Plan A (Awful) Hillary Clinton, Plan B (Bad): Joe Biden, Plan C (California): Jerry Brown, Plan D (Dumb): Bernie Sanders — Obama’s Legacy: The Destruction of Democratic Party — Rupert Murdoch Says Biden Very Likely To Win Nomination and Hard To Beat — Videos

Posted on September 9, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Culture, Documentary, Economics, Elections, Employment, Entertainment, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Films, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Fraud, Freedom, Friends, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Middle East, Money, Movies, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Police, Political Correctness, Radio, Radio, Raves, Talk Radio, Taxation, Television, Unemployment, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 528: September 8, 2015 

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Pronk Pops Show 518: August 20, 2015  

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Plan A (Awful) Hillary Clinton, Plan B (Bad): Joe Biden, Plan C (California): Jerry Brown, Plan D (Dumb): Bernie Sanders — Obama’s Legacy: The Destruction of Democratic Party — Rupert Murdoch Says Biden Very Likely To Win Nomination and Hard To Beat — Videos

Plan A (Awful) Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton ‘Sorry’ Her Use Of Private E-Mail Has Raised Questions

Hillary Clinton on emails: ‘I’m sorry’

Hillary Clinton Interview: One-On-One With Andrea Mitchell | MSNBC

Mounting trouble in Hillary Clinton email investigation

Minute Memo #174 – Clinton Hiding Benghazi Emails

Clinton Emails To Receive 50 State Department Staff

Judge Napolitano: Gut feeling is that Hillary Clinton will be charged over private emails.

• Clinton Insiders Altered Top Secret Emails • Kelly File • 8/12/15 •

Napolitano: Clinton’s emails on home server against the law – FoxTV United States News

Rep. Gowdy: “About damn time” Clinton emails tu..

Newsmax Prime | Gen. Michael Hayden on Hillary Clinton’s having compromised U.S. National Security

Trump Predicts Prison Time for Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

Hillary Clinton on emails: ‘everything was permitted

Plan B (Bad) Joe Biden

Joe Biden Makes Strides, But Is He Running?

Crowd greets Biden with chants of ‘Run, Joe, run!’

Biden greeted with chants of ‘run, Joe, run!’ in Pittsburgh

Biden Hears Cheers: ‘Run, Joe, Run’

Plan C (California) Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown: If I were Biden, I’d give 2016 run ‘very serious consideration

Jerry Brown: If I Were Joe Biden, I’d Give 2016 Run ‘Serious Consideration’

Jerry Brown: I Would Run for President if I Was 10 Years Younger

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown talks drought, political future

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown Nixes 2016 Presidential Bid

Jerry Brown for President 1992 Report – (The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour)

Bill Clinton Versus Jerry Brown 1992

3 California Governors Who Ran for President

Plan D (Dumb) Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Grows NH Lead Over Hillary Clinton, Gains in Iowa

Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Explains Why Socialist Isn’t a Dirty Word

Things Get Awkward When Matthews Asks DNC Head About Bernie Sanders, Socialism (VIDEO)

Socialist Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Understand Socialism

The Truth About Bernie Sanders

Rupert Murdoch On Why He Supports Immigration Reform

Rupert Murdoch: Donald Trump ‘wrong’ on immigration

Bill O’Reilly Donald Trump Battle over Immigration Plan and 14th Amendment

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

National Security Agency Whistleblower William Binney on Growing State Surveillance

NSA Whistleblower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

Operation “Toto” Pulling Back The Curtain: Full NSA Interview

Will Smith Movies Full Length | Enemy of the State 1998 Movie English HD

‘Run, Joe, run!’ Adoring Pittsburgh crowd enthusiastically encourages Joe Biden to run for president

  • Joe Biden given a rapturous welcome by Pittsburgh steelworkers at rally
  • The Vice President gave a rousing speech blaming America’s ills on stagnant wages and an unfair tax code that favors the wealthy
  • Biden, who is still grieving his son, Beau, jogged through the crowd 
  • Biden’s popularity numbers are on par with Trump’s 

Hearing chants of ‘run Joe, run,’ Vice President Joe Biden marched in Pittsburgh’s annual Labor Day parade on Monday as speculation swirled about a potential entry into the Democratic presidential campaign.

The vice president donned a black-and-gold United Steelworkers union hat and told hundreds of union members that the gap between the wealthy and poor was hurting the nation.

The 72-year-old exuberantly jogged through the crowd of supportive well-wishers, who were urging him to join the race for president.

‘Give it a go, Joe!’ shouted one woman.

Scroll down for video 

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

Vice President Joe Biden revved up the crowd at a steelworkers union event in Pittsburgh on Sunday

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally
Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

Biden was greeted with shouts of ‘Run, Joe, run!’ encouraging him to run for president

Recent polls suggest that those who are abandoning Hillary Clinton back Biden for president, according to CNN.

But Biden deflected questions as to whether or not he would enter the fray, only saying ‘I am definitely going to run part of this parade, I feel like I am home right now.’

But he had much more to say in his speech in front of the union.

‘It used to be when productivity went up in America, everybody got a chance to share,’ said Biden. ‘They got a piece of the action… Why in God’s name should a man or a woman working in a steel mill make $50,000 a year when someone on Wall Street makes millions of dollars a year?’

In introducing Biden for his speech, Trumka and United Steelworkers union chief Leo Gerard gave strong praise to Biden, who was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Biden praises unions as he addressees crowds on Labor Day

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

Joe Biden rouses crowd at Pittsburgh rally

The adoring crowd flocked around the sprightly 72-year-old, who is still reeling from his son Beau’s death in May, but who looked happy and healthy at the rally

Fans clamored for selfies with the VP, who tends to be known for his verbal gaffes

Fans clamored for selfies with the VP, who tends to be known for his verbal gaffes

‘He has never let us down,’ said Gerard.

Biden, in his speech, said the tax code is to blame for the rich getting a bigger piece of the economic pie.

‘The tax code’s not fair. It’s simply not fair,’ Biden said in a city long associated with organized labor. ‘The wealthy aren’t paying their fair share. There used to be one America.’

Biden greeted United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard (right) who said Biden has never let steelworkers down

Biden greeted United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard (right) who said Biden has never let steelworkers down

Biden was cagey about whether he would run for POTUS but he had no issue with jogging through the streets of Pittsburgh 

Biden was cagey about whether he would run for POTUS but he had no issue with jogging through the streets of Pittsburgh

When asked point-blank by young local business owner Chris Fuget asked whether he would announce a 2016 run, the Vice President coyly said, ‘I haven’t made that decision yet,’ according to CNN.

There was some disappointment in the crowd that he didn’t throw his hat into the ring.

‘We thought today might have been the day,’ said Pittsburgh union worker Jack Gaffrey.

'It's hope,' the VP said about the enthusiastic response the crowd gave him 

‘It’s hope,’ the VP said about the enthusiastic response the crowd gave him

His entry could jumble a Democratic contest that has seen front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton’s lead diminish in early states against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who describes himself as a democratic socialist.

Biden, however, said last week he wasn’t certain if he and his family had the ’emotional energy’ for another campaign. Biden’s eldest son, Beau, died of brain cancer in May.

Biden blamed America's ills on the tax code which favors the wealthy as well as low and stagnant wages

Biden blamed America’s ills on the tax code which favors the wealthy as well as low and stagnant wages

But AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who walked the parade route with Biden, said the vice president got a strong response from the city’s workers.

‘If you’re looking for energy, this is a great place to get energy today,’ the labor leader said.

Asked what he made of the overwhelmingly warm response Pittsburgh gave him, he replied, ‘It’s hope.’

'I am definitely going to run part of this parade,' Biden said and then made good his promise

‘I am definitely going to run part of this parade,’ Biden said and then made good his promise

In a new NBC/Marist poll of New Hampshire primary voters released on Sunday, Biden had support from 16 percent of Democratic voters.

That’s half the total of Clinton, who herself trailed front runner Sanders by nine points in New Hampshire, a state where Bill and Hillary Clinton have deep ties.

In Iowa, Clinton saw her lead over Sanders decline by half and now leads him by 37 percent to 20 precent with Biden at 20 percent.

But Biden still isn’t as quite popular as GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.

The reality star billionaire beats him by a narrow margin in a new national poll 44 percent to 42 percent, according to SurveyUSA.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3225543/Run-Joe-run-Pittsburgh-crowd-enthusiastically-encourages-Joe-Biden-run-president.html

The Best Second Choice

Forget Sanders and Biden, the Democrats’ best 2016 backup is California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a news conference about transportation in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.

The best bet.

By Aug. 21, 2015 | 10:40 a.m. EDT+ MoreIn assessing Hillary Clinton’s chances of being the 2016 Democratic nominee, Sean Trende hits the nail squarely on the head: “Absent an indictment, she remains the solid favorite for the nomination.” Yes, you read that correctly: “absent an indictment.”

In any other year, with any other candidate, that phrase would be ludicrous. How could a party be so solidly behind a person who is so publicly balancing on a razor’s edge between shady practices andillegal dealings? While there are many reasons for this, three stand out and are worth remembering before asking the next logical question: If not her, then who?

First, two large “anti-in-party” midterm elections decimated the Democrats’ bench. Surviving Democratic statewide elected officials are few and far between. And those who are there need more time to acquire political experience and develop a national reputation.

Second, Clinton has been perceived by her fellow partisans as the next in line for the nomination since the day she conceded the 2008 nomination contest to then-Sen. Barack Obama. That year’s epic contest ended with an unspoken but widely understood deal between the two warring factions of Democratic activists: Support for Obama in 2008 will lead to support for Clinton as his successor. This was a tough pill for Clinton’s backers to take because they had been expecting Clinton to become the party’s next nominee since the day John Kerry lost in 2004. But they accepted the trade because they had no choice.

Third, Clinton is not only unique because her gender combines with the Democratic Party’s sincere desire to follow the first African-American president with the first female one (a right time, right place confluence of dynamics, if you will), but also because the country experienced tremendous economic prosperity during her husband’s tenure in the White House and Democrats largely believe that fact will redound favorably on her candidacy.

Of course, her being a Clinton is also a challenge for her campaign. Aside from the dynasty knock, the Clintons have long rankled the feathers of other Democrats, and it was this “anti-Clinton” sentiment thatObama exploited to full benefit in 2008.

Nevertheless, it’s this strange brew of partisan expectations and political realities that have likely kept Clinton’s (older, but no less ambitious) Democratic opponents on the sidelines. If she were indicted, though, all bets are off and the problem of surfeit ambition would likely arise.

Setting aside the unknown probability of an indictment and the known likelihood of Clinton securing the Democratic presidential nomination before next spring, the question of who could possibly replace her is an interesting one to consider.

At the moment, progressive Democrats are increasingly rallying around one of her few declared opponents, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. But his far-left policy stances and past voting record make him a weak general election candidate. Democrats know this; it’s highly unlikely that the party establishment would support him to become the nominee.

There’s also the undeclared, but publicly ruminating Vice President Joe Biden. Despite his gaffe-pronereputation, most reports suggest that he is the party’s preferred second choice.

Still, if Clinton’s candidacy were to implode, I don’t imagine Biden would be on a glide path to the nomination (unless Obama were to endorse him). Secretary of State John Kerry might decide his time is now. As he lost the 2004 election by fewer than 120,000 votes from Ohio, he can legitimately argue he’s been a better candidate than Biden in past presidential races.

But by far, the Democrats’ strongest septuagenarian is California Gov. Jerry Brown. He has vast political experience. He’s well-liked across the Democratic Party. He continues to enjoy high approval ratings and has widely been perceived as an effective governor.

He’d also offer the Democrats two key talking points Sanders, Biden and Kerry can’t: He’s a Washington outsider and he knows how to make government work because he’s served four terms in the top executive office in California. Further, he has a more than two-decade long reputation of being the “anti-Clinton,” which would not only likely endear him to Sanders’ supporters, but would also place him in good stead were the party needing to wash its hands of all things Clinton in the wake of an indictment.

So while Brown’s candidacy may be a far-fetched possibility, from my view, he’s the best “second choice” for Democrats to mount a competitive general election campaign. But then, all of us Brownsfrom California tend to view politics rather unconventionally.

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/lara-brown/2015/08/21/jerry-brown-is-the-democrats-best-choice-to-replace-clinton

GINGRICH: JERRY BROWN COULD ENTER PRESIDENTIAL RACE

Former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich told CNN on Monday that California Gov. Jerry Brown could enter the presidential race.

“If Hillary starts to implode you will see a vacuum that you have not seen in many, many years,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren on her show, On the Record, speculating that Clinton’s mounting scandals could cost her the race.

“[Former New York mayor Michael] Bloomberg, if he shifts, Jerry Brown–I mean, you just don’t know. [Senator]

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) 15% …” Gingrich suggested.Gingrich also suggested that Secretary of State John Kerry might run, along with Vice President Joe Biden.

Brown has run for president three times before. He would be 78 years old in 2016, and has suggested that age might be an obstacle to a run, though he has not entirely ruled out a fourth attempt at the Oval Office.

He is, however, among the most popular and successful Democratic governors in the United States, and has more experience than anyone else in the field, currently or potentially.

Gingrich said that Hillary’s main worry will be socialist

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 16%, who is running for the Democratic Party nomination.

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Stand With Rand Against Renewal of Patriot Act and National Security Agency’s Turnkey Tyranny And Repeal of Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution — Videos

Posted on May 22, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Economics, European History, External Hard Drives, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, government, government spending, history, Investments, IRS, liberty, Life, Links, media, Middle East, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, People, Philosophy, Police, Politics, Radio, Security, Strategy, Systems, Taxes, Technology, Video, War, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 458 May 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 457 April 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 456: April 29, 2015 

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Story 1: Stand With Rand Against Renewal of Patriot Act and National Security Agency’s Turnkey Tyranny And Repeal of Fourth Amendment of U.S. Constitution — Videos

Amendment IV

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

Fourth Amendment

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

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

CLIP: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) begins his remarks on Patriot Act and NSA Surveillance (C-SPAN)

Rand Paul filibusters renewal of the Patriot Act

Sen. Rand Paul ‘filibusters’ against Patriot Act – LoneWolf Sager(◑_◑)

5 Reasons To Oppose Section 215 of The Patriot Act

Hour 11: Sen. Rand Paul’s Filibuster on PATRIOT Act Extension – May 20, 2015

Rand Paul Interview On NSA Court Ruling Of Illegal Spying

Court Rules NSA Bulk Spying Illegal: New Vindication for Snowden, and Uncertainty for PATRIOT Act

Rand Paul Interview On Meet The Press

Senator Rand Paul discusses individualism, freedom, and national security on Uncommon Knowledge

HUGE WIN FOR PRIVACY! Court Rules NSA Spying Is Illegal

Lynch: NSA Surveillance Program a ‘Vital Tool’

Sen. Rand Paul Opposes PATRIOT Act Renewal

William Binney Tells RT That USA Freedom Act is a Farce

Rand Paul on Extension of the Patriot Act: 05/23/11

Rand Paul Stalling Patriot Act Extension!

Judge Andrew Napolitano Natural Rights and PATRIOT ACT Part 2 of 3

Judge Andrew Napolitano Natural Rights and The Patriot Act part 1 of 3

Liberty and Security in a Changing World

CITP/LAPA/WWS Special Event: Edward Snowden in Conversation with Bart Gellman

As Judge Rules NSA Surveillance – Almost Orwellian – Obama Prepares to Leave Spying Program Intact

AFTER OVER 10 HOURS, RAND PAUL ENDS HIS NSA ‘FILIBUSTER’

The Kentucky Republican spoke on the Senate floor until he could no longer stand. Here’s everything that happened.

BY DUSTIN VOLZ AND KAVEH WADDELL

en. Rand Paul has just wrapped a ten-and-a-half hour long speech on the Senate floor in what his office called a filibuster against the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs, as part of an apparent stand against efforts by some of his Republican colleagues to extend the Patriot Act’s expiring spy powers.

“There comes to a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer,” Paul started. “That time is now. And I will not let the Patriot Act, the most un-patriotic of acts, go unchallenged.”

“There comes to a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer,” Paul started. “That time is now. And I will not let the Patriot Act, the most un-patriotic of acts, go unchallenged.”
Paul took the podium at 1:18 p.m. and left the floor at 11:49 p.m. Here’s what happened, and what’s coming next.

12:26 a.m.: A very tired Rand Paul, off the floor, opens up.

After he walked off the Senate floor, the Kentucky senator told reporters he was “tired, voice is worn out, ready to go home.”

But Paul didn’t feel like his time and energy were for nothing. Business shoes in hand, a weary Paul said “we accomplished something by having, you know, it was kind of nice to have bipartisan support.”

Paul said that even though he didn’t last until midnight, he still believed he had slowed down the clock by a day on procedural advancement on any Patriot Act reauthorization. But an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested the theatrics matter little. “Cloture on trade would be tomorrow either way. Patriot Act is after that,” the aide said.

Because McConnell did not file for cloture by Tuesday evening, it was already unlikely the Senate could act on the Patriot Act before the House goes on recess tomorrow, given the drawn-out parliamentary process of the upper chamber. Unless the Senate is willing to stay in town over the weekend and approve the House-passed Freedom Act, it appears increasingly likely that we are headed for a full expiration of the law’s three surveillance authorities, which sunset on June 1.

Paul, while talking to reporters, took a jab at President Obama for not ending the NSA’s bulk phone-records program unilaterally. Obama “needs to step up and be a little more of a leader in getting us out of this mess,” he said.

Noting support from Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, his presidential rival, Paul said “We’re not exactly [on] the same page but I think we’re all opponents of the bulk collection.” Both Lee and Cruz support the USA Freedom Act, while Paul says it does not go far enough.

11:49 p.m.: It’s over. Thanking his staff, Sen. Rand Paul has relinquished the floor after 10 hours and 30 minutes.

(C-SPAN)
Since Paul didn’t speak past midnight, the week’s schedule appears to remain unchanged. Earlier in the night, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that if Paul talked into Thursday, it would hold up possible consideration of a Patriot Act extension and throw off the Senate’s calendar before breaking for recess.

11:45 p.m.: We’re winding down. After Sen. Ted Cruz’s fiery speech, a tired Paul took the podium for a final hurrah. “My voice is rapidly leaving, and my bedtime has long since past,” he said, before launching into a summary of what he’s been saying for almost 10 and a half hours. “Bulk collection must end, and I think we have the votes to end it now,” Paul said.

11:29 p.m.: At last, Ted Cruz stands with Rand. Sen. Ted Cruz joined Paul to rail against the Patriot Act late Wednesday evening, just before 11:30 p.m. Cruz is the third Republican to join Paul on the floor.

The Texas Republican praised Paul for having “altered this debate” over NSA surveillance.

Cruz presided over the Senate for a bit earlier in the evening but stepped down to the floor to join Paul’s efforts.

Cruz is running for the GOP nomination for president, as is Paul. Sen. Marco Rubio is currently presiding, meaning three Republican White House contenders are currently in the chamber. A Paul-sanctioned super PAC that is backing his presidential bid earlier mocked Cruz on Twitter for not #StandingWithRand.

Cruz began talking up the virtues of the House-passed USA Freedom Act. Though Cruz supports the bill, he is only one of five GOP co-sponsors in the Senate. Paul believes the bill does not enough, while Rubio wants to preserve the Patriot Act’s spying authorities and the NSA’s bulk data regime.

Cruz emphasized that a straight extension of the Patriot Act provisions that the NSA uses to justify its surveillance program would not be acceptable.

“It is abundantly, abundantly clear that a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act ain’t passing this body, and it certainly ain’t passing the House of Representatives.”

Cruz spent much of his speech focusing on the personal, saying that standing on the floor with Paul and Sen. Mike Lee reminded him of The Blues Brothers and getting the band back together.

“I said many times I will go to my grave in debt to Sen. Rand Paul that the first opportunity I had to speak on the Senate floor was in support of his epic filibuster,” Cruz said.

11:25 p.m.: Rand Paul is now selling a “filibuster starter pack.” This talk-a-thon is about more than just national security, the power of government, and privacy rights. It’s also about Rand Paul and his presidential ambitions. The latest example: you can now buy yourself a “filibuster starter pack” at Paul’s online campaign store, as the senator’s Twitter account alerted followers to.

The kit is $30 and includes, per the site, a t-shirt that reads “The NSA knows I bought this Rand Paul tshirt,” a bumper sticker that says the same, just about buying a sticker, and a “Spy blocker” for your computer camara.

11:16 p.m.: Patriot Act defender Marco Rubio is now presiding over Paul’s Patriot Act takedown. Another GOP presidential candidate is now presiding over Paul’s “filibuster.” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida took over the duties to run the floor from Sen. Ted Cruz.

Rubio has vociferously defended the NSA’s surveillance powers, once penning an op-ed calling for the permanent extension of the Patriot Act’s spy provisions.

Rubio was spotted intently reading a magazine—using a pen to go line by line—as Sen. Lee spoke from the floor. Cruz, meanwhile, took a seat to Lee’s right, indicating he may end up joining the talk-a-thon after all.

11:10 p.m.: Rand Paul’s biggest House fans join him on Senate floor. A handful of House members gathered behind Paul on the Senate floor late Wednesday to cheer him on. The gaggle included Republican Rep. Tom Massie and Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, both of whom voted against the House-passed USA Freedom Act last week on grounds it does not do enough to curb NSA surveillance. Massie has long been a big political ally of Paul’s.

Paul tonight has repeatedly said he is concerned the Freedom Act needs to do more before it can earn his support.

10:43 p.m.: Mike Lee returns. The tea-party Republican from Utah has reemerged to keep the Patriot Act talk-a-thon going. Lee is one of two Republicans to speak on the floor for Paul’s “filibuster,” along with Sen. Steve Daines of Montana.

Lee is a lead sponsor of the House-passed USA Freedom Act, alongside Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Though seven Democrats have supported Paul on the floor today, Leahy is not one them.

10:25 p.m.: Cruz’s office says he was scheduled to be presiding officer. In a strange twist of fate, Sen. Ted Cruz was already on the books to preside over the Senate tonight, his office says. Many expected Cruz to support Paul during his speech.

10:15 p.m.: As promised, Wyden is back. The Oregon Democrat has returned to speak on the floor, giving Paul a much-needed break.

10:10 p.m.: Sen. Ted Cruz arrives, but not to help. After nearly nine hours, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz arrived on the floor. But he wasn’t there to stand with the long-suffering Kentucky senator—he is presiding over the nearly-empty senate.

Cruz, who, like Paul, is running for the GOP presidential nomination, is a co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act, which would rein in parts of the NSA and effectively end its bulk collection of U.S. call data. He is one of five Republicans to cosponsor the measure. Paul has said the bill does not go far enough.

9:50 p.m.: Another Democrat arrives to stand with Rand. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut appeared to give Paul another breather. This is the seventh Democrat to come to Paul’s assistance.

Blumenthal talked about the secrecy of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and pressed for more transparency and oversight of the judicial body, which some privacy advocates have derided as a “rubber stamp” for the NSA’s surveillance orders. Blumenthal called for an adversarial body to argue against the government before the FISA Court.

9:48 p.m.: Ron Paul is standing with his son. The Campaign for Liberty, the organization led by former Rep. Ron Paul, tweeted out a picture of Paul and his wife standing by a TV tuned to C-SPAN 2. “C4L Chairman @RonPaul and his wife Carol stand with their son Rand to end NSA spying. Do you? #StandWithRand”

9:43 p.m. Rand Paul is slowing down. Over the last twenty minutes, Paul has paused for prolonged moments, swaying back and forth as he shuffles through the papers on his desk. His voice sounds hoarse, and he has fallen silent to pop a candy into his mouth a few times. If you were wondering if talking for so long with few breaks can get physically taxing, he’s your proof.

9:03 p.m.: Wyden returns. Sen. Ron Wyden, who was the first senator to join Paul several hours ago, is now back on the floor. The Oregon Democrat discussed his concerns about so-called “backdoor search loopholes” that can be used by the intelligence community to pry into the digital communications of Americans who correspond with foreigners.

Wyden then praised Paul’s stamina and determination before pledging to return later in the evening. “I intend to rejoin my colleague before long,” Wyden said.

8:57 p.m.: After listening for hours, Sen. Cantwell speaks. Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell, who has been sitting at a desk for much of the evening—certainly longer than any other senator—stood to ask Paul about encryption technology. She follows Sens. Wyden, Heinrich, Manchin, Coons, and Tester as the sixth Democrat to speak with Paul.

8:51 p.m.: McConnell aide: If Paul talks past midnight, he will delay NSA consideration. An aide for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said late Wednesday that if Paul continues his talk-a-thon past midnight, he will succeed in delaying the Senate’s possible consideration of any Patriot Act extension, possibly into the weekend or later.

This is significant because the House is due to pack its bags and leave town tomorrow. Because the Patriot Act’s spy authorities expire on June 1, the Senate may not be able to pass any surveillance legislation in time before the lower chamber recesses until next month.

If Paul makes it past midnight, the McConnell aide said, he will delay when the Senate—which still needs to address pending trade legislation—can file cloture on any Patriot Act legislation.

Earlier Wednesday, the Obama administration said the NSA would start shutting down its phone-records dragnet this Friday in order to have it turned off completely by June 1 unless Congress figured out a way forward before then.

It is unclear if McConnell would have filed cloture today had he been given the opportunity, however. And this all may be a moot point, as it is unclear if either the Freedom Act or a short-term “clean” reauthorization has the 60 votes necessary to advance through the Senate.

8:12 p.m.: Paul: Freedom Act allows for continued spying. Paul has said he’s unhappy with the House-passed USA Freedom Act because it doesn’t go far enough to stop NSA surveillance. He outlined his gripes with the bill on the floor, saying that the liability protection it offers telephone companies is proof that it doesn’t limit the spying programs enough.

“One question I would ask, if there was anybody that would actually tell you the answer, would be: If we already gave them liability protection under the Patriot Act, why are they getting it again under the USA Freedom Act unless we’re asking them to do something new that they didn’t have permission for?” Paul asked.

“The other problem with the USA Freedom Act is: If you think bulk collection is wrong, why do they need new authorities? Why are we giving them some new authorities?” he continued.

7:55 p.m.: Paul: This is just the tip of the iceberg. Paul is under no illusions that letting portions of the Patriot Act expire would end what he calls illegal spying. While the NSA’s bulk surveillance is a high-profile target, Paul says he thinks there are many similar programs that haven’t been revealed.

“If we decide to fix bulk records and try to do something about this, I think, injustice, the main thing is we should be aware that this isn’t the only program. There’s probably a dozen programs. There’s probably another dozen we haven’t even heard of that they won’t tell any of us about,” Paul said.

“And realize that they’re not asking Congress for permission. They are doing whatever they want,” he continued. “We did not give them permission under the Patriot Act to do bulk collection of phone records. They are doing it with no authority, or inherent authority, or some other authority, because the courts have already told them that there is no authority under the Patriot Act.”

7:47 p.m.: Paul goes off on EPA overreach. To illustrate the problems that come with big government, Paul turned away from the NSA and toward the EPA, an agency much reviled among conservatives unhappy with government overinvolvement.

Paul brought up a case that saw a man and his daughter sentenced to 10 years in prison for “putting clean dirt on his own land.”

“That’s what’s happening in America. So you wonder why some of us worry about our records being snatched up? We’re worried about our own government’s run amok, that our own government’s out of control and that our own government’s not really paying attention to us,” Paul said. “To put a 70-year-old man in prison for ten years for putting clean dirt on his own land, the person that did that ought to go to jail, in fact they ought to be put in a stockade and publicly flogged and then made to pay penance for a decade for doing something so stupid.”

Paul appeared to be referring to this 2005 case. According to an EPA administrator, “the defendants destroyed valuable wetlands and victimized the residents of Big Hill Acres, who ended up with polluted homes and yards with leaking sewage.”

7:13 p.m.: Rand’s getting a lot of help, but where is Ted Cruz? Two Republicans and five Democrats have joined Paul’s extended oratorical demonstration against the Patriot Act, but one senator is so far notably absent: Ted Cruz.

Cruz, who, like Paul, is running for president, has frequently lambasted the NSA for violating Americans’ privacy rights with its sweeping surveillance programs. Cruz is also one of five GOP cosponsors of the USA Freedom Act, the reform bill that passed the House and would effectively end the NSA’s domestic phone-records dragnet.

But Cruz, who was spotted in the Capitol earlier Wednesday, has so far not appeared on the floor to lend support to Paul. Cruz’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment asking whether the Texas senator had plans to join the “filibuster.”
6:50 p.m.: Sen. Jon Tester is here. The Montana Democrat and chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is the fifth Democrat to join Paul on the Senate floor.

6:45 p.m.: Rand Paul takes on “people who believe that the inherent authorities of the president are unlimited.” Paul said the bulk collection program’s beginnings, during which it was not sanctioned by law, fell outside the bounds of a president’s authority.

“For the first several years we did bulk collection, they just did it,” Paul said. “They just said it was under the inherent authorities of the president. This should scare us because there are people who believe that the inherent authorities of the president are unlimited. That would not be a president. There would be another name for that.”

6:44: Sen. Chris Coons comes to the floor. The Delaware senator is the fourth Democrat to come to the floor.

It’s relatively rare for my colleague from Kentucky and I to come to the floor in agreement on an issue,” Coons said. “But it has happened before on exactly this issue.”

6:35 p.m.: Standing with Rand outside the Capitol. About 25 “grassroots” supporters of Rand Paul gathered outside the Capitol Wednesday to show solidarity for his stand against the Patriot Act and support his presidential campaign. Chanting “stand with Rand” and “President Paul,” the group was nearly matched by the number of journalists snapping photos of the demonstration.

Cliff Maloney, 24, organized the event on Facebook. Maloney, who works for Young Americans for Liberty, said he supports Paul because of his stances on privacy issues and ability to reach out to younger voters.

“Look at today,” Maloney said. “He’s on the Senate floor filibustering [for digital privacy rights]. And that’s something young voters care about.”

6:20 p.m.: Sen. Joe Manchin Spars with Paul over USA Freedom Act. The Democrat from West Virginia joined Paul on the floor just after 6 p.m. “My good friend, I don’t always agree with you on every issue, but when it comes to this nation’s intelligence gathering and security, we agree more than we don’t,” Manchin said.

Manchin went on to express his support for the NSA reform bill that the House passed last week. “I believe this bill, USA Freedom 2015, moves us in a positive direction, ends the bulk data collection program, and ensures that the collection of data is related to a relevant, particular terrorist investigation,” Manchin said.

When Paul took the podium again, he laid out his concerns with the act that Manchin was touting. “I want to like it, and I want to because it ends bulk collection,” Paul said. But he said the fact that the bill allows the government to search for a person’s records leaves a loophole.

“See, the big thing for me is a warrant should be individualized and I’m worried when you use the word “person” if it can be replaced with the word verizon and still collect all the records,” Paul said. The problem stems from the legal practice of treating corporations as people.

“I don’t know if they’re insurmountable, but those are a couple concerns,” Paul said.

6:02 p.m.: Sen. Steve Daines joins the fray. Montana Republican Steve Daines joined Paul’s stand against the Patriot Act shortly before 6 p.m.

“I spent more than 12 years in the technology sector before being elected to Congress,” Daines said. “I know firsthand the power that big data holds. I also know the great risks that arise when this power is abused. There is a clear and a direct threat to American civil liberties that comes from the mass collection of our personal information and our phone records.”

Daines is one of five GOP cosponsors of the reform-minded USA Freedom Act, which passed the House easily last week. Paul is not a cosponsor of the measure, which he says does not go far enough to limit the Patriot Act’s spying provisions.

It is expected nearly all Senate Democrats would vote for the Freedom Act, with Sen. Bill Nelson being the lone holdout. But it remains unclear if the bill has enough Republican support to reach a filibuster-proof 60-vote threshold, especially with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell whipping against it.

5:53 p.m.: What Rand Paul wants. Paul began going into detail over the last twenty minutes about the amendments he and Sen. Ron Wyden are “most likely” to offer on legislation seeking to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. Many of the amendments would push for privacy safeguards that the two civil-liberties advocates have long championed.

The first amendment, Paul said, would prohibit the government from mandating that tech firms create so-called surveillance “backdoors” in their products, which the NSA could access. “I know facebook has objected to this and fought them on this, but our amendment would say that the government just can’t do this,” Paul said.

A second amendment would “end bulk collection and replace it with nothing,” Paul said. It would close a loophole that allows back-door searches, he said, referring to the NSA’s practice of using a rule that allows it to search the foreigners’ data to capture information on U.S. citizens. The amendment would also require a “constitutional advocate” to be present in order to argue against the government in intelligence courts.

That amendment, Paul said, would also enact certain privacy protections for Americans whose digital records are held by third-party companies.

Another amendment Paul wants to introduce would make warrantless spying on Americans illegal “in non-terror” cases. He said the amendment would protect Americans against the government using a warrant intended for foreign terrorists that’s easier to obtain.

A fourth amendment would require courts to approve national security letters to “make them more like warrants,” Paul said. So-called NSLs compel companies to hand over communications data or financial records of certain users for the purposes of a national security investigation. The decades-old investigative tool that has grown in importance and frequency of use since the Patriot Act’s passage. Hundreds of thousands of letters have been used by the Justice Department since Sept. 11, 2001, and are often accompanied by gag orders.

Paul continued to tick off several other amendment ideas, including additional protections for whistleblowers, allowing for U.S. citizens to appeal surveillance orders handed down by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and implementing limitations to the Reagan-era Executive Order 12333, which some privacy advocates say allows the NSA the majority of its spying power.

5:50 p.m.: Supports of Rand to Rally in Capitol. A group of “grassroots supporters” for Paul’s efforts to block the Patriot Act will gather at 6 p.m. outside the U.S. Capitol, according to a Facebook event page. The event calls for supporters to gather on the Senate steps “on the west front side” that face the White House. Eighty-nine people have currently RSVP’d for the Stand with Rand party.

5:01 p.m.: Martin Heinrich arrives. Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich became the second Democrat to join Paul on the floor to criticize the NSA’s mass surveillance programs.

The New Mexico senator took the opportunity to cite a recent federal appeals court decision deeming the NSA’s phone-records dragnet illegal as proof the Patriot Act’s spying provisions cannot be renewed without substantial changes akin to what the USA Freedom Act offers.

“Why on Earth, I would ask you, why on Earth would we extend a law that this court has found to be illegal?” Heinrich asked. “Now, given the overwhelming evidence that the current bulk collection program is not only unnecessary but also illegal, i think we’ve reached a critical turning point

Heinrich serves on the intelligence committee along with Sen. Ron Wyden, who spoke on the floor earlier. The two have frequently teamed up to question the intelligence community’s broad surveillance powers.

4:46 p.m.: Lee makes his case for a vote on USA Freedom. Sen. Mike Lee said he was open to amendments to his NSA reform package, the USA Freedom Act, but that it would be irresponsible for the Senate to not take up consideration with sufficient time for discussion.

“If there are those who have concerns with the legislation passed by the House of Representatives last week by a vote of 338-88, I welcome their input, I welcome any amendments they may have, I welcome the opportunity to make the bill better to make it more compatible with this or that interest,” Lee said. “We cannot continue to function by cliff. Government by cliff is a recipe for disaster.”

4:27 p.m.: Wyden out, Lee in. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, joined Paul on the Senate floor to give the Kentucky senator’s vocal cords a rest. Lee has been an outspoken supporter of reforming the NSA’s surveillance programs, and is one of the co-sponsors of the USA Freedom Act. Lee acknowledged that his position is not as extreme as Paul’s—he does not support allowing the Patriot Act to expire, as Paul does—but he offered his support on the floor.

“Let me be clear at the outset that while the senator from Kentucky and I come to different conclusions with regard to the specific question as to whether we should allow section 215 of the Patriot Act to expire, I absolutely stand with the junior senator from Kentucky,” Lee said when he took the podium.

On Tuesday. Lee asked the Senate to table discussion of the trade bill to begin debating the USA Freedom Act. The move was blocked by an objection from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

4: 17 p.m.: What do other Republican senators think of Paul’s “filibuster”? Some of Paul’s Republican colleagues attempted to downplay the significance of Paul taking over the Senate floor on Wednesday. “Oh that’ll be, you know, 12 hours, and he’ll get a lot of publicity for a day or so, but it won’t affect the process,” Sen. John McCain said Tuesday, when asked about Paul’s expected filibuster.

Republican leadership seemed relieved Paul chose to take the floor during dead time Wednesday, a move they anticipate may mean he won’t get in the way later this week when the chamber actually considers a Patriot Act extension. “I guess if he’s going to, doing it now as opposed to doing it on the weekend is maybe preferable,” Sen. John Thune told an AP reporter.

“I don’t think those inside Washington are listening very well,” Paul said during his speech, in apparent recognition of his colleagues’ unwillingness to let the NSA’s bulk call-records program lapse.

4:12 p.m.: “No Senators.” One headline that Sen. Paul wasn’t necessarily hoping for: a little bit into his speech, C-SPAN2 aired this chyron while the senator spoke:

3:46 p.m.: Backup is here, and it’s a Democrat. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., took the podium to relieve Paul more than two hours into Paul’s floor speech. Wyden is Paul’s partner in opposing a straight reauthorization of the Patriot Act, and he is the only other senator who has also promised to filibuster an extension of the NSA’s spying programs. “This will not be the last time we are back on the floor,” Wyden said as he took over for Paul.

Paul and Wyden are somewhat strange bedfellows, as Wyden has indicated he would vote for the reform package the House passed last week, known as the USA Freedom Act. Paul contends it does not go far enough. But the bipartisan pair is co-sponsoring a number of amendments they say will make the USA Freedom Act go farther in limiting the NSA’s surveillance powers.

“A number of us—myself specifically—have been concerned that the majority leader and other supporters of business as usual on bulk collection of all of these phone records would somehow try to take advantage of our current discussions and try to, in effect, sneak through a motion to extend section 215 of the USA Patriot Act,” Wyden said. “As long as the senator from Kentucky has the floor, that cannot happen.”

“My colleague from Kentucky has been an invaluable ally on this particular cause since he arrived in the Senate,” the Oregon Democrat continued.

3:41 p.m.: Hitler appears. It took a little over two hours for the first mention of Hitler during Paul’s speech. “Any time you make an analogy to horrific people in history, a Mussolini or a Hitler, people say, ‘Oh, you’re exaggerating, you’re talking about—it’s hyperbole. And maybe it is. And particularly to accuse anybody of that is a horrific analogy, and I’m not doing that,” Paul said. “But what I would say is that if you are not concerned that democracy could produce bad people, I don’t think you’re really thinking this through too much.”

3:20 p.m.: Paul goes after Graham. Paul attacked fellow Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for his characteristically hawkish views on surveillance and due process. Paul seized on Graham’s comment earlier this week about how he would deal with anyone who’s thinking about joining the Islamic State terrorist group.

“One senator said recently—i find this really hard to believe—he said, well, when they ask you for a judge, just drone them,” Paul said. “Ha ha. Same guy said when they ask you for a lawyer, tell them to shut up.”

The Background

Paul, who is a Republican candidate for president, has for weeks threatened that he would filibuster any attempt to reauthorize the Patriot Act authorities due to sunset on June 1. Although the Senate was not taking up votes Wednesday afternoon, a Paul spokesman called the speech a “filibuster” and said the Kentucky Republican “will speak until he can no longer speak.”

The timing of Paul’s speech took some observers by surprise, as the Senate has not yet moved to consider the Patriot Act and is still trudging through an ongoing fight over an international trade deal. Because Paul was not actually objecting to any specific vote, his speech does not appear to qualify as a formal filibuster.

Procedural votes could still come up later this week on the Freedom Act and McConnell’s short-term extension. But the Senate would likely need to stay through the weekend to get through the full process of voting on the opposing measures, as McConnell had not filed for cloture on either option by Tuesday.

Paul could further stall each vote and force the Senate to stay in town through the weekend. But his decision to eat up time on Wednesday likely indicates he does not want to cause party leaders that headache. Either way, the Senate almost certainly won’t resolve the matter before the House leaves town on Thursday, and an expiration of the Patriot Act’s spy provisions looks increasingly likely.

Paul opposes both McConnell’s push and the Freedom Act, which he says does not go far enough in ushering in surveillance reforms.

Paul’s stand against government surveillance comes as three provisions of the Patriot Act are due to expire on June 1, including Section 215, which the NSA uses to justify its bulk collection of U.S. call records.

(RELATED: Where the 2016 Republicans Stand on NSA Spying)

Congress has reauthorized the authorities in the past, but the current expiration is the first to occur after the Edward Snowden revelations, which began two years ago and publicly exposed for the first time the NSA’s phone dragnet.

Last week the House overwhelmingly passed a reform package called the USA Freedom Act, which would effectively end the NSA’s domestic phone records program. Instead, telephone companies would be relied on to keep the records and hand them over to the government on an as-needed basis after judicial approval is obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

But that measure has run hard into a wall in the upper chamber, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a number of GOP defense hawks have said it could jeopardize national security. McConnell and his flock prefer a “clean” reauthorization to the Patriot Act’s spying authorities, and have most recently pushed for a two-month extension to allow more time for debate.

Paul said his stand will force the Senate to debate the surveillance programs, which he says did not happen when the Patriot Act was first introduced in the weeks following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“The Patriot Act—I’m not sure unless we insert ourselves a at this moment that we’ll have any debate over it. It’s been set to expire for three years. We’ve known it was coming. And the question is, do we not have enough time because we just don’t care enough?”

In 2013, Paul famously spoke for 13 hours on the Senate floor on John Brennan’s nomination to run the CIA, attacking the nominee and the Obama administration for its drone policy.

Within twenty minutes of the beginning of Paul’s speech, his campaign sent an email to supporters asking for donations. “I will not rest. I will not back down. I will not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand,” the email, which was signed by Paul, read.

The campaign took a dig at senators eager to leave town for the long weekend. “It seems many of my colleagues here in the Senate care more about getting out of town for the Memorial Day break than protecting the Constitution so many American patriots have fought and died for,” the email said. “I have news for them. They are going NOWHERE.”

Quoting founding fathers and waxing philosophical on the importance of privacy, Paul called for President Obama to immediately issue an executive order to end the NSA’s surveillance programs.

(RELATED: On NSA Spying, Bernie Sanders, Not Elizabeth Warren, Is Pushing Hillary Clinton Let)

“For over a year now, he has said the program is illegal and yet he does nothing,” Paul said on the Senate floor. “He says, well, Congress can get rid of the Patriot Act. Congress can get rid of the bulk collection. And yet he has the power to do it at his fingertips.”

“He began this illegal program,” Paul continued. “The court has informed him that the program is illegal. He has every power to stop it and yet the president does nothing.”

Paul has said he would end the NSA’s surveillance programs were he elected president.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/rand-paul-filibuster-live-blog-20150520

NSA shouldn’t keep phone database, review board recommends

By Ellen Nakashima and Ashkan Soltani

Read the report

report

https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf

A panel appointed by President Obama to review the government’s surveillance activities has recommended significant new limits on the nation’s intelligence apparatus that include ending the National Security Agency’s collection of virtually all Americans’ phone records.

It urged that phone companies or a private third party maintain the data instead, with access granted only by a court order.

The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies also recommended in a wide-ranging report issued Wednesday that decisions to spy on foreign leaders be subjected to greater scrutiny, including weighing the diplomatic and economic fallout if operations are revealed. Allied foreign leaders or those with whom the United States shares a cooperative relationship should be accorded “a high degree of respect and deference,” it said.

The panel also urged legislation that would require the FBI to obtain judicial approval before it can use a national security letter or administrative subpoena to obtain Americans’ financial, phone and other records. That would eliminate one of the tool’s main attractions: that it can be employed quickly without court approval.

The review group also would impose a ban on warantless NSA searches for Americans’ phone calls and e-mails held within large caches of communications collected legally because the program targeted foreigners overseas.

A report from the five-member Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies contains 40-plus recommendations on the NSA. Read it.

Taken together, the five-
member panel’s recommendations take aim at some of the most controversial practices of the intelligence community, in particular the 35,000-employee NSA, headquartered at Fort Meade, Md. The signals intelligence agency has been in the news constantly since June, when reports based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began appearing in The Washington Post and the Guardian.

The White House released the 300-plus-page report as part of a larger effort to restore public confidence in the intelligence community, which has been shaken by the Snowden revelations.

The panel said that the NSA’s storage of phone data “creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty” and that as a general rule, “the government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information” about Americans to be mined for foreign intelligence purposes.

Despite the proposed constraints, panel member Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA, said, “We are not in any way recommending the disarming of the intelligence community.”

The panel made 46 recommendations in all, which included moving the NSA’s information assurance directorate — its computer defense arm — outside the agency and under the Defense Department’s cyber-policy office.

“The review committee has reaffirmed that national security neither requires nor permits the government to help itself to Americans’ personal information at will,” said Elizabeth Goitein, co-
director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program. “The recommendations would extend significant privacy protections to Americans.”

Some intelligence professionals were dismayed. “If adopted in bulk, the panel’s recommendations would put us back before 9/11 again,” said Joel F. Brenner, a former NSA inspector general.

Former NSA and CIA director Michael V. Hayden urged senior intelligence officials to lay out the operational costs of adopting the recommendations. “The responsibility is now in the intelligence community to be ruthlessly candid with the policy leadership,” Hayden said.

Obama met Wednesday morning with the panel, whose suggestions are advisory only, and some intelligence officials predicted that the most far-reaching recommendations, including ending the government collection and storage of bulk phone data, would not be adopted. The White House has said it will announce in January which ideas it has embraced, as it concludes its internal review of surveillance activities.

The NSA’s phone-records program has prompted debate about whether the government has overreached in the effort to prevent terrorist attacks. The review panel is urging that Congress pass legislation to end the NSA’s storage of phone records — estimated by some former officials to number more than 1 trillion — “as soon as reasonably practicable.”

If the data were held by phone companies or a private third party, access to them would be permitted only with an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, based on reasonable suspicion that the information sought is relevant to an authorized terrorism investigation. Each phone number would require a court order.

Currently, the NSA holds for five years the phone records it gathers daily from U.S. phone companies. These “metadata” include the numbers dialed and call times and durations, but not call content or subscriber names.

The review panel is not recommending that the phone companies maintaining the data store it any longer than they do now — periods that vary from as little as six months to 10 years.

In a ruling Monday on the collection program, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the technology used to search the NSA database as “almost Orwellian.” The judge said the collection was “almost certainly” unconstitutional.

“The combination of this report plus the judge’s decision Monday makes this a big week for the cause of intelligence reform,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Moving custodianship of the records outside the NSA would diminish the agency’s agility in detecting terrorist plots, supporters of the current arrangement say. With companies holding data for different periods and in different formats, searching across them would become complicated, they argue.

But the panel said the collection program had not proved its utility. “Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of . . . telephony metadata was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional [court] orders,” it said.

The review group urged that the public have a legal advocate before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the recommendation to end NSA’s bulk collection “goes to the very heart of NSA dragnet surveillance.” He called it “the most necessary recommendation of the review group.”

The NSA’s information assurance directorate, which would be shifted out of the agency, protects classified government computer systems and works with industry to help them better safeguard their systems. That mission differs from the NSA’s job of breaking into systems overseas to gain intelligence, the panel said.

The suggested move, said Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, would “end NSA’s dual personality as a code-breaker and cybersecurity-enhancer. It’s good.”

But Tony Sager, a former NSA information assurance executive, said moving the defensive mission out of NSA was unwise. “The defensive mission benefits a lot from the technology and the skills of people who work on the offensive side of the house and vice versa,” he said. “They get better insight into the model of what real adversaries do.”

The panel also recommended a prohibition on the government “in any way”subverting or weakening commercial software in order to get around encryption and urged that it not undermine efforts to create encryption standards. The panel also said the government should add oversight to the use and production of “zero day” hacking tools that can be used to penetrate computer systems and, in some cases, damage or destroy them.

The security community has long been concerned that the NSA is building and buying hacking tools, but a Pentagon cyber-official, Eric Rosenbach, has said that the government discloses vulnerabilities it finds to software companies.

Matthew Blaze, a University of Pennsylvania cryptology expert, said disclosure “doesn’t mean that the government can’t or wouldn’t be able to make use of cyberattack techniques that involve exploiting computers.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-shouldnt-keep-phone-database-review-board-recommends/2013/12/18/f44fe7c0-67fd-11e3-a0b9-249bbb34602c_story.html

Rand Paul Begins Filibuster Of Patriot Act

By ALEX PAPPAS

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is filibustering the Patriot Act on the Senate floor, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to stop anytime soon.

The Republican presidential candidate took control of the floor Wednesday afternoon at 1:18 p.m., simultaneously explaining on Twitter that he is filibustering the renewal of the Patriot Act because of the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk phone record data of American citizens.

“The government shouldn’t have the ability to get that information unless they have suspicion,” Paul said on the floor Wednesday. “Unless they have probable cause you committed a crime.”

In an campaign email to supporters, posted online by a reporter from Time magazine, Paul said: “I will not rest. I will not back down. I will not yield one inch in this fight so long as my legs can stand.”

Here’s how a Paul campaign aide described the marathon speech: “Senator Rand Paul has taken the floor of the U.S. Senate to filibuster the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Senator Paul is a staunch defender of liberty and believes Americans have a right to privacy. The U.S. government has no place conducting these warrantless searches and should focus on gathering intelligence on suspected terrorists and foreign actors.”

On Monday, Paul previewed the filibuster, holding a press conference in Philadelphia and calling on Obama to end the NSA’s program.

“Here in front of Independence Hall, I call for the president to obey the law,” he said Monday. “The court said last week that it is illegal to collect all of your phone records, all of the time, without a warrant with your name on it. I call on the president today to immediately end the bulk collection of our phone records.”
Asked on Monday whether he would filibuster the upcoming vote on the extension of the Patriot Act, which the NSA uses to carry out the bulk collection program, Paul told reporters: “I will do everything possible. The rules are tricky in the Senate, so I don’t know what I can promise. But we will do everything possible, including filibustering the Patriot Act, to stop that.”

This isn’t Paul’s first filibuster: in 2013, he filibustered the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA for 13 hours, talking about drones and the Bill of Rights.

http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/20/rand-paul-begins-filibuster-of-patriot-act/

The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001. Its title is a ten-letter backronym (USA PATRIOT) that stands for “Uniting andStrengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001″.[1]

On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act:[2] roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision“), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.[3]

Details

From broad concern felt among Americans from both the September 11 attacks and the 2001 anthrax attacks, Congress rushed to pass legislation to strengthen security controls. On October 23, 2001, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 3162 incorporating provisions from a previously sponsored House bill and a Senate bill also introduced earlier in the month.[4] The next day on October 24, 2001, the Act passed the House 357 to 66,[5] with Democrats comprising the overwhelming portion of dissent. The following day, on October 25, 2001, the Act passed the Senate by 98 to 1.[6]

Opponents of the law have criticized its authorization of indefinite detentions of immigrants; the permission given law enforcement officers to search a home or business without the owner’s or the occupant’s consent or knowledge; the expanded use of National Security Letters, which allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to search telephone, e-mail, and financial records without a court order; and the expanded access of law enforcement agencies to business records, including library and financial records. Since its passage, several legal challenges have been brought against the act, and Federal courts have ruled that a number of provisions are unconstitutional.

Many provisions of the act were to sunset beginning December 31, 2005, approximately 4 years after its passage. In the months preceding the sunset date, supporters of the act pushed to make its sunsetting provisions permanent, while critics sought to revise various sections to enhance civil liberty protections. In July 2005, the U.S. Senate passed a reauthorization bill with substantial changes to several sections of the act, while the House reauthorization bill kept most of the act’s original language. The two bills were then reconciled in a conference committee that was criticized by Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties for ignoring civil liberty concerns.[7]

The bill, which removed most of the changes from the Senate version, passed Congress on March 2, 2006, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on March 9 and 10, 2006.

Background

The PATRIOT Act[8] made a number of changes to U.S. law. Key acts changed were the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA), the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), as well as the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Act itself came about after the September 11th attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. After these attacks, Congress immediately started work on several proposed antiterrorist bills, before the Justice Department finally drafted a bill called the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, introduced to Congress on September 19, 2001. This was introduced to the House as the Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT) Act of 2001, and was later passed by the House as the Uniting and Strengthening America (USA) Act (H.R. 2975) on October 12.[9] It was then introduced into the Senate as the USA Act (S. 1510)[10] where a number of amendments were proposed by SenatorRuss Feingold,[11][12][13][13] all of which were passed. The final bill, the USA PATRIOT Act was introduced into the House on October 23 and incorporated H.R. 2975, S. 1510 and many of the provisions of H.R. 3004 (the Financial Anti-Terrorism Act).[14] It was vehemently opposed by only one Senator, Russ Feingold, who was the only Senator to vote against the bill. Senator Patrick Leahy also expressed some concerns.[15]However, many parts were seen as necessary by both detractors and supporters.[16][17][18] The final Act included a number of sunsets which were to expire on December 15, 2005.

Due to its controversial nature, a number of bills – none of which were passed – were proposed to amend the USA PATRIOT Act. These included the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act,[19] the Benjamin Franklin True Patriot Act,[20] and the Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE).[21] In late January 2003, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, Charles Lewis, published a leaked draft copy of an Administration proposal titled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003.[22] This highly controversial document was quickly dubbed “PATRIOT II” or “Son of PATRIOT” by the media and organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[23] The draft, which was circulated to 10 divisions of the Department of Justice,[24]proposed to make further extensive modifications to extend the USA PATRIOT Act.[25] It was widely condemned, although the Department of Justice claimed that it was only a draft and contained no further proposals.[26]

Titles

Title I: Enhancing domestic security against terrorism

Title I authorizes measures to enhance the ability of domestic security services to prevent terrorism. The title established a fund for counter-terrorist activities and increased funding for the Terrorist Screening Center which is administered by the FBI. The military was authorized to provide assistance in some situations that involve weapons of mass destruction when so requested by the Attorney General. The National Electronic Crime Task Force was expanded, along with thePresident‘s authority and abilities in cases of terrorism. The title also condemned the discrimination against Arab and Muslim Americans that happened soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The impetus for many of the provisions came from earlier bills, for instance the condemnation of discrimination was originally proposed by Senator Tom Harkin (DIA) in an amendment to the Combatting Terrorism Act of 2001, though in a different form. It originally included “the prayer ofCardinal Theodore McCarrick, the Archbishop of Washington in a Mass on September 12, 2001 for our Nation and the victims in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist hijackings and attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania reminds all Americans that ‘We must seek the guilty and not strike out against the innocent or we become like them who are without moral guidance or proper direction.'”[27] Further condemnation of racial vilification and violence is also spelled out in Title X, where there was condemnation of such activities against Sikh Americans, who were mistaken for Muslims after the September 11th terrorist attack.[28]

Title II: Surveillance procedures

Title II is titled “Enhanced Surveillance Procedures”, and covers all aspects of the surveillance of suspected terrorists, those suspected of engaging in computer fraud or abuse, and agents of a foreign power who are engaged in clandestine activities. It primarily made amendments to FISA, and the ECPA, and many of the most controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act reside in this title. In particular, the title allows government agencies to gather “foreign intelligence information” from both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, and changed FISA to make gaining foreign intelligence information the significant purpose of FISA-based surveillance, where previously it had been the primary purpose.[29] The change in definition was meant to remove a legal “wall” between criminal investigations and surveillance for the purposes of gathering foreign intelligence, which hampered investigations when criminal and foreign surveillance overlapped.[30] However, that this wall even existed was found by the Federal Surveillance Court of Review to have actually been a long-held misinterpretation by government agencies. Also removed was the statutory requirement that the government prove a surveillance target under FISA is a non-U.S. citizen and agent of a foreign power, though it did require that any investigations must not be undertaken on citizens who are carrying out activities protected by the First Amendment.[31] The title also expanded the duration of FISA physical search and surveillance orders,[32] and gave authorities the ability to share information gathered before a federal grand jury with other agencies.[33]

The scope and availability of wiretapping and surveillance orders were expanded under Title II. Wiretaps were expanded to include addressing and routing information to allow surveillance of packet switched networks[34]—the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) objected to this, arguing that it does not take into account email or web addresses, which often contain content in the address information.[35] The Act allowed any district court judge in the United States to issue such surveillance orders[34] and search warrants for terrorism investigations.[36] Search warrants were also expanded, with the Act amending Title III of the Stored Communications Access Act to allow the FBI to gain access to stored voicemail through a search warrant, rather than through the more stringent wiretap laws.[37]

Various provisions allowed for the disclosure of electronic communications to law enforcement agencies. Those who operate or own a “protected computer” can give permission for authorities to intercept communications carried out on the machine, thus bypassing the requirements of the Wiretap statute.[38] The definition of a “protected computer” is defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(2) and broadly encompasses those computers used in interstate or foreign commerce or communication, including ones located outside the United States. The law governing obligatory and voluntary disclosure of customer communications by cablecompanies was altered to allow agencies to demand such communications under U.S.C. Title 18 provisions relating to the disclosure of electronic communications (chapter 119), pen registers and trap and trace devices (chapter 206) and stored communications (121), though it excluded the disclosure of cable subscriber viewing habits.[39] Subpoenas issued to Internet Service Providers were expanded to include not only “the name, address, local and long distance telephone toll billing records, telephone number or other subscriber number or identity, and length of service of a subscriber” but also session times and durations, types of services used, communication device address information (e.g. IP addresses), payment method and bank account and credit card numbers.[40] Communication providers are also allowed to disclose customer records or communications if they suspect there is a danger to “life and limb”.[41]

Title II established three very controversial provisions: “sneak and peek” warrants, roving wiretaps and the ability of the FBI to gain access to documents that reveal the patterns of U.S. citizens. The so-called “sneak and peek” law allowed for delayed notification of the execution of search warrants. The period before which the FBI must notify the recipients of the order was unspecified in the Act—the FBI field manual says that it is a “flexible standard”[42]—and it may be extended at the court’s discretion.[43] These sneak and peek provisions were struck down by judge Ann Aiken on September 26, 2007 after a Portland attorney, Brandon Mayfield, was wrongly jailed because of the searches. The court found the searches to violate the provision that prohibits unreasonable searches in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[44][45]

Roving wiretaps are wiretap orders that do not need to specify all common carriers and third parties in a surveillance court order. These are seen as important by the Department of Justice because they believe that terrorists can exploit wiretap orders by rapidly changing locations and communication devices such as cell phones,[46] while opponents see it as violating the particularity clause of the Fourth Amendment.[47][48] Another highly controversial provision is one that allows the FBI to make an order “requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.”[49] Though it was not targeted directly at libraries, the American Library Association (ALA), in particular, opposed this provision.[50] In a resolution passed on June 29, 2005, they stated that “Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act allows the government to secretly request and obtain library records for large numbers of individuals without any reason to believe they are involved in illegal activity.”[51] However, the ALA’s stance did not go without criticism. One prominent critic of the ALA’s stance was the Manhattan Institute‘s Heather Mac Donald, who argued in an article for the New York City Journal that “[t]he furor over section 215 is a case study in Patriot Act fear-mongering.”[52]

The title also covers a number of other miscellaneous provisions, including the expansion of the number of FISC judges from seven to eleven (three of which must reside within 20 miles (32 km) of the District of Columbia),[53] trade sanctions against North Korea and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan[54] and the employment oftranslators by the FBI.[55]

At the insistence of Republican Representative Richard Armey,[56] the Act had a number of sunset provisions built in, which were originally set to expire on December 31, 2005. The sunset provision of the Act also took into account any ongoing foreign intelligence investigations and allowed them to continue once the sections had expired.[57] The provisions that were to expire are below.

Title II sections that were to originally expire on December 31, 2005
Section Section title
201 Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism
202 Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses
203(b) Authority to share electronic, wire and oral interception information
204 Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communications
206 Roving surveillance authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
207 Duration of FISA surveillance of non-United States persons who are agents of a foreign power
209 Seizure of voice-mail messages pursuant to warrants
212 Emergency disclosure of electronic communications to protect life and limb
214 Pen register and trap and trace authority under FISA
215 Access to records and other items under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
217 Interception of computer trespasser communications
218 Foreign intelligence information
220 Nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence
223 Civil liability for certain unauthorized disclosures
225 Immunity for compliance with FISA wiretap

Title III: Anti-money-laundering to prevent terrorism

Title III of the Act, titled “International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001,” is intended to facilitate the prevention, detection and prosecution of international money laundering and the financing of terrorism. It primarily amends portions of the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (MLCA) and the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (BSA). It was divided into three subtitles, with the first dealing primarily with strengthening banking rules against money laundering, especially on the international stage. The second attempts to improve communication between law enforcement agencies and financial institutions, as well as expanding record keeping and reporting requirements. The third subtitle deals with currency smuggling and counterfeiting, including quadrupling the maximum penalty for counterfeiting foreign currency.

The first subtitle tightened the record keeping requirements for financial institutions, making them record the aggregate amounts of transactions processed from areas of the world where money laundering is a concern to the U.S. government. It also made institutions put into place reasonable steps to identify beneficial owners of bank accounts and those who are authorized to use or route funds through payable-through accounts.[58] The U.S. Treasury was charged with formulating regulations intended to foster information sharing between financial institutions to prevent money-laundering.[59] Along with expanding record keeping requirements it put new regulations into place to make it easier for authorities to identify money laundering activities and to make it harder for money launderers to mask their identities.[60] If money laundering was uncovered, the subtitle legislated for the forfeiture of assets of those suspected of doing the money laundering.[61]In an effort to encourage institutions to take steps that would reduce money laundering, the Treasury was given authority to block mergers of bank holding companies and banks with other banks and bank holding companies that had a bad history of preventing money laundering. Similarly, mergers between insured depository institutions and non-insured depository institutions that have a bad track record in combating money-laundering could be blocked.[62]

Restrictions were placed on accounts and foreign banks. It prohibited shell banks that are not an affiliate of a bank that has a physical presence in the U.S. or that are not subject to supervision by a banking authority in a non-U.S. country. It also prohibits or restricts the use of certain accounts held at financial institutions.[63]Financial institutions must now undertake steps to identify the owners of any privately owned bank outside the U.S. who have a correspondent account with them, along with the interests of each of the owners in the bank. It is expected that additional scrutiny will be applied by the U.S. institution to such banks to make sure they are not engaging in money laundering. Banks must identify all the nominal and beneficial owners of any private bank account opened and maintained in the U.S. by non-U.S. citizens. There is also an expectation that they must undertake enhanced scrutiny of the account if it is owned by, or is being maintained on behalf of, any senior political figure where there is reasonable suspicion of corruption.[64] Any deposits made from within the U.S. into foreign banks are now deemed to have been deposited into any interbank account the foreign bank may have in the U.S. Thus any restraining order, seizure warrant or arrest warrant may be made against the funds in the interbank account held at a U.S. financial institution, up to the amount deposited in the account at the foreign bank.[65] Restrictions were placed on the use of internal bank concentration accounts because such accounts do not provide an effective audit trail for transactions, and this may be used to facilitate money laundering. Financial institutions are prohibited from allowing clients to specifically direct them to move funds into, out of, or through a concentration account, and they are also prohibited from informing their clients about the existence of such accounts. Financial institutions are not allowed to provide any information to clients that may identify such internal accounts.[66] Financial institutions are required to document and follow methods of identifying where the funds are for each customer in a concentration account that co-mingles funds belonging to one or more customers.

The definition of money laundering was expanded to include making a financial transaction in the U.S. in order to commit a violent crime;[67] the bribery of public officials and fraudulent dealing with public funds; the smuggling or illegal export of controlled munition[68] and the importation or bringing in of any firearm or ammunition not authorized by the U.S. Attorney General[69] and the smuggling of any item controlled under the Export Administration Regulations.[70][71] It also includes any offense where the U.S. would be obligated under a mutual treaty with a foreign nation to extradite a person, or where the U.S. would need to submit a case against a person for prosecution because of the treaty; the import of falsely classified goods;[72] computer crime;[73] and any felony violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.[71] It also allows the forfeiture of any property within the jurisdiction of the United States that was gained as the result of an offense against a foreign nation that involves the manufacture, importation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance.[74] Foreign nations may now seek to have a forfeiture or judgment notification enforced by a district court of the United States.[75] This is done through new legislation that specifies how the U.S. government may apply for a restraining order[76] to preserve the availability of property which is subject to a foreign forfeiture or confiscation judgement.[77] In taking into consideration such an application, emphasis is placed on the ability of a foreign court to follow due process.[75] The Act also requires the Secretary of Treasury to take all reasonable steps to encourage foreign governments make it a requirement to include the name of the originator in wire transfer instructions sent to the United States and other countries, with the information to remain with the transfer from its origination until the point of disbursement.[78] The Secretary was also ordered to encourage international cooperation in investigations of money laundering, financial crimes, and the finances of terrorist groups.[79]

The Act also introduced criminal penalties for corrupt officialdom. An official or employee of the government who acts corruptly—as well as the person who induces the corrupt act—in the carrying out of their official duties will be fined by an amount that is not more than three times the monetary equivalent of the bribe in question. Alternatively they may be imprisoned for not more than 15 years, or they may be fined and imprisoned. Penalties apply to financial institutions who do not comply with an order to terminate any corresponding accounts within 10 days of being so ordered by the Attorney General or the Secretary of Treasury. The financial institution can be fined $US10,000 for each day the account remains open after the 10 day limit has expired.[65]

The second annotation made a number of modifications to the BSA in an attempt to make it harder for money launderers to operate and easier for law enforcement and regulatory agencies to police money laundering operations. One amendment made to the BSA was to allow the designated officer or agency who receivessuspicious activity reports to notify U.S. intelligence agencies.[80] A number of amendments were made to address issues related to record keeping and financial reporting. One measure was a new requirement that anyone who does business file a report for any coin and foreign currency receipts that are over US$10,000 and made it illegal to structure transactions in a manner that evades the BSA’s reporting requirements.[81] To make it easier for authorities to regulate and investigate anti-money laundering operations Money Services Businesses (MSBs)—those who operate informal value transfer systems outside of the mainstream financial system—were included in the definition of a financial institution.[82] The BSA was amended to make it mandatory to report suspicious transactions and an attempt was made to make such reporting easier for financial institutions.[83] FinCEN was made a bureau of the United States Department of Treasury[84] and the creation of a secure network to be used by financial institutions to report suspicious transactions and to provide alerts of relevant suspicious activities was ordered.[85] Along with these reporting requirements, a considerable number of provisions relate to the prevention and prosecution of money-laundering.[86]Financial institutions were ordered to establish anti-money laundering programs and the BSA was amended to better define anti-money laundering strategy.[87] Also increased were civil and criminal penalties for money laundering and the introduction of penalties for violations of geographic targeting orders and certain record-keeping requirements.[88] A number of other amendments to the BSA were made through subtitle B, including granting the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System power to authorize personnel to act as law enforcement officers to protect the premises, grounds, property and personnel of any U.S. National reserve bank and allowing the Board to delegate this authority to U.S. Federal reserve bank.[89] Another measure instructed United States Executive Directors of international financial institutions to use their voice and vote to support any country that has taken action to support the U.S.’s War on Terrorism. Executive Directors are now required to provide ongoing auditing of disbursements made from their institutions to ensure that no funds are paid to persons who commit, threaten to commit, or support terrorism.[90]

The third subtitle deals with currency crimes. Largely because of the effectiveness of the BSA, money launders had been avoiding traditional financial institutions to launder money and were using cash-based businesses to avoid them. A new effort was made to stop the laundering of money through bulk currency movements, mainly focusing on the confiscation of criminal proceeds and the increase in penalties for money laundering. Congress found that a criminal offense of merely evading the reporting of money transfers was insufficient and decided that it would be better if the smuggling of the bulk currency itself was the offense. Therefore, the BSA was amended to make it a criminal offense to evade currency reporting by concealing more than US$10,000 on any person or through any luggage, merchandise or other container that moves into or out of the U.S. The penalty for such an offense is up to 5 years imprisonment and the forfeiture of any property up to the amount that was being smuggled.[91] It also made the civil and criminal penalty violations of currency reporting cases[92] be the forfeiture of all a defendant’s property that was involved in the offense, and any property traceable to the defendant.[93] The Act prohibits and penalizes those who run unlicensed money transmitting businesses.[94] In 2005, this provision of the USA PATRIOT Act was used to prosecute Yehuda Abraham for helping to arrange money transfers for British arms dealer Hermant Lakhani, who was arrested in August 2003 after being caught in a government sting. Lakhani had tried to sell a missile to an FBI agent posing as a Somali militant.[95] The definition of counterfeiting was expanded to encompass analog, digital or electronic image reproductions, and it was made an offense to own such a reproduction device. Penalties were increased to 20 years imprisonment.[96] Money laundering “unlawful activities” was expanded to include the provision of material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.[97] The Act specifies that anyone who commits or conspires to undertake a fraudulent activity outside the jurisdiction of the United States, and which would be an offense in the U.S., will be prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 1029, which deals with fraud and related activity in connection with access devices.[98]

Title IV: Border security

Title IV amends the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 to give more law enforcement and investigative power to the United States Attorney General and to theImmigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The Attorney General was authorized to waive any cap on the number of full-time employees (FTEs) assigned to the INS on the Northern border of the United States.[99] Enough funds were set aside to triple the maximum number of Border Patrol personnel, Customs Service personnel and INS inspectors along with an additional US$50,000,000 funding for the INS and the U.S. Customs Service to improve technology for monitoring the Northern Border and acquiring additional equipment at the Canadian northern border.[100] The INS was also given the authority to authorize overtime payments of up to an extra US$30,000 a year to INS employees.[101] Access was given to the Department of State and the INS to criminal background information contained in the National Crime Information Center’s Interstate Identification Index (NCIC-III), Wanted Persons File and any other files maintained by the National Crime Information Center to determine whether visa applicants and applicants could be admitted to the U.S.[102] The Department of State was required to form final regulations governing the procedures for taking fingerprints and the conditions with which the department was allowed to use this information.[103] Additionally, theNational Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was ordered to develop a technology standard to verify the identity of persons applying for a United States visa.[103] The reason was to make the standard the technology basis for a cross-agency, cross-platform electronic system used for conducting background checks, confirming identities and ensuring that people have not received visas under different names.[104] This report was released on November 13, 2002,[105] however, according to NIST, this was later “determined that the fingerprint system used was not as accurate as current state-of-the-art fingerprint systems and is approximately equivalent to commercial fingerprint systems available in 1998.”[106] This report was later superseded by section 303(a) of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.

Under subtitle C, various definitions relating to terrorism were altered and expanded. The INA was retroactively amended to disallow aliens who are part of or representatives of a foreign organization or any group who endorses acts of terrorism from entering the U.S. This restriction also included the family of such aliens.[107] The definition of “terrorist activity” was strengthened to include actions involving the use of any dangerous device (and not just explosives and firearms).[107] To “engage in terrorist activity” is defined as committing, inciting to commit or planning and preparing to undertake an act of terrorism. Included in this definition is the gathering of intelligence information on potential terrorist targets, the solicitation of funds for a terrorist organization or the solicitation of others to undertake acts of terrorism. Those who provide knowing assistance to a person who is planning to perform such activities are defined as undertaking terrorist activities. Such assistance includes affording material support, including a safe house, transportation, communications, funds, transfer of funds or other material financial benefit, false documentation or identification, weapons (including chemical, biological, or radiological weapons), explosives, or training to perform the terrorist act.[107] The INA criteria for making a decision to designate an organization as a terrorist organization was amended to include the definition of a terrorist act.[108] Though the amendments to these definitions are retroactive, it does not mean that it can be applied to members who joined an organization, but since left, before it was designated to be a terrorist organization under 8 U.S.C. § 1189 by the Secretary of State.[107]

The Act amended the INA to add new provisions enforcing mandatory detention laws. These apply to any alien who is engaged in terrorism, or who is engaged in an activity that endangers U.S. national security. It also applies to those who are inadmissible or who must be deported because it is certified they are attempting to enter to undertake illegal espionage; are exporting goods, technology, or sensitive information illegally; or are attempting to control or overthrow the government; or have, or will have, engaged in terrorist activities.[109] The Attorney General or the Attorney General’s deputy may maintain custody of such aliens until they are removed from the U.S., unless it is no longer deemed they should be removed, in which case they are released. The alien can be detained for up to 90 days but can be held up to six months after it is deemed that they are a national security threat. However, the alien must be charged with a crime or removal proceedings start no longer than seven days after the alien’s detention, otherwise the alien will be released. However, such detentions must be reviewed every six months by the Attorney General, who can then decide to revoke it, unless prevented from doing so by law. Every six months the alien may apply, in writing, for the certification to be reconsidered.[109] Judicial review of any action or decision relating to this section, including judicial review of the merits of a certification, can be held underhabeas corpus proceedings. Such proceedings can be initiated by an application filed with the United States Supreme Court, by any justice of the Supreme Court, by any circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, or by any district court otherwise having jurisdiction to entertain the application. The final order is subject to appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.[109] Provisions were also made for a report to be required every six months of such decisions from the U.S. Attorney General to the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and theCommittee on the Judiciary of the Senate.[109]

A sense of Congress was given that the U.S. Secretary of State should expedite the full implementation of the integrated entry and exit data system for airports, seaports, and land border ports of entry specified in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA). They also found that the U.S. Attorney General should immediately start the Integrated Entry and Exit Data System Task Force specified in section 3 of the Immigration and Naturalization Service Data Management Improvement Act of 2000. Congress wanted the primary focus of development of the entry-exit data system was to be on the utilization of biometric technology and the development of tamper-resistant documents readable at ports of entry. They also wanted the system to be able to interface with existing law enforcement databases.[110] The Attorney General was ordered to implement and expand the foreign student monitoring program that was established under section 641(a) of the IIRIRA.[111] which records the date and port of entry of each foreign student. The program was expanded to include other approved educational institutions, including air flight schools, language training schools or vocational schools that are approved by the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Education and the Secretary of State. US$36,800,000 was appropriated for the Department of Justice to spend on implementing the program.[112]

The Secretary of State was ordered to audit and report back to Congress on the Visa waiver program specified under 8 U.S.C. § 1187 for each fiscal year until September 30, 2007. The Secretary was also ordered to check for the implementation of precautionary measures to prevent the counterfeiting and theft of passports as well as ascertain that countries designated under the visa waiver program have established a program to develop tamper-resistant passports.[113] The Secretary was also ordered to report back to Congress on whether consulate shopping was a problem.[114]

The last subtitle, which was introduced by Senators John Conyers and Patrick Leahy, allows for the preservation of immigration benefits for victims of terrorism, and the families of victims of terrorism.[115] They recognized that some families, through no fault of their own, would either be ineligible for permanent residence in the United States because of being unable to make important deadlines because of the September 11 terrorist attacks, or had become ineligible to apply for special immigration status because their loved one died in the attacks.[116]

Title V: Removing obstacles to investigating terrorism

It allows the U.S. Attorney General to pay rewards pursuant of advertisements for assistance to the Department of Justice to combat terrorism and prevent terrorist acts, though amounts over $US250,000 may not be made or offered without the personal approval of the Attorney General or President, and once the award is approved the Attorney General must give written notice to the Chairman and ranking minority members of the Committee on Appropriations and the Judiciary of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.[117] The State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 was amended to allow the Department of State to offer rewards, in consultation with the Attorney General, for the full or significant dismantling of any terrorist organization[118] and to identify any key leaders of terrorist organizations.[119] The Secretary of State was given authority to pay greater than $US5 million if he so determines it would prevent terrorist actions against the United States and Canada.[120] The DNA Analysis Backlog Elimination Act was amended to include terrorism or crimes of violence in the list of qualifying Federal offenses.[121] Another perceived obstacle was to allow Federal agencies to share information with Federal law enforcement agencies. Thus, the act now allows Federal officers who acquire information through electronic surveillance or physical searches to consult with Federal law enforcement officers to coordinate efforts to investigate or protect against potential or actual attacks, sabotage or international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities by an intelligence service or network of a foreign power.[122]

Secret Service jurisdiction was extended to investigate computer fraud, access device frauds, false identification documents or devices, or any fraudulent activities against U.S. financial institutions.[123] The General Education Provisions Act was amended to allow the U.S. Attorney General or Assistant Attorney General to collect and retain educational records relevant to an authorized investigation or prosecution of an offense that is defined as a Federal crime of terrorism and which an educational agency or institution possesses. The Attorney General or Assistant Attorney General must “certify that there are specific and articulable facts giving reason to believe that the education records are likely to contain information [that a Federal crime of terrorism may be being committed].” An education institution that produces education records in response to such a request is given legal immunity from any liability that rises from such a production of records.[124]

One of the most controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act is in title V, and relates to National Security Letters (NSLs). An NSL is a form of administrative subpoena used by the FBI, and reportedly by other U.S. government agencies including the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD). It is a demand letter issued to a particular entity or organization to turn over various records and data pertaining to individuals. They require no probable cause or judicial oversight and also contain a gag order, preventing the recipient of the letter from disclosing that the letter was ever issued. Title V allowed the use of NSLs to be made by a Special Agent in charge of a Bureau field office, where previously only the Director or the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI were able to certify such requests.[125] This provision of the Act was challenged by the ACLU on behalf of an unknown party against the U.S. government on the grounds that NSLs violate the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution because there is no way to legally oppose an NSL subpoena in court, and that it was unconstitutional not to allow a client to inform their Attorney as to the order because of the gag provision of the letters. The court’s judgement found in favour of the ACLU’s case, and they declared the law unconstitutional.[126] Later, the USA PATRIOT Act was reauthorized and amendments were made to specify a process of judicial review of NSLs and to allow the recipient of an NSL to disclose receipt of the letter to an attorney or others necessary to comply with or challenge the order.[127] However, in 2007 the U.S. District Court struck down even the reauthorized NSLs because the gag power was unconstitutional as courts could still not engage in meaningful judicial review of these gags.

Title VI: Victims and families of victims of terrorism

Title VI made amendments to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (VOCA) in order to make changes to how the U.S. Victims of Crime Fund was managed and funded. Changes were made to VOCA to improve the speedy provision of aid to families of public safety officers by expedited payments to officers or the families of officers. Under the changes, payments must be made no later than 30 days after the officer is injured or killed in the line of duty.[128] The Assistant Attorney General was given expanded authority under section 614 of the USA PATRIOT Act to make grants to any organization that administers any Office of Justice Programs, which includes the Public Safety Officers Benefits Program.[129] Further changes to the Victims of Crime Fund increased the amount of money in the Fund, and changed the way that funds were distributed.[130] The amount available for grants made through the Crime Victim Fund to eligible crime victim compensation programs were increased from 40 percent to 60 percent of the total in the Fund. A program can provide compensation to U.S. citizens who were adversely affected overseas.Means testing was also waived for those who apply for compensation.[131] Under VOCA, the Director may make an annual grant from the Crime Victims Fund to support crime victim assistance programs. An amendment was made to VOCA to include offers of assistance to crime victims in the District of Columbia, theCommonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, and any other U.S. territory.[132] VOCA also provides for compensation and assistance to victims of terrorism or mass violence.[133] This was amended to allow the Director to make supplemental grants to States for eligible crime victim compensation and assistance programs, and to victim service organizations, public agencies (including Federal, State, or local governments) and non-governmental organizations that provide assistance to victims of crime. The funds could be used to provide emergency relief, including crisis response efforts, assistance, compensation, training and technical assistance for investigations and prosecutions of terrorism.[134]

Title VII: Increased information sharing for critical infrastructure protection

Title VII has one section. The purpose of this title is to increase the ability of U.S. law enforcement to counter terrorist activity that crosses jurisdictional boundaries. It does this by amending the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 to include terrorism as a criminal activity.

Title VIII: Terrorism criminal law

Title VIII alters the definitions of terrorism, and establishes or re-defines rules with which to deal with it. It redefined the term “domestic terrorism” to broadly include mass destruction as well as assassination or kidnapping as a terrorist activity. The definition also encompasses activities that are “dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State” and are intended to “intimidate or coerce a civilian population,” “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion,” or are undertaken “to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping” while in the jurisdiction of the United States.[135] Terrorism is also included in the definition of racketeering.[136] Terms relating to cyber-terrorism are also redefined, including the term “protected computer,” “damage,” “conviction,” “person,” and “loss.”[137]

New penalties were created to convict those who attack mass transportation systems. If the offender committed such an attack while no passenger was on board, they are fined and imprisoned for a maximum of 20 years. However, if the activity was undertaken while the mass transportation vehicle or ferry was carrying a passenger at the time of the offense, or the offense resulted in the death of any person, then the punishment is a fine and life imprisonment.[138] The title amends the biological weapons statute to define the use of a biological agent, toxin, or delivery system as a weapon, other than when it is used for “prophylactic, protective,bona fide research, or other peaceful purposes.” Penalties for anyone who cannot prove reasonably that they are using a biological agent, toxin or delivery system for these purposes are 10 years imprisonment, a fine or both.[139]

A number of measures were introduced in an attempt to prevent and penalize activities that are deemed to support terrorism. It was made a crime to harbor or conceal terrorists, and those who do are subject to a fine or imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both.[140] U.S. forfeiture law was also amended to allow authorities to seize all foreign and domestic assets from any group or individual that is caught planning to commit acts of terrorism against the U.S. or U.S. citizens. Assets may also be seized if they have been acquired or maintained by an individual or organization for the purposes of further terrorist activities.[141] One section of the Act (section 805) prohibited “material support” for terrorists, and in particular included “expert advice or assistance.”[142] This was struck down as unconstitutional by aU.S. Federal Court after the Humanitarian Law Project filed a civil action against the U.S. government. The court found that it violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the provision was so vague it would cause a person of average intelligence to have to guess whether they were breaking the law, thus leading to a potential situation where a person was charged for an offense that they had no way of knowing was illegal. The court found that this could potentially have the effect of allowing arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement of the law, as well as possible chilling effects on First Amendment rights.[143][144] Congress later improved the law by defining the definitions of the “material support or resources,” “training,” and “expert advise or resources.”[145]

Cyberterrorism was dealt with in various ways. Penalties apply to those who either damage or gain unauthorized access to a protected computer and then commit a number of offenses. These offenses include causing a person to lose an aggregate amount greater than US$5,000, as well as adversely affecting someone’s medical examination, diagnosis or treatment. It also encompasses actions that cause a person to be injured, a threat to public health or safety, or damage to a governmental computer that is used as a tool to administer justice, national defense or national security. Also prohibited was extortion undertaken via a protected computer. The penalty for attempting to damage protected computers through the use of viruses or other software mechanism was set to imprisonment for up to 10 years, while the penalty for unauthorized access and subsequent damage to a protected computer was increased to more than five years imprisonment. However, should the offense occur a second time, the penalty increases up to 20 years imprisonment.[146] The act also specified the development and support of cybersecurity forensic capabilities. It directs the Attorney General to establish regional computer forensic laboratories that have the capability of performing forensic examinations of intercepted computer evidence relating to criminal activity and cyberterrorism, and that have the capability of training and educating Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel and prosecutors in computer crime, and to “facilitate and promote the sharing of Federal law enforcement expertise and information about the investigation, analysis, and prosecution of computer-related crime with State and local law enforcement personnel and prosecutors, including the use of multijurisdictional task forces.” The sum of $50,000,000 was authorized for establishing such labs.[147]

Title IX: Improved intelligence

Title IX amends the National Security Act of 1947 to require the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to establish requirements and priorities for foreign intelligence collected under FISA and to provide assistance to the United States Attorney General to ensure that information derived from electronic surveillance or physical searches is disseminated for efficient and effective foreign intelligence purposes.[148] With the exception of information that might jeopardize an ongoing law enforcement investigation, it was made a requirement that the Attorney General, or the head of any other department or agency of the Federal Government with law enforcement responsibilities, disclose to the Director any foreign intelligence acquired by the U.S. Department of Justice. The Attorney General and Director of Central Intelligence were directed to develop procedures for the Attorney General to follow in order to inform the Director, in a timely manner, of any intention of investigating criminal activity of a foreign intelligence source or potential foreign intelligence source based on the intelligence tip-off of a member of the intelligence community. The Attorney General was also directed to develop procedures on how to best administer these matters.[149] International terrorist activities were made to fall within the scope of foreign intelligence under the National Security Act.[150]

A number of reports were commissioned relating to various intelligence-related government centers. One was commissioned into the best way of setting up theNational Virtual Translation Center, with the goal of developing automated translation facilities to assist with the timely and accurate translation of foreign intelligence information for elements of the U.S. intelligence community.[151] The USA PATRIOT Act required this to be provided on February 1, 2002, however the report, entitled “Director of Central Intelligence Report on the National Virtual Translation Center: A Concept Plan to Enhance the Intelligence Community’s Foreign Language Capabilities, April 29, 2002” was received more than two months late, which the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported was “a delay which, in addition to contravening the explicit words of the statute, deprived the Committee of timely and valuable input into its efforts to craft this legislation.”[152] Another report was commissioned on the feasibility and desirability of reconfiguring the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Center and the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury.[153] It was due by February 1, 2002 however, it was never written. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence later complained that “[t]he Director of Central Intelligence and the Secretary of the Treasury failed to provide a report, this time in direct contravention of a section of the USA PATRIOT Act” and they further directed “that the statutorily-directed report be completed immediately, and that it should include a section describing the circumstances which led to the Director’s failure to comply with lawful reporting requirements.”[154]

Other measures allowed certain reports on intelligence and intelligence-related matters to be deferred until either February 1, 2002 or a date after February 1, 2002 if the official involved certified that preparation and submission on February 1, 2002, would impede the work of officers or employees engaged in counterterrorism activities. Any such deferral required congressional notification before it was authorized.[155] The Attorney General was charged with training officials in identifying and utilizing foreign intelligence information properly in the course of their duties. The government officials include those in the Federal Government who do not normally encounter or disseminate foreign intelligence in the performance of their duties, and State and local government officials who encounter, or potentially may encounter in the course of a terrorist event, foreign intelligence in the performance of their duties.[156] A sense of Congress was expressed that officers and employees of the intelligence community should be encouraged to make every effort to establish and maintain intelligence relationships with any person, entity, or group while they conduct lawful intelligence activities.[150]

Title X: Miscellaneous

Title X created or altered a number of miscellaneous laws that did not really fit into the any other section of the USA PATRIOT Act. Hazmat licenses were limited to drivers who pass background checks and who can demonstrate they can handle the materials.[157] The Inspector General of the Department of Justice was directed to appoint an official to monitor, review and report back to Congress all allegations of civil rights abuses against the DoJ.[158] It amended the definition of “electronic surveillance” to exclude the interception of communications done through or from a protected computer where the owner allows the interception, or is lawfully involved in an investigation.[159] Money laundering cases may now be brought in the district the money laundering was committed or where a money laundering transfer started from.[160] Aliens who committed money laundering were also prohibited from entering the U.S.[161] Grants were provided to first responders to assist them with responding to and preventing terrorism.[162] US$5,000,000 was authorized to be provided to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to train police inSouth and East Asia.[163] The Attorney General was directed to commission a study on the feasibility of using biometric identifiers to identify people as they attempt to enter the United States, and which would be connected to the FBI’s database to flag suspected criminals.[164] Another study was also commissioned to determine the feasibility of providing airlines names of suspected terrorists before they boarded flights.[165] The Department of Defense was given temporary authority to use their funding for private contracts for security purposes.[166] The last title also created a new Act called the Crimes Against Charitable Americans Act[167] which amended the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act to require telemarketers who call on behalf of charities to disclose the purpose and other information, including the name and mailing address of the charity the telemarketer is representing.[168] It also increased the penalties from one year imprisonment to five years imprisonment for those committing fraud by impersonating a Red Cross member.[169]

Reauthorizations

The USA PATRIOT Act was reauthorized by three bills. The first, the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005, was passed by both houses of Congress in July 2005. This bill reauthorized provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. It created new provisions relating to the death penalty for terrorists,[170] enhancing security at seaports,[171] new measures to combat the financing of terrorism,[172]new powers for the Secret Service,[173] anti-methamphetamine initiatives[174] and a number of other miscellaneous provisions. The second reauthorization act, theUSA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act of 2006, amended the first and was passed in February 2006.

The first act reauthorized all but two of the provisions of Title II that would have expired. Two sections were changed to sunset on December 31, 2009: section 206—the roving wiretap provision—and section 215, which allowed access to business records under FISA. Section 215 was amended further regardless so as to give greater judicial oversight and review. Such orders were also restricted to be authorized by only the FBI Director, the FBI Deputy Director, or the Executive Assistant Director for National Security, and minimization procedures were specified to limit the dissemination and collection of such information. Section 215 also had a “gag” provision, which was changed to allow the defendant to contact their Attorney.[175] However, the change also meant that the defendant was also made to tell the FBI who he (or she) was disclosing the order to—this requirement was removed by the USA PATRIOT Act Additional Reauthorizing Amendments Act.[176]

On Saturday, February 27, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation that would temporarily extend for one year three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act that had been set to expire:[177] [178] [179]

  • Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.
  • Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
  • Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.[180]

In a vote on February 8, 2011, the House of Representatives considered a further extension of the Act through the end of 2011.[181] House leadership moved the extension bill under suspension of the rules, which is intended for noncontroversial legislation and requires two-thirds majority to pass.[181] After the vote, the extension bill did not pass; 277 members voted in favor, which was less than the 290 votes needed to pass the bill under suspension of the rules.[181] Without an extension, the Act was set to expire on February 28, 2011. However, it eventually passed, 275-144.[182] The FISA Sunsets Extension Act of 2011 was signed into law February 25, 2011.

On May 26, 2011, President Barack Obama used an Autopen to sign the PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011, a four-year extension of three key provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act while he was in France:[2]roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the “library records provision“), and conducting surveillance of “lone wolves”—individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.[3] Republican leaders[183] questioned if the use of the Autopen met the constitutional requirements for signing a bill into law.[184]

As NSL provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act had been struck by the courts[126] the reauthorization Act amended the law in an attempt to make them lawful. It provided for judicial review and the legal right of a recipient to challenge the validity of the letter. The reauthorization act still allowed NSLs to be closed and all evidence to be presented in camera and ex parte.[185] Gag provisions were maintained, but were not automatic. They only occurred when the Deputy Assistant Director of the FBI or a Special Agent in Charge in a Bureau field office certified that disclosure would result in “a danger to the national security of the United States, interference with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interference with diplomatic relations, or danger to the life or physical safety of any person”.[186] However, should there be no non-disclosure order, the defendant can disclose the fact of the NSL to anyone who can render them assistance in carrying out the letter, or to an attorney for legal advice. Again, however, the recipient was ordered to inform the FBI of such a disclosure.[186] Because of the concern over the chilling effects of such a requirement, the Additional Reauthorization Amendments Act removed the requirement to inform the FBI that the recipient spoke about the NSL to their Attorney.[187] Later, the Additional Reauthorization Amendments Act excluded libraries from receiving NSLs, except where they provide electronic communications services.[188] The reauthorization Act also ordered the Attorney General submit a report semi-annually to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on all NSL request made under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.[189]

Changes were made to the roving wiretap provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Applications and orders for such wiretaps must describe the specific target of the electronic surveillance if the identity of the target is not known. If the nature and location of each of the facilities or places targeted for surveillance is not known, then after 10 days the agency must provide notice to the court. The notice must include the nature and location of each new facility or place at which the electronic surveillance was directed. It must also describe the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant to justify the applicant’s belief that each new surveillance place or facility under surveillance is or was being used by the target of the surveillance. The applicant must also provide a statement detailing any proposed minimization procedures that differ from those contained in the original application or order, that may be necessitated by a change in the facility or place at which the electronic surveillance is directed. Applicants must detail the total number of electronic surveillances that have been or are being conducted under the authority of the order.[190]

Section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act was modified. Previously it stated that delayed notifications would be made to recipients of “sneak and peek” searches in a “reasonable period”. This was seen as unreasonable, as it was undefined and could potentially be used indefinitely. Thus, the reauthorization act changed this to a period not exceeding 30 days after the date of the execution of the search warrant. Courts were given the opportunity to extend this period if they were provided good cause to do so. Section 213 states that delayed notifications could be issued if there is “reasonable cause to believe that providing immediate notification of the execution of the warrant may have an adverse result”. This was criticized, particularly by the ACLU, for allowing potential abuse by law enforcement agencies[191] and was later amended to prevent a delayed notification “if the adverse results consist only of unduly delaying a trial.”.[192] On September 26, 2007 the Sneak and Peak provisions of the USA PATRIOT ACT were struck down, however, by an Oregon US District Court in an opinion indicating the provisions gave too much power to the Executive in the face of the 4th Amendment.[193]

The reauthorization act also legislates increased congressional oversight for emergency disclosures by communication providers undertaken under section 212 of the USA PATRIOT Act.[194] The duration of FISA surveillance and physical search orders were increased. Surveillance performed against “lone wolf terrorists” under section 207 of the USA PATRIOT Act were increased to 120 days for an initial order, while pen registers and trap and trace device extensions under FISA were increased from 90 days to a year. The reauthorization act also increased congressional oversight, requiring a semi-annual report into physical searches and the use of pen registers and trap and trace devices under FISA.[195] The “lone wolf terrorist” provision (Section 207) was a sunset provision that also was to have expired, however this was enhanced by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The reauthorization act extended the expiration date to December 31, 2009.[196] The amendment to material support law done in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act[145] was also made permanent.[197] The definition of terrorism was further expanded to include receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization and narcoterrorism.[198] Other provisions of the reauthorization act was to merge the law outlawing train wrecking (18 U.S.C. § 992) and the law outlawing attacks on mass transportation systems (18 U.S.C. § 1993) into a new section of Title 18 of the U.S. Code (18 U.S.C. § 1992) and also to criminalize the act of planning a terrorist attack against a mass transport system.[199][200] Forfeiture law was further changed and now assets within U.S. jurisdiction will be seized for illegally trafficking in nuclear, chemical, biological or radiological weapons technology or material, if such offense is punishable under foreign law by death or imprisonment for a term exceeding one year. Alternatively, this applies if similar punishment would be so punishable if committed within the U.S.[201] A sense of Congress was further expressed that victims of terrorism should be entitled to the forfeited assets of terrorists.[202]

Controversy

The USA PATRIOT Act has generated a great deal of controversy since its enactment.

Opponents of the Act have been quite vocal in asserting that it was passed opportunistically after the September 11 attacks, believing that there would have been little debate. They view the Act as one that was hurried through the Senate with little change before it was passed. (Senators Patrick Leahy and Russell Feingoldproposed amendments to modify the final revision.)[15][203][204]

The sheer magnitude of the Act itself was noted by Michael Moore in his controversial film Fahrenheit 9/11. In one of the scenes of the movie, he records Congressman Jim McDermott alleging that no Senator had read the bill[205] and John Conyers, Jr. as saying, “We don’t read most of the bills. Do you really know what that would entail if we read every bill that we passed?” Congressman Conyers then answers his own rhetorical question, asserting that if they did it would “slow down the legislative process”.[206] As a dramatic device, Moore then hired an ice-cream van and drove around Washington, D.C. with a loud speaker, reading out the Act to puzzled passers-by, which included a few Senators.[207]

However, Moore was not the only commentator to notice that not many people had read the Act. When Dahlia Lithwick and Julia Turne for Slate asked, “How bad is PATRIOT, anyway?”, they decided that it was “hard to tell” and stated:

The ACLU, in a new fact sheet challenging the DOJ Web site, wants you to believe that the act threatens our most basic civil liberties. Ashcroft and his roadies call the changes in law “modest and incremental.” Since almost nobody has read the legislation, much of what we think we know about it comes third-hand and spun. Both advocates and opponents are guilty of fear-mongering and distortion in some instances.[208]

One prime example of a controversy of the Patriot Act is shown in the case of Susan Lindauer.

Another is the recent court case United States v. Antoine Jones. A nightclub owner was linked to a drug trafficking stash house via a law enforcement GPS tracking device attached to his car. It was placed there without a warrant, which caused a serious conviction obstacle for federal prosecutors in court. Through the years the case rose all the way to the United States Supreme Court where the conviction was overturned in favor of the defendant. The court found that increased monitoring of suspects caused by such legislation like the Patriot Act directly put the suspects’ Constitutional rights in jeopardy.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has criticized the law as unconstitutional, especially when “the private communications of law-abiding American citizens might be intercepted incidentally”,[209] while the Electronic Frontier Foundation held that the lower standard applied to wiretaps “gives the FBI a ‘blank check’ to violate the communications privacy of countless innocent Americans”.[48] Others do not find the roving wiretap legislation to be as concerning. Professor David D. Cole of the Georgetown University Law Center, a critic of many of the provisions of the Act, found that though they come at a cost to privacy are a sensible measure[210] while Paul Rosenzweig, a Senior Legal Research Fellow in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, argues that roving wiretaps are just a response to rapidly changing communication technology that is not necessarily fixed to a specific location or device.[211]

The Act also allows access to voicemail through a search warrant rather than through a title III wiretap order.[212] James Dempsey, of the CDT, believes that it unnecessarily overlooks the importance of notice under the Fourth Amendment and under a Title III wiretap,[213] and the EFF criticizes the provision’s lack of notice. However, the EFF’s criticism is more extensive—they believe that the amendment “is in possible violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution” because previously if the FBI listened to voicemail illegally, it could not use the messages in evidence against the defendant.[214] Others disagree with these assessments. Professor Orin Kerr, of the George Washington University school of law, believes that the ECPA “adopted a rather strange rule to regulate voicemail stored with service providers” because “under ECPA, if the government knew that there was one copy of an unopened private message in a person’s bedroom and another copy on their remotely stored voicemail, it was illegal for the FBI to simply obtain the voicemail; the law actually compelled the police to invade the home and rifle through peoples’ bedrooms so as not to disturb the more private voicemail.” In Professor Kerr’s opinion, this made little sense and the amendment that was made by the USA PATRIOT Act was reasonable and sensible.[215][216]

The USA PATRIOT Act’s expansion of court jurisdiction to allow the nationwide service of search warrants proved controversial for the EFF.[217] They believe that agencies will be able to “‘shop’ for judges that have demonstrated a strong bias toward law enforcement with regard to search warrants, using only those judges least likely to say no—even if the warrant doesn’t satisfy the strict requirements of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution”,[218] and that it reduces the likelihood that smaller ISPs or phone companies will try to protect the privacy of their clients by challenging the warrant in court—their reasoning is that “a small San Francisco ISP served with such a warrant is unlikely to have the resources to appear before the New York court that issued it.”[218] They believe that this is bad because only the communications provider will be able to challenge the warrant as only they will know about it—many warrants are issued ex parte, which means that the target of the order is not present when the order is issued.[218]

For a time, the USA PATRIOT Act allowed for agents to undertake “sneak and peek” searches.[43] Critics such as EPIC and the ACLU strongly criticized the law for violating the Fourth Amendment,[219] with the ACLU going so far as to release an advertisement condemning it and calling for it to be repealed.[220][221]

However supporters of the amendment, such as Heather Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor to the New York City Journal, expressed the belief that it was necessary because the temporary delay in notification of a search order stops terrorists from tipping off counterparts who are being investigated.[222]

In 2004, FBI agents used this provision to search and secretly examine the home of Brandon Mayfield, who was wrongfully jailed for two weeks on suspicion of involvement in the Madrid train bombings. While the U.S. Government did publicly apologize to Mayfield and his family,[223] Mayfield took it further through the courts. On September 26, 2007, Judge Ann Aiken found the law was, in fact, unconstitutional as the search was an unreasonable imposition on Mayfield and thus violated the Fourth Amendment.[44][45]

Laws governing the material support of terrorism proved contentious. It was criticized by the EFF for infringement of freedom of association. The EFF argues that had this law been enacted during Apartheid, U.S. citizens would not have been able to support the African National Congress (ANC) as the EFF believe the ANC would have been classed as a terrorist organization. They also used the example of a humanitarian social worker being unable to train Hamas members how to care for civilian children orphaned in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, a lawyer being unable to teach IRA members about international law, and peace workers being unable to offer training in effective peace negotiations or how to petition the United Nations regarding human rights abuses.[224]

Another group, the Humanitarian Law Project, also objected to the provision prohibiting “expert advise and assistance” to terrorists and filed a suit against the U.S. government to have it declared unconstitutional. They succeeded, and a Federal Court found that the law was vague enough to cause a reasonable person to guess whether they were breaking the law or not. Thus they found it violated the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens, and struck it down.[143][144]

Perhaps one of the biggest controversies involved the use of NSLs by the FBI. Because they allow the FBI to search telephone, email, and financial records without a court order, they were criticized by many parties.[225][226][227][228] In November 2005, BusinessWeek reported that the FBI had issued tens of thousands of NSLs and had obtained one million financial, credit, employment, and in some cases, health records from the customers of targeted Las Vegas businesses. Selected businesses included casinos, storage warehouses and car rental agencies. An anonymous Justice official claimed that such requests were permitted under section 505 of the USA PATRIOT Act and despite the volume of requests insisted “We are not inclined to ask courts to endorse fishing expeditions”.[229] Before this was revealed, however, the ACLU challenged the constitutionality of NSLs in court. In April 2004, they filed suit against the government on behalf of an unknown Internet Service Provider who had been issued an NSL, for reasons unknown. In ACLU v. DoJ, the ACLU argued that the NSL violated the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution because the USA PATRIOT Act failed to spell out any legal process whereby a telephone or Internet company could try to oppose an NSL subpoena in court. The court agreed, and found that because the recipient of the subpoena could not challenge it in court it was unconstitutional.[126] Congress later tried to remedy this in a reauthorization Act, but because they did not remove the non-disclosure provision a Federal court again found NSLs to be unconstitutional because they prevented courts from engaging in meaningful judicial review.[230][231][232]

Another provision of the USA PATRIOT Act has caused a great deal of consternation amongst librarians. Section 215 allows the FBI to apply for an order to produce materials that assist in an investigation undertaken to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Among the “tangible things” that could be targeted, it includes “books, records, papers, documents, and other items”.[49]

Supporters of the provision point out that these records are held by third parties, and therefore are exempt from a citizen’s reasonable expectations of privacy and also maintain that the FBI has not abused the provision.[233] As proof, then Attorney General John Ashcroft released information in 2003 that showed that section 215 orders had never been used.[234]

However, despite protestations to the contrary, the American Library Association strongly objected to the provision, believing that library records are fundamentally different from ordinary business records, and that the provision would have a chilling effect on free speech. The 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.[235]

They urged librarians to seek legal advice before complying with a search order and advised their members to only keeping records for as long as was legally needed.[236]

Consequently, reports started filtering in that librarians were shredding records to avoid having to comply with such orders.[237][238][239]

In 2005, Library Connection, a nonprofit consortium of 27 libraries in Connecticut, known as the Connecticut Four worked with the ACLU to lift a gag order for library records, challenging the government’s power under Section 505 to silence four citizens who wished to contribute to public debate on the PATRIOT Act. This case became known as Doe v. Gonzales. In May 2006, the government finally gave up its legal battle to maintain the gag order. In a summary of the actions of the Connecticut Four and their challenge to the USA PATRIOT Act, Jones (2009: 223) notes: “Librarians need to understand their country’s legal balance between the protection of freedom of expression and the protection of national security. Many librarians believe that the interests of national security, important as they are, have become an excuse for chilling the freedom to read.”[240]

Another controversial aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act is the immigration provisions that allow for the indefinite detention of any alien who the Attorney General believes may cause a terrorist act.[109] Before the USA PATRIOT Act was passed, Anita Ramasastry, an associate professor of law and a director of the Shidler Center for Law, Commerce, & Technology at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington, accused the Act of depriving basic rights for immigrants to America, including legal permanent residents. She warned that “Indefinite detention upon secret evidence—which the USA PATRIOT Act allows—sounds more like Taliban justice than ours. Our claim that we are attempting to build an international coalition against terrorism will be severely undermined if we pass legislation allowing even citizens of our allies to be incarcerated without basic U.S. guarantees of fairness and justice.”[241] Many other parties have also been strongly critical of the provision. Russell Feingold, in a Senate floor statement, claimed that the provision “falls short of meeting even basic constitutional standards of due process and fairness [as it] continues to allow the Attorney General to detain persons based on mere suspicion”.[242] The University of California passed a resolution condemning (amongst other things) the indefinite detention provisions of the Act,[243] while the ACLU has accused the Act of giving the Attorney General “unprecedented new power to determine the fate of immigrants … Worse, if the foreigner does not have a country that will accept them, they can be detained indefinitely without trial.”[244]

Another controversial aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act is its effect on the privacy of Canadians living in the province of British Columbia (B.C.). British Columbia’s privacy commissioner raises concerns that the USA PATRIOT Act will allow the United States government to access Canadians’ private information, such as personal medical records, that are outsourced to American companies. Although the government of B.C. has taken measures to prevent United States authorities from obtaining information, the widespread powers of the USA PATRIOT Act could overcome legislation that is passed in Canada.[245] B.C. Privacy Commissioner David Loukidelis stated in a report on the consequences of the USA PATRIOT Act, “once information is sent across borders, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to control”.[246]

In an effort to maintain their privacy, British Columbia placed amendments on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA), which was enacted as law on October 21, 2004. These amendments aim to place more firm limitations on “storing, accessing, and disclosing of B.C. public sector data by service providers.”[247] These laws only pertain to public sector data and do not cover trans-border or private sector data in Canada. The public sector establishments include an estimated 2,000 “government ministries, hospitals, boards of health, universities and colleges, school boards, municipal governments and certain Crown corporations and agencies.”[247] In response to these laws, many companies are now specifically opting to host their sensitive data outside the United States.[248]

Legal action has been taken in Nova Scotia to protect the province from the USA PATRIOT Act’s data collecting methods. On November 15, 2007 the government of Nova Scotia passed a legislation aimed to protect Nova Scotians’ personal information from being brought forward by the USA PATRIOT Act. The act was entitled “The new Personal Information International Disclosure Protection Act”. The goal of the act is to establish requirements to protect personal information from being revealed, as well as punishments for failing to do so. Justice Minister Murray Scott stated, “This legislation will help ensure that Nova Scotians’ personal information will be protected. The act outlines the responsibilities of public bodies, municipalities and service providers and the consequences if these responsibilities are not fulfilled.”[216][249] In the 1980s, the Bank of Nova Scotia was the center of an early, pre-Internet data-access case that led to the disclosure of banking records.[citation needed]

After suspected abuses of the USA PATRIOT Act were brought to light in June 2013 with articles about collection of American call records by the NSA and thePRISM program (see 2013 mass surveillance disclosures), Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, said that the National Security Agency overstepped its bounds.[250] He released a statement saying “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.”[250][251]

See also

Fourth Amendment

FOURTH AMENDMENT: AN OVERVIEW

I. INTERESTS PROTECTED

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and noWarrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The ultimate goal of this provision is to protect people’s right to privacy and freedom from arbitrary governmental intrusions.  Private intrusions not acting in the color of governmental authority are exempted from the Fourth Amendment.

To have standing to claim protection under the Fourth Amendment, one must first demonstrate an expectation of privacy, which is not merely a subjective expectation in mind but an expectation that society is prepared to recognized as reasonable under the circumstances.  For instance, warrantless searches of private premises are mostly prohibited unless there are justifiable exceptions; on the other hand, a warrantless seizure of abandoned property usually does not violate the Fourth Amendment.  Moreover, the Fourth Amendment protection does not expand to governmental intrusion and information collection conducted upon open fields.  An Expectation of privacy in an open field is not considered reasonable.  However, there are some exceptions where state authorities granted protection to open fields.

A bivens action can be filed against federal law enforcement officials for damages resulting from an unlawfulsearch and seizure.  States can always establish higher standards for searches and seizures than the Fourth Amendment requires, but states cannot allow conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment.

The protection under the Fourth Amendment can be waived if one voluntarily consents to or does not object to evidence collected during a warrantless search or seizure.

II. SEARCHES AND SEIZURES UNDER FOURTH AMENDMENT

The courts must determine what constitutes a search or seizure under the Fourth Amendment.  If the conduct challenged does not fall within the Fourth Amendment, the individual will not enjoy protection under Fourth Amendment.

A. Search

A search under Fourth Amendment occurs when a governmental employee or agent of the government violates an individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

Strip searches and visual body cavity searches, including anal or genital inspections, constitute reasonablesearches under the Fourth Amendment when supported by probable cause and conducted in a reasonablemanner.

dog-sniff inspection is invalid under the Fourth Amendment if the the inspection violates a reasonableexpectation of privacyElectronic surveillance is also considered a search under the Fourth Amendment.

B. Seizure of a Person

A seizure of a person, within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, occurs when the police’s conduct would communicate to a reasonable person, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the encounter, that the person is not free to ignore the police presence and leave at his will.

Two elements must be present to constitute a seizure of a person.  First, there must be a show of authority by the police officer.  Presence of handcuffs or weapons, the use of forceful language, and physical contact are each strong indicators of authority.  Second, the person being seized must submit to the authority.  An individual who ignores the officer’s request and walks away has not been seized for Fourth Amendmentpurposes.

An arrest warrant is preferred but not required to make a lawful arrest under the Fourth Amendment.  Awarrantless arrest may be justified where probable cause and urgent need are present prior to the arrest.  Probable cause is present when the police officer has a reasonable belief in the guilt of the suspect based on the facts and information prior to the arrest.  For instance, a warrantless arrest may be legitimate in situations where a police officer has a probable belief that a suspect has either committed a crime or is a threat to the public security.  Also, a police officer might arrest a suspect to prevent the suspect’s escape or to preserve evidence.  A warrantless arrest may be invalidated if the police officer fails to demonstrate exigent circumstances.

The ability to make warrantless arrests are commonly limited by statutes subject to the due process guaranty of the U.S. Constitution.  A suspect arrested without a warrant is entitled to prompt judicial determination, usually within 48 hours.

There are investigatory stops that fall short of arrests, but nonetheless, they fall within Fourth Amendment protection. For instance, police officers can perform a terry stop or a traffic stop.  Usually, these stops provide officers with less dominion and controlling power and impose less of an infringement of personal liberty for individual stopped.  Investigatory stops must be temporary questioning for limited purposes and conducted in a manner necessary to fulfill the purpose.

An officer’s reasonable suspicion is sufficient to justify brief stops and detentions.  To determine if the officer has met the standard to justify the seizure, the court takes into account the totality of the circumstances and examines whether the officer has a particularized and reasonable belief for suspecting the wrongdoing.  Probable cause gained during stops or detentions might effectuate a subsequent warrantless arrest.

C. Seizure of Property

A seizure of property, within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, occurs when there is some meaningful interference with an individual’s possessory interests in the property.

In some circumstances, warrantless seizures of objects in plain view do not constitute seizures within the meaning of Fourth Amendment.  When executing a search warrant, an officer might be able to seize an item observed in plain view even if it is not specified in the warrant.

III. WARRANT REQUIREMENT

A search or seizure is generally unreasonable and illegal without a warrant, subject to only a few exceptions.

To obtain a search warrant or arrest warrant, the law enforcement officer must demonstrate probable cause that a search or seizure is justified.  An authority, usually a magistrate, will consider the totality of circumstances and determine whether to issue the warrant.

The warrant requirement may be excused in exigent circumstances if an officer has probable cause and obtaining a warrant is impractical.  For instance, in State v. Helmbright 990 N.E.2d 154, Ohio court held that a warrantless search of probationer’s person or place of residence complies with the Fourth Amendment if the officer who conducts the search possesses “reasonable grounds” to believe that the probationer has failed to comply with the terms of his probation.

Other well-established exceptions to the warrant requirement include consensual searches, certain briefinvestigatory stops, searches incident to a valid arrest, and seizures of items in plain view.

There is no general exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement in national security cases. Warrantless searches are generally not permitted in exclusively domestic security cases.  In foreign security cases, court opinions might differ on whether to accept the foreign security exception to warrant requirement generally and, if accepted, whether the exception should include both physical searches and electronic surveillance.

IV. REASONABLENESS REQUIREMENT

All searches and seizures under Fourth Amendment must be reasonable.  No excessive force shall be used.  Reasonableness is the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a search or seizure.

Searches and seizures with a warrant satisfy the reasonableness requirement.  Warrantless searches and seizures are presumed to be unreasonable unless they fall within a few exceptions.

In cases of warrantless searches and seizures, the court will try to balance the degree of intrusion on the individual’s right to privacy and the need to promote government interests and special needs.  The court will examine the totality of the circumstances to determine if the search or seizure was justified.  When analyzing the reasonableness standard, the court uses an objective assessment and considers factors including the degree of intrusion by the search or seizure and the manner in which the search or seizure is conducted.
V. EXCLUSIONARY RULE

Under the exclusionary rule, any evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment will be excluded from criminal proceedings.  There are a few exceptions to this rule.

VI. ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE

In recent years, the Fourth Amendment‘s applicability in electronic searches and seizures has received much attention from the courts.  With the advent of the internet and increased popularity of computers, there has been an increasing amount of crime occurring electronically.  Consequently, evidence of such crime can often be found on computers, hard drives, or other electronic devices.  The Fourth Amendment applies to the search and seizure of electronic devices.

Many electronic search cases involve whether law enforcement can search a company-owned computer that an employee uses to conduct business. Although the case law is split, the majority holds that employees do not have a legitimate expectation of privacy with regard to information stored on a company-owned computer.  In the 2010 case of City of Ontario v. Quon (08-1332), the Supreme Court extended this lack of an expectation of privacy to text messages sent and received on an employer-owned pager.

Lately, electronic surveillance and wiretapping has also caused a significant amount of Fourth Amendmentlitigation.

VII. THE USA PATRIOT ACT

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congress and the President enacted legislation to strengthen the intelligence gathering community’s ability to combat domestic terrorism.  Entitled the USA Patriot Act, the legislation’s provisions aimed to increase the ability of law enforcement to search email and telephonic communications in addition to medical, financial, and library records.

One provision permits law enforcement to obtain access to stored voicemails by obtaining a basic search warrant rather than a surveillance warrant.  Obtaining a basic search warrant requires a much lower evidentiary showing.  A highly controversial provision of the Act includes permission for law enforcement to use sneak-and-peak warrants.  A sneak-and-peak warrant is a warrant in which law enforcement can delay notifying the property owner about the warrant’s issuance.  In an Oregon federal district court case that drew national attention, Judge Ann Aiken struck down the use of sneak-and-peak warrants as unconstitutional and in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  See 504 F.Supp.2d 1023 (D. Or. 2007).

The Patriot Act also expanded the practice of using National Security Letters (NSL).  An NSL is an administrative subpoena that requires certain persons, groups, organizations, or companies to provide documents about certain persons.  These documents typically involve telephone, email, and financial records.  NSLs also carry a gag order, meaning the person or persons responsible for complying cannot mention the existence of the NSL.  Under the Patriot Act provisions, law enforcement can use NSLs when investigating U.S. citizens, even when law enforcement does not think the individual under investigation has committed a crime.  The Department of Homeland Security has used NSLs frequently since its inception.  By using an NSL, an agency has no responsibility to first obtain a warrant or court order before conducting its search of records.

See constitutional amendment.

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National Security Agency Whistle-blower William Binney on U.S. Government Efforts to Control American People — Binney Should Be Awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom — Videos

Posted on May 3, 2015. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Data Storage, Documentary, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Employment, Entertainment, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Films, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government, government spending, history, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Movies, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Rants, Raves, Security, Speech, Systems, Tax Policy, Terrorism, Video, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

william binneybill-binney-we-are-now-a-police-stateBill-Binney07Former NSA technical director Binney sits in the witness stand of a parliamentary inquiry in Berlinbinney

NSA Whistle-blower William Binney: The Future of FREEDOM

A 36-year veteran of America’s Intelligence Community, William Binney resigned from his position as Director for Global Communications Intelligence (COMINT) at the National Security Agency (NSA) and blew the whistle, after discovering that his efforts to protect the privacy and security of Americans were being undermined by those above him in the chain of command.

The NSA data-monitoring program which Binney and his team had developed — codenamed ThinThread — was being aimed not at foreign targets as intended, but at Americans (codenamed as Stellar Wind); destroying privacy here and around the world. Binney voices his call to action for the billions of individuals whose rights are currently being violated.

William Binney speaks out in this feature-length interview with Tragedy and Hope’s Richard Grove, focused on the topic of the ever-growing Surveillance State in America.

On January 22, 2015: (Berlin, Germany) – The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is proud to announce that retired NSA Technical Director and GAP client, William “Bill” Binney, will accept the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence Award today in Berlin, Germany. The award is presented annually by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) to a professional who has taken a strong stand for ethics and integrity. http://whistleblower.org/press/nsa-wh…

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

Former NSA Head Exposes Agency’s Real Crimes

Edward Snowden, v 1.0: NSA Whistleblower William Binney Tells All

“Where I see it going is toward a totalitarian state,” says William Binney. “You’ve got the NSA doing all this collecting of material on all of its citizens – that’s what the SS, the Gestapo, the Stasi, the KGB, and the NKVD did.”

Binney is talking about the collection of various forms of personal data on American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA), where he worked for 30 years before quitting in 2001 from his high-placed post as technical leader for intelligence. A registered Republican for most of his life, Binney volunteered for military service during the Vietnam War, which led to his being hired by the NSA in the early ’70s.

In 2002 – long before the revelations of Edward Snowden rocked the world – Binney and several former colleagues went to Congress and the Department of Defense, asking that the NSA be investigated. Not only was the super-secretive agency wasting taxpayer dollars on ineffective programs, they argued, it was broadly violating constitutional guarantees to privacy and due process.

The government didn’t just turn a blind eye to the agency’s activities; it later accused the whistleblowers of leaking state secrets. A federal investigation of Binney – including an FBI search and seizure of his home and office computers that destroyed his consulting business – exonerated him on all charges.

“We are a clear example that [going through] the proper channels doesn’t work,” says Binney, who approves of Edward Snowden’s strategy of going straight to the media. At the same time, Binney criticizes Snowden’s leaking of documents not directly related to the NSA’s surveillance of American citizens and violation of constitutional rights. Binney believes that the NSA is vital to national security but has been become unmoored due to technological advances that vastly extend its capabilities and leadership that has no use for limits on government power. “They took that program designed [to prevent terrorist attacks] and used it to spy on American citizens and everyone else in the world,” flatly declares Binney (33:30).

Binney sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss “Trailblazer”, a data-collection program which was used on American citizens (1:00), why he thinks the NSA had the capability to stop the 9/11 attacks (7:00), his experience being raided by the FBI in 2007 (12:50), and why former President Gerald Ford, usually regarded as a hapless time-server, is one of his personal villians (41:25).

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

William Binney: NSA had 9/11 foreknowledge

NSA Whistleblower Supports 9/11 Truth – William Binney and Richard Gage on GRTV

“The NSA Is Lying”: U.S. Government Has Copies of Most of Your Emails Says NSA Whistleblower

William Binney (U.S. intelligence official)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
William Binney
William Binney-IMG 9040.jpg

Binney at the Congress on Privacy & Surveillance (2013) of the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).
Born William Edward Binney
Pennsylvania, US
Education Pennsylvania State University(B.S., 1970)
Occupation Cryptanalyst-mathematician
Employer National Security Agency (NSA)
Known for Cryptography, SIGINT analysis,whistleblower
Awards Meritorious Civilian Service Award, Joe A. Callaway Award for Civic Courage (2012)[1]

William Edward Binney[2] is a former highly placed intelligence official with the United States National Security Agency (NSA)[3] turned whistleblower who resigned on October 31, 2001, after more than 30 years with the agency. He was a high-profile critic of his former employers during the George W. Bush administration.

Binney continues to speak out during Barack Obama‘s presidency about the NSA’s data collection policies, and continues interviews in the media regarding his experiences and his views on communication intercepts by governmental agencies of American citizens. In a legal case, Binney has testified in an affidavit that the NSA is in deliberate violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Biography

Binney grew up in rural Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 1970. He said that he volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam era in order to select work that would interest him rather than be drafted and have no input. He was found to have strong aptitudes for mathematics, analysis, and code-breaking,[4] and served four years from 1965–1969 at the Army Security Agency before going to the NSA in 1970. Binney was a Russia specialist and worked in the operations side of intelligence, starting as an analyst and ending as Technical Director prior to becoming a geopolitical world Technical Director. In the 1990s, he co-founded a unit on automating signals intelligence with NSA research chief Dr. John Taggart.[5] Binney’s NSA career culminated as Technical Leader for intelligence in 2001. Having expertise in intelligence analysis, traffic analysis, systems analysis, knowledge management, and mathematics (including set theory, number theory, and probability),[6] Binney has been described as one of the best analysts in the NSA’s history.[7] After retiring from the NSA he founded “Entity Mapping, LLC”, a private intelligence agency together with fellow NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe to market their analysis program to government agencies. NSA continued to retaliate against them, ultimately preventing them from getting work, or causing contracts they had secured to be terminated abruptly.[8]

Whistleblowing

Binney sitting in the offices ofDemocracy Now! in New York City, prior to appearing with hosts Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, and guest Jacob Appelbaum. Photo taken byJacob Appelbaum.

In September 2002, he, along with J. Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, asked the U.S. Defense Department to investigate the NSA for allegedly wasting “millions and millions of dollars” on Trailblazer, a system intended to analyze data carried on communications networks such as the Internet. Binney had been one of the inventors of an alternative system, ThinThread, which was shelved when Trailblazer was chosen instead. Binney has also been publicly critical of the NSA for spying on U.S. citizens, saying of its expanded surveillance after the September 11, 2001 attacks that “it’s better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had”[9] as well as noting Trailblazer’s ineffectiveness and unjustified high cost compared to the far less intrusive ThinThread.[10] He was furious that the NSA hadn’t uncovered the 9/11 plot and stated that intercepts it had collected but not analyzed likely would have garnered timely attention with his leaner more focused system.[7]

After he left the NSA in 2001, Binney was one of several people investigated as part of an inquiry into the 2005 New York Times exposé[11][12] on the agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program. Binney was cleared of wrongdoing after three interviews with FBI agents beginning in March 2007, but one morning in July 2007, a dozen agents armed with rifles appeared at his house, one of whom entered the bathroom and pointed his gun at Binney, still towelling off from a shower. In that raid, the FBI confiscated a desktop computer, disks, and personal and business records. The NSA revoked his security clearance, forcing him to close a business he ran with former colleagues at a loss of a reported $300,000 in annual income. In 2012, Binney and his co-plaintiffs went to federal court to get the items back. Binney spent more than $7,000 on legal fees.[13]

During interviews on Democracy Now! in April and May 2012[14] with elaboration in July 2012 at 2600’s hacker conference HOPE[4] and at DEF CON a couple weeks later,[15]Binney repeated estimates that the NSA (particularly its Stellar Wind project[16]) had intercepted 20 trillion communications “transactions” of Americans such as phone calls, emails, and other forms of data (but not including financial data). This includes most of the emails of US citizens. Binney disclosed in an affidavit for Jewel v. NSA[17] that the agency was “purposefully violating the Constitution”.[6] Binney also notes that he found out after retiring that the NSA was pursuing collect-it-all vs. targeted surveillance even before the 9/11 attacks.

Binney was invited as a witness by the NSA commission of the German Bundestag. On July 3, 2014 the Spiegel wrote, he said that the NSA wanted to have information about everything. In Binney’s view this is a totalitarian approach, which had previously been seen only in dictatorships.[18] Binney stated the goal was also to control people. Meanwhile, he said it is possible in principle to survey the whole population, abroad and in the US, which in his view contradicts the United States Constitution. In October 2001, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the NSA began with its mass surveillance, he said. Therefore, he left the secret service shortly afterwards, after more than 30 years of employment. Binney mentioned that there were about 6000 analysts in the surveillance at NSA already during his tenure. According to him, everything changed after 9/11. The NSA used the attacks as a justification to start indiscriminate data collection. “This was a mistake. But they still do it”, he said. The secret service was saving the data as long as possible: “They do not discard anything. If they have anything they keep it.” Since then, the NSA has been saving collected data indefinitely. Binney said he deplored the NSA’s development of the past few years, to collect data not only on groups who are suspicious for criminal or terrorist activities. “We have moved away from the collection of these data to the collection of data of the 7 billion people on our planet.” Binney said he argued even then, to only pull relevant data from the cables. Access to the data was granted to departments of the government or the IRS.[18]

In August 2014 Binney was among the signatories of an open letter by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity to German chancellor Angela Merkel in which they urged the Chancellor to be suspicious of U.S. intelligence regarding the alleged invasion of Russia in Eastern Ukraine.[19][20]

See also

The Future of Freedom: A Feature Interview with NSA Whistleblower William Binney

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Binney_%28U.S._intelligence_official%29

Background Articles and Videos

Presidential Medal of Freedom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Presidential Medal of Freedom
PresMedalFreedom.jpg
Awarded by
Seal of the President of the United States.svg
President of the United States
Type Medal
Awarded for “An especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”[1]
Status Active
Statistics
Established 1960
First awarded 1960
Distinct
recipients
unknown; an average of fewer than 11 per year since 1993 [2]
Precedence
Next (lower) Presidential Citizens Medal
Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction (ribbon).PNG Presidential Medal of Freedom (ribbon).png
Service ribbon of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
(left: Medal with Distinction)

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is an award bestowed by the President of the United States and is—along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal, bestowed by an act of U.S. Congress—the highest civilian award of the United States. It recognizes those individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.[3] The award is not limited to U.S. citizens and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform.

It was established in 1963 and replaced the earlier Medal of Freedom that was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1945 to honor civilian service duringWorld War II.

History of the award

Similar in name to the Medal of Freedom,[3] but much closer in meaning and precedence to the Medal for Merit: the Presidential Medal of Freedom is currently the supreme civilian decoration in precedence, whereas the Medal of Freedom was inferior in precedence to the Medal for Merit; the Medal of Freedom was awarded by any of three Cabinet secretaries, whereas the Medal for Merit was awarded by the president, as is the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Another measure of the difference between these two similarly named but very distinct awards is their per-capita frequency of award: from 1946 to 1961 the average annual incidence of award of the Medal of Freedom was approximately 1 per every 86,500 adult U.S. citizens; from 1996 to 2011 the average annual incidence of award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom was approximately 1 per every 20,500,000 adult U.S. citizens (so on an annualized per capita basis, 240 Medals of Freedom have been awarded per one Presidential Medal of Freedom).[2][4]

President John F. Kennedy established the current decoration in 1963 through Executive Order 11085, with unique and distinctive insignia, vastly expanded purpose, and far higher prestige.[1] It was the first U.S. civilian neck decoration and, in the grade of Awarded With Distinction, is the only U.S. sash and star decoration (the Chief Commander degree of the Legion of Merit – which may only be awarded to foreign heads of state – is a star decoration, but without a sash). The Executive Order calls for the medal to be awarded annually on or around July 4, and at other convenient times as chosen by the president,[5] but it has not been awarded every year (e.g., 2001, 2010). Recipients are selected by the president, either on his own initiative or based on recommendations. The order establishing the medal also expanded the size and the responsibilities of the Distinguished Civilian Service Awards Board so it could serve as a major source of such recommendations.

The medal may be awarded to an individual more than once; John Kenneth Galbraith and Colin Powell each have received two awards; Ellsworth Bunker received both of his awards With Distinction. It may also be awarded posthumously; examples include Cesar Chavez, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Roberto Clemente, Jack Kemp, John F. Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall and Lyndon Johnson.

Insignia

Medal andaccoutrementsincluding undress ribbon, miniature, and lapel badge.

Graphical representation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction

The badge of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is in the form of a golden star with white enamel, with a red enamel pentagon behind it; the central disc bears thirteen gold stars on a blue enamel background (taken from the Great Seal of the United States) within a golden ring. Golden American bald eagles with spread wings stand between the points of the star. It is worn around the neck on a blue ribbon with white edge stripes.

A special grade of the medal, known as the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction,[6] has a larger execution of the same medal design worn as a star on the left chest along with a sash over the right shoulder (similar to how the insignia of a Grand Cross is worn), with its rosette (blue with white edge, bearing the central disc of the medal at its center) resting on the left hip. When the medal With Distinction is awarded, the star may be presented depending from a neck ribbon and can be identified by its larger size than the standard medal (compare size of medals in pictures below; President Reagan’s was awarded With Distinction).

Both medals may also be worn in miniature form on a ribbon on the left chest, with a silver American bald eagle with spread wings on the ribbon, or a golden American bald eagle for a medal awarded With Distinction. In addition, the medal is accompanied by a service ribbon for wear on military service uniform, a miniature medal pendant for wear on mess dress or civilian formal wear, and a lapel badge for wear on civilian clothes (all shown in the accompanying photograph of the full presentation set).

Recipients

Gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Executive Order 11085, signed February 22, 1960; Federal Register 28 FR 1759, February 26, 1963
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Senate.gov
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b Executive Order 9586, signed July 6, 1945; Federal Register 10 FR 8523, July 10, 1945
  4. Jump up^ Census.gov
  5. Jump up^ Presidential Medal of Freedom Award

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

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

Published on Dec 30, 2013

Through a PRISM, Darkly
Everything we know about NSA spying

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

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

Glenn Becks “SURVEILLANCE STATE”

Inside the NSA

Ed Snowden, NSA, and Fairy Tales

AT&T Spying On Internet Traffic

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

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

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

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

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

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

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

The story of Whistleblower Thomas Drake

Whistleblowers, Part Two: Thomas Drake

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

Meet Edward Snowden: NSA PRISM Whistleblower

The Truth About Edward Snowden

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

Inside The NSA~Americas Cyber Secrets

NSA Whistleblower Exposes Obama’s Dragnet

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

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

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

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

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

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRISM

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

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

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

History

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

Details of information collected via PRISM

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

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

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

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

Response from companies

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

Initial Public Statements

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

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

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

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

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

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

Response from United States government

Executive branch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislative branch

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

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

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

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

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

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

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

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

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

Judicial branch

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

Applicable law and practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Involvement of other countries

Australia

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

Canada

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

Germany

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

Israel

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

New Zealand

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

United Kingdom

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

Domestic response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International response

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

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

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related government Internet surveillance programs

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

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

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

ThinThread

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

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

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

Trailblazer

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whistleblowing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boundless Informant

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

Technology

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

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

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

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

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

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

ECHELON

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

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

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

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

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

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

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

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

Capabilities

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

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

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

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

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

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

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

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

Hardware

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

Name

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

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

Ground stations

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

Likely satellite intercept stations

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

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

Other potentially related stations

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

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

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

Room 641A

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

Description

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

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

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

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

Lawsuit

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

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

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

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

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

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

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

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

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Snowden Used Automated Web Crawler To Scrap Data From Over 1.7 Million Restricted National Security Agency Files — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 207: February 10, 2014

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Story 2: The Pronk Pops Show 207, February 10, 2014, Story 1: Snowden Used Automated Web Crawler To Scrap Data From Over 1.7 Million Restricted National Security Agency Files — Videos

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Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.

By DAVID E. SANGER and ERIC SCHMITT

Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.”

The findings are striking because the N.S.A.’s mission includes protecting the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence computer systems from cyberattacks, especially the sophisticated attacks that emanate from Russia and China. Mr. Snowden’s “insider attack,” by contrast, was hardly sophisticated and should have been easily detected, investigators found.

Launch media viewer
Officials say Mr. Snowden used “web crawler” software. Channel 4/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Moreover, Mr. Snowden succeeded nearly three years after the WikiLeaks disclosures, in which military and State Department files, of far less sensitivity, were taken using similar techniques.

Mr. Snowden had broad access to the N.S.A.’s complete files because he was working as a technology contractor for the agency in Hawaii, helping to manage the agency’s computer systems in an outpost that focuses on China and North Korea. A web crawler, also called a spider, automatically moves from website to website, following links embedded in each document, and can be programmed to copy everything in its path.

Mr. Snowden appears to have set the parameters for the searches, including which subjects to look for and how deeply to follow links to documents and other data on the N.S.A.’s internal networks. Intelligence officials told a House hearing last week that he accessed roughly 1.7 million files.

Among the materials prominent in the Snowden files are the agency’s shared “wikis,” databases to which intelligence analysts, operatives and others contributed their knowledge. Some of that material indicates that Mr. Snowden “accessed” the documents. But experts say they may well have been downloaded not by him but by the program acting on his behalf.

Agency officials insist that if Mr. Snowden had been working from N.S.A. headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., which was equipped with monitors designed to detect when a huge volume of data was being accessed and downloaded, he almost certainly would have been caught. But because he worked at an agency outpost that had not yet been upgraded with modern security measures, his copying of what the agency’s newly appointed No. 2 officer, Rick Ledgett, recently called “the keys to the kingdom” raised few alarms.

“Some place had to be last” in getting the security upgrade, said one official familiar with Mr. Snowden’s activities. But he added that Mr. Snowden’s actions had been “challenged a few times.”

In at least one instance when he was questioned, Mr. Snowden provided what were later described to investigators as legitimate-sounding explanations for his activities: As a systems administrator he was responsible for conducting routine network maintenance. That could include backing up the computer systems and moving information to local servers, investigators were told.

But from his first days working as a contractor inside the N.S.A.’s aging underground Oahu facility for Dell, the computer maker, and then at a modern office building on the island for Booz Allen Hamilton, the technology consulting firm that sells and operates computer security services used by the government, Mr. Snowden learned something critical about the N.S.A.’s culture: While the organization built enormously high electronic barriers to keep out foreign invaders, it had rudimentary protections against insiders.

“Once you are inside the assumption is that you are supposed to be there, like in most organizations,” said Richard Bejtlich, the chief security strategist for FireEye, a Silicon Valley computer security firm, and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. “But that doesn’t explain why they weren’t more vigilant about excessive activity in the system.”

Investigators have yet to answer the question of whether Mr. Snowden happened into an ill-defended outpost of the N.S.A. or sought a job there because he knew it had yet to install the security upgrades that might have stopped him.

“He was either very lucky or very strategic,” one intelligence official said. A new book, “The Snowden Files,” by Luke Harding, a correspondent for The Guardian in London, reports that Mr. Snowden sought his job at Booz Allen because “to get access to a final tranche of documents” he needed “greater security privileges than he enjoyed in his position at Dell.”

Through his lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, Mr. Snowden did not specifically address the government’s theory of how he obtained the files, saying in a statement: “It’s ironic that officials are giving classified information to journalists in an effort to discredit me for giving classified information to journalists. The difference is that I did so to inform the public about the government’s actions, and they’re doing so to misinform the public about mine.”

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The headquarters of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of Edward J. Snowden’s former employers, in McLean, Va. He had broad access to National Security Agency files as a contractor in Hawaii. Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency

The N.S.A. declined to comment on its investigation or the security changes it has made since the Snowden disclosures. Other intelligence officials familiar with the findings of the investigations underway — there are at least four — were granted anonymity to discuss the investigations.

In interviews, officials declined to say which web crawler Mr. Snowden had used, or whether he had written some of the software himself. Officials said it functioned like Googlebot, a widely used web crawler that Google developed to find and index new pages on the web. What officials cannot explain is why the presence of such software in a highly classified system was not an obvious tip-off to unauthorized activity.

When inserted with Mr. Snowden’s passwords, the web crawler became especially powerful. Investigators determined he probably had also made use of the passwords of some colleagues or supervisors.

But he was also aided by a culture within the N.S.A., officials say, that “compartmented” relatively little information. As a result, a 29-year-old computer engineer, working from a World War II-era tunnel in Oahu and then from downtown Honolulu, had access to unencrypted files that dealt with information as varied as the bulk collection of domestic phone numbers and the intercepted communications of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and dozens of other leaders.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0

Officials say web crawlers are almost never used on the N.S.A.’s internal systems, making it all the more inexplicable that the one used by Mr. Snowden did not set off alarms as it copied intelligence and military documents stored in the N.S.A.’s systems and linked through the agency’s internal equivalent of Wikipedia.

The answer, officials and outside experts say, is that no one was looking inside the system in Hawaii for hard-to-explain activity. “The N.S.A. had the solution to this problem in hand, but they simply didn’t push it out fast enough,” said James Lewis, a computer expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has talked extensively with intelligence officials about how the Snowden experience could have been avoided.

Nonetheless, the government had warning that it was vulnerable to such attacks. Similar techniques were used by Chelsea Manning, then known as Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted of turning documents and videos over to WikiLeaks in 2010.

Evidence presented during Private Manning’s court-martial for his role as the source for large archives of military and diplomatic files given to WikiLeaks revealed that he had used a program called “wget” to download the batches of files. That program automates the retrieval of large numbers of files, but it is considered less powerful than the tool Mr. Snowden used.

The program’s use prompted changes in how secret information is handled at the State Department, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, but recent assessments suggest that those changes may not have gone far enough. For example, arguments have broken out about whether the N.S.A.’s data should all be encrypted “at rest” — when it is stored in servers — to make it harder to search and steal. But that would also make it harder to retrieve for legitimate purposes.

Investigators have found no evidence that Mr. Snowden’s searches were directed by a foreign power, despite suggestions to that effect by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Mike Rogers, Republican of Michigan, in recent television appearances and at a hearing last week.

But that leaves open the question of how Mr. Snowden chose the search terms to obtain his trove of documents, and why, according to James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, they yielded a disproportionately large number of documents detailing American military movements, preparations and abilities around the world.

In his statement, Mr. Snowden denied any deliberate effort to gain access to any military information. “They rely on a baseless premise, which is that I was after military information,” Mr. Snowden said.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, told lawmakers last week that Mr. Snowden’s disclosures could tip off adversaries to American military tactics and operations, and force the Pentagon to spend vast sums to safeguard against that. But he admitted a great deal of uncertainty about what Mr. Snowden possessed.

“Everything that he touched, we assume that he took,” said General Flynn, including details of how the military tracks terrorists, of enemies’ vulnerabilities and of American defenses against improvised explosive devices. He added, “We assume the worst case.”

ttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/us/snowden-used-low-cost-tool-to-best-nsa.html?_r=0

Web Crawler

A Web crawler is an Internet bot that systematically browses the World Wide Web, typically for the purpose of Web indexing.

A Web crawler may also be called a Web spider,[1] an ant, an automatic indexer,[2] or (in the FOAF software context) a Web scutter.[3]

Web search engines and some other sites use Web crawling or spidering software to update their web content or indexes of others sites’ web content. Web crawlers can copy all the pages they visit for later processing by a search engine that indexes the downloaded pages so that users can search them much more quickly.

Crawlers can validate hyperlinks and HTML code. They can also be used for web scraping (see also data-driven programming).

Overview

A Web crawler starts with a list of URLs to visit, called the seeds. As the crawler visits these URLs, it identifies all the hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to visit, called the crawl frontier. URLs from the frontier are recursively visited according to a set of policies.

The large volume implies that the crawler can only download a limited number of the Web pages within a given time, so it needs to prioritize its downloads. The high rate of change implies that the pages might have already been updated or even deleted.

The number of possible URLs crawled being generated by server-side software has also made it difficult for web crawlers to avoid retrieving duplicate content. Endless combinations of HTTP GET (URL-based) parameters exist, of which only a small selection will actually return unique content. For example, a simple online photo gallery may offer three options to users, as specified through HTTP GET parameters in the URL. If there exist four ways to sort images, three choices of thumbnail size, two file formats, and an option to disable user-provided content, then the same set of content can be accessed with 48 different URLs, all of which may be linked on the site. This mathematical combination creates a problem for crawlers, as they must sort through endless combinations of relatively minor scripted changes in order to retrieve unique content.

As Edwards et al. noted, “Given that the bandwidth for conducting crawls is neither infinite nor free, it is becoming essential to crawl the Web in not only a scalable, but efficient way, if some reasonable measure of quality or freshness is to be maintained.”[4] A crawler must carefully choose at each step which pages to visit next.

Crawling policy

The behavior of a Web crawler is the outcome of a combination of policies:[5]

  • a selection policy that states which pages to download,
  • a re-visit policy that states when to check for changes to the pages,
  • a politeness policy that states how to avoid overloading Web sites, and
  • a parallelization policy that states how to coordinate distributed web crawlers.

Selection policy

Given the current size of the Web, even large search engines cover only a portion of the publicly available part. A 2005 study showed that large-scale search engines index no more than 40-70% of the indexable Web;[6] a previous study by Steve Lawrence and Lee Giles showed that no search engine indexed more than 16% of the Web in 1999.[7] As a crawler always downloads just a fraction of the Web pages, it is highly desirable that the downloaded fraction contains the most relevant pages and not just a random sample of the Web.

This requires a metric of importance for prioritizing Web pages. The importance of a page is a function of its intrinsic quality, its popularity in terms of links or visits, and even of its URL (the latter is the case of vertical search engines restricted to a single top-level domain, or search engines restricted to a fixed Web site). Designing a good selection policy has an added difficulty: it must work with partial information, as the complete set of Web pages is not known during crawling.

Cho et al. made the first study on policies for crawling scheduling. Their data set was a 180,000-pages crawl from the stanford.edu domain, in which a crawling simulation was done with different strategies.[8] The ordering metrics tested were breadth-first, backlink count and partial Pagerank calculations. One of the conclusions was that if the crawler wants to download pages with high Pagerank early during the crawling process, then the partial Pagerank strategy is the better, followed by breadth-first and backlink-count. However, these results are for just a single domain. Cho also wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Stanford on web crawling.[9]

Najork and Wiener performed an actual crawl on 328 million pages, using breadth-first ordering.[10] They found that a breadth-first crawl captures pages with high Pagerank early in the crawl (but they did not compare this strategy against other strategies). The explanation given by the authors for this result is that “the most important pages have many links to them from numerous hosts, and those links will be found early, regardless of on which host or page the crawl originates.”

Abiteboul designed a crawling strategy based on an algorithm called OPIC (On-line Page Importance Computation).[11] In OPIC, each page is given an initial sum of “cash” that is distributed equally among the pages it points to. It is similar to a Pagerank computation, but it is faster and is only done in one step. An OPIC-driven crawler downloads first the pages in the crawling frontier with higher amounts of “cash”. Experiments were carried in a 100,000-pages synthetic graph with a power-law distribution of in-links. However, there was no comparison with other strategies nor experiments in the real Web.

Boldi et al. used simulation on subsets of the Web of 40 million pages from the .it domain and 100 million pages from the WebBase crawl, testing breadth-first against depth-first, random ordering and an omniscient strategy. The comparison was based on how well PageRank computed on a partial crawl approximates the true PageRank value. Surprisingly, some visits that accumulate PageRank very quickly (most notably, breadth-first and the omniscient visit) provide very poor progressive approximations.[12][13]

Baeza-Yates et al. used simulation on two subsets of the Web of 3 million pages from the .gr and .cl domain, testing several crawling strategies.[14] They showed that both the OPIC strategy and a strategy that uses the length of the per-site queues are better than breadth-first crawling, and that it is also very effective to use a previous crawl, when it is available, to guide the current one.

Daneshpajouh et al. designed a community based algorithm for discovering good seeds.[15] Their method crawls web pages with high PageRank from different communities in less iteration in comparison with crawl starting from random seeds. One can extract good seed from a previously-crawled-Web graph using this new method. Using these seeds a new crawl can be very effective.

Restricting followed links

A crawler may only want to seek out HTML pages and avoid all other MIME types. In order to request only HTML resources, a crawler may make an HTTP HEAD request to determine a Web resource’s MIME type before requesting the entire resource with a GET request. To avoid making numerous HEAD requests, a crawler may examine the URL and only request a resource if the URL ends with certain characters such as .html, .htm, .asp, .aspx, .php, .jsp, .jspx or a slash. This strategy may cause numerous HTML Web resources to be unintentionally skipped.

Some crawlers may also avoid requesting any resources that have a “?” in them (are dynamically produced) in order to avoid spider traps that may cause the crawler to download an infinite number of URLs from a Web site. This strategy is unreliable if the site uses a rewrite engine to simplify its URLs.

URL normalization

Main article: URL normalization

Crawlers usually perform some type of URL normalization in order to avoid crawling the same resource more than once. The term URL normalization, also called URL canonicalization, refers to the process of modifying and standardizing a URL in a consistent manner. There are several types of normalization that may be performed including conversion of URLs to lowercase, removal of “.” and “..” segments, and adding trailing slashes to the non-empty path component.[16]

Path-ascending crawling

Some crawlers intend to download as many resources as possible from a particular web site. So path-ascending crawler was introduced that would ascend to every path in each URL that it intends to crawl.[17] For example, when given a seed URL of http://llama.org/hamster/monkey/page.html, it will attempt to crawl /hamster/monkey/, /hamster/, and /. Cothey found that a path-ascending crawler was very effective in finding isolated resources, or resources for which no inbound link would have been found in regular crawling.

Many path-ascending crawlers are also gallery — from a specific page or host.

Focused crawling

Main article: Focused crawler

The importance of a page for a crawler can also be expressed as a function of the similarity of a page to a given query. Web crawlers that attempt to download pages that are similar to each other are called focused crawler or topical crawlers. The concepts of topical and focused crawling were first introduced by Menczer[18][19] and by Chakrabarti et al.[20]

The main problem in focused crawling is that in the context of a Web crawler, we would like to be able to predict the similarity of the text of a given page to the query before actually downloading the page. A possible predictor is the anchor text of links; this was the approach taken by Pinkerton[21] in the first web crawler of the early days of the Web. Diligenti et al.[22] propose using the complete content of the pages already visited to infer the similarity between the driving query and the pages that have not been visited yet. The performance of a focused crawling depends mostly on the richness of links in the specific topic being searched, and a focused crawling usually relies on a general Web search engine for providing starting points.

Academic-focused crawler

An example of the focused crawlers are academic crawlers, which crawls free-access academic related documents, such as the citeseerxbot, which is the crawler of CiteSeerX search engine. Other academic search engines are Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search etc. Because most academic papers are published in PDF formats, such kind of crawler is particularly interested in crawling PDF, PostScript files, Microsoft Word including their zipped formats. Because of this, general open source crawlers, such as Heritrix, must be customized to filter out other MIME types, or a middleware is used to extract these documents out and import them to the focused crawl database and repository.[23] Identifying whether these documents are academic or not is challenging and can add a significant overhead to the crawling process, so this is performed as a post crawling process using machine learning or regular expression algorithms. These academic documents are usually obtained from home pages of faculties and students or from publication page of research institutes. Because academic documents takes only a small faction in the entire web pages, a good seed selection are important in boosting the efficiencies of these web crawlers.[24] Other academic crawlers may download plain text and HTML files, that contains metadata of academic papers, such as titles, papers, and abstracts. This increases the overall number of papers, but a significant fraction may not provide free PDF downloads.

Re-visit policy

The Web has a very dynamic nature, and crawling a fraction of the Web can take weeks or months. By the time a Web crawler has finished its crawl, many events could have happened, including creations, updates and deletions.

From the search engine’s point of view, there is a cost associated with not detecting an event, and thus having an outdated copy of a resource. The most-used cost functions are freshness and age.[25]

Freshness: This is a binary measure that indicates whether the local copy is accurate or not. The freshness of a page p in the repository at time t is defined as:

F_{p}(t)={\begin{cases}1&{{\rm {if}}}~p~{{\rm {~is~equal~to~the~local~copy~at~time}}}~t\&{{\rm {otherwise}}}\end{cases}}

Age: This is a measure that indicates how outdated the local copy is. The age of a page p in the repository, at time t is defined as:

A_{p}(t)={\begin{cases}0&{{\rm {if}}}~p~{{\rm {~is~not~modified~at~time}}}~t\\t-{{\rm {modification~time~of}}}~p&{{\rm {otherwise}}}\end{cases}}

Coffman et al. worked with a definition of the objective of a Web crawler that is equivalent to freshness, but use a different wording: they propose that a crawler must minimize the fraction of time pages remain outdated. They also noted that the problem of Web crawling can be modeled as a multiple-queue, single-server polling system, on which the Web crawler is the server and the Web sites are the queues. Page modifications are the arrival of the customers, and switch-over times are the interval between page accesses to a single Web site. Under this model, mean waiting time for a customer in the polling system is equivalent to the average age for the Web crawler.[26]

The objective of the crawler is to keep the average freshness of pages in its collection as high as possible, or to keep the average age of pages as low as possible. These objectives are not equivalent: in the first case, the crawler is just concerned with how many pages are out-dated, while in the second case, the crawler is concerned with how old the local copies of pages are.

Two simple re-visiting policies were studied by Cho and Garcia-Molina:[27]

Uniform policy: This involves re-visiting all pages in the collection with the same frequency, regardless of their rates of change.

Proportional policy: This involves re-visiting more often the pages that change more frequently. The visiting frequency is directly proportional to the (estimated) change frequency.

(In both cases, the repeated crawling order of pages can be done either in a random or a fixed order.)

Cho and Garcia-Molina proved the surprising result that, in terms of average freshness, the uniform policy outperforms the proportional policy in both a simulated Web and a real Web crawl. Intuitively, the reasoning is that, as web crawlers have a limit to how many pages they can crawl in a given time frame, (1) they will allocate too many new crawls to rapidly changing pages at the expense of less frequently updating pages, and (2) the freshness of rapidly changing pages lasts for shorter period than that of less frequently changing pages. In other words, a proportional policy allocates more resources to crawling frequently updating pages, but experiences less overall freshness time from them.

To improve freshness, the crawler should penalize the elements that change too often.[28] The optimal re-visiting policy is neither the uniform policy nor the proportional policy. The optimal method for keeping average freshness high includes ignoring the pages that change too often, and the optimal for keeping average age low is to use access frequencies that monotonically (and sub-linearly) increase with the rate of change of each page. In both cases, the optimal is closer to the uniform policy than to the proportional policy: as Coffman et al. note, “in order to minimize the expected obsolescence time, the accesses to any particular page should be kept as evenly spaced as possible”.[26] Explicit formulas for the re-visit policy are not attainable in general, but they are obtained numerically, as they depend on the distribution of page changes. Cho and Garcia-Molina show that the exponential distribution is a good fit for describing page changes,[28] while Ipeirotis et al. show how to use statistical tools to discover parameters that affect this distribution.[29] Note that the re-visiting policies considered here regard all pages as homogeneous in terms of quality (“all pages on the Web are worth the same”), something that is not a realistic scenario, so further information about the Web page quality should be included to achieve a better crawling policy.

Politeness policy

Crawlers can retrieve data much quicker and in greater depth than human searchers, so they can have a crippling impact on the performance of a site. Needless to say, if a single crawler is performing multiple requests per second and/or downloading large files, a server would have a hard time keeping up with requests from multiple crawlers.

As noted by Koster, the use of Web crawlers is useful for a number of tasks, but comes with a price for the general community.[30] The costs of using Web crawlers include:

  • network resources, as crawlers require considerable bandwidth and operate with a high degree of parallelism during a long period of time;
  • server overload, especially if the frequency of accesses to a given server is too high;
  • poorly written crawlers, which can crash servers or routers, or which download pages they cannot handle; and
  • personal crawlers that, if deployed by too many users, can disrupt networks and Web servers.

A partial solution to these problems is the robots exclusion protocol, also known as the robots.txt protocol that is a standard for administrators to indicate which parts of their Web servers should not be accessed by crawlers.[31] This standard does not include a suggestion for the interval of visits to the same server, even though this interval is the most effective way of avoiding server overload. Recently commercial search engines like Google, Ask Jeeves, MSN and Yahoo! Search are able to use an extra “Crawl-delay:” parameter in the robots.txt file to indicate the number of seconds to delay between requests.

The first proposed interval between successive pageloads was 60 seconds.[32] However, if pages were downloaded at this rate from a website with more than 100,000 pages over a perfect connection with zero latency and infinite bandwidth, it would take more than 2 months to download only that entire Web site; also, only a fraction of the resources from that Web server would be used. This does not seem acceptable.

Cho uses 10 seconds as an interval for accesses,[27] and the WIRE crawler uses 15 seconds as the default.[33] The MercatorWeb crawler follows an adaptive politeness policy: if it took t seconds to download a document from a given server, the crawler waits for 10t seconds before downloading the next page.[34] Dill et al. use 1 second.[35]

For those using Web crawlers for research purposes, a more detailed cost-benefit analysis is needed and ethical considerations should be taken into account when deciding where to crawl and how fast to crawl.[36]

Anecdotal evidence from access logs shows that access intervals from known crawlers vary between 20 seconds and 3–4 minutes. It is worth noticing that even when being very polite, and taking all the safeguards to avoid overloading Web servers, some complaints from Web server administrators are received. Brin and Page note that: “… running a crawler which connects to more than half a million servers (…) generates a fair amount of e-mail and phone calls. Because of the vast number of people coming on line, there are always those who do not know what a crawler is, because this is the first one they have seen.”[37]

Parallelisation policy

A parallel crawler is a crawler that runs multiple processes in parallel. The goal is to maximize the download rate while minimizing the overhead from parallelization and to avoid repeated downloads of the same page. To avoid downloading the same page more than once, the crawling system requires a policy for assigning the new URLs discovered during the crawling process, as the same URL can be found by two different crawling processes.

Architectures

High-level architecture of a standard Web crawler

A crawler must not only have a good crawling strategy, as noted in the previous sections, but it should also have a highly optimized architecture.

Shkapenyuk and Suel noted that:[38]

While it is fairly easy to build a slow crawler that downloads a few pages per second for a short period of time, building a high-performance system that can download hundreds of millions of pages over several weeks presents a number of challenges in system design, I/O and network efficiency, and robustness and manageability.

Web crawlers are a central part of search engines, and details on their algorithms and architecture are kept as business secrets. When crawler designs are published, there is often an important lack of detail that prevents others from reproducing the work. There are also emerging concerns about “search engine spamming“, which prevent major search engines from publishing their ranking algorithms.

Crawler identification

Web crawlers typically identify themselves to a Web server by using the User-agent field of an HTTP request. Web site administrators typically examine their Web servers‘ log and use the user agent field to determine which crawlers have visited the web server and how often. The user agent field may include a URL where the Web site administrator may find out more information about the crawler. Examining Web server log is tedious task therefore some administrators use tools such as CrawlTrack[39] or SEO Crawlytics[40] to identify, track and verify Web crawlers. Spambots and other malicious Web crawlers are unlikely to place identifying information in the user agent field, or they may mask their identity as a browser or other well-known crawler.

It is important for Web crawlers to identify themselves so that Web site administrators can contact the owner if needed. In some cases, crawlers may be accidentally trapped in a crawler trap or they may be overloading a Web server with requests, and the owner needs to stop the crawler. Identification is also useful for administrators that are interested in knowing when they may expect their Web pages to be indexed by a particular search engine.

Crawling the deep web

A vast amount of web pages lie in the deep or invisible web.[41] These pages are typically only accessible by submitting queries to a database, and regular crawlers are unable to find these pages if there are no links that point to them. Google’s Sitemaps protocol and mod oai[42] are intended to allow discovery of these deep-Web resources.

Deep web crawling also multiplies the number of web links to be crawled. Some crawlers only take some of the URLs in <a href="URL"> form. In some cases, such as the Googlebot, Web crawling is done on all text contained inside the hypertext content, tags, or text.

Strategic approaches may be taken to target deep Web content. With a technique called screen scraping, specialized software may be customized to automatically and repeatedly query a given Web form with the intention of aggregating the resulting data. Such software can be used to span multiple Web forms across multiple Websites. Data extracted from the results of one Web form submission can be taken and applied as input to another Web form thus establishing continuity across the Deep Web in a way not possible with traditional web crawlers.

Pages built on AJAX are among those causing problems to web crawlers. Google has proposed a format of AJAX calls that their bot can recognize and index[43]

Web crawler bias

A recent study based on a large scale analysis of robots.txt files showed that certain web crawlers were preferred over others, with Googlebot being the most preferred web crawler.[citation needed]

Examples

This article may contain excessive, poor, or irrelevant examples. Please improve the article by adding more descriptive text and removing less pertinent examples. See Wikipedia’s guide to writing better articles for further suggestions. (May 2012)

The following is a list of published crawler architectures for general-purpose crawlers (excluding focused web crawlers), with a brief description that includes the names given to the different components and outstanding features:

  • Yahoo! Slurp was the name of the Yahoo! Search crawler until Yahoo! contracted with Microsoft to use bingbot instead.
  • Bingbot is the name of Microsoft’s Bing webcrawler. It replaced Msnbot.
  • FAST Crawler[44] is a distributed crawler, used by Fast Search & Transfer, and a general description of its architecture is available.[citation needed]
  • Googlebot[37] is described in some detail, but the reference is only about an early version of its architecture, which was based in C++ and Python. The crawler was integrated with the indexing process, because text parsing was done for full-text indexing and also for URL extraction. There is a URL server that sends lists of URLs to be fetched by several crawling processes. During parsing, the URLs found were passed to a URL server that checked if the URL have been previously seen. If not, the URL was added to the queue of the URL server.
  • PolyBot[38] is a distributed crawler written in C++ and Python, which is composed of a “crawl manager”, one or more “downloaders” and one or more “DNS resolvers”. Collected URLs are added to a queue on disk, and processed later to search for seen URLs in batch mode. The politeness policy considers both third and second level domains (e.g.: http://www.example.com and www2.example.com are third level domains) because third level domains are usually hosted by the same Web server.
  • RBSE[45] was the first published web crawler. It was based on two programs: the first program, “spider” maintains a queue in a relational database, and the second program “mite“, is a modified www ASCII browser that downloads the pages from the Web.
  • WebCrawler[21] was used to build the first publicly available full-text index of a subset of the Web. It was based on lib-WWW to download pages, and another program to parse and order URLs for breadth-first exploration of the Web graph. It also included a real-time crawler that followed links based on the similarity of the anchor text with the provided query.
  • World Wide Web Worm[46] was a crawler used to build a simple index of document titles and URLs. The index could be searched by using the grep Unix command.
  • WebFountain[4] is a distributed, modular crawler similar to Mercator but written in C++. It features a “controller” machine that coordinates a series of “ant” machines. After repeatedly downloading pages, a change rate is inferred for each page and a non-linear programming method must be used to solve the equation system for maximizing freshness. The authors recommend to use this crawling order in the early stages of the crawl, and then switch to a uniform crawling order, in which all pages are being visited with the same frequency.
  • WebRACE[47] is a crawling and caching module implemented in Java, and used as a part of a more generic system called eRACE. The system receives requests from users for downloading web pages, so the crawler acts in part as a smart proxy server. The system also handles requests for “subscriptions” to Web pages that must be monitored: when the pages change, they must be downloaded by the crawler and the subscriber must be notified. The most outstanding feature of WebRACE is that, while most crawlers start with a set of “seed” URLs, WebRACE is continuously receiving new starting URLs to crawl from.

In addition to the specific crawler architectures listed above, there are general crawler architectures published by Cho[48] and Chakrabarti.[49]

Open-source crawlers

  • DataparkSearch is a crawler and search engine released under the GNU General Public License.
  • GNU Wget is a command-line-operated crawler written in C and released under the GPL. It is typically used to mirror Web and FTP sites.
  • GRUB is an open source distributed search crawler that Wikia Search used to crawl the web.
  • Heritrix is the Internet Archive‘s archival-quality crawler, designed for archiving periodic snapshots of a large portion of the Web. It was written in Java.
  • ht://Dig includes a Web crawler in its indexing engine.
  • HTTrack uses a Web crawler to create a mirror of a web site for off-line viewing. It is written in C and released under the GPL.
  • ICDL Crawler is a cross-platform web crawler written in C++ and intended to crawl Web sites based on Website Parse Templates using computer’s free CPU resources only.
  • mnoGoSearch is a crawler, indexer and a search engine written in C and licensed under the GPL (*NIX machines only)
  • Norconex HTTP Collector is a web spider, or crawler, written in Java, that aims to make Enterprise Search integrators and developers’s life easier (licensed under GPL).
  • Nutch is a crawler written in Java and released under an Apache License. It can be used in conjunction with the Lucene text-indexing package.
  • Open Search Server is a search engine and web crawler software release under the GPL.
  • PHP-Crawler is a simple PHP and MySQL based crawler released under the BSD License. Easy to install it became popular for small MySQL-driven websites on shared hosting.
  • tkWWW Robot, a crawler based on the tkWWW web browser (licensed under GPL).
  • Scrapy, an open source webcrawler framework, written in python (licensed under BSD).
  • Seeks, a free distributed search engine (licensed under Affero General Public License).
  • YaCy, a free distributed search engine, built on principles of peer-to-peer networks (licensed under GPL).

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

Web scraping

Web scraping (web harvesting or web data extraction) is a computer software technique of extracting information from websites. Usually, such software programs simulate human exploration of the World Wide Web by either implementing low-level Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), or embedding a fully-fledged web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

Web scraping is closely related to web indexing, which indexes information on the web using a bot or web crawler and is a universal technique adopted by most search engines. In contrast, web scraping focuses more on the transformation of unstructured data on the web, typically in HTML format, into structured data that can be stored and analyzed in a central local database or spreadsheet. Web scraping is also related to web automation, which simulates human browsing using computer software. Uses of web scraping include online price comparison, contact scraping, weather data monitoring, website change detection, research, web mashup and web data integration.

Techniques

Web scraping is the process of automatically collecting information from the World Wide Web. It is a field with active developments sharing a common goal with the semantic web vision, an ambitious initiative that still requires breakthroughs in text processing, semantic understanding, artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions. Web scraping, instead, favors practical solutions based on existing technologies that are often entirely ad hoc. Therefore, there are different levels of automation that existing web-scraping technologies can provide:

  • Human copy-and-paste: Sometimes even the best web-scraping technology cannot replace a human’s manual examination and copy-and-paste, and sometimes this may be the only workable solution when the websites for scraping explicitly set up barriers to prevent machine automation.
  • Text grepping and regular expression matching: A simple yet powerful approach to extract information from web pages can be based on the UNIX grep command or regular expression-matching facilities of programming languages (for instance Perl or Python).
  • HTTP programming: Static and dynamic web pages can be retrieved by posting HTTP requests to the remote web server using socket programming.
  • HTML parsers. Many websites have large collections of pages generated dynamically from an underlying structured source like a database. Data of the same category are typically encoded into similar pages by a common script or template. In data mining, a program that detects such templates in a particular information source, extracts its content and translates it into a relational form called a wrapper. Wrapper generation algorithms assume that input pages of a wrapper induction system conform to a common template and that they can be easily identified in terms of a URL common scheme.[1]. Moreover, some semi-structured data query languages, such as XQuery and the HTQL, can be used to parse HTML pages and to retrieve and transform page content.
  • DOM parsing: By embedding a full-fledged web browser, such as the Internet Explorer or the Mozilla browser control, programs can retrieve the dynamic content generated by client-side scripts. These browser controls also parse web pages into a DOM tree, based on which programs can retrieve parts of the pages.
  • Web-scraping software: There are many software tools available that can be used to customize web-scraping solutions. This software may attempt to automatically recognize the data structure of a page or provide a recording interface that removes the necessity to manually write web-scraping code, or some scripting functions that can be used to extract and transform content, and database interfaces that can store the scraped data in local databases.
  • Vertical aggregation platforms: There are several companies that have developed vertical specific harvesting platforms. These platforms create and monitor a multitude of “bots” for specific verticals with no man-in-the-loop,[clarification needed] and no work related to a specific target site. The preparation involves establishing the knowledge base for the entire vertical and then the platform creates the bots automatically. The platform’s robustness is measured by the quality of the information it retrieves (usually number of fields) and its scalability (how quick it can scale up to hundreds or thousands of sites). This scalability is mostly used to target the Long Tail of sites that common aggregators find complicated or too labor-intensive to harvest content from.
  • Semantic annotation recognizing: The pages being scraped may embrace metadata or semantic markups and annotations, which can be used to locate specific data snippets. If the annotations are embedded in the pages, as Microformat does, this technique can be viewed as a special case of DOM parsing. In another case, the annotations, organized into a semantic layer,[2] are stored and managed separately from the web pages, so the scrapers can retrieve data schema and instructions from this layer before scraping the pages.
  • Computer vision web-page analyzers. There are efforts using machine learning and computer vision that attempt to identify and extract information from web pages by interpreting pages visually as a human being might.[3]

Legal issues

Web scraping may be against the terms of use of some websites. The enforceability of these terms is unclear.[4] While outright duplication of original expression will in many cases be illegal, in the United States the courts ruled in Feist Publications v. Rural Telephone Service that duplication of facts is allowable. U.S. courts have acknowledged that users of “scrapers” or “robots” may be held liable for committing trespass to chattels,[5][6] which involves a computer system itself being considered personal property upon which the user of a scraper is trespassing. The best known of these cases, eBay v. Bidder’s Edge, resulted in an injunction ordering Bidder’s Edge to stop accessing, collecting, and indexing auctions from the eBay web site. This case involved automatic placing of bids, known as auction sniping. However, in order to succeed on a claim of trespass to chattels, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant intentionally and without authorization interfered with the plaintiff’s possessory interest in the computer system and that the defendant’s unauthorized use caused damage to the plaintiff. Not all cases of web spidering brought before the courts have been considered trespass to chattels.[7]

One of the first major tests of screen scraping involved American Airlines, and a firm called FareChase.[8] AA successfully obtained an injunction from a Texas trial court, stopping FareChase from selling software that enables users to compare online fares if it also searches AA’s website. The airline argued that FareChase’s websearch software trespassed on AA’s servers when it collected the publicly available data. FareChase filed an appeal in March 2003. By June, FareChase and AA agreed to settle and the appeal was dropped.[9]

Southwest Airlines has also challenged screen-scraping practices, and has involved both FareChase and another firm, Outtask, in a legal claim. Southwest Airlines charged that the screen-scraping is Illegal since it is an example of “Computer Fraud and Abuse” and has led to “Damage and Loss” and “Unauthorized Access” of Southwest’s site. It also constitutes “Interference with Business Relations”, “Trespass”, and “Harmful Access by Computer”. They also claimed that screen-scraping constitutes what is legally known as “Misappropriation and Unjust Enrichment”, as well as being a breach of the web site’s user agreement. Outtask denied all these claims, claiming that the prevailing law in this case should be US Copyright law, and that under copyright, the pieces of information being scraped would not be subject to copyright protection. Although the cases were never resolved in the Supreme Court of the United States, FareChase was eventually shuttered by parent company Yahoo!, and Outtask was purchased by travel expense company Concur.[10]

Although these are early scraping decisions, and the theories of liability are not uniform, it is difficult to ignore a pattern emerging that the courts are prepared to protect proprietary content on commercial sites from uses which are undesirable to the owners of such sites. However, the degree of protection for such content is not settled, and will depend on the type of access made by the scraper, the amount of information accessed and copied, the degree to which the access adversely affects the site owner’s system and the types and manner of prohibitions on such conduct.[11]

While the law in this area becomes more settled, entities contemplating using scraping programs to access a public web site should also consider whether such action is authorized by reviewing the terms of use and other terms or notices posted on or made available through the site. In the latest ruling in the Cvent, Inc. v. Eventbrite, Inc. In the United States district court for the eastern district of Virginia, the court ruled that the terms of use should be brought to the users’ attention In order for a browse wrap contract or license to be enforced.[12]

In the plaintiff’s web site during the period of this trial the terms of use link is displayed among all the links of the site, at the bottom of the page as most sites on the internet. This ruling contradicts the Irish ruling described below. The court also rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the browse wrap restrictions were enforceable in view of Virginia’s adoption of the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)—a uniform law that many believed was in favor on common browse wrap contracting practices.[13]

Outside of the United States, in February 2006, the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court (Copenhagen) ruled that systematic crawling, indexing, and deep linking by portal site ofir.dk of real estate site Home.dk does not conflict with Danish law or the database directive of the European Union.[14]

In 2009 Facebook won one of the first copyright suits against a known web scraper. This laid the groundwork for numerous lawsuits that tie any web scraping with a direct copyright violation and very clear monetary damages. The most recent case being AP v Meltwater, where the courts stripped what is referred to as fair use on the internet.[15]

In a February 2010 case complicated by matters of jurisdiction, Ireland’s An Ard-Chúirt delivered a verdict that illustrates the inchoate state of developing case law. In the case of Ryanair Ltd v Billigfluege.de GmbH, Ireland’s High Court ruled Ryanair’s “click-wrap” agreement to be legally binding. In contrast to the findings of the United States District Court Eastern District of Virginia and those of the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court, Mr. Justice Michael Hanna ruled that the hyperlink to Ryanair’s terms and conditions was plainly visible, and that placing the onus on the user to agree to terms and conditions in order to gain access to online services is sufficient to comprise a contractual relationship. Where here may be another legal issue, of data non-valid or incorrect information, as most of data mixed with lot of “Junk” or “Spam”. Where with respect to data ware house there are: may be limitation of query interface, inconsistence output and rapid change in data by admin without any notice. [16] The decision is under appeal in Ireland’s Supreme Court, the Cúirt Uachtarach na hÉireann.[17]

In Australia, the Spam Act 2003 outlaws some forms of web harvesting, although this only applies to email addresses.[18][19]

Technical measures to stop bots

The administrator of a website can use various measures to stop or slow a bot. Some techniques include:

  • Blocking an IP address. This will also block all browsing from that address.
  • Disabling any web service API that the website’s system might expose.
  • Bots sometimes declare who they are (using user agent strings) and can be blocked on that basis (using robots.txt); ‘googlebot‘ is an example. Some bots make no distinction between themselves and a human browser.
  • Bots can be blocked by excess traffic monitoring.
  • Bots can sometimes be blocked with tools to verify that it is a real person accessing the site, like a CAPTCHA. Bots are sometimes coded to explicitly break specific Captcha patterns.
  • Commercial anti-bot services: Companies offer anti-bot and anti-scraping services for websites. A few web application firewalls have limited bot detection capabilities as well.
  • Locating bots with a honeypot or other method to identify the IP addresses of automated crawlers.
  • Using CSS sprites to display such data as phone numbers or email addresses, at the cost of accessibility to screen reader users.

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

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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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National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Uses Stellar Wind and PRISM To Create Secret Dossiers On All American Citizen Targets Similiar To East Germany Stasi Files–Videos

Posted on June 18, 2013. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, College, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, Math, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Raves, Security, Strategy, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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NSA Phone Records

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The STASI would have loved this-NSA Whistle-Blower Tells All

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

He told you so: Bill Binney talks NSA leaks

James Bamford on NSA Leaks – Charlie Rose 06/13/2013

Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA

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

James Bamford on NSA’s un democratic Surveillance

James Bamford Compares Obama Spying On ALL Americans To “East Germany During The Cold War” 

NSA Spying on Americans Isn’t New – Everything Changed after 9/11

James Bamford on NSA Secrets, Keith Alexander’s Influence &Massive Growth of Surveillance, Cyberwar

NSA Chronicler James Bamford on Maddow 06/12/2013 

NSA whistleblower William Binney Keynote at HOPE Number Nine

Ron Paul on Edward Snowden, 4th Amendment, Liberty, Security, Truth

Rand Paul:Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013

Full Show 6/10/13: The Rise of the Security State

The Secret Surveillance State – You Can’t Send a FOIA to Booz Allen! P1

The Secret Surveillance State – The Secret FISA Court P2

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Prevails in Unprecedented Obama Admin Crackdown

US internet spying scandal: President Obama accused of using East German Stasi methods

“U.S. Government Using American-Style Stasi Methods” German MEP

People & Power – Germany’s records of repression

Stasi Files: The Lives of Others | Journal Reporter

The Lost World of Communism (Part 1)

Nova: The Spy Factory Full Video

Revealed: the top secret rules that allow NSA to use US data without a warrant

Fisa court submissions show broad scope of procedures governing NSA’s surveillance of Americans’ communication

Document one: procedures used by NSA to target non-US persons
Document two: procedures used by NSA to minimise data collected from US persons

Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.

The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009. They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.

The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.

The procedures cover only part of the NSA’s surveillance of domestic US communications. The bulk collection of domestic call records, as first revealed by the Guardian earlier this month, takes place under rolling court orders issued on the basis of a legal interpretation of a different authority, section 215 of the Patriot Act.

The Fisa court’s oversight role has been referenced many times by Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials as they have sought to reassure the public about surveillance, but the procedures approved by the court have never before been publicly disclosed.

The top secret documents published today detail the circumstances in which data collected on US persons under the foreign intelligence authority must be destroyed, extensive steps analysts must take to try to check targets are outside the US, and reveals how US call records are used to help remove US citizens and residents from data collection.

However, alongside those provisions, the Fisa court-approved policies allow the NSA to:

• Keep data that could potentially contain details of US persons for up to five years;

• Retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity;

• Preserve “foreign intelligence information” contained within attorney-client communications;

• Access the content of communications gathered from “U.S. based machine[s]” or phone numbers in order to establish if targets are located in the US, for the purposes of ceasing further surveillance.

The broad scope of the court orders, and the nature of the procedures set out in the documents, appear to clash with assurances from President Obama and senior intelligence officials that the NSA could not access Americans’ call or email information without warrants.

The documents also show that discretion as to who is actually targeted under the NSA’s foreign surveillance powers lies directly with its own analysts, without recourse to courts or superiors – though a percentage of targeting decisions are reviewed by internal audit teams on a regular basis.

Since the Guardian first revealed the extent of the NSA’s collection of US communications, there have been repeated calls for the legal basis of the programs to be released. On Thursday, two US congressmen introduced a bill compelling the Obama administration to declassify the secret legal justifications for NSA surveillance.

The disclosure bill, sponsored by Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Todd Rokita, an Indiana Republican, is a complement to one proposed in the Senate last week. It would “increase the transparency of the Fisa Court and the state of the law in this area,” Schiff told the Guardian. “It would give the public a better understanding of the safeguards, as well as the scope of these programs.”

Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which was renewed for five years last December, is the authority under which the NSA is allowed to collect large-scale data, including foreign communications and also communications between the US and other countries, provided the target is overseas.

FAA warrants are issued by the Fisa court for up to 12 months at a time, and authorise the collection of bulk information – some of which can include communications of US citizens, or people inside the US. To intentionally target either of those groups requires an individual warrant.

One-paragraph order

One such warrant seen by the Guardian shows that they do not contain detailed legal rulings or explanation. Instead, the one-paragraph order, signed by a Fisa court judge in 2010, declares that the procedures submitted by the attorney general on behalf of the NSA are consistent with US law and the fourth amendment.

Those procedures state that the “NSA determines whether a person is a non-United States person reasonably believed to be outside the United States in light of the totality of the circumstances based on the information available with respect to that person, including information concerning the communications facility or facilities used by that person”.

It includes information that the NSA analyst uses to make this determination – including IP addresses, statements made by the potential target, and other information in the NSA databases, which can include public information and data collected by other agencies.

Where the NSA has no specific information on a person’s location, analysts are free to presume they are overseas, the document continues.

“In the absence of specific information regarding whether a target is a United States person,” it states “a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States or whose location is not known will be presumed to be a non-United States person unless such person can be positively identified as a United States person.”

If it later appears that a target is in fact located in the US, analysts are permitted to look at the content of messages, or listen to phone calls, to establish if this is indeed the case.

Referring to steps taken to prevent intentional collection of telephone content of those inside the US, the document states: “NSA analysts may analyze content for indications that a foreign target has entered or intends to enter the United States. Such content analysis will be conducted according to analytic and intelligence requirements and priorities.”

Details set out in the “minimization procedures”, regularly referred to in House and Senate hearings, as well as public statements in recent weeks, also raise questions as to the extent of monitoring of US citizens and residents.

NSA minimization procedures signed by Holder in 2009 set out that once a target is confirmed to be within the US, interception must stop immediately. However, these circumstances do not apply to large-scale data where the NSA claims it is unable to filter US communications from non-US ones.

The NSA is empowered to retain data for up to five years and the policy states “communications which may be retained include electronic communications acquired because of limitations on the NSA’s ability to filter communications”.

Even if upon examination a communication is found to be domestic – entirely within the US – the NSA can appeal to its director to keep what it has found if it contains “significant foreign intelligence information”, “evidence of a crime”, “technical data base information” (such as encrypted communications), or “information pertaining to a threat of serious harm to life or property”.

Domestic communications containing none of the above must be destroyed. Communications in which one party was outside the US, but the other is a US-person, are permitted for retention under FAA rules.

The minimization procedure adds that these can be disseminated to other agencies or friendly governments if the US person is anonymised, or including the US person’s identity under certain criteria.

A separate section of the same document notes that as soon as any intercepted communications are determined to have been between someone under US criminal indictment and their attorney, surveillance must stop. However, the material collected can be retained, if it is useful, though in a segregated database:

“The relevant portion of the communication containing that conversation will be segregated and the National Security Division of the Department of Justice will be notified so that appropriate procedures may be established to protect such communications from review or use in any criminal prosecution, while preserving foreign intelligence information contained therein,” the document states.

In practice, much of the decision-making appears to lie with NSA analysts, rather than the Fisa court or senior officials.

A transcript of a 2008 briefing on FAA from the NSA’s general counsel sets out how much discretion NSA analysts possess when it comes to the specifics of targeting, and making decisions on who they believe is a non-US person. Referring to a situation where there has been a suggestion a target is within the US.

“Once again, the standard here is a reasonable belief that your target is outside the United States. What does that mean when you get information that might lead you to believe the contrary? It means you can’t ignore it. You can’t turn a blind eye to somebody saying: ‘Hey, I think so and so is in the United States.’ You can’t ignore that. Does it mean you have to completely turn off collection the minute you hear that? No, it means you have to do some sort of investigation: ‘Is that guy right? Is my target here?” he says.

“But, if everything else you have says ‘no’ (he talked yesterday, I saw him on TV yesterday, even, depending on the target, he was in Baghdad) you can still continue targeting but you have to keep that in mind. You can’t put it aside. You have to investigate it and, once again, with that new information in mind, what is your reasonable belief about your target’s location?”

The broad nature of the court’s oversight role, and the discretion given to NSA analysts, sheds light on responses from the administration and internet companies to the Guardian’s disclosure of the PRISM program. They have stated that the content of online communications is turned over to the NSA only pursuant to a court order. But except when a US citizen is specifically targeted, the court orders used by the NSA to obtain that information as part of Prism are these general FAA orders, not individualized warrants specific to any individual.

Once armed with these general orders, the NSA is empowered to compel telephone and internet companies to turn over to it the communications of any individual identified by the NSA. The Fisa court plays no role in the selection of those individuals, nor does it monitor who is selected by the NSA.

The NSA’s ability to collect and retain the communications of people in the US, even without a warrant, has fuelled congressional demands for an estimate of how many Americans have been caught up in surveillance.

Two US senators, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall – both members of the Senate intelligence committee – have been seeking this information since 2011, but senior White House and intelligence officials have repeatedly insisted that the agency is unable to gather such statistics.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/20/fisa-court-nsa-without-warrant

Background Articles and Videos

Stellar Wind

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRISM

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

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

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

History

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

Details of information collected via PRISM

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

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

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

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

Response from companies

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

Initial Public Statements

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

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-PRISM Transparency Reports

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

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

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

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

Response from United States government

Executive branch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Legislative branch

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

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

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

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

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

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

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

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

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

Judicial branch

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

Applicable law and practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Involvement of other countries

Australia

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

Canada

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

Germany

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

Israel

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

New Zealand

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

United Kingdom

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

Domestic response

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

International response

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

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

Protests at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related government Internet surveillance programs

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

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

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

ThinThread

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

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

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

Trailblazer

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

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

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

Background

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whistleblowing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boundless Informant

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

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

History

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

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

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

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

Technology

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

Legality and FISA Amendments Act of 2008

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

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

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

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

ECHELON

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

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

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

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

Organization

UKUSA Community
Map of UKUSA Community countries with Ireland

Australia
Canada
New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States of America

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

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

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

Capabilities

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

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

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

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

Controversy

See also: Industrial espionage

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

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

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

Hardware

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

Name

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

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

Ground stations

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

Likely satellite intercept stations

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

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

Other potentially related stations

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

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

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

Room 641A

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

Description

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

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

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

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

Lawsuit

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

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

Main article: Hepting v. AT&T

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

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

List of government surveillance projects for the United States

United States

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

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

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Big Brother Barack Targets All The American People As Enemies of The State and Democratic Party — National Security Agency’s PRISM Is The Secret Security Surveillance State (S4) Means of Invading Privacy and Limiting Liberty — Outrageous Overreach–Videos

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

NSA’s PRISM Political Payoff: 40 Million Plus Foreigners Are In USA As Illegal Aliens! — 75% Plus Lean Towards Democratic Party — Pathway To One Party Rule By 2025 If Senate Bill Becomes Law Giving Illegal Aliens Legal Status — 25 Million American Citizens Looking For Full Time Jobs! — Videos

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