Edward Snowden — Videos

Posted on September 21, 2016. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Documentary, Drones, Education, External Hard Drives, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Investments, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Media Streamers, Mobile Phones, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Psychology, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Resources, Spying, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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

DOCUMENTARY: Edward Snowden – Terminal F (2015)

Edward Snowden Live From Russia

Edward Snowden Speaks About Hillary Clinton Emails, Trump And Freedom

The Truth About Edward Snowden

America’s Surveillance State (Full, Pt. 1-6)

NSA Secrets Uncovered Snowden Coverup 2015 FULL Documentary

The Silent Order NSA Sees Everything Hears Everything Documentary HD

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

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

People Who Control America ? Mind Blowing Documentary HQ

The New World Order – Fall of the Republic 2016 Freedom or Slavery

Enemy of the State – Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight Movies

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Hillary Clinton Has A History of Using Private Investigators — Imagine What She Would Do If Elected President With The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Security Agency (NSA) — Hillary Would Turn The Key Of NSA’s Turnkey Tyranny — Indict Hillary Clinton For Her Crimes of Destroying Government Documents and Obstructing Justice! — Videos

Posted on July 2, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Documentary, Economics, Education, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Middle East, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Radio, Rants, Religion, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 498  July 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 497  July 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 496  June 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 495  June 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 494 June 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 493 June 25, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 492 June 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 491 June 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 490 June 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 489 June 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 488 June 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 487 June 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 486 June 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 485 June 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 484 June 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 483 June 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 482 June 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 481 June 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 480 June 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 479 June 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 478 June 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 477 June 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 476 June 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 475 June 1, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 474 May 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 473 May 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 472 May 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 471 May 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 470 May 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 469 May 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 468 May 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 467 May 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 466 May 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 465 May 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 464 May 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 463 May 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 462 May 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 461 May 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 460 May 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 459 May 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 455: April 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 454: April 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 453: April 24, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 452: April 23, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 451: April 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 450: April 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 449: April 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 448: April 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 447: April 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 446: April 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 445: April 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 444: April 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 443: April 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 442: April 8, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 441: April 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 440: April 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 439: April 1, 2015

Story 1: Hillary Clinton Has A History of Using Private Investigators — Imagine What She Would Do If Elected President With The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and National Security Agency (NSA)  — Hillary Would Turn The Key Of NSA’s Turnkey Tyranny — Indict Hillary Clinton For Her Crimes of Destroying Government Documents and Obstructing Justice! — Videos

rewriting historydick morris

Kurtz: Sid Blumenthal’s shadowy role

New revelation in the Clinton email scandal

Impact of the Clinton emails on the Benghazi investigation

John King: Hillary Clinton ‘Has Only Herself to Blame’ for Private Email Scandal

America’s Forum | Dick Morris discusses the Hillary Clinton email scandal

Dick Morris: Beware hillary’s abuse of women + power

The Hard Line | Dick Morris discusses Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and Martin O’Malley

Hillary Clinton Cold Open – SNL

Bernie Sanders gaining momentum in presidential race

Bernie Sanders Says He’ll Win New Hampshire, Iowa, and the White House

Bernie Sanders Speaks With Katie Couric – Full Interview

Bernie Sanders Rally in Madison, Wisconsin

Hillary Clinton Exposed, Movie She Banned From Theaters Full Movie

Hillary’s Flawed Strategy! Dick Morris TV: Lunch ALERT!

America’s Forum | Dick Morris discusses Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton

President Bill Clinton on the resignation of aide Dick Morris

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

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

William Binney – Inside NSA

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

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

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

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

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

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

Has Clinton Dispatched Oppo Researchers to UVM’s Sanders Archive?

bernie

Librarians at the University of Vermont’s special collections say interest is spiking in the “Bernard Sanders papers” — 30 boxes of meticulously organized material documenting Sanders’ eight years as mayor of Burlington.

That should come as no surprise, given the independent senator’s rapid rise in the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa, which hold the nation’s first presidential nominating contests.

Media outlets, such as the Guardian, have drilled deep into the archives and unearthed tasty tidbits — but they’re not the only ones interested in getting to know the senator.

Last Thursday, two casually dressed twentysomethings were spotted combing through the Sanders files and decades-old Vermont newspapers. As they were on their way out the door at the end of the day, Seven Days asked what they were doing.

“No comment,” said one of the young men, dressed in a T-shirt and flannel. “No comment.”

As they emerged into the sunlight outside Bailey/Howe Library, Seven Dayspressed again: “Come on! We’re all doing the same thing.”

“No, we’re not,” Flannel Man shot back.

“We’re just looking,” said the other one, dressed in a white shirt with black stripes.

“Looking at what?”

“Old newspapers,” Stripy said. “Vermont history.”

So who were these mysterious characters? Opposition researchers working for one of Sanders’ rivals? Earlier that day a super PAC supporting former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley launched the first negative ad of the race targeting Sanders.

Asked if Team O’Malley had dispatched Flannel Man and Stripy to Burlington, campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said, “We have not, and they are not affiliated with our campaign.”

But wait! Here’s a clue: That T-shirt Flannel Man was wearing? It read, “New Hampshire for Jeanne Shaheen.”

Earlier this year, Hillary Clinton absorbed much of Shaheen’s political operation to run her Granite State campaign: state director Mike Vlacich, senior political aide Kari Thurman and spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

Asked if Flannel Man and Stripy belonged to Team Clinton, Kirstein did not respond.

Welcome to Burlington, Hillary. Next time, tell your people to leave their Shaheen shirts at home.

http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/has-clinton-dispatched-oppo-researchers-to-uvms-sanders-archive/Content?oid=2700753

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National Security Agency (NSA) — Who’s The Enemy? — The American People — House Judiciary Committee Guts NSA Reform Bill — USA Freedom Act — Broadly Defined Bulk Collection Will Continue — Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on U.S. Freedom Act — Videos

Posted on May 11, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Data Storage, Diasters, Drones, Economics, Education, Employment, Energy, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Macroeconomics, media, Mobile Phones, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Systems, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Weather, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Bizarre week for NSA reformers

“USA Freedom Act” Has All Oversight Of NSA Gutted By Phony Gatekeepers!

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

U.S. Freedom act

Real Talk with Julie Borowski: Stop Snooping, NSA!

Is NSA reform being sabotaged?

 

“The USA FREEDOM Act” Congress Plan To Curb NSA Spying On American Citizens

GOP against Justin Amash The Glenn Beck Talk Show

Report exposes secret NSA snooping tool

Opposing Bulk NSA Surveillance (Rep. Justin Amash)

Rep. Justin Amash cosponsored an amendment that would have defunded the National Security Agency’s unwarranted bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. The measure failed narrowly, but has re-energized the legislative struggle for civil liberties. Amash believes that James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, should be prosecuted for lying to Congress. He also says he doesn’t appreciate the “condescending” tone of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie with respect to the debate over national security.

Glenn Beck Justin Amash Interview On Nsa Surveillance

Congress’s Abdication on NSA Oversight (U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI))

Justin Amash: President Obama Was ‘Highly Misleading’ In Claiming There’s No Domestic Spying Program

House committee passes NSA reform bill

The House Judiciary Committee passed the National Security Agency reforming “USA Freedom Act” 31-0 Wednesday. The first major piece of legislation seeking to curb the NSA’s collection of electronic information, the bill which has undergone major changes will now proceed to the full House of Representatives. It will be competing with another reform bill that is expected to be approved by the House Intelligence Committee Thursday. RT’s Sam Sacks breaks down the bill and the chances for instituting real reform.

“USA Freedom Act” Bill To Put NSA “Out Of Business”

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? 1 of 6

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy Controversy Not The First Time 2 of

Fox News Reporting The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? Controversy? 9 11 3 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Phone Records – 4 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Edward Snowden & Security – 5 of 6

Fox News Reporting – The NSA’s Secret War Who’ The Enemy? – Day Of Reckoning At Hand? – 6 of 6

C-SPAN Callers On The Future Of The National Security Agency (NSA)

James Bamford Says NSA “Exploiting” U.S. Citizens With Info About Their Online Porno Viewing Habits

 

 

 

Congress Pulls Bait-and-Switch on USA FREEDOM Act

Yesterday, C4L sent a letter to members of the House Judiciary Committee strongly opposing the Manager’s Amendment to H.R. 3361, the USA FREEDOM Act.

The original version of the act was sold to Americans as a way to rein in the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, and it would have been a first step towards real reform of the surveillance state since 9/11.

But, that’s seldom the way Congress works. In an effort to “pass something this year,” the Judiciary Committee watered down the legislation and it passed out of the committee unanimously.

Want proof the recent changes to USA Freedom Act make it unworthy of support from civil libertarians? Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, the NSA’s biggest cheerleaders in the House,just reported it out of their committee by voice vote.

What’s more likely, that Rogers and Ruppersberger had a change of heart on the NSA? Or that Judiciary watered down the USA FREEDOM Act enough to the point that its “reform” is devoid of any substantive changes?

The bill is now earning plaudits from the same guys who said the original version would “make America less safe,” and from the administration that never wanted you to know they were spying on you in the first place.

Read Campaign for Liberty’s letter to the Judiciary Committee below:

Letter to Judiciary Committee – USA FREEDOM Act

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/national-blog/congress-pulls-bait-switch-usa-freedom-act/

 

USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

Surveillance reform bill designed to prevent collection of US phone data in bulk and is first to proceed onto the House floor

Jim Sensenbrenner
The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner, said the bill ‘makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.’ Photo: Chip Somodevilla /Getty

Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

The USA Freedom Act, designed to prevent the US government from collecting US phone data in bulk, passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 32 to zero bi-partisan vote, making it the first surveillance reform bill to proceed out of committee and to the House floor.

But an internal committee breakthrough on Monday that won the support of chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, significantly recast the bill, softening its prohibitions on aspects of bulk collection and requiring transparency around it.

The bill’s architect, Republican James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who also wrote the 2001 Patriot Act, said the bill “makes it crystal clear that Congress does not support bulk collection.”

While changes to the bill now permit the government to gather call records up to two degrees of separation away from a specific target – potentially millions of records – Sensenbrenner urged his colleagues “not to make the perfect the enemy of the good,” expressing confidence that the revamped USA Freedom Act was on “the fast track to passage.”

Supporters in and outside of Congress concede the latest compromises have left the USA Freedom Act less protective of civil liberties than it was when introduced in October. Its distinctions from a rival bill written by the leaders of the House intelligence committee, the NSA’s strongest Capitol Hill advocates, are somewhat blurred, prompting civil libertarians to become less enthusiastic of a measure they have championed as a fix to the broad NSA powers exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat and longtime USA Freedom Act supporter, said that the new version of the bill was a “less than perfect compromise” that still makes “important, vital, substantive changes” to US surveillance.

The revised USA Freedom Act, “while still better than any other proposal on the board, is a setback from the original,” said Amie Stepanovich of Access, a human rights and digital rights advocacy group.

While the USA Freedom Act has nearly 150 House co-sponsors, and a stalled Senate companion commands 20 votes in the upper chamber, it was clear on Wednesday that the House intelligence committee will continue attempts to outmaneuvre its rival.

The chairman of the intelligence committee, until now a fervent critic of the USA Freedom Act, is now praising a bill he has long criticized, and which several congressional sources said he attempted to influence ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is retiring this year, called the changes to the USA Freedom Act a “huge improvement,” adding in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine that the bill’s architects have “come a lot closer [and] now we’re just trying to work out the wording.”

Rogers is scheduled to mark up his alternative bill, the Fisa Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday, a decision USA Freedom Act supporters view as a desperation move. But on Wednesday, Rogers’ committee announced it will also mark up the USA Freedom Act on Thursday, prompting Capitol Hill speculation that Rogers will attempt to merge his bill with the Freedom Act rather than attempt to rally more votes.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio had earlier thrown his support behind Rogers’ bill. But now Boehner is said to be monitoring the committe process and keeping his options open. Congressional sources expected Boehner to schedule a vote on a surveillance proposal – of whatever form – as early as the week of 19 May, so the issue does not derail the annual defense budget authorization, though nothing is scheduled yet.

Both bills as originally crafted prevent the NSA from collecting US phone data in bulk, as it has done in secret since 2001, a position that President Barack Obama now embraces. The major difference between the two bills remains the role of judges in authorizing data collection. The Rogers bill permits the government to collect phone and email data absent a judges’ prior order, which the revised USA Freedom Act requires in all but emergency cases.

Additionally, the revised USA Freedom Act permits the government to get phone data two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the target of the order, which can mean millions of call records reaped from a single court order. The legal standard for that order, for counterterrorism purposes, will be “reasonable articulable suspicion” of connection to an agent of a foreign power, the NSA’s desired framework.

Significantly, the new version of the USA Freedom Act all but stripped out a provision preventing the NSA from combing through its foreign communications dragnets for Americans’ information, something Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon dubbed the “backdoor search provision,” an absence that has deeply upset supporters. Those dragnets exist pursuant to a major 2008 piece of legislation, known as Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act.

Congressional sources pointed to new language tightening up prohibitions on the NSA intentionally targeting Americans’ communications at the outset as a palliative. But they conceded the absence of the backdoor search ban was a major change – one they said the NSA’s advocates fought hard for, an indication of how central the NSA considers a power it has rarely forthrightly acknowledged using. They indicated that USA Freedom Act supporters lacked the votes within the committee to pass the bill that retained the backdoor search prohibition.

An attempt by Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, to restore the backdoor search provision failed Wednesday. Goodlatte said restoring it would “disrupt this bipartisan agreement.”

Kevin Bankston of the Open Technology Institute said he was “incredibly disappointed” at the new USA Freedom Act’s effective blessing of backdoor searches.

“Especially when we’re expecting the government’s own surveillance watchdog, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, to issue a report on just that issue within a month or so, closing the door to reform on Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act would be premature,” Bankston said in a statement.

But the Judiciary Committee restored a provision initially struck from the original USA Freedom Act permitting increased transparency for companies receiving surveillance orders for their customers’ data, the absence of which had alarmed supporters.

The language, added back to the bill Wednesday by Representative Suzan Delbene of Washington, had been cut in order to codify a January deal the Justice Department reached with phone and Internet companies allowing them to list received orders only in bands of 1,000 and with a time lag. Congressional sources said companies lobbied hard to restore transparency language.

The Obama administration has withheld endorsement of either bill in public, confusing supporters. But in recent weeks, its guidance to Capitol Hill on surveillance reform included a requirement for up-front judicial authorization for data requests, which only the USA Freedom Act possesses.

“At this stage, I think I’d just say we will be watching closely as these bills go through the process,” said Caitlin Hayden, a White House spokeswoman said shortly before the vote.

Hours after the vote, Hayden issued a statement welcoming the USA Freedom Act as “a very good first step”:

“In March the president laid out his proposal to reform Section 215, and called upon Congress to act quickly to pass implementing legislation. We applaud the House Judiciary Committee for approaching this issue on a bipartisan basis. The Judiciary Committee passed bill is a very good first step in that important effort, and we look forward to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence action on it tomorrow,” Hayden said.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is the provision cited by the NSA and blessed by the secret Fisa Court for bulk data collection.

Some legislators, distressed by the changes to the USA Freedom Act, are considering a different option for surveillance reform.

As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, a Democrat, said the USA Freedom Act was “the first, best and perhaps only chance in a decade” to constrain widespread surveillance.

“This is our chance. We have to seize it,” Nadler said on Wednesday.

Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who sponsored the USA Freedom Act in the Senate, hailed the committee vote, but said he was concerned that the text does not reform the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s national-security letters and makes insufficient changes on transparency and to the Fisa Court.

“I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA Freedom Act this summer,” Leahy said in a statement.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/usa-freedom-act-clears-house-committee-nsa-surveillance

 

USA Freedom Act

The USA Freedom Act, formally titled the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-Collection and Online Monitoring Act, is a bill that was introduced in both houses of the U.S. Congress on October 29, 2013.

The House version, introduced by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner as HR 3361, was referred to the United States House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations January 9, 2014,[3] and the Senate version, S. 1599, introduced by Senator Patrick Leahy, was read twice and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.[4] An amended version out of the House Judiciary Committee contained many provisions raising concerns among civil libertarians,[5] including an extension of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[6][7] The bill will be considered in the Senate through the summer of 2014.[8]

Purpose

The USA Freedom Act[9] would end the bulk collection of Americans’ metadata, end the secret laws created by the FISA court, and introduce a “Special Advocate” to represent public and privacy matters.[10][11][12] Other proposed changes include limits to programs like PRISM, which “incidentally” retains Americans’ Internet data,[13] and greater transparency by allowing companies such as Google and Facebook to disclose information about government demands for information.[14]

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the bill, stated that its purpose was:

To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.[10][15]

According to the bill’s sponsors, their legislation would amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act to ensure that any phone records obtained by the government were essential in an investigation that involved terrorism or espionage, thereby ending bulk collection,[16] while preserving “the intelligence community’s ability to gather information in a more focused way.”[17] A May 2014 amended version of the bill would also extend thecontroversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[18] The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19]

The bill is made up of several titles: FISA business records reforms, FISA pen register and trap and trace device reforms, FISA acquisitions targeting persons outside the United States reforms, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reforms, Office of the Special Advocate, National Security Letter reforms, FISA and National Security Letter transparency reforms, and Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority.[20]

Background

Many members of Congress believed that in the wake of the Snowden disclosures, restoration of public trust would require legislative changes.[21] More than 20 bills have been written since the disclosures began with the goal of reining in government surveillance powers.[13]

Sensenbrenner, who introduced the USA PATRIOT Act (H.R. 3162) in 2001 following the September 11 terrorist attacks to give more power to US intelligence agencies, and who has described himself as “author of the Patriot Act”,[22] declared that it was time to put the NSA’s “metadata program out of business”. With its bulk collection of Americans’ phone data, Sensenbrenner asserted that the intelligence community “misused those powers”, had gone “far beyond” the original intent of the legislation, and had “overstepped its authority”.[21][23]

An opinion piece by Leahy and Sensenbrenner, published in Politico, described the impetus for proposed changes,[24] saying:

The intelligence community has failed to justify its expansive use of [the FISA and Patriot Act] laws. It is simply not accurate to say that the bulk collection of phone records has prevented dozens of terrorist plots. The most senior NSA officials have acknowledged as much in congressional testimony. We also know that the FISA court has admonished the government for making a series of substantial misrepresentations to the court regarding these programs. As a result, the intelligence community now faces a trust deficit with the American public that compromises its ability to do its job. It is not enough to just make minor tweaks around the edges. It is time for real, substantive reform.[17]

Markup in House Judiciary Committee

In May 2014, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee posted a “Manager’s Amendment” on its website. Title VII of the Amendment read “Section 102(b)(1) of the USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking “June 1, 2015” and inserting “December 31, 2017”, extending the controversial USA PATRIOT Act through the end of 2017.[25] The Electronic Privacy Information Center(EPIC) has criticized the Patriot Act as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”.[19] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that the Patriot Act unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[26] while the American Library Association became so concerned that they formed a resolution condemning the USA PATRIOT Act, and which urged members to defend free speech and protect patrons’ privacy against the Act.[27]

The Guardian wrote “civil libertarians on the Judiciary Committee had to compromise in order to gain support for the act. Significantly, the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion‘ – a standard preferred by the NSA – of wrongdoing, and can collect call records two degrees or ‘hops’ of separation from the individual suspected”.[5] Kara Brandeisky of ProPublica said “some worry that the bill does not unequivocally ban bulk collection of American records. Again, a lot depends on how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court interprets the statute”.[28]

The National Journal wrote “one tech lobbyist noted concern that a provision that would have allowed companies to disclose to customers more information about government data requests has been dropped. In addition, an external special advocate that would oversee the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would no longer be selected by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Instead, the court’s judges would designate five ‘amicus curiae‘ who possess appropriate security clearances.”[29]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) stated it remained “concerned that this bill omits important transparency provisions found in the USA FREEDOM Act, which are necessary to shed light on surveillance abuses”. In addition, the EFF said it believed “this bill should do more to address mass surveillance under Section 702 of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, a section of law used to collect the communications of users worldwide”.[30] The Open Technology Institute commented “several other key reforms—such as provisions allowing Internet and phone companies to publish more information about the demands they receive, which OTI and a coalition of companies and organizations have been pressing for since last summer—have been removed, while the bill also provides for a new type of court order that the President has requested, allowing for continuous collection by the government of specified telephone records.”[31]

Despite the criticism from civil liberties groups, Mike Rogers, a defender of the NSA‘s surveillance practices and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, praised the amendments. Rogers, who had his own bill which would codify the NSA’s surveillance practices in to law, called the proposed amendments a “huge improvement”. Foreign Policy wrote “any compromise to the Judiciary bill risks an insurrection from civil libertarians in Congress. Michigan Republican Justin Amash led such a revolt last year when he offered an NSA amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would have stripped funding for the NSA’s collection program.” “Just a weakened bill or worse than status quo? I’ll find out,” Representative Amash said.[32]

After passage of the marked up bill, USA Freedom Act co-author and Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy commented that he “remain concerned that the legislation approved today does not include some of the important reforms related to national security letters, a strong special advocate at the FISA Court, and greater transparency. I will continue to push for those reforms when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers the USA FREEDOM Act this summer.”[8]

Reaction

The Act has bipartisan support, evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. As of May 8, 2014, it had 150 co-sponsors in the House[1] and 21 in the Senate.[2] Viewed as one of the most comprehensive of the similar bills introduced since the NSA leaks, the USA Freedom Act has support or qualified support from a diverse range of groups such as the ACLUMozilla, and the NRA.[13][33]

Representative Justin Amash, author of the narrowly-defeated Amash Amendment, a proposal that would have de-funded the NSA, backed the legislation. “It’s getting out of control” he commented, “[Courts are issuing] general warrants without specific cause…and you have one agency that’s essentially having superpowers to pass information onto others”.[23]

According to Deputy Attorney General James Cole, even if the Freedom Act becomes law, the NSA could continue its bulk collection of American’s phone records. He explained that “it’s going to depend on how the [FISA] court interprets any number of the provisions” contained within the legislation.[16] Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at Stanford Law School, stated:

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.[16]

Opponents of global surveillance have called for the bill to be strengthened. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released a statement saying “we consider this bill to be a floor, not a ceiling”. The ACLU wrote that “although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government’s surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support.”[34][35]

International human rights groups remain somewhat skeptical of specific provisions of the bill. For example, Human Rights Watch expressed its concern that the “bill would do little to increase protections for the right to privacy for people outside the United States, a key problem that plagues U.S. surveillance activities. Nor would the bill address mass surveillance or bulk collection practices that may be occurring under other laws or regulations, such as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act or Executive Order 12333. These practices affect many more people and include the collection of the actual content of internet communications and phone calls, not just metadata”.[36] Zeke Johnson, Director of Amnesty International‘s Security and Human Rights Program, agreed that “any proposal that fails to ban mass surveillance, end blanket secrecy, or stop discrimination against people outside the U.S. will be a false fix”.[37]

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361”THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361”THOMAS, Library of Congress. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  3. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  4. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013–2014) S.1599”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  5. Jump up to:a b The Guardian: Chairman of key House committee agrees to proceed with NSA reform bill
  6. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act

    Section 102(b)(1) of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (50 U.S.C. 1805 note) is amended by striking ‘‘June 1, 2015’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2017’’.

  7. Jump up^ The Guardian: USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

    As amended, the USA Freedom Act would push back the expiration of Section 215 to the end of 2017, when Section 702 is set to expire. The current expiration is 1 June of next year. Some legislators are already whispering that allowing Section 215 to expire wholesale in 2015 is a preferable reform.

  8. Jump up to:a b Office of Senator Patrick Leahy: Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On Action by the House Judiciary Committee to End Bulk Collection
  9. Jump up^ “Bill Summary & Status: 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361 CRS Summary”. THOMAS, Library of Congress.
  10. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan. “The USA Freedom Act: a look at the key points of the draft bill”Guardian.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  11. Jump up^ Wilhelm, Alex (2013-10-29). “Proposed USA FREEDOM Act Would Dramatically Curtail The NSA’s Surveillance”TechCrunch.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  12. Jump up^ ‘Patriot Act’ Author Seeks ‘USA Freedom Act’ to Rein In NSA – US News and World Report. Usnews.com (October 10, 2013).
  13. Jump up to:a b c Gallagher, Rhan. “U.S. Lawmakers Launch Assault on NSA Domestic Snooping”Slate.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  14. Jump up^ “USA Freedom Act Would Leash the National Security Agency”Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2013-10-31. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  15. Jump up^ Sensenbrenner, Jim. “The USA Freedom Act”House.gov. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  16. Jump up to:a b c Granick, Jennifer (2013-12-16). “NSA’s Creative Interpretations Of Law Subvert Congress And The Rule Of Law”Forbes. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  17. Jump up to:a b Leahy, Sen. Patrick; Sensenbrenner, Rep. Jim (29 October 2013). “The case for NSA reform”Politico. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  18. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  19. Jump up to:a b “Analysis of Specific USA PATRIOT Act Provisions: Expanded Dissemination of Information Obtained in Criminal Investigations”AnalysisElectronic Privacy Information Center. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  20. Jump up^ “Bill Text 113th Congress (2013–2014) H.R.3361.IH”THOMASLibrary of Congress. Retrieved 2014-03-09.
  21. Jump up to:a b Roberts, Dan (2013-10-10). “Patriot Act author prepares bill to put NSA bulk collection ‘out of business'”Guardian. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  22. Jump up^ Editorial Board (2013-06-06). “President Obama’s Dragnet”. New York Times.
  23. Jump up to:a b Krietz, Andrew (2013-10-15). “Amash-backed bill aimed to end NSA spying programs garners even bipartisan support”. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  24. Jump up^ Shabad, Rebecca (2014-01-16). “Sen. Leahy on NSA claim: ‘Baloney'”The Hill.com. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  25. Jump up^ House Judicicary Committee: Manager’s Amendment to USA Freedom Act
  26. Jump up^ James X. Dempsey“Why Sections 209, 212, and 220 Should be Modified” (undated). Retrieved October 15, 2007.
  27. Jump up^ “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users”American Library Association. January 29, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2008.
  28. Jump up^ ProPublica: What the Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn’t Do
  29. Jump up^ National Journal: House Panels Race Against Each Other to Reform NSA Spying
  30. Jump up^ EFF Statement on Rep. Sensenbrenner’s USA FREEDOM Act Amendment
  31. Jump up^ Open Technology Institute: OTI Statement on New Version of Surveillance Reform Bill, The USA FREEDOM Act
  32. Jump up^ Foreign Policy: Key NSA Defender: Congress ‘A Lot Closer’ On Surveillance Reform
  33. Jump up^ Handerson (2013-10-29). “The Freedom Act will Help Rebuild User Trust in the Internet”The Mozilla Blog. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  34. Jump up^ Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman (2013-11-14). “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance”. Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  35. Jump up^ Michelle Richardson (2013-10-29). “The USA FREEDOM Act is Real Spying Reform”. American Civil Liberties Union.
  36. Jump up^ Human Rights Watch: US: Modest Step by Congress on NSA Reform
  37. Jump up^ Amnesty International: Congress Must Put Human Rights at the Center of Surveillance Reform

External links

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

 

XKeyscore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for the XKeyscore program

XKeyscore or XKEYSCORE (abbreviated as XKS) is a formerly secret computer system first used by the United States National Security Agency for searching and analyzing Internet data it collects worldwide every day. The program has been shared with other spy agencies including Australia’s Defence Signals Directorate, New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau and the German Bundesnachrichtendienst.[1]

The program’s existence was publicly revealed in July 2013 by Edward Snowden in The Sydney Morning Herald and O Globo newspapers, though the codename is mentioned in earlier articles, and like many other codenames can also be seen in job postings, and in the online resumes of employees.[2][3]

The scope of XKeyscore

XKeyscore is a complicated system and various authors have different interpretations about its actual capabilities. Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald explained XKeyscore as being a system which enables almost unlimited surveillance of anyone anywhere in the world, while NSA said that usage of the system is limited and restricted.

According to The Washington Post and national security reporter Marc Ambinder, XKeyscore is an NSA data-retrieval system which consists of a series of user interfaces, backend databases, servers and software that selects certain types of data and metadata that the NSA has already collected using other methods.[4][5]

According to Snowden and Greenwald

On January 26, 2014, the German broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk asked Edward Snowden in its TV interview: “What could you do if you would use XKeyscore?” and he answered:[1]

“You could read anyone’s email in the world, anybody you’ve got an email address for. Any website: You can watch traffic to and from it. Any computer that an individual sits at: You can watch it. Any laptop that you’re tracking: you can follow it as it moves from place to place throughout the world. It’s a one-stop-shop for access to the NSA’s information.”
“…You can tag individuals… Let’s say you work at a major German corporation and I want access to that network, I can track your username on a website on a form somewhere, I can track your real name, I can track associations with your friends and I can build what’s called a fingerprint, which is network activity unique to you, which means anywhere you go in the world, anywhere you try to sort of hide your online presence, your identity.”

According to The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald, low-level NSA analysts can via systems like XKeyscore “listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents. And it’s all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst.”[6]

He added that the NSA’s databank of collected communications allows its analysts to listen “to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future”.[6]

According to the NSA

Further information: SIGINT

In an official statement from July 30, 2013, the NSA said there is no “unchecked analyst access to NSA collection data. Access to XKeyscore, as well as all of NSA’s analytic tools, is limited to only those personnel who require access for their assigned tasks.” The NSA also states that there are “stringent oversight and compliance mechanisms built in at several levels. One feature is the system’s ability to limit what an analyst can do with a tool, based on the source of the collection and each analyst’s defined responsibilities.”[7]

The agency defended the program, stressing that it was only used to legally obtain information about “legitimate foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements that our leaders need for information necessary to protect our nation and its interests. […] XKeyscore is used as a part of NSA’s lawful foreign signals intelligence collection system. […] These types of programs allow us to collect the information that enables us to perform our missions successfully — to defend the nation and to protect U.S. and allied troops abroad.”[8]

Workings

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing a worldmap with the locations of XKeyscore servers

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the query hierarchy

An NSA presentation about XKeyscore from 2008 says that it’s a “DNI Exploitation System/Analytic Framework”. DNI stands for Digital Network Intelligence, which means intelligence derived from internet traffic.[9] In an interview with the German Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Edward Snowden said about XKeyscore: “It’s a front end search engine”.[10]

Data sources

XKeyscore consists of over 700 servers at approximately 150 sites where the NSA collects data, like “US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates” in many countries around the world.[11][12][13] Among the facilities involved in the program are four bases in Australia and one in New Zealand.[12]

According to an NSA presentation from 2008, these XKeyscore servers are fed with data from the following collection systems:[14]

  1. F6 (Special Collection Service) – joint operation of the CIA and NSA that carries out clandestine operations including espionage on foreign diplomats and leaders
  2. FORNSAT – which stands for “foreign satellite collection”, and refers to intercepts from satellites
  3. SSO (Special Source Operations) – a division of the NSA that cooperates with telecommunication providers

In a single, undated slide published by Swedish media in December 2013, the following additional data sources for XKeyscore are mentioned:[15]

  1. Overhead – intelligence derived from American spy planes, drones and satellites
  2. Tailored Access Operations – a division of the NSA that deals with hacking and cyberwarfare
  3. FISA – all types of surveillance approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  4. Third party – foreign partners of the NSA such as the (signals) intelligence agencies of Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, etc.

From these sources, XKeyscore stores “full-take data”, which are indexed by plug-ins that extract certain types of metadata (like phone numbers, e-mail addresses, log-ins, and user activity) and index them in metadata tables, which can be queried by analysts. XKeyscore has been integrated with MARINA, which is NSA’s database for internet metadata.[9]

However, the system continuously gets so much Internet data that it can be stored only for short periods of time. Content data remain on the system for only three to five days, while metadata is stored for up to 30 days.[16] A detailed commentary on an NSA presentation published in The Guardian in July 2013 cites a document published in 2008 declaring that “At some sites, the amount of data we receive per day (20+ terabytes) can only be stored for as little as 24 hours.”[17]

Capabilities

Slide from a 2008 NSA presentation about XKeyscore, showing the differences between the various NSA database systems

For analysts, XKeyscore provides a “series of viewers for common data types”, which allows them to query terabytes of raw data gathered at the aforementioned collection sites. This enables them to find targets that cannot be found by searching only the metadata, and also to do this against data sets that otherwise would have been dropped by the front-end data processing systems. According to a slide from an XKeyscore presentation, NSA collection sites select and forward less than 5% of the internet traffic to the PINWALE database for internet content.[16]

Because XKeyscore holds raw and unselected communications traffic, analysts can not only perform queries using “strong selectors” like e-mail addresses, but also using “soft selectors”, like keywords, against the body texts of e-mail and chat messages and digital documents and spreadsheets in English, Arabic and Chinese.[9]

This is useful because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous” and therefore those activities can’t be found by just looking for e-mail addresses of a target. When content has been found, the analyst might be able to find new intelligence or a strong selector, which can then be used for starting a traditional search.[9]

Besides using soft selectors, analysts can also use the following other XKeyscore capabilities:[9][18]

  • Look for the usage of Google Maps and terms entered into a search engine by known targets looking for suspicious things or places.
  • Look for “anomalies” without any specific person attached, like detecting the nationality of foreigners by analyzing the language used within intercepted emails. An example would be a German speaker in Pakistan. The Brazilian paper O Globo claims that this has been applied to Latin America and specifically to Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela.[11][19]
  • Detect people who use encryption by do searches like “all PGP usage in Iran”. The caveat given is that very broad queries can result in too much data to transmit back to the analyst.
  • Showing the usage of Virtual private networks (VPNs) and machines that can potentially be hacked via TAO.
  • Track the source and authorship of a document that has passed through many hands.

Most of these things cannot be detected by other NSA tools because they operate with strong selectors (like e-mail and IP addresses and phone numbers) and the raw data volumes are too high to forward them to other NSA databases.[9]

In 2008, it was planned to add a number of new capabilities in the future, like:

Significance

The NSA slides published in The Guardian during 2013 claimed that XKeyscore had played a role in capturing 300 terrorists by 2008.[9] This claim could not be substantiated as the redacted documents do not cite instances of terrorist interventions.

A 2011 report from the NSA unit in Griesheim (Germany) says that XKeyscore made it easier and more efficient to target surveillance. Previously, analysis often accessed data they were not interested in. XKeyscore allowed them to focus on the intended topics, while ignoring unrelated data. XKeyscore also proved to be an outstanding tool for tracking active groups associated with the Anonymous movement in Germany, because it allows for searching on patterns, rather than particular individuals. An analyst is able to determine when targets research new topics, or develop new behaviors.[20]

To create additional motivation, the NSA incorporated various features from computer games into the program. For instance, analysts who were especially good at using XKeyscore could acquire “skilz” points and “unlock achievements.” The training units in Griesheim were apparently successful and analysts there had achieved the “highest average of skilz points” compared with all other NSA departments participating in the training program.[20]

Usage by foreign partners of the NSA

Germany

Excerpt of an NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that reveals the BND‘s usage of the NSA’s XKeyscore to wiretap a German domestic target

According to documents Der Spiegel acquired from Snowden, the German intelligence agencies BND (foreign intelligence) and BfV (domestic intelligence) were also allowed to use the XKeyscore system. In those documents the BND agency was described as the NSA’s most prolific partner in information gathering.[21] This led to political confrontations, after which the directors of the German intelligence agencies briefed members of the German parliamentary intelligence oversight committee on July 25, 2013. They declared that XKeyscore has been used by the BND since 2007 and that the BfV uses a test version since 2012. The directors also explained that this program is not for collecting data, but only for analyzing them.[22]

Sweden

As part of the UKUSA Agreement, a secret treaty was signed in 1954 by Sweden with the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the purpose of intelligence collaboration and data sharing.[23] According to documents leaked by Snowden, the National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA) has been granted access to XKeyscore.[24]

 

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Story 1: Freak Out On Google Glass Name Tag App —  Videos

name_tag

glass-face-recognition

google-glass-facial-recognition.si_

NameTag – Google Glass Facial Recognition Beta App Demo

World’s First Real-Time Google Glass Facial Recognition App Demo – November 26 2013

NameTag – Facial Recognition App for Google Glass #CES2014

Googlicious : Google Glass gets a new look

Google Glass How-to: Getting Started

How it Feels [through Google Glass]

Google Glass Review

Google Glass eyes-on review

Panel Robert Scoble and Andrew Keen on Google Glass and privacy issues at TNW Conference Europe 2013

Amazing Google Glasses Demonstration at Google I/O 2012

Facebook Using Face Recognition Software

Facebook’s New Facial-Recognition Technology

Facial Recognition Systems Going Mainstream

Chic – Le Freak

Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!

Have you heard about the new dance craze?
Listen to us, I’m sure you’ll be amazed
Big fun to be had by everyone
It’s up to you, it surely can be done

Young and old are doing it, I’m told
Just one try and you too will be sold
It’s called Le Freak! They’re doing it night and day
Allow us, we’ll show you the way

Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!

All that pressure got you down
Has your head spinning all around
Feel the rhythm, check the rhyme
Come on along and have a real good time

Like the days of stomping at the Savoy
Now we freak, oh what a joy!
Just come on down to 54
Find a spot out on the floor

Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!

Now freak!
I said freak!
Now freak!

All that pressure got you down
Has your head spinning all around
Feel the rhythm, check the ride
Come on along and have a real good time

Like the days of stomping at the Savoy
Now we freak, oh what a joy!
Just come on down 54
Find a spot out on the floor

Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!
Ahh, freak out!
Le Freak, c’est Chic
Freak out!

Just When You Thought Google Glass Couldn’t Get Creepier: New App Allows Strangers to ID You Just by Looking at You

ave you ever seen someone wearing Google Glass out at the bar? Like a real person at a real bar actually wearing Google Glass? If so, you know how absolutely ridiculous they look. Which may be the only factor we have that will stop this:

A new app will allow total strangers to ID you and pull up all your information, just by looking at you and scanning your face with their Google Glass. The app is called NameTag and it sounds CREEPY.

The “real-time facial recognition” software “can detect a face using the Google Glass camera, send it wirelessly to a server, compare it to millions of records, and in seconds return a match complete with a name, additional photos and social media profiles.”

NEWS: Google Glass Users Can Now Wink to Take Photos, Which Is Horrible

The information listed could include your name, occupation, any social media profiles you have set up and whether or not you have a criminal record (“CRIMINAL HISTORY FOUND” pops up in bright red letters according to the demo).

And NameTag may have already added you to their database.

Two million entries have already been uploaded to FacialNetwork.com. Once the app officially goes live, you can sign up for NameTag and opt-out, instead of the alternative: Having to opt-in to allow them to show your information.

How is that OK?

WATCH: RadioShack’s Awesome Super Bowl Commercial Recruits the Best ’80s Stars

“It’s not about invading anyone’s privacy,” one NameTag’s creators claimed (viaIndependent). “It’s about connecting people that want to be connected. We will even allow users to have one profile that is seen during business hours and another that is seen in social situations. NameTag can make the big, anonymous world we live in as friendly as a small town.”

It may not be about invading anyone’s privacy, but that sounds like what it does. And forcing people to opt-out if they want to maintain their privacy is wrong (we would go so far as to say it should be illegal). But the purported benefits of the app are almost even worse:

They continue, “It’s much easier to meet interesting new people when we can simply look at someone, see their Facebook, review their LinkedIn page or maybe even see their dating site profile. Often we were interacting with people blindly or not interacting at all. NameTag on Google Glass can change all that.”

Gross.

It’s enough to make you root for that app that lets you film Google Glass porn. If you had to pick one. Luckily, Google has banned facial-recognition software from the Glass—for now.

http://www.eonline.com/news/507361/just-when-you-thought-google-glass-couldn-t-get-creepier-new-app-allows-strangers-to-id-you-just-by-looking-at-you

Bay Area Researcher Developing Facial Recognition Glasses To Help Stop Crime

y now, you have probably heard about the Google Glass wearable computer. Soon, a Mountain View startup will begin selling 3-D eyewear with technology so sophisticated, it could help crime fighters stop crime before it happens.

It’s not a new concept. The 2002 Hollywood film “Minority Report” gave us a look into the future when actor Tom Cruise catches and arrests a criminal before he commits the crime.

y now, you have probably heard about the Google Glass wearable computer. Soon, a Mountain View startup will begin selling 3-D eyewear with technology so sophisticated, it could help crime fighters stop crime before it happens.

It’s not a new concept. The 2002 Hollywood film “Minority Report” gave us a look into the future when actor Tom Cruise catches and arrests a criminal before he commits the crime.

Allen Yang is a University of California at Berkeley researcher and founder of Atheer, the startup developing the glasses.

The 3-D glasses are a wearable computer where users are wirelessly immersed in their own computer through virtual images.

“…And it’s streaming live from the internet to your glasses,” said Theo Goguely, senior product manager at Atheer.

The glasses will ultimately be used by business for work or for regular users for entertainment.

One could put on their glasses and instantly see a 3-D screen with a daytime calendar with a list of things to do. The smart glasses can assist users looking at their kitchen cupboard and they will help visualize nutritional needs.

One of its goals is for use by law enforcement. For example, police wearing the glasses could scan a crowd and possibly locate a suspect or a lost child.

This technology could have helped police find the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing sooner. Although police had images of the suspects, it took investigators days to identify them. Current facial recognition programs were limited in identifying the low resolution images of the suspects from surveillance cameras.

But Yang said Atheer has developed a better mousetrap. Even if 60 percent of the image is corrupted, Yang said his company’s technology can convert it to an identifiable image.

Yang said the program will be available within two or three years and could help police identify known suspects before they commit another crime.

“In the optimal scenario, they can actually get an alert when they’re patrolling on the streets and they can prevent something from happening before even the event happens,” said Yang.

In addition, the program can be used on surveillance cameras on bridges, roads or buildings to help find missing or kidnapped people.

The 3-D glasses will available next month. The cost: $350 for a model that connects to smart phones and $850 for the standalone version.

All of the programs are still in the early stages of development.

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/02/04/bay-area-researcher-developing-facial-recognition-glasses-to-help-stop-crime/

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National Security Agency (NSA) Intercepts FedX and UPS Packages To Install Malware Software — Bugs iPhones and Laptops — TOR Network — Videos

Posted on December 31, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

NSA Interception: Spy malware installed on laptops bought online

Glenn Greenwald Keynote on 30c3

The Tor Network [30c3] (with Jacob Applebaum)

NSA Spying Project Prism Glenn Greenwald Interview

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

Spiegel has revealed new details about a secretive hacking unit inside the National Security Agency called the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO. The unit was created in 1997 to hack into global communications traffic. Hackers inside the TAO have developed a way to break into computers running Microsoft Windows by gaining passive access to machines when users report program crashes to Microsoft. In addition, with help from the CIA and FBI, the NSA has the ability to intercept computers and other electronic accessories purchased online in order to secretly insert spyware and components that can provide backdoor access for the intelligence agencies. American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer and journalist Glenn Greenwald join us to discuss the latest revelations, along with the future of Edward Snowden, who has recently offered to assist U.S. targets Germany and Brazil with their respective probes into NSA spying.

TAO Revealed: The NSA’s ‘top secret weapon’

‘NSA’s goal is elimination of privacy worldwide’ – Greenwald to EU (FULL SPEECH)

Glenn Greenwald and Ruth Marcus Get in Explosive Exchange over Snowden and ‘Horrible’ D.C. Media

How The NSA Hacks Your iPhone (Presenting DROPOUT JEEP)

by Tyler Durden

Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency’s 50 page catalog of “backdoor penetration techniques“, today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone. The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: “DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted.”

The flowchart of how the NSA makes your iPhone its iPhone is presented below:

  • NSA ROC operator
  • Load specified module
  • Send data request
  • iPhone accepts request
  • Retrieves required SIGINT data
  • Encrypt and send exfil data
  • Rinse repeat

And visually:

What is perhaps just as disturbing is the following rhetorical sequence from Applebaum:

“Do you think Apple helped them build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that. Here’s the problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them, I can’t really prove it but [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write shitty software. We know that’s true.”

Or, Apple’s software is hardly “shitty” even if it seems like that to the vast majority of experts (kinda like the Fed’s various programs), and in fact it achieves precisely what it is meant to achieve.

Either way, now everyone knows that their iPhone is nothing but a gateway for the NSA to peruse everyone’s “private” data at will. Which, incidentally, is not news, and was revealed when we showed how the “NSA Mocks Apple’s “Zombie” Customers; Asks “Your Target Is Using A BlackBerry? Now What?

How ironic would it be if Blackberry, left for dead by virtually everyone, began marketing its products as the only smartphone that does not allow the NSA access to one’s data (and did so accordingly). Since pretty much everything else it has tried has failed, we don’t see the downside to this hail mary attempt to strike back at Big Brother and maybe make some money, by doing the right thing for once.

We urge readers to watch the full one hour speech by Jacob Applebaum to realize just how massive Big Brother truly is, but those who want to just listen to the section on Apple can do so beginning 44 minutes 30 seconds in the presentation below.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-30/how-nsa-hacks-your-iphone-presenting-dropout-jeep

Related Posts On Pronk Palisades

No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

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NSA Diverts, Collects, Stores, Searches, Queries, Intercepts, Monitors, Reads, Listens, Analyzes, Reports, Targets and Spies On All The World’s 7 Billion People Plus Information Including 314 Million American Citizens –Massive Invasion of American People’s Privacy and Violation of 4th Amendment Right To Privacy Under U.S. Constitution — Violation of Law and Betrayal of Oaths of Office — The Tyranny of the Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) — Videos

Posted on August 17, 2013. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, College, Communications, Constitution, Data Storage, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Security, Strategy, Tax Policy, Taxes, Technology, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

NSA

NSA Data Center, Bluffdale, Utah

NSA_Data_center_bluffdale_utha

NSA_breaches

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds

By Barton Gellman,        

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.

Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.

The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff.

In another case, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has authority over some NSA operations, did not learn about a new collection method until it had been in operation for many months. The court ruled it unconstitutional.

[FISA judge: Ability to police U.S. spying program is limited]

The Obama administration has provided almost no public information about the NSA’s compliance record. In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.

The NSA audit obtained by The Post, dated May 2012, counted 2,776 incidents in the preceding 12 months of unauthorized collection, storage, access to or distribution of legally protected communications. Most were unintended. Many involved failures of due diligence or violations of standard operating procedure. The most serious incidents included a violation of a court order and unauthorized use of data about more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders.

In a statement in response to questions for this article, the NSA said it attempts to identify problems “at the earliest possible moment, implement mitigation measures wherever possible, and drive the numbers down.” The government was made aware of The Post’s intention to publish the documents that accompany this article online.

“We’re a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line,” a senior NSA official said in an interview, speaking with White House permission on the condition of anonymity.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-broke-privacy-rules-thousands-of-times-per-year-audit-finds/2013/08/15/3310e554-05ca-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html

NSA report on privacy violations in the first quarter of 2012

This is the full executive summary, with names redacted by The Post, of a classified internal report on breaches of NSA privacy rules and legal restrictions.

The report covers the period from January through March 2012 and includes comparative data for the full preceding year. Its author is director of oversight and compliance for the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, but the scope of the report is narrower. Incidents are counted only if they took place within “NSA-Washington,” a term encompassing the Ft. Meade headquarters and nearby facilities. The NSA declined to provide comparable figures for its operations as a whole. A senior intelligence official said only that if all offices and directorates were included, the number of violations would “not double.”

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/nsa-report-on-privacy-violations-in-the-first-quarter-of-2012/395/

Reporter reveals thousands of NSA abuses

NSA Scandal – Americans “Shut Up & Obey” – RPT NSA Broke Rules Thousands Of Times!

Ron Paul / Glenn Greenwald Interview

Snowden Leak Reveals NSA Broke Its Own Rules THOUSANDS OF TIMES

Internal NSA Audit  Privacy Rules Broken Thousands of Times

NSA audit confirms abuse despite Obama’s claim

Report: NSA Spying Broke Privacy Rules Many Times – Edwards Snowden Documents Reveal

Edward Snowden NSA Reform Analysis

EVERYTHING You Do Online Is Recorded In XKeyscore The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur

XKeyscore  A New Level of Invasive NSA Data Spying

‘Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?’

Glenn Greenwald   There Are Extremely Invasive Spying Programs the Public Still Does Not Know About

What you’re not being told about Booz Allen Hamilton and Edward Snowden

Justin Amash  No Precedent In History For NSA Spying

Can American’s Change the Agenda of Extreme Spying?

FOX NEWS: NSA Tracking Of American People

“NSA Spying Now Protected From Any Challenges Under The Fourth Amendment”

Rand Paul on NSA Spying   ‘An Utter, Frank Hypocrisy’   But will he do anything about it

Background Articles and Videos

NSA Whistle-blower Reveals “Stellar Wind” Spying on You – code named The Program

NSA Whistleblower: ‘Everyone In U.S. Under Virtual Surveillance’

NSA Collects ‘Word for Word’ Every Domestic Communication

NSA Whistleblowers:  “All U.S.Citizens” Targeted By Surveillance Program, Not Just Verizon Customers

“Obama Is BIG BROTHER And He’s A LIAR!”

NSA Spying is Far Worse Than You Thought

UNBELIEVABE  NSA, FBI Secretly Mines Data from Major Internet Companies Google, Yahoo

NSA Spying on All Americans Part 1

NSA spying on All Americans Part 2

James Bamford: Inside the NSA’s Largest  Secret Domestic Spy Center

NSA Whistleblower Speaks Live: “The Government Is Lying To You” Part 2

NSA Whistleblower Speaks Live: “The Government Is Lying To You” Part 3

NSA Whistleblower Speaks Live: “The Government Is Lying To You” Part 4

NSA whistleblower William Binney Keynote at HOPE Number Nine

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

The Reality

Enemies of the State [29C3]

The Movie

ENEMY OF THE STATE… (1998) MUST WATCH..TAKE SERIOUSLY..

NSA and the One Trillion Dollar scam [Empire]

Nova: The Spy Factory Full Video

Inside NSA – The National Security Agency – Documentary

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA?  (Good Will Hunting)

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.

Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978—and the number of plural marriages has tripled—so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.

But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.

Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.

The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever.

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”

For the NSA, overflowing with tens of billions of dollars in post-9/11 budget awards, the cryptanalysis breakthrough came at a time of explosive growth, in size as well as in power. Established as an arm of the Department of Defense following Pearl Harbor, with the primary purpose of preventing another surprise assault, the NSA suffered a series of humiliations in the post-Cold War years. Caught offguard by an escalating series of terrorist attacks—the first World Trade Center bombing, the blowing up of US embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and finally the devastation of 9/11—some began questioning the agency’s very reason for being. In response, the NSA has quietly been reborn. And while there is little indication that its actual effectiveness has improved—after all, despite numerous pieces of evidence and intelligence-gathering opportunities, it missed the near-disastrous attempted attacks by the underwear bomber on a flight to Detroit in 2009 and by the car bomber in Times Square in 2010—there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.

In the process—and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration—the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever.

Utah_data_center

A swath of freezing fog blanketed Salt Lake City on the morning of January 6, 2011, mixing with a weeklong coating of heavy gray smog. Red air alerts, warning people to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, had become almost daily occurrences, and the temperature was in the bone-chilling twenties. “What I smell and taste is like coal smoke,” complained one local blogger that day. At the city’s international airport, many inbound flights were delayed or diverted while outbound regional jets were grounded. But among those making it through the icy mist was a figure whose gray suit and tie made him almost disappear into the background. He was tall and thin, with the physique of an aging basketball player and dark caterpillar eyebrows beneath a shock of matching hair. Accompanied by a retinue of bodyguards, the man was NSA deputy director Chris Inglis, the agency’s highest-ranking civilian and the person who ran its worldwide day-to-day operations.

A short time later, Inglis arrived in Bluffdale at the site of the future data center, a flat, unpaved runway on a little-used part of Camp Williams, a National Guard training site. There, in a white tent set up for the occasion, Inglis joined Harvey Davis, the agency’s associate director for installations and logistics, and Utah senator Orrin Hatch, along with a few generals and politicians in a surreal ceremony. Standing in an odd wooden sandbox and holding gold-painted shovels, they made awkward jabs at the sand and thus officially broke ground on what the local media had simply dubbed “the spy center.” Hoping for some details on what was about to be built, reporters turned to one of the invited guests, Lane Beattie of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. Did he have any idea of the purpose behind the new facility in his backyard? “Absolutely not,” he said with a self-conscious half laugh. “Nor do I want them spying on me.”

For his part, Inglis simply engaged in a bit of double-talk, emphasizing the least threatening aspect of the center: “It’s a state-of-the-art facility designed to support the intelligence community in its mission to, in turn, enable and protect the nation’s cybersecurity.” While cybersecurity will certainly be among the areas focused on in Bluffdale, what is collected, how it’s collected, and what is done with the material are far more important issues. Battling hackers makes for a nice cover—it’s easy to explain, and who could be against it? Then the reporters turned to Hatch, who proudly described the center as “a great tribute to Utah,” then added, “I can’t tell you a lot about what they’re going to be doing, because it’s highly classified.”

And then there was this anomaly: Although this was supposedly the official ground-breaking for the nation’s largest and most expensive cybersecurity project, no one from the Department of Homeland Security, the agency responsible for protecting civilian networks from cyberattack, spoke from the lectern. In fact, the official who’d originally introduced the data center, at a press conference in Salt Lake City in October 2009, had nothing to do with cybersecurity. It was Glenn A. Gaffney, deputy director of national intelligence for collection, a man who had spent almost his entire career at the CIA. As head of collection for the intelligence community, he managed the country’s human and electronic spies.

Within days, the tent and sandbox and gold shovels would be gone and Inglis and the generals would be replaced by some 10,000 construction workers. “We’ve been asked not to talk about the project,” Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction, one of the three major contractors working on the project, told a local reporter. The plans for the center show an extensive security system: an elaborate $10 million antiterrorism protection program, including a fence designed to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour, closed-circuit cameras, a biometric identification system, a vehicle inspection facility, and a visitor-control center.

Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.

Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)

It needs that capacity because, according to a recent report by Cisco, global Internet traffic will quadruple from 2010 to 2015, reaching 966 exabytes per year. (A million exabytes equal a yottabyte.) In terms of scale, Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO, once estimated that the total of all human knowledge created from the dawn of man to 2003 totaled 5 exabytes. And the data flow shows no sign of slowing. In 2011 more than 2 billion of the world’s 6.9 billion people were connected to the Internet. By 2015, market research firm IDC estimates, there will be 2.7 billion users. Thus, the NSA’s need for a 1-million-square-foot data storehouse. Should the agency ever fill the Utah center with a yottabyte of information, it would be equal to about 500 quintillion (500,000,000,000,000,000,000) pages of text.

The data stored in Bluffdale will naturally go far beyond the world’s billions of public web pages. The NSA is more interested in the so-called invisible web, also known as the deep web or deepnet—data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, US and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers. “The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,” according to a 2010 Defense Science Board report. “Alternative tools are needed to find and index data in the deep web … Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.” With its new Utah Data Center, the NSA will at last have the technical capability to store, and rummage through, all those stolen secrets. The question, of course, is how the agency defines who is, and who is not, “a potential adversary.”

nsa_spy_network

Before yottabytes of data from the deep web and elsewhere can begin piling up inside the servers of the NSA’s new center, they must be collected. To better accomplish that, the agency has undergone the largest building boom in its history, including installing secret electronic monitoring rooms in major US telecom facilities. Controlled by the NSA, these highly secured spaces are where the agency taps into the US communications networks, a practice that came to light during the Bush years but was never acknowledged by the agency. The broad outlines of the so-called warrantless-wiretapping program have long been exposed—how the NSA secretly and illegally bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was supposed to oversee and authorize highly targeted domestic eavesdropping; how the program allowed wholesale monitoring of millions of American phone calls and email. In the wake of the program’s exposure, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which largely made the practices legal. Telecoms that had agreed to participate in the illegal activity were granted immunity from prosecution and lawsuits. What wasn’t revealed until now, however, was the enormity of this ongoing domestic spying program.

For the first time, a former NSA official has gone on the record to describe the program, codenamed Stellar Wind, in detail. William Binney was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. A tall man with strands of black hair across the front of his scalp and dark, determined eyes behind thick-rimmed glasses, the 68-year-old spent nearly four decades breaking codes and finding new ways to channel billions of private phone calls and email messages from around the world into the NSA’s bulging databases. As chief and one of the two cofounders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, Binney and his team designed much of the infrastructure that’s still likely used to intercept international and foreign communications.

He explains that the agency could have installed its tapping gear at the nation’s cable landing stations—the more than two dozen sites on the periphery of the US where fiber-optic cables come ashore. If it had taken that route, the NSA would have been able to limit its eavesdropping to just international communications, which at the time was all that was allowed under US law. Instead it chose to put the wiretapping rooms at key junction points throughout the country—large, windowless buildings known as switches—thus gaining access to not just international communications but also to most of the domestic traffic flowing through the US. The network of intercept stations goes far beyond the single room in an AT&T building in San Francisco exposed by a whistle-blower in 2006. “I think there’s 10 to 20 of them,” Binney says. “That’s not just San Francisco; they have them in the middle of the country and also on the East Coast.”

The eavesdropping on Americans doesn’t stop at the telecom switches. To capture satellite communications in and out of the US, the agency also monitors AT&T’s powerful earth stations, satellite receivers in locations that include Roaring Creek and Salt Creek. Tucked away on a back road in rural Catawissa, Pennsylvania, Roaring Creek’s three 105-foot dishes handle much of the country’s communications to and from Europe and the Middle East. And on an isolated stretch of land in remote Arbuckle, California, three similar dishes at the company’s Salt Creek station service the Pacific Rim and Asia.

The former NSA official held his thumb and forefinger close together: “We are that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.”

Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there. According to Binney—who has maintained close contact with agency employees until a few years ago—the taps in the secret rooms dotting the country are actually powered by highly sophisticated software programs that conduct “deep packet inspection,” examining Internet traffic as it passes through the 10-gigabit-per-second cables at the speed of light.

The software, created by a company called Narus that’s now part of Boeing, is controlled remotely from NSA headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland and searches US sources for target addresses, locations, countries, and phone numbers, as well as watch-listed names, keywords, and phrases in email. Any communication that arouses suspicion, especially those to or from the million or so people on agency watch lists, are automatically copied or recorded and then transmitted to the NSA.

The scope of surveillance expands from there, Binney says. Once a name is entered into the Narus database, all phone calls and other communications to and from that person are automatically routed to the NSA’s recorders. “Anybody you want, route to a recorder,” Binney says. “If your number’s in there? Routed and gets recorded.” He adds, “The Narus device allows you to take it all.” And when Bluffdale is completed, whatever is collected will be routed there for storage and analysis.

According to Binney, one of the deepest secrets of the Stellar Wind program—again, never confirmed until now—was that the NSA gained warrantless access to AT&T’s vast trove of domestic and international billing records, detailed information about who called whom in the US and around the world. As of 2007, AT&T had more than 2.8 trillion records housed in a database at its Florham Park, New Jersey, complex.

Verizon was also part of the program, Binney says, and that greatly expanded the volume of calls subject to the agency’s domestic eavesdropping. “That multiplies the call rate by at least a factor of five,” he says. “So you’re over a billion and a half calls a day.” (Spokespeople for Verizon and AT&T said their companies would not comment on matters of national security.)

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The Obama Avalanche: Obamacare and Obama’s Scandals (Benghazi, AP, Fox’s James Rosen, DOJ, IRS, NSA) Lead To Failed Lame Duck Presidency — Videos

Posted on July 5, 2013. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, IRS, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Public Sector, Raves, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxes, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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We speak with Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story Thursday that the National Security Agency has obtained access the central servers of nine major internet companies — including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook. The Guardian and the Washington Post revealed the top secret program, code-named PRISM, after they obtained several slides from a 41-page training presentation for senior intelligence analysts. It explains how PRISM allows them to access emails, documents, audio and video chats, photographs, documents and connection logs that allow them to track a person or trace their connections to others. One slide lists the companies by name and the date when each provider began participating over the past six years. “Hundreds of millions of Americans, and hundreds of millions — in fact billions of people around the world — essentially rely on the internet exclusively to communicate with one another,” Greenwald says. “Very few people use landline phones for much of anything. So when you talk about things like online chat, and social media messages, and emails, what you’re really talking about is the full extent of human communication.” This comes after Greenwald revealed Wednesday in another story that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of millions of Verizon customers. “They want to make sure that every single time human beings interact with one another … that they can watch it, and they can store it, and they can access it at any time.”

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Enemy Of The State: Life Imitating Art –National Security Agency Targets American People — Videos

Posted on June 25, 2013. Filed under: Art, Blogroll, Business, Comedy, Communications, Computers, Crime, Economics, External Hard Drives, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Enemy of the State

Enemy of the State is a 1998 American action-thriller about a group of rogue NSA agents who kill a US Congressman and try to cover up the murder. It was written by David Marconi, directed by Tony Scott, and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It stars Will Smith and Gene Hackman, with Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet, and Regina King in supporting roles.

The film grossed over $250,000,000 worldwide ($111,549,836 within the US).

Plot

As the U.S. Congress moves to pass new legislation that dramatically expands the surveillance powers of intelligence agencies, Congressman Phil Hammersley (Robards) remains firmly opposed to its passage. To ensure the bill’s passage, National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Voight) kills Hammersley, but he is unaware of a video camera set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz (Lee) that has captured the entire incident. Zavitz discovers the murder, and alerts an underground journalist, at the same time transferring the video to an innocuous computer disc. Reynolds learns of Zavitz’s footage, and sends a team to recover the video. While fleeing, Zavitz runs into an old college friend, labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Smith). Zavitz secretly passes the computer disc into Dean’s shopping bag without his knowledge. Zavitz flees and is killed when hit by a fire truck. Reynolds soon has the underground journalist killed.

When the NSA discovers that Dean may have the video, a team raids his house and plants surveillance devices. Unable to find the video, the NSA proceeds to falsely incriminate Dean of passing classified information to Rachel Banks (Bonet), a former girlfriend. The subterfuge destroys Dean’s life: he is fired from his job, his bank accounts are frozen, and his wife (King) throws him out of the house. Dean, trailed by the NSA, meets with Banks, who sets up a meeting with “Brill”, one of her secret contacts. After meeting an NSA agent posing as Brill (Byrne), Dean realizes his error, only to have the real Brill, retired NSA agent Edward Lyle (Hackman), ferry him to temporary safety and help rid Dean of most of the tracking devices he is unwittingly carrying. Dean ultimately rids himself of the final device and, fleeing his pursuers, escapes.

With Dean and Lyle in hiding, the NSA agents kill Banks and frame Dean for the murder. Lyle is able to find evidence that the NSA executed Hammersley’s murder, but it is destroyed during an escape from an NSA raid.

It is then revealed that Lyle was an expert in communications for the NSA; he was stationed in Iran before the Iranian Revolution. When the revolution occurred, Lyle made it out of the country, but his partner, Rachel’s father, was killed. Since then he has been in hiding. Lyle tries to coax Dean into trying to run away, but Dean is adamant about clearing his name.

Dean and Lyle blackmail another supporter of the surveillance bill, Congressman Sam Albert (Wilson), by videotaping him having an affair with his aide. Dean and Lyle “hide” bugs that Reynolds had used on Dean in Albert’s room so Albert will find them and have the NSA start an investigation. Lyle also deposits $140,000 into Reynolds’ bank account to make it appear that he is taking bribes.

Lyle contacts Reynolds to tell him he has the video of the Hammersley murder and asks to meet. Dean tells them that the Hammersley murder footage is in the hands of Mafia boss Joey Pintero (Sizemore), whose office is under FBI surveillance. Dean, Reynolds, and the NSA team head into Pintero’s restaurant, precipitating a gunfight that kills the mobsters, Reynolds, and several of his NSA team.

Dean and Lyle escape, with Lyle quickly disappearing from the authorities. The FBI discovers the plot behind the legislation, causing it to fail, though they cover up the NSA’s involvement. Dean is cleared of all charges and is reunited with his wife. Lyle escapes to a tropical location, but sends a “goodbye” message to Dean.

Cast

  • Will Smith as Robert Clayton Dean
  • Gene Hackman as Edward “Brill” Lyle
  • Jon Voight as Thomas Brian Reynolds
  • Barry Pepper as David Pratt
  • Regina King as Carla Dean
  • Ian Hart as John Bingham
  • Lisa Bonet as Rachel F. Banks
  • Jascha Washington as Eric Dean
  • James LeGros as Jerry Miller
  • Jake Busey as Krug
  • Scott Caan as Jones
  • Jamie Kennedy as Jamie Williams
  • Jason Lee as Daniel Leon Zavitz
  • Gabriel Byrne as Fake Brill
  • Stuart Wilson as Congressman Sam Albert
  • Jack Black as Fiedler
  • Anna Gunn as Emily Reynolds
  • Laura Cayouette as Christa Hawkins
  • Loren Dean as Loren Hicks
  • Bodhi Elfman as Van
  • Dan Butler as NSA Director Admiral Shaffer
  • Seth Green as Selby (uncredited)
  • Tom Sizemore as Boss Paulie Pintero (uncredited)
  • Jason Robards as Congressman Phil Hammersley (uncredited)
  • Philip Baker Hall as Attorney Mark Silverberg (uncredited)
  • Brian Markinson as Attorney Brian Blake (uncredited)
  • Larry King as Himself (uncredited)
  • Ivana Miličević as Ruby’s Sales Clerk

Production

Although the story is set in both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, most of the filming was done in Baltimore. Location shooting began on a ferry in Fells Point. In mid-January, the company moved to Los Angeles to complete production in April 1998.[3]

Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise were considered for the part that went to Will Smith, who took the role largely because he wanted to work with Gene Hackman and had previously enjoyed working with producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Bad Boys. George Clooney was also considered for a role in the film. Sean Connery was considered for the role that went to Hackman. The film’s crew included a technical surveillance counter-measures consultant who also had a minor role as a spy shop merchant. Hackman had previously acted in a similar thriller about spying and surveillance film, The Conversation (1974).

Reception

Enemy of the State was moderately well received by critics. Rotten Tomatoes presented a 71% “Fresh” rating for the movie, with 57 critics approving of the movie and 24 noting the film as “Rotten;”[4] similar results could be found at the website Metacritic, which displayed a normalized ranking of 67 out of 100 on the basis of the views of 22 critics.[5] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times expressed enjoyment in the movie, noting how its “pizazz [overcame] occasional lapses in moment-to-moment plausibility;”[6] Janet Maslin of the New York Times approved of the film’s action-packed sequences, but cited how it was similar in manner to the rest of the members of “Simpson’s and Bruckheimer’s school of empty but sensation-packed filming.”[7] In a combination of the two’s views, Edvins Beitiks of the San Francisco Examiner praised many of the movie’s development aspects, but criticized the overall concept that drove the film from the beginning — the efficiency of government intelligence — as unrealistic.[8]

According to film critic Kim Newman, Enemy of the State could be construed as a “continuation of The Conversation,” the 1974 psychological thriller that starred Hackman as a paranoid, isolated surveillance expert.[9]

Box office

The film opened at #2, behind The Rugrats Movie, grossing $20,038,573 over its first weekend in 2,393 theatres and averaging about $8,374 per venue.[10][11]

Real life

An episode of PBS’ Nova titled “Spy Factory” reports that the film’s portrayal of the NSA’s capabilities are fiction: although the agency can intercept transmissions, connecting the dots is difficult.[12] However, in 2001, then-NSA director Gen. Michael Hayden, who was appointed to the position during the release of the film, told CNN’s Kyra Philipps that “I made the judgment that we couldn’t survive with the popular impression of this agency being formed by the last Will Smith movie.[13]” James Risen wrote in his 2006 book State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration that Hayden “was appalled” by the film’s depiction of the NSA, and sought to counter it with a PR campaign on behalf of the agency.[14]

In June 2013 the NSA’s PRISM and Boundless Informant programs for domestic and international surveillance were uncovered by the Guardian and Washington Post as the result of information provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. This information revealed much more extensive capabilities than those represented by the film, such as collection of internet browsing, email and telephone data of not only every American, but citizens of other nations as well. The Guardian’s John Patterson opined that Hollywood depictions of NSA surveillance, including Enemy of the State and Echelon Conspiracy, had “softened” up the American public to “the notion that our spending habits, our location, our every movement and conversation, are visible to others whose motives we cannot know.[15]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_of_the_State_%28film%29

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No Such Agency — NSA — National Security Agency — Threat To The Liberty and Privacy of The American People — None Of Their Damn Business — Still Trust The Federal Government? — Videos

Posted on June 6, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Computers, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, government spending, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Raves, Resources, Security, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Video, War, Weather, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

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“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

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

Glenn Greenwald (born March 6, 1967) is an American political journalist, lawyer, columnist, blogger, and author. In August 2012, he left Salon.com, where he was a columnist, to become a columnist at the US edition of The Guardian newspaper, to which he has contributed since June 2011. Politically, Greenwald described himself as independent when he first began writing about politics in 2005,[6] though others now see him as a liberal or progressive.

Greenwald worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator before becoming a contributor (columnist and blogger) to Salon.com, where he focused on political and legal topics.[12] He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times,[13][14][15] the Los Angeles Times,[16] The American Conservative,[17] The National Interest,[18] and In These Times.[19][20]

Greenwald has written four books, three of which have been New York Times bestsellers: How Would a Patriot Act? (2006); A Tragic Legacy (2007), and With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, released in October 2011. He also wrote Great American Hypocrites (2008).

Greenwald has received awards including the first Izzy Award for independent journalism, in 2009,[21] and the 2010 Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary.[22] Greenwald is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, UCLA School of Law, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Maryland and others. He also appears on various radio and television programs as a guest political pundit.

Challenging the Surveillance State – Glenn Greenwald

122712 – Sen. Rand Paul Discusses FISA Amendment

Rand Paul: ‘Appalled’ At NSA’s Violation Of The Bill Of Rights – Yahoo News 6/6/2013

NSA Phone Records

utah-data-center-plan

NSA taps in to internet giants’ systems to mine user data, secret files reveal

• Top secret PRISM program claims direct access to servers of firms including Google, Facebook and Apple
• Companies deny any knowledge of program in operation since 2007

  • Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill

The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

Although the presentation claims the program is run with the assistance of the companies, all those who responded to a Guardian request for comment on Thursday denied knowledge of any such program.

In a statement, Google said: “Google cares deeply about the security of our users’ data. We disclose user data to government in accordance with the law, and we review all such requests carefully. From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a back door for the government to access private user data.”

Several senior tech executives insisted that they had no knowledge of PRISM or of any similar scheme. They said they would never have been involved in such a program. “If they are doing this, they are doing it without our knowledge,” one said.

An Apple spokesman said it had “never heard” of PRISM.

The NSA access was enabled by changes to US surveillance law introduced under President Bush and renewed under Obama in December 2012.

The program facilitates extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information. The law allows for the targeting of any customers of participating firms who live outside the US, or those Americans whose communications include people outside the US.

It also opens the possibility of communications made entirely within the US being collected without warrants.

Disclosure of the PRISM program follows a leak to the Guardian on Wednesday of a top-secret court order compelling telecoms provider Verizon to turn over the telephone records of millions of US customers.

The participation of the internet companies in PRISM will add to the debate, ignited by the Verizon revelation, about the scale of surveillance by the intelligence services. Unlike the collection of those call records, this surveillance can include the content of communications and not just the metadata.

Some of the world’s largest internet brands are claimed to be part of the information-sharing program since its introduction in 2007. Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan “Your privacy is our priority” – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007.

It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

Collectively, the companies cover the vast majority of online email, search, video and communications networks.

The extent and nature of the data collected from each company varies.

Companies are legally obliged to comply with requests for users’ communications under US law, but the PRISM program allows the intelligence services direct access to the companies’ servers. The NSA document notes the operations have “assistance of communications providers in the US”.

The revelation also supports concerns raised by several US senators during the renewal of the Fisa Amendments Act in December 2012, who warned about the scale of surveillance the law might enable, and shortcomings in the safeguards it introduces.

When the FAA was first enacted, defenders of the statute argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA’s inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the PRISM program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies’ servers.

A chart prepared by the NSA, contained within the top-secret document obtained by the Guardian, underscores the breadth of the data it is able to obtain: email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers, social networking details, and more.

The document is recent, dating to April 2013. Such a leak is extremely rare in the history of the NSA, which prides itself on maintaining a high level of secrecy.

The PRISM program allows the NSA, the world’s largest surveillance organisation, to obtain targeted communications without having to request them from the service providers and without having to obtain individual court orders.

With this program, the NSA is able to reach directly into the servers of the participating companies and obtain both stored communications as well as perform real-time collection on targeted users.

The presentation claims PRISM was introduced to overcome what the NSA regarded as shortcomings of Fisa warrants in tracking suspected foreign terrorists. It noted that the US has a “home-field advantage” due to housing much of the internet’s architecture. But the presentation claimed “Fisa constraints restricted our home-field advantage” because Fisa required individual warrants and confirmations that both the sender and receiver of a communication were outside the US.

“Fisa was broken because it provided privacy protections to people who were not entitled to them,” the presentation claimed. “It took a Fisa court order to collect on foreigners overseas who were communicating with other foreigners overseas simply because the government was collecting off a wire in the United States. There were too many email accounts to be practical to seek Fisas for all.”

The new measures introduced in the FAA redefines “electronic surveillance” to exclude anyone “reasonably believed” to be outside the USA – a technical change which reduces the bar to initiating surveillance.

The act also gives the director of national intelligence and the attorney general power to permit obtaining intelligence information, and indemnifies internet companies against any actions arising as a result of co-operating with authorities’ requests.

In short, where previously the NSA needed individual authorisations, and confirmation that all parties were outside the USA, they now need only reasonable suspicion that one of the parties was outside the country at the time of the records were collected by the NSA.

The document also shows the FBI acts as an intermediary between other agencies and the tech companies, and stresses its reliance on the participation of US internet firms, claiming “access is 100% dependent on ISP provisioning”.

In the document, the NSA hails the PRISM program as “one of the most valuable, unique and productive accesses for NSA”.

It boasts of what it calls “strong growth” in its use of the PRISM program to obtain communications. The document highlights the number of obtained communications increased in 2012 by 248% for Skype – leading the notes to remark there was “exponential growth in Skype reporting; looks like the word is getting out about our capability against Skype”. There was also a 131% increase in requests for Facebook data, and 63% for Google.

The NSA document indicates that it is planning to add Dropbox as a PRISM provider. The agency also seeks, in its words, to “expand collection services from existing providers”.

The revelations echo fears raised on the Senate floor last year during the expedited debate on the renewal of the FAA powers which underpin the PRISM program, which occurred just days before the act expired.

Senator Christopher Coons of Delaware specifically warned that the secrecy surrounding the various surveillance programs meant there was no way to know if safeguards within the act were working.

“The problem is: we here in the Senate and the citizens we represent don’t know how well any of these safeguards actually work,” he said.

“The law doesn’t forbid purely domestic information from being collected. We know that at least one Fisa court has ruled that the surveillance program violated the law. Why? Those who know can’t say and average Americans can’t know.”

Other senators also raised concerns. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon attempted, without success, to find out any information on how many phone calls or emails had been intercepted under the program.

When the law was enacted, defenders of the FAA argued that a significant check on abuse would be the NSA’s inability to obtain electronic communications without the consent of the telecom and internet companies that control the data. But the PRISM program renders that consent unnecessary, as it allows the agency to directly and unilaterally seize the communications off the companies’ servers.

When the NSA reviews a communication it believes merits further investigation, it issues what it calls a “report”. According to the NSA, “over 2,000 PRISM-based reports” are now issued every month. There were 24,005 in 2012, a 27% increase on the previous year.

In total, more than 77,000 intelligence reports have cited the PRISM program.

Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, that it was astonishing the NSA would even ask technology companies to grant direct access to user data.

“It’s shocking enough just that the NSA is asking companies to do this,” he said. “The NSA is part of the military. The military has been granted unprecedented access to civilian communications.

“This is unprecedented militarisation of domestic communications infrastructure. That’s profoundly troubling to anyone who is concerned about that separation.”

A senior administration official said in a statement: “The Guardian and Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This law does not allow the targeting of any US citizen or of any person located within the United States.

“The program is subject to oversight by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Executive Branch, and Congress. It involves extensive procedures, specifically approved by the court, to ensure that only non-US persons outside the US are targeted, and that minimize the acquisition, retention and dissemination of incidentally acquired information about US persons.

“This program was recently reauthorized by Congress after extensive hearings and debate.

“Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.

“The Government may only use Section 702 to acquire foreign intelligence information, which is specifically, and narrowly, defined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This requirement applies across the board, regardless of the nationality of the target.”

Additional reporting by James Ball and Dominic Rushe

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/us-tech-giants-nsa-data

NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily

Glenn Greenwald

Exclusive: Top secret court order requiring Verizon to hand over all call data shows scale of domestic surveillance under Obama

The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.

The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.

The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.

The disclosure is likely to reignite longstanding debates in the US over the proper extent of the government’s domestic spying powers.

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.

The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual. Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.

The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday. All declined. The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.

The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI’s request for its customers’ records, or the court order itself.

“We decline comment,” said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.

The order, signed by Judge Roger Vinson, compels Verizon to produce to the NSA electronic copies of “all call detail records or ‘telephony metadata’ created by Verizon for communications between the United States and abroad” or “wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls”.

The order directs Verizon to “continue production on an ongoing daily basis thereafter for the duration of this order”. It specifies that the records to be produced include “session identifying information”, such as “originating and terminating number”, the duration of each call, telephone calling card numbers, trunk identifiers, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) number, and “comprehensive communication routing information”.

The information is classed as “metadata”, or transactional information, rather than communications, and so does not require individual warrants to access. The document also specifies that such “metadata” is not limited to the aforementioned items. A 2005 court ruling judged that cell site location data – the nearest cell tower a phone was connected to – was also transactional data, and so could potentially fall under the scope of the order.

While the order itself does not include either the contents of messages or the personal information of the subscriber of any particular cell number, its collection would allow the NSA to build easily a comprehensive picture of who any individual contacted, how and when, and possibly from where, retrospectively.

It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.

The court order appears to explain the numerous cryptic public warnings by two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, about the scope of the Obama administration’s surveillance activities.

For roughly two years, the two Democrats have been stridently advising the public that the US government is relying on “secret legal interpretations” to claim surveillance powers so broad that the American public would be “stunned” to learn of the kind of domestic spying being conducted.

Because those activities are classified, the senators, both members of the Senate intelligence committee, have been prevented from specifying which domestic surveillance programs they find so alarming. But the information they have been able to disclose in their public warnings perfectly tracks both the specific law cited by the April 25 court order as well as the vast scope of record-gathering it authorized.

Julian Sanchez, a surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, explained: “We’ve certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of ‘relevance’ to collect large numbers of records at once — everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target — but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion.” The April order requested by the FBI and NSA does precisely that.

The law on which the order explicitly relies is the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act, 50 USC section 1861. That is the provision which Wyden and Udall have repeatedly cited when warning the public of what they believe is the Obama administration’s extreme interpretation of the law to engage in excessive domestic surveillance.

In a letter to attorney general Eric Holder last year, they argued that “there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.”

“We believe,” they wrote, “that most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted” the “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.

Privacy advocates have long warned that allowing the government to collect and store unlimited “metadata” is a highly invasive form of surveillance of citizens’ communications activities. Those records enable the government to know the identity of every person with whom an individual communicates electronically, how long they spoke, and their location at the time of the communication.

Such metadata is what the US government has long attempted to obtain in order to discover an individual’s network of associations and communication patterns. The request for the bulk collection of all Verizon domestic telephone records indicates that the agency is continuing some version of the data-mining program begun by the Bush administration in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attack.

The NSA, as part of a program secretly authorized by President Bush on 4 October 2001, implemented a bulk collection program of domestic telephone, internet and email records. A furore erupted in 2006 when USA Today reported that the NSA had “been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth” and was “using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity.” Until now, there has been no indication that the Obama administration implemented a similar program.

These recent events reflect how profoundly the NSA’s mission has transformed from an agency exclusively devoted to foreign intelligence gathering, into one that focuses increasingly on domestic communications. A 30-year employee of the NSA, William Binney, resigned from the agency shortly after 9/11 in protest at the agency’s focus on domestic activities.

In the mid-1970s, Congress, for the first time, investigated the surveillance activities of the US government. Back then, the mandate of the NSA was that it would never direct its surveillance apparatus domestically.

At the conclusion of that investigation, Frank Church, the Democratic senator from Idaho who chaired the investigative committee, warned: “The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.”

Additional reporting by Ewen MacAskill and Spencer Ackerman

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/06/nsa-phone-records-verizon-court-order

Verizon forced to hand over telephone data – full court ruling

The US government is collecting the phone records of millions of US customers of Verizon under a top secret court order. Read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2013/jun/06/verizon-telephone-data-court-order

DNI Statement on Recent Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information

Thursday, June 06, 2013

June 6, 2013

DNI Statement on Recent Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Information
The highest priority of the Intelligence Community is to work within the constraints of law to collect, analyze and understand information related to potential threats to our national security.

The unauthorized disclosure of a top secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.

The article omits key information regarding how a classified intelligence collection program is used to prevent terrorist attacks and the numerous safeguards that protect privacy and civil liberties.

I believe it is important for the American people to understand the limits of this targeted counterterrorism program and the principles that govern its use. In order to provide a more thorough understanding of the program, I have directed that certain information related to the “business records” provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act be declassified and immediately released to the public.

The following important facts explain the purpose and limitations of the program:

  • The judicial order that was disclosed in the press is used to support a sensitive intelligence collection operation, on which members of Congress have been fully and repeatedly briefed. The classified program has been authorized by all three branches of the Government.
  • Although this program has been properly classified, the leak of one order, without any context, has created a misleading impression of how it operates. Accordingly, we have determined to declassify certain limited information about this program.
  • The program does not allow the Government to listen in on anyone’s phone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber. The only type of information acquired under the Court’s order is telephony metadata, such as telephone numbers dialed and length of calls.
  • The collection is broad in scope because more narrow collection would limit our ability to screen for and identify terrorism-related communications. Acquiring this information allows us to make connections related to terrorist activities over time. The FISA Court specifically approved this method of collection as lawful, subject to stringent restrictions.
  • The information acquired has been part of an overall strategy to protect the nation from terrorist threats to the United States, as it may assist counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities.
  • There is a robust legal regime in place governing all activities conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which ensures that those activities comply with the Constitution and laws and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties. The program at issue here is conducted under authority granted by Congress and is authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). By statute, the Court is empowered to determine the legality of the program.
  • By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records.
  • All information that is acquired under this order is subject to strict restrictions on handling and is overseen by the Department of Justice and the FISA Court. Only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed because the vast majority of the data is not responsive to any terrorism-related query.
  • The Court reviews the program approximately every 90 days. DOJ conducts rigorous oversight of the handling of the data received to ensure the applicable restrictions are followed. In addition, DOJ and ODNI regularly review the program implementation to ensure it continues to comply with the law.
  • The Patriot Act was signed into law in October 2001 and included authority to compel production of business records and other tangible things relevant to an authorized national security investigation with the approval of the FISC. This provision has subsequently been reauthorized over the course of two Administrations – in 2006 and in 2011. It has been an important investigative tool that has been used over the course of two Administrations, with the authorization and oversight of the FISC and the Congress.

Discussing programs like this publicly will have an impact on the behavior of our adversaries and make it more difficult for us to understand their intentions. Surveillance programs like this one are consistently subject to safeguards that are designed to strike the appropriate balance between national security interests and civil liberties and privacy concerns. I believe it is important to address the misleading impression left by the article and to reassure the American people that the Intelligence Community is committed to respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all American citizens.

James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence

http://www.dni.gov/index.php/newsroom/press-releases/191-press-releases-2013/868-dni-statement-on-recent-unauthorized-disclosures-of-classified-information

US intelligence chief denounces release of information

  • Spencer Ackerman

Revealing huge surveillance programme risks damaging US national security, James Clapper says

Disclosure of the massive surveillance of phone records and internet communications risks “long-lasting and irreversible harm” to US national security, the director of national intelligence says.

Late on Thursday night US time James Clapper issued a bullet-point defence of the surveillance programs disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post, saying they contained “numerous safeguards that protect privacy and civil liberties”. To correct the “misleading impression left in the article” – apparently a reference to the Guardian’s original story – Clapper said he approved the declassification of his defence of the National Security Agency’s collection of every phone record from millions of Verizon customers.

“There is a robust legal regime in place governing all activities conducted pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” Clapper wrote, “which ensures that those activities comply with the Constitution and laws and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties. The program at issue here is conducted under authority granted by Congress and is authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). By statute, the Court is empowered to determine the legality of the program.”

Clapper attacked the disclosures by the Guardian and the Washington Post as “reprehensible” for risking “important protections for the security of Americans”.

A judge for Fisa Court, as the surveillance body is known, reviewed and approved the surveillance. But critics have pointed out that the Fisa Court has almost never, in its 35-year history, rejected a US surveillance request – a perception of docility that prompted its presiding judge, Reggie Walton, to defend the court’s integrity in a statement to the Guardian on Thursday.

Clapper said the Fisa Court had established procedures preventing the government “indiscriminately sifting” through the collected phone records. “The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organisation,” Clapper said. “Only a small fraction of the records are ever reviewed” by “specifically cleared counterterrorism personnel”.

At the same time, Clapper said national security required the NSA to collect all the Verizon subscriber data, even if not all the data would be analysed, and regardless of any evidence to link the phone records to crime, foreign espionage or terrorism. On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that other telecoms received similar orders from the government for the subscriber data.

“The collection is broad in scope,” Clapper wrote, “because more narrow collection would limit our ability to protect the nation from terrorist threats to the United States, as it may assist counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities.”

Yet the collection does not need to be tied to terrorism to occur – something that alarmed one Democrat senator, Jeff Merkley. He told the Guardian on Thursday that the sweeping “barn-door” collection appeared to violate the provision of the Patriot Act purportedly authorising it.

“We can’t really propose changes to the law unless we know what the words mean as interpreted by the court,” Merkley said.

Clapper reiterated a point the Obama administration made on Thursday in its response to the Guardian’s story: the NSA’s dragnet of Verizon phone records, which the Fisa Court authorised until 19 July, does not include the “content of any communications or the identity of any subscriber”. Yet the so-called “metadata” – phone numbers, duration of calls – can be combined with publicly available information to easily determine subscriber identity. And a second NSA surveillance effort, disclosed by the Guardian on Thursday and codenamed PRISM, collects the content of communications provided through Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and five other large internet companies.

Clapper came under criticism on Thursday for statements to Democrat senator Ron Wyden that appeared to be contradicted by the revelations of the surveillance programs. Asked in March whether “millions” of Americans had “any kind of [their] data” collected by the US government, Clapper replied: “Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly.”

He has denied misleading Congress, but Clapper’s statement on Thursday suggested the collection of Americans’ phone records was deliberate, methodical and institutionalised.

“Discussing programs like this publicly,” Clapper concluded, “will have an impact on the behavior of our adversaries and make it more difficult for us to understand their intentions.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/07/us-tech-nsa-data-clapper

President Obama’s Dragnet

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.

The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.

Based on an article in The Guardian published Wednesday night, we now know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency used the Patriot Act to obtain a secret warrant to compel Verizon’s business services division to turn over data on every single call that went through its system. We know that this particular order was a routine extension of surveillance that has been going on for years, and it seems very likely that it extends beyond Verizon’s business division. There is every reason to believe the federal government has been collecting every bit of information about every American’s phone calls except the words actually exchanged in those calls.

Articles in The Washington Post and The Guardian described a process by which the N.S.A. is also able to capture Internet communications directly from the servers of nine leading American companies. The articles raised questions about whether the N.S.A. separated foreign communications from domestic ones.

A senior administration official quoted in The Times online Thursday afternoon about the Verizon order offered the lame observation that the information does not include the name of any caller, as though there would be the slightest difficulty in matching numbers to names. He said the information “has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats,” because it allows the government “to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, particularly people located inside the United States.”

That is a vital goal, but how is it served by collecting everyone’s call data? The government can easily collect phone records (including the actual content of those calls) on “known or suspected terrorists” without logging every call made. In fact, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was expanded in 2008 for that very purpose.

Essentially, the administration is saying that without any individual suspicion of wrongdoing, the government is allowed to know whom Americans are calling every time they make a phone call, for how long they talk and from where.

This sort of tracking can reveal a lot of personal and intimate information about an individual. To casually permit this surveillance — with the American public having no idea that the executive branch is now exercising this power — fundamentally shifts power between the individual and the state, and it repudiates constitutional principles governing search, seizure and privacy.

The defense of this practice offered by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who as chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to be preventing this sort of overreaching, was absurd. She said on Thursday that the authorities need this information in case someone might become a terrorist in the future. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the vice chairman of the committee, said the surveillance has “proved meritorious, because we have gathered significant information on bad guys and only on bad guys over the years.”But what assurance do we have of that, especially since Ms. Feinstein went on to say that she actually did not know how the data being collected was used?

The senior administration official quoted in The Times said the executive branch internally reviews surveillance programs to ensure that they “comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties.”

That’s no longer good enough. Mr. Obama clearly had no intention of revealing this eavesdropping, just as he would not have acknowledged the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, had it not been reported in the press. Even then, it took him more than a year and a half to acknowledge the killing, and he is still keeping secret the protocol by which he makes such decisions.

We are not questioning the legality under the Patriot Act of the court order disclosed by The Guardian. But we strongly object to using that power in this manner. It is the very sort of thing against which Mr. Obama once railed, when he said in 2007 that the surveillance policy of the George W. Bush administration “puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.”

Two Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, have raised warnings about the government’s overbroad interpretation of its surveillance powers. “We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” they wrote last year in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. “As we see it, there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”

On Thursday, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, said that the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds by obtaining a secret order to collect phone log records from millions of Americans.

“As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the F.B.I.’s interpretation of this legislation,” he said in a statement. “While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses.” He added: “Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”

Stunning use of the act shows, once again, why it needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/07/opinion/president-obamas-dragnet.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0

FISA: A Law With Many Loopholes

By Jacob Gershman

To find the legal authority underpinning the top-secret Prism surveillance program, we once again turn to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Law Blog on Thursday wrote about the statute allowing the government to compel the production of “business records” relevant to a foreign intelligence probe.

Another statute, Section 702 of FISA, provides procedures for spying on the online communication of foreigners or groups located outside our borders.

In a statement Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper said Section 702 “cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States.”

But the statute passed by Congress in 2008 leaves quite a bit of wiggle room, according to legal experts. Here are some potential loopholes:

‘Reasonably believed’: The Attorney General and the intelligence director must certify to a special surveillance judge that targets are “reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” How certain is that? According to the Washington Post, that means a 51% confidence, similar to the preponderance of evidence standard.

“Given the scale of collection here, even if [the error rate] were only a few percent, we’d still be talking about a huge number of American communications,” Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, told Law Blog.

Also, the government doesn’t have to be 51% sure that the target isn’t an American citizen nor a legal resident. The government just has to assert that it’s not intentionally targeting a citizen or legal resident.

Who’s the target? There’s another ambiguity around the notion of a target. It’s unclear whether NSA interprets the law to allow the government to tap into accounts belonging to Americans as long as the surveillance is broadly directed at a foreign group, like Al Qaeda, according to Mr. Sanchez.

Optional verifying: The targeting procedures are subject to judicial review by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, but “the court is not required to look behind the assertions made in the certifications” submitted by the attorney and the national intelligence director, according to an analysis of the law prepared by the Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan and independent group that advises Congress on legal matters.

Exigent circumstances: In the absence of a court order, the attorney general and intelligence director may also authorize targeting if they determine that “exigent circumstances exist which would cause the loss or delay of important national security intelligence, according to the Congressional Research Service. The government has seven days to submit the “certification” paperwork to the court, but it can move forward with the spying during that week.

“They’re assuring us that there are secret procedures in place to protect privacy, but there’s never been a public evaluation of them,” Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, told Law Blog. “We’re disinclined to take their word for it knowing that they are doing things like collecting everybody’s telephone records.”

Mr. Clapper in his statement said that information collected under Prism “is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.”

Mr. Clapper also said in his statement that “activities authorized” by the law “involve extensive procedures . . . to ensure that only non-U.S. persons outside the U.S. are targeted . . . ”

A spokesperson for Mr. Clapper’s office did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2013/06/07/fisa-a-law-with-many-loopholes/

Background Articles and Videos

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (“FISAPub.L. 95–511, 92 Stat. 1783, 50 U.S.C. ch. 36) is a United States law which prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” (which may include American citizens and permanent residents suspected of espionage or terrorism).[1] The law does not apply outside the United States. The law has been repeatedly amended since the September 11 attacks.

Subsequent amendments

The Act was amended in 2001 by the USA PATRIOT Act, primarily to include terrorism on behalf of groups that are not specifically backed by a foreign government.

An overhaul of the bill, the Protect America Act of 2007 was signed into law on August 5, 2007.[2] It expired on February 17, 2008.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 passed by the United States Congress on July 9, 2008.[3]

History

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was introduced on May 18, 1977, by Senator Ted Kennedy and was signed into law by President Carter in 1978. The bill was cosponsored by the nine Senators: Birch Bayh, James O. Eastland, Jake Garn, Walter Huddleston, Daniel Inouye, Charles Mathias, John L. McClellan, Gaylord Nelson, and Strom Thurmond.

The FISA resulted from extensive investigations by Senate Committees into the legality of domestic intelligence activities. These investigations were led separately by Sam Ervin and Frank Church in 1978 as a response to President Richard Nixon’s usage of federal resources to spy on political and activist groups, which violates the Fourth Amendment.[4] The act was created to provide Judicial and congressional oversight of the government’s covert surveillance activities of foreign entities and individuals in the United States, while maintaining the secrecy needed to protect national security. It allowed surveillance, without court order, within the United States for up to one year unless the “surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. If a United States person is involved, judicial authorization was required within 72 hours after surveillance begins.

Bush administration warrantless domestic wiretapping program

The Act came into public prominence in December 2005 following publication by the New York Times of an article[5] that described a program of warrantless domestic wiretapping ordered by the Bush administration and carried out by the National Security Agency since 2002; a subsequent Bloomberg article[6] suggested that this may have already begun by June 2000.

Scope and limits

For most purposes, including electronic surveillance and physical searches, “foreign powers” means a foreign government, any faction(s) or foreign governments not substantially composed of U.S. persons, and any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. §§1801(a)(1)-(3) The definition also includes groups engaged in international terrorism and foreign political organizations. §§1801(a)(4) and (5). The sections of FISA authorizing electronic surveillance and physical searches without a court order specifically exclude their application to groups engaged in international terrorism. See §1802(a)(1) (referring specifically to §1801(a)(1), (2), and (3)).

The statute includes limits on how it may be applied to U.S. persons. A “U.S. person” includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the United States.

The code defines “foreign intelligence information” to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.[7]

In sum, a significant purpose of the electronic surveillance must be to obtain intelligence in the United States on foreign powers (such as enemy agents or spies) or individuals connected to international terrorist groups. To use FISA, the government must show probable cause that the “target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.”[4][8]

Provisions

The subchapters of FISA provide for:

The act created a court which meets in secret, and approves or denies requests for search warrants. Only the number of warrants applied for, issued and denied, is reported. In 1980 (the first full year after its inception), it approved 322 warrants.[9] This number has steadily grown to 2,224 warrants in 2006.[10] In the period 1979-2006 a total of 22,990 applications for warrants were made to the Court of which 22,985 were approved (sometimes with modifications; or with the splitting up, or combining together, of warrants for legal purposes), and only 5 were definitively rejected.[11]

Electronic surveillance

Generally, the statute permits electronic surveillance in two scenarios.

Without a court order

The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is only for foreign intelligence information;[7] targeting foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. § 1801(a)(1),(2),(3)[12] or their agents; and there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.[13]

The Attorney General is required to make a certification of these conditions under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,[14] and report on their compliance to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.[15]

Since 50 U.S.C. § 1802(a)(1)(A) of this act specifically limits warrantless surveillance to foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (1),(2), (3) and omits the definitions contained in 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (4),(5),(6) the act does not authorize the use of warrantless surveillance on: groups engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore; foreign-based political organizations, not substantially composed of United States persons; or entities that are directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments.[16] Under the FISA act, anyone who engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute is subject to both criminal penalties[17] and civil liabilities.[18]

Under 50 U.S.C. § 1811, the President may also authorize warrantless surveillance at the beginning of a war. Specifically, he may authorize such surveillance “for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress”.[19]

With a court order

Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.[20] Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons.[21]

Physical searches

In addition to electronic surveillance, FISA permits the “physical search” of the “premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by” a foreign power. The requirements and procedures are nearly identical to those for electronic surveillance.

FISA court

The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal police agencies (primarily the F.B.I.) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the U.S. The court is located within the Department of Justice headquarters building. The court is staffed by eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve seven year terms.

Proceedings before the FISA court are ex parte and non-adversarial. The court hears evidence presented solely by the Department of Justice. There is no provision for a release of information regarding such hearings, or for the record of information actually collected.

Denials of FISA applications by the FISC may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. The Court of Review is a three judge panel. Since its creation, the court has come into session twice: in 2002 and 2008.

Remedies for violations

Both the subchapters covering physical searches and electronic surveillance provide for criminal and civil liability for violations of FISA.

Criminal sanctions follows violations of electronic surveillance by intentionally engaging in electronic surveillance under the color of law or through disclosing information known to have been obtained through unauthorized surveillance. The penalties for either act are fines up to $10,000, up to five years in jail, or both.[17]

In addition, the statute creates a cause of action for private individuals whose communications were unlawfully monitored. The statute permits actual damages of not less than $1,000 or $100 per day. In addition, that statute authorizes punitive damages and an award of attorney’s fees.[18] Similar liability is found under the subchapter pertaining to physical searches. In both cases, the statute creates an affirmative defense for a law enforcement agent acting within their official duties and pursuant to a valid court order. Presumably, such a defense is not available to those operating exclusively under presidential authorization.

Lone wolf amendment

In 2004 FISA was amended to include a “lone wolf” provision. 50 U.S.C. § 1801(b)(1)(C). A “lone wolf” is a non-U.S. person who engages in or prepares for international terrorism. The provision amended the definition of “foreign power” to permit the FISA courts to issue surveillance and physical search orders without having to find a connection between the “lone wolf” and a foreign government or terrorist group. However, “if the court authorizes such a surveillance or physical search using this new definition of ‘agent of a foreign power’, the FISC judge has to find, in pertinent part, that, based upon the information provided by the applicant for the order, the target had engaged in or was engaging in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor”.[22]

Constitutionality

Before FISA

In 1967 the Supreme Court of the United States held that the requirements of the Fourth Amendment applied equally to electronic surveillance and to physical searches. Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967). The Court did not address whether such requirements apply to issues of national security. Shortly after, in 1972, the Court took up the issue again in United States v. United States District Court, Plamondon, where the court held that court approval was required in order for the domestic surveillance to satisfy the Fourth Amendment. 407 U.S. 297 (1972). Justice Powell wrote that the decision did not address this issue that “may be involved with respect to activities of foreign powers or their agents”.

In the time immediately preceding FISA, a number of courts squarely addressed the issue of “warrantless wiretaps”. In both United States v. Brown, 484 F.2d 418 (5th Cir. 1973), and United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3rd Cir. 1974), the courts upheld warrantless wiretaps. In Brown, a U.S. citizen’s conversation was captured by a wiretap authorized by the Attorney General for foreign intelligence purposes. In Butenko, the court held a wiretap valid if the primary purpose was for gathering foreign intelligence information.

A plurality opinion in Zweibon v. Mitchell, 516 F.2d 594 (D.C. Cir. 1975), held that a warrant was required for the domestic surveillance of a domestic organization. In this case, the court found that the domestic organization was not a “foreign power or their agent”, and “absent exigent circumstances, all warrantless electronic surveillance is unreasonable and therefore unconstitutional.”

Post-FISA

There have been very few cases involving the constitutionality of FISA. In two lower court decisions, the courts found FISA constitutional. In the United States v. Duggan, the defendants were members of the Irish Republican Army. 743 F.2d 59 (2nd Cir., 1984). They were convicted for various violations regarding the shipment of explosives and firearms. The court held that there were compelling considerations of national security in the distinction between the treatment of U.S. citizens and non-resident aliens.

In the United States v. Nicholson, the defendant moved to suppress all evidence gathered under a FISA order. 955 F.Supp. 588 (Va. 1997). The court affirmed the denial of the motion. There the court flatly rejected claims that FISA violated Due process clause of the Fifth Amendment, Equal protection, Separation of powers, nor the Right to counsel provided by the Sixth Amendment.

However, in a third case, the special review court for FISA, the equivalent of a Circuit Court Of Appeals, opined differently should FISA limit the President’s inherent authority for warrantless searches in the foreign intelligence area. In In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717, 742 (Foreign Intel. Surv. Ct. of Rev. 2002) the special court stated “[A]ll the other courts to have decided the issue [have] held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information . . . . We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President’s constitutional power.”

Criticisms

K. A. Taipale of the World Policy Institute, James Jay Carafano of the Heritage Foundation,[23] and Philip Bobbitt of Columbia Law School,[24] among others,[25] have argued that FISA may need to be amended (to include, among other things, procedures for programmatic approvals) as it may no longer be adequate to address certain foreign intelligence needs and technology developments, including: the transition from circuit-based communications to packet-based communications; the globalization of communications infrastructure; and the development of automated monitoring techniques, including data mining and traffic analysis.[26]

The need for programmatic approval of technology-enabled surveillance programs is particularly crucial in foreign intelligence. See, for example, John R. Schmidt, the associate attorney general (1994–1997) in the Justice Department under President Bill Clinton,[27] recalling early arguments made by then-Attorney General Edward Levi to the Church Committee that foreign intelligence surveillance legislation should include provisions for programmatically authorizing surveillance programs because of the particular needs of foreign intelligence where “virtually continuous surveillance, which by its nature does not have specifically predetermined targets” may be required. In these situations, “the efficiency of a warrant requirement would be minimal.”

And, in a recent essay, Judge Richard A. Posner opined that FISA “retains value as a framework for monitoring the communications of known terrorists, but it is hopeless as a framework for detecting terrorists. [FISA] requires that surveillance be conducted pursuant to warrants based on probable cause to believe that the target of surveillance is a terrorist, when the desperate need is to find out who is a terrorist.”[28]

Amendments

Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006

On March 16, 2006, Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455),[29][30] under which the President would be given certain additional limited statutory authority to conduct electronic surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States subject to enhanced Congressional oversight. Also on March 16, 2006, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S. 2453),[31][32] which would amend FISA to grant retroactive amnesty[33] for warrantless surveillance conducted under presidential authority and provide FISA court (FISC) jurisdiction to review, authorize, and oversight “electronic surveillance programs”. On May 24, 2006, Senator Specter and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S. 3001) asserting FISA as the exclusive means to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance.

All three competing bills were the subject of Judiciary Committee hearings throughout the summer.[34] On September 13, 2006, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve all three mutually exclusive bills, thus, leaving it to the full Senate to resolve.[35]

On July 18, 2006, U.S. Representative Heather Wilson (R-NM) introduced the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825). Wilson’s bill would give the President the authority to authorize electronic surveillance of international phone calls and e-mail linked specifically to identified terrorist groups immediately following or in anticipation of an armed or terrorist attack on the United States. Surveillance beyond the initial authorized period would require a FISA warrant or a presidential certification to Congress. On September 28, 2006 the House of Representatives passed Wilson’s bill and it was referred to the Senate.[36]

Protect America Act of 2007

On July 28, 2007, President Bush called on Congress to pass legislation to reform the FISA in order to ease restrictions on surveillance of terrorist suspects where one party (or both parties) to the communication are located overseas. He asked that Congress pass the legislation before its August 2007 recess. On August 3, 2007, the Senate passed a Republican-sponsored version of FISA (S. 1927) in a vote of 60 to 28. The House followed by passing the bill, 227–183. The Protect America Act of 2007 (Pub.L. 110–55, S. 1927) was then signed into law by George W. Bush on 2007-08-05.[37]

Under the Protect America Act of 2007, communications that begin or end in a foreign country may be wiretapped by the U.S. government without supervision by the FISA Court. The Act removes from the definition of “electronic surveillance” in FISA any surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. As such, surveillance of these communications no longer requires a government application to, and order issuing from, the FISA Court.

The Act provides procedures for the government to “certify” the legality of an acquisition program, for the government to issue directives to providers to provide data or assistance under a particular program, and for the government and recipient of a directive to seek from the FISA Court, respectively, an order to compel provider compliance or relief from an unlawful directive. Providers receive costs and full immunity from civil suits for compliance with any directives issued pursuant to the Act.

A summary of key provisions follows. The Act empowers the Attorney General or Director of National Intelligence (“DNI”) to authorize, for up to one year, the acquisition of communications concerning “persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States” if the Attorney General and DNI determine that each of five criteria has been met:

  • There are reasonable procedures in place for determining that the acquisition concerns persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States;
  • The acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance (meaning it does not involve solely domestic communications);
  • The acquisition involves obtaining the communications data from or with the assistance of a communications service provider who has access to communications;
  • A significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information; and
  • Minimization procedures outlined in the FISA will be used.

This determination by the Attorney General and DNI must be certified in writing, under oath, and supported by appropriate affidavit(s). If immediate action by the government is required and time does not permit the preparation of a certification, the Attorney General or DNI can direct the acquisition orally, with a certification to follow within 72 hours. The certification is then filed with the FISA Court.

Once the certification is filed with the FISA Court, the Attorney General or DNI can direct a provider to undertake or assist in the undertaking of the acquisition.

If a provider fails to comply with a directive issued by the Attorney General or DNI, the Attorney General may seek an order from the FISA Court compelling compliance with the directive. Failure to obey an order of the FISA Court may be punished as a contempt of court.

Likewise, a person receiving a directive may challenge the legality of that directive by filing a petition with the FISA Court. An initial review must be conducted within 48 hours of the filing to determine whether the petition is frivolous, and a final determination concerning any non-frivolous petitions must be made – in writing – within 72 hours of receipt of the petition.

Determinations of the FISA Court may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Court of Appeals, and a petition for a writ of certiorari of a decision from the FICA can be made to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All petitions must be filed under seal.

The Act allows providers to be compensated, at the prevailing rate, for providing assistance as directed by the Attorney General or DNI.

The Act provides explicit immunity from civil suit in any federal or state court for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive under the Act.

Within 120 days, the Attorney General must submit to the FISA Court for its approval the procedures by which the government will determine that acquisitions authorized by the Act conform with the Act and do not involve purely domestic communications. The FISA Court then will determine whether the procedures comply with the Act. The FISA Court thereafter will enter an order either approving the procedures or directing the government to submit new procedures within 30 days or cease any acquisitions under the government procedures. The government may appeal a ruling of the FISA Court to the FICA and ultimately the Supreme Court.

On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall inform the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees of the House and Senate of incidents of noncompliance with a directive issued by the Attorney General or the DNI, incidents of noncompliance with FISA Court-approved procedures by the Intelligence Community, and the number of certifications and directives issued during the reporting period.

The amendments to FISA made by the Act expire 180 days after enactment, except that any order in effect on the date of enactment remains in effect until the date of expiration of such order and such orders can be reauthorized by the FISA Court.”[38] The Act expired on February 17, 2008.

Subsequent developments

Legal experts experienced in national security issues are divided on how broadly the new law could be interpreted or applied. Some believe that due to subtle changes in the definitions of terms such as “electronic surveillance”, it could empower the government to conduct warrantless physical searches and even seizures of communications and computer devices and their data which belong to U.S. citizens while they are in the United States, if the government contended that those searches and potential seizures were related to its surveillance of parties outside the United States. Intelligence officials, while declining to comment directly on such possibilities, respond that such interpretations are overly broad readings of the act, and unlikely to actually occur. Democratic lawmakers have nonetheless indicated that they are planning to introduce a revised version of the legislation for consideration as early as September 2007.[39]

In a September 10, 2007 address at a symposium on modernizing FISA held at Georgetown University Law Center‘s National Security Center, Kenneth L. Wainstein, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, argued against the current six-month sunset provision in the Protect America Act of 2007, saying that the broadened surveillance powers the act provides for should be made permanent. Wainstein proposed that internal audits by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Division of the Justice Department, with reporting to select groups of Congressmen, would ensure that the expanded capability would not be abused.[40]

Also on September 10, DNI Mike McConnell testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs that the Protect America Act had helped foil a major terror plot in Germany. U.S. intelligence-community officials questioned the accuracy of McConnell’s testimony and urged his office to correct it, which he did in a statement issued September 12, 2007. Critics cited the incident as an example of the Bush administration’s exaggerated claims and contradictory statements about surveillance activities. Counterterrorism officials familiar with the background of McConnell’s testimony said they did not believe he made inaccurate statements intentionally as part of any strategy by the administration to persuade Congress to make the new eavesdropping law permanent. Those officials said they believed McConnell gave the wrong answer because he was overwhelmed with information and merely mixed up his facts.[41]

Speaking at National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland on September 19, 2007, President George W. Bush urged Congress to make the provisions of the Protect America Act permanent. Bush also called for retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who had cooperated with government surveillance efforts, saying, “It’s particularly important for Congress to provide meaningful liability protection to those companies now facing multibillion-dollar lawsuits only because they are believed to have assisted in efforts to defend our nation, following the 9/11 attacks”.[42]

On October 4, 2007, the bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee of the Constitution Project, co-chaired by David Keene and David D. Cole, issued its “Statement on the Protect America Act”.[43] The Statement urged Congress not to reauthorize the PAA, saying the language of the bill “runs contrary to the tripartite balance of power the Framers envisioned for our constitutional democracy, and poses a serious threat to the very notion of government of the people, by the people and for the people”. Some in the legal community have questioned the constitutionality of any legislation that would retroactively immunize telecommunications firms alleged to have cooperated with the government from civil liability for having potentially violated their customers’ privacy rights.[44]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry found significant flaws in the technical implementation of the Protect America Act which they said created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by the government.[45]

On October 7, 2007, the Washington Post reported that House Democrats planned to introduce alternative legislation which would provide for one-year “umbrella” warrants, and would require the Justice Department inspector general to audit the use of those warrants and issue quarterly reports to a special FISA court and to Congress. The proposed bill would not include immunity for telecommunications firms facing lawsuits in connection with the administration’s NSA warrantless surveillance program. House Democrats said that as long as the administration withholds requested documents explaining the basis for the program that they cannot consider immunity for firms alleged to have facilitated it.[46] On October 10, 2007 comments on the White House South Lawn, President Bush said he would not sign any bill that did not provide retroactive immunity for telecommunications corporations.[47]

On October 18, 2007, the House Democratic leadership put off a vote on the proposed legislation by the full chamber to avoid consideration of a Republican measure that made specific references to Osama bin Laden. At the same time, the Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly reached a compromise with the White House on a different proposal that would give telephone carriers legal immunity for any role they played in the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program approved by President Bush after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.[48]

On November 15, 2007, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-9 along party lines to send an alternative measure to the full Senate other than the one the intelligence committee had crafted with the White House. The proposal would leave to the full Senate whether or not to provide retroactive immunity to telecommunications firms that cooperated with the NSA. Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy said that granting such immunity would give the Bush administration a “blank check” to do what it wants without regard to the law. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the committee, said that court cases may be the only way Congress can learn exactly how far outside the law the administration has gone in eavesdropping in the United States. When the full Senate takes up the bill, Specter is expected to offer a compromise that would shield the companies from financial ruin but allow lawsuits to go forward by having the federal government stand in for the companies at trial.[49]

On the same day, the House of Representatives voted 227-189 to approve a Democratic bill that would expand court oversight of government surveillance inside the United States while denying immunity to telecom companies. House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers left the door open to an immunity deal in the future, but said that the White House must first give Congress access to classified documents specifying what the companies did that requires legal immunity.[50]

Wikisource has original text related to this article:

In February 2008, the Senate passed the version of the new FISA that would allow telecom companies immunity. On March 13, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives held a secret session to discuss related information. On March 14, the House voted 213-197 to approve a bill that would not grant telecom immunity — far short of the 2/3 majority required to override a Presidential veto.[51] The Senate and House bills are compared and contrasted in a June 12, 2008 report from the Congressional Research Service.[52]

On March 13, 2008, the House of Representatives held a secret, closed door meeting to debate changes to the FISA bill.[53][54]

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

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald (born March 6, 1967) is an American political journalist, lawyer, columnist, blogger, and author. In August 2012, he left Salon.com, where he was a columnist, to become a columnist at the US edition of The Guardian newspaper,[1][2] to which he has contributed since June 2011.[3][4][5]

Greenwald worked as a constitutional and civil rights litigator before becoming a contributor (columnist and blogger) to Salon.com, where he focused on political and legal topics.[6] He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times,[7][8][9] the Los Angeles Times,[10] The American Conservative,[11] The National Interest,[12] and In These Times.[13][14]

Greenwald has written four books, three of which have been New York Times bestsellers: How Would a Patriot Act? (2006); A Tragic Legacy (2007), and With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, released in October 2011. He also wrote Great American Hypocrites (2008).

Greenwald has received awards including the first Izzy Award for independent journalism, in 2009,[15] and the 2010 Online Journalism Award for Best Commentary.[16] Greenwald is a frequent speaker on college campuses, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, UCLA School of Law, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Maryland and others. He also appears on various radio and television programs as a guest political pundit.

Early life

Greenwald was born on March 6, 1967, in Queens, New York City, the son of Arlene and Daniel Greenwald.[17] Shortly after his birth Greenwald moved with his family to South Florida.[6][18] He earned a B.A. from George Washington University in 1990 and a J.D. from New York University Law School in 1994.[6]

Career

Litigation attorney

Greenwald practiced law in the Litigation Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz (1994–1995); in 1996 he co-founded his own litigation firm, called Greenwald Christoph & Holland (later renamed Greenwald Christoph PC), where he litigated cases concerning issues of U.S. constitutional law and civil rights.[6][18] According to Greenwald, “I decided voluntarily to wind down my practice in 2005 because I could, and because, after ten years, I was bored with litigating full-time and wanted to do other things which I thought were more engaging and could make more of an impact, including political writing.”[18]

Unclaimed Territory

Greenwald started his blog Unclaimed Territory in October 2005, focusing on the investigation pertaining to the Valerie Plame affair, the CIA leak grand jury investigation, the federal indictment of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby and the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy. In April 2006, Unclaimed Territory received the 2005 Koufax Award for “Best New Blog”.[6]

Salon

In February 2007, Greenwald became a contributing writer at Salon.com, and the new column and blog superseded Unclaimed Territory, though Salon.com prominently features hyperlinks to it in Greenwald’s dedicated biographical section.[19][20]

Among the frequent topics of his Salon articles were the investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks, and the candidacy of former CIA official John O. Brennan for the jobs of either Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (D/CIA) or the next Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after the election of Barack Obama. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for the post after opposition centered in liberal blogs and led by Greenwald.[21][22][23][23][24][25]

Greenwald’s criticism of the conditions in which U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks leaker, was being held ultimately led to a formal investigation by the U.N. high official on torture,[26][27] denunciations by Amnesty International,[28] and the resignation of State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley after he publicly criticized Manning’s detention conditions.[29] Since then, Greenwald has been a strong supporter of Manning. He calls Manning “a whistle-blower acting with the noblest of motives”, and “a national hero similar to Daniel Ellsberg.”[30]

The Guardian

Greenwald left Salon.com on August 20, 2012 for The Guardian, citing “the opportunity to reach a new audience, to further internationalize my readership, and to be re-invigorated by a different environment” as reasons for the move.[31]

Guest appearances

Greenwald has appeared as a ’round table’ guest on ABC’s Sunday morning news show “This Week”, HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher”, Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report”, NPR’s “All Things Considered”, as well as numerous times on C-SPAN‘s Washington Journal; Pacifica Radio‘s syndicated series Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman;[32] on Public Radio International‘s To the Point; MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow Show, “Morning Joe“, The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Up with Chris Hayes, and Dylan Ratigan‘s “Morning Meeting”; Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume;[33]. Greenwald has been a regular guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show (and was a friend and favorite guest of Hewitt’s frequent guest host, Dean Barnett) and on PBS‘s Bill Moyers Journal.[34][35][36]

Accolades

Greenwald has been placed on numerous ‘top 50’ and ‘top 25’ lists of columnists in the United States.[37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45] In June, 2012, Newsweek magazine named him one of America’s Top 10 Opinionists, saying that “a righteous, controlled, and razor-sharp fury runs through a great deal” of his writing, and: “His independent persuasion can make him a danger or an asset to both sides of the aisle.”[46]

Personal life

Greenwald is gay, and lives most of the time in Rio de Janeiro, the hometown of his Brazilian partner, David Michael Miranda.[18][47][48][49][50] In a profile in Out magazine, Greenwald explained that his residence in Brazil is due to the fact that American law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), bars the federal recognition of same-sex marriages and thus prevents his partner from obtaining immigration rights in the US.[51]

Greenwald and his partner have 11 dogs, all rescued from the street,[52][53], and he frequently picks up dogs from the street and uses his platforms to find homes for them.[54][55][56]

Books

Greenwald’s first book, How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values From a President Run Amok, was published by Working Assets in 2006. It was a New York Times bestseller,[57] and ranked #1 on Amazon.com both before its publication (due to pre-orders based on attention from ‘UT’ readers and other bloggers) and for several days after its release, ending its first week at #293.[58]

A Tragic Legacy, his second book, examines the presidency of George W. Bush “with an emphasis on his personality traits and beliefs that drove the presidency (along with an emphasis on how and why those personality traits have led to a presidency that has failed to historic proportions).”[59] Published in hardback by Crown (a division of Random House) on June 26, 2007 and reprinted in a paperback edition by Three Rivers Press on April 8, 2008, it too was a New York Times Best Seller, also ranking #1 for a day on Amazon.com’s Non-Fiction Best Seller List and #2 the next day (also due to heavy “discussions and promotions by blogs – a campaign catalyzed by Jane Hamsher [at FireDogLake]”, according to Greenwald).[60]

His third book, entitled Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, was published by Random House in April 2008, the same month that Three Rivers Press reissued A Tragic Legacy in paperback.[61][62]

His fourth book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful, was released by Metropolitan Books (of Henry Holt and Company) in October 2011.

Political views

Greenwald is critical of actions jointly supported by Democrats and Republicans, writing: “the worst and most tyrannical government actions in Washington are equally supported on a fully bipartisan basis.”[63] In the preface to his first book, How Would a Patriot Act? (2006), Greenwald opens with some of his own personal political history, describing his ‘pre-political’ self as neither liberal nor conservative as a whole, voting neither for George W. Bush nor for any of his rivals (indeed, not voting at all).[64]

Bush’s ascendancy to the U.S. Presidency “changed” Greenwald’s previous uninvolved political attitude toward the electoral process “completely”:

Over the past five years, a creeping extremism has taken hold of our federal government, and it is threatening to radically alter our system of government and who we are as a nation. This extremism is neither conservative nor liberal in nature, but is instead driven by theories of unlimited presidential power that are wholly alien, and antithetical, to the core political values that have governed this country since its founding”; for, “the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongering—fear of terrorists, specifically—means that not only our system of government is radically changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and what it means to be American.”[64]

Believing that “It is incumbent upon all Americans who believe in that system, bequeathed to us by the founders, to defend it when it is under assault and in jeopardy. And today it is”, he stresses: “I did not arrive at these conclusions eagerly or because I was predisposed by any previous partisan viewpoint. Quite the contrary.”[64]

Resistant to applying ideological labels to himself, he emphasizes repeatedly that he is a strong advocate for U.S. constitutional “balance of powers”[14] and for constitutionally-protected civil and political rights in his writings and public appearances.[6]

Throughout his work he has relentlessly criticized the policies of the George W. Bush administration and those who support or enable it, arguing that most of the American “Corporate News Media” excuse Bush’s policies and echo administration talking points rather than asking hard questions.[49][32]

Regarding civil liberties in the age of Obama, he elaborated on his conception of change when he said, “I think the only means of true political change will come from people working outside of that [two-party electoral] system to undermine it, and subvert it, and weaken it, and destroy it; not try to work within it to change it.”[65] He did, however, raise money for Russ Feingold’s 2010 Senate re-election bid,[66] Bill Halter’s 2010 primary challenge to Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln [67] as well as several Congressional candidates in 2012 he described as “unique”.[68]

Greenwald has been criticized regarding his positions which are critical of Israel’s foreign policy and influence on U.S. politics.[69][70][71][72][73]

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

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Big Brother Bill Gates Funds k-12 Tracking of Students With InBloom Database — Invasion of Privacy — Opt Out — Videos

Posted on March 26, 2013. Filed under: American History, Babies, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Economics, Education, Employment, Fiscal Policy, High School, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Rants, Raves, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Tutorials, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

SOFTWARE- GATES

gateswide

Keynote: Bill Gates – SXSWedu 2013

The Bottom Line :Education Database

Defining the Need — inBloom

inBloom Vision

How inBloom’s shared data services work for educators and learners

inBloom Tagger Demo

inBloom Dashboard Demo

inBloom

inBloom launches with Gates/Carnegie funds to unify e-learning services

Summary: Despite the recent explosion in ed tech applications and services, adoption and use of data remains a significant challenge. InBloom’s new platform just may change that.

By Christopher Dawson for ZDNet Education

As recently as a couple years ago, the biggest problem schools faced with implementing technology tools for students and teachers was the lack of research-based, pedagogically sound, applications. There was plenty of software, some of it good, not much of it great, and very little of it really cranking out usable data for teachers and other stakeholders. The recent explosion of investment in ed tech has yielded some really valuable applications, though, and the challenges have shifted to adoption and ease of use of disparate software and services.

inBloom, which launched this week, is hoping to change that. I had the chance to talk with Iwan Streichenberger, CEO of inBloom, Inc., and couldn’t help but be impressed with both the current platform and the future vision of the non-profit. inBloom offers a set of technologies and services, most notably robust APIs, that allow single sign-on and aggregation of data from many web-based educational tools and provide a basis for companies to develop new solutions for schools, teachers, parents, and students that are interoperable without needing to conform to arbitrary standards or conventions. As the company put it in their press release,

The inBloom data integration and content search services enrich learning applications by connecting them to systems and information that currently live in a variety of different places and formats, while helping to reduce costs for states and districts. This comprehensive view into each student’s history can help those involved in education…act quickly to help each student succeed. It also helps educators locate standards-aligned instructional resources from multiple providers and match them with their students’ needs…

Additionally, the inBloom framework enables technology providers to develop and deploy products without having to build custom connections to each state and district data source. This means more developers will have the opportunity to create new and powerful applications to benefit students, with lower implementation costs and faster time-to-market.

For example, an SIS provider could build a custom dashboard with student data from any application connected to inBloom. 22 such providers have already signed on to connect their applications to inBloom and 9 states are involved in piloting the service. The real goal, though, goes back to the ed tech holy grail of “an IEP for everyone” (my words – inBloom calls it “[integration of] student data and learning applications to support sustainable, cost-effective personalized learning”). If teachers can’t easily access data generated by learning applications and stored in SIS/LMS platforms and then quickly find and provide appropriate resources for students based on these data, then we aren’t leveraging the tools in which we’re investing. Kids are just taking tests on the web and playing computer games at that point and, with 30+ kids in a class, there’s no real hope of differentiated instruction.

Although the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation have funded a wide range of educational initiatives, this one (which received initial philanthropic funding from the two organizations) strikes me as one of the most potentially transformative. Nobody benefits if the current unprecedented levels of investor interest in ed tech becomes a bubble that funded lots of applications from which teachers and students derive limited benefit. But if inBloom can harness these applications to develop a meaningful, well-rounded ecosystem, then the potential for ed tech to achieve much of what it has promised in the last 20 years (with only moderate success) increases significantly. It doesn’t hurt that companies with great ideas and great products will be able to tap into a ready market, either, eager to adopt strong applications from a unified ecosystem.

There will be more announcements and demonstrations from inBloom at SxSWEdu at the beginning of March where we’ll be able to see the system in action.

http://www.zdnet.com/inbloom-launches-with-gatescarnegie-funds-to-unify-e-learning-services-7000010900/

Bill Gates’ $100 million database to track students

Corporations gaining access to grades, addresses, hobbies, attitudes

By Michael F. Haverluck

Over the past 18 months, a massive $100 million public-school database spearheaded by the $36.4 billion-strong Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been in the making that freely shares student information with private companies.

The system has been in operation for several months and already contains millions of K-12 students’ personal identification ‒ ranging from name, address, Social Security number, attendance, test scores, homework completion, career goals, learning disabilities, and even hobbies and attitudes about school.

Claiming that the national database will enhance education, the main funder of the project, the Gates Foundation, entered the joint venture with the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from a number of states. After Rupert Murdoch’s Amplify Education (a division of News Corp) spent more than a year developing the system’s infrastructure, the Gates Foundation delivered it to inBloom ‒ a nonprofit corporation recently established to run the database.

School officials and private companies doing business with districts might have plenty to be happy about with this information-sharing system, but ParentalRights.org President Michael P. Farris says parents have plenty to worry about when it comes to inBloom’s national database.

“The greatest immediate threat to children is the threat to their privacy,” Farris told WND in an exclusive interview. “The Supreme Court has recognized a sphere of privacy within the family, but this project would take personal information about each child, apart from any considerations of parental consent, and put it into a database being managed and monitored solely by the government agencies and private corporations that use it.”

And with globalists like Bill Gates (the world’s second richest man with a net worth of $61 billion) and big government joining hands in the project, could children’s information be abused for ulterior motives?

“I cannot speak to Mr. Gates’ personal motivations, [but] the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been connected with human rights organizations that promote the internationalist mindset, and this project clearly fits with that agenda,” Farris explained. “The Convention on the Rights of the Child committee has repeatedly browbeat nations to create a national database just like this that will allow the government to track children, purportedly to make sure their human rights are being protected ‒ different declared purpose, same kind of system, same invasion of privacy for government purposes.”

Michael Farris

When contacted for comment about the benefits and potential dangers of the database, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not respond.

Breach of privacy?

Holding the legal right to control student information, local education officials reportedly have the authority under federal law to share database files with private companies ‒ such as Gates’ Microsoft ‒ that sell educational products and services so that they can mine the info to create new tailored products.

But Farris believes the digital information distribution system violates the constitutional rights of parents to protect their children.

“We believe parents have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children,” asserts Farris, who was named one of the “Top 100 Faces in Education of the 20th Century” by Education Week. “Historically, the Supreme Court has supported that right. That means parents are the primary guardians of a child’s privacy.”

He notes the hypocrisy of many globalist billionaires (such as Gates, whose 11-, 14- and 17-year-old children enjoy the extra security of private schools and for their own protection, have had to wait until the age of 13 to get a cell phone).

“This is just one more example of the elite internationalist double standard,” contends Farris, who also is the founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). “They are perfectly content to share your child’s personal information, while keeping their own children in private schools or under private tutors.”

Farris, who is also the founding president and current chancellor of Patrick Henry College, sees corporate leaders as using those of lesser means to benefit their own interests.

“They protect their own privacy at any cost, but you need to surrender yours for the good of their ideal society,” Farris adds. “Ultimately, it doesn’t seem so ideal for the rest of us.”

Farris insists that schools giving in to the corporate interests of billionaires, such as Gates and Murdoch, is a major breach of parental rights.

“Now the government is sharing private student information with other organizations without parental consent,” Farris points out. “We believe that infringes a child’s right to privacy, and it infringes the parents’ right to be the first line of defense for that child.”

Many parents concur and feel uneasy with school administrators having full control over their children’s files, especially with states and school districts having full discretion over whether student records are entered into the database.

“Once this information gets out there, it’s going to be abused,” parent Jason France told Reuters in Louisiana, which, along with New York, is slated to input virtually all student records statewide. “There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Illinois, Massachusetts, Colorado, Georgia, Delaware, Kentucky and North Carolina have pledged to contribute student records from various school districts.

Because federal officials claim that the national database does not violate privacy laws, the Department of Education maintains that no parental consent is needed by schools to share student records with any “school official” with a “legitimate educational interest” ‒ which includes school-contracted private companies.

Gates’ real take on security

Being in the business of contributing to educational technologies for decades, 57-year-old Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has much vested interest in education, and in years past, he has had much to say about the privacy of electronic information.

“Trustworthy Computing is the highest priority for all the work we are doing,” Gates stated a decade ago in a famous company-wide memo at Microsoft. “We must lead the industry to a whole new level of Trustworthiness in computing.”

And by “trustworthy,” Gates was referring to not letting people’s information get into the wrong hands.

“Users should be in control of how their data is used,” explained Gates ‒ who believes that his customers’ information should not be freely distributed, but does not hold that view when it comes to parents and the records of their children.

“Policies for information use should be clear to the user. Users should be in control … it should be easy for users to specify appropriate use of their information …”

In fact, when it comes to protecting and courting customers, Gates has spared no cost.

“So now, when we face a choice between adding features and resolving security issues, we need to choose security,” states the memo from Gates, whose $150 million, 66,000-square-foot home on Lake Washington has a 2,500-square-foot gym, a 1,000 square-foot living room and a 60-foot swimming pool complete with an underwater music system. “Our products should emphasize security right out of the box, and we must constantly refine and improve that security as threats evolve.”

Bill Gates’ home on Lake Washington, near Seattle

Despite his endorsement of the school database, Gates ‒ who gave up first place in global net worth to Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helu ($69 billion) after giving away $28 billion through his foundation ‒ is a strong backer of International Data Privacy Day, which has this to say about protecting people’s information:

“In this networked world, in which we are thoroughly digitized, with our identities, locations, actions, purchases, associations, movements, and histories stored as so many bits and bytes, we have to ask – who is collecting all of this data – what are they doing with it – with whom are they sharing it? Most of all, individuals are asking ‘How can I protect my information from being misused?’ These are reasonable questions to ask – we should all want to know the answers.”

Officials of the annual event proclaim endorsement of the very principles that Gates’ new public school database evidently tramples.

“Data Privacy Day promotes awareness about the many ways personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared, and education about privacy practices that will enable individuals to protect their personal information,” the events’ organizers declare.

Student security not a priority

Even though the facilitator of the public school database promises that it will keep a tight rein on students’ information, a closer look into inBloom’s privacy policy shows another stance.

“[inBloom] cannot guarantee the security of the information stored … or that the information will not be intercepted when it is being transmitted,” the company’s documentation states.

Unlike most software and Internet users, parents have little recourse when it comes to protecting their children’s information on the database. Voicing their concerns with state officials via written protests, parents of public schoolers from Louisiana and New York are up-in-arms. Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in Massachusetts, as well as attorneys in New York, are following suit.

But according to Farris, public education is just fanning the flames of parental fears that “Big Brother” is tightening its grip on the masses by treating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) as a “living and breathing document” to undermine its original intent.

“We know the Department of Education quietly modified their understanding of FERPA law in the last two years to allow for a system like this,” Farris argues. “Homeschool Legal Defense Association, of which I am chairman, filed a letter with the Department opposing their intended changes, but like all such letters in this particular instance, our input was ignored.”

And has Bill Gates’ personal information been as freely accessible as he would public schoolers’ to be? Not exactly.

Just earlier this month, the now part-timer from Microsoft (since 2008) has been made the latest victim of celebrity data exposure, with his Social Security number, birthdate, credit card number and full credit report being posted online. No comment has been made whether Gates believes the dissemination of his SSN is a breach of privacy, but his heavy involvement in the school database indicates that sharing such information of public school students isn’t a breach.

And just how important is privacy to Gates?

In 1994, when he married Melinda in a private ceremony on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, he bought out every unoccupied room of all nearby hotels and booked every helicopter in the surrounding area to ensure privacy from photographers.

Reports also indicate that First Lady Michelle Obama was also a recent victim of having her SSN and credit report posted online. She and a couple dozen celebrities were impersonated by hackers who entered some of their basic personal information into a website ‒ the same type of information (of students) school officials are entering into their system by the millions.

President Barack Obama recently expressed his concern over electronic information being exploited by others, and when it comes to info being dispersed about his wife, he is dispatching U.S. authorities to investigate.

“We should not be surprised that if we’ve got hackers that want to dig in and have a lot of resources, that they can access this information,” Obama told ABC News. “Again, not sure how accurate but … you’ve got websites out there that tell people’s credit card info. That’s how sophisticated they are.”

And to make it easy for companies to tap in, inBloom has made its service free, but is likely to begin charging for its use by 2015.

Opening the Gates agenda?

Much concern has been expressed over the years regarding the driving force behind Gates and his organizations, which have demonstrated unflagging support of many leftist causes.

Just last week, the richest man in America lamented that Obama’s powers are too restricted.

“Some days, I wish we had a system like the U.K. where, you know, the party in power could do a lot and you know, you’d see how it went and then fine, you could un-elect them,” Gates proclaimed at a Politico event when asked about Obama’s performance as president, according to the Daily Caller.

In a speech just over a week ago at the Global Grand Challenges Summit put on by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Gates said capitalism “means male baldness research gets more funding than malaria,” , according to Wired Magazine.

Since the inception of the Gates Foundation in 1994, the same year Gates spent $30.8 million at an auction for a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester writings, he has been a staunch supporter of population control through vaccines and other methods.

Last summer, Gates and his wife represented their foundation at a “family planning” summit in London hosted by the U.K. Department of International Development, which included Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Populations Fund, along with other prominent pro-abortion advocates.

And at the exclusive Technology, Entertainment and Design 2010 Conference in Long Beach, Calif., Gates presented this population-control formula: P (people) x S (services per persons) x E (average energy per service) x C (average CO2 emitted per unit of energy) = CO2 (total CO2 emitted by population per year).

In his speech titled “Innovating to Zero!” he talked about keeping the world population from peaking at an estimated 9.3 billion.

“First we got population,” Gates explained. “The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

Even though Gates suggested at the invitation-only event that using vaccines is one means to reduce world population, his foundation focuses media attention on other goals, such as eradicating measles and polio.

But the foundation’s extreme measures taken to administer the shots to undeveloped nations are often underreported.

In 2011, few people knew about partners of the Gates foundation forcing 131 Malawian children against their religious convictions to receive measles vaccinations at gunpoint as part of achieving the goal of vaccinating every child on earth, as reported by Natural News.

Gates, an ex-Boy Scout, is also an advocate of homosexual behavior, stating at last week’s Politico event that the youth organization should “absolutely” lift its ban on “gay” members when asked his opinion.

Standing side-by-side with Planned Parenthood ‒ which has documented that promoting homosexuality is one of its tactics behind population control ‒ Gates’ Microsoft was a major contributors to last year’s successful election campaign that worked to legalize same-sex marriage in his native Washington state.

The future of Gates’ database?

The new school database is not moving forward without legal resistance.

“It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors,” contended Electronic Privacy Law Center Administrative Counsel Khaliah Barnes in a statement to the Daily News. “What happens if a company using the data is compromised? What happens if the company goes out of business? We don’t know the answers.”

The issue over the database is being brought to the forefront as a major civil rights issue.

“Turning massive amounts of personal data about public school students to a private corporation without any public input is profoundly disturbing and irresponsible,” New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna told the Daily News.

The NYCLU is castigating New York State officials for denying parents the choice to opt out of the controversial program and for failing to warn parents of its implementation.

To counter Gates’ school database project, ParentalRights.org urges Americans to sign a petition supporting the Parental Rights Amendment, which will codify the fundamental right of parents in the U.S. Constitution to direct the upbringing, education and care of their children.

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Glenn Beck on David Petreaus sex scandal

Petraeus Sex Scandal: FBI Agent Who Launched Investigation ID’d as Frederick H

Barack Obama Questions Petraeus in September 2007

The Benghazi Gates Part 1, A Two Pronged Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi Libya

Benghazi Gates Part 2, What Happened to Ambassador Stevens?

Michael Savage on New Benghazi Information Uncovered – 10/26/12

[youtubr=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Eo3sP1gn4&feature=related]

Killed U.S. Ambassador Illustrates Obama’s Disastrous Foreign Policy in Libya

The Obama Libya Cover Up Explained pt1

The Obama Libya Cover Up Explained pt2

Background Articles and Videos

Insider! CIA is Purging The U.S. Military in Globalist Coup!

Chris Stevens, U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Rocket Attack, Served As Envoy During Revolution

Muhammad Movie Trailer : “Life of Muhammad” (US ambassador killed over this film.)

U.S. Envoy Chris Stevens Delivers Remarks on the Situation in Libya

Remembering U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens

Hillary Clinton address regarding Libya Killing of Chris Stevens

Benghazi Libya Attack: State Department’s Charlene R. Lamb Opening Statement

GEN Petraeus Exit Interview

A Conversation with Gen. David Petraeus

Top GOP lawmaker pressures Clapper to explain altered talking points on Libya

By Catherine Herridge

“…The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is demanding an immediate explanation from the nation’s top intelligence official, James Clapper, for what the chairman says were inconsistent statements to Congress and to the public on who was behind changes to the CIA talking points on the Libya consulate attack in September.

Critics say the Obama administration initially minimized the role of terrorism despite evidence of a coordinated attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the assault.

Testimony last week on Capitol Hill raised additional questions about the administration’s changing story on the attack, putting new pressure on Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the Intelligence Committee chairman, “looks forward to discussing this new explanation with Director Clapper as soon as possible to understand how (his office) reached this conclusion and why leaders of the intelligence community testified late last week that they were unaware of who changed the talking points,” Rogers spokeswoman Susan Phalen told Fox News.

Fox News was told by one source that Clapper, in a classified session on Thursday, was “unequivocal, and without hesitation insisted the changes were made outside the Intelligence community. He didn’t know who but was emphatic he would find out.”

A day later, former CIA Director David Petraeus also stated changes were made after his agency drafted the talking points, adding no one imagined how changing the language would end up being such a big deal.

But late Monday night, Clapper spokesman Shawn Turner said in a series of briefings for reporters that the intelligence community was solely responsible for “substantive” changes to the talking points, which were finalized on Sept. 15 – four days after the attack and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s controversial appearance on five Sunday talk shows, when she described the attack as spontaneous violence that grew out of protests of an anti-Islam film.

Along with changing “al Qaeda” to “extremists,” the new talking points timeline stated the FBI apparently wanted a change in the language from the U.S. “knew” Islamic extremists were involved to “there are indications.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told Fox News the timeline reinforces his view the changes were driven by security considerations, not politics.

“To anyone who was listening, it was clear from General Petraeus and other intelligence officials who testified last week that the talking points were amended to protect classified sources of information and were not subject to any political spin by the White House or ambassador to the U.N.,” Schiff said.

John Bolton, a U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in the George W. Bush administration, said Clapper must now explain the genesis of the administration’s initial statements, which blamed a video for sparking a demonstration that was hijacked by terrorists, when the available and immediate raw intelligence strongly supported a pre-meditated terrorist attack.

“I think Clapper has to say publicly whether he advocated the YouTube video theory, whether he pressed it on the White House and others in the intelligence community,” Bolton told Fox News. “And if so, did he do that at the direction of the White House?”

The new timeline on the talking points – released by Clapper’s office – does not address another inconsistency, first reported by the Daily Beast. After the Sept. 11 attack, diplomatic security agents were evacuated from the Benghazi consulate to Ramstein Air Base in Germany. By Sept. 14, two days before Rice’s Sunday show appearances and one day before the talking points were finalized, the FBI had learned from consulate agents that there was no demonstration when the attack unfolded. This single data point appeared to gut the administration’s anti-video protest theory.

Fox News asked the Office of the Director of National Intelligence for specifics on the timeline, as well as for comment on Rep. Rogers’ claims, but calls and emails were not immediately returned.

A Capitol Hill source who asked not to be identified, given the sensitive nature of the topic, noted this seemed to be the second time Clapper’s office had “fallen on its sword” in the Benghazi matter. On Sept. 28, in a statement released late in the day, spokesman Turner explained their “evolving” understand of the assault. Turner said the initial view, that the attack spontaneously grew out of a protest of the anti-Islam video, was now abandoned, and the evidence supported a “deliberate and organized terrorist assault.” …”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/20/top-gop-lawmaker-pressures-clapper-to-explain-altered-talking-points-on-libya/#ixzz2CsyuIp91

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BmHHKOf_T4

Topic: James Clapper

CBS: DNI Changed Talking Points

Alana Goodman

“…CBS reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence removed references to terrorism from the CIA talking points before distribution:

CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI. The White House or State Department did not make those changes. …

However, an intelligence source tells CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan the links to al Qaeda were deemed too “tenuous” to make public, because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence. CIA Director David Petraeus, however, told Congress he agreed to release the information — the reference to al Qaeda — in an early draft of the talking points, which were also distributed to select lawmakers. …

The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.

Brennan says her source wouldn’t confirm who in the agency suggested the final edits which were signed off on by all intelligence agencies.

First, the CIA answers to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so the whole notion that the CIA “agreed” to the changes is moot. They “agreed” to the changes because they were told to by the ODNI. Second, Clapper is clearly sprinting from this — the responsibility for the changes is pinned vaguely on the “Office of the Director of National Intelligence,” without much mention of him. The article actually leaves open the possibility that somebody else within the ODNI changed the talking points without running the changes by Clapper first, as if that’s believable. …”

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/topic/james-clapper/

Scapegoating James Clapper Won’t End Benghazi Scandal

“…Cover-Up: Intel chief James Clapper taking blame for dishonest talking points won’t cauterize the Benghazi scandal. The country was still lied to about terrorists killing four Americans for the sake of Obama’s re-election.

As Benghazigate became a major pre-election embarrassment for the president, a number of commentators quipped to Obama defenders who minimized its significance that, unlike in Libya on Sept. 11, “nobody died in Watergate.”

Watergate is an apt comparison in some ways. The whole underlying purpose of the 1972 attempted bugging of the Democratic National Committee headquarters was to get President Nixon re-elected. The whole underlying purpose of lying about the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and ex-Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, was to get President Obama re-elected.

In Watergate, the objective was to collect information that could persuade people not to vote for the Democratic nominee for president.

In Benghazigate, the objective was to suppress the truth that al-Qaida had organized a Sept. 11 attack with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades on a vulnerable diplomatic post in Libya so that the president’s convention speech claim that “al-Qaida is on the path to defeat” would not be exposed as false.

In Watergate, the fiction was that, as Nixon put it, “no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.”

In Benghazigate, the fiction was, as America’s United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice claimed on Fox News two months ago (and in four similar TV appearances), that “the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack, that what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction . .. as a consequence of the video” insulting Mohammad.

CBS News last week reported that it was the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, headed by Clapper, that “cut specific references to ‘al-Qaida’ and ‘terrorism’ from the unclassified talking points given” to Rice “with the agreement of the CIA and FBI.”

CBS assures us that “the White House or State Department did not make those changes.” But the DNI was established in 2005 at the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission to centralize authority over intelligence, to “manage the national intelligence program and oversee the agencies that contribute to it.”

Clapper is the president’s man . For all practical purposes, he is White House staff, as much as the national security adviser. He attends Oval Office meetings and discerns the wishes of the president and senior staff.

As the DNI told CBS News, “The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” And as CBS noted, “That information was shared at a classified level — which Rice, as a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, would have been privy to.”

The upshot: Clapper being the fall guy shortly after Obama’s re-election ends Benghazigate about as much as G. Gordon Liddy going down shortly after Nixon’s re-election ended Watergate.

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/112012-634215-blaming-intel-chief-wont-end-benghazigate.htm#ixzz2CsTNGab5

Benghazigate: Obama’s Many Lies About Libya

By Daniel Greenfield

“…In his interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Obama claimed to take offense at, “The suggestion that in any way, we haven’t tried to make sure that the American people knew as the information was coming in what we believed.”

That sentence is not only incredibly convoluted, shifting the blame not just to the intel, but to the perception of that intel held by some vague group of “We’s” who may include anyone in the administration. But it’s a ridiculous finger wagging moment from a man who repeatedly blamed the video for a heavily armed assault on an American consulate.

The man who only told the American people about the Libyan War several days after it began, who has lied about Fast and Furious, who even in the language of his own media supporters runs the least transparent administration since King George III has no right to act offended when he is challenged for putting out gross misinformation and locking up a filmmaker based on that misinformation.

The feigned self-righteousness is Obama’s version of Clinton’s “finger-wagging” moment over accusations of improprieties.

Libya is to Obama as Monica was to Clinton.

1. Obama lied about the cause of the war in the form of a supposed massacre of 70,000 people that threatened Benghazi.

2. Obama lied about the purpose of the war, claiming that the goal was not regime change. He lied about this to the UN and to the American people.

3. Obama lied about our level of collaboration with the rebels, which was not supposed to exist at all, but involved coordinating their movements and attack plans

4. Obama lied about the duration of the war and about ending American participation in the war shortly after it began

5. Obama lied about having American personnel on the ground during the war, as reported by the New York Times

With all those lies, his show of self-righteousness is pathetically misplaced.

The official fallback story is that Obama had “bad intel” on what happened in Benghazi. This “bad intel” somehow caused Obama and his officials to continue spouting nonsense about a video and a protest, at a time when even those of us in the cheap seats were accurately reporting that this had been a planned attack. So either our “intel” is better than the CIA’s, or the problem wasn’t with the intel. Not when one of the first reports had already nailed Ansar Al-Sharia as the perpetrators and everyone knew that heavy weaponry, completely inconsistent with a spontaneous protest, had been used against the consulate.

But reporters are now carefully phrasing leading questions for Obama and his cronies, complete with “bad intel”. These questions wouldn’t be allowed in court, but they’re fine for the professional class of journalists who include the alibi as a premise in their questions.

A classic example of this travesty took place on Morning Joe. “Scarborough aided and abetted him by asking, “Was it the intel community giving you bad information early on because the stories keep changing?”

The real question here is why the stories have kept changing. Scarborough tries to cover for Obama by blaming the bad intel for the obvious problem of the changing stories. But there is no evidence of bad intel. There is evidence of changing stories. And changing stories mean either incompetence or deceit.

Former National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane has said, “To have known what he had available, to have known that Americans were under fire, and to have done nothing, is dereliction of duty that I have never seen in a Commander in Chief from a president of any party. ” …”

http://frontpagemag.com/2012/dgreenfield/benghazigate-obamas-many-lies-about-libya/

McClatchy: Obama admin changed story on Benghazi to blame video 3 days after attack

posted at 8:41 am on October 19, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

“…Barack Obama insisted in the presidential debate on Tuesday night that he had called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” in his Rose Garden address the next day. Fact-checkers called shenanigans on that claim, but McClatchy notes that Obama did call it an “act of terror” the next day at campaign stops in Colorado and Nevada on September 13th. On the same day, the State Department refused to link the Benghazi attack to the YouTube video that media outlets like the New York Times and AFP had. Hillary Clinton called it a terrorist attack that evening.

However, the next day, things began to change, as McClatchy’s Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay report in their in-depth look at how the narrative shifted toward the YouTube video instead of an al-Qaeda attack:

With images of besieged U.S. missions in the Middle East still leading the evening news, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney became the first official to back away from the earlier declaration that the Benghazi assault was a “complex attack” by extremists. Instead, Carney told reporters, authorities “have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.” He added that there was no reason to think that the Benghazi attack wasn’t related to the video, given that the clip had sparked protests in many Muslim cities.

“The unrest that we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims, find offensive,” Carney said.

When pressed by reporters who pointed out evidence that the violence in Benghazi was preplanned, Carney said that “news reports” had speculated about the motive. He noted again that “the unrest around the region has been in response to this video.”

Carney then launched into remarks that read like talking points in defense of the U.S. decision to intervene in last year’s uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi: that post-Gadhafi Libya, he said, is “one of the more pro-American countries in the region,” that it’s led by a new government “that has just come out of a revolution,” and that the lack of security capabilities there “is not necessarily reflective of anything except for the remarkable transformation that’s been going on in the region.”

By that Sunday, Sept. 16, the evolution of the narrative was complete when Rice, the U.N. ambassador, showed up on all five major morning talk shows to make the most direct public connection yet between the Benghazi assault and the incendiary video.

While she couched her remarks in caveats – “based on the information we have at present,” for example – Rice clearly intended to make the link before a large American audience.

Why did the story change? State had watched the attack unfold in real time at Foggy Bottom through its security video system, a fact that got revealed at the House Oversight Committee hearings. That’s why State insisted that they had never considered this a “spontaneous demonstration” that “spun out of control,” as Rice insisted on five Sunday talk shows and as Carney tried to claim two days earlier. Similarly, the intel community has leaked on more than one occasion that while the data they had was conflicting, they didn’t conclude it was a demonstration that got out of hand — and several days later, that should have been even more clear.

Allam and Landy hit the nail on the head in their connection of this to Obama’s intervention to decapitate the Qaddafi regime. The rise of radical Islamist terrorist groups in eastern Libya, including al-Qaeda, comes as a direct result of that intervention. The central government in Tripoli has no control now over the Benghazi region. Furthermore, everyone knew before the intervention that AQ and other radicals operated in the eastern part of the country, and a regime decapitation would set those elements free.

The cover story was designed to mislead the American public so that they would not connect those dots. That intervention in Libya, coming with no effort at all to control the outcome on the ground, has made us much less safe, especially in that part of the world.

By the way, as a measure of how little control Tripoli now has over AQ’s new stomping grounds in the east, the New York Times reports that the prime “suspect” in the Benghazi terrorist attack doesn’t even plan to go into hiding. In fact, he’s doing media sessions:

Witnesses and the authorities have called Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission here. But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments.

Libya’s fledgling national army is a “national chicken,” Mr. Abu Khattala said, using an Arabic rhyme. Asked who should take responsibility for apprehending the mission’s attackers, he smirked at the idea that the weak Libyan government could possibly do it. And he accused the leaders of the United States of “playing with the emotions of the American people” and “using the consulate attack just to gather votes for their elections.”

Mr. Abu Khattala’s defiance — no authority has even questioned him about the attack, he said, and he has no plans to go into hiding — offered insight into the shadowy landscape of the self-formed militias that have come to constitute the only source of social order in Libya since the fall of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

A few, like the militia group Ansar al-Shariah that is linked to Mr. Abu Khattala and that officials in Washington and Tripoli agree was behind the attack, have embraced an extremist ideology hostile to the West and nursed ambitions to extend it over Libya. But also troubling to the United States is the evident tolerance shown by other militias allied with the government, which have so far declined to take any action against suspects in the Benghazi attack. …”

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/19/mcclatchy-obama-admin-changed-story-on-benghazi-to-blame-video-3-days-after-attack/

Attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi

‘…On September 11, 2012 in Libya, a heavily armed group executed an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, also referred to as the Battle of Benghazi.[4][5][6][7] The attack began at night in a U.S. diplomatic compound for the consulate, and ended early the next day at another diplomatic compound nearby where the U.S. intelligence was posted. Those killed included U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of his diplomatic mission, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith and U.S. embassy security personnel Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Two other Americans and seven Libyans were also injured. The Benghazi attack was strongly condemned by the governments of Libya, the United States and other countries around the world.

There were peaceful demonstrations on September 12 in Benghazi and Tripoli condemning the attack; people held such signs as “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” “Benghazi is against terrorism,” and other signs apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. On September 21, about 30,000 Libyans protested against armed militias in their country including Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia alleged to have played a role in the attack, and stormed several militia headquarters, forcing the occupants to flee. On September 23, the Libyan president ordered that all unauthorized militias either disband or come under government control. Militias across the country began surrendering to the government and submitting to its authority. Hundreds of Libyans gathered in Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government.

Almost immediately after the attack ended various news, government, and intelligence sources were reporting on what the state of security was at the consulate before and at the time of the attack, suspected perpetrators and their motives, how the assault on both compounds was executed, and how U.S. military forces might have (or should have) intervened during the engagements. Questions about whether Obama administration officials — and President Obama himself — should have stated or did state that this was a terrorist attack created a controversy in the U.S., where the U.S. 2012 Presidential election was underway. The U.S. investigation of the attack is being conducted separately by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Background

In an October 2, 2012 letter to Secretary of State Clinton, Darrell Issa (R-CA, chairman of the Committee) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations) compiled a list of more than a dozen attacks and events in the 6 months prior to the September 11 attack—including car jackings, kidnappings, assassination attempts, and gun battles—all of which indicated “a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi.”[8]

  • In April 2012, two former security guards for the consulate threw a homemade “fish bomb” IED over the consulate fence; the incident did not cause any casualties.[9] Just 4 days later, a similar bomb was thrown at a four vehicle convoy carrying the United Nations Special Envoy to Libya, exploding just 12 feet from the UN envoy’s vehicle without injuring anyone.[10]
  • In May 2012 an Al-Qaida affiliate calling itself the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades claimed responsibility for an attack on the International Red Cross (ICRC) office in Benghazi. On August 6 the ICRC suspended operations in Benghazi. The head of the ICRC’s delegation in Libya said the aid group was “appalled” by the attack and “extremely concerned” about escalating violence in Libya.[11]
  • The Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades released a video of what it said was its detonation of an explosive device outside the gates of the U.S. consulate on June 5, which caused no casualties but damaged the consulate’s perimeter wall,[12][13] described by one individual as “big enough for forty men to go through.”[8] The Brigades claimed that the attack was in response to the killing of Abu Yahya al Libi, a Libyan al-Qaeda leader who had just died in an American drone attack, and was also timed to coincide with the imminent arrival of a U.S. diplomat.[14][15] There were no injuries, but the group left behind leaflets promising more attacks against the U.S.[16]
  • British ambassador to Libya Dominic Asquith survived an assassination attempt in Benghazi on June 10. Two British protection officers were injured in the attack when their convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade 300 yards from their consulate office.[17] The British Foreign Office withdrew all consular staff from Benghazi in late June.[18][19][20]
  • On the day of the attack:
    • Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri declared that al Libi’s death still needed to be avenged.[21]
    • In Egypt, 2000 Salafist activists protested against the film at 5pm EET (11am EDT) at the US embassy in Cairo.[22]
    • President Obama was attending a 9/11 ceremony in the morning, and in the afternoon he visited with wounded veterans at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for two-and-a-half hours about the time the Benghazi attack began.[23]

After the attack, CNN reported that a Benghazi security official and a battalion commander had met with U.S. diplomats three days before the attack and had warned the Americans about deteriorating security in the area. The official told CNN that the diplomats had been advised, “The situation is frightening, it scares us.”[24]

On September 14, CNN correspondent Arwa Damon found Ambassador Stevens’ diary at the unsecured site of the attack. In it, Stevens expressed his concern about the growing al-Qaeda presence in the area and his worry about being on an al-Qaeda hit list. The U.S. State Department later accused CNN of violating privacy and breaking its promise to Stevens’ family that it would not report on the diary.[25]

The attack

The Benghazi attack consisted of military assaults on two separate U.S. diplomatic compounds. The first assault occurred at the main compound, approximately 300 yards long and 100 yards wide, at about 9:40 pm local time (3:40 pm EDT, Washington DC). The second assault took place at a CIA annex 1.2 miles away at about 4 am the following morning.[26]

Assault on the Consulate

Between 125 and 150 gunmen, “some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants,” are reported to have participated in the assault.[27][28][29] Some had their faces covered and wore flak jackets.[30] Weapons they used during the attack included rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, AK-47 and FN F2000 NATO assault rifles, diesel canisters, mortars, and heavy machine guns and artillery mounted on gun trucks.[31][32]

The assault began at nightfall, with the attackers sealing off streets leading to the main compound with gun trucks.[27] The trucks bore the logo of Ansar al-Shariah, a group of Islamist militants working with the local government to manage security in Benghazi.[27]

The area outside the compound before the assault was quiet; one Libyan guard who was wounded in the attack was quoted as saying “there wasn’t a single ant outside.”[28] One witness said he saw the militants before the assault “gathering around 20 youths from nearby to chant against the film.”[27] No more than seven Americans were in the compound, including Ambassador Stevens, who was visiting Benghazi at the time to review plans to establish a new cultural center and modernize a hospital.[33] Ambassador Stevens had his last meeting of the day with a Turkish diplomat and escorted him to the main gate at about 8:30 pm (local time). The street outside the compound was calm; the State Department reported no unusual activity during the day outside.[34] Ambassador Stevens retired to his room about 9 pm; he was alone in the building, according to guards interviewed later.[35]

About 9:40 pm (local time) large numbers of armed men shouting “Allah Akbar” descended on the compound from multiple directions.[28][36] The attackers lobbed grenades over the wall and entered the compound under a barrage of automatic weapons fire and RPGs, backed by truck-mounted artillery and anti-aircraft machine guns.[27][35] A Diplomatic Security agent viewed on the consulate’s security cameras “a large number of men, armed men, flowing into the compound.”[34] He hit the alarm and started shouting, “Attack! Attack!” over the loudspeaker.[37] Phone calls were made to the embassy in Tripoli, the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington, the Libyan February 17 Brigade, and a U.S. quick reaction force located at a second compound (the annex) a little more than a mile away.[29][38] Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli to tell him the consulate was under attack. Mr. Hicks did not recognize the phone number so he didn’t answer it, twice. On the third attempt Mr. Hicks answered the call from Ambassador Stevens.[39]

Diplomatic Security special agent Scott Strickland secured Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, an information management officer, in the main building’s safe haven.[38][40] Other agents retrieved their M4 carbines and tactical gear from another building. They tried to return to the main building but encountered armed attackers and retreated.[38]

The attackers entered the main building and rattled the locked metal grille of the safe haven.[37] They carried jerrycans of diesel fuel, spread the fuel over the floor and furniture, and set fires.[37][38] As thick smoke filled the building, Stevens, Smith, and Strickland moved to the bathroom and lay on the floor, but they decided to leave the safe haven after being overcome by smoke.[40] Strickland exited through the window, but Stevens and Smith did not follow him. Strickland returned back several times but couldn’t find them in the smoke; he went up to the roof and radioed other agents.[40]

Three agents returned to the main building in an armored vehicle; they searched the building and found Smith’s body, but not Stevens.[40]

A quick reaction force from the CIA annex arrived and attempted to secure the perimeter and locate the ambassador but were unable to find Stevens in the smoke-filled building. The team then decided to return to the annex with the survivors and Smith’s body. While en route back to the annex, the group’s armored vehicle was hit by AK-47 rifle fire and hand grenades. The vehicle was able to make it to its destination with two flat tires, however.[26]

Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, the spokesman for Libya’s Supreme Security Committee, said roads leading to the Benghazi consulate compound were sealed off and Libyan state security forces had surrounded it.[41]

Immediate Reaction in the United States

Diplomatic security officers informed their headquarters in Washington about the attack just as it was beginning at about 9:40 local time (3:40PM Eastern Time). By 4:30 Eastern, Pentagon officials informed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about the attack. The Pentagon ordered an unmanned aerial vehicle that was in the air conducting surveillance on militant camps to fly over Benghazi. The drone arrived at 5:11 and began providing a video feed to Washington. At 5:41, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telephoned CIA Director David Petraeus to coordinate. The CIA, which made up most of the US government’s presence in Benghazi, had a ten-member security team at its annex and the State Department believed that this team would assist the consulate in the event of an attack.[42]

Recovery of Ambassador Stevens

At about 1 am the body of Ambassador Stevens was found by local citizens and taken to the Benghazi Medical Center. At the hospital Stevens was administered CPR for 90 minutes by Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid.[43] According to Abu Zeid, Stevens died from asphyxiation caused by smoke inhalation. A 22-year-old freelance videographer, Fahd al-Bakoush, later published a video[44] showing Libyans trying to extract the unconscious ambassador from a smoke-filled room,[45][46] where he was found unconscious, which confirms reports that suggested the U.S. envoy died of asphyxiation after the building caught fire.[47]

Some of the Libyans who entered the compound tried to rescue Stevens after they found him lying alone on the floor in a dark smoke-filled room with a locked door accessible only by a window. A group of men pulled him out of the room through the window, and then placed him on the courtyard’s stone tile floor. The crowd cheered “God is Greatest” when Stevens was found to be alive. He was then rushed to the hospital in a private car as there was no ambulance to carry him.[48]

Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid was the Libyan doctor who treated Stevens. He said Stevens died of severe asphyxiation, that he had no other injuries, and that he tried for 45 minutes to revive him.[49] The doctor said he believed that officers from the Libyan Interior Ministry transported the body to the airport and into United States custody. State Department officials said they do not know who took Stevens to the hospital or transported the body to the airport and into U.S. custody.[49]

Assault on the CIA annex

After the consulate attack and before the annex attack, Libyan government forces met up with a group of Americans (believed to be eight reinforcements from Tripoli including Glen Doherty[50]) that had arrived at the Benghazi airport and went with them to the CIA annex at about 4am to assist in transporting approximately 32 Americans at the annex back to the airport for evacuation. As they were at the annex arranging for the transportation back to the airport a single shot rang out, quickly followed by RPGs and then a mortar that hit the annex roof killing Doherty and Tyrone Woods while operating their machine gun[51] while 31-year-old David Ubben suffered shrapnel injuries and several broken bones. According to Ubben’s father, “The first [mortar] dropped 50 yards short and the next two were right on target.”.[52]

Evacuation

The bodies were taken to Benina International Airport and flown to the capital, Tripoli, and scheduled to fly to a U.S. airbase in Germany. From Germany, the four bodies arrived at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, DC, where President Barack Obama and members of his cabinet held a ceremony in honor of those killed.

After the attack, all diplomatic staff were moved to the capital, Tripoli, with nonessential personnel to be flown out of Libya. Sensitive documents remained missing, including documents listing the names of Libyans working with the Americans, and documents relating to oil contracts.[53]

A U.S. Army commando unit was sent to Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, Italy the night of the attack but did not deploy to Benghazi.[54]

Fatalities and injuries

Members of U.S. diplomatic mission who died in Benghazi, Libya
J. Christopher Stevens Sean Smith (diplomat) Glen Anthony Doherty.jpg Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods.jpg
J. Christopher Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Sean Smith, U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Glen Doherty Tyrone S. Woods

Four Americans died in the attack: Ambassador Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith,[55] and two embassy security personnel, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods,[56][57] both former Navy SEALs.[58][59] Senior intelligence officials later acknowledged that Woods and Doherty were contracted by Central Intelligence Agency, not the State Department as previously identified,[60] and were part of a Global Response Staff (GRS), a team that provides security to CIA case officers and countersurveillance and surveillance protection.[61] On September 14 the remains of the slain Americans were returned to the United States. President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton honored the Benghazi victims at the Transfer of Remains Ceremony held at Andrews Air Force Base, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

Initial reports indicated that ten Libyan guards died; this was later retracted and it was reported that seven Libyans were injured.[62] Three Americans were injured in the attack and treated at an American Military Hospital in Germany. [63]

Glen Doherty

Glen Anthony Doherty trained as a pilot at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University before joining the United States Navy. Doherty served as a Navy SEAL including tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. After leaving the Navy, he worked for a private security company in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kenya and Libya.[64] In the month prior to the attack, Doherty as a contractor with the State Department told ABC News in an interview that he personally went into the field in Libya to track down MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them.[65]

Tyrone S. Woods

Tyrone Snowden Woods worked for the State Department Diplomatic Security[66] as a U.S. embassy security personnel,[67] working under a service contract.[68] Since 2010, Woods had protected American diplomats in posts from Central America to the Middle East.[69]

Aftermath

Libyan response

Libyan Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur’s office condemned the attack and extended condolences, saying: “While strongly condemning any attempt to abuse the person of Muhammad, or an insult to our holy places and prejudice against the faith, we reject and strongly condemn the use of force to terrorise innocent people and the killing of innocent people.” It also reaffirmed “the depth of relationship between the peoples of Libya and the U.S., which grew closer with the positions taken by the U.S. government in support of the revolution of February 17.”[70] Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, the President of the General National Congress of Libya, said: “We apologise to the United States, the people and to the whole world for what happened. We confirm that no-one will escape from punishment and questioning.”[71]

There were demonstrations in Benghazi[72] and Tripoli[73] on September 12, condemning the violence and holding signs such as “Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,” “Benghazi is against terrorism,” and other signs apologizing to Americans for the actions in their name and in the name of Muslims. The New York Times noted that young Libyans had also flooded Twitter with pro-American messages after the attacks.[73] It was noted that Libyans are typically more positively inclined towards the United States than their neighbors.[74] A 2012 Gallup poll noted that “A majority of Libyans (54%) surveyed in March and April 2012 approve of the leadership of the U.S. — among the highest approval Gallup has ever recorded in the… region, outside of Israel.” [75] Another poll in Eastern Libya, taken in 2011, reported that the population was at the same time both deeply religious conservative Muslims and very pro-American, with 90% of respondents reporting favorable views of the United States.[76][77]

Ali Aujali, the ambassador to the United States, praised Stevens as a “dear friend” and a “real hero” at a reception in Washington, D.C., alongside Hillary Clinton. He also urged the United States to continue supporting Libya as it went “through a very difficult time” and that the young Libyan government needed help so that it could “maintain…security and stability in our country.”[78]

The Libyan response to the crisis was praised and appreciated in the United States, and President Obama emphasized how the Libyans “helped our diplomats to safety” to an American audience the following day,[79] while a New York Times editorial criticized Egypt’s government for not doing “what Libyan leaders did.” [80]

Anti-militia demonstrationsOn September 21, about 30,000 Libyans marched through Benghazi calling for the support of the rule of law and for an end to armed militias.[81][82] Carrying signs with slogans such as “We Want Justice For Chris” and “Libya Lost a Friend,” the protestors stormed several militia headquarters, including that of Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamist militia who some allege played a role in the attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel on September 11.[83][84] At least 10 people were killed and dozens more wounded as militiamen fired on demonstrators at the headquarters of Sahaty Brigade, a pro-government militia “operating under the authority of the ministry of defence.”[81][84][85]

By early next morning, the protestors had forced militia members to flee and seized control of a number of compounds, releasing four prisoners found inside.[83][84] Protesters burnt a car and a building of at least one facility, and looted weapons.[81][82][84] The militia compounds and many weapons were handed over to Libya’s national army[82] in what “appeared to be part of a coordinated sweep of militia bases by police, government troops and activists” following the earlier demonstrations.[83][84] Some militia members accused the protestors of being Qaddafi loyalists, looking to disarm the militias in the wake of the revolution.[82]

Government campaign to disband militiasOn September 23, taking advantage of the growing momentum and rising anger against the militias evinced in the earlier anti-militia demonstrations,[86] the Libyan president declared that all unauthorized militias had 48 hours to either disband or come under government control.[87][88] The government also mandated that bearing arms in public was now illegal, as were armed checkpoints.[87]

It has been noted that previously, handling the militias had been difficult as the government had been forced to rely on some of them for protection and security.[86][88] However, according to a Libyan interviewed in Tripoli, the government gained the ability to push back against the militias because of a “mandate of the people.”[88]

On the 24th, the government commenced with a raid on a former military base held by a rogue infantry militia.[89]

Across the country, militias began surrendering to the government. The government formed a “National Mobile Force” for the purpose of evicting illegal militias.[90] On the same day as the declaration, various militias in Misrata held meetings, ultimately deciding to submit to the government’s authority, and handed over various public facilities they had been holding, including the city’s three main jails, which were handed over to the authority of the Ministry of Justice.[88] Hours before the announcement, in Derna, the two main militias (one of them Ansar-al-Sharia) active in the city both withdrew, leaving both their five military bases behind.[86][88][90]

Hundreds of Libyans, mainly former rebel fighters, gathered in the city centers of Tripoli and Benghazi to hand over their weapons to the government on the 29th of September.[91]

However, the campaign has been less successful in other areas, such as the remote Nafusa Mountains, inhabited by the Nafusi-speaking Berber minority, where the Emirati news agency The National reported on 23 September that arms were being hoarded. The National also reported arms being hoarded in Misrata, despite simultaneous reporting by other outlets that militias were surrendering in Misrata.[92]

U.S. government response

On September 12 U.S. President Barack Obama condemned “this outrageous attack” on U.S. diplomatic facilities[94] and stated that “[s]ince our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”[94] After referring to “the 9/11 attacks,” “troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan”, and “then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi”[94] the President then stated that “[a]s Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.”[94] He then went on to say, “[n]o acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.”[94]

After the attack, Obama ordered that security be increased at all such facilities worldwide.[95] A 50-member Marine FAST team was sent to Libya to “bolster security.”[96] It was announced that the FBI would investigate the possibility of the attack being planned.[97] U.S. officials said surveillance over Libya would increase, including the use of unmanned drones, to “hunt for the attackers.”[97]

Secretary of State Clinton also made a statement on September 12, describing the perpetrators as “heavily armed militants” and “a small and savage group – not the people or government of Libya.”[98] She also reaffirmed “America’s commitment to religious tolerance” and said “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protest that took place at our Embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the internet,” but whether true or not, that was not a justification for violence.[99] The State Department had previously identified embassy and personnel security as a major challenge in its budget and priorities report.[100]

On September 12 it was reported that the United States Navy dispatched two Arleigh Burke class destroyers, the USS McFaul and the USS Laboon, to the Libyan coast.[101] The destroyers are equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles. American UAVs were also sent to fly over Libya to search for the perpetrators of the attack.[102]

In a speech on September 13 in Golden, Colorado, President Obama paid tribute to the four Americans “killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya,” stating, “We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices they make…I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.”[103]

In his press briefing on September 14, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that “we don’t have and did not have concrete evidence to suggest that this [the Benghazi attack] was not in reaction to the film.”[104] He went on to say: “There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks…. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive. And while the violence is reprehensible and unjustified, it is not a reaction to the 9/11 anniversary that we know of, or to U.S. policy.”

On September 14 the remains of the slain Americans were returned to the U.S. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the ceremony. In her remarks Clinton said, “One young woman, her head covered and her eyes haunted with sadness, held up a handwritten sign that said ‘Thugs and killers don’t represent Benghazi nor Islam.’ The President of the Palestinian Authority, who worked closely with Chris when he served in Jerusalem, sent me a letter remembering his energy and integrity, and deploring – and I quote – ‘an act of ugly terror.’[105] She went on to say: “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

A report prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106] This initial assessment was provided to Executive Branch officials.[107]

On September 16 the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice appeared on five major interview shows, stating that the attacks began as a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.” “I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.”[108][109][110][111][112] Ms. Rice later stated that her statements were based on a report prepared by the C.I.A.[113]

In a White House press briefing on September 18, press secretary Jay Carney explained the attack to reporters: “I’m saying that based on information that we — our initial information, and that includes all information — we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack; that we saw evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video. And that is what we know thus far based on the evidence, concrete evidence.”[114]

On September 20, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answered a question about an open hearing with the National Counterterrorism Center Director, Matthew G. Olsen, which referenced which extremist groups might have been involved. Carney said, “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Our embassy was attacked violently, and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident.”[115] On the same day, during an appearance on Univision, a Spanish-language television network in the United States, President Obama stated, “What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”[116][117][118][119][120]

On September 25, in an address before the United Nations General Assembly President Obama stated, “The attacks on our civilians in Benghazi were attacks on America…And there should be no doubt that we will be relentless in tracking down the killers and bringing them to justice.”[33][121] He also said, “There is no video that justifies an attack on an Embassy.”

On September 26 Clinton acknowledged a possible link between Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the September 11 attack.[2]

On September 28, U.S. intelligence stated “In the immediate aftermath, there was information that led us to assess that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. We provided that initial assessment to Executive Branch officials and members of Congress . . . . As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate.”[107]

To assist the Libyan government in disbanding extremist groups, the Obama administration allocated $8 million to begin building an elite Libyan commando force over the next year.[122]

Criticism of U.S. government response

Republican Party members took issue with the Democratic Party controlled administration, accusing the White House and State Department of overplaying the role of the protests against a trailer for a controversial anti-Islamic movie in the case of Libya and the government’s alleged reluctance to label the attack as “terrorist”.[123] Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who on the 13th of September said that the attacks had all the hallmarks of a coordinated attack by al-Qaeda,[124] has questioned whether there were any protests at all in Benghazi, saying: “I have seen no information that shows that there was a protest going on as you have seen around any other embassy at the time. It was clearly designed to be an attack.”[125] According to critics, the consulate site should have been secured better both before and after the attack.

On the 20th, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a classified briefing to U.S. Senators,[126] which several Republican attendees criticized.[127] According to the article, senators were angered at the Obama administration’s rebuff of their attempts to learn details of the Benghazi attack, only to see that information published the next day in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

GOP legislators also took issue with delays in the investigation, which CNN attributed to “bureaucratic infighting” between the FBI, Justice, and State. On the 26th, Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) said he “cannot believe that the FBI is not on the ground yet.”[123]

On CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley on September 30, Crowley observed that “Friday we got the administration’s sort of definitive statement that this now looks as though it was a pre-planned attack by a terrorist group, some of whom were at least sympathetic to al Qaeda,” and asked the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator John McCain, “why do you think and are you bothered that it has taken them this long from September 11th to now to get to this conclusion?” to which McCain replied that “it interferes with the depiction that the administration is trying to convey that al Qaeda is on the wane… how else could you trot out our U.N. ambassador to say this was a spontaneous demonstration?… It was either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours.”[128]

On CBS’s Face the Nation on October 28, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said “we know that there were tapes, recordings inside the consulate during this fight…. So the president went on various shows, despite what he said he said in the Rose Garden, about terrorist acts, he went on several programs, including The View including Letterman, including before the UN where he continued to refer, days later, many days later, to this as a spontaneous demonstration because of a hateful video. We know that is patently false. What did the president know? When did he know it? And what did he do about it?”[129] However, CBS News reported earlier on October 24 that the video of the assault was recovered 20 days after the attack, from the more than 10 security cameras at the compound.[130]

U.S. media response

On the last weekend of October a message posted on Facebook by a Political Action Committee (SOS PAC) claiming President Obama denied them backup in Benghazi was taken down twice by the social networking site. After the post was removed and SOS’s Facebook account suspended for 24 hours, the post was reinstated and SOS received an email from Facebook apologizing for the matter.[131]

A study released on November 2 found that leading newspapers in the U.S. framed the attack in terms of a spontaneous protest (the Obama administration’s version) four times as often as a planned terrorist attack (the Republican version).[132] The study was based on a computer-assisted analysis of 2,572 words and phrases related to the attack in 348 news stories from September 12 to October 12 in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today.

On the day of that study’s release, two of the newspapers—The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal—published editorials critical of the Obama administration’s handling of Benghazi. The Washington Post editorial asked such questions as, “Did the Obama administration’s political preoccupation with maintaining a light footprint in Libya lead to an ill-considered reliance on local militias, rather than on U.S. forces?”[133] The Wall Street Journal editorial asked such questions as “Why did the U.S. not heed warnings about a growing Islamist presence in Benghazi and better protect the diplomatic mission and CIA annex?” and “Why has the Administration’s story about what took place in Benghazi been so haphazard and unclear?”[134]

On November 4, two days before the presidential election, CBS News released a portion of its interview with President Obama for 60 Minutes that was filmed on September 12 but did not air originally on its September 23 show.[135] Journalist Bret Baier, host of Special Report with Bret Baier, noted that in these newly released portions of the interview “Obama would not say whether he thought the attack was terrorism. Yet he would later emphasize at a presidential debate that in the Rose Garden the same day, he had declared the attack an act of terror.”[136] Baier noted that President Obama had been saying that he declared the Benghazi attack a terrorist attack since his announcement in the Rose Garden on September 12 and highlighted the newly released video interview with Steve Kroft: “KROFT: Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack? OBAMA: Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.”[136]

Investigation timeline

September 2012

September 12 The New York Times reported: “American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning.” The article also noted that a senior Obama administration official told reporters that “it was clearly a complex attack,” but provided no details.[137]CBS News reported that Wanis al-Sharef (also spelled al-Sharif), a Libyan Interior Ministry official in Benghazi, said that an angry mob had gathered outside the consulate to protest a U.S.-made film that ridicules Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. According to al-Sharef, the mob stormed the consulate after the U.S. troops who responded fired rounds into the air to try and disperse the crowd.[138]CBS News later reported that U.S. officials said the attack was not an out-of-control demonstration as first suspected, but a well-executed assault. From the wording of the report it is unclear whether the protesters were a group distinct from the attackers or were the attackers themselves.[139]The Guardian published a video interview of a local Libyan on the consulate compound right after the attack, who presumed and empathized that the attack was in response to the anti-Islamic film.[140]The Washington Post reported that U.S. officials and Middle East analysts said that the attack “may have been planned by extremists and inspired by al-Qaeda.”[141]In a press release, the Qulliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank based in London, stated that the “military assault” was not related to the film but was to “avenge the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaeda’s second in command killed a few months ago.”[142]BBC reported that Libya’s deputy ambassador to London, Ahmad Jibril, named Ansar al-Sharia as the perpetrators. They also said a Libyan reporter told them that the attack was executed by as many as 80 militiamen “armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and 14.5 mm anti-aircraft machine guns.”[143][144]Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif of the Libyan government told a news conference in Benghazi that it was likely that the perpetrators had been Gaddafi loyalists, suggesting the attack could have been intended as a revenge for the extradition of Abdullah al-Senoussi (Gaddafi’s former intelligence chief) from Mauritania the previous month.[145]
September 13 The FBI opened an investigation into the deaths; a team was sent to investigate, with another team for security.[97] The FBI officials were set to arrive by September 21 in Benghazi to work with Libyan officials.[146]In a briefing to congressional staffers, State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy said that the attack appeared planned because it was so extensive and because of the “proliferation” of small and medium weapons.[147]CNN reported that the attackers were part of an Al Qaeda spinoff group. They spoke with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said the killings were possibly linked to the terrorist group blamed for the 9/11 hijackings. According to Sen. Feinstein, “The weapons were somewhat sophisticated, and they blew a big hole in the building and started a big fire.”[148]
September 14 The Senate Armed Services Committee was briefed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about the response to the situation in Libya. Afterwards, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) was quoted as saying, “I think it was a planned, premeditated attack.” He added that he did not know the group responsible for the attack.[149]
September 15 SITE Intelligence Group released a report that said al-Qaeda claimed that the attack was in revenge for the killing of the network’s number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi.[150]Talking points prepared by the CIA, stated “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106]
September 16 In an interview with NPR in Benghazi, President Mohammed el-Megarif said that foreigners infiltrated Libya over the past few months, planned the attack, and used Libyans to carry it out.[151] According to el-Megarif: “The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous. We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate.” He said the attackers used the protesters outside the consulate as a cover, and there is evidence showing that elements of Ansar al-Sharia, an extremist group in eastern Benghazi, were used by foreign citizens with ties to al-Qaida to attack the consulate.[152]U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows and stated, “Putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding. They came with heavy weapons which unfortunately are readily available in post revolutionary Libya. And it escalated into a much more violent episode.”[112][153][154][155][156]Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, voiced suspicion that the attack was planned in advance and not prompted by the furor over the film. He noted that “[m]ost people don’t bring rocket-propelled grenades and heavy weapons to demonstrations. That was an act of terror.”[157]
September 17 Fox News reported that an “intelligence source on the ground in Libya” said “there was no demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi” before the attack.[158] The source was quoted as saying, “There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous.” The source also said that the attack “was planned and had nothing to do with the movie.” The source said the assault came with no warning at about 9:35 p.m. local time and included fire from more than two locations. The information for the time and for multiple directions of the attack corroborates an eyewitness report.[28]Representative Mike Rogers (R) Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with Real Clear Politics that there were reports that the Consulate sustained “indirect fire, artillery type fire from mortars. They had direct unit action. It was coordinated in a way that was very unusual. They repulsed a quick reaction force that came to the facility….”[159]
September 19 The director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olson, appeared before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. During the hearing Olsen said that the Americans killed in Libya died “in the course of a terrorist attack.”[160]But he said that “the facts that we have now indicate that this was an opportunistic attack,” one in which heavily armed militants took advantage of an ongoing demonstration at the Consulate.Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) disagreed with Olsen’s statement that the attack did not appear pre-planned. She said, “Based on the briefings I have had, I’ve come to the opposite conclusion. I just don’t think that people come to protests equipped with RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades] and other heavy weapons. And the reports of complicity—and they are many—with Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate also suggest to me that this was premeditated.” Olsen told committee members that the U.S. is “looking at indications” that some attackers had connections to al-Qaeda or its North African affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.Fox News reported intelligence sources that the attack was tied to Al Qaeda via the involvement of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.[161][162] However, a US national security official tells Mother Jones that “that report is wrong, there’s no intelligence suggesting that he was leading the attack on the consulate that evening.”[163]
September 20 Reuters reported that U.S. authorities are investigating the prospect of collusion between the militants who launched the attack on the consulate and locally hired Libyan personnel guarding the facility.[164] This corroborates earlier statements by U.S. government officials who stated there were multiple accounts of collusion between the attackers and the Libyan security guards.[160]Secretary Clinton announced the formation of a panel to investigate the attack,[165]which is separate from the FBI investigation.White House Press Secretary Jay Carney for the first time called the event “a terrorist attack.” In the same report CNN noted conflicting reports that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens “believed he was on an al Qaeda hit list.”[166]
September 21 U.S. officials said that the heavily armed extremists who laid siege to the consulate used “military-style tactics” in what appeared to be a “sophisticated operation”. Intelligence reports indicated that 50 or more people, many of them masked, took part in the attack and used gun trucks and precise mortar fire.[167] Intelligence reports also indicated that the attackers set up a perimeter to control access in and out of the compound.
September 23 A report in The New York Times has stated that there were two facilities used by the Americans in Benghazi, one for the American mission and an annex a half-mile away [168]and that:

Neither was heavily guarded, and the annex was never intended to be a “safe house,” as initial accounts suggested. Two of the mission’s guards — Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former members of the Navy SEALs — were killed just outside the villa’s front gate.
September 25 U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice seeking clarification on statements she made on the five Sunday talk shows on September 16 that the September 11 attack in Benghazi was the result of a “spontaneous reaction.” The senators wrote that the evidence clearly showed the attack was planned and coordinated.[169] Ms. Rice wrote in her reply letter, “I relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided to me … This information represented the intelligence community’s best, current assessment as of the date of my television appearances.” The four senators replied in a statement: “Elements of the intelligence community apparently told the administration within hours of the attack that militants connected with al Qaeda were involved, yet Ambassador Rice claims her comments five days later reflected the ‘best’ and ‘current’ assessment of the intelligence community. Either the Obama administration is misleading Congress and the American people, or it is blaming the entire failure on the intelligence community.”[170]
September 26 The Daily Beast reported that three separate U.S. intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the attack that it was “planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.”[171]Libyan president Mohamed Magariefd, in an interview with NBC News, said that there were no protestors at the site before the attack and that the anti-Islam film had “nothing to do with” the attack.[172]“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” he said. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”Eight Republican Representatives on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to President Obama asking him to provide answers to questions in a classified format.[173] Their letter reads in part: “While we appreciate your willingness to provide the House of Representatives with an interagency briefing last week, many of the members’ questions were left unanswered. To that end, we are seeking additional information regarding the intelligence leading up to the attack, the security posture of our embassy, the role former Guantanamo Bay detainees may have played, as well as the way forward in Libya and, indeed, the region.”
September 28 A statement released by the Director of Public Affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the intelligence related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, read in part:[107] “As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate. However, we do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qa’ida. We continue to make progress, but there remain many unanswered questions. As more information becomes available our analysis will continue to evolve and we will obtain a more complete understanding of the circumstances surrounding the terrorist attack.”

[edit] October 2012

October 2 In a letter to Secretary of State Clinton, Darrell Issa (R-CA, chairman of the Committee) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT, chairman of the subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations) write that “the attack that claimed the Ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012. It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.”[8] The letter goes on to state that the mission in Benghazi was denied increased security they repeatedly requested. Subpoenaed witnesses set to testify before the committee on October 10 are Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Department of State; and Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard, U.S. Army.[174] According to Lt. Col. Wood, his 16-member team and a six-member State Department elite force called a Mobile Security Deployment team left Libya in August, one month before the assault on the diplomatic mission. Wood says that’s despite the fact that U.S. officials in Libya wanted security increased, not decreased.[175]
October 3 The Washington Post reported that the FBI investigation team was in Tripoli and had not reached Benghazi yet.[176]
October 4 The State Department announced an Accountability Review Board “to examine the facts and circumstances of the attacks.”[177]The Washington Post reported that the FBI team arrived in Benghazi and left after about 12 hours.[178]
October 5 The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is conducting its own investigation of the attack.[175]
October 9 In an evening briefing to reporters, the State Department said it never concluded that the consulate attack in Libya stemmed from protests over the video.[179]Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Bob Corker (R-TN) met with Libyan officials in Tripoli, and said that investigators are examining video from security cameras at the primary Benghazi compound to help them reconstruct what happened in the attack and identify attack participants.[180]Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) sent letters to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus, and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, asking them to respond to “specific questions regarding the shifting official explanations” about the attack.[181]
October 10

The four witnesses called to testify at the October 10, 2012 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (l to r) were Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard, U.S. Army; Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer, U.S. Department of State; Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, U.S. Department of State; and Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State. An image of the U.S. compound can be seen behind Ms. Lamb.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held its hearing, “The Security Failures of Benghazi.”[174] In addition to the three witnesses originally named, a fourth witness testified: Ambassador Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of State.

  • In sworn testimony, Mr. Kennedy said, “…if any administration official, including any career official, were on television on Sunday, September 16th, they would have said what Ambassador Rice said. The information she had at that point from the intelligence community is the same that I had at that point.”[182] However, in a briefing to congressional staffers on September 13, Mr. Kennedy said that the attack appeared planned.[147]
  • During testimony State Department witnesses acknowledged that it rejected appeals for more security at its diplomatic posts in Libya in the months before the attack.[183] The “annex” and “safe house” in the second diplomatic compound was inadvertently revealed to be a U.S. intelligence post.[184][185][186]
  • Charlene Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Programs, said in her prepared testimony that she had a firm grasp on what happened in Benghazi, starting moments after the assault began. ”When the attack began, a Diplomatic Security agent working in the tactical operations center immediately … alerted the annex U.S. quick reaction security team stationed nearby … and the Diplomatic Security Command Center in Washington. From that point on, I could follow what was happening in almost real-time.”[38]
  • During testimony Representative Issa described the existence of video tape of the attack taken from consulate security cameras; the tape was not available to committee members at the time of the hearing.
October 12 U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs announced its plan to conduct a bipartisan investigation. Part of their investigation will seek to determine “why the Administration’s initial public assessments of this attack were subsequently proven inaccurate.”[187]
October 14 Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), speaking on CBS’ Face the Nation, said that “[t]he intelligence community on the ground in Libya has told Senator Corker and myself that within twenty-four hours, they communicated up to Washington that this was a terrorist attack.”[188]
October 15 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton assumed responsibility for the Benghazi attack, saying that she is in charge of her 60,000-plus staff all over the world and “the president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”[189] Republican Senator John McCain praised her “laudable gesture, especially when the White House is trying to avoid any responsibility whatsoever” but insisted that either there were drastic failures in the national security operation in not keeping the president aware of ongoing threats, or Obama himself knew of the threats and needed to take responsibility for the shortcomings.[190]In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the two Libyan militiamen guarding the consulate denied aiding the attackers. The compound was “lazily quiet” in the hours before the assault, they said. Around 9:30 p.m., the guards heard cries of “Allahu akbar!”—”God is great”—three times from outside the walls, then a voice called out in Arabic “You infidels!” and the attackers raced inside.[191]The New York Times reported that witnesses of the attack knowledgeable of the circumstances were very convinced that it was carried out by a group of local Islamic militants in response to the video. According to local militia leaders familiar with the militant group, it was capable of carrying out the attack on short notice with only a few hour’s planning.[192]
October 17 Libyan officials report that the founder of Libya’s Islamist militia Ansar al-Sharia was at the compound during the attack, but that he remains free a week after those allegations were disclosed to Libyan political leaders and U.S. investigators.[193] The militia commander, identified as Ahmed Abu Khattalah, is a former political prisoner whose fighters were also blamed for assassinating a senior military officer after he defected to the opposition during last year’s revolution against Moammar Kadafi.[194]
October 18 Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs made its first request for documents and briefings into the circumstances surrounding the attack. In separate letters to Secretary Hillary Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the committee requested a classified briefing for members of the committee. The briefing is to address threat assessments before the attack, security needs, requests for security, description and chronology of the attack, and what the Obama administration knew about the attack in the immediate aftermath and “whether any initial public statements issued by members of the Administration in the days following the attack were inaccurate and, if so, why.”[195]Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned the security at the compound and the initial intelligence surrounding the attack. Feinstein was quoted in an interview: “I think what happened was the director of national intelligence, which we call the DNI, who is a very good individual, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Gen. Jim Clapper, put out some speaking points on the initial intelligence assessment. I think that was possibly a mistake.”[196]
October 19 Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and National Security Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz sent a 10-page letter to President Obama,[197] accompanied by 166 pages of unclassified documents[198] and photos.[199] The committee stated that the “letter requests that the White House respond to questions about its role in the controversial decision to have the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya pursue a course of ‘normalization’ that was intended to help create the perception of success in Libya and contrast it to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.”[200]Representative Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to President Obama requesting him to release Intelligence Community (1) reporting that led Obama Administration officials to initially characterize the assault as a “spontaneous reaction” to a film and (2) data and intelligence that led the Administration to change its characterization from a “spontaneous reaction” to a “terrorist attack.”[201]Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) renewed their request from 10 days ago that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director David Petraeus and John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, answer questions regarding “the shifting official explanations surrounding” the attack. The senators wrote, “Our questions should not be hard to answer, and the American people have a right to learn what our intelligence communities knew about the events of September 11, 2012, and when they knew it.”[202]U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the CIA station chief in Libya compiled intelligence reports within 24 hours of the attack that indicated there was evidence it was carried out by militants, using the pretext of demonstrations against U.S. facilities in Egypt against the film to cover their intent. The report from the station chief was written late Wednesday, Sept. 12, and reached intelligence agencies in Washington the next day. It was not clear how widely the information was circulated.[203]
October 20 The Washington Post reported that talking points prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15 stated: “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.” [106]CBS News reported Congress members have asked why military assistance was not sent. General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta “looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies.” A unmanned Predator drone was sent to Benghazi, and the drone observed the final hours of the attack. The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from central Europe to Naval Air Station Sigonella; other nearby military forces available were fighter jets and AC-130 gunships. Gary Berntsen stated, “They made zero adjustments in this. They stood and they watched and our people died.”[204]
October 22 The New York Times reported that Ms. Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, “has said that the judgments she offered on the five talk shows on Sept. 16 came from talking points prepared by the C.I.A., which reckoned that the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans had resulted from a spontaneous mob that was angry about an anti-Islamic video that had set off protests elsewhere. That assessment, described to Ms. Rice in briefings the day before her television appearances, was based on intercepted communications, informants’ tips and Libyan press reports, officials said.” [113]
October 23 Media reports indicate that the State Department’s Operations Center sent a “Sensitive but unclassified” email at 4:05 p.m. Washington time (10:05 p.m. Benghazi time) on September 11 titled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” to the White House Situation Room and other U.S. security units and two hours later sent an email titled “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”[205][206] The first email reads in part: “approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM (Chief of Mission/embassy) personnel are in the compound safe haven.”[207] Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton cautioned that those emails are “not in and of itself evidence” that the administration had definitively assessed the assault as a terrorist attack from the beginning.[208] A Tunisian man who was arrested in Turkey earlier this month with reported links to the Benghazi attack has been returned to Tunisia and is facing terrorism charges.[209][210]
October 25 A suspected Al-Qaeda member who was believed to have been involved in the Consulate attack was shot dead by Egyptian police, after they received a tip that he was staying in an apartment in Madinat Nasr. Egyptian police also arrested a seven-member cell in Cairo, five of whom are Libyans and the other two Egyptians.[211]
October 26 Republican Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, CIA Director David Petraeus, and Attorney General Eric Holder requesting they make public the surveillance video taken at the consulate during the attack.[212]Fox News reported that military back-up was denied by the CIA chain of command, and the annex was instructed twice to “stand down”. Woods, and two others, ignored those instructions and evacuated the consulate. Upon returning to the annex, and after beginning to taking fire, the annex requested fire support as they had a laser targeted on the mortar team that was attacking them. A CIA spokeswoman, Jennifer Youngblood, denied the claims.[61]
October 27 The Associated Press published a timeline of the comments by the administration and Libyan officials regarding the Benghazi attack,[29] as well as Libyan witnesses account.[27]
October 28 Retired Army Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox News that he has sources saying President Obama was in the White House Situation Room watching the assault unfold in real time.[213]
October 31 Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that “at least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down” in assisting the besieged U.S. consulate in Benghazi.[214]Gingrich said that the bombshell emails could be revealed within the next two days.Fox News reported that a cable marked “SECRET” and addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton summarized an “emergency meeting” convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi on August 15, 2012. In the meeting the State Department’s regional security officer “expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound.” According to Fox News, “The details in the cable seemed to foreshadow the deadly Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound, which was a coordinated, commando-style assault using direct and indirect fire. Al Qaeda in North Africa and Ansar al-Sharia, both mentioned in the cable, have since been implicated in the consulate attack.”[215]

November 2012

November 1 Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), appearing on yesterday evenings’ Fox News’ On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren, said that Ambassador Stevens telephoned Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks in Tripoli on Sept. 11 to tell him the consulate was under attack.[39]CBS News reported that during the attack the Obama administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG). A high-ranking government official was quoted: “The CSG is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies. They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”[216]The article goes on to state that counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News expressed frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were not called upon to help in the attack.Documents found by reporters for the American magazine Foreign Policy on Oct. 26 amid the wreckage of the U.S. consulate indicate there was concern about security at the compound. One letter dated Sept. 11 and addressed to Mohamed Obeidi, the head of the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ office in Benghazi, reads in part: “Finally, early this morning at 0643, September 11, 2012, one of our diligent guards made a troubling report. Near our main gate, a member of the police force was seen in the upper level of a building across from our compound. It is reported that this person was photographing the inside of the U.S. special mission and furthermore that this person was part of the police unit sent to protect the mission.”[217]The article states that this accords with a message written by Smith, the IT officer who was killed in the assault, on a gaming forum on Sept. 11. “Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures,” he wrote hours before the assault.Washington Post published a detailed CIA timeline of the attack described by a senior intelligence official.[218]
November 2 Fifty-three members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary Clinton requesting responses to oversight questions, including questions on the president’s Daily Brief, how the State Department designated the Benghazi compound (and how it affected security requirements), contradictions in the administration’s public statements of the attack as a deliberate terrorist attack or a spontaneous protest, and discrepancies between danger pay increases for mission personnel but denial for additional security.[219]Senior U.S. intelligence officials acknowledged that Woods and Doherty were contracted by the Central Intelligence Agency, not the State Department as originally publicly identified.[60]Fox News reported that U.S. military intelligence informed senior commanders as early as 7 p.m. ET (that is, less than 4 hours after the attack began) that Ansar al-Sharia carried out the attack. The intelligence was relayed with no caveats, according to a source familiar with the intelligence.[220]The Pentagon said that two U.S. service members volunteered to join the CIA team that travelled from Tripoli to Benghazi on the rescue mission.[221]
November 3 U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) urged the immediate creation of a temporary Select Committee to investigate the Benghazi attack.[222]Fox News reported that the Blue Mountain Security manager (who was in charge of the local force hired to guard the consulate perimeter) made calls on both two-way radios and cell phones to colleagues in Benghazi warning of problems at least an hour earlier than the attack. Allegedly, those calls were to local security contractors, who say that the annex was also notified much earlier than 9:40 p.m., when the attack started. U.S. military intelligence also said that armed militias were gathering up to 3 hours before the attack.[223]
November 9 David H. Petraeus resigned his position as CIA Director and admitted to having an extramarital affair; he was scheduled to testify before Congress the week of November 12 on the Benghazi attack.[224] As of then it was not clear that General Petraeus would have to testify, and whether he would be disposed to do so if requested or required by Congress, though Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, indicated that the Congress would need to interview him. On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, it was made known that he had agreed to testify the following day, Thursday, November 15.[225]
November 10 The Department of Defense released a press release stating they released a detailed timeline yesterday of the Pentagon’s response to the attack.[226]
November 12 Paula Broadwell gave a talk on October 26th at the University of Denver in which she revealed that the CIA annex was used to imprison Libyan militia members.[227] In the same speech, Broadwell speculated that this may have been the motivation behind the attack on the consulate.[228] A Fox News Source confirmed to them that the CIA Annex was used as a detention center for not just militia members, but for prisoners from all parts of Northern Africa and the Middle East. The CIA has denied these allegations.[229]
November 15 U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism officials testified in congressional public and closed hearings today.[230] CNN reported that legislators saw “real-time film (showing) exactly what happened”, starting before the attack began up “through the incident and the exodus,” according to Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The video was reported to be from “a combination of video from a surveillance camera and a drone.”[231]
November 16 Former CIA Director David Petraeus testified in closed hearings to both congressional intelligence committees. Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Representative Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said that Petraeus testified that he knew that the attack was a terrorist attack linked to al-Qaeda affiliates and not sparked by a protest over an anti-Islam video, as White House officials and President Obama had said for days afterwards.[232] “The original talking points put out by the CIA were different from what was later put out,” King said. “Petraeus says his initial assessment was from the start it was a terrorist attack.” King said a CIA analyst specifically told lawmakers that the al-Qaeda affiliates line “was taken out.”[233]Other House members in attendance at the hearing said that Petraeus made clear that the modifications of the original talking points were not done for political reasons. Petraeus “was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). “He completely debunked that idea.” Regarding Ambassador Susan Rice’s comments during television interviews after the attack, Schiff went on to say that the, according to Petraeus, the comments “reflected the best intelligence at the time that could be released publicly”. “There was an interagency process to draft it, not a political process,” Schiff said. “They came up with the best assessment without compromising classified information or source or methods. So changes were made to protect classified information.”[234] According to Petraeus’s statements during the hearing, administration officials were concerned that, by publicly disclosing the involvement of Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers in the attack, those groups would be tipped off that US government agencies were aware of their involvement.[235]The Washington Post reported that, since the attack, the CIA and other intelligence analysts have settled on a hybrid view of the attack, suggesting that the Cairo protest sparked militants in Libya, who quickly mobilized the assault on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.[236] Details about possible al-Qaeda links were not in initial talking points used by both Petraeus and UN Ambassador Susan Rice because they were preliminary and based on classified sources, intelligence officials said.
November 20 CBS News reported that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the attack, with the agreement of the CIA and FBI.[237]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_on_the_U.S._diplomatic_mission_in_Benghazi

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Privacy, Target Advertising and Word of Mouth–Videos

Posted on November 21, 2011. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Business, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Economics, history, Inflation, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Taxes, Technology, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

Privacy Targets: Two User Studies on Internet Privacy and Targeted Advertising 

How to Create Amazing Online Word of Mouth by Focusing Offline, Saul Colt, January 2011 SMBSeattle

Social Media and Your Target Market

How To Find Niche Markets

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Steve Rambam–PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT –Videos

Posted on November 20, 2011. Filed under: Blogroll, Business, Communications, Culture, Demographics, Economics, Employment, Energy, Enivornment, Entertainment, Federal Government, government, government spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Privacy invasion

The Last HOPE: Steven Rambam Keynote (1 of 2)

The Last HOPE: Steven Rambam Keynote (2 of 2)

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 01, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 02, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 03, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 04, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 05, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 06, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 07, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 08, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 09, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 10, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 11, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 12, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 13, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 14, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 15, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 16, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 17, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 18, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 19, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 20, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 21, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 22, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 23, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 24, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 25, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 26, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 27, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 28, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 29, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 30, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 31, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 32, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 33, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 34, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 35, with Steve Rambam

PRIVACY IS DEAD – GET OVER IT Pt 36, with Steve Rambam

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Why Illegal Immigration, Mexican Mass Murders, Open Borders and Passports Will Be One of The Explosive Issues of The Presidential Election of 2012?

Posted on April 27, 2011. Filed under: American History, Babies, Banking, Blogroll, Business, College, Communications, Crime, Demographics, Economics, Education, Employment, European History, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government, government spending, history, Immigration, Language, Law, Life, Links, media, Monetary Policy, Money, People, Philosophy, Politics, Private Sector, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Strategy, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Glenn Beck-04/26/11-A

 

Glenn Beck-04/26/11-B

PROHIBITION: 10 Mass Graves Found In Mexico 90 Miles South Of Brownsville, Texas

 

 

Your Papers Please – or PERHAPS a new TSA passenger’s ID card INSTEAD?

 

Glenn Beck-04/26/11-C

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

State Dept. Proposes Creepy, Impossible-To-Answer Questions for Passport Applications

Monday, April 25th, 2011

“…The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new  Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information.  According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”

The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.

It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories.  So if the passport examiner wants to deny your application, all they will have to do is give you the impossible new form to complete.

It’s not clear from the supporting statementstatement of legal authorities, or regulatory assessment submitted by the State Department to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) why declining to discuss one’s siblings or to provide the phone number of your first supervisor when you were a teenager working at McDonalds would be a legitimate basis for denial of a passport to a U.S. citizen. …”

http://www.theagitator.com/2011/04/25/state-dept-proposes-creepy-impossible-to-answer-questions-for-passport-applications/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+radleybalko+%28The+Agitator%29

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John McCain’s Position on Illegal Immigration and Criminal Alien Removal?

Alan Keyes on Immigration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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