally step down on February 11 as the protests became the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Clinton said that the U.S. realized that Egypt still had much work and some difficult times ahead of it.[171] In mid-March, Clinton visited Egypt and indicated support for an Egyptian move towards democracy, but she avoided specific issues of U.S. aid and when elections should take place.[172]

President Obama was reportedly unhappy with U.S. intelligence agencies following their failure to foresee the 2010–2011 Tunisian uprising and the downfall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as well as the Egyptian protests.[173] Responding to criticism that the State Department had failed to see the developments in Egypt coming, Clinton defended the U.S. in an interview on Al-Arabiya, saying “I don’t think anybody could have predicted we’d be sitting here talking about the end of the Mubarak presidency at the time that this all started.”[171]

Reflecting on not just the situation in Tunisia and Egypt but also on the, the 2011 Yemeni protests, and the 2011 Jordanian protests, Clinton said at a February 5 meeting of the Quartet on the Middle East, “The region is being battered by a perfect storm of powerful trends. … This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of … cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable.” She said that while transition to democracy could be chaotic – and free elections had to be accompanied by free speech, a free judiciary, and the rule of law in order to be effective – in the end “free people govern themselves best”.[174] The transformations highlighted that traditional U.S. foreign policy in the region had sided with rulers who suppressed internal dissent but provided stability and generally supported U.S. goals in the region.[175] When the monarchy’s response to the 2011 Bahraini protests turned violent, Clinton urged a return to the path of reform, saying that violence against the protesters “is absolutely unacceptable … We very much want to see the human rights of the people protected, including right to assemble, right to express themselves, and we want to see reform.”[175] At the same time, she said that the U.S. “cannot tell countries what they are going to do [and] cannot dictate the outcomes.”[175] As the situation in Bahrain lingered on and continued to have episodes of violence against protesters, Clinton said in mid-March, “Our goal is a credible political process that can address the legitimate aspirations of all the people of Bahrain … Violence is not and cannot be the answer. A political process is. We have raised our concerns about the current measures directly with Bahraini officials and will continue to do so.”[176]

When the 2011 Libyan civil war began in mid-February and intensified into armed conflict with rebel successes in early March 2011, Clinton stated the administration’s position that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi “must go now, without further violence or delay”.[177] As Gaddafi conducted counterattacks against the rebels, Clinton was initially reluctant, as was Obama, to back calls being made in various quarters for imposition of a Libyan no-fly zone.[178][179] However, as the prospects of a Gaddafi victory and possible subsequent bloodbath that would kill many thousands emerged, and as Clinton travelled Europe and North Africa and found support for military intervention increasing among European and Arab leaders, she had a change of view.[178][179] Together with Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and National Security Council figure Samantha Power, who were already supporting military intervention, Clinton overcame opposition from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, security advisor Thomas Donilon, and counterterrorism advisor John Brennan, and the administration backed U.N. action to impose the no-fly zone and authorize other military actions as necessary.[178][180] Clinton helped gained the financial and political support of several Arab countries,[178][181] in particular convincing Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan that a no-fly zone urged by the Arab League would not be sufficient and that air-to-ground attacks would be necessary.[75] Clinton then persuaded Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that his country should abstain on the UN resolution authorizing force against Gaddafi,[75] and Rice and Clinton played major roles in getting the rest of the United Nations Security Council to approve United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973.[178][181] Regarding whether the U.S. or some other ally would send arms to the anti-Gaddafi forces, Clinton said that this would be permissible under the resolution, but that no decision had yet been made on doing so.[182]

Clinton testified to Congress in March that the administration did not need congressional authorization for its military intervention in Libya or for further decisions about it, despite congressional objections from members of both parties that the administration was violating the War Powers Resolution.[183][184] During that classified briefing to Congress, she allegedly indicated that the administration would sidestep the Resolution’s provision regarding a 60-day limit on unauthorized military actions.[185] Months later, she stated that, with respect to the military operation in Libya, the United States was still flying a quarter of the sorties, and the New York Times reported that, while many presidents had bypassed other sections of the War Powers Resolution, there was little precedent for exceeding the 60-day statutory limit on unauthorized military actions – a limit which the Justice Department had said in 1980 was constitutional.[186][187] The State Department publicly took the position in June 2011 that there was no “hostility” in Libya within the meaning of the War Powers Resolu