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Total Surveillance Regime: Big Uncle is Watching You

Mass surveillance is equal to totalitarism as Joseph Goebbels professed:
"if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear"

The slide above is courtesy of The Guardian
News National Security State Recommended Links Edward Snowden as Symbol of resistance to National Security State Privacy is Dead – Get Over It Vault 7 scandal NSA revelations fallout William Binney
NSA Surveillance Industrial Espionage Data Stealing Trojans Flame Duqu Trojan Magic Lantern CIPAV Cyberstalking
Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Search engines privacy Google Toolbar Is Google evil? Keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance Blocking Facebook Facebook as Giant Database about Users Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ?
Damage to the US tech companies "Everything in the Cloud" Utopia Issues of security and trust in "cloud" env Email security How to analyze your own Web activity Interception of "in-transit" traffic as violation of human rights Steganography Building Snort-based IDS Infrastructure
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Nineteen Eighty-Four   Cyberwarfare Prizm-related humor Etc
Version 1.4, Jan 8, 2015

Introduction

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

- Goethe

1984 is supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual

The troubling aspect about these disclosures is not so much their significance today, but what surveillance on the nation bodes for the future. Given human nature I am not optimistic.

Bill N. Cambridge MA, NYT.

NSA staff and private contractors have unfettered access to this information. I have a hard time believing that not one of them has used that access to information for personal or political gain. This system makes insider trading, industrial espionage, blackmail, and extortion an almost inevitable outcome. -- The Guardian (from comments).

New round of debates about the dominance of military industrial complex and the level of control it exert over civil society was caused by recent revelations about NSA activities in the USA.

Technology changes can really change the society. And not always in a beneficial for the society way. There is such thing as "blowback" in technologies. We can view recent NSA activities revealed by Snowden as a classic example of such blowback connected with the spread of Internet and cloud based technologies. And it is a mistake to assume that such activities started with September 11 events and that Bush II was totally responsible for converting the USA into national-security state.  The technology was ready long before September 11 and what is available is always used by clandestine agencies.  They tend to adopt technology as soon as it is available, being in a pervert way "early adopters" of any communication technology. And this happens not only in the USA although the USA as technological leader was the most profoundly affected.

It might well be the Rubicon was crossed around JFK assassination time. On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA (Church Committee - Wikipedia ):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

The creation and use of databases of personal information and the systematic records (archives) of communications of citizens started simultaneously with NSA creation. The first targets were mail and telegraph. Some of this experience came from specialists of Third Reich. At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich. The agency hired one former SS officer as a spy in the 1950s, for instance, even after concluding he was probably guilty of “minor war crimes.” And in 1994, a lawyer with the C.I.A. pressured prosecutors to drop an investigation into an ex-spy outside Boston implicated in the Nazis’ massacre of tens of thousands of Jews in Lithuania, according to a government official (In Cold War, U.S. Spy Agencies Used 1,000 Nazis - NYTimes.com).

Recording of all email envelopes (which was also done for snail mail) started long before email was invented and became established practice since the WWII. It just a new name now -- collection of metadata. Recording metadata of phone calls and often the calls themselves first started before WWII and technology was polished on international calls, which for obvious reasons are of great interest to all governments.

We don't know then it was extended on domestic calls, this this was trivial extension of already existing capacity and probably abuse was stated gradually as soon as power of computers allow that. That means around 1958. Even in early 1960 three letter agencies were already semi-autonomous entities, a state within the state. And as assassination on President Kennedy had shown they were audacious enough to bypass Congress.

I think that the first attempt to create a comprehensive nation-wide intelligence network that monitors sentiments of the citizens and hunt enemies of the state goes as far back as Napoleon and his famous minister of police Joseph Fouché. Or may be it even goes as far back as to Byzantine Empire with its first in history organized network of spies. As for recording of mail envelopes, we can even claim that this function for international mail (in a form of "black chambers") is as old as states are. In the USA it started in full force in August 1919 when J. Edgar Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigation's new General Intelligence Division—also known as the Radical Division because its explicit goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport them. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, whom Hoover nicknamed as "the most dangerous man in the United States".

After 9/11 and the passage of the USA Patriot Act, the USA government got all the pre-conditions necessary for installing a regime of aggressive total surveillance. Which actually was a hidden intent and 9/11 was just a convenient pretext much like Tonkin incident in Vietnam war. And in this respect Ed Snowden whatever is his motivation (which might be not as simple as most people assume) did the right thin thing, when he with risk to his life informed the US public and the world about those activities. You may approve those revelations you may disapprove them (and they did damage the USA as a state), but keeping them secret from the US public is a crime.

NSA technically is a data collection agency. While it has legitimate function to monitor information that is crossing the national border, we need to understand that the abuse of this function and extension of it into domestic communications started nor after 9/11, but in 1950th. But the capacities to do this type of work had grown dramatically over last four decades. In a way NSA became a victim of growing power of computers and as well inherent tendency of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies to expand and self-justify their expansion. The classic case was the USSR where KGB was a real state within the state and sometimes it was not completely clear whether the Party controls KGB or KGB controls the Party.

In other words expansionism is an immanent quality, the second nature of large bureaucracies, and unless there is countervailing force it can be deadly for the society at large, as we observe in case with three letter agencies, which tend to escape from civil control and form a state within a state. In a way any state with powerful three-letter agencies stand with one leg in a tyranny, even if it class itself a democracy. and that fact was already known to everybody in 1975. Actually just after president Kennedy assassination, which, no matter which version of events you adopt, in all cases indirectly pointed out that three letter agencies jumped out of control of civil government. As one Guardian reader commented "The pernicious thing is that it is in the nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them."

The nature of bureaucracies in general and spy agencies in particular to expand beyond reason unless there is effective oversight. In the case of intelligence agencies it has proven impossible to control them.

But that also means that most of those efforts are highly politicized, inefficient waist of resources as typical for large bureaucracies which are not so far technological but political bodies (see Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition).

We can admire the immortal foresight of Secretary of State Henry Stimson's  who closed the Cipher Bureau in 1929.  But this highly ethical, moral and courageous act deprived the U.S. of the capacity to read foreign diplomatic cables as world-wide threats grew.  So it was quickly reversed. In a way technology dictates the level of government surveillance in the society and in Internet society it looks like this level is permanently set on "high". That does not mean that we can't fight it. Yes, we can ;-)

Against whom total surveillance is directed

Total surveillance is not so much about terrorism. It's also and mainly about population control. Terrorism is a false pretext -- a smoke screen, if you like. Let's state clearly -- the main goal of total surveillance was the same since it was introduced in Nazi Germany. "Let them be afraid". It's the same as in former German Democratic Republic (with its famous Stasi). In all cases it is to prevent any challenge to the ruling elite or in US-speak "regime change", unless it is initiated by three letter agencies.  In other words total surveillance is part and parcel of the totalitarian state even if it more reserved as for violence form called inverted totalitarism.

State actors and well funded terrorist organization are a difficult nut to crack. That have access to technology and to "know how" including the most recent exploits. That means that NSA has great difficulties intercepting and decoding traffic that is intended to be hidden. Modern encryption systems such One-Time-Pad virtually guarantee that unless you have a mole, or get the "insider information" (typically from a mole) they are impenetrable. Decoding is possible only with standard algorithms and even in this case I have doubts (Triple DEC).

But the situation with  "open" traffic is completely different. There is a low hanging fruit and here NSA is king of the hill. Which as Biney mentioned included  the problem of "drinking from a fire hose" -- they collect too much information and are swamped with the volume.  Of cause correlation of open traffic of "suspicious persons" can reveal some hidden information, but this is a pretty expensive undertaking, because by definition those person are aware that they are watched, possibly are trained to avoid surveillance (including electronic) and behave accordingly. With modern computers decoys and steganography offer almost unlimited possibility to obsure the traffic. 

The real questions about NSA activities


Concern about the NSA assault on our privacy is no paranoid fantasy. In the words of an agency PowerPoint slide released by Snowden, the goal is to "collect it all", "process it all" and "know it all". The massive surveillance program is a clear violation of the Forth amendment prohibiting "unreasonable searches" of "persons, houses, papers, and effects" without "probable cause."

- Gene Epstein. "In defence of Snowden",
review of "No Place to Hide" Barrons, Jan 5, 2015, p 17

Now everybody understand that since probably 2003 or even earlier that that he/she is watched 24 by 7, or as Soviet dissidents called it "Placed under the dome". Some question that we need to ask ourselves are:

All-in-all it's a good time to smell the coffee and talk about the rise of a new mutation of totalitarism (or may be even fascism -- as it is, essentially, the merger of corporate and state interests) in the US after 9/11. That's exactly what this "Internet-inspired" flavor of total surveillance due to modern technical capabilities means. There is also distinct shadow of STASI in all those activities. And some countries got into similar trap before, so nothing is new under the sun. As Reinhold Niebuhr noted:

"Communism is a vivid object lesson in the monstrous consequences of moral complacency about the relation of dubious means to supposedly good ends."

There is actually little difference between total surveillance as practiced by NSA and what was practiced by three letters agencies of Eastern block dictatorships such as STASI and KGB. The key goal in both cases is protection and preservation of power of existing elite against the will of common people. So this is more about oppression of 99.9% from top 0.1% then surveillance per see.

According to UN Human Right Council Report (17 April 2013) innovations in technology not only have increased the possibilities for communication and protections of free expression and opinion, enabling anonymity, rapid information-sharing and cross-cultural dialogues. They also simultaneously increased opportunities for State surveillance and interventions into individuals’ private communications facilitating to transformation of the state into National Security State, a form of corporatism characterized by continued and encompassing all forms of electronic communication electronic surveillance of all citizens.

Militarization of cyberspace makes Internet a very dangerous medium

We should view Snowden revelations in a larger context. Much of what he revealed about militarization of cyberspace was already known at the time when Flame and Stuxnet worms were discovered in 2011. He just dot the i's and cross the t's , so speak. As a result of his revelations, as The National Interest noted:

An increasing number of adversaries and even allies are coming to believe that the United States is militarizing cyberspace — and that impression of hubris and irresponsibility is beginning to have a real-world impact.

...The Snowden leaks have brought Stuxnet, the U.S.-Israeli program allegedly used to attack Iranian computer systems, back into public debate — and reminded us that the real damage of the Snowden revelations will be international.

...the perception that the United States has become a danger to the global internet is a cause for concern. In their understandable anger at the considerable damage Snowden has done (in the near term at the very least) to the operations of NSA and their allies, U.S. security officials should not lose sight of this fact.

Snowden’s claims build on the Stuxnet revelations. In doing so, they reinforce an impression of overbearing U.S. cyberpower (military and commercial) being used irresponsibly. That is strikingly at odds with the U.S. self-image as a standard bearer of internet freedom and “borderless” exchange, but it is a view that resonates around the world.

In fact the USA policies are stimulating economic and political rivals around the globe to organize and present unified front against this new and dangerous form of total surveillance. As well as implement similar domestic systems. In other words a new arm race started.

As methods and infrastructure of those activities are now revealed, the genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back -- the US now should expect the same or worse treatment from other nations. Which can be no less inventive, or even more inventive the USA specialists in this area. And in this new arm race economically weaker nations actually has some leverage. Blowback, a CIA term for unintended consequences of foreign, military, or clandestine policies, can be similar to the blowback of politically organizing Islamic radicals to fight Soviets in Afghanistan in the past.

Nemesis, the goddess of retribution and vengeance, the punisher of pride and hubris, probably already waits patiently for her meeting with the NSA brass.

Blowback can irreparably damage the ability of the United States to obtain crucial information in foreign environments that are poorly understood in Washington. The cultural divide that exists when operating away from home means that CIA and NSA frequently work overseas through a network of liaison contacts. This in theory limits their activity, but it broadens their ability to collect information that can only be plausibly obtained by a local organization with local capabilities. Though nearly everyone also operates clandestinely outside the parameters of the established relationships insofar as it is possible or expedient to do so, there is an awareness that being caught can cause grave damage to the liaison relationship. Because being exposed is nearly always very painful, such operations are normally limited to collection of critical information that the liaison partner would be unwilling to reveal.

So while it might be comforting to claim that “everyone does it” at least some of the time, and it may even be true that local spy agencies sometimes collaborated with NSA, the United States has a great deal to lose by spying on its friends. This is particularly true as Washington, uniquely, spies on everyone, all the time, even when there is no good reason for doing so.

NSA Blowback The American Conservative

Centralization of user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email account mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. The most significant is that it created a way too easy opportunity both for those organizations as well as government agencies and large corporations to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and Russia, who have Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts). The history of "total surveillance" suggests that it tends to be abused. It is also huge, irreparable breach on trust in relation to allies. Closely resembles the situation in family when wife or husband learn that the other hired detective to snoop on you.

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the Soviet term for total surveillance was "to be under the 'dome' ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. At the same time there is an important difference: while such regime does mean indirect (and pretty effective) intimidation of dissidents, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent, which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice. The latter aggressively pursued those who got in their net trying either to convert them into informers or charge them with the some suitable article of Criminal Code. In some cases that practice lead to suicides. So here we can talk more properly talk about total surveillance an instrument of Inverted Totalitarism, or totalitarism in velvet gloves.

We are talking about "passive total surveillance" and temporary (which might be several years or your lifetime) storage of all intercepted data. But in a way, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and communist infiltration, he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

Every Breath You Take

Ich bin ein Berliner
J. F. Kennedy

The famous The Police hit Every Breath You Take should probably be the theme song for the NSA. As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous speech:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Snowden revelations are not something new. The only real revelation was how much of it was going on domestically and gory details of such activities. Before 9/11 the NSA was basically prohibited from operating domestically. Of course it violates those prohibitions, but there were no systematic internal, all encompassing technical surveillance infrastructure in place. Now it is build and is deployed nation-wide. And that's a big change, big difference. Due to "novel" interpretation of a few provisions in the Patriot Act they created domestic dragnet which encompass most types of Internet communications. In addition to intercepting more then 70% of Internet traffic they also enjoy direct access to major cloud providers.

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression. And like in the USSR, it does change people behavior on the Web. People start thinking about consequences and this page is one of attempts to collect information that might help you to see "bigger picture".

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people do react on the fact that everything they email, visit, buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control. Internet will never be the same for most people after Snowden revelations...

For example, no one in sound mind can now trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc. So attractiveness of Gmail, Hotmail and such are now different, then it was before. And separation of mail accounts between "junk mail" account and important mail account is something to think about. With the latter never in the cloud. In a way excessive using cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. There is no real justification of providing all your emails and address book to strangers who can abuse this information without your knowledge.

At the same time it is stupid to dramatize the situation. Still, what is really striking is the grotesque disproportionally of all this NSA surveillance "superdome" to the task of keeping the country safe from foreign enemies (NSA statute is about watching foreign communications), begging obvious questions of institutional sanity and competence. They turned all their super powerful collection mechanisms inside the country and now they drink from a firehouse. That means that the results and possibilities of abuse are pretty much predictable. Too many false positives create real danger of not to picking up weak signal. So the other question is "Who the hell made these decisions?" That's a lot of taxpayers money and I am not sure that they are well spend.

As for breach of privacy anyone with connected to Internet PC,  the first thing to understand that if somebody stores data in the cloud they should not expect any privacy, unless they encrypt them. Expecting that your unencrypted data are private is a sign of personal stupidity, no more no less. If somebody, who is keeping his address book in Google assumes that it remains private, that his own illusion. That has nothing to do with the reality.

And it not that only NSA threatens our privacy. After all there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which turns them into zombies, externally controlled monitoring devices. And such software BTW can pick up and offload, or encrypt for ransom all your data. I do not see much protest over this situation iether. Microsoft greed and stupidity is one reason for this dismal situation, but essentially any OS is vulnerable if enough money is invested in finding exploits.  And NSA actually created a market for such exploits. Now there are multiple "security firms" that do nothing then find "zero day" exploits and sell them to the highest bidder (which is of course government agencies).  Does not this reminds you 'war on drugs"?

In a way, any networked computer is an unsecure computer and should be treated as such. See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone that is outside some metal box. That's two basic "laws of security" in the current environment.

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but its interaction with self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity that simply means Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

Now we know what would a perfect prototype of Bid Brother ;-). The song (Every Breath You Take ) should probably be the theme song for the NSA. And not only NSA, but its counterparts in other parts of the globe; I think, other things equal, citizens of some other countries would greatly prefer NSA to their domestic counterparts.

Cell phones, laptops, Facebook, Skype, chat-rooms: all allow the NSA and other similar agencies to build a dossier, a detailed profile of a target and anyone associated with him/her. And the number of people caught up in this dragnet can be huge. The NSA say it needs all this data to help prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11. They lie. In order to find the needle in the haystack, they argue, they need access to the whole haystack. But one interesting side effect is that now they are drinking from the fire hose, so to speak.

The power of meta data collection

Another interesting side-effect of the Snowden disclosures that the term ‘metadata’ became a common word in English language. With the growing understanding that metadata includes enough personal information to built a detailed profile of a person without even listening into content of communications. This technology was invented in Iraq war for fighting insurgents (were phone companies were controlled by US) and now is applied at home. In fact, by just using electronic communications, you are sharing a lot more personal information than you think. It's a reflection of a fact that it is very cheap to collect and analyses information about your electronic communications. The digital revolution which led to an explosion in cell phone and internet use, also led to an explosion of snooping after you by the governments.

We need to distinguish "total collection" of data from "total analysis" (or creation of dossiers on everybody as was practiced by STASI and friends). Raw data contain both "signal" and "noise". Analysis or data mining of those raw data is the process of extraction of useful signal from the noise. Of course we should be so naive that to assume that "signal" is related to purely terrorist activities. As recently published documents had shown, the NSA interests are much wider ;-). In bald terms, it sets out its mission:

“Leverage unique key corporate partnerships to gain access to high-capacity international fiber-optic cables, switches and/or routes throughout the world.”

Along with major fiber-optic cables in the US, the NSA has access to data gathered by close intelligence partners such as Britain’s GCHQ.

Sometimes it appear to me that like Uncle Sam got "red disease" and now is trying to imitate "total surveillance" mantra of KGB, STASI and similar agencies on a new technological level. And the key lesson from Soviet experience is fully applicable to the current situation in the USA: when government consider everybody as a potential enemy you better watch your back. And having a cyberstooge following your every step more closely that it was possible for STASI spooks and informers is something you need to react to. Reading your address book, mail, list of books that you bought or borrowed from the library, analyzing your circuit of friends is what STASI was really good at. And it might well be that some unemployed specialists have found a new territory to apply their substantial talents.

The Snowden documents show that the NSA runs these surveillance programs through “partnerships” with major US telecom and internet companies. That means that if you are customer of those major telecom and Internet companies you are like a bug under the microscope.

It is important to understand that metadata of your communications will always be exposed (it other words you are always walking "naked" on the Internet) because those new surveillance capabilities are immanent properties of Internet protocols, as we known it. There is no way to encrypt connection metadata: this is technically impossible unless you owns a vast private VPN network (some large corporations do), but even in this case I have doubts. Even snail-mail metadata are collected (and from 50th to 80th letters were opened and selectively copied by CIA). Diplomatic mail might still be secure, but that's about it.

Technological blowback

Like with any new development there are countervailing trends that after Snowden revelation went in overdrive and can seriously affect NSA capabilities.

One is switching to encrypting communication with most websites such as YouTube. That prevent simple harvesting of video that you watched from HTTP logs (but does not prevent harvesting -- it can be done using other methods)

The second is usage of software like Tor, although I think all connection to Tor sites are closely monitored by NSA.

The third is usage of your own cashing DNS proxy to limit number of DNS requests you make.  

I also think that all those development might give steganography a huge boost.

The other areas of technology that might get huge boost due to Snowden revelations is "Browsing imitating internet robots" technology which permit to drown NSA collection devices in spam -- fake accesses to web sites that is very difficult to distinguish from real browsing, but that make all statistical metrics applied to your Web traffic useless.  For example top visited pages became completely bogus. 

Currently this requires some level of technical sophistication and available mostly to programmers and system administrators interested in "beating NSA back". Programs that have those capabilities are often marketed as proxy logs replayers,  or Apache logs replayers or debugging tools. See for example  Load Testing with JMeter Part 3 - Replaying Apache Logs and Charles Web Debugging Proxy  ( and http - Replaying a Charles proxy session and recording the results - Stack Overflow ). Actually good old Expect can do wonders here if logs are converted into expect scripts. Especially in combination with Javascript (Scalable, Flexible Performance Testing Replaying web server log)

Another danger to society: Lord Acton warning as applied to NSA

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

Lord Acton(1834–1902)

As Lord Acton(1834–1902) noted long before NSA started collecting all Internet communications "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state". 

The first grave consequence of total surveillance is that it tends to be abused. The history of "total surveillance" suggests that this is unavoidable side effect on the very institution that conducts: such an institution tends to escape the control of civil society and became a shadow power, the element of "deep state".  

And the ability to intercept electronic communications gives those who are in charge of such collection  tremendous political power. Please remember that J. Edgar Hoover was director of FBI very long time partially because he dug a lot of dirt on politicians of his time including both Kennedys. According to President Harry S Truman, Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force. He used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Essentially for half of the century he and his organization were out of control "state within the state" and nobody could do anything about it. Only after his death some measures were taken.

It's not that expanding bureaucracy per se is a problem. I doubt that those in the bureaucracy of those agencies do not think about larger consequences for societies of their attempts to expand their sphere of influence. It is much worse: they definitely knew about possible consequences, but go "full forward' anyway preferring job promotions and expansion of their influence. Like bureaucrats often do, they betrayed their nations like nomenklatura betrayed the people of the USSR (with a similar fig leaf of nice slogans about freedom as a smoke screen for pretty nefarious activities).

Elimination of possibility of opposition to the current regime

In case of NSA, this data on you, or particular political or social movement (for example "Occupy Wall Street") can be mined at any time, and what is even worse can be used to destroy any new political movement. And please remember that NSA is a just part of military-industrial complex, an entity that has some interesting political characteristics related to the term "the acquisition of unwarranted influence" . As Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us in his famous farewell speech (which introduced the term "military-industrial complex"):

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

People seldom understand that all three letter agencies are not just part of military industrial complex, but are the key parts. While ability of weapon manufactures to buy or just simply control Congress members matters, three-letter agencies is where "unwarranted influence" fully materialize. By definition they are out of control and as any bureaucracy they want to grow. That was clear to Senator Frank Church who stated on August 17, 1975 NBC's Meet the Press:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

We can applaud his personal courage, but at this point it does not matter. The horse has left the barn. As sgtdoom commented The Guardian article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

...let us be realistic and not fall for the usual story of this being a discrete event (all the latest surveillance, that is).

This dates back to the founding of the Financial-Intelligence-Complex during and in the aftermath of World War II, by the Wall Streeters for their super-rich bosses, the Rockefellers, Morgans, du Ponts, Mellons, Harrimans (now Mortimers), etc.

The most important factor that needs to be taken into account is the total surveillance make organized opposition to the regime impossible. So welcome to nicer, gentler, but no less totalitarian world of 1984 (aka "Back in USSR"). The key equation is very simple:

total surveillance = total control

That simple fact was well understood by various dictators and totalitarian regimes long ago, but none of them has had even a tiny fraction of technical capabilities NSA has now. I think one of the reason that Occupy movement completely dissipated so fast was that they were like a bug under microscope of the government. And government want them to stop harassing Wall Street sharks for their 2008 crisis misdeeds.

Instilling fear

Another important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

An important effect of "total surveillance" is instilling fear in the citizenry; fear that our thoughts, words and relationships are subject of interception and analysis; fear that all the content we access on the internet will be exposed. This fear can cause us to withdraw from public spaces like producing this website, censor our communications, refrain from accessing certain sites, buying certain books, etc.

In other words understanding that you are watched on 24 x 7 basis modifies behavior and makes self-censorship your second nature exactly the same way as in any totalitarian state, but without any physical coercion. Here is one telling comment from Secret to Prism program Even bigger data seizure

wtpayne

Indeed: The intentions and motivations of the agencies in question; the degree of oversight and so on; is almost irrelevant. To a certain extent, I am content to believe that the intentions of the perpetrators is good; and that the oversight and abuse prevention systems that they have in place are strong.

However, none of that matters if people self-censor; if people worry, not about what the government of today will find objectionable, but what the government of tomorrow will not like. In effect, we end up censoring ourselves from a hypothetical worst-case future government.

Loss of privacy as a side effect of cloud-based Internet technologies


“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Maybe Dante had some serious vision.

The Guardian

We will concentrate on technical side of the this operation, trying to understand how much information can be stored about a regular "Joe Doer" based on technical capabilities that are available. Let's assume that we deal with mostly "passive surveillance": collection and storage of vast amount of Internet traffic on special computers using either mirrored ports on the key routers or special access to key providers of cloud services.

We can probably assume that several layers of storage of those data exist:

Technology development creates new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners, and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. This is a huge saving of computational efforts ;-).

It means two things:

It puts you essentially in a situation of a bug under microscope on Big Brother. And please understand that modern storage capabilities are such that it is easy to store several years of at least some of your communications, especially emails.

The same is true about your phone calls metadata, credit card transactions and your activities on major shopping sites such as Amazon, and eBay. But here you can do almost nothing. Still I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. Phones are traditional target of government three letter agencies (WSJ) since the WWII. Smartphones with GPS in addition to land line metadata also provide your current geo location. I do not think you can do much here.

I think our support of "brick" merchants is long overdue. And paying cash in the store in not something that you should try to avoid because credit card returns you 1% of the cost of the purchase. This 1% is actually a privacy tax ;-)

Total continued surveillance even without taking any action on collected data is totalitarian by its nature as it put severe restrictions of the freedom of expression and it changes people behavior on the Web. In this sense, Senator McCartney was probably right about "Communists sympathizers" and "KGB infiltration", he just was completely wrong about who they are ;-).

The centralization of searches on Google (and to lesser extent on Bing) are also serious threats to your privacy. Here diversification between three or more search engines might help a bit. Other then that and generally limited your time behind the computer I do not think much can be done. Growth of popularity of Duckduckgo suggests that people are vary of Google monopolizing the search, but it is unclear how big are the advantages. You can also save searches as many searches are recurrent and generally you can benefit from using your personal Web proxy with private cashing DNS server. This way to can "shrink" your radar picture, but that's about it. Search engines are now an integral part of our civilization whether we want it or not.

Collection of your searches for the last several years can pretty precisely outline sphere of your interests. And again technical constrains on storage of data no longer exists: how we can talk about privacy at the age of 3 TB harddrives for $99. There are approximately 314 million of the US citizens and residents, so storing one gigabyte of information for each citizen requires just 400 petabytes. For comparison

Films to Understand the Phenomenon

The analogy with KGB surveillance of dissidents (the term was "to be under the "kolpak" (dome) ") and, especially, Stasi (viewing the film "The Lives of Others" might help to understand the phenomenon of "total surveillance") are way too close. And psychological effects of anticipating that you are under total surveillance are well depicted in the final of the film The Conversation (1974) directed by famous Francis Ford Coppola

At the same time there is an important difference: while both regimes creates implicit intimidation and squash dissent, cases of prosecution on the base of the those data are either few or non existent. Which is a big difference with KGB or Stasi practice, which aggressively pursued those dissidents who got in their net, trying either to convert them into informers, or prosecute them using the existing articles of Criminal Code. In some cases that led to suicides. So here we can talk more about Inverted Totalitarism, a velvet gloves mode of suppressing of dissent.

Your email in toxic cloud

Still it is now dramatically more clear then before that centralization of email accounts and user activities on sites like Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, LinkedIn, with email accounts mainly at Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo mail is far from being a positive development. Along with many positive aspects has tremendous negative side effects. Essentially it turns users into spies on themselves in a way that would be a dream by Stasi. The most significant is that it created an easy opportunities to data mine email databases both for those organizations as well as various government agencies and, possibly (in a limited way for special payment) by large corporations.

Those tendencies probably should be at least resisted, but we do not have means to reverse them.

Attempts to data mine email and Web communications of millions of Americans critical about government (see Total control: keywords in your posts that might trigger surveillance) and all foreigners who use those services (and that includes a significant part of European population and xUSSR area, who often use Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo accounts) means that the country became a National Security State. With all relevant consequences of such a transformation.

And interest in content of your "cloud based" email is not limited to the government:

A sweeping Wall Street Journal investigation in 2010 found that the biggest U.S. websites have technologies tracking people who visit their pages, sometimes upwards of 100 tools per site. One intrusive string of code even recorded users’ keystrokes and transmitted them to a data-gathering firm for analysis.

“A digital dossier over time is built up about you by that site or third-party service or data brokers,” says Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center’s Technology Policy Program at George Mason University. “They collect these data profiles and utilize them to sell you or market you better services or goods.”

This is what powers the free Internet we know and love; users pay nothing or next to nothing for services — and give up pieces of personal information for advertisers in exchange. If you search for a Mini Cooper on one website, you’re likely to see ads elsewhere for lightweight, fuel-efficient cars. Companies robotically categorize users with descriptions such as “urban upscale” to “rural NASCAR” to tailor the advertising experience, says Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute. “They’ll use ZIP codes and census data to figure out what their lifestyle profile is.”

Tracking your Web access

Most of the site you visit those days was found via search engine, often Google. But Google is interested in more then search terms you use and sometimes plays with you a nasty trick: "Google may choose to exhibit its search results in the form of a 'URL redirector,'" reads Google's main privacy policy. That means that any time it wishes Google can spy on your Web activity:

"When Google uses a URL redirector, if you click on a URL from a search result, information about the click is sent to Google."

Few people check the URL before clicking on Google search results, so in a way this is perfect spying tool.

But there is another powerful spying tool in Google arsenal -- Google toolbar, and I am not sure that all those trick were not reused in Google browser. Google Toolbar sends all user clicks to Google, if advanced mode is enabled (and many people do enable it because they want to have spelling correction available which, conveniently for Google, belongs to the set of advanced features). This way you voluntarily subscribe to a 24x7 monitoring of your web activity using spyware that is installed on your computer with your consent. For the same reason recent smartphones fashion looks greatly misguided. It is better to use regular phone, then smartphone, and the last thing you probably want on your smartphone is Android OS or iOS, or windows 8 OS. In some deep way unlocked Nokia 1280 looks now much more attractive (and is way cheaper ;-).

Google Toolbar in advanced mode is another common snooping tool about your activities. It send each URL you visit to Google and you can be sure that from Google several three letter agencies get this information as well. After all Google has links to them from the very beginning:

Effects on behavior

As soon as they realize that they are watched, people start thinking about consequences and this article is a pretty telling (albeit slightly paranoid ;-) illustration of the effect. The key mechanism here, well known to those who used to live in the USSR before its dissolution is that people preemptively change their behavior, if they know or suspect that they got "under the dome" of government surveillance, that all their emails are intercepted, all web site visits recorded, anything they buy on Amazon, etc is registered in giant database outside of their control.

The angle under which will we try to cover the story is: the situation is such and such, now what? What are the most appropriate actions and strategy of behavior of people who are concerned about their privacy and no longer trust "cloud services" provided by Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc ( and those who trust those providers should probably stop reading at this point). It is impossible to close all those accounts. But some can and should be closed; for example POP3 mail can replace web mail for all "important" mail; this way you avoid "cloud storage" of all your important correspondence. It is impossible not to use search engines, but you can chose which search language to use. It is impractical not to use smartphone and for Android phone you can't avoid registration -- that's the only way to get updates from Google, but you can root the phone, remove some snooping components and use Firefox instead of Chrome. But not it is clear that if mobile web browsing and checking email on your phone is not your thing you are better off with a very simple phone such as Nokia 1280.

The first and the most obvious "change we can believe in" is that we need to change our attitude toward cloud services and especially cloud services from large providers. Now the most reasonable assumption is that most national cloud providers including major retailers are in bed with the government three letter agencies. So you need to be careful what you browse for on Amazon, similarly to what you write from Gmail and Hotmail.

In a way, excessive usage of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became kind of indication of a person stupidity. It is important to understand that for anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail or Hotmail can offer, regular small ISP account with Cpanel can offer with less risk for your privacy for, say, $5 a month or less. And your privacy definitely cost more then $60 a year.

In a way excessive using of cloud services from a fashionable trend now became an indication of a person stupidity. For anybody more or less competent with computers (or willing to learn), anything Facebook or Gmail can offer, regular ISP account with Cpanel can offer too with less risk for your privacy.

At the same time it is also stupid to over-dramatize the situation and isolate yourself by abandoning Internet communications and restricting usage of cell-phone. The reasonable hypothesis is that today’s surveillance is a side effect of new technological developments and it is a new fact of life. It is just a new level of information gathering, which has been going on since the Byzantine Empire. And it is still limited by technological capabilities of sifting through mass of communications. But at the same time, quantity does at one point turns into quality, so the danger is real and as such could providers are suspect by definition. In no way they are new level of technological development. In sense they are one step forward, two sets back.

Also being engages in foreign wars has an interesting side effect that technologies invented come home and used against citizens (naked capitalism). That's actually the origin of indiscriminant collection of metadata used now.

But at the same time we need to understand that there are millions of PC users that have computer(s) infected by spyware, which can make your computer a zombie. And world did not perished due to that.

Still the key lesson is unmistakable: from now on, any networked computer is an unsecure computer that can't be trusted really confidential information, unless it is isolated by firewall and proxy. And if we assume that it is unsecured computer, them it should be treated it as such. The first step is that all confidential data should be deleted and moved to removable storage. In case you need to work with it as much as possible should be done on non-networked computers, limiting the exposure of your data to bare minimum. And the less powerful computer you use for processing you confidential data, the best; the less powerful OS you use, the best (what about using Windows 98 or DOS for those who can still remember it ? ;-). From now on "retro-computing" movement now is inherently linked with the issues of security and privacy and might get a new life.

This retro-computing idea might create a new life for abandoned computers that are in excess in almost every family ;-) See Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. The same thing can be mentioned about a cell phone, which should be as simple as possible. Not all people really benefit from browsing the Web from their smartphones. If you are really paranoid you can think storing you cell phone at home in a metal box ;-).

In other words there are two new "laws of computer security":

But more important problem here is not snooping per se, but voluntarily self-profiling that you provide via social sites. If you are way too enthusiastic about Facebook or Google++ or any similar site and engage regularly and indiscriminately in this "vanity fair" activity you put yourselves voluntarily under surveillance. So not only Privacy is Dead – Get Over It. You killed it yourself. The essence of the situation was exposed well in a humorous form in the following Amazon review of Orwell's novel 1984

Bjørn Anders See all my reviews

This is not an instruction manual!, June 14, 2013

This review is from: 1984: 60th-Anniversary Edition (Plume) (Paperback)

Note to US Congress and house of representatives: This is a fictional book, not an instruction manual...

BTW just after Prism program was revealed in June 2013, Nineteen Eighty-Four became a bestseller on Amazon. As of June 15, 2013 it was #87 in Fiction. If you never have a chance to read it, please do it now. and again, if you think that this revelation of Prism program is a big news, you probably are mistaken. Many people understood that as soon new technical capabilities of surveillance are available they are instantly put to use. As John H. Summers noted in his review (The Deciders - New York Times) of John Mill "Power elite":

...official secrecy steadily expanded its reach.

"For the first time in American history, men in authority are talking about an 'emergency' without a foreseeable end,"

Mills wrote in a sentence that remains as powerful and unsettling as it was 50 years ago.

"Such men as these are crackpot realists: in the name of realism they have constructed a paranoid reality all their own."

Adding insult to injury: Self-profiling

Facebook has nothing without people
silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing

The key problem with social sites is that many people voluntarily post excessive amount of personal data about themselves, including keeping their photo archives online, etc. So while East Germany analog of the Department of Homeland Security called Ministry for State Security (Stasi) needed to recruit people to spy about you, now you yourself serves as a informer voluntarily providing all the tracking information about your activities ;-).

Scientella, palo alto

...Facebook always had a very low opinion of peoples intelligence - and rightly so!

I can tell you Silicon Valley is scared. Facebook's very existence depends upon trusting young persons, their celebrity wannabee parents and other inconsequential people being prepared to give up their private information to Facebook.

Google, now that SOCIAL IS DEAD, at least has their day job also, of paid referral advertising where someone can without divulging their "social" identity, and not linking their accounts, can look for a product on line and see next to it some useful ads.

But Facebook has nothing without people silly enough to exchange privacy for photosharing.

... ... ...

Steve Fankuchen, Oakland CA

Cook, Brin, Gates, Zuckerberg, et al most certainly have lawyers and public relations hacks that have taught them the role of "plausible deniability."

Just as in the government, eventually some low or mid-level flunkie will likely be hung out to dry, when it becomes evident that the institution knew exactly what was going on and did nothing to oppose it. To believe any of these companies care about their users as anything other than cash cows is to believe in the tooth fairy.

The amount of personal data which users of site like Facebook put voluntarily on the Web is truly astonishing. Now anybody using just Google search can get quit substantial information about anybody who actively using social sites and post messages in discussion he/she particulates under his/her own name instead of a nickname. Just try to see what is available about you and most probably your jaw would drop...

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves. We all should became more aware about the risks involved as well as real implications of the catch phase Privacy is Dead – Get Over It.

This is probably right time for the users of social sites like Facebook, Google search, and Amazon (that means most of us ;-) to think a little bit more about the risks we are exposing ourselves.

As Peter Ludlow noted in NYT (The Real War on Reality):

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

Citizens of foreign countries have accounts at Facebook and mail accounts in Gmail, hotmail and Yahoo mail are even in less enviable position then the US citizens. They are legitimate prey. No legal protection for them exists, if they use those services. That means that they voluntarily open all the information they posted about themselves to the US government in addition to their own government. And the net is probably more wide then information leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggests. For any large company, especially a telecom corporation, operating is the USA it might be dangerous to refuse to cooperate (Qwest case).

Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio, convicted of insider trading in April 2007, alleged in appeal documents that the NSA requested that Qwest participate in its wiretapping program more than six months before September 11, 2001. Nacchio recalls the meeting as occurring on February 27, 2001. Nacchio further claims that the NSA cancelled a lucrative contract with Qwest as a result of Qwest's refusal to participate in the wiretapping program.[13] Nacchio surrendered April 14, 2009 to a federal prison camp in Schuylkill, Pennsylvania to begin serving a six-year sentence for the insider trading conviction. The United States Supreme Court denied bail pending appeal the same day.[15]

It is not the case of some special evilness of the US government. It simply is more agile to understand and capitalize on those new technical opportunities. It is also conveniently located at the center of Internet universe with most traffic is flowing via US owned or controlled routers (67% or more). But it goes without saying that several other national governments and a bunch of large corporations also try to mine this new gold throve of private information on citizens. Probably with less sophistication and having less financial resources.

In many cases corporations themselves are interested in partnership with the government. Here is one telling comment:

jrs says on June 8, 2013

Yea in my experience that’s how “public/private partnerships” really work:

  1. Companies DO need protection FROM the government. An ill-conceived piece of legislation can put a perfectly decent out of business. Building ties with the government is protection.
  2. Government represents a huge market and eventually becomes one of the top customers for I think most businesses (of course the very fact that a government agency is a main customer is often kept hush hush even within the company and something you are not supposed to speak of as an employee even though you are aware of it)
  3. Of course not every company proceeds to step 3 -- being basically an arm of the government but ..

That means that not only Chinese citizens already operate on the Internet without any real sense of privacy. Even if you live outside the USA the chances are high that you automatically profiled by the USA instead of or in addition to your own government. Kind of neoliberalism in overdrive mode: looks like we all are already citizens of a global empire (Let's call it " Empire of Peace" ) with the capital in Washington.

It is reasonable to assume that a massive eavesdropping apparatus now tracks at least an "envelope" of every electronic communication you made during your lifetime. No need for somebody reporting about you like in "old" totalitarian state like East Germany with its analog of the Department of Homeland Security called the Ministry for State Security (Stasi). So in this new environment, you are like Russians used to say about dissidents who got under KGB surveillance is always "under the dome". In this sense this is just an old vine in a new bottles. But the global scope and lifetime storage of huge amount of personal information for each and every citizen is something new and was made possible the first time in world history by new technologies.

It goes without saying that records about time, sender and receiver of all your phone calls, emails, Amazon purchases, credit card transactions, and Web activities for the last decade are stored somewhere in a database and not necessary only government computers. And that means that your social circle (the set of people you associate with), books and films that you bought, your favorite websites, etc can be easily deducted from those records.

That brings us to an important question about whether we as consumers should support such ventures as Facebook and Google++ which profile you and after several years have a huge amount of pretty private and pretty damaging information about you, information which can get into wrong hands.

Recent discoveries about Prism program: quantity turned into quality.

The most constructive approach to NSA is to view is a large government bureaucracy that expanded to the extent that quantity turned into quality.

Any large bureaucracy is a political coalition with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing of its own power, no matter what are official declarations. And if breaching your privacy helps they will do it. Which is what Bush government did after 9/11. The question is how much bureaucratic bloat resulting in classic dynamics of organizational self-aggrandizement and expansionism happened in NSA. We don't know how much we got in exchange for undermining internet security and US constitution. But we do know the intelligence establishment happily appropriated billions of dollars, had grown by thousand of employees and got substantial "face lift" and additional power within the executive branch of government. To the extent that something it looks like a shadow government. And now they will fight tooth-and nail to protect the fruits of a decade long bureaucratic expansion. Now it is an Intelligence Church and like any religious organization they do not need fact to support their doctrine and influence.

Typically there is an infighting and many factions within any large hierarchical organization, some with and some without factual awareness of the rest. Basically any hierarchical institution corporate, religious, military will abuse available resources for internal political infighting. And with NSA "big data" push this is either happening or just waiting to happen. This is a danger of any warrantless wiretapping program: it naturally convert itself into a saga of eroding checks and disappearing balance. And this already happened in the past, so in a way it is just act two of the same drama (WhoWhatWhy):

After media revelations of intelligence abuses by the Nixon administration began to mount in the wake of Watergate, NSA became the subject of Congressional ire in the form of the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities—commonly known as the “Church Committee” after its chair, Senator Frank Church (D-ID)—established on January 17, 1975. This ad-hoc investigative body found itself unearthing troves of classified records from the FBI, NSA, CIA and Pentagon that detailed the murky pursuits of each during the first decades of the Cold War. Under the mantle of defeating communism, internal documents confirmed the executive branch’s use of said agencies in some of the most fiendish acts of human imagination (including refined psychological torture techniques), particularly by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Cold War mindset had incurably infected the nation’s security apparatus, establishing extralegal subversion efforts at home and brutish control abroad. It was revealed that the FBI undertook a war to destroy homegrown movements such as the Black Liberation Movement (including Martin Luther King, Jr.), and that NSA had indiscriminately intercepted the communications of Americans without warrant, even without the President’s knowledge. When confronted with such nefarious enterprises, Congress sought to rein in the excesses of the intelligence community, notably those directed at the American public.

The committee chair, Senator Frank Church, then issued this warning about NSA’s power:

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

The reforms that followed, as enshrined in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, included the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC): a specially-designated panel of judges who are allowed to review evidence before giving NSA a warrant to spy on Americans (only in the case of overseas communication). Hardly a contentious check or balance, FISC rejected zero warrant requests between its inception in 1979 and 2000, only asking that two warrants be “modified” out of an estimated 13,000.

In spite of FISC’s rubberstamping, following 9/11 the Bush administration began deliberately bypassing the court, because even its minimal evidentiary standard was too high a burden of proof for the blanket surveillance they wanted. So began the dragnet monitoring of the American public by tapping the country’s major electronic communication chokepoints in collusion with the nation’s largest telecommunications companies.

When confronted with the criminal conspiracy undertaken by the Bush administration and telecoms, Congress confirmed why it retains the lowest approval rating of any major American institution by “reforming” the statute to accommodate the massive law breaking. The 2008 FISA Amendments Act [FAA] entrenched the policy of mass eavesdropping and granted the telecoms retroactive immunity for their criminality, withdrawing even the negligible individual protections in effect since 1979. Despite initial opposition, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama voted for the act as one of his last deeds in the Senate. A few brave (and unsuccessful) lawsuits later, this policy remains the status quo.

Similarly we should naturally expect that the notion of "terrorist" is flexible and in certain cases can be equal to "any opponent of regime". While I sympathize NYT readers reaction to this incident (see below), I think it is somewhat naive. They forget that they are living under neoliberal regime which like any rule of top 0.01% is afraid of and does not trust its own citizens. So massive surveillance program is a self-preservation measure which allow to crush or subvert the opposition at early stages. This is the same situation as existed with Soviet nomenklatura, with the only difference that Soviet nomenklatura was more modest pushing the USSR as a beacon of progress and bright hope of all mankind ;-). As Ron Paul noted:

Many of us are not so surprised.

Some of us were arguing back in 2001 with the introduction of the so-called PATRIOT Act that it would pave the way for massive US government surveillance—not targeting terrorists but rather aimed against American citizens. We were told we must accept this temporary measure to provide government the tools to catch those responsible for 9/11. That was nearly twelve years and at least four wars ago.

We should know by now that when it comes to government power-grabs, we never go back to the status quo even when the “crisis” has passed. That part of our freedom and civil liberties once lost is never regained. How many times did the PATRIOT Act need renewed? How many times did FISA authority need expanded? Why did we have to pass a law to grant immunity to companies who hand over our personal information to the government?

And while revealed sources of NSA Prism program include Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo and others major Internet players, that's probably just a tip of the iceberg. Ask yourself a question, why Amazon and VISA and MasterCard are not on the list? According to The Guardian:

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

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

... ... ...

Microsoft – which is currently running an advertising campaign with the slogan "Your privacy is our priority" – was the first, with collection beginning in December 2007. It was followed by Yahoo in 2008; Google, Facebook and PalTalk in 2009; YouTube in 2010; Skype and AOL in 2011; and finally Apple, which joined the program in 2012. The program is continuing to expand, with other providers due to come online.

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

... ... ...

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

So while the document does not list Amazon, but I would keep fingers crossed.

Questions that arise

To be aware about a situation you need to be able to formulate and answer key questions about it. The first and the most important question is whether the government is engaged in cyberstalking of law abiding citizens. Unfortunately the answer is definite yes, as oligarchy needs total control of prols. As a result National Security State rise to prominence as a dominant social organization of neoliberal societies, the societies which characterized by very high level of inequality.

But there are some additional, albeit less important questions. The answers to them determine utility or futility of small changes of our own behavior in view of uncovered evidence. Among possible set of such question I would list the following:

There are also some minor questions about efficiency of "total surveillance approach". Among them:

The other part of understand the threat is understanding is what data are collected. The short answer is all your phone records and Internet activity (RT USA):

The National Security Agency is collecting information on the Internet habits of millions of innocent Americans never suspected of criminal involvement, new NSA documents leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden suggest.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported Monday that top-secret documents included in the trove of files supplied by the NSA contractor-turned-leaker Edward Snowden reveal that the US intelligence community obtains and keeps information on American citizens accumulated off the Internet without ever issuing a search warrant or opening an investigation into that person.

The information is obtained using a program codenamed Marina, the documents suggest, and is kept by the government for up to a full year without investigators ever having to explain why the subject is being surveilled.

Marina has the ability to look back on the last 365 days' worth of DNI metadata seen by the Sigint collection system, regardless whether or not it was tasked for collection,” the Guardian’s James Ball quotes from the documents.

According to a guide for intelligence analysts supplied by Mr. Snowden, “The Marina metadata application tracks a user's browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target.”

"This tool offers the ability to export the data in a variety of formats, as well as create various charts to assist in pattern-of-life development,” it continues.

Ball writes that the program collects “almost anything” a Web user does online, “from browsing history – such as map searches and websites visited – to account details, email activity, and even some account passwords.”

Only days earlier, separate disclosures attributed to Snowden revealed that the NSA was using a massive collection of metadata to create complex graphs of social connections for foreign intelligence purposes, although that program had pulled in intelligence about Americans as well.

After the New York Times broke news of that program, a NSA spokesperson said that “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period.” As Snowden documents continue to surface, however, it’s becoming clear that personal information pertaining to millions of US citizens is routinely raked in by the NSA and other agencies as the intelligence community collects as much data as possible.

In June, a top-secret document also attributed to Mr. Snowden revealed that the NSA was collecting the telephony metadata for millions of Americans from their telecom providers. The government has defended this practice by saying that the metadata — rough information that does not include the content of communications — is not protected by the US Constitution’s prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

Metadata can be very revealing,” George Washington University law professor Orin S. Kerr told the Times this week. “Knowing things like the number someone just dialed or the location of the person’s cellphone is going to allow them to assemble a picture of what someone is up to. It’s the digital equivalent of tailing a suspect.”

According to the Guardian’s Ball, Internet metadata picked up by the NSA is routed to the Marina database, which is kept separate from the servers where telephony metadata is stored.

Only moments after the Guardian wrote of its latest leak on Monday, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project read a statement before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs penned by none other than Snowden himself.

When I began my work, it was with the sole intention of making possible the debate we see occurring here in this body,” Snowden said.

Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia after being charged with espionage in the US, said through Raddack that “The cost for one in my position of returning public knowledge to public hands has been persecution and exile.”

Limits to spying via data collected about you

If the NSA's mining of data traffic is so effective, why weren't Tsarnaev's family's overseas calls predictive of a bombing at the Boston Marathon?

-Helen Corey WSJ.com

There are limits of this "powerful analytical software" as it currently used. As we mentioned above, even if NSA algorithms are incredibly clever they can't avoid producing large number of false positives. After two year investigation into the post 9/11 intelligence agencies, the Washington Post came to conclusion that they are collecting more information than anyone can comprehend ("drinking from a firehose" or "drowning is a sea of data"):

Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billions e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases"

First of all there is a classic problem of "signal vs. noise" (infoglut) in any large scale data collection and presence of noise in the channel makes signal much more difficult to detect.

Analysts who make sense of document and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year -- a volume so large that many are routinely ignored

The enormity of the database exacerbate the problem. That's why NSA is hunting for email on cloud providers, where they are already filtered from spam, and processing required is much less then for emails intercepted from the wire data. Still even with the direct access to user accounts, the volume of data, especially graphic (pictures) and video data, is really huge and that stress the limits of processing capabilities and storage.

Existence of Snowden saga when a single analyst was able to penetrate the system and extract considerable amount information with impunity suggests that the whole Agency is mess, probably like is typical for any large organization with a lot of incompetents or, worse, careerists and psychopaths  at the helm (see Toxic Managers). Which is typical for government agencies and large corporations.

Still the level of logs collection and internal monitoring in NSA proved to be surprisingly weak, as there are indirect signs that the agency does not even know what reports Snowden get into his hands. In any case we, unless this is a very clever inside operation, we need to assume that Edward Snowden stole thousands of documents, abused his sysadmin position in the NSA, and was never caught. Here is one relevant comment from The Guardian

carlitoontour

Oh NSA......that´s fine that you cannot find something......what did you tell us, the World and the US Congress about the "intelligence" of Edward Snowden and the low access he had?

SNOWDEN SUSPECTED OF BYPASSING ELECTRONIC LOGS

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government's efforts to determine which highly classified materials leaker Edward Snowden took from the National Security Agency have been frustrated by Snowden's sophisticated efforts to cover his digital trail by deleting or bypassing electronic logs, government officials told The Associated Press. Such logs would have showed what information Snowden viewed or downloaded.

The government's forensic investigation is wrestling with Snowden's apparent ability to defeat safeguards established to monitor and deter people looking at information without proper permission, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the sensitive developments publicly.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-08-24-09-41-24

On the other hand government agencies were never good in making huge and complex software projects work. And large software projects are a very difficult undertaking in any case. Even in industry 50% of software projects fail, and anybody who works in the industry knows, that the more complex the project is the higher are chances that it will be mismanaged and its functionality crippled due to architectural defects ("a camel is a horse designed by a committee"). It is given that such project will be over budget. Possibly several times over...

But if money is not a problem such system will eventually be completed ("with enough thrust pigs can fly"). Still there’s no particular reason to think that corruption (major work was probably outsourced) and incompetence (on higher management levels and, especially on architectural level as in "camel is a horse designed by a committee") don't affect the design and functionality of such government projects. Now when this activity come under fire some adjustments might be especially badly thought out and potentially cripple the existing functionality.

As J. Kirk Wiebe, a NSA insider, noted

"The way the government was going about those digital data flows was poor formed, uninformed. There seen to be more of a desire to contract out and capture money flow then there was a [desire} to actually perform the mission".

See the interview of a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers to USA TODAY ( J. Kirk Wiebe remarks starts at 2:06 and the second half of it continues from 6:10):

In military organizations the problem is seldom with the talent (or lack of thereof) of individual contributors. The problem is with the bureaucracy that is very effective in preventing people from exercising their talents at the service of their country. Such system is deformed in such a way that it hamstrings the men who are serving in it. As a results, more often then not the talents are squandered or misused by patching holes created by incompetence of higher-up or or just pushed aside in the interdepartmental warfare.

In a way, incompetence can be defined as the inability to avoid mistakes which, in a "normal" course of project development could and should be avoided. And that's the nature of military bureaucracy with its multiple layer of command and compete lack of accountability on higher levels.

In addition, despite the respectable name of the organization many members of technical staff are amateurs. They never managed to sharpen their technical skills, while at the same time acquiring the skills necessary to survive the bureaucracy. Many do not have basic academic education and are self-taught hackers and/or "grow on the job". Typically people at higher level of hierarchy, are simply not experts in software engineering, but more like typical corporate "PowerPoint" warriors. They can be very shred managers and accomplished political fighters, but that's it.

This is the same situation that exists in security departments of large multinationals, so we can extrapolate from that. The word of Admiral Nelson "If the enemy would know what officer corps will confront them, it will be trembling, like I am". Here is Bill Gross apt recollection of his service as naval officer (The Tipping Point) that illustrate the problems:

A few years ago I wrote about the time that our ship (on my watch) was almost cut in half by an auto-piloted tanker at midnight, but never have I divulged the day that the USS Diachenko came within one degree of heeling over during a typhoon in the South China Sea. “Engage emergency ballast,” the Captain roared at yours truly – the one and only chief engineer. Little did he know that Ensign Gross had slept through his classes at Philadelphia’s damage control school and had no idea what he was talking about. I could hardly find the oil dipstick on my car back in San Diego, let alone conceive of emergency ballast procedures in 50 foot seas. And so…the ship rolled to starboard, the ship rolled to port, the ship heeled at the extreme to 36 degrees (within 1 degree, as I later read in the ship’s manual, of the ultimate tipping point). One hundred sailors at risk, because of one twenty-three-year-old mechanically challenged officer, and a Captain who should have known better than to trust him.

Huge part of this work is outsourced to various contractors and this is where corruption really creeps in. So the system might be not as powerful as many people automatically assume when they hear the abbreviation of NSA. So in a way when news about such system reaches public it might serve not weakening but strengthening of the capabilities of the system. Moreover, nobody would question the ability of such system to store huge amount of raw or semi-processed data including all metadata for your transactions on the Internet.

Also while it is a large agency with a lot of top mathematic talent, NSA is not NASA and motivation of the people (and probably quality of architectural thinking about software projects involved) is different despite much better financing. While they do have high quality people, like most US agencies in general, large bureaucracies usually are unable to utilize their talent. Mediocrities with sharp elbows, political talent, as well as sociopaths typically rule the show.

That means two things:

So even with huge amount of subcontractors that can chase mostly "big fish". Although one open question is why with all those treasure trove of data organized crime is so hard to defeat. Having dataset like this should generally expose all the members of any gang. Or, say, network of blue collar insider traders. So in an indirect way the fact that organized crime not only exists and in some cities even flourish can suggest one of two things:

There is also a question of complexity of analysis:

Possibility of abuses of collected data

Errors in algorithms and bugs in those programs can bite some people in a different way then branding them as "terrorists". Such people have no way of knowing why all of a sudden, for example, they are paying a more for insurance, why their credit score is so low no matter what they do, etc. In no way government in the only one who are using the mass of data collected via Google / Facebook / Yahoo / Microsoft / Verizon / Optonline / AT&T / Comcast, etc. It also can lead to certain subtle types of bias if not error. And there are always problems of intentional misuse of data sets having extremely intimate knowledge about you.

Corporate corruption can lead to those data that are shared with the government can also be shared for money with private actors. Inept use of this unconstitutionally obtained data is a threat to all of us.

Then there can be cases when you can be targeted just because you are critical to the particular area of government policy, for example the US foreign policy. This is "Back in the USSR" situation in full swing, with its prosecution of dissidents. Labeling you as a "disloyal/suspicious element" in one of government "terrorism tracking" databases can have drastic result to your career and you never even realize whats happened. Kind of Internet era McCarthyism .

Obama claims that the government is aware about this danger and tried not to overstep, but he is an interested party in this discussion. In a way government is pushed in this area by the new technologies that open tremendous opportunities for collecting data and making some correlations.

That's why even if you are doing nothing wrong, it is still important to know your enemy, as well as avoid getting into some traps. One typical trap is excessive centralization of your email on social sites, including using a single Webmail provider. It is much safer to have mail delivery to your computer via POP3 and to use Thunderbird or other email client. If your computer is a laptop, you achieve, say, 80% of portability that Web-based email providers like Google Gmail offers. That does not mean that you should close your Gmail or Yahoo account. More important is separating email accounts into "important" and "everything else". "Junk mail" can be stored on Web-based email providers without any problems. Personal emails is completely another matter.

Conclusions

#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: "We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever."

New Internet technology developments has huge "Externality":
Profiling is now really easy and almost automatic, especially with your own help

Technology development create new types of communications as well as new types of government surveillance mechanisms (you can call them "externalities" of new methods of communication). Those externalities, especially low cost of mass surveillance (Wikipedia), unfortunately, bring us closer to the Electronic police state (Wikipedia) or National Security State whether we want it or not. A crucial element of such a state is that its data gathering, sorting and correlation are continuous, cover a large number of citizens and all foreigners and those activities are seldom exposed.

Cloud computing as a technology that presuppose storing the data "offsite" on third party servers have several security problems, and one of them is that it is way too much "surveillance friendly" (Misunderstanding of issues of security and trust). With cloud computing powers that be do not need to do complex job of recreating TCP/IP conversations on router level to capture, say, all the emails. You can access Web-based email mailbox directly with all mails in appropriate mailboxes and spam filtered. Your address book is a bonus ;-). This is huge saving of computational efforts.

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[Jun 15, 2017] Seveteen Sisters -- 17 US Agencies Make Up The Most Sophisticated Spy Network In The World by Paul Szoldra

May 11, 2013 | www.businessinsider.com

The U.S. intelligence community is vast , composed of 17 distinct organizations each operating under its own shroud of secrecy.

Oversight of these agencies generally falls to the Department of Defense or Congress, leaving the average citizen with precious little knowledge of how they operate.

Funded by largely classified budgets, it's difficult to assess how much the U.S. annually spends on these clandestine operations, but one 2012 estimate pegs the cost at about $75 billion.

The following slides highlight the expansive reach of the U.S. intelligence community.

The Central Intelligence Agency spies on foreign governments and organizes covert ops. screenshot

The CIA is the most well-known U.S. spying agency, formed by the passage of the National Security Act of 1947. The agency has its roots with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) that operated during World War II.

Headquarters : Langley, Va.

Mission : CIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates intelligence gathered on foreign nations. This comes through signals and human intelligence sources.

Budget : Classified. On their website , the CIA states, "neither the number of employees nor the size of the Agency's budget can, at present, be publicly disclosed. A common misconception is that the Agency has an unlimited budget, which is far from true."

the annual intelligence budget was $44 billion.

The National Security Agency was once so secretive it was jokingly called 'No Such Agency.' NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland NSA

The NSA was No Such Agency ."

Headquarters : Fort Meade, Md.

Budget : Classified. Some estimate the NSA is actually the largest intelligence organization in the world - three times the size of the CIA. The headquarters alone takes up 6.3 million square feet - around the same size as the Pentagon - with 112 acres of parking spaces, reports the Washington Post.

The Defense Intelligence Agency works to understand what foreign militaries will do before they do it. DIA its overseas spy network to collect first-hand intelligence.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The DIA serves as the lead intelligence agency for the Dept. of Defense, coordinating analysis and collection of intelligence on foreign militaries, in addition to surveillance and reconnaissance operations. The DIA is the common link between military and national intelligence agencies.

Budget : Classified. The DIA does not reveal budget information, although they do say they have more than 16,500 men and women working for them and are under DoD and congressional oversight.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research provides diplomats the necessary tools for effective foreign policy.

The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) has ties to the Office of Strategic Services from World War II, but was transferred to State after the war. INR now reports directly to the Secretary of State, harnessing intelligence from all sources and offering independent analysis of global events and real-time insight.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : This agency serves as the Secretary of State's primary advisor on intelligence matters, and gives support to other policymakers, ambassadors, and embassy staff.

Budget : $49 million in 2007, according to documents obtained by FAS.

Air Force Intelligence provides reconnaissance for US ground troops.

Formerly known as the Air Intelligence Agency, the agency is now known as the Air Force ISR - Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance. Air Force intelligence was established in 1948 to get information to troops on the ground, and most recently, the ISR has collected that intelligence from aerial drones.

Headquarters : Lackland Air Force Base, Texas

Mission : Air Force ISR collects and analyzes intelligence on foreign nations and hostile forces, both in and out of combat zones. They also conduct electronic and photographic surveillance, and provide weather and mapping data to troops in the field.

Budget : Unknown . The budget of ISR apparently falls under the Air Force's Operation & Maintenance budget, which includes other areas outside of the agency's scope such as flying operations and logistics. That number for 2012, however, was just over $46 million.

The FBI's National Security Branch oversees counterterrorism and intelligence gathering.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Security Branch (NSB) was established in 2005 , combining resources that include counterterrorism, counter-intelligence, weapons of mass destruction, and intelligence under a single FBI leader.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : Formed after 9/11 and the Iraq WMD commission - when intelligence agencies were not sharing data with each other - the NSB integrates intel on national security and criminal threats from a variety of sources that are often intertwined in order to protect U.S. interests.

Budget : Total FBI budget was approximately $8.1 billion in 2012, which included an increase of $119 million "to enhance our counterterrorism, computer intrusions, and other programs," according to their website.

Army Intelligence and Security Command offers essential intel to troops on the battlefield.

Army intelligence has been around since spies worked for the Continental Army in 1775 , but the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) was established in 1977 to become the major unifying command of army intelligence.

Headquarters : Fort Belvoir, Va.

Mission : INSCOM provides commanders on the ground with information they may need on the battlefield: intercepted enemy radio communications, maps, ground imagery, and information on force structure and numbers.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence gathers information on foreign nuclear weapons.

Surprisingly, the Energy Department even has an intelligence service. The Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence focuses on technical intelligence on nuclear weapons and nonproliferation, nuclear energy (especially foreign), and energy security.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The Dept. of Energy doesn't have the ability to conduct foreign intelligence, instead relying on information passed to them by other agencies (such as the CIA or NSA). If it involves weapons of mass destruction, the DoE offers up the analytical expertise.

Budget : Unknown. Like other government budgets, the intelligence activity is not specifically mentioned, although it may fall under "Atomic Energy Defense Activities" which had a total budget of more than $16 billion in 2012.

Coast Guard Intelligence provides information on maritime security and homeland defense.

Coast Guard Intelligence (CGI) was formed in 1915 and now falls under the Dept. of Homeland Security, providing information on maritime and port security, search and rescue, and counter-narcotics.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : Although CGI is technically an intelligence agency, its primary mission is as an investigative arm of the Coast Guard. CGI special agents "conduct criminal, counterintelligence and personnel security investigations within the Coast Guard's area of responsibility," with the majority being criminal offenses violating military law, according to the Coast Guard's official website . However, the Coast Guard does have specialists conducting analysis and collection of intelligence.

Budget : Unknown. Like the Army, the budget has some overlap, although the 2014 budget request includes $60 million for C4ISR systems, an acronym for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.

CGI headquarters is relatively small, only employing about 280 .

The Treasury's Office of Intelligence and Analysis collects terrorism and financial intelligence.

The Office of Intelligence and Analysis is fairly new, established in 2004 by the Intelligence Authorization Act. OIA's focus is mainly on providing information to combat terrorism and illicit financial transactions.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : OIA safeguards the U.S. financial system "against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats," according to DNI.

Budget : Around $340 million.

The Drug Enforcement Administration hunts down illegal drugs.

The DEA has been gathering intelligence for anti-drug operations since its establishment in 1973 . The agency collects and provides intelligence to other law enforcement agencies and helps with investigations.

Headquarters : El Paso, Texas

Mission : DEA assists local and federal law enforcement in conducting major drug investigations, along with developing "information that leads to seizures and arrests, and provid[ing] policy makers with drug trend information upon which programmatic decisions can be based," according to their website.

Budget : $2 billion (total DEA budget in 2013)

The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity monitors the Corp's battlefields.

Like Army intelligence, the Marine Corps provides their own agency to collect and analyze information for troops on the ground. This includes map making, radio intercepts, human intelligence, and counter-intelligence.

Headquarters : Quantico, Va.

Mission : The primary function of Marine IA is to give tactical and operational intelligence to battlefield commanders. They also serve as the "go-to" unit for the Commandant of the Marine Corps on understanding intel.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provides advanced mapping for military forces.

Having its roots from the 1972 formation of the Defense Mapping Agency and formerly known as NIMA , the agency was renamed the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in 2003 . The agency has the task of collecting and understanding Earth's physical and man-made attributes. Using advanced imagery (mainly from satellites), it was NGA watching Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

Headquarters : Ft. Belvoir, Va.

Mission : NGA employs cartographers and analysts that collect and generate information about the Earth. This data is used in navigation, national security, military operations, and humanitarian aid efforts.

Budget : Classified . NGA employs approximately 14,500 government civilians.

The National Reconnaissance Office is responsible for America's spy satellites.

While the NGA is responsible for gaining information from satellite data, the National Reconnaissance Office - created secretly in 1961 and not acknowledged until 1992 - is in charge with satellite design, building, launch, and maintenance.

Headquarters : Chantilly, Va.

Mission : NRO gives its mission as "innovative overhead intelligence systems for national security." Simply put, the NRO provides their "customers" at the CIA, DoD, and elsewhere with technologically advanced spy satellites.

Budget : Classified .

The Office of Naval Intelligence provides information on the world's oceans to sailors everywhere.

The Office of Naval Intelligence was established in 1882 for "the purpose of collecting and recording naval information" that could be useful in war and peace. Like other military intelligence services, ONI gives maritime commanders information they need on foreign forces.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : ONI gathers intelligence and moves it rapidly to decision makers. "We produce maritime intelligence on weapons and technology proliferation and smuggling and illicit maritime activities that directly supports the U.S. Navy, joint war fighters and national decision makers and agencies," according to their website.

Budget : Unknown. The total military intelligence budget was $21.5 billion in 2012.

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis looks for information on any potential threats to the US.

The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis works primarily on homeland threats - collecting and analyzing information, and sharing intelligence with local and federal law enforcement through the use of " fusion centers ."

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : They work on four main areas: understanding threats through analysis, collecting information relevant to homeland security, sharing that information with the agencies that need it, and managing the homeland security enterprise, according to DNI.

Budget : Classified. In a Congressional Research Service report , it was noted that "DNI does not publicly disclose details about the intelligence budget, but ... reported that the aggregate amount appropriated to the [national intelligence program] for FY2009 was $49.8 billion."

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is where all the intelligence should come together for delivery to the president.

Established in 2004 , the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) manages the efforts of the entire U.S. intelligence community. Director James R. Clapper serves as the principal advisor to the president as well as the National Security and Homeland Security Councils.

Headquarters : Washington, D.C.

Mission : The DNI has two main missions: to lead intelligence integration, and "forge an intelligence community that delivers the most insightful intelligence possible."

Budget : The specifics of the office itself are unknown, but the total aggregate amount for the national intelligence program is more than $48 billion.

BONUS: The 'intelligence state' has been expanding drastically since 9/11. Gary Nichols via U.S. Military

The U.S. intelligence community is officially made of 17 organizations, but there is even more to the story.

A groundbreaking investigation from the Washington Post found some rather daunting figures:

- 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies are working on intelligence, counterterrorism, or homeland security in the U.S.

- Just the NSA alone is contracting with more than 250 companies on intelligence work, including big names like Northrop Grumman and SAIC.

- Many intelligence agencies are doing redundant work, such as 51 federal and military organizations that track the flow of money in and out of terror networks.

- One reason why those intelligence budgets are classified: millions of dollars in so-called "ghost money" given to foreign governments.

[Jun 15, 2017] Many Americans know that MSM are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so they actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of spam in comments. It is dispiriting to say the least.

Notable quotes:
"... Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least. ..."
"... That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It's not easy. ..."
"... Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! :-) ..."
"... Don't miss the link to TTG's comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis! ..."
"... Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish 'alternative news/websites/blogs'. ..."
"... the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive. ..."
Jun 09, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
at Al, June 7, 2017 at 7:17 am

Vis the Reality Winner leaking 'proof' of Russian hacking of US elections, PavewayIV's comment on Moon of Alabama says it all:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b8d28a09f7970c

####

He's one of a handful of good commenters there among the nutbags, antisemites, conspiracy theorists etc. It's one of the things that really bugs me about great (supposedly) alternative news/opinion/blogs. They always get immediately contaminated by all sorts of narcissistic 'tards who just want to s/t the bed for everyone else, particularly the flyby trolls. Lots of people out there (Hello lurkers!) know that the Pork Pie News Networks are either feeding them unadulterated bs or lying by omission so actually make a real effort to find out more – whether they agree with it or not – but are faced with having to wade through rivers of f/ktard commenters. It is dispiriting to say the least.

That may well be the idea, particularly those organizations that want to hose a and discredit alternative media sites (sic the JTRIG program and the likes of Brigade 77 and digilogues that have been running for years). If you can hack it, you probably think a) does this make sense? b) who is bono? c) timing, timing, timing.. d) is anything logically missing from the picture/story? e) if so, what conclusions can we draw from that? etc. It's not easy.

Once upon a time we had newspaper columnists to do our thinking for us who we would religiously read. Now it is each one for themselves. What a pain in the ass. Fortunately we have the Kremlin Stooge and a bunch of other sites to help! :-)

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 7:43 am
'Ghostship' elucidates how Reality Winner would have access to top class info;

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01b7c9000590970b

####

My only thoughts are, wouldn't such info be compartmentalized (standard operating procedure, innit?), i.e. a 'translator' would not have free and unlimited access, but rather have access to only very specific highly secret info? If there are that many translators out there, then compartmentalization would work very well. It is totally counter intuitive, nay stupid , to allow free range to anyone but the top of the top. More people, more chance of leaks, accidents or incomptence.

et Al , June 7, 2017 at 7:50 am
Ah, I should have read on. PavewayIV again:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/do-not-trust-the-intercept-or-how-to-burn-a-source.html#c6a00d8341c640e53ef01bb09a3288d970d

####

Don't miss the link to TTG's comment on leaks at Sic Semper Tyrannis!

Yet again, you do not get this kind of information from the Pork Pie News Networks, the same ones who cosy up to the security services in return for juicy tidbits and also rubbish 'alternative news/websites/blogs'.

marknesop , June 7, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Indeed it is; Secret and Top secret information is made available to those who

(1) are cleared to the appropriate level, and

(2) have the need to know.

It's "and". Not "or". Top Secret information may not be viewed by anyone with a Top Secret security clearance – only by those who need to know that information to carry out their duties related to it.

Information may actually specify, "Top Secret – Eyes Only" in which the personnel holding a Top Secret clearance who may view the material are either listed, or it is restricted only to the addressee.

yalensis , June 8, 2017 at 2:34 am
I dunno, because that whole Snowden thing revealed a lot of holes in the American security apparatus. Snowden himself was surprised just how much stuff he was able to access, and he was just a contractor at the time, not even a permanent employee.
marknesop , June 8, 2017 at 5:37 am
Well, yes, because the notion of compartmentalized operational security and broad state electronic surveillance of the population are mutually exclusive.

But to the very best of my knowledge Snowden did not reveal any secrets of America's defense systems, its operational structure, its past military operations or its future plans in that area, if he knew them. The damaging information he disclosed all related to American spying on foreign leaders and the American electorate

[Jun 13, 2017] NBCs Kelly Hits Putin With a Beloved Canard by Ray McGovern

Notable quotes:
"... "They have been misled and they are not analyzing the information in its entirety. We have talked about it with former President Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence. When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that's how I saw it." ..."
"... As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama's news conference two days earlier, "Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with 'high confidence' – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds. ..."
"... "Hackers may be anywhere," Putin said. "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can't you imagine it happening? I can. ..."
"... "Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy. There is a theory that Kennedy's assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today's context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. " ..."
"... The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for "proving" the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails. ..."
"... In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several "active measures" undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper – the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies. ..."
"... There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee's computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC's private contractor, Crowdstrike. ..."
"... The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike. ..."
"... Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – now including a possible impeachment battle over removing the President of the United States – wouldn't it seem logical for the FBI to insist on its own forensics for this fundamental predicate of the case? Or could Comey's hesitancy to demand access to the DNC's computers be explained by a fear that FBI technicians not fully briefed on CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State programs might uncover a lot more than he wanted? ..."
Jun 13, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

To prove their chops, mainstream media stars can't wait to go head-to-head with a demonized foreign leader, like Vladimir Putin, and let him have it, even if their "facts" are wrong, as Megyn Kelly showed

NBC's Megyn Kelly wielded one of Official Washington's most beloved groupthinks to smack Russian President Vladimir Putin over his denials that he and his government were responsible for hacking Democratic emails and interfering with the U.S. presidential election.

In her June 2 interview with Putin, Kelly noted that all "17 intelligence agencies" of the US government concurred in their conclusion of Russian guilt and how could Putin suggest that they all are "lying." It's an argument that has been used to silence skeptics for months and apparently is so useful that no one seems to care that it isn't true.

For instance, on May 8, in testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper conceded publicly that the number of intelligence agencies involved in the assessment was three, not 17, and that the analysts assigned to the project from CIA, FBI and NSA had been "handpicked."

On May 23, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan confirmed Clapper's account about the three agencies involved. "It wasn't a full interagency community assessment that was coordinated among the 17 agencies," Brennan acknowledged.

But those public admissions haven't stopped Democrats and the mainstream media from continuing to repeat the false claim. In comments on May 31, failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton repeated the canard, with a flourish, saying: "Seventeen agencies, all in agreement, which I know from my experience as a Senator and Secretary of State, is hard to get."

A couple of days later, Kelly revived the myth of the consensus among the 17 intelligence agencies in her interview with the Russian president. But Putin passed up the opportunity to correct her, replying instead:

"They have been misled and they are not analyzing the information in its entirety. We have talked about it with former President Obama and with several other officials. No one ever showed me any direct evidence. When we spoke with President Obama about that, you know, you should probably better ask him about it – I think he will tell you that he, too, is confident of it. But when he and I talked I saw that he, too, started having doubts. At any rate, that's how I saw it."

As I noted in a Jan. 20 article about Obama's news conference two days earlier, "Did President Barack Obama acknowledge that the extraordinary propaganda campaign to blame Russia for helping Donald Trump become president has a very big hole in it, i.e., that the US intelligence community has no idea how the Democratic emails reached WikiLeaks? For weeks, eloquent obfuscation – expressed with 'high confidence' – has been the name of the game, but inadvertent admissions now are dispelling some of the clouds.

"At President Obama's Jan. 18 press conference, he admitted as much: 'the conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking were not conclusive as to whether WikiLeaks was witting or not in being the conduit through which we heard about the DNC e-mails that were leaked .'" [Emphasis added]

Explaining the Technology

More importantly, Putin in his interview with Kelly points out that "today's technology" enables hacking to be "masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin" of the hack. "And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack. Modern technology is very sophisticated and subtle and allows this to be done. And when we realize that we will get rid of all the illusions. "

Later, when Kelly came back to the issue of hacking, Putin expanded on the difficulty in tracing the source of cyber attacks.

"Hackers may be anywhere," Putin said. "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can't you imagine such a scenario? In the middle of an internal political fight, it was convenient for them, whatever the reason, to put out that information. And put it out they did. And, doing it, they made a reference to Russia. Can't you imagine it happening? I can.

"Let us recall the assassination of President Kennedy. There is a theory that Kennedy's assassination was arranged by the United States special services. If this theory is correct, and one cannot rule it out, so what can be easier in today's context, being able to rely on the entire technical capabilities available to special services than to organize some kind of attacks in the appropriate manner while making a reference to Russia in the process. "

Kelly: "Let's move on."

However carefully Megyn Kelly and her NBC colleagues peruse The New York Times, they might well not know WikiLeaks' disclosure on March 31 of original CIA documents showing that the agency had created a program allowing it to break into computers and servers and make it look like others did it by leaving telltale signs (like Cyrillic markings, for example).

The capabilities shown in what WikiLeaks calls the "Vault 7" trove of CIA documents required the creation of hundreds of millions of lines of source code. At $25 per line of code, that amounts to about $2.5 billion for each 100 million code lines. But the Deep State has that kind of money and would probably consider the expenditure a good return on investment for "proving" the Russians hacked into Democratic Party emails.

In other words, it is altogether possible that the hacking attributed to Russia was actually one of several "active measures" undertaken by a cabal consisting of the CIA, FBI, NSA and Clapper – the same agencies responsible for the lame, evidence-free report of Jan. 6, that Clapper and Brennan acknowledged last month was not the consensus view of the 17 intelligence agencies.

There is also the issue of the forensics. Former FBI Director James Comey displayed considerable discomfort on March 20, explaining to the House Intelligence Committee why the FBI did not insist on getting physical access to the Democratic National Committee's computers in order to do its own proper forensics, but chose to rely on the examination done by the DNC's private contractor, Crowdstrike.

The firm itself has conflicts of interests in its links to the pro-NATO and anti-Russia think tank, the Atlantic Council, through Dmitri Alperovitch, who is an Atlantic Council senior fellow and the co-founder of Crowdstrike.

Strange Oversight

Given the stakes involved in the Russia-gate investigation – now including a possible impeachment battle over removing the President of the United States – wouldn't it seem logical for the FBI to insist on its own forensics for this fundamental predicate of the case? Or could Comey's hesitancy to demand access to the DNC's computers be explained by a fear that FBI technicians not fully briefed on CIA/NSA/FBI Deep State programs might uncover a lot more than he wanted?

Comey was asked again about this curious oversight on June 8 by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr:

BURR: "And the FBI, in this case, unlike other cases that you might investigate – did you ever have access to the actual hardware that was hacked? Or did you have to rely on a third party to provide you the data that they had collected?"

COMEY: "In the case of the DNC, and, I believe, the DCCC, but I'm sure the DNC, we did not have access to the devices themselves. We got relevant forensic information from a private party, a high-class entity, that had done the work. But we didn't get direct access."

BURR: "But no content?"

COMEY: "Correct."

BURR: "Isn't content an important part of the forensics from a counterintelligence standpoint?"

COMEY: "It is, although what was briefed to me by my folks – the people who were my folks at the time is that they had gotten the information from the private party that they needed to understand the intrusion by the spring of 2016."

Burr demurred on asking Comey to explain what amounts to gross misfeasance, if not worse. Perhaps, NBC could arrange for Megyn Kelly to interview Burr to ask if he has a clue as to what Putin might have been referring to when he noted, "There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia."

Given the congressional intelligence "oversight" committees' obsequiousness and repeated "high esteem" for the "intelligence community," there seems an even chance that – no doubt because of an oversight – the CIA/FBI/NSA deep-stage troika failed to brief the Senate "oversight committee" chairman on WikiLeaks "Vault 7" disclosures – even when WikiLeaks publishes original CIA documents.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Jun 08, 2017] NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed

Notable quotes:
"... Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ." ..."
"... The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself. The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond. ..."
"... To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly. ..."
"... When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers. ..."
"... The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency. ..."
"... At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult. ..."
"... considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well. ..."
"... And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."... ..."
"... Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit. ..."
"... As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins." ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
NSA Denies Everything About Latest Intercept Leak, Including Denying Something That Was Never Claimed from the let's-play-word-games-with-the-NSA dept The recent leaks published at Glenn Greenwald's new home, The Intercept, detailed the NSA's spread of malware around the world, with a stated goal of sabotaging "millions" of computers. As was noted then, the NSA hadn't issued a comment. The GCHQ, named as a co-conspirator, had already commented, delivering the usual spiel about legality, oversight and directives -- a word salad that has pretty much replaced "no comment" in the intelligence world.

The NSA has now issued a formal statement on the leaks, denying everything -- including something that wasn't even alleged. In what has become the new "no comment" on the NSA side, the words "appropriate," "lawful" and "legitimate" are trotted out, along with the now de rigueur accusations that everything printed (including, apparently, its own internal documents) is false.

Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate. NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities. Technical capability must be understood within the legal, policy, and operational context within which the capability must be employed.
First off, for the NSA to claim that loading up "millions" of computers with malware is somehow targeted (and not "indiscriminate") is laughable. As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Targeting telco and ISP systems administrators goes well outside the bounds of "national security." These people aren't suspected terrorists. They're just people inconveniently placed between the NSA and its goal of " collecting it all ."

Last, but not least, the NSA plays semantic games to deny an accusation that was never made, calling to mind Clapper's denial of a conveniently horrendous translation of a French article on its spying efforts there.

NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
This "denial" refers to this portion of The Intercept's article.
In some cases the NSA has masqueraded as a fake Facebook server, using the social media site as a launching pad to infect a target's computer and exfiltrate files from a hard drive... In one man-on-the-side technique, codenamed QUANTUMHAND, the agency disguises itself as a fake Facebook server. When a target attempts to log in to the social media site, the NSA transmits malicious data packets that trick the target's computer into thinking they are being sent from the real Facebook. By concealing its malware within what looks like an ordinary Facebook page, the NSA is able to hack into the targeted computer and covertly siphon out data from its hard drive.
The NSA's own documents say that QUANTUMHAND "exploits the computer of a target that uses Facebook." The man-on-the-side attack impersonates a server , not the site itself.

The NSA denies impersonating, but that's not what The Intercept said or what its own documents state. This animated explanation, using the NSA's Powerpoint presentation, shows what the attack does -- it tips the TURBINE servers, which then send the malware payload before the Facebook servers can respond.

To the end user, it looks as though Facebook is just running slowly.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/88822483

When the NSA says it doesn't impersonate sites, it truly doesn't. It injects malware by beating Facebook server response time. It doesn't serve up faux Facebook pages; it simply grabs the files and data from compromised computers.

The exploit is almost wholly divorced from Facebook itself. The social media site is an opportunity for malware deployment, and the NSA doesn't need to impersonate a site to achieve its aims. This is the NSA maintaining deniability in the face of damning allegations -- claiming something was said that actually wasn't and resorting to (ultimately futile) attempts to portray journalists as somehow less trustworthy than the agency.

sorrykb ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:39am

Denial = Confirmation?
NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites.
At this point, the mere fact that the NSA denies doing something is almost enough to convince me that they are doing it. I'm trying not to be paranoid. They just make it so difficult.
Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 9:48am
Re: Denial = Confirmation?

considering how much access they seemed to have I think it is entirely possible for them to do that. And the criminal energy to do it definitely there as well.

By now you have to assume the worst when it comes to them, and once the truth comes out it tends to paint and even worse picture then what you could imagine.

And there is still the question if Facebook and similar sites might be at least funded, if not run by intelligence agencies altogether. If that is the case that would put this denial in an entirely different light. It would read "We don't impersonate companies. We ARE the companies."...

Mark Wing , 14 Mar 2014 @ 10:35am

Max level sophistry. I wonder if anyone at the NSA even remembers what the truth is, it's been coated in so many layers of bullshit.

art guerrilla ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 12:06pm
Re: NSA Word-Smithing

I can not stress this poster's sentiment, as well as voiced in the article itself, of the CHILDISH semantic games the alphabet spooks will play... they WILL (metaphorically speaking) look you straight in the eye, piss on your leg, and INSIST it is raining; THEN fabricate evidence to 'prove' it was rain...

In my readings about the evil done in our name, with our money, *supposedly* to 'protect and serve' us, by the boys in black, you can NOT UNDERESTIMATE the most simplistic, and -to repeat myself -- CHILDISH ways they will LIE AND DISSEMBLE...

They are scum, they are slime, they are NOT the best and the brightest, they are the worst and most immoral...

YOU CAN NOT OVERSTATE THEIR MORAL VACUITY...

we do NOT deserve these pieces of shit...

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 11:17am

We know that the NSA, with the cooperation of the companies involved, has equipment co-located at major backbones and POPs to achieve the goals for QUANTUMHAND, QUANTUMINSERT, and etc.

At what point will we start confronting these companies and pressuring them to discontinue such cooperation? I know it's no easy task, but just as much as the government is reeling from all the public pressure, so too will these companies if we press their hands. Make it affect their bottom line.

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:49pm
is techdirt an hack target?

this page of your site tries to run scripts from
google
amazonaws
twitter
facebook
ajax.googleapis
techdirt

and install cookies from
techdirt
imigur

and request resources from
rp-api
vimeo

and install/use tracking beacons from
facebook connect
google +1
gravitar
nativo
quantcast
redit
repost.us
scorecard research beacon
twitter button.

...and who knows what else would run if all that was allowed to proceed. (I'm not going to run them to find out the 2nd level stuff)

for all the great reporting techdirt does on spying/tracking/privacy- you need to get you shit together already with this site; it seams like you're part of the problem. Please explain the technical facts as to why these same types of hacks couldn't be done to your readers through this clusterfuck of off site scripts/beacons/cookies/resources your forcing on people to ignorant to know how to block them.

Matthew Cline ( profile ), 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:50pm

As for its "national security directive," it made a mockery of that when it proudly announced in its documents that "we hunt sys admins."

Well, heck, that's easy. Since the computers of the sys admins are just means to an ends, simply define "target" in a way that excludes anyone whose computers are compromised as a means to an end.

Anonymous mouse , 14 Mar 2014 @ 1:56pm

I seem to remember some articles about why people who don't use Facebook are suspect. To wit,

Are these possible signs that the NSA and GHCQ planted those stories?

Anonymous Coward , 14 Mar 2014 @ 3:49pm
The fun has yet to really begin

On April 8th, this year, Microsoft will stop installing new security patches from Windows XP, leaving computers running it totally vulnerable to such hacks. Anybody want to place bets on the fact that the alphabet soup agencies of our wonderful gummint are going to be first in line to exploit them? Just think what NSA could do with 300,000,000+ computers to play with!

[Jun 08, 2017] Congress Getting Pissed Off Over Failure Of Intel Community To Reveal How Many Americans Are Being Spied On Techdirt

Notable quotes:
"... I'm sure the number of American's spied upon is pretty damning and might actually cause some blowback (especially if it's 90-100% of the population as I suspect), which could put its use in jeopardy. ..."
"... the Postal Service has confirmed that it takes a photograph of the outside of every letter and package mailed in the United States and occasionally provides the photos to law enforcement agencies. ..."
"... It's obvious that they somehow accessed nearly all communications of Americans at one point or another. Even if technically they didn't look at much of the data. ..."
Jun 08, 2017 | www.techdirt.com
Then, yesterday, there was a public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing over the issue of the 702 renewal. While most of the press is focused on the refusal of those testifying to say whether President Trump had spoken to them about various investigations concerning Russia, there was something else concerning that was brought up. Coats, despite his earlier promises and the promises of his office, is now saying that it would be impossible to give a number.

Not surprisingly, for the folks in Congress who have been insisting on getting this number (and giving it to the public), this... did not sit well. When it was Senator Wyden's turn to question the panel, he went off on Coats for going back on his word.

This morning you went back on that promise and you said that even putting together a sampling, a statistical estimate, would jeopardize national security. I think that is a very, very damaging position to stake out.

Later in that exchange, there was this exchange (which, if you watch it, involved both men being fairly testy with each other):

Wyden: Can the government use FISA 702 to collect communications it knows are entirely domestic?

Coats: Not to my knowledge. It would be against the law.

As Marcy Wheeler points out, that exchange may prove to be similar to Wyden's now infamous question to Coats' predecessor, Clapper, about whether or not the NSA collected information on millions of Americans (the "not wittingly" response, which was later shown to be completely bogus). Wheeler points out that for Coats to actually believe that, it would appear that he doesn't know how 702 is actually used , even though he signed a memo about this very thing. Wheeler points to the recent FISC opinion reauthorizing 702 data collection that states that if the Director of the NSA signs a waiver for all of the domestic collections, then the NSA can still collect a wholly domestic communication under 702. That FISC opinion cites a March 30th memo that Coats would have signed as the justification for this argument. So for him to now say that it's illegal for the very thing his own memo from March says is okay... seems like a serious problem.

And Wyden's not the only one upset about this. Since this was a Senate hearing, Rep. Conyers wasn't there, but he put out a blistering statement calling Coats' statements "unacceptable."

The intelligence community has-for many months-expressly promised members of both parties that they would deliver this estimate to us in time to inform our debate on the reauthorization of Section 702. As late as last August, we had discussed and approved the specific methodologies that the NSA might use to make good on their promise.

Today, Director Coats announced that the estimate is 'infeasible' and will not be forthcoming. I find that outcome unacceptable.

Over the course of the last year, we believed we had worked past the excuses we are offered today. The nation's leading civil liberties organizations see no threat to privacy in this project, and have said so publicly. The agencies demonstrated to us how they might perform this analysis without significant diversion of resources. I am deeply disappointed in a return to these old talking points.

Section 702 is built on trust. It will be more difficult to find that trust as we move forward with the debate.

As we discussed earlier this week, a bunch of Senators have already been pushing a permanent renewal of 702 with no changes at all. As the debate heats up on the renewal of Section 702 ahead of its expiration later this year, we're going to need Congress to hold the intelligence community to its promise to reveal at least some data on how these programs impact Americans' communications.

aerinai ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 8:19am
No Stakes, No Game

Until these Senators start actually holding these guys accountable and not renew their authority of Section 702, these hearings are just bluster. I like Wyden and what he's doing (it seems single handedly), but unfortunately it doesn't mean much to the NSA. Withholding the information won't change any politicians views of it and its 'necessity', so they might as well err on the side of caution.

I'm sure the number of American's spied upon is pretty damning and might actually cause some blowback (especially if it's 90-100% of the population as I suspect), which could put its use in jeopardy.

Bergman ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 9:42am
Re: No Stakes, No Game

Contempt of Congress still exists, I think the Senate should start stomping on people who show contempt.

Roger Strong ( profile ), 8 Jun 2017 @ 10:07am
Re: We can truthfully guarantee...

Plus those who don't use electronic-based forms of communication, but who have friends and relatives who do, and who mention them in emails and on Facebook.

Also those who pay their grocery bills with a credit or debit card. Purchase history is occasionally requested by police.

Also people not into ebooks, but who check out books from the library.

Don't forget travel details, for those who cross a border. Or fly. Or pay for gas and meals with a credit / debit card.

Or who use local transit. My city switched to electronic fare cards a few months ago. Naturally, it was just revealed that the private travel history of bus riders is being handed to police without requiring a warrant.

But hey, there's still non-electronic communication like snail mail. That hardly ever gets opened. Although the Postal Service has confirmed that it takes a photograph of the outside of every letter and package mailed in the United States and occasionally provides the photos to law enforcement agencies.

James T , 8 Jun 2017 @ 10:44am
They can't

It's obvious that they somehow accessed nearly all communications of Americans at one point or another. Even if technically they didn't look at much of the data.

If true then they certainly wouldn't want to say we spied on everyone. That would damage their position which is that they are being responsible Intelligence agencies.

Anonymous Coward , 8 Jun 2017 @ 12:06pm
Infeasible to justify funding for an office that can't even justify itself

If the office cannot even compute a rough estimate, then it is either uncooperative or supremely incompetent. In either case, it is infeasible to continue funding such an entity. Funding for continued operation of the surveillance programs should be stripped until such time as it can comply with simple oversight requirements.

[Jun 07, 2017] James Comey sued by intelligence contractor Dennis Montgomery over spying on Americans Circa News - Learn. Think. Do.

Jun 07, 2017 | circa.com

A former U.S. intelligence contractor tells Circa he walked away with more than 600 million classified documents on 47 hard drives from the National Security Agency and the CIA, a haul potentially larger than Edward Snowden's now infamous breach.

And now he is suing former FBI Director James Comey and other government figures, alleging the bureau has covered up evidence he provided them showing widespread spying on Americans that violated civil liberties.

The suit, filed late Monday night by Dennis Montgomery, was assigned to the same federal judge who has already ruled that some of the NSA's collection of data on Americans violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, setting up an intriguing legal proceeding in the nation's capital this summer.

Montgomery says the evidence he gave to the FBI chronicle the warrantless collection of phone, financial and personal data and the unmasking of identities in spy data about millions of Americans.

... ... ...

Montgomery alleges that more than 20 million American identities were illegally unmasked - credit reports, emails, phone conversations and Internet traffic, were some of the items the NSA and CIA collected.

He said he returned the hard drives to the FBI, a fact confirmed in government documents reviewed by Circa.

"They're doing this domestic surveillance on Americans, running a project on U.S. soil," Montgomery alleged. He did not disclose the classified name of the project but said he revealed all aspects of the project during his interview with the FBI.

"Can you imagine what someone can do with the information they were collecting on Americans, can you imagine that kind of power."

Officials with the FBI and CIA declined to comment due to current and pending litigation.

... ... ...

The FBI contacts with Montgomery were encouraged by a senior status federal judge, who encouraged the two sides to meet rather than allow for any of the classified materials to leak, according to interviews Circa conducted.

Montgomery's lawsuit, which included his lawyer, the well-known conservative activist Larry Klayman, alleges Montgomery provided extensive evidence to the FBI of illegal spying on Americans ranging from judges to businessman like the future President Donald Trump.

The suit did not offer specifics of any illegal spying, but it accused the bureau of failing to take proper actions to rectify Montgomery's concerns.

Montgomery divulged to the FBI a "pattern and practice of conducting illegal, unconstitutional surveillance against millions of Americans, including prominent Americans such as the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, other justices, 156 judges, prominent businessmen, and others such as Donald J. Trump, as well as Plaintiffs themselves," Montgomery and Klayman alleged in their suit.

"Plaintiffs were assured that the FBI, under Defendant Comey, would conduct a full investigation into the grave instances of illegal and unconstitutional activity set forth by Montgomery. However, the FBI, on Defendant Comey's orders, buried the FBI's investigation because the FBI itself is involved in an ongoing conspiracy to not only conduct the aforementioned illegal, unconstitutional surveillance, but to cover it up as well," the suit added.

Klayman and Montgomery also alleged that they have evidence that they themselves have been improperly spied upon by U.S. intelligence. The suit named numerous other defendants as well, including current NSA Director Mike Rogers, former CIA Director John Brennan and even former President Barack Obama.

[Jun 06, 2017] Do Not Trust The Intercept or How To Burn A Source

Looks more and more like psyop operation -- a part of a Neo-McCarthyism propaganda campaign.
Notable quotes:
"... So why even go out of your way to leak these supposedly worthless documents to the press in the first place? Who benefits? ..."
"... Deep state benefits - analysis(?) is leaked which show as you say no proof, but it keeps the anti-russia propaganda going for another month or so - just as the anti-trump deep state and media wants. Sigh. ..."
"... P.S if any of you get a chance try to catch the interview on RT where German journo, who is unfortunately dead, states categorically that CIA and his bosses would instruct him on what to write and how to write it. ..."
"... If Reality Leigh Winner goes to trial and receives serious prison time, then The Intercept was wrong, but until then I'll think she's a Clintonist useful idiot. ..."
"... That would be Udo Ulfkotte. He used to work for FAZ. You have to take into account that he tried to live from writing books after FAZ and conspiracy theories do sell. ..."
"... Greenwald and Poitras are now the only two people with full access to the complete cache of NSA files ... just Glenn and Laura at the for-profit journalism company created by the founder of eBay. ..."
"... CIA Agents Caught Red Handed Trolling Alternative Media Sites http://humansarefree.com/2017/06/cia-agents-caught-red-handed-trolling.html I think we talked about this years ago, in regards to Israeli paid trolls, but we've gone so far into the Panopticon control grid, what difference does it make. ..."
"... I also think, it is possible that Hillary Clinton and Putin had a very personal not so private war after Hillary announced that she would do everything to prevent a realignment of Post Soviet States. And employing Victoria Nuland to achieve just that. ..."
"... ...which of course how psyops works. Because this leak will fuel more of the Trump/Russian conspiracies and hatred in the MSM. ..."
"... Are you from one of those USG "perception management" projects? Well, if you are, American taxpayers should be pissed off if this is all the "best and brightest" can come up with. The USG IC has an annual budget of $65 billion so if this is a black op., they have more than enough money to be able to afford the arrest of the "leaker" and even pay for her to get decently lawyered up. ..."
"... This whole episode smacks of a psy-op to me. If - and this is a big if - the Russians did hack into any voting systems, I'd be more willing to believe it was to collect evidence of malfeasance on the part of our own government than it would have been to manipulate the results themselves. ..."
"... Important to note is that Putin just mentioned in his interview with Megyn Kelly that it doesn't matter who's president of the United States because no matter what, the policy remains the same. That's a pretty direct indictment of the integrity of US elections, so what better time to up the ante with respect to the obvious lies about Russian interference in our elections than right after Putin calls our elections Kabuki theater? ..."
"... Well for one she is not a whistleblower, she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state. She I believe leaked material just to attack Trump and Russia even more with info, as we have seen so many times now past months. She nor we as readers have any idea if there is any truth to the claim to start with. So why leak it? Well obviously, like past months, some groups in our society benefit from this greatly. ..."
"... I haven't trusted The Intercept since they ran their hit piece on Tulsi Gabbard. ..."
"... Ghostship. True enough. But knowing it is still different from effectively dealing with it. The elite/CIA controlled mass media still has a lot of power to persuade people as do the corporations that finance political elections. As well as the people who make money from arms sales. These people who may be loosely referred to as 'deep state' don't want to give up any of that power/money. ..."
"... She follows a neocon agenda (war against afghanistan, war against Syria, hatered against Russia, hatred against foreign policy that Trump have i.e), she works for the deep state, she leak deep state material to smear her "enemies". ..."
"... Who are those who spread this bs to the MSM about Trump and Russia constantly for past months? Where does it come from if not from the deep state groups? ..."
"... Omidyar being behind the Intercept has always been an iffy proposition at best, and it has never sat well that Greenwald is apparently satisfied with such an arrangement. ..."
"... And you just know Mark Ames will have a piece up bashing Omidyar, Greenwald and Scahill. Speaking of Scahill, other than a weekly podcast, what exactly does he do for the Intercept? ..."
"... Greenwald is a self-serving hack and the Intercept functions alongside outlets like DemocracyNow! to provide a Democrat-friendly perspective on the world to people who think they are very "progressive". They will never challenge the fundamental precepts of US imperialism and the oligarchic powers behind it, or truly rock the boat. ..."
"... There's a chance they got played. As noted, the documents don't actual show evidence of actual interference with voting system beyond data gathering. ..."
"... Alternatively, the document was prepared in such a way that it was actually politically harmless but it could snare the leaker who would be triumphantly and publicly "executed". That can improve the discipline in the shop. ..."
"... This is silly nonsense. There is no difference at all between the neocons and the neolibs (the neolords). They come from exactly the same place and believe in exactly the same thing. Specifically, they are atychiphobs; they cannot endure any form of failure. So they always must attach themselves to whatever they perceive as the winning side. And ultimately rule the rest of the losing world. For them that's all there is; Hillary is an example, and most rich individuals also. They would absolutely prefer death to loserdom. So of course they have no concerns at all about the fate of the losers. They are all the same. ..."
"... Sounds like a con job from start to finish. Along the lines of bellingcat, SOHR ect. Just another method of disseminating propaganda. ..."
"... this whole thing is such a circus! and yes, the NSA has access to far more info than these stupid documents allude to, not to mention that the US has got to have some massive access to Russian data. ..."
"... I should add: If Putin were directly responsible for hacking anything, Clinton should kiss Putin's who-cares-what for waiting until AFTER the primaries. She got to be part of the final coin-toss. ..."
"... really, why is this NSA document even considered whistle-blowing? ..."
"... Setting aside the antics of the Intercept, let's consider how preposterous this story is at face value. She's basically a translator for a few Middle Eastern languages. So she's reading email or web sites or listening to phone calls and doing her translating thing. It's not like she's a high-level analyst preparing briefings for the National Intelligence director - she's a damn low-level translator (no offense to NSA translators out there). ..."
"... If Winner DID manage to stumble upon a Top Secret memo on her work network unrelated to her job, then her supervisor would have known it within minutes. Everything anybody does is constantly monitored and logged, right down to the keystroke. SHE would know that. In fact, she would be fired for not reporting this impossible access to top secret information immediately. She would be further punished for even having the document linger on her screen for more than a second or two. There's a reason they put TOP SECRET at the very top of every page. Classified documents also have their own security/surveillance/monitoring mechanisms. The document itself (or the document management system) knows or is told who is allowed to read it or even see that it exists. It would record her access, even if all the other security and monitoring software the agency had failed completely. So you get the idea. Even if she saw this document (unlikely) and did NOT report the inappropriate access, she would eventually be frog-walked out of the building before the end of the day. ..."
"... Top Secret documents (and their networks) do not allow you to print them at all, and certainly not on some random office printer. ..."
"... All modern printers and copy machines have an invisible watermark that identifies the time/date you printed a page and the serial number of the machine. If she copied it somewhere, then they copy can be traced to a certain machine and date/time. She's busted either way if the feds got their hands on it, and SHE KNOWS THAT. ..."
"... Sorry - but unless someone can prove she has an extra chromosome or two, I have to believe this is a charade. She won't go to jail because she's in on it with the NSA and it's not a real Top Secret document anyway. NO intelligence agency will ever verify or deny something you show them is either legitimate or Top Secret, so even that part is wrong. If you call them to ask about a document you have, they will politely put you on hold so they can dispatch some DHS thugs to kick in your door and retrieve said document - without telling you anything either way. ..."
"... I tend to agree with the hint, hint - #RealityWinner is an obvious PsyOp. Her employer probably had a deal for her - agree to be "used", play the part in a little prosecution game we'll have going, make sure you leak to Cook - and don't worry, you'll be well rewarded in the end. ..."
"... The timing of this leak and the choice of media outlet is very convenient for the Establishment Dems/Deep State Russia investigation. Leaking to the Intercept, which has credibility in the alternative media, would be a convenient way to get the story covered in the MSM and leftist media. It certainly helps to distract Berners from the Seth Rich story. Some interns at the Intercept did a sloppy job checking up on their source. ..."
"... thank you for this. i left a comment on that article yesterday about how dumb the technical aspects were and apparently you noticed as well (i also mentioned stuxnet as an example of what an effective and professional attack would actually look like). ..."
"... as i also mentioned: hillary won durham by a WIDE margin (almost 100k votes). seems like any "hacking" worked to her advantage, not trump's. ..."
"... i've been reading douglas valentine's book on the phoenix program and other CIA criminality https://www.amazon.com/CIA-Organized-Crime-Illegal-Operations/dp/0997287012 ..."
"... It looks like a real half-arsed psyops -- here is the "Russia did it" smoking gun we've all been waiting for and it gets sorta rolled out but not trumpeted hysterically. Why the Intercept? Why not the NYtimes or wapo? ..."
"... It's becoming more difficult daily to find something that doesn't stink. I see it as an attempt to further bury the censored NBC interview with Putin where he explained several hard truths, one of which I alluded to yesterday. Compare vid here, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/06/nbc-edited-out-putins-hard-truths-heres.html with uncensored one here, which includes transcript, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688 ..."
Jun 06, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Yesterday The Intercept published a leaked five page NSA analysis about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. Its reporting outed the leaker of the NSA documents. That person, R.L. Winner, has now been arrested and is likely to be jailed for years if not for the rest of her life.

FBI search (pdf) and arrest warrant (pdf) applications unveil irresponsible behavior by the Intercept 's reporters and editors which neglected all operational security trade-craft that might have prevented the revealing of the source. It leaves one scratching the head if this was intentional or just sheer incompetence. Either way - the incident confirms what skeptics had long determined : The Intercept is not a trustworthy outlet for leaking state secrets of public interests.

The Intercept was created to privatize the National Security Agency documents leaked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The documents proved that the NSA is hacking and copying nearly all electronic communication on this planet, that it was breaking laws that prohibited spying on U.S. citizen and that it sabotages on a large scale various kinds of commercial electronic equipment. Snowden gave copies of the NSA documents to a small number of journalists. One of them was Glenn Greenwald who now works at The Intercept . Only some 5% of the pages Snowden allegedly acquired and gave to reporters have been published. We have no idea what the unpublished pages would provide.

The Intercept , a subdivision of First Look Media, was founded by Pierre Omidyar, a major owner of the auctioning site eBay and its PayPal banking division. Omidyar is a billionaire and "philanthropist" who's (tax avoiding) Omidyar Network foundation is "investing" for "returns". Its microcredit project for farmers in India, in cooperation with people from the fascists RSS party, ended in an epidemic of suicides when the farmers were unable to pay back. The Omidyar Network also funded (fascist) regime change groups in Ukraine in cooperation with USAID. Omidyar had cozy relations with the Obama White House. Some of the held back NSA documents likely implicate Omidyar's PayPal.

The Intercept was funded with some $50 million from Omidyar. It first hires were Greenwald, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras - all involved in publishing the Snowden papers and other leaks. Its first piece was based on documents from the leaked the NSA stack. It has since published on this or that but not in a regular media way. The Intercept pieces are usually heavily editorialized and tend to have a mainstream "liberal" to libertarian slant. Some were highly partisan anti-Syrian/pro-regime change propaganda . The website seems to have no regular publishing schedule at all. Between one and five piece per day get pushed out, only few of them make public waves. Some of its later prominent hires (Ken Silverstein, Matt Taibbi) soon left and alleged that the place was run in a chaotic atmosphere and with improper and highly politicized editing. Despite its rich backing and allegedly high pay for its main journalists (Greenwald is said to receive between 250k and 1 million per year) the Intercept is begging for reader donations .

Yesterday's published story (with bylines of four(!) reporters) begins :

Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November's presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept.

The NSA "intelligence report" the Intercept publishes along the piece does NOT show that "Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack ". The document speaks of "cyber espionage operations " - i.e someone looked and maybe copied data but did not manipulate anything. Espionage via computer networks is something every nation in this world (and various private entities) do all the time. It is simply the collection of information. It is different from a "cyberattack" like Stuxnet which was intended to create large damage,

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 6:32:53 AM | 1

First Deep State Arrest? http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/06/05/first-deep-state-arrest-government-contractor-busted-leaking-nsa-docs-to-the-intercept/

That girl's social media accounts is filled with neocon propaganda and anti-Trump posts. Intercept is really really stupid for spreading this deepstate pro-war desinformation.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 6:40:53 AM | 2
Wikileaks twitter account has good comment on it. It is clear that The Intercept is a way to coopt hackers and leakers. She possibly would not have been arrested with Democrats in power. The New York Times and the Intercept have a campaign to leak to US sources so that whistleblowing is not treason.
never mind | Jun 6, 2017 6:53:25 AM | 3
I take it that there's not even the slightest or far reaching bit of evidence at all in the leaked documents that implicates Russia (or the US government) of any mischief.

So why even go out of your way to leak these supposedly worthless documents to the press in the first place? Who benefits?

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:01:37 AM | 4
never mind

Deep state benefits - analysis(?) is leaked which show as you say no proof, but it keeps the anti-russia propaganda going for another month or so - just as the anti-trump deep state and media wants. Sigh.

nobody | Jun 6, 2017 7:04:47 AM | 5
She looks like a dual citizen of the Rothschild colony in Palestine.
Mister Roboto | Jun 6, 2017 7:07:17 AM | 6
Thanks for this. Even before reading this account, I was inclined to think "fake news" because the Deep State is such a prolific and relentless generator of propaganda. And also, I think we're pretty much screwed regardless of who is in power. My only hope is that it all doesn't end up in mushroom-clouds.
Miller | Jun 6, 2017 7:10:45 AM | 7
This sort of activity wouldn't have helped Russian intelligence, but it might have been useful to US intelligence. DHS already got caught red handed.
opereta | Jun 6, 2017 7:16:59 AM | 8
It was obvious that The Intercept became a US Inteligence Industry pawn the minute it started to denounce Al Assad on 2016. It was too good to be true from the beginning. Snowden should say something about "his friends" Greenwald and Poitras !! As far as it is descrived in the above article, the R J Winner affaire could be just another Psy Op by the Langley People
Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:20:36 AM | 9
Its interesting how Assange and Wikileaks support this deep-state leaker. Why?
somebody | Jun 6, 2017 7:40:07 AM | 10
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:20:36 AM | 9

Because one person's freedom is everybody's freedom or in a quotation "Freedom is always the freedom of the person that thinks differently from you".

Lea | Jun 6, 2017 7:49:35 AM | 13
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 7:20:36 AM | 9
Its interesting how Assange and Wikileaks support this deep-state leaker. Why?

Assange supports all leakers, regardless of what they leak or to whom. Any other stance would amount to shooting himself in the foot.

On another note, what is extraordinary is to see a Deep State leaker busted by the Deep State. How batty is that? I mean, she was only trying to help them against "big bad Russia", wasn't she? So?

falcemartello | Jun 6, 2017 7:51:05 AM | 14
Yes the intercept gave them self away when Greenwald wrote a piece denouncing the Syrian government and the SAA back in 2015. He occasionally has sane and progressive expressions like when he speaks against the fascist state of Israel. He gave himself away again on the propaganda outlet Democracy now. He was eluding to the fact of Russian collusion with the recent POTUS elections and the Flyn fiasco. Here again he gave himself away. He is bought and paid for by the elite like most journo's in our deluded western countries.

P.S if any of you get a chance try to catch the interview on RT where German journo, who is unfortunately dead, states categorically that CIA and his bosses would instruct him on what to write and how to write it.

although a fan of the intercept at first, i soured when they announced they were spying on their readership. never trust a billionaire. betrayal is the only route to billionaire status.

greenwald and poitras at the oscars turned my stomach. not a word about chelsea manning or any of the others ... greenwald and poitras were the 'stars'.

now, no matter this winner is a loser or no, they've betrayed another one of the people who've put them where they are. they're cannibals.

since i stopped reading the intercept i was unaware of their support for al-cia-duh and the jihadists in syria. that just stinks.

snowden cast his pearls before swine.

Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 7:55:51 AM | 16
Maybe someone at The Intercept thought this was an attempt by the NSA (not the "deep state, there isn't one") to burn them, so they toss the document back at the NSA to see what happens.

Why The Intercept? If you read most Clintonist blogs, you'll quickly realise that Greenwald is up there with Assange and Putin as satanic (Trumpist) agents, so an Internet-aware Clintonist sending documents to The Intercept or Wikileaks suggests some other purpose than simply leaking information adverse to Trump.

Most Clintonists have jumped on this NSA "document" as further solid proof of Putin's culpability which just happened to be "leaked" at about the same time a favourable interview with Putin was being broadcast on the MSM.

If Reality Leigh Winner goes to trial and receives serious prison time, then The Intercept was wrong, but until then I'll think she's a Clintonist useful idiot.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:00:37 AM | 17
somebody / Lea

Actually Wikileaks/Assange have no idea if this info is even true. Who leaks this? Well obviously the same propagandists we heard past 6 months that want the world to think Russia and Trump won the election/the pathetic accusation that Russia somehow ruled the election to Trump. As far as we know the leaks could not only lack evidence but it could also be pure fake. So no, I dont see why Wikileaks and Assange would support this. But thats me.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:05:00 AM | 18
Posted by: falcemartello | Jun 6, 2017 7:51:05 AM | 14

That would be Udo Ulfkotte. He used to work for FAZ. You have to take into account that he tried to live from writing books after FAZ and conspiracy theories do sell.

Of course everybody the US, Russia, Qatar, companies have a PR greyzone trying to influence public opinion.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:08:44 AM | 19
Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 7:55:51 AM | 16

Read the @intercept they even agreed with the NSA to redact the stuff. The solution is obvious but I don't hear anybody calling for it: Paper ballots. It is simple, works and is fast if you have a good counting system in place. Lots of countries still use it.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:11:10 AM | 20
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:00:37 AM | 17

Accepting that leakers could be fake would destroy the business model. But no, if it was fake they would not go the extra effort to arrest a leaker who will be supplied good lawyers, I suppose.

jfl | Jun 6, 2017 8:13:28 AM | 21
Reality Winner charged leaking classified material

rod rosenstein ... Rosenstein and Mueller: the Regime Change Tag-Team , mike whitney has this guy's number, if you ask me.

Who "owns" the NSA secrets leaked by Edward Snowden to reporters Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras?

Greenwald and Poitras are now the only two people with full access to the complete cache of NSA files ... just Glenn and Laura at the for-profit journalism company created by the founder of eBay.

Whistleblowing has traditionally served the public interest. In this case, it is about to serve the interests of a billionaire starting a for-profit media business venture. This is truly unprecedented. Never before has such a vast trove of public secrets been sold wholesale to a single billionaire as the foundation of a for-profit company.

and who sold them? not edward snowden ... he gave them away ... to the two 'operators' who sold them to omidyar.

after death, devastation, and destruction outright ... deceit it the usofa's main growth industry. and hey, 'progressives' can do it too! and still huff and puff themselves up - among their temporary, transactional 'friends' anyway - with righteousness indignation.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:19:24 AM | 22
somebody

Thats whats called desinformation or psyops., you already for example seems claim that this is true facts that have been leaked, but we dont know that. Or do you actually believe the whole Russia-Trump-hacking-claims we heard past months?

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:41:09 AM | 23
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:19:24 AM | 22

It is a document about what someone in the NSA believes , it is completely meaningless. Greenwald and Scahill are kind of distancing themselves from the article. The document is just enough to cause headlines that convince trusting people that Russia hacked the election. Arresting the leaker makes sure everybody heard about it. Who wrote it by the way

Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Ryan Grim

They need 4 people to publish a document and burn a source?

Uncle $cam | Jun 6, 2017 8:49:05 AM | 24
CIA Agents Caught Red Handed Trolling Alternative Media Sites http://humansarefree.com/2017/06/cia-agents-caught-red-handed-trolling.html I think we talked about this years ago, in regards to Israeli paid trolls, but we've gone so far into the Panopticon control grid, what difference does it make.

Carry on...

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:52:33 AM | 25
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:19:24 AM | 22

I assume Russia has a cyber capacity in its defense portfolio, like everybody else.

The most likely scenario is Hillary Clinton and Julian Assange having a very personal private war after the state department leaks. I also think, it is possible that Hillary Clinton and Putin had a very personal not so private war after Hillary announced that she would do everything to prevent a realignment of Post Soviet States. And employing Victoria Nuland to achieve just that.

What do politicians in the US think - that they can attack without anybody trying to hit back?

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 8:55:33 AM | 27
somebody

"... document about what someone in the NSA believes,..."

...which of course how psyops works. Because this leak will fuel more of the Trump/Russian conspiracies and hatred in the MSM.

Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 9:11:24 AM | 29

>>>>> Posted by: somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:08:44 AM | 19
Posted by: Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 7:55:51 AM | 16

Read the @intercept they even agreed with the NSA to redact the stuff.

Well that's a big fat F in Black Ops 101 for you.

The Intercept just returns the document to the NSA - end of.

The Intercept asks the NSA to review and redact the document - it keeps going. Returning the received document rather than a re-typed one might raise questions within the NSA but could be put down to operator error at The Intercept but re-typed documents would get The Intercept no further in working out what's actually happening.

I'm not sure if this is what is happening but the whole thing is weird.

Posted by: somebody | Jun 6, 2017 8:11:10 AM | 20

But no, if it was fake they would not go the extra effort to arrest a leaker who will be supplied good lawyers, I suppose.

Are you from one of those USG "perception management" projects? Well, if you are, American taxpayers should be pissed off if this is all the "best and brightest" can come up with. The USG IC has an annual budget of $65 billion so if this is a black op., they have more than enough money to be able to afford the arrest of the "leaker" and even pay for her to get decently lawyered up.

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 9:15:07 AM | 30
27) if so, there are unintended consequences

From the memory whole - wired

But that's not what's really important here. WikiLeaks and Assange say they have no responsibility for the content they leak, and that no one has evidence that the sources of the DNC leak are Russian. But these leaks and tweets damage WikiLeaks' credibility. If they're not scrutinizing their own leaks on the base level of their content, it's not hard to imagine that WikiLeaks could unwittingly become part of someone else's agenda (like, say, a Russian one). "If you are a legitimate leaker, why go with WikiLeaks? You go with The Intercept or the New York Times, like they did with the Panama Papers" says Nicholas Weaver, a computer scientist at UC Berkeley who studies the organization. "Wikileaks is a pastebin for spooks, and they're happy to be used that way."

All this effort to discredit Wikileaks - poof.

Kronos | Jun 6, 2017 9:22:06 AM | 32
One would think that all parties would be interested in this news. The Dems, of course, want to make Russian links. But doesn't Trump want to use this to prove his theory that the popular vote was wrong? Let's not turn this into a game where everyone interprets things based on ideology. The whole dang point is that someone was trying to infiltrate our voting system. Maybe they failed, maybe it was just a reconnaissance mission, but it happened. That is news.

Moon is obviously showing extreme bias. Instead of trying to figure out and analyze the implications he uses this as a way to score points. Points against the Intercept. Points against the Dems, and so on. How tiring.

SlapHappy | Jun 6, 2017 9:54:22 AM | 35
This whole episode smacks of a psy-op to me. If - and this is a big if - the Russians did hack into any voting systems, I'd be more willing to believe it was to collect evidence of malfeasance on the part of our own government than it would have been to manipulate the results themselves.

Important to note is that Putin just mentioned in his interview with Megyn Kelly that it doesn't matter who's president of the United States because no matter what, the policy remains the same. That's a pretty direct indictment of the integrity of US elections, so what better time to up the ante with respect to the obvious lies about Russian interference in our elections than right after Putin calls our elections Kabuki theater?

ben | Jun 6, 2017 10:15:11 AM | 38
More diversion folks. The real elephant in the room is the U$A electoral system. It's rotten to it's core. Regardless of ANY information coming from ANY source, the corporate overlords OWN the voting systems at the national level here in the U$A. SO, we here in the U$A, can believe whoever we want to, but, our votes, at least at national level, are meaningless.

P.S- Read around folks, but, watch what people do, not what the say.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 10:34:10 AM | 40
jawbone

Well for one she is not a whistleblower, she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state. She I believe leaked material just to attack Trump and Russia even more with info, as we have seen so many times now past months. She nor we as readers have any idea if there is any truth to the claim to start with. So why leak it? Well obviously, like past months, some groups in our society benefit from this greatly.

Bob Bows | Jun 6, 2017 10:46:15 AM | 41
The article even says that NO EVIDENCE has been presented: "While the document provides rare window into the NSA's understanding of the mechanics of Russian hacking, it does not show the underlying "raw" intelligence on which the analysis is based. A U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the documentbecause a single analysis is not necessarily definitive."

The information is a lie, just like the original report from the Director of National Intelligence, as I detail here: http://coloradopublicbanking.blogspot.com/2017/01/us-intelligence-reports-fail.html

From The Hague | Jun 6, 2017 10:49:08 AM | 42
peter #39 that Trump has been utterly silent about Russia or Putin. Not one negative word.

Everybody not complying with "Russia/Putin is bad" must be paid or blackmailed. Silly.

Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 11:24:33 AM | 44
Posted by: Anon | Jun 6, 2017 10:34:10 AM | 40
she is another anti-Trump neocon working for the deep state

Three points:

1. She is not a neo-con, she's a neo-lib/liberal interventionist/R2P liberal/Clintonist. There is a big difference between neo-cons and neo-libs/liberal interventionists/R2P liberals/Clintonists. The neo-cons do it because they can, the latter, who are far more dangerous, do it "for the greater good" although they rarely ask the people who it's being done for what they think and they have a far greater degree of "religious"certainty about what they're doing.
To paraphrase Putin in his recent interview, "why would he interfere in American elections as he gets the same foreign policy crap regardless of which side wins?"

2. The neo-cons lost big time in Iraq and as a result have little real power in Washington beyond being disruptive.

3. There is no deep state in the United States now because it's totally visible, and since both the neo-cons and the neo-libs/liberal interventionists/R2P liberals/Clintonists have the same objective there is no need for secrecy or conspiracies. If anyone needs to revive the "deep state" it's the Trumpists.

All these conspiracy theories are a waste of time and energy because there is so much real dangerous crap going on that needs to be attended to first.

William Rood | Jun 6, 2017 11:31:31 AM | 45
I haven't trusted The Intercept since they ran their hit piece on Tulsi Gabbard.
financial matters | Jun 6, 2017 11:37:29 AM | 46
Ghostship. True enough. But knowing it is still different from effectively dealing with it. The elite/CIA controlled mass media still has a lot of power to persuade people as do the corporations that finance political elections. As well as the people who make money from arms sales. These people who may be loosely referred to as 'deep state' don't want to give up any of that power/money.
From The Hague | Jun 6, 2017 11:43:20 AM | 47
#46
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ...Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Foreign_Policy/US_ForeignPolicy.html
SlapHappy | Jun 6, 2017 11:46:22 AM | 48
Assuming the neocons and neolibs represent different interests is the same as assuming the democrats and republicans represent different masters. Divide and conquer is the name of the game, and until we can come together and agree on who the real enemy is, they'll continue eating our lunch with impunity.
Pnyx | Jun 6, 2017 11:57:04 AM | 49
Thanks for the very valuable information. I wonder what Snowdon is thinking and maybe doing about The Intercept. Being him I would be fourious.
Anon | Jun 6, 2017 11:57:32 AM | 50
ghostship

She follows a neocon agenda (war against afghanistan, war against Syria, hatered against Russia, hatred against foreign policy that Trump have i.e), she works for the deep state, she leak deep state material to smear her "enemies".

Who are those who spread this bs to the MSM about Trump and Russia constantly for past months? Where does it come from if not from the deep state groups?

NemesisCalling | Jun 6, 2017 12:38:46 PM | 52
@24 uncle $cam

This is easy to tell but difficult to snuff out in the end. Once Hillary and co. started railing against paid Kremlin-trolls on alt-right and various forum sites, you knew that it was something that they had been doing for quite sometime and, indeed, had been losing the battle. At that point, it was best to throw up their hands and concoct the victim-story, even though we TPTB probably pioneered the tactics (color revolutions, ngos, etc.).

Perhaps there were Kremlin agents on our boards. Perhaps there are some here. But truth, or a slightly biased truth, still stands in their corner, so I refuse to complain about Russia agents. The CIA OTOH. They can GTFO.

james | Jun 6, 2017 12:39:01 PM | 53
thanks b..

i used to like greenwald long before his time at the intercept... the intercept smelt funny right from the beginning.. i haven't followed it, in spite of having enjoyed reading greenwald when he was more independent..

this whole story stinks to high heaven.. something is weird about the whole thing.. can't put my finger on it.. seems like more bs basically.. the usa is bonkers at this point..

@8 opereta... i see it similar to you..

@43 uncle scam... some of those folks are still around, but more of them are not..

hopehely | Jun 6, 2017 12:48:49 PM | 54
How on Earth do these kids (Snowden, Winner, etc) manage to get that kind of jobs?
crone | Jun 6, 2017 12:52:30 PM | 55
@54 2 yrs of college, a couple of years in 'the field' (Air Force in this case)

Pointman | Jun 6, 2017 1:13:54 PM | 57
As you say, appalling tradecraft by both the leaker and the recipient. I would have thought even a cursory security check before giving her any security clearance would have unearthed her extreme views on social media.

Some general thoughts on the subject of leaks from the Trump administration -

https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2017/06/02/leaks/

Pointman

Brooklin Bridge | Jun 6, 2017 1:17:51 PM | 58
Excellent article. A warning to heed and I hope it gets out far and wide. Omidyar being behind the Intercept has always been an iffy proposition at best, and it has never sat well that Greenwald is apparently satisfied with such an arrangement.
Copeland | Jun 6, 2017 1:20:02 PM | 59
What a circus of distraction that grabs for public attention; its chief element is distraction,-- and its goal is distraction. In the end, Trump will probably go farther to accommodate the deep state, since what it aims to destroy is any chance for improvement of relations with Russia. This a PSYOPS extravaganza. The moronic level of political debate is not going to improve with the introduction of Reality Winner ( whose name sounds a bit silly, in this context).

The confirmed partisans will wolf down such farce without even tasting it. These absurd pratfalls will stop abruptly when the risk to our survival becomes obvious; but something on the order of a miracle would need to happen soon, to avert disaster. Trump's base will loudly congratulate him, whatever concessions he makes to survive politically; and the rationally unmoored Dems will sign on to any confidence game if it gets the results they are after.

Certainly, a closer observation of the details can help. Thanks to the author of this article, our host, and those who have commented. The alternative is for life to become a work of fiction.

WGary | Jun 6, 2017 1:44:48 PM | 60
My guess is "Reality Winner" is actually very bright, experienced and goes by another name.

NemesisCalling | Jun 6, 2017 2:03:54 PM | 62
b,

Outstanding reporting, b. I saw a report on the microlending "phenomenon" in India on PBS a long time ago. It was heralded then. I'll have to dive into your link to survey the damage. Thx again.

h | Jun 6, 2017 2:06:17 PM | 63
Hey b, John Kiriakou chimed in saying "@theintercept should be ashamed of itself. Matthew Cole burns yet another source. It makes your entire organization untrustworthy"

And you just know Mark Ames will have a piece up bashing Omidyar, Greenwald and Scahill. Speaking of Scahill, other than a weekly podcast, what exactly does he do for the Intercept?

WorldBLee | Jun 6, 2017 2:06:58 PM | 64
Greenwald is a self-serving hack and the Intercept functions alongside outlets like DemocracyNow! to provide a Democrat-friendly perspective on the world to people who think they are very "progressive". They will never challenge the fundamental precepts of US imperialism and the oligarchic powers behind it, or truly rock the boat.
4mas | Jun 6, 2017 2:15:02 PM | 65
There's a chance they got played. As noted, the documents don't actual show evidence of actual interference with voting system beyond data gathering. But now we have a leaker who's social media bills her as part of the resistance. And in this environment, how are the optics going to look like prosecuting someone who is being passed off as having leaked evidence of malfeasance? I think they rushed too quickly to publish.
BilboBaggeshott | Jun 6, 2017 2:28:40 PM | 66
Nice to see so many finally coming to the realisation that Greenwald, Poitras and the Intercept are disinfo operatives.... Waiting for the rest of you to begin questioning The Snowjob too.
jfl | Jun 6, 2017 2:34:09 PM | 67
pence smells blood in the water ... Russia, Iran and terrorism are top global threats - Pence
"From the Russian attempts to redraw international borders by force, to Iran destabilizing the Middle East, and to the global threat of terrorism, which affects people everywhere. It seems that the world has become much more dangerous today than ever since the fall of communism, about a quarter of a century ago,"- he said at a meeting of vice-president.

... pence is running for president ... in 2017?

Piotr Berman | Jun 6, 2017 2:37:15 PM | 68
Actually, it is a good question how Winner got the access to the file. "Top Secret" is actually a low level of secrecy, without specific restriction who "needs to know" it. Practical problem for the wanna be leaker is to find "a needle in the haystack". Probably the chain of folders had self-explanatory names, which is like posting in on the billboard for all and sundry working for NSA. That in itself can be "leaking with a borrowed hand".

The content does not seem to be secret in the sense of revealing "sources and methods", just a scrubbed analysis with conclusions. A major part of the mission of intelligence agency to to careful draw conclusions from the gathered data so they are useful to the decision makers: access to information allows to engage in disinformation. But what to do with the obsolete analysis, prepared for the PDM, previous decision maker? Post it on a billboard, if you still like PDM.

Alternatively, the document was prepared in such a way that it was actually politically harmless but it could snare the leaker who would be triumphantly and publicly "executed". That can improve the discipline in the shop.

Poor girl. But those Intercept people, why they did not at least re-type the document before showing it to anyone?

blues | Jun 6, 2017 2:41:19 PM | 69
=>> Ghostship | Jun 6, 2017 11:24:33 AM | 44

This is silly nonsense. There is no difference at all between the neocons and the neolibs (the neolords). They come from exactly the same place and believe in exactly the same thing. Specifically, they are atychiphobs; they cannot endure any form of failure. So they always must attach themselves to whatever they perceive as the winning side. And ultimately rule the rest of the losing world. For them that's all there is; Hillary is an example, and most rich individuals also. They would absolutely prefer death to loserdom. So of course they have no concerns at all about the fate of the losers. They are all the same.

And speaking of psyops and propaganda, the Deep State (of course there is a deep state (the neolords) whom common selves cannot comprehend) is now in the business of producing psyoperative YouTube videos. See if you can spot the subliminal propaganda in this one (hint -- it is not at all about how Russians perceive Americans):

RUSSIAN MILLENNIALS SPEAK OPENLY ABOUT AMERICA http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFklhWu3d3E

From The Hague | Jun 6, 2017 2:57:46 PM | 71
Posted by: BilboBaggeshott | Jun 6, 2017 2:28:40 PM | 66

How to Identify a CIA Limited Hangout Operation http://tarpley.net/2013/06/19/how-to-identify-a-cia-limited-hangout-operation/

Peter AU | Jun 6, 2017 3:02:36 PM | 72
Sounds like a con job from start to finish. Along the lines of bellingcat, SOHR ect. Just another method of disseminating propaganda.
Anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:04:42 PM | 73
hophely:

"How on Earth do these kids ( Winner) manage to get that kind of jobs?"

Exactly! I thought you had to be very special, bright and so on to get this kind of jobs here we have a 25 year old girl, that is named...Reality Winner and she has social media where she posts alot of selfies of herself and have a twitter feed like high school student. She seems quite dorky to me. That she has already been in and out of the air force is even more bizarre. This is the kind of morons ruling this world.

anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:10:44 PM | 74
The Intercept article is as inept as the NSA document! it's mostly a cartoon, and things like guessing corporate emails are hardly espionage - they are normal ways of figuring out how to contact people in the professional world, NOT a security threat. Phishing them ought to be illegal, but clearly the FBI doesn't give a crap until it happens to Clinton's campaign chair. At least it is SO common that normal people KNOW not to fall for it. what a bunch of drivel! If the NSA had any actual intelligence that the origin of the emails was Russia, you would think that might be part of the explanation, but the cartoon only says "probably within"...

Then the Intercept spends pages (and pages) arguing for more $$ for the NSA (!) and to centralize control of US elections to the federal level where all this 'insecurity' can be properly controlled by responsible people (like the NSA, or the POTUS).

Topping that off was Amy Goodman showing an interview with a Clinton mouthpiece trumpeting propaganda that this whole "Russian" scheme is a way to get contact info of registered voters to aim "fake news" at them....... anybody here who is a registered voter knows that the minute you sign up you are permanently on the list for daily piles of glossy lies from PACS and nightly phone surveys about what crafted message would work 'if the election were held today'. Where I live, the Dems have so much money that they poll the crap out of us during city-level campaigns. (and after the election they can't be bothered with what their voters care about.)

this whole thing is such a circus! and yes, the NSA has access to far more info than these stupid documents allude to, not to mention that the US has got to have some massive access to Russian data.

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:16:17 PM | 75
Glenn Greenwald is a puppet http://smoloko.com/ The Intercept consistently strongly campaigned for globalist Macron by repeatedly disparaging Le Pen as "Holocaust denier", see https://theintercept.com/2017/04/27/le-pen-promotes-holocaust-denier-plans-ban-kosher-butchers-yarmulkes/. Glenn Greenwald is a gay Jew https://twitter.com/FullGoy
anon | Jun 6, 2017 3:20:27 PM | 76
I should add: If Putin were directly responsible for hacking anything, Clinton should kiss Putin's who-cares-what for waiting until AFTER the primaries. She got to be part of the final coin-toss.

really, why is this NSA document even considered whistle-blowing?

PavewayIV | Jun 6, 2017 3:37:14 PM | 77
People - please stop the insanity.

Greenwald/Intercept?

The firewall set up by (or at least 'persuaded' by) the U.S. intelligence to toss out a few useless Snowden scraps to the peons? Why would the Intercept NOT report report this to their intel masters? Does anyone here really think 1) the Intercept has NOT been compromised since day one, 2) everybody and and everything at the Intercept is NOT closely monitored by the intel community? They probably have a department just for the Intercept. So whether the Intercept actually ratted out Winner is irrelevant - the NSA probably knows what flavor of coffee the mail guy at the Intercept was holding when he picked up the previously examined mail. The only way any Top Secret document is making its way to the Intercept is if the NSA or FBI created and mailed the document themselves. And if the alleged journalist did not report receipt of the document to the FBI, then THEY would face jail time if the FBI found it during a raid.

How did Winner come about this information?

Setting aside the antics of the Intercept, let's consider how preposterous this story is at face value. She's basically a translator for a few Middle Eastern languages. So she's reading email or web sites or listening to phone calls and doing her translating thing. It's not like she's a high-level analyst preparing briefings for the National Intelligence director - she's a damn low-level translator (no offense to NSA translators out there).

Why on earth would someone in that position have ANY Top Secret memos on Russian hackers or the election. Do people really think there is (at her workplace) a network-accessible folder labeled 'Top Secret' that anyone with a Top Secret clearance can browse through? No - that's not how it works. Does anyone think they have a 'Top Secret' mailing list to distribute memos? Nope. In fact, can ANYONE give me the least plausible reason why some nobody Arabic-language translator would ever even be able to SEE a Top Secret memo regarding a subject she has absolutely no involvement with?

Computers at Intel Agencies

If Winner DID manage to stumble upon a Top Secret memo on her work network unrelated to her job, then her supervisor would have known it within minutes. Everything anybody does is constantly monitored and logged, right down to the keystroke. SHE would know that. In fact, she would be fired for not reporting this impossible access to top secret information immediately. She would be further punished for even having the document linger on her screen for more than a second or two. There's a reason they put TOP SECRET at the very top of every page. Classified documents also have their own security/surveillance/monitoring mechanisms. The document itself (or the document management system) knows or is told who is allowed to read it or even see that it exists. It would record her access, even if all the other security and monitoring software the agency had failed completely. So you get the idea. Even if she saw this document (unlikely) and did NOT report the inappropriate access, she would eventually be frog-walked out of the building before the end of the day.

Printing

I won't belabor the point, but everything from all the security, monitoring and logging items above apply moreso for printing anything. Top Secret documents (and their networks) do not allow you to print them at all, and certainly not on some random office printer. Presuming she did the impossible and get a Top Secret document printed out (which would all be logged), how did she get it out of her controlled-access area and the building itself? Hide it in her purse? Tell the guard, "I'm taking this folder of top secret stuff home to work on, but it's OK - I have a top secret clearance..."

All modern printers and copy machines have an invisible watermark that identifies the time/date you printed a page and the serial number of the machine. If she copied it somewhere, then they copy can be traced to a certain machine and date/time. She's busted either way if the feds got their hands on it, and SHE KNOWS THAT.

Impossible Conclusion

Now given all the above and her knowledge of how all that works, does anyone think she's STILL going to naively print out and mail a hard copy of Top Secret information to a known compromised, well-monitored news site... because she doesn't like Trump??

Sorry - but unless someone can prove she has an extra chromosome or two, I have to believe this is a charade. She won't go to jail because she's in on it with the NSA and it's not a real Top Secret document anyway. NO intelligence agency will ever verify or deny something you show them is either legitimate or Top Secret, so even that part is wrong. If you call them to ask about a document you have, they will politely put you on hold so they can dispatch some DHS thugs to kick in your door and retrieve said document - without telling you anything either way.

Why would she do this then? Well, if she knew she wasn't really going to be tried to go to prison and the NSA is 'in' on it, then I'm sure there's a large check waiting for her somewhere. How much do you think it would take to buy out a translator from her crappy .gov job? Plus, she gets to stick it to Trump and those evil Russians. It's a win-win!

Maybe I'm too cynical nowadays, but this whole thing is preposterous beyond belief. Am I the only one that thinks this whole thing stinks to high heaven? I'm amazed the bar is so low for these fabrications.

Merlin2 | Jun 6, 2017 3:47:26 PM | 78
For james #53 and all who want to be amused: it's all so poetic!

https://www.reddit.com/r/WayOfTheBern/comments/6fkoe1/reality_winner_reality_for_winners/

I tend to agree with the hint, hint - #RealityWinner is an obvious PsyOp. Her employer probably had a deal for her - agree to be "used", play the part in a little prosecution game we'll have going, make sure you leak to Cook - and don't worry, you'll be well rewarded in the end.

Why her? the name, of course - sends a nice message. And her youth - get a little sympathy going. from a gullible public (not any of us though).

Rusty Pipes | Jun 6, 2017 4:09:32 PM | 80
The timing of this leak and the choice of media outlet is very convenient for the Establishment Dems/Deep State Russia investigation. Leaking to the Intercept, which has credibility in the alternative media, would be a convenient way to get the story covered in the MSM and leftist media. It certainly helps to distract Berners from the Seth Rich story. Some interns at the Intercept did a sloppy job checking up on their source.
the pair | Jun 6, 2017 4:14:02 PM | 81
thank you for this. i left a comment on that article yesterday about how dumb the technical aspects were and apparently you noticed as well (i also mentioned stuxnet as an example of what an effective and professional attack would actually look like). the thought that a macro in a word file (who lets those run by default anyway?) could pivot into some elaborate firmware/hardware exploit is just dumb. even the article mentions that machines and procedures vary from state to state and even city to city. seems like a lot of work to put into changing votes for a few thousand people.

as i also mentioned: hillary won durham by a WIDE margin (almost 100k votes). seems like any "hacking" worked to her advantage, not trump's.

i've been reading douglas valentine's book on the phoenix program and other CIA criminality https://www.amazon.com/CIA-Organized-Crime-Illegal-Operations/dp/0997287012

and he makes a lot of the points you do here regarding the intercept. as much as i respect greenwald, he and the other top tier hires don't need that site. they've got enough leverage to start their own site or even just stick to facebook and/or twitter and then "third party" out to big sites. this would give them exposure without tying them down to one billionaire with his own agendas and biases.

glenn used to have some oddly toxic opinions (anti-chavez whining and supposed initial support for the iraq war) and came around. he's not a dummy. i also doubt he has any malevolent intentions given his charitable work in brazil and what seems like genuine concern for "the law" and privacy and etc.

the documents were trusted to him and a few others. there was a reason for that. every non-journalist (and i include many intercept writers in that group) since is just a parasite using him and the documents as a host. time to swat them away and be truly indie. (not holding my breath).

side note: "reality winner"? wow. when i first saw the headlines i thought she was a former contestant on "big brother" or something. we'll see how much vocal support she gets from the democrats. again - not holding breath.

stumpy | Jun 6, 2017 4:34:04 PM | 83
It looks like a real half-arsed psyops -- here is the "Russia did it" smoking gun we've all been waiting for and it gets sorta rolled out but not trumpeted hysterically. Why the Intercept? Why not the NYtimes or wapo? Just like the dossier a few months ago, generated some smoke but in the end its a weak petard. Did Sessions tamp it down?
Anonymous Hippopotamus | Jun 6, 2017 4:38:46 PM | 84
Coincidence that this just happened? http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/amp/news/michael-moore-launches-trumpileaks-website-calls-whistleblowers-1010640
Sibel Edmonds | Jun 6, 2017 4:51:45 PM | 85
Thank you 'Moon of Alabama' for publishing this solid piece and warning future whistleblowers. Kudos to you!

Regards, Sibel Edmonds (FBI Whistleblower; Founder & Editor of Newsbud)

somebody | Jun 6, 2017 5:03:06 PM | 86
Posted by: Anonymous Hippopotamus | Jun 6, 2017 4:38:46 PM | 84

No, wikileaks kind of recommends it.

@wikileaks 24

Michael Moore's #Trumpileaks is not secure enough to protect sources with classified information but it is better than many newspapers.

karlof1 | Jun 6, 2017 5:12:51 PM | 87
Paveway IV @77--

It's becoming more difficult daily to find something that doesn't stink. I see it as an attempt to further bury the censored NBC interview with Putin where he explained several hard truths, one of which I alluded to yesterday. Compare vid here, http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/06/nbc-edited-out-putins-hard-truths-heres.html with uncensored one here, which includes transcript, http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54688

I strongly urge bar patrons to read transcript or watch uncensored vid and cease wasting time on all the related "nonsense."

blues | Jun 6, 2017 5:25:10 PM | 88
=>> Sibel Edmonds | Jun 6, 2017 4:51:45 PM | 85

No comment.

Corbett & Edmonds Call Out Nauseating Russia Worship in Alt Media
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijdMfUdLfTw

Anon | Jun 6, 2017 5:32:25 PM | 89
blues 88

Like watching desperate housewife talking about foreign policy, but I guess one shouldnt be surprised about her views coming being a fmr. FBI agent.

james | Jun 6, 2017 5:39:47 PM | 90
@77 paveway... thanks.. you are preaching to the choir here.. none of the story adds up, but the intercept is one bs outfit plain and simple..

@78/79 merlin.. thanks.. we see it much the same!

this ''russia did it memo'' is so friggin' boring... the usa has lost it's creative imagination if it ever had one to begin with... hollywood is over and one with.. give it up hollywash..

ruralito | Jun 6, 2017 5:40:23 PM | 91
@88, thanks. My estimation of C & E just took a big hit.

aaaa | Jun 6, 2017 5:50:10 PM | 92
@82 I remember reading that some crazy number, like 6 million people have security clearances. That's a lot of people that signed up to keep quiet. I guess a lot of it relates to basic military stuff, or controlled technology like aircraft parts or whatever.

Marym | Jun 6, 2017 6:00:49 PM | 93
PavewayIV @ 77

Farsi, it's Afghan version Dari, and Pashto are Indo-European > Indo-Iranian, languages, not Arabic languages, though they use the Arabic script.

brian | Jun 6, 2017 6:05:16 PM | 94
who are these Intercept guys? the billionaire seems to hire anyone

'Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Ryan Grim'

DC | Jun 6, 2017 6:15:00 PM | 95
She speaks Farsi and Pashto, I bet she's CIA who's been promised a lot of $$$ after she serves a short prison term. It's my guess that what she provided to The Intercept was given to her after it was manufactured or "doctored". The info published by The Intercept should be considered as suspicious.

aaaa | Jun 6, 2017 6:20:45 PM | 96
@94 there was some recent expose on the intercept that was quite damning, but I can't remember the content

PavewayIV | Jun 6, 2017 6:35:50 PM | 97
Marym@93 - Thanks. I hesitated to just say 'Iranian' because that didn't seem quite right, but 'Arabic' is obviously wrong. Hey, I'm American. I couldn't even tell you where Farsiland or Pastonia are on a map. I think... somewhere by Italy? No, wait...

dh | Jun 6, 2017 6:48:22 PM | 98
@95 Sounds right. She won't get the full Chelsea Manning treatment. Just a naive patriotic young American girl who did the right thing. Obviously she was tricked into using that copier. Couple of months and she''ll get a job at Fox.
@98 ....which she will turn down for a better offer at CNN.

Posted by: dh | Jun 6, 2017 6:55:18 PM | 99

@98 ....which she will turn down for a better offer at CNN.

Posted by: dh | Jun 6, 2017 6:55:18 PM | 99

JerseyJeffersonian | Jun 6, 2017 7:12:49 PM | 100
Remember when Greenwald's Brazilian boyfriend was being held by the authorities and accused of smuggling information from Snowden? Then he got released. Hmm.

Wonder if there was some sort of agreement to the effect that if Greenwald played ball, possible prosecution against said boyfriend would be held in abeyance. This is a tactic employed by government lawyers in some cases when they want something. Like a slow-walking of releases from Snowden's revelations, for instance. And maybe some other dirty business when wanted by the powers that be, like this "leak" that the NSA thought something could be true , but with the leak not containing any proof or any supporting raw intelligence.

Holding a sword over the head of the boyfriend might be just the ticket. And couple that with speculation that Snowden's documents contained revelations about Greenwald's boss, Pierre Omidyar. Maybe an offer that Greenwald and company could not refuse.

Speculation on my part, of course. But not the first time that such tactics have been deployed.

[Jun 03, 2017] Putin hits on false flag operation to implicate Russians

Notable quotes:
"... "The most important this is that we don't do that on government level," he said. "Secondly, I can imagine that some purposefully does that, building the chain of these attacks in a way to make it seem that Russia is the source of these attacks. Modern technology allows to do that quite easily." ..."
"... On high level like in case of Iranian hacks only state actors can operate. But they are not needed with such suckers like completely incompetent and arrogant Hillary. Here anybody suffice and that can be "lesser states" hostile to Russia (such as Ukraine, or Estonia) or even the USA agencies themselves (false flag operation) ..."
"... The level of incompetence demonstrated by "bathroom server" saga is simply staggering, to say the least: State Department essentially is as close to a security agency as one could get: they took over some former CIA functions ("color revolutions" is one such function) and generally they work in close cooperation. And this close cooperation is typical not only for the USA. But here we have a server in comparison with which many colleges email server installations are paragons of security. ..."
Jun 02, 2017 |

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/01/politics/russia-putin-hackers-election/index.html

It contain even more important quote about how Russia can be intentionally framed:

While he maintained Thursday that the Russian government wasn't behind the attacks, he said hackers anywhere could make their efforts appear like they came from the state.

"The most important this is that we don't do that on government level," he said. "Secondly, I can imagine that some purposefully does that, building the chain of these attacks in a way to make it seem that Russia is the source of these attacks. Modern technology allows to do that quite easily."

And there is some evidence in favor of his hypothesis

1. On high level like in case of Iranian hacks only state actors can operate. But they are not needed with such suckers like completely incompetent and arrogant Hillary. Here anybody suffice and that can be "lesser states" hostile to Russia (such as Ukraine, or Estonia) or even the USA agencies themselves (false flag operation)

The level of incompetence demonstrated by "bathroom server" saga is simply staggering, to say the least: State Department essentially is as close to a security agency as one could get: they took over some former CIA functions ("color revolutions" is one such function) and generally they work in close cooperation. And this close cooperation is typical not only for the USA. But here we have a server in comparison with which many colleges email server installations are paragons of security.

And her staff incompetence was also simply amazing. IMHO they all were criminally incompetent.

To hack such idiots for state actors is highly unusual -- they instantly suspect that this is a mousetrap, so called honeypot.

2. As for "gullible Podesta" he was such a joke that it hurts; this idiot (with very strange inclinations) did not even managed to buy a $15 USB security key that Google provides for two factor authentication.

https://arstechnica.com/security/2014/10/google-offers-usb-security-key-to-make-bad-passwords-moot/

Here too "state actor" would think that this is a trap. To give up password for nothing. For the "grey cardinal" of DNC ? You are kidding.

2. Doublethink demonstrated in this case suggest nefarious goals. Of course, Hillary bathroom server hacks are disputed. Both by Hillary and MSM :-). Who simultaneously are convinced about DNC hacks ;-).

This is really from 1984: "Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts." (Wikipedia)

3. There is a more plausible version about DNC "hack", which is swiped under the rag. That it was actually a leak, not hack and it involves Seth Rich. Here it is even more probably that Russian are framed. Nobody in MSM wants to touch this theme. How one would explain such a lack interest to what is really sensational material? By the State Department talking points?

4. Also now we know that CIA can imitate attack of any state actor including Russia, China or North Korea. They have special tools for this. So if one puts such a name as "Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Dzerzhinsky ) into malware this is clearly not a Russian. Can be Polish hacker. Can well be some guy from Langley with perverse sense of humor ;-). BTW Alperovitch, the head of the company CrowdStrike, to which investigation of DNC hack was mysteriously outsourced (see below) never asked himself this simple question.

5. Another interesting fact is that investigation of "DNC hack" was outsourced by FBI to a shady company run by Dmitry Alperovitch ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Alperovitch )

Can you imagine that ? We need to assume that FBI does not have specialists, so FBI decided to use a "headlines grabber" type of security company to perform this important for national security investigation:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crowdstrike-needs-address-harm-causedukraine-jeffrey-carr

Cue bono from such a decision? That is the question :-)

IMHO this action alone raises serious questions both about Comey and the whole DNC hack story (I like the term "Fancy Bear" that Alperovitch used; this bear might reside well outside of Russia and in reality be a panda or even a skunk :-)

6. Hacking is a simply perfect ground for false flag operations. So in any objective investigation this hypothesis needs to be investigated. Nobody even tried to raise this question. Even once. Including honchos in Congress. Which for an independent observer increases probability that this might well be a false flag operation with a specific purpose.

All-in-all we have more questions then answers here. So jumping to conclusions and resulting witch hunt of the US media and the behavior of some US officials is really suspicious.

[Jun 03, 2017] Putin Hackers may be 'patriots' but not working for Russian government

Jun 03, 2017 | www.cnn.com
In comments to reporters at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum, Putin likened hackers to "artists," who could act on behalf of Russia if they felt its interests were being threatened. "(Artists) may act on behalf of their country, they wake up in good mood and paint things. Same with hackers, they woke up today, read something about the state-to-state relations. "If they are patriotic, they contribute in a way they think is right, to fight against those who say bad things about Russia," Putin said. Putin: We didn't hack US election Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in any attempts to influence November's US Presidential election. When asked directly whether Russia interfered in the election, Putin said in March: "Read my lips: No." He also described the allegations as "fictional, illusory, provocations and lies." Derek Chollet, senior adviser of the German Marshall Fund of the US, told CNN's Brian Todd that's not true. "The US intelligence community in January concluded with high confidence that Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign to try to shape the US election. And part of that influence campaign were hackers. This is Putin trying to obfuscate and blur what is the reality." US-Russia investigation

While he maintained Thursday that the Russian government wasn't behind the attacks, he said hackers anywhere could make their efforts appear like they came from the state. "The most important this is that we don't do that on government level," he said. "Secondly, I can imagine that some purposefully does that, building the chain of these attacks in a way to make it seem that Russia is the source of these attacks. Modern technology allows to do that quite easily." However, he said that even if hackers did intervene it's unlikely they could swing a foreign election. "No hacker can affect an electoral campaign in any country, be it Europe, Asia or America." "I'm certain that no hackers can influence an electoral campaign in another country. It's just not going to settle on the voter's mind, on the nation's mind," he added. CNN's Fareed Zakaria said Putin's remarks on the hacking mirror what Putin said when Russia seized Ukraine's Crimea region. "If you remember, when the invasion of Crimea and the destabilization of eastern Ukraine took place, Vladimir Putin said, 'I don't know who these people are ... it seems there are patriotically minded Ukrainians and Russians who want the Crimea to be part of Russia," Zakaria said.

[Jun 03, 2017] Putins remark looks like a valid observation about a very dangerous phenomena -- State actors can provoke non-state actors in cyberspace and vice versa, non-state actors can provoke state actors. As a result the spiral of confrontation can start unwinding uncontrollably.

Jun 03, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael -

, June 02, 2017 at 08:28 AM
"(Artists) may act on behalf of their country, they wake up in good mood and paint things. Same with hackers, they woke up today, read something about the state-to-state relations.
"If they are patriotic, they contribute in a way they think is right, to fight against those who say bad things about Russia," Putin said.
libezkova - , June 02, 2017 at 09:24 PM
This is a complex issues and some considerations below are gross simplifications and should be viewed as such. But the key question is: can "hacking wars" eventually lead to the nuclear war due to interplay between state and non-state actors?

As Paul Craig Roberts recently observed "The most important truth of our time is that the world lives on the knife-edge of the American military/security complex's need for an enemy in order to keep profits flowing."

So the main danger here is that cyber attacks which were made "to keep profits flowing" (including false flag operating; hacking a perfect field for false flag operations) can provoke a real war, which can escalate into nuclear exchange. Especially if one side thinks that it can intercept the missiles from the other.

So Putin's remark looks like a valid observation about a very dangerous phenomena -- State actors can provoke non-state actors in cyberspace and vice versa, non-state actors can provoke state actors. As a result the spiral of confrontation can start unwinding uncontrollably.

Hostile action like the current McCarthyism witch hunt against Russia provokes reaction, including unanticipated from non-state actors. Some now really inclined to hack the US servers.

Similarly US hackers now are more inclined to hack Russian servers.

Which provokes another reaction, but now from the state actors. As a result money are flowing into appropriate coffers, which was the key idea from the start.

[May 31, 2017] Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin by Ellen Nakashima, Adam Entous and Greg Miller

Another well-placed, well-timed leak from WaPo. Un-named intelligence official in play again. Is Russian embassy bugged and all diplomatic correspondence intercepted ? Looks like those guys outdid STASI. the standard question arises: "cuo bono".
If true, that means that the way information was obtained is iether already known by Russian, or this channel will be closed really soon. Form the text of the article it looks like the USA is able to read Russian diplomatic communication. Unless this is yet another disinformation, that means that the USA obtained the keys used by the embassy for incoding dypolicic communication, or have a modle who provided this communication by downloading already decoded archive or something like that. Which actually violates Vienna convention and makes the USA rogue nation not that different from GDR ot the USSR.
While it is unclear " what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow" it is clear who benefit from this revelation. But even if true why to reveal such an important information for such a minor case. Trump folded. What else "deep state" wants from him ? Are Hillary friends in State Department and a couple of other intelligence agencies really crazy about the revenge ?
More questions then answers
Notable quotes:
"... But officials said that it's unclear what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Trump. ..."
"... The FBI closely monitors the communications of Russian officials in the United States, and maintains near-constant surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. The National Security Agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas. ..."
"... 'according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports'. This isn't any sort of verification. Another manufactured news media story. ..."
"... The Washington Post should not even believed with there track record. They should identify there source that is leaking anything they can get there hands. Never about anything else accept fake news. The jokers on here keep on drinking the koolaid that the WP prints! ..."
"... Always jump to conclusions as always without the facts. They gave up on Trump now they go after some one else. You fools talk about Watergate and have no proof about any of this except what the Washington Trash prints! ..."
May 26, 2017 | www.msn.com

Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports.

Ambassador Sergei Kislyak reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, then President-elect Trump's son-in-law and confidant, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower, according to intercepts of Russian communications that were reviewed by U.S. officials. Kislyak said Kushner suggested using Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.

The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser.

The White House disclosed the fact of the meeting only in March, playing down its significance. But people familiar with the matter say the FBI now considers the encounter, as well as another meeting Kushner had with a Russian banker, to be of investigative interest.

Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

Neither the meeting nor the communications of Americans involved were under U.S. surveillance, officials said.

The White House declined to comment. Robert Kelner, a lawyer for Flynn, declined to comment. The Russian embassy did not respond to requests for comment.

Russia at times feeds false information into communication streams it suspects are monitored as a way of sowing misinformation and confusion among U.S. analysts. But officials said that it's unclear what Kislyak would have had to gain by falsely characterizing his contacts with Kushner to Moscow, particularly at a time when the Kremlin still saw the prospect of dramatically improved relations with Trump.

Kushner's apparent interest in establishing a secret channel with Moscow, rather than rely on U.S. government systems, has added to the intrigue surrounding the Trump administration's relationship with Russia.

To some officials, it also reflects a staggering naivete.

The FBI closely monitors the communications of Russian officials in the United States, and maintains near-constant surveillance of its diplomatic facilities. The National Security Agency monitors the communications of Russian officials overseas.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that though Russian diplomats have secure means of communicating with Moscow, Kushner's apparent request for access to such channels was extraordinary.

"How would he trust that the Russians wouldn't leak it on their side?" said one former senior intelligence official. The FBI would know that a Trump transition official was going in and out of the embassy, which would cause "a great deal" of concern, he added. The entire idea, he said, "seems extremely naïve or absolutely crazy."

The discussion of a secret channel adds to a broader pattern of efforts by Trump's closest advisors to obscure their contacts with Russian counterparts. Trump's first national security adviser, Flynn, was forced to resign after a series of false statements about his conversations with Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from matters related to the Russia investigation after it was revealed that he had failed to disclose his own meetings with Kislyak when asked during congressional testimony about any contact with Russians.

Kushner's interactions with Russians - including Kislyak and an executive for a Russian bank under U.S. sanctions - were not acknowledged by the White House until they were exposed in media reports.

It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and officials. But new administrations are generally cautious in their handling of interactions with Moscow, which U.S. intelligence

... ... ....

In addition to their discussion about setting up the communications channel, Kushner, Flynn and Kislyak also talked about arranging a meeting between a representative of Trump and a "Russian contact" in a third country whose name was not identified, according to the anonymous letter.

The Post reported in April that Erik Prince, the former founder of Blackwater private security firm and an informal adviser to the Trump transition team, met on Jan. 11 - nine days before Trump's inauguration - in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean with a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Tom Lewis · Longs, South Carolina

"Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring" .... pretty stiff accusation with this as the news media's source ... 'according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports'. This isn't any sort of verification. Another manufactured news media story.

Paul Schofield · San Diego, California

Everyone knew about this, and it happens with every transition team, and it was done AFTER Trump won the election, but if it gets the Liberals' panties in a bunch, and CNN more viewers, the angry Clintonites can scream impeachment for a few hours tonight..... suckers!

Jerry Reich · Arnold, Missouri

The Washington Post should not even believed with there track record. They should identify there source that is leaking anything they can get there hands. Never about anything else accept fake news. The jokers on here keep on drinking the koolaid that the WP prints!

Always jump to conclusions as always without the facts. They gave up on Trump now they go after some one else. You fools talk about Watergate and have no proof about any of this except what the Washington Trash prints!

[May 26, 2017] "Markets Today Are Radically Different Than What We Believe - We Have the Façade of Competition -

Notable quotes:
"... "You tell your search engine stuff you wouldn't tell your spouse. You want a really sobering experience? Log in to Google and they'll show you your last seven years of searches. How would you like it if I put that up on the screen? That's what you've sold to get the service." ..."
"... Virtual Competition ..."
"... Big data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, they argue, can all be used to potentially harm competition and consumers. Big data and analytics could lead to "near perfect" price discrimination. ..."
"... Aprominent search engine could even, conceivably,have the incentive and ability to degrade the quality of its search results . ..."
May 26, 2017 | promarket.org

The business model at the heart of the digital economy is a simple one: Internet giants such as Google and Facebook provide consumers with "free" services-free email, free GPS, free instant messaging, free search-and in return consumers consent to hand over vast amounts of their own data, which the companies then use to target advertisers.

This exchange helped make data the "new" oil ,creating "new infrastructure, new businesses, new monopolies, new politics and-crucially-new economics," according to The Economist . To a large degree, it has also benefited consumers, though as antitrust lawyer Gary Reback noted during the Stigler Center's conference on concentration in America in March, the services provided by digital platforms are far from free: "You tell your search engine stuff you wouldn't tell your spouse. You want a really sobering experience? Log in to Google and they'll show you your last seven years of searches. How would you like it if I put that up on the screen? That's what you've sold to get the service."

Nor is it an absolute certaintythat consumers will always benefit from this arrangement. In their 2016 book Virtual Competition (Harvard University Press), Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke explore the economic power of digital platforms, and itsimplications for welfare and society. Big data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, they argue, can all be used to potentially harm competition and consumers. Big data and analytics could lead to "near perfect" price discrimination.

They could also lead to behavioral discrimination : Firms that harvest users' personal data could tailor their advertising and marketing to target them at critical moments, " with the right price and emotional pitch ."Super-platforms, like Google, can potentially exclude or hinder independent apps and favor their own rival services. Aprominent search engine could even, conceivably,have the incentive and ability to degrade the quality of its search results .

[May 22, 2017] NSA is here to help you or Spying as a service (SAAS)

May 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

Willem Hendrik, May 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm GMT

Look at the bright side; If you lost the grocery list your wife gave you, call the NSA and ask them to send you a copy.

If your boss denies promising you a raise call NSA for supporting materials.

SAAS ( Spying as a service)

[May 22, 2017] The Russian Obsession Goes Back Decades by Jacob G. Hornberger

Notable quotes:
"... Just consider the accusations that have been leveled at the president: ..."
"... He has committed treason by befriending Russia and other enemies of America. ..."
"... He has subjugated America's interests to Moscow. ..."
"... President Donald Trump? No, President John F. Kennedy. What lots of Americans don't realize, because it was kept secret from them for so long, is that what Trump has been enduring from the national-security establishment, the mainstream press, and the American right-wing for his outreach to, or "collusion with," Russia pales compared to what Kennedy had to endure for committing the heinous "crime" of reaching out to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship. They hated him for it. They abused him. They insulted him. They belittled him. They called him naïve. They said he was a traitor. All of the nasties listed above, plus more, were contained in an advertisement and a flier that appeared in Dallas on the morning of November 22, 1963, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. They can be read here and here . Ever since then, some people have tried to make it seem like the advertisement and flier expressed only the feelings of extreme right-wingers in Dallas. That's nonsense. They expressed the deeply held convictions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the conservative movement, and many people within the mainstream media and Washington establishment. In June 1963, Kennedy threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at American University, now entitled the " Peace Speech ." It was one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered by an American president. It was broadcast all across the communist Soviet Union, the first time that had ever been done. ..."
"... Kennedy wasn't dumb. He knew what he was up against. He had heard Eisenhower warn the American people in his Farewell Address about the dangers to their freedom and democratic way of life posed by the military establishment. After Kennedy had read the novel Seven Days in May, ..."
"... Kennedy didn't stop with his Peace Speech. He also began negotiating a treaty with the Soviets to end above-ground nuclear testing, an action that incurred even more anger and ire within the Pentagon and the CIA. ..."
"... By this time, Kennedy's war with the national-security establishment was in full swing. He had already vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds after its perfidious conduct in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. By this time, he had also lost all confidence in the military after it proposed an all-out surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, much as Japan had done at Pearl Harbor, after the infamous plan known as Operation Northwoods, which proposed terrorist attacks and plane hijackings carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuban communists, so as to provide a pretext for invading Cuba, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the military establishment accused him of appeasement and treason for agreeing not to ever invade Cuba again. ..."
"... What Kennedy didn't know was that his "secret" negotiations with the Soviet and Cuban communists weren't so secret after all. As it turns out, it was a virtual certainty that the CIA (or NSA) was listening in on telephone conversations of Cuban officials at the UN in New York City, much as the CIA and NSA still do today, during which they would have learned what the president was secretly doing behind their backs. ..."
"... In response to the things that were said in that advertisement and flier about him being a traitor for befriending Russia, he told his wife Jackie on the morning he was assassinated: "We are heading into nut country today." Of course, as he well knew, the nuts weren't located only in Dallas. They were also situated throughout the U.S. national-security establishment ..."
"... For more information, attend The Future of Freedom Foundation's one-day conference on June 3, 2017, entitled " The National Security State and JFK " at the Washington Dulles Marriott Hotel. ..."
May 20, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

Just consider the accusations that have been leveled at the president:

  1. He has betrayed the Constitution, which he swore to uphold.
  2. He has committed treason by befriending Russia and other enemies of America.
  3. He has subjugated America's interests to Moscow.
  4. He has been caught in fantastic lies to the American people, including personal ones, like his previous marriage and divorce.
President Donald Trump? No, President John F. Kennedy. What lots of Americans don't realize, because it was kept secret from them for so long, is that what Trump has been enduring from the national-security establishment, the mainstream press, and the American right-wing for his outreach to, or "collusion with," Russia pales compared to what Kennedy had to endure for committing the heinous "crime" of reaching out to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship.

They hated him for it. They abused him. They insulted him. They belittled him. They called him naïve. They said he was a traitor.

All of the nasties listed above, plus more, were contained in an advertisement and a flier that appeared in Dallas on the morning of November 22, 1963, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. They can be read here and here .

Ever since then, some people have tried to make it seem like the advertisement and flier expressed only the feelings of extreme right-wingers in Dallas. That's nonsense. They expressed the deeply held convictions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the conservative movement, and many people within the mainstream media and Washington establishment.

In June 1963, Kennedy threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at American University, now entitled the " Peace Speech ." It was one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered by an American president. It was broadcast all across the communist Soviet Union, the first time that had ever been done.

In the speech, Kennedy announced that he was bringing an end to the Cold War and the mindset of hostility toward Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union that the U.S. national-security establishment had inculcated in the minds of the American people ever since the end of World War II.

It was a radical notion and, as Kennedy well understood, a very dangerous one insofar as he was concerned. The Cold War against America's World War II partner and ally had been used to convert the United States from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, one consisting of a vast, permanent military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, along with their broad array of totalitarian-like powers, such as assassination, regime change, coups, invasions, torture, surveillance, and the like. Everyone was convinced that the Cold War - and the so-called threat from the international communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Russia - would last forever, which would naturally mean permanent and ever-increasing largess for what Kennedy's predecessor, President Dwight Eisenhower, had called the "military-industrial complex."

Suddenly, Kennedy was upending the Cold War apple cart by threatening to establish a relationship of friendship and peaceful coexistence with Russia, the rest of the Soviet Union, and Cuba.

Kennedy knew full well that his actions were considered by some to be a grave threat to "national security." After all, don't forget that it was Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him ousted from power by the CIA and presumably targeted for assassination as part of that regime-change operation. It was Cuban leader Fidel Castro's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that made him the target of Pentagon and CIA regime-change operations, including through invasion, assassination, and sanctions. It was Congo leader's Patrice Lamumba's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him targeted for assassination by the CIA. It would be Chilean President Salvador Allende's outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him targeted in a CIA-instigated coup in Chile that resulted in Allende's death.

Kennedy wasn't dumb. He knew what he was up against. He had heard Eisenhower warn the American people in his Farewell Address about the dangers to their freedom and democratic way of life posed by the military establishment. After Kennedy had read the novel Seven Days in May, which posited the danger of a military coup in America, he asked friends in Hollywood to make it into a movie to serve as a warning to the American people. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Pentagon and the CIA were exerting extreme pressure on Kennedy to bomb and invade Cuba, his brother Bobby told a Soviet official with whom he was negotiating that the president was under a severe threat of being ousted in a coup. And, of course, Kennedy was fully mindful of what had happened to Arbenz, Lamumba, and Castro for doing what Kennedy was now doing - reaching out to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship.

In the eyes of the national-security establishment, one simply did not reach out to Russia, Cuba, or any other "enemy" of America. Doing so, in their eyes, made Kennedy an appeaser, betrayer, traitor, and a threat to "national security."

Kennedy didn't stop with his Peace Speech. He also began negotiating a treaty with the Soviets to end above-ground nuclear testing, an action that incurred even more anger and ire within the Pentagon and the CIA. Yes, that's right - they said that "national security" depended on the U.S. government's continuing to do what they object to North Korea doing today - conducting nuclear tests, both above ground and below ground.

Kennedy mobilized public opinion to overcome fierce opposition in the military, CIA, Congress, and the Washington establishment to secure passage of his Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

He then ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and told close aides that he would order a complete pull-out after winning the 1964 election. In the eyes of the U.S. national-security establishment, leaving Vietnam subject to a communist takeover would pose a grave threat to national security here in the United States.

Worst of all, from the standpoint of the national-security establishment, Kennedy began secret personal negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro to bring an end to America's Cold War against them. That was considered to be a grave threat to "national security" as well as a grave threat to all the military and intelligence largess that depended on the Cold War.

By this time, Kennedy's war with the national-security establishment was in full swing. He had already vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds after its perfidious conduct in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. By this time, he had also lost all confidence in the military after it proposed an all-out surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, much as Japan had done at Pearl Harbor, after the infamous plan known as Operation Northwoods, which proposed terrorist attacks and plane hijackings carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuban communists, so as to provide a pretext for invading Cuba, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the military establishment accused him of appeasement and treason for agreeing not to ever invade Cuba again.

What Kennedy didn't know was that his "secret" negotiations with the Soviet and Cuban communists weren't so secret after all. As it turns out, it was a virtual certainty that the CIA (or NSA) was listening in on telephone conversations of Cuban officials at the UN in New York City, much as the CIA and NSA still do today, during which they would have learned what the president was secretly doing behind their backs.

Kennedy's feelings toward the people who were calling him a traitor for befriending Moscow and other "enemies" of America? In response to the things that were said in that advertisement and flier about him being a traitor for befriending Russia, he told his wife Jackie on the morning he was assassinated: "We are heading into nut country today." Of course, as he well knew, the nuts weren't located only in Dallas. They were also situated throughout the U.S. national-security establishment.

For more information, attend The Future of Freedom Foundation's one-day conference on June 3, 2017, entitled " The National Security State and JFK " at the Washington Dulles Marriott Hotel.

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation .

[May 21, 2017] Now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart

Notable quotes:
"... Over the last thirty years the power of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure concerns has fallen dramatically. So now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart. ..."
"... According to former CIA director Richard Helms, when Allen Dulles was tasked in 1946 to "draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency," he recruited an advisory group of six men made up almost exclusively of Wall Street investment bankers and lawyers. ..."
"... Dulles himself was an attorney at the prominent Wall Street law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell. Two years later, Dulles became the chairman of a three-man committee which reviewed the young agency's performance. ..."
"... So we see that from the beginning the CIA was an exclusive Wall Street club. Allen Dulles himself became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence in early 1953. ..."
"... The current Democratic Party was handed two golden opportunities and blew both of them. Obama blew the 2008 financial crisis. And Hillary Clinton blew the 2016 election. ..."
"... Neoliberal Democrats seek to create the same tribablist/identity voting block on the left that the republicans have on the right. The is why people like sanjait get totally spastic when progressives criticize the party. ..."
May 21, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Gibbon1 , May 19, 2017 at 04:24 PM

Among the rich I think there were three groups based on where their wealth and interests laid.

Banking/Insurance industry.
Distribution/logistics.
Manufacturing and Infrastructure.

Over the last thirty years the power of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure concerns has fallen dramatically. So now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart.

libezkova - , May 20, 2017 at 09:03 PM
"Over the last thirty years the power of the Manufacturing and Infrastructure concerns has fallen dramatically. So now we have a government dominated by Banking and Distribution, think Goldman Sacks and Walmart."

This trend does not apply to Military-industrial complex (MIC). MIC probably should be listed separately. Formally it is a part of manufacturing and infrastructure, but in reality it is closely aligned with Banking and insurance.

CIA which is the cornerstone of the military industrial complex to a certain extent is an enforcement arm for financial corporations.

Allen Dulles came the law firm that secured interests of Wall Street in foreign countries, see http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30605.htm )

According to former CIA director Richard Helms, when Allen Dulles was tasked in 1946 to "draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency," he recruited an advisory group of six men made up almost exclusively of Wall Street investment bankers and lawyers.

Dulles himself was an attorney at the prominent Wall Street law firm, Sullivan and Cromwell. Two years later, Dulles became the chairman of a three-man committee which reviewed the young agency's performance.

The other two members of the committee were also New York lawyers. For nearly a year, the committee met in the offices of J.H. Whitney, a Wall Street investment firm.

According to Peter Dale Scott, over the next twenty years, all seven deputy directors of the agency were drawn from the Wall Street financial aristocracy; and six were listed in the New York social register.

So we see that from the beginning the CIA was an exclusive Wall Street club. Allen Dulles himself became the first civilian Director of Central Intelligence in early 1953.

The prevalent myth that the CIA exists to provide intelligence information to the president was the promotional vehicle used to persuade President Harry Truman to sign the 1947 National Security Act, the legislation which created the CIA.iv

But the rationale about serving the president was never more than a partial and very imperfect truth...

Gibbon1 - , May 19, 2017 at 04:59 PM
The current Democratic Party was handed two golden opportunities and blew both of them. Obama blew the 2008 financial crisis. And Hillary Clinton blew the 2016 election.

If you have a tool and the tool it broken you try to fix it. One doesn't pretend there is nothing wrong.

The difference between neoliberal democrats and progressives is they differ on what's wrong.

Neoliberal Democrats seek to create the same tribablist/identity voting block on the left that the republicans have on the right. The is why people like sanjait get totally spastic when progressives criticize the party.

Progressives seek to create an aggressive party that represents the interests of working class and petite bourgeoisie. That is why you see progressives get spastic when the corporate democrats push appeasement policies.

[May 21, 2017] Keeping communications private in the age of Big Brother (a practical HOWTO) - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... the NSA has to prioritize its efforts: shall they use their supercomputers, translators, analysts, senior officers, etc. to spy after, say, the girlfriend of a senior Chinese diplomat or spy after you? ..."
"... Using sophisticated ComSec technologies only draws unwanted attention to you ..."
"... My advice is simple: never use any form of encryption while at work ..."
"... .If ComSec is important for you, you really ought to ditch your Windows or Mac/Apple machines. They – like anything Google, are basically a subsidiary of the NSA. ..."
"... The real cost of security will always be convenience : the painful reality is that good security is always inconvenient. ..."
"... The key here is "is it worth it?" and that is a personal decision of yours to take. Also, you will also need to factor in the costs of not using high-tech ..."
"... when the General Petraeus sex scandal made news, it was revealed that he communicated with is lover using this method. Since they are both career CIA officers, I guess it works. ..."
"... It's been discussed that the CIA and Deep State promoted Abstract Art as ideological weapon during the Cold War. When will people discuss the fact that Homomania is now the #1 ideological weapon of Globo-Imperialism in the Gold War. ..."
"... And the content of your messages is almost irrelevant. GCHQ doesn't monitor content of UK residents without explicit authority. It hardly needs to. It can monitor who you call, when, how often, how long are the calls, your locations, the receiver's locations, your other contacts, their other contacts. With that much information, the content is almost irrelevant. ..."
"... Re: Peter Principle. Your discussion of the open-source community level of quality made me wonder if there is a mirror image of the Peter Principle, say, the Paul Principle? ..."
"... Does anyone trust Android phones? I was sad that the Ubuntu phone failed. ..."
May 21, 2017 | www.unz.com
Second, both spying and ComSec are cost-driven . Yes, even the NSA has a limited (if huge) budget. And yes, even the NSA has to prioritize its efforts: shall they use their supercomputers, translators, analysts, senior officers, etc. to spy after, say, the girlfriend of a senior Chinese diplomat or spy after you?

It is true that all our communications are intercepted and recorded. This is especially true of the 'metadata' (who contacted whom and when and how and how often), but it is also true of our more or less 'secure' communications, be they protected by a very weak encryption algorithm or a military-grade encryption system. Once that data is stored, the NSA has to parse it (mostly looking at the metadata) and take a decision as to how much resources it is willing to allocate to your specific case. No offense intended, but if you are a small pot grower with a history of political activism who emigrated to the USA form, say, Turkey 10 years ago and if you are emailing your friends in Antalya, the NSA would need to decrypt your email. That would take them less than 1 milisecond, but somebody needs to authorize it.

Then they would have to get a machine translation from Turkish into English which will be hopefully good enough (I am quite sure that the few Turkish-language translators they have will not be allocated to you, sorry, you are just not that important). Then some analyst must read that text and decide to pass it on to his boss for follow-up. If the analyst finds your email boring, he will simply send it all into a virtual trash bin. Conclusions: For the bad guys to spy after you must be worth their time as expressed in dollars and cents, including opportunity costs (time spend *not* going after somebody more important) It is exceedingly unlikely that the NSA will put their best and brightest on your case so don't assume they will.

... ... ...

Using sophisticated ComSec technologies only draws unwanted attention to you . This one was very true and is still partially true. But the trend is in the right direction. What this argument says is that in a culture where most people use postcards to communicate using a letter in a sealed envelope makes you look suspicious. Okay, true, but only to the extend that few people are using envelopes. What has changed in the past, say, 20-30 years is that nowadays everybody is expecting some degree of security and protection. For example, many of you might remember that in the past, most Internet addresses began with HTTP whereas now they mostly begin with HTTPS: that "s" at the end stands for "secure" . Even very mainstream applications like Skype or Whatsapp use a very similar technology to the one justifying the "s" at the end of HTTPS. We now live in a world were the number of users of sealed envelopes is growing where the usage of postcards is in free fall. Still, it IS true that in some instances the use of a top-of-the-line encryption scheme will draw somebody's attention to you.

... ... ...

My advice is simple: never use any form of encryption while at work or on the clock. ...Just keep a reasonably low profile. For public consumption, I also recommend using Google's Gmail. Not only does it work very well, but using Gmail makes you look "legit" in the eyes of the idiots. So why not use it?

...The US government has many ways to spy on you. You can use the most advanced encryption schemes, but if your computer is running Windows you are *begging* for a backdoor and, in fact, you probably already have many of them in your machine. But even if your operating system is really secure like, say OpenBSD or SEL-Debian, the NSA can spy on you ,,,

...If ComSec is important for you, you really ought to ditch your Windows or Mac/Apple machines. They – like anything Google, are basically a subsidiary of the NSA.

If you use remote servers to provide you with " software as a service " try to use those who have a stake in being peer-reviewed and who only use open source technologies (Silent Circle's Silent Phone is an example). There are public interest and "watchdog" type of organizations out there who will help you make the right choices, such as the Electronic Freedom Foundation .

... ... ...

The real cost of security will always be convenience : the painful reality is that good security is always inconvenient. In theory, security does not need to harm convenience, but in reality it always, always does. For example, to become more or less proficient in ComSec you need to educate yourself, that takes time and energy. Using a key to enter a home takes more time than to open an unlocked door. A retinal scan takes even more time (and costs a lot more). You might always spend a great deal of time trying to convince your friends to adopt your practices, but they will reject your advice for many more or less valid reasons. The key here is "is it worth it?" and that is a personal decision of yours to take. Also, you will also need to factor in the costs of not using high-tech.

... ... ...

Carlton Meyer , Website May 21, 2017 at 3:22 am GMT

I have read about a simpler method. Open a web mail account with yahoo or whoever and share the username/password. Then compose a message and save the draft. Your partner later opens the draft and adds a response, saves draft, and so on. No e-mail is ever sent, so there is nothing to intercept.

This sounded crafty but I was unsure if it was secure and have no need anyway, but when the General Petraeus sex scandal made news, it was revealed that he communicated with is lover using this method. Since they are both career CIA officers, I guess it works.

Philip Owen , May 21, 2017 at 11:59 am GMT

Medieval methods work best. Surround a large building with guards. In the middle of the large internal space place a circle of (inspected) chairs. Meet in a huddle.

For the poor, nothing beats a walk in the countryside, even a park.

Anon , May 21, 2017 at 6:38 pm GMT

It's been discussed that the CIA and Deep State promoted Abstract Art as ideological weapon during the Cold War. When will people discuss the fact that Homomania is now the #1 ideological weapon of Globo-Imperialism in the Gold War.

Philip Owen , May 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm GMT

And the content of your messages is almost irrelevant. GCHQ doesn't monitor content of UK residents without explicit authority. It hardly needs to. It can monitor who you call, when, how often, how long are the calls, your locations, the receiver's locations, your other contacts, their other contacts. With that much information, the content is almost irrelevant.

Ivy , May 21, 2017 at 8:12 pm GMT

Re: Peter Principle. Your discussion of the open-source community level of quality made me wonder if there is a mirror image of the Peter Principle, say, the Paul Principle?

DaveE , May 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm GMT

A great way to keep your cellphone radio-silent is to wrap it in a (2 is better still) metallized mylar potato chip or Doritos bag. (The more silvery looking, the better, in my experience.)

The cell sites will NOT be able to ask your phone for its ID or give up its location, until you take it out of the bag, of course.

It's a great way to take a road trip without the NSA knowing EXACTLY where you are at every point along the way. And generally, you will be able to return your calls when you get home since there will be a record of the calls at your provider, which will come up (in your message box) when the phone is re-enabled.

Be aware though, once the phone is taken out of the bag, it will register with the local cell sites (i.e. your cover will be blown.)

Ben Banned , May 21, 2017 at 8:50 pm GMT

Debian with the ssl bug that quietly existed for years – most likely for spying? That OS? That "community" effort? Which is basically derived from (Redhat) which is the DOD? Pffrt. Most of this is nonsense.

The NSA has made people their bitch, in the most obvious ways. In the spirit of security then and being a dutiful patriotic bitch – keep posting on social media given to you by the "truth tellers". They are here to help you right? Tell you all the truthiness because they "were" in the military, and "were" spooks. Keep your iphones close and let your mind do the deep state's thinking.

Eagle Eye , May 22, 2017 at 12:54 am GMT

For your emails: Protonmail https://protonmail.com/ (free of charge)

Free of charge? Paid for by whom?

As others have pointed out (if not in so many words), 95% of the spying efforts by the NSA and others are directed at traffic analysis , not analyzing the CONTENT of communications. Who contacted whom, when, for how long, etc. can tell you a lot about what is going on, and is very easy and cheap to do on a massive (humanity-wide) scale using existing computer technology.

The Electronic Frontiers Foundation referred to in the Saker's piece illustrates the point:

• They know you rang a phone sex service at 2:24 am and spoke for 18 minutes. But they don't know what you talked about.
• They know you called the suicide prevention hotline from the Golden Gate Bridge. But the topic of the call remains a secret.
• They know you spoke with an HIV testing service, then your doctor, then your health insurance company in the same hour. But they don't know what was discussed.
• They know you received a call from the local NRA office while it was having a campaign against gun legislation, and then called your senators and congressional representatives immediately after. But the content of those calls remains safe from government intrusion.
• They know you called a gynecologist, spoke for a half hour, and then called the local Planned Parenthood's number later that day. But nobody knows what you spoke about.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/06/why-metadata-matters

In a similar vein, it is said (almost certainly correctly) that Target can spot whether a shopper is pregnant long before she starts buying obvious baby-related stuff.

Johnny F. Ive , May 22, 2017 at 2:00 am GMT

I didn't know about the phone apps. They look nice. Does anyone trust Android phones? I was sad that the Ubuntu phone failed. I'd like smart phones to be more like PCs where new operating systems can be installed on them. Is "SEL-Debian," Security Enhanced Linux? The NSA developed that. OpenBSD supposed to be real nice and encrypted. How about systemd? The good thing about open source is that the code is open but does anyone read it?

...

[May 19, 2017] There are other search engines, browsers, email services besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me

As soon as DuckDuckGo shows ads and you have Javascript enabled your privacy evaporate the same way it evaporated in Google, unless you use VPN. But even in this case there are ways to "bound" your PC to you via non IP based methods.
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

lyman alpha blob , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

There are other search engines, browsers, email services, etc. besides those operated by the giants. DuckDuckGo, protonmail, and the Opera browser (with free built-in VPN!) work well for me.

The problem is, if these other services ever do get popular enough, the tech giants will either block them by getting their stooges appointed to Federal agencies and regulating them out of existence, or buy them.

I've been running from ISP acquisitions for years, as the little guys get bought out I have to find an even littler one.

Luckily I've found a local ISP, GWI, that I've used for years now. They actually came out against the new regulations that would allow them to gather and sell their customers' data. Such anathema will probably wind up with their CEO publicly flayed for going against all that is good and holy according to the Five Horsemen.

[May 19, 2017] Notes From an Emergency Tech Feudalism

Notable quotes:
"... ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words ..."
"... This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin. ..."
"... The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda. ..."
"... Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals. ..."
"... And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously. ..."
"... But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it. ..."
"... A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse. ..."
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on May 19, 2017 by Yves Smith Yves here. This is a wide-ranging, lively, sobering talk about the implications of tech feudalism and what we can do about it.

ByMaciej Cegłowski, a painter and computer guywho livesin San Francisco and runs a bookmarking site called Pinboard. Originally published at Idle Words

This is the text version of a talk I gave on May 10, 2017, at the re:publica conference in Berlin.

The good part about naming a talk in 2017 'Notes from an Emergency' is that there are so many directions to take it.

The emergency I want to talk about is the rise of a vigorous ethnic nationalism in Europe and America. This nationalism makes skillful use of online tools, tools that we believed inherently promoted freedom, to advance an authoritarian agenda.

Depending on where you live, the rise of this new right wing might be nothing new. In the United States, our moment of shock came last November, with the election of Donald Trump. The final outcome of that election was:

65.8 million for Clinton
63.0 million for Trump

This was the second time in sixteen years that the candidate with fewer votes won the American Presidency. There is a bug in the operating system of our democracy, one of the many ways that slavery still casts its shadow over American politics.

But however tenuously elected, Trump is in the White House, and our crisis has become your crisis. Not just because America is a superpower, or because the forces that brought Trump to power are gaining ground in Europe, but because the Internet is an American Internet.

Facebook is the dominant social network in Europe, with 349 million monthly active users. Google has something like 94% of market share for search in Germany. The servers of Europe are littered with the bodies of dead and dying social media sites. The few holdouts that still exist, like Xing , are being crushed by their American rivals.

In their online life, Europeans have become completely dependent on companies headquartered in the United States.

And so Trump is in charge in America, and America has all your data. This leaves you in a very exposed position. US residents enjoy some measure of legal protection against the American government. Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously.

But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it.

This is an astonishing state of affairs. I can't imagine a world where Europe would let itself become reliant on American cheese, or where Germans could only drink Coors Light.

In the past, Europe has shown that it's capable of identifying a vital interest and moving to protect it. When American aerospace companies were on the point of driving foreign rivals out of business, European governments formed the Airbus consortium , which now successfully competes with Boeing.

A giant part of the EU budget goes to subsidize farming , not because farming is the best use of resources in a first-world economy, but because farms are important to national security, to the landscape, to national identity, social stability, and a shared sense of who we are.

But when it comes to the Internet, Europe doesn't put up a fight. It has ceded the ground entirely to American corporations. And now those corporations have to deal with Trump. How hard do you think they'll work to defend European interests?

The Feudal Internet

The status quo in May 2017 looks like this:

There are five Internet companies-Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Together they have a market capitalization just under 3 trillion dollars.

Bruce Schneier has called this arrangement the feudal Internet . Part of this concentration is due to network effects, but a lot of it is driven by the problem of security. If you want to work online with any measure of convenience and safety, you must choose a feudal lord who is big enough to protect you.

These five companies compete and coexist in complex ways.

Apple and Google have a duopoly in smartphone operating systems. Android has 82% of the handset market , iOS has 18%.

Google and Facebook are on their way to a duopoly in online advertising. Over half of the revenue in that lucrative ($70B+) industry goes to them, and the two companies between them are capturing all of the growth (16% a year).

Apple and Microsoft have a duopoly in desktop operating systems. The balance is something like nine to one in favor of Windows , not counting the three or four people who use Linux on the desktop, all of whom are probably at this conference.

Three companies, Amazon, Microsoft and Google, dominate cloud computing. AWS has 57% adoption , Azure has 34%. Google has 15%.

Outside of China and Russia, Facebook and LinkedIn are the only social networks at scale. LinkedIn has been able to survive by selling itself to Microsoft.

And outside of Russia and China, Google is the world's search engine .

That is the state of the feudal Internet, leaving aside the court jester, Twitter, who plays an important but ancillary role as a kind of worldwide chat room.

Google in particular has come close to realizing our nightmare scenario from 1998, a vertically integrated Internet controlled by a single monopoly player. Google runs its own physical network, builds phone handsets, develops a laptop and phone operating system, makes the world's most widely-used browser, runs a private DNS system, PKI certificate authority, has photographed nearly all the public spaces in the world, and stores much of the world's email.

But because it is run by more sympathetic founders than Bill Gates, because it builds better software than early Microsoft did, and because it built up a lot of social capital during its early "don't be evil" period, we've given it a pass.

Security

It's not clear that anyone can secure large data collections over time. The asymmetry between offense and defense may be too great. If defense at scale is possible, the only way to do it is by pouring millions of dollars into hiring the best people to defend it. Data breaches at the highest levels have shown us that the threats are real and ongoing. And for every breach we know about, there are many silent ones that we won't learn about for years.

A successful defense, however, just increases the risk. Pile up enough treasure behind the castle walls and you'll eventually attract someone who can climb them. The feudal system makes the Internet more brittle, ensuring that when a breach finally comes, it will be disastrous.

Each of the big five companies, with the important exception of Apple, has made aggressive user surveillance central to its business model. This is a dilemma of the feudal internet. We seek protection from these companies because they can offer us security. But their business model is to make us more vulnerable, by getting us to surrender more of the details of our lives to their servers, and to put more faith in the algorithms they train on our observed behavior.

These algorithms work well, and despite attempts to convince us otherwise, it's clear they work just as well in politics as in commerce. So in our eagerness to find safety online, we've given this feudal Internet the power to change our offline world in unanticipated and scary ways.

Globalism

These big five companies operate on a global scale, and partly because they created the industries they now dominate, they enjoy a very lax regulatory regime. Everywhere outside the United States and EU, they are immune to government oversight, and within the United Statesl the last two administrations have played them with a light touch. The only meaningful attempt to regulate surveillance capitalism has come out of the European Union.

Thanks to their size and reach, the companies have become adept at stonewalling governments and evading attempts at regulation or oversight. In many cases, this evasion is noble. You don't want Bahrain or Poland to be able to subpoena Facebook and get the names of people organizing a protest rally. In other cases, it's purely self-serving. Uber has made a sport of evading all authority, foreign and domestic, in order to grow.

Good or bad, the lesson these companies have drawn is the same: they need only be accountable to themselves.

But their software and algorithms affect the lives of billions of people. Decisions about how this software works are not under any kind of democratic control. In the best case, they are being made by idealistic young people in California with imperfect knowledge of life in a faraway place like Germany. In the worst case, they are simply being read out of a black-box algorithm trained on God knows what data.

This is a very colonial mentality! In fact, it's what we fought our American War of Independence over, a sense of grievance that decisions that affected us were being made by strangers across the ocean.

Today we're returning the favor to all of Europe.

Facebook, for example, has only one manager in Germany to deal with every publisher in the country. One! The company that is dismantling the news industry in Germany doesn't even care enough to send a proper team to manage the demolition.

Denmark has gone so far as to appoint an ambassador to the giant tech companies, an unsettling but pragmatic acknowledgement of the power relationship that exists between the countries of Europe and Silicon Valley.

So one question (speaking now as an EU citizen): how did we let this happen? We used to matter! We used to be the ones doing the colonizing! We used to be a contender!

How is it that some dopey kid in Palo Alto gets to decide the political future of the European Union based on what they learned at big data boot camp? Did we lose a war?

The lack of accountability isn't just troubling from a philosophical perspective. It's dangerous in a political climate where people are pushing back at the very idea of globalization. There's no industry more globalized than tech, and no industry more vulnerable to a potential backlash.

China and Russia show us that the Internet need not be a world-wide web, that it can be subverted and appropriated by the state. By creating a political toolkit for authoritarian movements, the American tech giants may be putting their own future at risk.

Irreality

Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, an important question is how this globalized, unaccountable tech industry sees its goals. What does it want? What will all the profits be invested in?

What is the plan?

The honest answer is: rocket ships and immortality.

I wish I was kidding.

The best minds in Silicon Valley are preoccupied with a science fiction future they consider it their manifest destiny to build. Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are racing each other to Mars. Musk gets most of the press, but Bezos now sells $1B in Amazon stock a year to fund Blue Origin. Investors have put over $8 billion into space companies over the past five years, as part of a push to export our problems here on Earth into the rest of the Solar System.

As happy as I am to see Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fired into space, this does not seem to be worth the collapse of representative government.

Our cohort of tech founders is feeling the chill breath of mortality as they drift into middle age. And so part of what is driving this push into space is a more general preoccupation with 'existential risk'.

Musk is persuaded that we're living in a simulation, and he or a fellow true believer has hired programmers to try to hack it.

Peter Thiel, our most unfortunate German import, has built a survival retreat for himself in New Zealand .

Sam Altman hoards gold in Big Sur .

OpenAI, a religious cult thinly disguised as a research institution, has received $1B in funding to forestall the robot rebellion.

The biggest existential risk, of course, is death, so a lot of money is going to make sure that our big idea men don't expire before the world has been received the full measure of their genius.

Google Ventures founded the very secretive life extension startup Calico , with $1.5B dollars in funding. Google loses $4B a year on its various "moon shots", which include life extension. They employ Ray Kurzweil, who believes we're still on track for immortality by 2045 . Larry Ellison has put $370M to anti-aging research , as anybody would want to live in a world with an immortal Larry Ellison. Our plutocrats are eager to make death an opt-out experience.

Now, I'm no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

But at the same time, I'm not convinced that a civilization that is struggling to cure male-pattern baldness is ready to take on the Grim Reaper. If we're going to worry about existential risk, I would rather we start by addressing the two existential risks that are indisputably real-nuclear war and global climate change-and working our way up from there.

But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives.

The tech industry enjoys tearing down flawed institutions, but refuses to put work into mending them. Their runaway apparatus of surveillance and manipulation earns them a fortune while damaging everything it touches. And all they can think about is the cool toys they'll get to spend the profits on.

The message that's not getting through to Silicon Valley is one that your mother taught you when you were two: you don't get to play with the new toys until you clean up the mess you made.

The circumstances that have given the tech industry all this power will not last long. There is a limited time in which our small caste of tech nerds will have the power to make decisions that shape the world. By wasting the talents and the energies of our brightest people on fantasy role play, we are ceding the future to a more practical group of successors, some truly scary people who will take our tools and use them to advance a very different agenda.

To recap: the Internet has centralized into a very few hands. We have an extremely lucrative apparatus of social control, and it's being run by chuckleheads.

The American government is also being run by chuckleheads.

The question everybody worries about is, what happens when these two groups of chuckleheads join forces?

The Winter

For many Americans, the election was a moment of profound shock. It wasn't just Trump's policies that scared us. It was the fact that this unserious, cruel, vacant human being had been handed the power of the American presidency.

Scariest to me was how little changed. No one in the press or in social media had the courage to say "we fucked up." Pundits who were stunned by the election result still made confident predictions about what would happen next, as if they had any claim to predictive power.

After the election both Facebook and Google looked at the mountains of data they had collected on everyone, looked at the threats the Trump Administration was making-to deport 11 million people, to ban Muslims from entering the country-and said to themselves, "we got this."

The people who did worry were tech workers. For a moment, we saw some political daylight appear between the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the tech sector, and the small clique of billionaires who run it. While the latter filed in to a famously awkward meeting with Trump and his children at the top of his golden tower, the former began organizing in opposition, including signing a simple but powerful pledge to resign rather than help Trump fulfill one of his key campaign promises: barring Muslims from the United States.

This pledge was a small gesture, but it represented the first collective action by tech workers around a political agenda that went beyond technology policy, and the first time I had ever seen tech workers come out in open defiance of management.

A forest of new organizations sprung up. I started one, too, called Tech Solidarity, and started traveling around the country and holding meetings with tech workers in big cities. I had no idea what I was doing, other than trying to use a small window of time to organize and mobilize our sleepy industry.

That feeling of momentum continued through when Trump took office. The Women's March in January brought five million people out onto the streets. America is not used to mass protests. To see the streets of our major cities fill with families, immigrants, in many cases moms and daughters and grandmothers marching together, that was a sight to take your breath away.

Hard on the heels of it came the travel ban, an executive order astonishing not just in its cruelty-families were split at airports; in one case a mom was not allowed to breastfeed her baby -but in its ineptitude. For a week or two lawyers were camped out at airports, working frantically, sleeping little, with spontaneous efforts to bring them supplies, get them funding, to do anything to help. We held a rally in San Francisco that raised thirty thousand dollars from a room of a hundred people. Some of the organizations we were helping couldn't even attend, they were too busy at the airport. It didn't matter.

The tech companies did all they could to not get involved. Facebook has a special ' safety check ' feature for exactly this kind of situation, but never thought of turning it on at airports. Public statements out of Silicon Valley were so insipid as to be comical .

Employees, however, were electrified. It looked like not only visitors but permanent residents would be barred from the United States. Google employees staged a walkout with the support of their management; Facebook (not wishing to be left behind) had its own internal protest a couple of days later, but kept it a secret. Every time the employees pushed, management relented . Suddenly top executives were going on the record against the travel ban.

People briefly even got mad at Elon Musk , normally a darling of the tech industry, for his failure to resign from the President's advisory council. The silent majority of tech employees had begun to mobilize.

And then nothing happened. This tech workforce, which had gotten a taste of its own power, whose smallest efforts at collective action had produced immediate results, who had seen just how much sway they held, went back to work. The worst of Trump's travel ban was blocked by the court, and we moved on. With the initial shock of Trump in office gone, we now move from crisis to crisis, but without a plan or a shared positive goal.

The American discomfort with prolonged, open disagreement has set in.

When I started trying to organize people in November, my theory was that tech workers were the only group that had leverage over the tech giants.

My reasoning went like this: being monopolies or near-monopolies, these companies are impervious to public pressure. Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life.

Several of these companies are structured (unusually for American corporations) in such a way that the board can't control the majority of votes. At Google and Facebook, for example, the ultimate say goes to the founders. And since Google and Facebook are the major online publishing outlets, it's unlikely that the press would ever criticize them, even if journalists were capable of that kind of sustained attention.

So that leaves just one point of leverage: employees. Tech workers are hard to find, expensive to hire, take a long time to train, and can have their pick of jobs. Tech companies are small compared to other industries, relying heavily on automation. If even a few dozen workers on an ops team acted in concert, they would have the power to shut down a tech giant like Google. All they had to do was organize around a shared agenda.

Workers seemed receptive to the argument, but confused about how they could make collective action a reality. Trade unions in the United States have been under attack for decades. There is almost no union culture in technology. Our tech workers are passive and fatalistic.

So here I am in Europe, wondering, what on Earth can we do?

And I keep coming back to this idea of connecting the tech industry to reality. Bringing its benefits to more people, and bringing the power to make decisions to more people.

Closing the Loop

After Communism collapsed in Poland, I started visiting the country every eight months or so. Even in the darkest period of the 1990's, it was striking to see people's material standard of living improve. Suddenly people had cars, phones, appliances. These gains were uneven but broad. Even farmers and retirees, though they were the hardest hit, had access to consumer goods that weren't available before. You could see the change in homes and in public spaces. It was no longer necessary for office workers in Kraków to change their shirts at lunchtime because of soot in the air. The tap water in Warsaw went from light brown to a pleasant pale yellow.

For all the looting, corruption, and inefficiency of privatization, enough of the new wealth got through that the overall standard of living went up. Living standards in Poland in 2010 had more than doubled from 1990.

In the same time period, in the United States, I've seen a whole lot of nothing. Despite fabulous technical progress, practically all of it pioneered in our country, there's been a singular failure to connect our fabulous prosperity with the average person.

A study just out shows that for the median male worker in the United States, the highest lifetime wages came if you entered the workforce in 1967 . That is astonishing. People born in 1942 had better lifetime earnings prospects than people entering the workforce today.

You can see this failure to connect with your own eyes even in a rich place like Silicon Valley. There are homeless encampments across the street from Facebook headquarters . California has a larger GDP than France , and at the same time has the highest poverty rate in America , adjusted for cost of living. Not only did the tech sector fail to build up the communities around it, but it's left people worse off than before, by pricing them out of the places they grew up.

Walk the length of Market Street (watch your step!) in San Francisco and count the shuttered store fronts. Take Caltrain down to San Jose, and see if you can believe that it is the richest city in the United States , per capita. The massive increase in wealth has not connected with a meaningful way with average people's lives even in the heart of tech country, let alone in the forgotten corners of the country.

The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values. They're not bad people. They worry about these problems just like we do; they want to help.

So why the failure to do anything?

Like T.S. Eliot wrote :

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

As I said earlier, the tech industry hates messy problems. We'd rather dream up new problems we can solve from scratch.

One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California . But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

The richest 20 people in tech control a fortune of half a trillion dollars in personal wealth, more than the GDP of Sweden.

This small subculture of wealthy technophiles promotes investment into luxury goods for rich people, or into "mom as a service" types of companies that cater to spoiled workaholics in the tech industry. And so we end up with things like a $120M juice squeezer , or three startups competing to deliver organic baby food .

Silicon Valley brings us the worst of two economic systems: the inefficiency of a command economy coupled with the remorselessness of laissez-faire liberalism.

One reason it's been difficult to organize workers in the tech industry is that people have a hard time separating good intentions from results. But we have to be cold-blooded about this.

Tech companies are run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one, creating a toolkit for authoritarianism while hypnotized by science-fiction fantasy.

There are two things we have to do immediately. The first is to stop the accelerating process of tracking and surveillance before it can do any more harm to our institutions.

The danger facing us is not Orwell, but Huxley. The combo of data collection and machine learning is too good at catering to human nature, seducing us and appealing to our worst instincts. We have to put controls on it. The algorithms are amoral; to make them behave morally will require active intervention.

The second thing we need is accountability. I don't mean that I want Mark Zuckerberg's head on a pike, though I certainly wouldn't throw it out of my hotel room if I found it there. I mean some mechanism for people whose lives are being brought online to have a say in that process, and an honest debate about its tradeoffs.

I'm here today because I believe the best chance to do this is in Europe. The American government is not functional right now, and the process of regulatory capture is too far gone to expect any regulations limiting the tech giants from either party. American tech workers have the power to change things, but not the desire.

Only Europe has the clout and the independence to regulate these companies. You can already point to regulatory successes, like forcing Facebook to implement hard delete on user accounts. That feature was added with a lot of grumbling, but because of the way Facebook organizes its data, they had to make it work the same for all users. So a European regulation led to a victory for privacy worldwide.

We can do this again.

Here are some specific regulations I would like to see the EU impose:

    A strict 30 day time limit on storing behavioral data. The right to opt out of data collection while continuing to use services. A ban on the sale or transfer of behavioral data, including to third-party ad networks. A requirement that advertising be targeted strictly to content, not users.

With these rules in place, we would still have Google and Facebook, and they would still make a little bit of money. But we would gain some breathing room. These reforms would knock the legs out from underground political ad campaigns like we saw in Brexit, and in voter suppression efforts in the US election. They would give publishers relief in an advertising market that is currently siphoning all their earnings to Facebook and Google. And they would remove some of the incentive for consumer surveillance.

The other thing I hope to see in Europe is a unionized workforce at every major tech company. Unionized workers could demand features like ephemeral group messaging at Facebook, a travel mode for social media, a truly secure Android phone, or the re-imposition of the wall between Gmail and DoubleClick data. They could demand human oversight over machine learning algorithms. They could demand non-cooperation with Trump.

And I will say selfishly, if you can unionize here, it will help us unionize over there.

If nothing else, we need your help and we need you to keep the pressure on the tech companies, the Trump Administration, and your own politicians and journalists, so that the disaster that happened in the United States doesn't repeat itself in Germany.

You have elections coming soon. Please learn from what happened to us. Please stay safe.

And please regulate, regulate, regulate this industry, while you can.

Thank you.

DJG , May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

Definitely worth reading and reading again. What popped on first reading is the description of the rise of income in Poland and the stagnation of income in the U S of A. What pops for me on seccond reading is these paragraphs about tax evasion and income inequality: >>

One reason nothing happens is a culture of tax evasion. There's a folk belief in American business that if you pay full taxes, you're not doing your fiduciary duty, and your board will fire you.

Apple now has a quarter trillion dollars offshore that it refuses to put into direct productive use in the United States. Apple boasts that its products are designed in California-they will sell you a $300 book called Designed By Apple In California. But they do their damndest to make sure that California never sees a penny of their overseas profits.

You in the EU are all too familiar with this brand of tax evasion. Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft have all been under investigation or in court on charges of evading European taxes.

Another reason good intentions don't translate is that capitalism, especially venture capital, doesn't work very well when there is vast wealth inequality.

[Tax evasion isn't just a folk belief: It is taught in U.S. law schools and in business schools, along with union busting.]

Jef , May 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

What the author inadvertently points out is that capitalism, particularly the so called consumer capitalism that we have is like a board game;

It has a begining when anything is possible.
A middle when a broad spectrum of players prosper and there is extra money for infrastructure and public amenities.
Then an end where wealth is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands and the waste stream has taken its toll.

justanotherprogressive , May 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

A long but brilliant article that everyone should take the time to read! I want all the techies in my family to read it because it points out some of the uneasiness even techies feel about the their industry.

My favorite paragraph (although there were many close seconds):

"But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate. They debate how to make a morally benevolent God-like AI, rather than figuring out how to put ethical guard rails around the more pedestrian AI they are introducing into every area of people's lives."
Yep .

Thomas Williams , May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

Nice piece: Two things to note

– The Clintons, Bush & Obama presided over this mess and aided in it's creation but the albatross of abuse is being hung on Trump.

– He shares an enormous egotistical blind spot common to tech workers. He wants unionization and strength for tech workers but seems to advocate for a globalized work force. More than anything else, foreign workers are responsible for wage suppression in the US. Is he saying 'Tech workers are special and should be pampered but others should work for $1.85 per day"?

– The above points are not germaine to his central theme, which is important and well written. But it does raise questions about his values.

Jacobite_In_Training , May 19, 2017 at 11:11 am

" Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life ."

Good .Opt out of modern life. Now. Get as far away from it as you possibly can. You'll be the better person for it. There was a time I felt 'modern life' was the place to be .Now the older me realizes 'modern life' is a sham, an illusion, and a trap.

A very cleverly designed trap, and one in which the cattle to be slaughtered all believe they are choosing their own destiny even as they are herded inexorably closer to the slaughterhouse.

Amusingly, although my younger naive and idealistic self had a significant part to play in the great tech revolutions and evolutions through the 90's and early 2000's (for which I will be eternally regretful and ashamed, given how the creations we labored on have been whored out by the pimps in the oligarchy and government) I was also incredibly lucky to have grown up on a farm and learned how to use a hoe, a hand powered washing machine, how to gather eggs and grow things.

Real things, things that can feed people. But more importantly .how to grow things like spirit and independence that do not rely on any flow of electrons to come to glorious fruition.

I also so much better understand what that prophet Edward Abbey was trying to warn us about all those decades ago .

" Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell "

Tom , May 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

Indeed. The promise of technology has devolved into Clickbait Nation - where millions mindlessly click on endless deceptive headlines like rats pushing levers in a giant Skinner box.

[May 19, 2017] I encourage at least skim some of these documents to get a better understanding of the kinds of sickening things perpetrated by the intel community in the past and then ask yourself if the veil of secrecy that surrounds them is to keep secrets from the enemy or to keep the American public from vomiting.

Notable quotes:
"... I found it an odd mix of straight-talk and naivete. The NSA can't spy on Americans without a warrant? Go ahead, pull the other one. ..."
"... This caught my eye earlier. Had to come back to it. Especially after reading Mike Whitney's latest http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/seth-rich-craig-murray-and-the-sinister-stewards-of-the-national-security-state/ . In it, he details how seriously Clapper, Brennan et al. take those "laws and procedures." ..."
"... Taking a recent and relevant example, remember the ICA, the "Intelligence Community Assessment"? Whitney quotes a Fox news article detailing the many ways in which it's production varied sharply from normal procedures. And of course there was all that "stove-piping" of "intel" that helped make the bogus case for the 2003 war of aggression against Iraq ..."
"... Glad you liked it. Lily Tomlin applies: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up." ..."
"... Excellent post, except for the bit, as some other readers have commented, about American intelligence agencies being law abiding. Europe, and much of the world, crumbled without resistance in the face of the tech juggernauts because of the PR fetishization of anything that came out of silicon valley. ..."
May 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Huey Long , May 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

This piece is absolutely fantastic! Not to nit pick, but I do disagree with the author about the following passage:

Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously.

But there are no such protections for non-Americans outside the United States. The NSA would have to go to court to spy on me; they can spy on you anytime they feel like it.

We know from the Church and Pike committees that this is patently false, and I highly doubt that this has changed much since then, especially in light of Iran-Contra and the made-up intel used to justify the Iraq invasion.

I know I probably sound like a broken record as I often cite the Church and Pike reports in my NC comments, but they're just so little known and so important that I feel compelled to do so.

I encourage the entire commenteriat to at least skim some of these documents to get a better understanding of the kinds of sickening things perpetrated by the intel community in the past and then ask yourself if the veil of secrecy that surrounds them is to keep secrets from the enemy or to keep the American public from vomiting.

diptherio , May 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

I found it an odd mix of straight-talk and naivete. The NSA can't spy on Americans without a warrant? Go ahead, pull the other one. Talking about the "collapse of representative government" as if we've ever had one. All very cute, and very silly.

His suggestions for putting the brakes on are good, but insufficient. My ideas as to how to go about, "connecting the tech industry to reality. Bringing its benefits to more people, and bringing the power to make decisions to more people," is here:

http://threadingthepearls.blogspot.com/2014/11/youre-doing-it-wrong-politics-as-if.html

Imagine a political party with no national platform-a party where local rank-and-file members select candidates from among themselves, and dictate the policies those candidates will support. [2] Imagine a political party whose candidates are transparent; one that guarantees every member an equal voice in shaping the actual policy proposals-and the votes-of their representatives. Imagine a political party whose focus is on empowering the rank-and-file members, instead of the charismatic con-artists we call politicians. Imagine a political party that runs on direct democracy, from bottom to top: open, transparent and accountable . we'll need an app maybe two

The app already exists, actually, and it's called Loomio. Podemos uses it, along with a lot of other people:

https://www.loomio.org/

JustAnObserver , May 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I had the same reaction to that passage, at least initially. However what I think the author might mean by this is that to have the means to combat this evil 2 things are necessary:

o Laws and/or procedures that place limitations on the actions of these agencies – NSA, CIA, DHS etc.

o and, much much more important, the means to ensure those laws/procedures are *enforced* as to both statute and intent.

USians have at least the first part even if the second, enforcement, has rotted to the extent of being no more than a cruel joke. non-USian have neither.

Note that the lack of enforcement thing extends far beyond the IC agencies into anti-trust, environmental regulation, Sarbanes-Oxley, etc. etc.. Even the ludicrous botch called Dodd-Frank could work marginally better if there was some attempt to actually enforce it.

Wisdom Seeker , May 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

"Dodd-Frank could work marginally better if there was some attempt to actually enforce it."

Unenforceable and unenforced laws are a feature, not a bug, and demonstrate the corruption of the system.

Bugs Bunny , May 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

The USSR had laws guaranteeing freedom of expression.

Michael Fiorillo , May 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

It's a fine and entertaining piece, but flawed.

That bit about tech workers defying management to protest Trump's travel ban seems demonstrably untrue, as the companies want that human capital pipeline kept open, and they can simultaneously wrap themselves in muliti-cultural virtue as they defend their employment practices.

Also, and I know people here will disagree or think it irrelevant, but the "They're not bad people," thing is wrong; I think people such as Thiel, Kalanick, Zuckerberg, Ellison, add-your-own-candidates, seem like pretty awful people doing a lot of awful things, whatever their brilliance, business acumen, and relentlessness.

Finally, while as a union guy I was pleased to see the importance he gave it, the idea of tech workers unionizing in this country seems like social science fiction, whatever their European counterparts might hopefully do.

TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm

I, too, stumbled / choked when I read those paragraphs. They are provably false in so many dimensions I hardly know where to begin. It made it hard to read past.

I will try again because so many commenters are so positive. But the author's credibility sinks when a piece starts with such blindness or misinformation or pandering.

PhilM , May 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm

On the one hand, it's probably some pandering, because he knows he is being watched. We all throw that same bone once in a while. From Vergil, it is called "a sop to Cerberus." On the other hand, he is correct, too: it is a "lawful evil" because it functions using tax money, which is money extorted by force with the sanction of law, rather than "chaotic evil," which is money extorted by force or fraud without that sanction. So in that positive-law-philosophy way of thinking, he has a point, even if it's a pandering point.

knowbuddhau , May 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

>>>"They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously."

This caught my eye earlier. Had to come back to it. Especially after reading Mike Whitney's latest http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/19/seth-rich-craig-murray-and-the-sinister-stewards-of-the-national-security-state/ . In it, he details how seriously Clapper, Brennan et al. take those "laws and procedures."

Taking a recent and relevant example, remember the ICA, the "Intelligence Community Assessment"? Whitney quotes a Fox news article detailing the many ways in which it's production varied sharply from normal procedures. And of course there was all that "stove-piping" of "intel" that helped make the bogus case for the 2003 war of aggression against Iraq .

I appreciate the author's point: it would be harder to surveil a particular American than a European. I'm sure rank & file people by & large respect law and procedure. But don't worry, if there's a political will to get you, there's a way. Ask Chelsea Manning.

Whitney concludes by quoting an especially apt question posed by Michael Glennon in the May issue of Harper's: "Who would trust the authors of past episodes of repression as a reliable safeguard against future repression?"

People who think they're immune to said repression, for one. Or who don't know or believe it happened/is happening at all. IOW political elites and most Americans, that's who. I think there's a good chance the soft coup will work, and most Americans would even accept a President-General.

So while I see the author's point, I see it this way. They take laws and procedures seriously like I take traffic laws seriously. Only their solution is to corrupt law enforcement, not follow the law.

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it's just a goddamned piece of paper!" - President George W. Bush

Silicon Valley elites apparently think the same.

TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Mike Whitney's article you linked to was interesting. George Webb's ongoing YouTube series is going further still, as he is uncovering numerous anomalies with Seth Rich's death and the circumstances and "investigation". It turns out that nothing in this story is what it seems (the "school play" scenario).

Disturbingly, there are similarities and patterns that connect up with numerous other patterns discussed earlier in this 208-day (so far) odyssey, which started with looking at irregularities around oil pipelines and drugs shipments, and ended up including numerous additional criminal enterprises, all with direct links to high-up government staff and political staff from both major parties, with links among key participants going back over decades in some cases.

To return to your observation–knowing what I know now–personal as well as second-hand, I don't think it's harder to surveil an american than a european. The compromises of law enforcement, justice and intelligence and rogue contractors have no international boundaries. The way the compromises are done vary depending on local methods, and the degree of public awareness may vary, but the actuality and ease–no different overall.

knowbuddhau , May 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Glad you liked it. Lily Tomlin applies: "No matter how cynical you get, it's impossible to keep up."

TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

That says it all. The rabbit holes are many and deep. As a society we are in for many rude awakenings. I don't expect soft landings.

mwbworld , May 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Lots of great stuff in here, but I'll raise a slight objection to:

three or four people who use Linux on the desktop, all of whom are probably at this conference.

We're now up to easily 5 or 6 thank you very much, and I wasn't at the conference. ;-)

MoiAussie , May 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Make that 7.

HotFlash , May 19, 2017 at 1:05 pm

Eight, nine and ten in this household. I don't use any Google-stuff and have hard-deleted my Facebook account. At least they told me had, I should ask a friend to check to see if I am still there ;)

voislav , May 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

But we all know that a Linux user is worth only 3/5 of a regular user, so we are back to 6. Writing this from a 2003 vintage Pentium 4 machine running Linux Mint 17.

knowbuddhau , May 19, 2017 at 3:40 pm

8. Built this thing myself 5 years ago. It's a quad core on an MSI mobo. Or maybe I only count as a half, since it's a dual boot with Linux Mint 17.3/Win7 Pro.

Disturbed Voter , May 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

A history lesson. The PC brought freedom from the IT department, until networking enslaved us again. The freedom was temporary, we were originally supposed to be serfs of a timeshare system connected to a mainframe. France was ahead of the US in that, they had MiniTel. But like everything French is was efficient but static. In Europe, like in the US, the PC initially liberated, and then with networking, enslaved. Arpanet was the predecessor of the Internet it was a Cold War system of survivable networking, for some people. The invention of HTTP and the browser at CERN democratized the Arpanet. But it also greatly enabled State-sponsored snooping.

We are now moving to cloud storage and Chrome-books which will restore the original vision of a timeshare system connected to a mainframe, but at a higher technical standard. What was envisioned in 1968 will be achieved, but later than planned, and in a round about way. We are not the polity we used to be. In 1968 this would have been viewed by the public with suspicion. But after 50 years later the public will view this as progress.

Huey Long , May 19, 2017 at 1:22 pm

In 1968 this would have been viewed by the public with suspicion. But after 50 years later the public will view this as progress.

50 years of being force fed Bernays Sauce will tend to do that to a people :-(.

LT , May 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

One thing just as dangerous and limiting as the idealized past of the conservative mindset is the idealized sense of progress of the the liberal mindset.

MyLessThanPrimeBeef , May 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

You have 'a little learning is a dangerous thing.'

Then you have the Andromeda Strain that is toxic within a small PH range.

That is to say, nothing is inherently good or bad. It depends on when, where, what and how much.

And so the PC brought freedom and now it doesn't.

I suspect likewise with left-wing ideas and right-wing ideas. "How much of it? When?"

duck1 , May 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm

SV tech owners (think about) . . . the cool toys they'll spend profits on . . . run by chuckle heads . . . identify with progressive values . . . they want to help . . . run by a feckless leadership accountable to no one . . .
Can't send them to Mars quick enough, I say.

Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm

." Even if you think our intelligence agencies are evil, they're a lawful evil. They have to follow laws and procedures, and the people in those agencies take them seriously."

This is standup comedy?

Huey Long , May 19, 2017 at 1:24 pm

This is standup comedy?

To the NCer, yes.

To the general public who have swallowed what I like to call the "Jack Ryan Narrative" of how things are at the CIA, no.

duck1 , May 19, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The real kneeslapper was. . . American government (also) run by chuckle heads . . . what happens when these two groups . . . join forces?
Knock me over with a feather, let us know when that happens. How many Friedman units will we have to wait?

Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm

"And outside of Russia and China, Google is the world's search engine."

How can this be? I don't use it except very rarely; my wife does, but complains about it bitterly, and so do people here at NC, presumably tech-savvy. My wife is using it out of pure habit; what about the rest of them?

Phemfrog , May 19, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I literally don't know anyone who doesn't use it.

Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:28 pm

"Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, "
And unfortunately, that's the likeliest solution. (The family blogging "L" on this keyboard doesn't work right, so make some allowances.)

Despite my nitpicks above, this is a very important speech and a frightening issue. In particular, I've long been concerned that so much organizing depends on giant corporations like Faceborg and Twitter. They have no reason to be our friends, and some important reasons, like this speech, to be our enemies. Do we have a backup if FB and Google decide to censor the Internet for serious?

Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Excellent post, except for the bit, as some other readers have commented, about American intelligence agencies being law abiding. Europe, and much of the world, crumbled without resistance in the face of the tech juggernauts because of the PR fetishization of anything that came out of silicon valley.

The laxity of lawmakers and regulators was partly because of their unwillingness to be seen as standing in the way of "progress". A public drunk on the need to be in with the new, "disruptive" kids on the block who were "changing the world" would have teamed up with the disruptors to run rough shod over any oversight mechanisms proposed by regulators. Hence the silicon valley PR machine always prioritises the general public as the first targets of intellectual capture, because an intellectually captured public loath to give up the benefits and convenience of "progress and disruption" is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of tech giants in their global war against regulation. And the insidious nature of the damage of overreach by these tech giants isn't just limited to online interactions anymore, but the real world is also now experiencing disruption in the true sense of the word with gig economy companies reshaping the dynamics of entire markets and squeezing the most vulnerable members of society to the periphery of said markets, if not pushing them out entirely. In my own city of cape town south africa, a housing crisis is brewing as locals are being squeezed out of the housing market because landlords profit more from airbnb listings than making their properties available for long term rentals. Asset prices are being pushed up as "investors" compete to snap up available inventory to list on airbnb. And city officials seem more interested in celebrating cape town's status as "one of the top airbnb destinations" than actually protecting the interests of their own citizens. Intellectual capture, and the need to be "in with the cool disruptive kids" is infecting even public sector organizations with severe consequences for the public at large, but the public is blind to this as they've binged on the "disruption, changing the world" cool-aid

Bill Smith , May 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

"PR fetishization of anything that came out of silicon valley"

It had nothing to do with individuals thinking this stuff had value? Cell phones -> iPhone (smartphone) for example.

Thuto , May 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm

While individuals might derive value from "this stuff", the tech companies providing the stuff use said value, allied with massive amounts of PR spin to render regulators impotent in providing safe guards to stop the techies from morphing from value providers into something akin to encroachers for profit/power/control (e.g. encroaching upon our right to privacy by selling off our data). Providing value to the public shouldn't be used as a cloak under which the dagger used to erode our rights is hidden

LT , May 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm

In the links today, there is a Guardian story on Tesla workers with the quote: "Everything feels like the future but us."

I'm reminded of another Guardian article about an ideology underpinning the grievances in Notes From An Emergency. It's imperative to understand the that the system we find ourselves in is a belief system – an ideology – and the choices to be made in regards to challenging it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/accelerationism-how-a-fringe-philosophy-predicted-the-future-we-live-in/
An excerpt:
"Accelerationists argue that technology, particularly computer technology, and capitalism, particularly the most aggressive, global variety, should be massively sped up and intensified – either because this is the best way forward for humanity, or because there is no alternative. Accelerationists favour automation. They favour the further merging of the digital and the human. They often favour the deregulation of business, and drastically scaled-back government. They believe that people should stop deluding themselves that economic and technological progress can be controlled. They often believe that social and political upheaval has a value in itself.

Accelerationism, therefore, goes against conservatism, traditional socialism, social democracy, environmentalism, protectionism, populism, nationalism, localism and all the other ideologies that have sought to moderate or reverse the already hugely disruptive, seemingly runaway pace of change in the modern world "

Be sure to catch such quotes as this:
"We all live in an operating system set up by the accelerating triad of war, capitalism and emergent AI," says Steve Goodman, a British accelerationist

That should remind one of this:
"Musk is persuaded that we're living in a simulation, and he or a fellow true believer has hired programmers to try to hack it ."

Oregoncharles , May 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm

"Boycotts won't work, since opting out of a site like Google means opting out of much of modern life."

I wish he wouldn't keep dropping into openly delusional statements like that. Granted, i use Google News, but there are alternatives.

jrs , May 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Yes I know, it's ridiculous. And we use them to "protect" us he claims. But about the only place where "protect" makes any sense in his whole argument is actually Amazon. It is pretty safe to buy from Amazon (or using Amazon-pay) if you fear a credit card being hacked from on online purchase. That much has some truth.

But how does using Facebook protect anyone? How does Google protect anyone? Ok Android security is a different debate, but I really don't understand how issues of "security" etc. applies to using a Google search as opposed to any other.

LT , May 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/11/accelerationism-how-a-fringe-philosophy-predicted-the-future-we-live-in

A long read, but gives some background on the "disruptors" a rebrand of "accelerationism."

(I thought I had accidently removed the link in the previous post)

begob , May 19, 2017 at 2:15 pm

The right wing in Britain seems to have come up with an authoritarian solution: "Theresa May is planning to introduce huge regulations on the way the internet works, allowing the government to decide what is said online."

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/theresa-may-internet-conservatives-government-a7744176.html

David, by the lake , May 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm

Lost me right at the opening by bringing up the popular vote and the bemoaning of a "broken" system. We are a federal republic of states and I'd prefer to keep it that way. Ensuring that the executive has the support of the populations of some minimal number of states is a good thing in my view.

craazyman , May 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

so much to read. so little time.

that's when I bailed too. What drek. If a reader has half a mind, they slip and fall on a greasy doo doo in the first 15 seconds? No way can I stand to wade through the rest of what seems like a tortured screed (although I did speed read it). Turns out, I may agree in a minor way with some points, but I'll never know. I have time to waste in the real world, and I can't waste it if I'm reading somebody's internet screed about Donald Trump. God Good almighty. Enough.

Authors watch your words. They matter! LOL. And always remember - sometimes less is more. Not NC's finest post evah. And post author's shouldn't refer to people's heads on pikes in their hotel room as being something they wouldn't object to. I mean really. That's not even junior high school humor. I give this post a 2.3 on a scale of 1-10. 1 is unbearable. 3 is readable. 10 is genius.

PKMKII , May 19, 2017 at 3:12 pm

The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values

Nope. There are some true progressives in the industry, yes, but they're few and far between. Understanding the dominant mindset in Silicon Valley is vital to understanding why there hasn't been pushback on all this. Sure, they like their neoliberal IdPol as it appeals to their meritocracy worship (hence the protests against the travel ban), but not with any intersectionality, especially with regards to women (the red pill/MRA mind virus infects a lot of brains in SV). Socio-economics, though, it's heavy on the libertarianism, albeit with some support for utopian government concepts like UBI, plus a futurist outlook out of that Rationality cult; Yudkowsky and his LessWrong nonsense have influence over a lot of players, big and small, in the bay area. So what you get is a bunch of people deluded into thinking they're hyperlogical while giving themselves a free pass on the begged question of where their "first principles" emerged out of. It's not just their sci-fi bubble that needs a poppin', it's their Rothbardian/Randite one as well.

Sue , May 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm

+1,000
"The people who run Silicon Valley identify with progressive values"
True! I've seen some smoking weed while talking machine language and screwing half of humanity

Michael Fiorillo , May 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Better still, they micro-dose on psychedelics while coding our binary chains: how cool is that!

TheCatSaid , May 19, 2017 at 3:38 pm

The points you raise are accurate. And even long before those things existed, Silicon Valley arose as conscious, deliberate high-level government strategy (or beyond-government deep state).

The sources of new technology and funding have been deliberately obscured, at least as far as the general public debate goes. It has nothing to do with "innovation" and "entrepreneurship". It is amazing to see all countries around the world hop onto the innovation, let's-imitate-Silicon-Valley bandwagon, with no awareness that SV was no accident of a few smart/lucky individual entrepreneurs.

jfleni , May 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

NOBODY has to join buttBook, review slimy effing GIGGLE, and especially use MICROSWIFT; ALTERNATIVES are easy and often more effective and especially annoying to the rich slime.

When Balmer was Billy-Boy's Ceo he actually preached that Linux was a nefarious plot to deprive clowns like him of their well deserved "emoluments". Fortuneately, all he has to do now is sell beer and hot dogs, and make sure the cheerleaders keep their clothing on. Good job for him.

Decide NOT to be a lemming; instead be a BOLSHIE and hit 'em hard. YOU and the whole internet will benefit.

ginnie nyc , May 19, 2017 at 5:36 pm

I think some of the naivete of this talk is based on a superficial knowledge of American history. Things like his remark about the Women's DC March – "America is not used to large demonstrations " Oh really.

The writer, though intelligent, is apparently unaware of massive demos during the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, the anti-Iraq war marches, the Bonus March etc etc. Perhaps his ignorance is a function of age, and perhaps the fact he was not born here, vis a vis his name.

different clue , May 19, 2017 at 7:27 pm

I will reply to an almost tangential little something which Maciej Ceglowski wrote near the beginning of his piece.

" 65.8 million for Clinton
63.0 million for Trump

This was the second time in sixteen years that the candidate with fewer votes won the American Presidency. There is a bug in the operating system of our democracy, one of the many ways that slavery still casts its shadow over American politics."

Really? A bug in the operating system of our democracy? That sounds like something a Clintonite would say. It sounds like something that many millions of Clintonites DID say, over and over and over again.

Clinton got more popular votes? She got almost all of them in California. So Mr. Ceglowski thinks Clinton should be President based on that? That means Mr. Ceglowski wants the entire rest of America to be California's colonial possession, ruled by a President that California picked. And don't think we Midwestern Deplorables don't understand exACTly how Ceglowski thinks and what Ceglowski thinks of us out here in Deploristan.

Some Clinton supporters are smarter than that. Some were not surprised. Michael Moore was not surprised. He predicted that we Deploristani Midwesterners would make Trump President whether the digitally beautiful people liked it or not. Did Mr. Ceglowski support Clinton? Did the "tech workers in short-lived revolt" support Clinton? And did they support NAFTA back in the day? You thought you would cram Trade Treason Clinton down our throat? Well, we flung Trade Patriot Trump right back in your face.

[May 16, 2017] Mark Ames: The FBI Has No Legal Charter But Lots of Kompromat

Notable quotes:
"... Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico). ..."
"... The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005. ..."
"... Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself. ..."
"... Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either. ..."
May 16, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Mark Ames, founding editor of the Moscow satirical paper The eXile and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast with Gary Brecher (aka John Dolan). Subscribe here . Originally published at The Exiled

I made the mistake of listening to NPR last week to find out what Conventional Wisdom had to say about Trump firing Comey, on the assumption that their standardized Mister-Rogers-on-Nyquil voice tones would rein in the hysteria pitch a little. And on the surface, it did-the NPR host and guests weren't directly shrieking "the world is ending! We're all gonna die SHEEPLE!" the way they were on CNN. But in a sense they were screaming "fire!", if you know how to distinguish the very minute pitch level differences in the standard NPR Nyquil voice.

The host of the daytime NPR program asked his guests how serious, and how "unprecedented" Trump's decision to fire his FBI chief was. The guests answers were strange: they spoke about "rule of law" and "violating the Constitution" but then switched to Trump "violating norms"-and back again, interchanging "norms" and "laws" as if they're synonyms. One of the guests admitted that Trump firing Comey was 100% legal, but that didn't seem to matter in this talk about Trump having abandoned rule-of-law for a Putinist dictatorship. These guys wouldn't pass a high school civics class, but there they were, garbling it all up. What mattered was the proper sense of panic and outrage-I'm not sure anyone really cared about the actual legality of the thing, or the legal, political or "normative" history of the FBI.

For starters, the FBI hardly belongs in the same set with concepts like "constitutional" or " rule of law." That's because the FBI was never established by a law. US Lawmakers refused to approve an FBI bureau over a century ago when it was first proposed by Teddy Roosevelt. So he ignored Congress, and went ahead and set it up by presidential fiat. That's one thing the civil liberties crowd hates discussing - how centralized US political power is in the executive branch, a feature in the constitutional system put there by the holy Founders.

In the late 1970s, at the tail end of our brief Glasnost, there was a lot of talk in Washington about finally creating a legal charter for the FBI -70 years after its founding. A lot of serious ink was spilled trying to transform the FBI from an extralegal secret police agency to something legal and defined. If you want to play archeologist to America's recent history, you can find this in the New York Times' archives, articles with headlines like "Draft of Charter for F.B.I. Limits Inquiry Methods" :

The Carter Administration will soon send to Congress the first governing charter for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The proposed charter imposes extensive but not absolute restrictions on the bureau's employment of controversial investigative techniques, .including the use of informers, undercover agents and covert criminal activity.

The charter also specifies the duties and powers of the bureau, setting precise standards and procedures for the initiation ,and conduct of investigations. It specifically requires the F.B.I. to observe constitutional rights and establishes safeguards against unchecked harassment, break‐ins and other abuses.

followed by the inevitable lament, like this editorial from the Christian Science Monitor a year later, "Don't Forget the FBI Charter". Which of course we did forget-that was Reagan's purpose and value for the post-Glasnost reaction: forgetting. As historian Athan Theoharis wrote , "After 1981, Congress never seriously considered again any of the FBI charter proposals."

The origins of the FBI have been obscured both because of its dubious legality and because of its original political purpose-to help the president battle the all-powerful American capitalists. It wasn't that Teddy Roosevelt was a radical leftist-he was a Progressive Republican, which sounds like an oxymoron today but which was mainstream and ascendant politics in his time. Roosevelt was probably the first president since Andrew Jackson to try to smash concentrated wealth-power, or at least some of it. He could be brutally anti-labor, but so were the powerful capitalists he fought, and all the structures of government power. He met little opposition pursuing his imperial Social Darwinist ambitions outside America's borders-but he had a much harder time fighting the powerful capitalists at home against Roosevelt's most honorable political obsession: preserving forests, parks and public lands from greedy capitalists. An early FBI memo to Hoover about the FBI's origins explains,

"Roosevelt, in his characteristic dynamic fashion, asserted that the plunderers of the public domain would be prosecuted and brought to justice."

According to New York Times reporter Tim Wiener's Enemies: A History of the FBI , it was the Oregon land fraud scandal of 1905-6 that put the idea of an FBI in TR's hyperactive mind. The scandal involved leading Oregon politicians helping railroad tycoon Edward Harriman illegally sell off pristine Oregon forest lands to timber interests, and it ended with an Oregon senator and the state's only two House representatives criminally charged and put on trial-along with dozens of other Oregonians. Basically, they were raping the state's public lands and forests like colonists stripping a foreign country-and that stuck in TR's craw.

TR wanted his attorney general-Charles Bonaparte (yes, he really was a descendant of that Bonaparte)-to make a full report to on the rampant land fraud scams that the robber barons were running to despoil the American West, and which threatened TR's vision of land and forest conservation and parks. Bonaparte created an investigative team from the US Secret Service, but TR thought their report was a "whitewash" and proposed a new separate federal investigative service within Bonaparte's Department of Justice that would report only to the Attorney General.

Until then, the US government had to rely on private contractors like the notorious, dreaded Pinkerton Agency, who were great at strikebreaking, clubbing workers and shooting organizers, but not so good at taking down down robber barons, who happened to also be important clients for the private detective agencies.

In early 1908, Attorney General Bonaparte wrote to Congress asking for the legal authority (and budget funds) to create a "permanent detective force" under the DOJ. Congress rebelled, denouncing it as a plan to create an American okhrana . Democrat Joseph Sherley wrote that "spying on men and prying into what would ordinarily be considered their private affairs" went against "American ideas of government"; Rep. George Waldo, a New York Republican, said the proposed FBI was a "great blow to freedom and to free institutions if there should arise in this country any such great central secret-service bureau as there is in Russia."

So Congress's response was the opposite, banning Bonaparte's DOJ from spending any funds at all on a proposed FBI. Another Congressman wrote another provision into the budget bill banning the DOJ from hiring Secret Service employees for any sort of FBI type agency. So Bonaparte waited until Congress took its summer recess, set aside some DOJ funds, recruited some Secret Service agents, and created a new federal detective bureau with 34 agents. This was how the FBI was born. Congress wasn't notified until the end of 1908, in a few lines in a standard report - "oh yeah, forgot to tell you-the executive branch went ahead and created an American okhrana because, well, the ol' joke about dogs licking their balls. Happy New Year!"

The sordid history of America's extralegal secret police-initially named the Bureau of Investigation, changed to the FBI ("Federal") in the 30's, is mostly a history of xenophobic panic-mongering, illegal domestic spying, mass roundups and plans for mass-roundups, false entrapment schemes, and planting what Russians call "kompromat"- compromising information about a target's sex life-to blackmail or destroy American political figures that the FBI didn't like.

The first political victim of J Edgar Hoover's kompromat was Louis Post, the assistant secretary of labor under Woodrow Wilson. Post's crime was releasing over 1,000 alleged Reds from detention facilities near the end of the FBI's Red Scare crackdown, when they jailed and deported untold thousands on suspicion of being Communists. The FBI's mass purge began with popular media support in 1919, but by the middle of 1920, some (not the FBI) were starting to get a little queasy. A legal challenge to the FBI's mass purges and exiles in Boston ended with a federal judge denouncing the FBI. After that ruling, assistant secretary Louis Post, a 71-year-old well-meaning progressive, reviewed the cases against the last 1500 detainees that the FBI wanted to deport, and found that there was absolutely nothing on at least 75 percent of the cases. Post's review threatened to undo thousands more FBI persecutions of alleged Moscow-controlled radicals.

So one of the FBI's most ambitious young agents, J Edgar Hoover, collected kompromat on Post and his alleged associations with other alleged Moscow-controlled leftists, and gave the file to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives-which promptly announced it would hold hearings to investigate Post as a left subversive. The House tried to impeach Post, but ultimately he defended himself. Post's lawyer compared his political persecutors to the okhrana (Russia, again!): "We in America have sunk to the level of the government of Russia under the Czarist regime," describing the FBI's smear campaign as "even lower in some of their methods than the old Russian officials."

Under Harding, the FBI had a new chief, William Burns, who made headlines blaming the terror bombing attack on Wall Street of 1920 that killed 34 people on a Kremlin-run conspiracy. The FBI claimed it had a highly reliable inside source who told them that Lenin sent $30,000 to the Soviets' diplomatic mission in New York, which was distributed to four local Communist agents who arranged the Wall Street bombing. The source claimed to have personally spoken with Lenin, who boasted that the bombing was so successful he'd ordered up more.

The only problem was that the FBI's reliable source, a Jewish-Polish petty criminal named Wolf Lindenfeld, turned out to be a bullshitter-nicknamed "Windy Linde"-who thought his fake confession about Lenin funding the bombing campaign would get him out of Poland's jails and set up in a comfortable new life in New York.

By 1923, the FBI had thoroughly destroyed America's communist and radical labor movements-allowing it to focus on its other favorite pastime: spying on and destroying political opponents. The FBI spied on US Senators who supported opening diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union: Idaho's William Borah, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee; Thomas Walsh of the Judiciary Committee, and Burton K Wheeler, the prairie Populist senator from Montana, who visited the Soviet Union and pushed for diplomatic relations. Harding's corrupt Attorney General Dougherty denounced Sen. Wheeler as "the Communist leader in the Senate" and "no more a Democrat than Stalin, his comrade in Moscow." Dougherty accused Sen. Wheeler of being part of a conspiracy "to capture, by deceit and design, as many members of the Senate as possible and to spread through Washington and the cloakrooms of Congress a poison gas as deadly as that which sapped and destroyed brave soldiers in the last war."

Hoover, now a top FBI official, quietly fed kompromat to journalists he cultivated, particularly an AP reporter named Richard Whitney, who published a popular book in 1924, "Reds In America" alleging Kremlin agents "had an all-pervasive influence over American institutions; they had infiltrated every corner of American life." Whitney named Charlie Chaplin as a Kremlin agent, along with Felix Frankfurter and members of the Senate pushing for recognition of the Soviet Union. That killed any hope for diplomatic recognition for the next decade.

Then the first Harding scandals broke-Teapot Dome, Veterans Affairs, bribery at the highest rungs. When Senators Wheeler and Walsh opened bribery investigations, the FBI sent agents to the senators' home state to drum up false bribery charges against Sen. Wheeler. The charges were clearly fake, and a jury dismissed the charges. But Attorney General Dougherty was indicted for fraud and forced to resign, as was his FBI chief Burns-but not Burns' underling Hoover, who stayed in the shadows.

"We want no Gestapo or Secret Police. FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail This must stop."

With the Cold War, the FBI became obsessed with homosexuals as America's Fifth Column under Moscow's control. Homosexuals, the FBI believed, were susceptible to Kremlin kompromat-so the FBI collected and disseminated its own kompromat on alleged American homosexuals, supposedly to protect America from the Kremlin. In the early 1950s, Hoover launched the Sex Deviates Program to spy on American homosexuals and purge them from public life. The FBI built up 300,000 pages of files on suspected homosexuals and contacted their employers, local law enforcement and universities to "to drive homosexuals from every institution of government, higher learning, and law enforcement in the nation," according to Tim Weiner's book Enemies. No one but the FBI knows exactly how many Americans' lives and careers were destroyed by the FBI's Sex Deviants Program but Hoover-who never married, lived with his mother until he was 40, and traveled everywhere with his "friend" Clyde Tolson .

In the 1952 election, Hoover was so committed to helping the Republicans and Eisenhower win that he compiled and disseminated a 19-page kompromat file alleging that his Democratic Party rival Adlai Stevenson was gay. The FBI's file on Stevenson was kept in the Sex Deviants Program section-it included libelous gossip, claiming that Stevenson was one of Illinois' "best known homosexuals" who went by the name "Adeline" in gay cruising circles.

In the 1960s, Hoover and his FBI chiefs collected kompromat on the sex lives of JFK and Martin Luther King. Hoover presented some of his kompromat on JFK to Bobby Kennedy, in a concern-trollish way claiming to "warn" him that the president was opening himself up to blackmail. It was really a way for Hoover to let the despised Kennedy brothers know he could destroy them, should they try to Comey him out of his FBI office. Hoover's kompromat on MLK's sex life was a particular obsession of his-he now believed that African-Americans, not homosexuals, posed the greatest threat to become a Kremlin Fifth Column. The FBI wiretapped MLK's private life, collecting tapes of his affairs with other women, which a top FBI official then mailed to Martin Luther King's wife, along with a note urging King to commit suicide.

FBI letter anonymously mailed to Martin Luther King Jr's wife, along with kompromat sex tapes

After JFK was murdered, when Bobby Kennedy ran for the Senate in 1964, he recounted another disturbing FBI/kompromat story that President Johnson shared with him on the campaign trail. LBJ told Bobby about a stack of kompromat files - FBI reports "detailing the sexual debauchery of members of the Senate and House who consorted with prostitutes." LBJ asked RFK if the kompromat should be leaked selectively to destroy Republicans before the 1964 elections. Kennedy recalled,

"He told me he had spent all night sitting up and reading the files of the FBI on all these people. And Lyndon talks about that information and material so freely. Lyndon talks about everybody, you see, with everybody. And of course that's dangerous."

Kennedy had seen some of the same FBI kompromat files as attorney general, but he was totally opposed to releasing such unsubstantiated kompromat-such as, say, the Trump piss files-because doing so would "destroy the confidence that people in the United States had in their government and really make us a laughingstock around the world."

Imagine that.

Which brings me to the big analogy every hack threw around last week, calling Trump firing Comey "Nixonian." Actually, what Trump did was more like the very opposite of Nixon, who badly wanted to fire Hoover in 1971-2, but was too afraid of the kompromat Hoover might've had on him to make the move. Nixon fell out with his old friend and onetime mentor J Edgar Hoover in 1971, when the ailing old FBI chief refused to get sucked in to the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers investigation, especially after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the New York Times. Part of the reason Nixon created his Plumbers team of black bag burglars was because Hoover had become a bit skittish in his last year on this planet-and that drove Nixon crazy.

Nixon called his chief of staff Haldeman:

Nixon: I talked to Hoover last night and Hoover is not going after this case [Ellsberg] as strong as I would like. There's something dragging him.

Haldeman: You don't have the feeling the FBI is really pursuing this?

Nixon: Yeah, particularly the conspiracy side. I want to go after everyone. I'm not so interested in Ellsberg, but we have to go after everybody who's a member of this conspiracy.

Hoover's ambitious deputies in the FBI were smelling blood, angling to replace him. His number 3, Bill Sullivan (who sent MLK the sex tapes and suicide note) was especially keen to get rid of Hoover and take his place. So as J Edgar was stonewalling the Daniel Ellsberg investigation, Sullivan showed up in a Department of Justice office with two suitcases packed full of transcripts and summaries of illegal wiretaps that Kissinger and Nixon had ordered on their own staff and on American journalists. The taps were ordered in Nixon's first months in the White House in 1969, to plug up the barrage of leaks, the likes of which no one had ever seen before. Sullivan took the leaks from J Edgar's possession and told the DOJ official that they needed to be hidden from Hoover, who planned to use them as kompromat to blackmail Nixon.

Nixon decided he was going to fire J Edgar the next day. This was in September, 1971. But the next day came, and Nixon got scared. So he tried to convince his attorney general John Mitchell to fire Hoover for him, but Mitchell said only the President could fire J Edgar Hoover. So Nixon met him for breakfast, and, well, he just didn't have the guts. Over breakfast, Hoover flattered Nixon and told him there was nothing more in the world he wanted than to see Nixon re-elected. Nixon caved; the next day, J Edgar Hoover unceremoniously fired his number 3 Bill Sullivan, locking him out of the building and out of his office so that he couldn't take anything with him. Sullivan was done.

The lesson here, I suppose, is that if an FBI director doesn't want to be fired, it's best to keep your kompromat a little closer to your chest, as a gun to hold to your boss's head. Comey's crew already released the piss tapes kompromat on Trump-the damage was done. What was left to hold back Trump from firing Comey? "Laws"? The FBI isn't even legal. "Norms" would be the real reason. Which pretty much sums up everything Trump has been doing so far. We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"-and while those norms may mean everything to the ruling class, it's an open question how much these norms mean to a lot of Americans outside that club.

Huey Long , May 16, 2017 at 2:33 am

Wow, and this whole time I thought the NSA had a kompromat monopoly as they have everybody's porn site search terms and viewing habits on file.

I had no idea the FBI practically invented it!

3.14e-9 , May 16, 2017 at 3:04 am

The Native tribes don't have a great history with the FBI, either.

https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/thing-about-skins/comey-fbi-destructive-history-native-people/

voteforno6 , May 16, 2017 at 6:06 am

Has anyone ever used the FBI's lack of a charter as a defense in court?

Disturbed Voter , May 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

The USA doesn't have a legal basis either, it is a revolting crown colony of the British Empire. Treason and heresy all the way down. Maybe the British need to burn Washington DC again?

Synoia , May 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Britain burning DC, and the so call ed "war" of 1812, got no mention in my History Books. Napoleon on the other hand, featured greatly

In 1812 Napoleon was busy going to Russia. That went well.

Ignim Brites , May 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

Wondered how Comey thought he could get away with his conviction and pardon of Sec Clinton. Seems like part of the culture of FBI is a "above and beyond" the law mentality.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 7:56 am

Back in the early 1970s a high school friend moved to Alabama because his father was transferred by his employer.

My friend sent a post card describing among other things the fact that Alabama had done away with the requirement of a math class to graduate high school, and substituted a required class called "The Evils of Communism" complete with a text-book written by J. Edgar Hoover; Masters of Deceit.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

In Dallas,Texas my 1959 Civics class had to read the same book. We all were given paperback copies of it to take home and read. It was required reading enacted by Texas legislature.

Watt4Bob , May 16, 2017 at 4:47 pm

So I'd guess you weren't fooled by any of those commie plots of the sixties, like the campaigns for civil rights or against the Vietnamese war.

I can't really brag, I didn't stop worrying about the Red Menace until 1970 or so, that's when I started running into returning vets who mostly had no patience for that stuff.

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 8:35 am

We've learned the past two decades that we're hardly a nation of laws, at least not when it comes to the plutocratic ruling class. What does bind them are "norms"

Or as David Broder put it (re Bill Clinton): he came in and trashed the place and it wasn't his place.

It was David Broder's place. Of course the media play a key role with all that kompromat since they are the ones needed to convey it to the public. The tragedy is that even many of the sensible in their ranks such as Bill Moyers have been sucked into the kompromat due to their hysteria over Trump. Ames is surely on point in this great article. The mistake was allowing secret police agencies like the FBI and CIA to be created in the first place.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 8:37 am

Sorry, my initial reaction was that people who don't know the difference between "rein" and "reign" are not to be trusted to provide reliable information. Recognizing that as petty, I kept reading, and presently found the statement that Congress was not informed of the founding of the FBI until a century after the fact, which seems implausible. If in fact the author meant the end of 1908 it was quite an achievement to write 2008.

Interesting to the extent it may be true, but with few sources, no footnotes, and little evidence of critical editing who knows what that may be?

Carolinian , May 16, 2017 at 9:12 am

Do you even know who Mark Ames is?

Petty .yes.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

Who he is is irrelevant. I don't take things on faith because "the Pope said" or because Mark Ames said. People who expect their information to be taken seriously should substantiate it.

Bill Smith , May 16, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Yeah, in the first sentence

Interesting article though.

Fiery Hunt , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Yeah, Kathatine, you're right .very petty.

And completely missed the point.

Or worse, you got the point and your best rejection of that point was pointing out a typo.

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

I neither missed the point nor rejected it. I reserved judgment, as I thought was apparent from my comment.

sid_finster , May 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

But Trump is bad. Very Bad.

So anything the FBI does to get rid of him must by definition be ok! Besides, surely our civic-minded IC would never use their power on the Good Guys™!

Right?

JTMcPhee , May 16, 2017 at 9:21 am

Ah yes, the voice of "caution." And such attention to the lack of footnotes, in this day when the curious can so easily cut and paste a bit of salient text into a search engine and pull up a feast of parse-able writings and video, from which they can "judiciously assess" claims and statements. If they care to spend the time, which is in such short supply among those who are struggling to keep up with the horrors and revelations people of good will confront every blinking day

Classic impeachment indeed. All from the height of "academic rigor" and "caution." Especially the "apologetic" bit about "reign" vs "rein." Typos destroy credibility, don't they? And the coup de grass (sic), the unrebuttable "plausibility" claim.

One wonders at the nature of the author's curriculum vitae. One also marvels at the yawning gulf between the Very Serious Stuff I was taught in grade and high school civics and history, back in the late '50s and the '60s, about the Fundamental Nature Of Our Great Nation and its founding fathers and the Beautiful Documents they wrote, on the one hand, and what we mopes learn, through a drip-drip-drip process punctuated occasionally by Major Revelations, about the real nature of the Empire and our fellow creatures

PS: My earliest memory of television viewing was a day at a friend's house - his middle-class parents had the first "set" in the neighborhood, I think an RCA, in a massive sideboard cabinet where the picture tube pointed up and you viewed the "content" in a mirror mounted to the underside of the lid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5onSwx7_Cn0 The family was watching a hearing of Joe McCarthy's kangaroo court, complete with announcements of the latest number in the "list of known Communists in the State Department" and how Commyanism was spreading like an unstoppable epidemic mortal disease through the Great US Body Politic and its Heroic Institutions of Democracy. I was maybe 6 years old, but that grainy black and white "reality TV" content had me asking "WTF?" at a very early age. And I'd say it's on the commentor to show that the "2008" claim is wrong, by something other than "implausible" as drive-by impeachment. Given the content of the original post, and what people paying attention to all this stuff have a pretty good idea is the general contours of a vast corruption and manipulation.

"Have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no."

Katharine , May 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

It is the author's job to substantiate information, not the reader's. If he thinks his work is so important, why does he not make a better job of it?

Edward , May 16, 2017 at 9:22 pm

I think the MLK blackmail scheme is well-established. Much of the article seems to be based on Tim Wiener's "Enemies: A History of the FBI".

nonsense factory , May 16, 2017 at 11:16 am

Interesting article on the history of the FBI, although the post-Hoover era doesn't get any treatment. The Church Committee hearings on the CIA and FBI, after the exposure of notably Operation CHAOS (early 60s to early 70s) by the CIA and COINTELPRO(late 1950s to early 1970s) by the FBI, didn't really get to the bottom of the issue although some reforms were initiated.

Today, it seems, the best description of the FBI's main activity is corporate enforcer for the white-collar mafia known as Wall Street. There is an analogy to organized crime, where the most powerful mobsters settled disputes between other gangs of criminals. Similarly, if a criminal gang is robbed by one of its own members, the mafia would go after the guilty party; the FBI plays this role for Wall Street institutions targeted by con artists and fraudsters. Compare and contrast a pharmaceutical company making opiates which is targeted by thieves vs. a black market drug cartel targeted by thieves. In one case, the FBI investigates; in the other, a violent vendetta ensues (such as street murders in Mexico).

The FBI executives are rewarded for this service with lucrative post-retirement careers within corporate America – Louis Freeh went to credit card fraudster, MBNA, Richard Mueller to a corporate Washington law firm, WilmerHale, and Comey, before Obama picked him as Director, worked for Lockheed Martin and HSBC (cleaning up after their $2 billion drug cartel marketing scandal) after leaving the FBI in 2005.

Maybe this is legitimate, but this only applies to their protection of the interests of large corporations – as the 2008 economic collapse and aftermath showed, they don't prosecute corporate executives who rip off poor people and middle-class homeowners. Banks who rob people, they aren't investigated or prosecuted; that's just for people who rob banks.

When it comes to political issues and national security, however, the FBI has such a terrible record on so many issues over the years that anything they claim has to be taken with a grain or two of salt. Consider domestic political activity: from the McCarthyite 'Red Scare' of the 1950s to COINTELPRO in the 1960s and 1970s to targeting of environmental groups in the 1980s and 1990s to targeting anti-war protesters under GW Bush to their obsession with domestic mass surveillance under Obama, it's not a record that should inspire any confidence.

Some say they have a key role to play in national security and terrorism – but their record on the 2001 anthrax attacks is incredibly shady and suspicious. The final suspect, Bruce Ivins, is clearly innocent of the crime, just as their previous suspect, Steven Hatfill was. Ivins, if still alive, could have won a similar multi-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the FBI. All honest bioweapons experts know this to be true – the perpetrators of those anthrax letters are still at large, and may very well have had close associations with the Bush Administration itself.

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences. The Saudi intelligence agency role in 9/11 was buried for over a decade, as well. Since 9/11, most of the FBI investigations seem to have involved recruiting mentally disabled young Islamic men in sting operations in which the FBI provides everything needed. You could probably get any number of mentally ill homeless people across the U.S., regardless of race or religion, to play this role.

Comey's actions over the past year are certainly highly questionable, as well. Neglecting to investigate the Clinton Foundation ties to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments and corporations, particularly things like State Department approval of various arms deals in which bribes may have been paid, is as much a dereliction of duty as neglecting to investigate Trump ties to Russian business interests – but then, Trump has a record of shady business dealings dating back to the 1970s, of strange bankruptcies and bailouts and government sales that the FBI never looked at either.

Ultimately, this is because FBI executives are paid off not to investigate Wall Street criminality, nor shady U.S. government activity, with lucrative positions as corporate board members and so on after their 'retirements'. I don't doubt that many of their junior members mean well and are dedicated to their jobs – but the fish rots from the head down.

Andrew Watts , May 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm

As far as terrorist activities? Many of their low-level agents did seem concerned about the Saudis and bin Laden in the late 1990s and pre-9/11 – but Saudi investigations were considered politically problematic due to "geostrategic relationships with our Saudi allies" – hence people like John O'Neil and Coleen Rowley were sidelined and ignored, with disastrous consequences.

The Clinton Administration had other priorities. You know, I think I'll let ex-FBI Director Freeh explain what happened when the FBI tried to get the Saudis to cooperate with their investigation into the bombing of the Khobar Towers.

"That September, Crown Prince Abdullah and his entourage took over the entire 143-room Hay-Adams Hotel, just across from Lafayette Park from the White House, for six days. The visit, I figured, was pretty much our last chance. Again, we prepared talking points for the president. Again, I contacted Prince Bandar and asked him to soften up the crown prince for the moment when Clinton, -- or Al Gore I didn't care who -- would raise the matter and start to exert the necessary pressure."

"The story that came back to me, from "usually reliable sources," as they say in Washington, was that Bill Clinton briefly raised the subject only to tell the Crown Prince that he certainly understood the Saudis; reluctance to cooperate. Then, according to my sources, he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the still-to-be-built Clinton presidential library. Gore, who was supposed to press hardest of all in his meeting with the crown Prince, barely mentioned the matter, I was told." -Louis J. Freeh, My FBI (2005)

In my defense I picked the book up to see if there was any dirt on the DNC's electoral funding scandal in 1996. I'm actually glad I did. The best part of the book is when Freeh recounts running into a veteran of the Lincoln Brigade and listens to how Hoover's FBI ruined his life despite having broken no laws. As if a little thing like laws mattered to Hoover. The commies were after our precious bodily fluids!

verifyfirst , May 16, 2017 at 12:53 pm

I'm not sure there are many functioning norms left within the national political leadership. Seemed to me Gingrich started blowing those up and it just got worse from there. McConnell not allowing Garland to be considered comes to mind

lyman alpha blob , May 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm

Great article – thanks for this. I had no idea the FBI never had a legal charter – very enlightening.

JMarco , May 16, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Thanks to Mark Ames now we know what Pres. Trump meant when he tweeted about his tapes with AG Comey. Not some taped conversation between Pres. Trump & AG Comey but bunch of kompromat tapes that AG Comey has provided Pres. Trump that might not make departing AG Comey looked so clean.

[May 14, 2017] Classified America Why Is the US Public Allowed To Know So Little by Robert Koehler

Notable quotes:
"... And I have yet to hear a mainstream journo challenge or question that word or ask what could be at stake that requires protective secrecy even as the U.S. government seemingly threatens to collapse around Michael Flynn, America's national security advisor for three weeks, and his relationship to Russia. Is there really any there there? ..."
"... I'm not suggesting that there isn't, or that it's all fake news. Trump and pals are undoubtedly entwined financially with Russian oligarchs, which of course is deeply problematic. And maybe there's more. And maybe some of that "more" is arguably classified for a valid reason, but I want, at the very least, to know why it's classified. What I read and hear feels, instead, like collusion: journalists unquestioningly honoring bureaucratic keep-out signs as objective, even sacred, stopping points. Public knowledge must go no further because . . . you know, national security. But the drama continues! ..."
"... And this is troubling to me because, for starters, nations built on secrecy are far more unstable than those that aren't. ..."
"... The United States is engaged in endless war, at unbelievable and never-discussed cost, to no end except destruction in all directions. Those who have launched and perpetuated the wars remain the determiners of what's classified and what isn't. And Russia lurks silently in the background as a new Cold War gestates. And the media participate not in reporting the news but promoting the drama. ..."
"... Occasionally this has not been the case. Remember the Pentagon Papers? Daniel Ellsberg photocopied a multi-thousand-page secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971 and handed it over to the New York Times. It was classified! But papers printed it. And Sen. Mike Gravel later read portions of the text aloud at a Senate subcommittee hearing. ..."
"... "These portions," notes history.com , "revealed that the presidential administrations of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had all misled the public about the degree of US involvement in Vietnam, from Truman's decision to give military aid to France during its struggle against the communist-led Viet Minh to Johnson's development of plans to escalate the war in Vietnam as early as 1964, even as he claimed the opposite during that year's presidential election." ..."
"... Our own government, in short, is as untrustworthy as the governments of our allies and our enemies. Government officials left to operate free of public scrutiny – bereft of public input – have proven themselves over and over to be shockingly shortsighted and cold-blooded in their decision-making, and indifferent to the impact they have on the future. ..."
"... "It is nearly a truism," writes Jeffrey Sachs , "that US wars of regime change have rarely served America's security needs. Even when the wars succeed in overthrowing a government, as in the case of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Moammar Khadafy in Libya, the result is rarely a stable government, and is more often a civil war. ..."
May 14, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Classified America: Why Is the US Public Allowed To Know So Little?

by Robert Koehler , May 13, 2017 Print This | Share This For a journalist – especially one covering government and politics – the most suspicious, least trustworthy word in the language ought to be: "classified."

As the drama continues to swirl around Russiagate, or whatever the central controversy of the Trump administration winds up being known as, that word keeps popping up, teasingly, seductively: "It appeared that there was a great deal more (former acting Attorney General Sally) Yates wished she could share," the Washington Post informed us the other day, for instance, "but most of the information surrounding everything that happened remains classified."

And the drama continues! And I have yet to hear a mainstream journo challenge or question that word or ask what could be at stake that requires protective secrecy even as the U.S. government seemingly threatens to collapse around Michael Flynn, America's national security advisor for three weeks, and his relationship to Russia. Is there really any there there?

I'm not suggesting that there isn't, or that it's all fake news. Trump and pals are undoubtedly entwined financially with Russian oligarchs, which of course is deeply problematic. And maybe there's more. And maybe some of that "more" is arguably classified for a valid reason, but I want, at the very least, to know why it's classified. What I read and hear feels, instead, like collusion: journalists unquestioningly honoring bureaucratic keep-out signs as objective, even sacred, stopping points. Public knowledge must go no further because . . . you know, national security. But the drama continues!

And this is troubling to me because, for starters, nations built on secrecy are far more unstable than those that aren't. Job #1 of a free, independent media is the full-on, continuous challenge to government secrecy. Such a media understands that it answers to the public, or rather, that it's a manifestation of the public will. Stability and freedom are not the result of private tinkering. And peace is something created openly. The best of who we are is contained in the public soul, not bequeathed to us by unfathomably wise leaders.

So I cringe every time I hear the news stop at the word "classified." Indeed, in the Trump era, it seems like a plot device: a way to maintain the drama. ". . . there was a great deal more Yates wished she could share, but most of the information surrounding everything that happened remains classified."

Stay tuned, and keep your imaginations turned to high! This is Russia we're talking about. They messed with our election. They "attacked" us in cyberspace. We'd tell you more about how bad things are, but . . . you know, national security.

If nothing else, this endless retreat behind the word "classified" is a waste of the Trump presidency. This administration's recklessness is opening all sorts of random doors on national secrets that need airing. It's not as though the country was sailing along smoothly and keeping the world safe and peaceful till Donald Trump showed up.

Trump could well be making a bad situation worse, but, as William Hartung pointed out: "After all, he inherited no less than seven conflicts from Barack Obama: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen."

The United States is engaged in endless war, at unbelievable and never-discussed cost, to no end except destruction in all directions. Those who have launched and perpetuated the wars remain the determiners of what's classified and what isn't. And Russia lurks silently in the background as a new Cold War gestates. And the media participate not in reporting the news but promoting the drama.

Occasionally this has not been the case. Remember the Pentagon Papers? Daniel Ellsberg photocopied a multi-thousand-page secret history of the Vietnam War in 1971 and handed it over to the New York Times. It was classified! But papers printed it. And Sen. Mike Gravel later read portions of the text aloud at a Senate subcommittee hearing.

"These portions," notes history.com , "revealed that the presidential administrations of Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson had all misled the public about the degree of US involvement in Vietnam, from Truman's decision to give military aid to France during its struggle against the communist-led Viet Minh to Johnson's development of plans to escalate the war in Vietnam as early as 1964, even as he claimed the opposite during that year's presidential election."

Our own government, in short, is as untrustworthy as the governments of our allies and our enemies. Government officials left to operate free of public scrutiny – bereft of public input – have proven themselves over and over to be shockingly shortsighted and cold-blooded in their decision-making, and indifferent to the impact they have on the future.

"It is nearly a truism," writes Jeffrey Sachs , "that US wars of regime change have rarely served America's security needs. Even when the wars succeed in overthrowing a government, as in the case of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and Moammar Khadafy in Libya, the result is rarely a stable government, and is more often a civil war. A 'successful' regime change often lights a long fuse leading to a future explosion, such as the 1953 overthrow of Iran's democratically elected government and installation of the autocratic Shah of Iran, which was followed by the Iranian Revolution of 1979."

All of this, and so much more, preceded Trump. He's only the tail end of our troubles.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com . Reprinted with permission from PeaceVoice .

[May 14, 2017] AfterMidnight -- new NSA malware

May 14, 2017 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr
WikiLeaks

Today, May 12th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes "AfterMidnight" and "Assassin", two CIA malware frameworks for the Microsoft Windows platform.
"AfterMidnight" allows operators to dynamically load and execute malware payloads on a target machine.

The main controller disguises as a self-persisting Windows Service DLL and provides secure execution of "Gremlins" via a HTTPS based Listening Post (LP) system called "Octopus".

Once installed on a target machine AM will call back to a configured LP on a configurable schedule, checking to see if there is a new plan for it to execute.

If there is, it downloads and stores all needed components before loading all new gremlins in memory. "Gremlins" are small AM payloads that are meant to run hidden on the target and either subvert the functionality of targeted software, survey the target (including data exfiltration) or provide internal services for other gremlins.

The special payload "AlphaGremlin" even has a custom script language which allows operators to schedule custom tasks to be executed on the target machine.

"Assassin" is a similar kind of malware; it is an automated implant that provides a simple collection platform on remote computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Once the tool is installed on the target, the implant is run within a Windows service process. "Assassin" (just like "AfterMidnight") will then periodically beacon to its configured listening post(s) to request tasking and deliver results.

Communication occurs over one or more transport protocols as configured before or during deployment. The "Assassin" C2 (Command and Control) and LP (Listening Post) subsystems are referred to collectively as" The Gibson" and allow operators to perform specific tasks on an infected target..

Documents:
https://wikileaks.org/vault7/#AfterMidnight

[May 12, 2017] Worst-Ever Recorded Ransomware Attack Strikes Over 57,000 Users Worldwide, Using NSA-Leaked Tools

Cyber attacks on a global scale took place on Friday, May 12, 2017. The notable hits include computers in 16 UK hospitals, Telefonica Telecom in Spain, Gas Natural, Iberdrola. Several thousand computer were infected in 99 countries. WannaCry ransomware attack - Wikipedia
WannaCry is believed to use the EternalBlue exploit, which was developed by the U.S. National Security Agency[15][16] to attack computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems. Once it invades a network, it is self-replicated and transmitted to other computers.
Initial infection vector is either via LAN, an email attachment, or drive-by download.
A kill switch has been found in the code, which since May 13 helps to prevent new infections. This swich was accidentally activated by an anti-virus researcher from GB. However, different versions of the attack may be released and all vulnerable systems still have an urgent need to be patched.
Notable quotes:
"... Hollywood Overwhelmed With Hack Attacks; FBI Advises 'Pay Ransom'... ..."
May 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

The ransomware has been identifed as WannaCry

* * *

Update 4 : According to experts tracking and analyzing the worm and its spread, this could be one of the worst-ever recorded attacks of its kind .

The security researcher who tweets and blogs as MalwareTech told The Intercept "I've never seen anything like this with ransomware," and "the last worm of this degree I can remember is Conficker." Conficker was a notorious Windows worm first spotted in 2008; it went on to infect over nine million computers in nearly 200 countries. As The Intercept details,

Today's WannaCry attack appears to use an NSA exploit codenamed ETERNALBLUE, a software weapon that would have allowed the spy agency's hackers to break into any of millions of Windows computers by exploiting a flaw in how certain version of Windows implemented a network protocol commonly used to share files and to print. Even though Microsoft fixed the ETERNALBLUE vulnerability in a March software update, the safety provided there relied on computer users keeping their systems current with the most recent updates. Clearly, as has always been the case, many people (including in governments) are not installing updates. Before, there would have been some solace in knowing that only enemies of the NSA would have to fear having ETERNALBLUE used against them–but from the moment the agency lost control of its own exploit last summer, there's been no such assurance.

Today shows exactly what's at stake when government hackers can't keep their virtual weapons locked up.

As security researcher Matthew Hickey, who tracked the leaked NSA tools last month, put it, "I am actually surprised that a weaponized malware of this nature didn't spread sooner."

Update 3: Microsoft has issued a statement, confirming the status the vulnerability:

Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom:Win32.WannaCrypt.

In March, we provided a security update which provides additional protections against this potential attack.

Those who are running our free antivirus software and have Windows updates enabled, are protected. We are working with customers to provide additional assistance.

Update 2: Security firm Kaspersky Lab has recorded more than 45,000 attacks in 74 countries in the past 10 hours

Seventy-four countries around the globe have been affected, with the number of victims still growing, according to Kaspersky Lab. According to Avast, over 57,000 attacks have been detected worldwide, the company said, adding that it "quickly escalated into a massive spreading."

57,000 detections of #WannaCry (aka #WanaCypt0r aka #WCry ) #ransomware by Avast today. More details in blog post: https://t.co/PWxbs8LZkk

- Jakub Kroustek (@JakubKroustek) May 12, 2017

According to Avast, the ransomware has also targeted Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan. The virus is apparently the upgraded version of the ransomware that first appeared in February. Believed to be affecting only Windows operated computers, it changes the affected file extension names to ".WNCRY." It then drops ransom notes to a user in a text file, demanding $300 worth of bitcoins to be paid to unlock the infected files within a certain period of time.

While the victim's wallpaper is being changed, affected users also see a countdown timer to remind them of the limited time they have to pay the ransom. If they fail to pay, their data will be deleted, cybercriminals warn. According to the New York Times, citing security experts, the ransomware exploits a "vulnerability that was discovered and developed by the National Security Agency (NSA)." The hacking tool was leaked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, the report said, adding, that it has been distributing the stolen NSA hacking tools online since last year.

Predictably, Edward Snowden - who has been warning about just such an eventuality - chimed in on Twitter, saying " Whoa: @NSAGov decision to build attack tools targeting US software now threatens the lives of hospital patients."

* * *

Update 1 : In a shocking revelation, The FT reports that hackers responsible for the wave of cyber attacks that struck organisations across the globe used tools stolen from the US National Security Agency.

A hacking tool known as "eternal blue", developed by US spies has been weaponised by the hackers to super-charge an existing form of ransomware known as WannaCry, three senior cyber security analysts said. Their reading of events was confirmed by western security officials who are still scrambling to contain the spread of the attack. The NSA's eternal blue exploit allows the malware to spread through file-sharing protocols set up across organisations, many of which span the globe.

As Sam Coates summed up...

NHS hack: So NSA had secret backdoor into Windows. Details leaked few weeks ago. Now backdoor being exploited by random criminals. Nightmare

- Sam Coates Times (@SamCoatesTimes) May 12, 2017

* * *

We earlier reported in the disturbing fact that hospitals across the United Kingdom had gone dark due to a massive cyber-attack...

Hospitals across the UK have been hit by what appears to be a major, nationwide cyber-attack, resulting in the loss of phonelines and computers, with many hospitals going "dark" and some diverting all but emergency patients elsewhere. At some hospitals patients are being told not to come to A&E with all non-urgent operations cancelled, the BBC reports .

The UK National Health Service said: "We're aware that a number of trusts that have reported potential issues to the CareCERT team. We believe it to be ransomware ." It added that trusts and hospitals in London, Blackburn, Nottingham, Cumbria and Hertfordshire have been affected and are reporting IT failures, in some cases meaning there is no way of operating phones or computers.

At Lister Hospital in Stevenage, the telephone and computer system has been fully disabled in an attempt to fend off the attack .

NHS England says it is aware of the issue and is looking into it.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May confirms today's massive cyber hit on NHS is part of wider international attack and there is no evidence patient data has been compromised.

Hospitals say backlog will go on for some weeks after today's cyber attack #NHScyberattack pic.twitter.com/BGV5jV7KZ1

- Sky News Tonight (@SkyNewsTonight) May 12, 2017

The situation has got significantly worse as The BBC reports the ransomware attack has gone global.

Screenshots of a well known program that locks computers and demands a payment in Bitcoin have been shared online by parties claiming to be affected.

Manthong macholatte May 12, 2017 2:19 PM

"Ransomware"?

The FBI has the solution and comes to the rescue .

Hollywood Overwhelmed With Hack Attacks; FBI Advises 'Pay Ransom'...

Manthong Manthong May 12, 2017 2:22 PM

It's just a damn good thing the US spent all that time and money developing all that stuff.

Now that it's out, just pay the ransom to the Cyber-Barbary Pirates so that the government can return to its main 1984 mass surveillance and control mission.

stormsailor pods May 12, 2017 4:52 PM
My son is an IT professional and has been inundated with new clients calling to rid their complex systems of this plague.For his clients he has divised protection from it, but most of the calls he gets are from large hospitals, corporations, etc. that have their own IT staff.

He can fix it and prevent/firewall it so it doesn't happen but some of the systems are so complex with so many open ends, his bill is sometimes as much as the hackers are asking for. He told me that in some cases he is tempted to tell them to just pay it, however, he said all of the payoffs have to be made with bitcoin on the "dark-web" and since you are dealing with known criminals he has heard that more than half the time they do not fix it.

He was in New Orleans about a month ago, Thursday through Sunday clearing up a large companies servers and systems, worked 70 hours and billed them 24k plus expenses

virgule Arnold May 12, 2017 3:21 PM
First thing I suggest to do if this happens to you, is to shut down your computer, take out the HD, and boot it into a Linux system, so at least you can make a copy in a asafe environment, before things get worse.

[May 10, 2017] How ISIS Evades the CIA by Philip Giraldi

By pushing the envelope CIA essentially armed terrorists is effective techniques of avoiding electronic eavedropping....
Notable quotes:
"... Terrorists now know that using cell phones is dangerous, that transferring money using commercial accounts can be detected, that moving around when a drone is overhead can be fatal, and that communicating by computer is likely to be intercepted and exposed even when encrypted. ..."
"... So they rely on couriers to communicate and move money while also avoiding the use of the vulnerable technologies whenever they can, sometimes using public phones and computers only when they are many miles away from their operational locations, and changing addresses, SIM cards, and telephone numbers frequently to confuse the monitoring. ..."
Jul 23, 2014 | www.theamericanconservative.com
America's high-tech spies aren't equipped to penetrate low-tech terrorist organizations

Terrorists now know that using cell phones is dangerous, that transferring money using commercial accounts can be detected, that moving around when a drone is overhead can be fatal, and that communicating by computer is likely to be intercepted and exposed even when encrypted.

So they rely on couriers to communicate and move money while also avoiding the use of the vulnerable technologies whenever they can, sometimes using public phones and computers only when they are many miles away from their operational locations, and changing addresses, SIM cards, and telephone numbers frequently to confuse the monitoring.

Technical intelligence has another limitation: while it is excellent on picking up bits and pieces and using sophisticated computers to work through the bulk collection of chatter, it is largely unable to learn the intentions of terrorist groups and leaders. To do that you need spies, ideally someone who is placed in the inner circle of an organization and who is therefore privy to decision making.

Since 9/11 U.S. intelligence has had a poor record in recruiting agents to run inside terrorist organizations-or even less toxic groups that are similarly structured-in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Information collected relating to the internal workings of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, dissident Sunni groups in Iraq, and now ISIS has been, to say the least, disappointing. To be fair this is often because security concerns limit the ability of American case officers to operate in areas that are considered too dangerous, which is generally speaking where the terrorist targets are actually located. Also, hostile groups frequently run their operations through franchise arrangements where much of the decision making is both local and funded without large cash transfers from a central organization, making the activity hard to detect.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

[May 08, 2017] Another Leaks about emails, this time about Macron

Notable quotes:
"... to be fair though, those emails leaks seem totally dull. I browsed what I could, it's just generic staff chat, campaign bills to pay, bills to make, yadda yadda Whoever got the mail passwords few months ago must have waited for something juicy to land and since nothing really interesting came up, they're just posting the whole stock as is. Won't make the slightest difference on sunday. ..."
"... Exactly. I wouldnt be surprised if its Macron team itself that leaked this dull, uninportant stuff to show that "russians have interfered". ..."
"... Macron won 1st step with the intense fear campaign spammed on our heads during 6 months. I know plenty reasonable people who voted Macron while they hardly can stand his program, because they were told hundreds times he was the "best choice" to beat Le Pen. ..."
"... That's so absurd Macron got the most votes last sunday AND at the same time got the LOWEST "adhesion" (adherence ? not sure in english) rate of all 11 candidates, basically nearly half of "his" voters put the bulletin with his name for reasons that have nothing to do with him. ..."
"... Macron's dirty secrets according to The Duran: http://theduran.com/breaking-macron-emails-lead-to-allegations-of-drug-use-homosexual-adventurism-and-rothschild-money/ ..."
"... That all the evils in western society are the fault of the external bogeyman. Putin, ISIS Refugees, Asian footwear makers, whatever. ..."
"... Is that your services & politicians Would never pull a false leak or a controlled leak or a limited hangout. That they are angels that sit on their hands. ..."
"... These two underpin the absolute lunacy we have seen unfold before our eyes. An extraordinarily dangerous situation to be in which is getting worse fast. ..."
May 08, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Jean | May 6, 2017 8:32:33 AM | 10
Another Leaks about emails, this time about Macron. The difference is that nobody is allowed to publish any part of it by the electoral commission (15,000 euros fine). No doubt there will be a huge crackdown on alt media once he gets elected.

France is an occupied country, much more than the US

http://theduran.com/breaking-macron-email-hacking-shows-that-free-speech-is-dead-in-france/

roflmaousse | May 6, 2017 8:43:48 AM | 12
to be fair though, those emails leaks seem totally dull. I browsed what I could, it's just generic staff chat, campaign bills to pay, bills to make, yadda yadda Whoever got the mail passwords few months ago must have waited for something juicy to land and since nothing really interesting came up, they're just posting the whole stock as is. Won't make the slightest difference on sunday.
Anon | May 6, 2017 8:52:27 AM | 13
roflmaousse

Exactly. I wouldnt be surprised if its Macron team itself that leaked this dull, uninportant stuff to show that "russians have interfered".

roflmaousse | May 6, 2017 9:04:11 AM | 14
@jen : what possibility ? none
Macron won 1st step with the intense fear campaign spammed on our heads during 6 months. I know plenty reasonable people who voted Macron while they hardly can stand his program, because they were told hundreds times he was the "best choice" to beat Le Pen. And that's it. They probably don't fully believe it, but the doubt was hammered deep in their mind, and they won't take the (imaginary) risk to appear the on "wrong" side of history and be shamed for years... And the same thing will obviously happen tomorrow.

That's so absurd Macron got the most votes last sunday AND at the same time got the LOWEST "adhesion" (adherence ? not sure in english) rate of all 11 candidates, basically nearly half of "his" voters put the bulletin with his name for reasons that have nothing to do with him.

Anon | May 6, 2017 4:10:36 PM | 46
Lol the french regime now warn people not to spread the leak... apparently that is a "criminal offense"!

https://tinyurl.com/m7a37ew

You cant make this stuff up! Censorship is here and accepted, scary.

Mina | May 6, 2017 6:55:59 PM | 57
Californian leak? Who cares, the msm have already blamed the ruskies all day
james | May 6, 2017 7:02:12 PM | 58
@46 anon.. that macron leak story has legs! i like what some guy on twitter said - "Amazing that the French government and media now stand as enemies of freedom of speech." who whudda thunk it? lol... remind anyone of any other countries?
Mina | May 6, 2017 7:06:12 PM | 59
So cute from the bbc that he doesnt want to reveal the contents of the leak although nothing obliges it to

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39830379

Anon | May 7, 2017 3:09:11 AM | 63
Indeed, Macron is basically married to his mother already in a way: Macron married to a 24 year older wife
https://www.thestar.com/life/2017/04/27/french-presidential-candidates-older-wife-only-scandalous-to-the-rest-of-the-world-timson.html
Shakesvshav | May 7, 2017 4:02:44 AM | 64
Macron's dirty secrets according to The Duran: http://theduran.com/breaking-macron-emails-lead-to-allegations-of-drug-use-homosexual-adventurism-and-rothschild-money/
Mina | May 7, 2017 4:16:59 AM | 65
Well well well... you know... its France... le pen's mother made nacked pictures for french playboy when she divorced the father... another one is on x... just pawns.
Mina | May 7, 2017 5:07:56 AM | 66
The MSM are going to be embarassed with the leaks. On one side they keep referring to the Ruskies and Trump, and on the other no one among the Western politicians has a B plan in case Trump continues to wreck havoc (and he will).

Next week, he goes to KSA before Israel and since the Saudi prince said it would be 'historical' we can bet KSA will announce the recognizance of Israel
Then step 2 will be to say Syria and Iran: you recognize or we turn you to Somalia.
And where will Junker, Hollande, Macron and co go then?

(as for Le Pen she's not a suggestion; she's been changing her views almost every week except on the fate she reserves to gypsies, latest she went to explain the Zionist lobby that she supports the colonies)
http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/politique/fn/comment-marine-le-pen-cherche-a-seduire-la-communaute-juive_1777887.html
http://www.alterinfo.net/LE-PEN-DRAGUE-LES-ELECTEURS-JUIFS-JUSQU-EN-ISRAEL_a129982.html

Mina | May 7, 2017 5:29:38 AM | 67
even Wikileaks says the metadata is full of cyrillic. clumsiness or the will to point towards the usual culprits?
not sure if Hollande has really turned into a Machiavel but that sounds like him
b | May 7, 2017 1:07:26 PM | 93

Sài Gòn Séamus @SaiGonSeamus on the Macron "leaks":

None of it makes sense, yet everyone laps it up like mother's milk. This is the 1st of these leaks to have obvious forgeries in it.

The release date makes no sense, there appears to be nothing damaging in it, the speed at which the trusties found the Cyrillic metadata says they were looking for it / told where to look / not looking for damaging material.

The sheer scale of the breach from what must be the closely monitored mail server in political history.

None of it adds up if you look at it with an open mind. This is dangerous slavish behavior from infosec, the media and public. If you will swallow this hook, line & sinker then your parliaments need more fire extinguishers

Everything is based on two enormous falacies.

1. That all the evils in western society are the fault of the external bogeyman. Putin, ISIS Refugees, Asian footwear makers, whatever. That the Trumps, Le Pens, Farages are not a native virus.

2. Is that your services & politicians Would never pull a false leak or a controlled leak or a limited hangout. That they are angels that sit on their hands.

These two underpin the absolute lunacy we have seen unfold before our eyes. An extraordinarily dangerous situation to be in which is getting worse fast.

Mina | May 7, 2017 1:13:27 PM | 94
mediapart commenting the macronleaks: no ref to the contents or to wikileaks has having decided to host the files.
b | May 7, 2017 1:17:29 PM | 95
Did Macron Outsmart Campaign Hackers? - While it's still too early to tell, so far the big document dump by hackers of the Macron campaign has not been damaging.
"You can flood these [phishing] addresses with multiple passwords and log-ins, true ones, false ones, so the people behind them use up a lot of time trying to figure them out," Mounir Mahjoubi, the head of Macron's digital team, told The Daily Beast for its earlier article on this subject.

In the end, whoever made the dump may not have known what is real and what is false, which would explain in part the odd timing. After the disruptive revelations of the Democratic National Committee hacks in the United States, the public is conditioned to think that if there's a document dump like this, it has to be incriminating. By putting it out just before the news blackout, when Macron cannot respond in detail, the dump becomes both the medium and the message.
...

[May 07, 2017] More Spying and More Lying by Andrew Napolitano

As one commenter explained below, the encryption of communications change very little if all your communications are watched. Envelope (metadata) in enough to watch you pretty closely.
May 04, 2017 | www.unz.com

What the NSA does not tell the FISA court is that its requests for approvals are a sham. That's because the NSA relies on vague language in a 35-year-old executive order, known as EO 12333, as authority to conduct mass surveillance. That's surveillance of everyone - and it does capture the content of every telephone conversation, as well as every keystroke on every computer and all fiber-optic data generated everywhere within, coming to and going from the United States.

This is not only profoundly unlawful but also profoundly deceptive. It is unlawful because it violates the Fourth Amendment. It is deceptive because Congress and the courts and the American people, perhaps even the president, think that the FISA court has been serving as a buffer for the voracious appetite of the NSA. In reality, the NSA, while dispatching lawyers to make sophisticated arguments to the FISA court, has gone behind the court's back by spying on everyone all the time.

In a memo from a now-former NSA director to his agents and vendors, leaked to the public, he advised capturing all data from everyone all the time. This produces information overload, as there is more data than can be analyzed; each year, it produces the equivalent of 27 times the contents of the Library of Congress. Therefore, safety - as well as liberty - is compromised.

The recent mass killings in Boston, San Bernardino and Orlando were all preceded by text messages and cellphone conversations between the killers and their confederates. The NSA had the digital versions of those texts and conversations, but it had not analyzed them until after the killings - because it has and has had too much data to analyze in a critical and timely manner.

So, why did the NSA announce that it is pulling back from its customary uses of Section 702? To give the false impression to members of Congress that it follows the law. Section 702, the great subterfuge, expires at the end of this year, and the NSA, which has spied on Donald Trump since before he was president, fears the debate that will accompany the efforts to renew it - hence its softening public tone.

Eagle Eye , May 6, 2017 at 7:14 pm GMT

Does anyone seriously think that senior NSA officials do NOT personally ENRICH themselves through stock market manipulation in anticipation of earnings reports, mergers etc. based on illegal NSA intercepts?

Does anyone think that at least NO NSA officer EVER uses illegally intercepted information to blackmail others or otherwise to secure a secret advantage in dealing with others?

Does anyone think that Hillary's and the FBI's access to grossly illegal NSA intercepts was NOT a key factor in the 2016 presidential and Congressional elections?

Svigor , May 6, 2017 at 7:47 pm GMT

Here is the back story.

The backstory is that Trump has the power to fire them all, easily and without much in the way of red tape. And that he can't be relied upon not to do so.

So, why did the NSA announce that it is pulling back from its customary uses of Section 702? To give the false impression to members of Congress that it follows the law. Section 702, the great subterfuge, expires at the end of this year, and the NSA, which has spied on Donald Trump since before he was president, fears the debate that will accompany the efforts to renew it - hence its softening public tone.

Oh, and Trump can veto any renewal bill. Too bad he won't.

Svigor , May 6, 2017 at 7:49 pm GMT

What will happen with this privacy thingy is that people with stuff to hide (legitimate or not) will get their hands on strong encryption and the hoi polloi just doesn't care enough.

There needs to be a public movement toward encryption, so that everyone uses it. Then using it won't be prone to the abuse of "probable cause."

Eagle Eye May 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm GMT
@Svigor
What will happen with this privacy thingy is that people with stuff to hide (legitimate or not) will get their hands on strong encryption and the hoi polloi just doesn't care enough.
There needs to be a public movement toward encryption, so that everyone uses it. Then using it won't be prone to the abuse of "probable cause."

movement toward encryption

Think of a colleague, a personal enemy, a business partner, a spouse etc. Imagine you have access to their communications logs – a long list of times and other details of each email, text, USPS letter, phone call, wire transfer etc. to or from the subject, including the name of every person with whom she communicated, but NOT including the content of the message.

What conclusions could you draw from the following (with HT to Electronic Frontiers Foundation):

(1) Your business partner called a bankruptcy lawyer last Thursday and spoke for 27 minutes. You do not know what was discussed because the communication was encrypted.

(2) Your spouse made several hours-long phone calls, wired money to a sibling in Brazil on five occasions in 2 days, and contacted an airline. You do not know any details because the communications were encrypted.

(3) The senior dean of admissions at Princeton exchanged 17 encrypted emails with an individual in Saudi Arabia, and two days later received two bank transfers from another individual in Saudi Arabia to her numbered bank account in Moldova. You do not know the content of the emails, nor the amount of the wire transfers, because the communications were encrypted.

[May 05, 2017] William Binney - The Government is Profiling You (The NSA is Spying on You)

Very interesting discussion of how the project of mass surveillance of internet traffic started and what were the major challenges. that's probably where the idea of collecting "envelopes" and correlating them to create social network. Similar to what was done in civil War.
The idea to prevent corruption of medical establishment to prevent Medicare fraud is very interesting.
Notable quotes:
"... I suspect that it's hopelessly unlikely for honest people to complete the Police Academy; somewhere early on the good cops are weeded out and cannot complete training unless they compromise their integrity. ..."
"... 500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent It's Never to Protect Us From Bad Guys No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it. ..."
"... People are so worried about NSA don't be fooled that private companies are doing the same thing. ..."
"... In communism the people learned quick they were being watched. The reaction was not to go to protest. ..."
"... Just not be productive and work the system and not listen to their crap. this is all that was required to bring them down. watching people, arresting does not do shit for their cause ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com
Chad 2 years ago

"People who believe in these rights very much are forced into compromising their integrity"

I suspect that it's hopelessly unlikely for honest people to complete the Police Academy; somewhere early on the good cops are weeded out and cannot complete training unless they compromise their integrity.

Agent76 1 year ago (edited)
January 9, 2014

500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent It's Never to Protect Us From Bad Guys No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they're doing it.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/01/government-spying-citizens-always-focuses-crushing-dissent-keeping-us-safe.html

Homa Monfared 7 months ago

I am wondering how much damage your spying did to the Foreign Countries, I am wondering how you changed regimes around the world, how many refugees you helped to create around the world.

Don Kantner, 2 weeks ago

People are so worried about NSA don't be fooled that private companies are doing the same thing. Plus, the truth is if the NSA wasn't watching any fool with a computer could potentially cause an worldwide economic crisis.

Bettor in Vegas 1 year ago

In communism the people learned quick they were being watched. The reaction was not to go to protest.

Just not be productive and work the system and not listen to their crap. this is all that was required to bring them down. watching people, arresting does not do shit for their cause......

[May 01, 2017] Google is the largest private spying agency: Is It Time to Break Up Google?

Yes. Next question? And for those who might have missed this Matt Stoller piece read it now. The evidence is piling up - Silicon Valley is being destroyed Business Insider
Notable quotes:
"... It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. ..."
"... According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. ..."
"... In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. ..."
"... There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat. ..."
"... The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations. ..."
"... Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900. ..."
"... Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril. ..."
Apr 27, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

Is It Time to Break Up Google? by JONATHAN TAPLIN

In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation - which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator - and instead advocated breaking up "bigness," he made an exception for "natural" monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

DenisPombriant
April 26, 2017
You don't need to look as far back as Brandise or as far forward as Google to see the pernicious effects of monopoly. Just look at airlines...

fortress
April 26, 2017
I have no awareness of how google harms me, I use Bing for searches, and yes they are an octopus, but with efficiencies of scale that...

SR
April 26, 2017
"True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability."...but not for want of trying. The old Microsoft Network-MSN-was a...

Could it be that these companies - and Google in particular - have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market's demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different phone company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company, American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network - a natural monopoly. The government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the Bell System) had its rates regulated, and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age - the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony - all came out of Bell Labs, along with eight Nobel Prizes.

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

Changes at the Top

The five largest companies in 2006

    Exxon Mobil $540 General Electric 463 Microsoft 355 Citigroup 331 Bank of America 290


BILLION MARKET CAP


and now

    Apple $794 Alphabet (Google) 593 Microsoft 506 Amazon 429 Facebook 414

All figures in 2017 dollars; 2017 companies as of April 20. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices By The New York Times

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google's route to dominance is different from the Bell System's. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don't inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. All content creators dependent on advertising must negotiate with Google or Facebook as aggregator, the sole lifeline between themselves and the vast internet cloud.

It's not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, "it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant."

There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

The third alternative is to remove the "safe harbor" clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google's YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that's preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900.

I'm under no delusion that, with libertarian tech moguls like Peter Thiel in President Trump's inner circle, antitrust regulation of the internet monopolies will be a priority. Ultimately we may have to wait four years, at which time the monopolies will be so dominant that the only remedy will be to break them up. Force Google to sell DoubleClick. Force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram.

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril.

[Apr 28, 2017] Does your web browser have a unique fingerprint?

Apr 28, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Linda , April 26, 2017 at 3:01 pm

"Does your web browser have a unique fingerprint? If so your web browser could be tracked across websites without techniques such as tracking cookies. Additionally the anonymisation aspects of services such as Tor or VPNs could be negated if websites you visit track you using your browser fingerprint. This service is designed to test how unique your web browser's fingerprint is, and hence how identifiable your browser is" [ BrowserPrint ].

News of the Wired.

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 29,948 tested so far.

Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 14.87 bits of identifying information.

Lambert Strether Post author , April 27, 2017 at 5:51 am

Congratulations!

Adding:

Your browser fingerprint appears to be unique among the 31,767 tested so far.

Currently, we estimate that your browser has a fingerprint that conveys 14.96 bits of identifying information.

[Apr 26, 2017] Is It Time to Break Up Google

Amazon, Facebook and Google are dangerous because of their unique surveillance capabilities. Apple is in the same league. Apple phone are always "the target." fro spyware authors.
Notable quotes:
"... Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion) , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter . ..."
Apr 26, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

In just 10 years, the world's five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

They're all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

We have been transported back to the early 20th century, when arguments about "the curse of bigness" were advanced by President Woodrow Wilson's counselor, Louis Brandeis, before Wilson appointed him to the Supreme Court. Brandeis wanted to eliminate monopolies, because (in the words of his biographer Melvin Urofsky) "in a democratic society the existence of large centers of private power is dangerous to the continuing vitality of a free people." We need look no further than the conduct of the largest banks in the 2008 financial crisis or the role that Facebook and Google play in the "fake news" business to know that Brandeis was right.

While Brandeis generally opposed regulation - which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator - and instead advocated breaking up "bigness," he made an exception for "natural" monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story

Could it be that these companies - and Google in particular - have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market's demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

Consider a historical analogy: the early days of telecommunications.

In 1895 a photograph of the business district of a large city might have shown 20 phone wires attached to most buildings. Each wire was owned by a different phone company, and none of them worked with the others. Without network effects, the networks themselves were almost useless.

The solution was for a single company, American Telephone and Telegraph, to consolidate the industry by buying up all the small operators and creating a single network - a natural monopoly. The government permitted it, but then regulated this monopoly through the Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T (also known as the Bell System) had its rates regulated, and was required to spend a fixed percentage of its profits on research and development. In 1925 AT&T set up Bell Labs as a separate subsidiary with the mandate to develop the next generation of communications technology, but also to do basic research in physics and other sciences. Over the next 50 years, the basics of the digital age - the transistor, the microchip, the solar cell, the microwave, the laser, cellular telephony - all came out of Bell Labs, along with eight Nobel Prizes .

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In a 1956 consent decree in which the Justice Department allowed AT&T to maintain its phone monopoly, the government extracted a huge concession: All past patents were licensed (to any American company) royalty-free, and all future patents were to be licensed for a small fee. These licenses led to the creation of Texas Instruments, Motorola, Fairchild Semiconductor and many other start-ups.

Changes at the Top

The five largest companies in 2006

Exxon Mobil

General Electric

Microsoft

Citigroup

Bank of America

$540

463

355

331

290

1

2

3

4

5

BILLION MARKET CAP

and now

Apple

Alphabet (Google)

Microsoft

Amazon

Facebook

$794

593

506

429

414

1

2

3

4

5 All figures in 2017 dollars; 2017 companies as of April 20. Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

APRIL 22, 2017

By The New York Times

True, the internet never had the same problems of interoperability. And Google's route to dominance is different from the Bell System's. Nevertheless it still has all of the characteristics of a public utility.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don't inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

It is impossible to deny that Facebook, Google and Amazon have stymied innovation on a broad scale. To begin with, the platforms of Google and Facebook are the point of access to all media for the majority of Americans. While profits at Google, Facebook and Amazon have soared, revenues in media businesses like newspaper publishing or the music business have, since 2001, fallen by 70 percent.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, newspaper publishers lost over half their employees between 2001 and 2016. Billions of dollars have been reallocated from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms. All content creators dependent on advertising must negotiate with Google or Facebook as aggregator, the sole lifeline between themselves and the vast internet cloud.

It's not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in "supernormal returns on capital" at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, "it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant."

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition - Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

The third alternative is to remove the "safe harbor" clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google's YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that's preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

Removing the safe harbor provision would also force social networks to pay for the content posted on their sites. A simple example: One million downloads of a song on iTunes would yield the performer and his record label about $900,000. One million streams of that same song on YouTube would earn them about $900.

I'm under no delusion that, with libertarian tech moguls like Peter Thiel in President Trump's inner circle, antitrust regulation of the internet monopolies will be a priority. Ultimately we may have to wait four years, at which time the monopolies will be so dominant that the only remedy will be to break them up. Force Google to sell DoubleClick. Force Facebook to sell WhatsApp and Instagram.

Woodrow Wilson was right when he said in 1913, "If monopoly persists, monopoly will always sit at the helm of the government." We ignore his words at our peril.

Jonathan Taplin is the director emeritus of the University of Southern California's Annenberg Innovation Lab and the author of "Move Fast and Break Things: How Google, Facebook and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy." Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion) , and sign up for the Opinion Today newsletter .

A version of this op-ed appears in print on April 23, 2017, on Page SR4 of the New York edition with the headline: Is It Time to Break Up Google?. Today's Paper | Subscribe Continue

[Apr 21, 2017] Americas Cyberwar Hypocrisy

Apr 21, 2017 | www.foreignaffairs.com

Today's cyberbattles could almost make one nostalgic for the Cold War . The nuclear arms race created a sense of existential threat, but at least it was clear who had the weapons. In contrast, a cyberattack could be the work of almost anyone. After hackers broke into the U.S. Democratic National Committee's servers in 2016 and released e-mails embarrassing to the DNC's leadership, the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said the attacker could be China, Russia, or "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds."

U.S. intelligence officials have said that the attack did indeed come from Russia , which Trump later acknowledged . But Trump's comment underscored a larger problem with cyberwarfare: uncertainty. How does a government respond to an invisible attacker, especially without clear rules of engagement? How can officials convince other governments and the public that they have fingered the right suspects? How can a state prevent cyberattacks when without attribution, the logic of deterrence-if you hit me, I'll hit you back-no longer applies? Two recent books delve into these questions. Dark Territory , by Fred Kaplan, and The Hacked World Order , by Adam Segal, lay out the history of cybersecurity in the United States and explain the dangers that future digital conflicts might pose. Both authors also make clear that although Americans and U.S. institutions increasingly feel themselves to be in the cross hairs of hackers and other cybercriminals, the United States is itself a powerful aggressor in cyberspace.

In 2014 alone, the United States suffered more than 80,000 cybersecurity breaches.

In the future, the United States must use its cyberpower judiciously. Every conflict poses the risk that one party will make a mistake or overreact, causing things to veer out of control. When it comes to cyberwar, however, the stakes are particularly high for the United States, as the country's technological sophistication makes it uniquely vulnerable to attack.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, April 2008.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, April 2008.

CYBER-SUPERPOWER

The dramatic headlines surrounding Russia's alleged hacking of the DNC and attempts to spread misinformation online during the U.S. election may have reinforced the perception among Americans that the United States is primarily a victim of cyber-intrusions. It's not. In Dark Territory , Kaplan details the United States' long history of aggression in cyberspace. It's not easy to write an engaging book on cyberwar, and Kaplan, a national security columnist at Slate , has done an admirable job. He presents a clear account of the United States' evolution into a formidable cyberpower, guiding the reader through a thicket of technical details and government acronyms.

It turns out that the U.S. govern ment has been an aggressor for over a quarter century. Kaplan describes "counter command-control warfare"-attempts to disrupt an enemy's ability to control its forces-that goes back to the Gulf War in 1990–91. At a time when U.S. President George H. W. Bush had never used a computer, the National Security Agency (NSA) was employing a secret satellite to monitor the conversations of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his generals, which sometimes revealed the positions of Iraqi soldiers.

The United States flexed its digital muscles again in the late 1990s, when Serbs in Bosnia and Herzegovina were protesting the presence of NATO soldiers enforcing the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, which had ended the Bosnian war. U.S. officials learned that local newscasters were telling protesters when and where to gather and even instructing them to throw rocks at NATO soldiers. It turned out that 85 percent of Serbs got their television broadcasts from just five transmission towers. U.S. officials, working with the NATO-led stabilization force, or SFOR, installed devices on those five transmitters that allowed SFOR engineers to turn them on and off remotely. Whenever a newscaster began urging people to protest, the engineers shut off the transmitters.

American officials also enlisted the help of Hollywood producers, persuading them to supply programming to a U.S. -aligned Serbian station. During major anti-NATO protests, Serbians would turn on the television to find the channel playing episodes of Baywatch . Kaplan asserts, "Many Serbs, who might otherwise have hit the streets to make trouble , stayed in to watch young women cavorting in bikinis."

Around a decade later, the United States set up what Kaplan calls a "mini -NSA" in Iraq. Kaplan describes how NSA teams in the Middle East intercepted insurgents' e-mails and shut down many of their servers with malware. In other cases, they sent insurgents deceptive e-mails directing them to places where U.S. Special Forces would be waiting to kill them. "In 2007 alone, these sorts of operations . . . killed nearly four thousand Iraqi insurgents," Kaplan writes.

The United States will likely not win social media wars against countries such as China or Russia.

The United States' most ambitious cyberattack began in 2006, when it teamed up with Israel to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. The collab oration, dubbed Operation Olympic Games, targeted Iran's Natanz reactor, which relied on remote computer controls . Malware designed by American pro grammers took over the reactor's valve pumps, allowing NSA operatives to remotely increase the flow of uranium gas into the centrifuges, which eventually burst. By early 2010, the operation had destroyed almost a quarter of Iran's 8,700 centrifuges.

For years, the Iranians failed to detect the intrusion and must have wondered if the malfunctions were their own fault. In that sense, Kaplan writes, "Operation Olympic Games was a classic campaign of information warfare : the target wasn't just the Iranians' nuclear program but also the Iranians' confidence-in their sensors, their equipment, and themselves." The Iranians and the wider public might never have learned about the virus, now widely known as Stuxnet, if it had not accidentally spread from the computers in Natanz to machines in other parts of the world, where private-sector security researchers ultimately discovered it.

With Olympic Games, the United States "crossed the Rubicon," in the words of the former CIA director Michael Hayden. Stuxnet was the first major piece of malware to do more than harm other computers and actually cause physical destruction. The irony was rich, as Kaplan notes: "For more than a decade, dozens of panels and commissions had warned that America's critical infrastructure was vulnerable to a cyber attack-and now America was launching the first cyber attack on another nation's critical infrastructure."

Of course, cyberattackers have often targeted the United States. In 2014 alone, Kaplan reports, the country suffered more than 80,000 cybersecurity breaches, more than 2,000 of which led to data losses. He also points out that until recently, U.S. policymakers worried less about Russia than China, which was "engaging not just in espionage and battlefield preparation, but also in the theft of trade secrets, intellectual property, and cash."

China and Russia are not the only players. Iran and North Korea have also attacked the United States. In 2014, the businessman Sheldon Adelson criticized Iran, which responded by hacking into the servers of Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corporation, doing $40 million worth of damage. That same year, hackers calling themselves the Guardians of Peace broke into Sony's network. They destroyed thousands of computers and hundreds of servers, exposed tens of thousands of Social Security numbers, and released embarrassing personal e-mails pilfered from the accounts of Sony executives. U.S. government officials blamed the North Korean government for the attack . Sony Pictures was about to release The Interview , a silly comedy about a plot to assassinate the North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un. As opening day neared, the hackers threatened theaters with retaliation if they screened the movie. When Sony canceled the release, the threats stopped.

EVERYBODY HACKS

The Hacked World Order covers some of the same ground as Dark Territory , although with a slightly wider lens. In addition to discussing cyberattacks and surveillance, Segal, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, details how the United States and other countries use social media for political ends. Russia, for example, tries to shape online discourse by spreading false news and deploying trolls to post offensive or distracting comments. The Russian government has reportedly hired English speakers to praise President Vladimir Putin on the websites of foreign news outlets. The goal is not necessarily to endear Americans to Putin, Segal explains . Rather, it sows confusion online to "make reasonable, rational conversation impossible." Chinese Internet commenters also try to muddy the waters of online discussion. Segal claims that the Chinese government pays an estimated 250,000–300,000 people to support the official Communist Party agenda online.

The public understands cyberthreats far less well than it does the threat of nuclear weapons.

Segal suggests that the United States will likely not win social media wars against countries such as China or Russia . U.S. State Department officials identify themselves on Facebook and Twitter, react slowly to news, and offer factual, rule-based commentary. Unfortunately, as Segal notes, "content that is shocking , conspiratorial, or false often crowds out the reasonable, rational, and measured."

Social media battles also play out in the Middle East. In 2012, the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas fought a war for public opinion using Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and Tumblr at the same time as the two were exchanging physical fire. The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has launched digital campaigns that incorporate, in Segal's words, "brutality and barbarism, packaged with sophisticated production techniques ." The United States has tried to fight back by sharing negative stories about ISIS and, in 2014, even created a video, using footage released by the group , that featured severed heads and cruci fixions. The video went viral, but analysts inside and outside the U.S. government criticized it for embracing extremist tactics similar to ISIS' own. Moreover, as Segal notes, it seems to have failed to deter ISIS' supporters.

Part of what makes the cyber-era so challenging for governments is that conflict isn't limited to states. Many actors, including individuals and small groups, can carry out attacks. In 2011, for example, the hacker collective Anon ymous took down Sony's PlayStation Network, costing the company $171 million in repairs. Individuals can also disrupt traditional diplomacy, as when WikiLeaks released thousands of State Department cables in 2010, revealing U.S. diplomats' candid and sometimes embarrassing assessments of their foreign counterparts.

Segal is at his best in his discussion of China's cyberstrategy, on which he has considerable expertise. Americans tend to see themselves as a target of Chinese hackers-and indeed they are. The problem is that China also sees itself as a victim and the United States as hypocritical. In June 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama warned Chinese President Xi Jinping that Chinese hacking could damage the U.S.-Chinese relationship. Later that month, journalists published documents provided by Edward Snowden, an NSA contractor, showing that the NSA had hacked Chinese universities and telecommunications companies. It didn't take long for Chinese state media to brand the United States as "the real hacking empire."

The U.S.-Chinese relationship also suffers from a more fundamental disagreement. U.S. policymakers seem to believe that it's acceptable to spy for political and military purposes but that China's theft of intellectual property crosses a line. The United States might spy on companies and trade negotiators all over the world, but it does so to protect its national interests, not to benefit specific U.S. companies. The Chinese don't see this distinction. As Segal explains:

Many states, especially those like China that have developed a form of state capitalism at home, do not see a difference between public and private actors. Chinese firms are part of an effort to modernize the country and build comprehensive power, no matter whether they are private or state owned. Stealing for their benefit is for the benefit of the nation.

The intense secrecy surrounding cyberwarfare makes deciding what kinds of hacking are acceptable and what behavior crosses the line even harder. The Snowden revelations may have alerted Americans to the extent of U.S. government surveillance, but the public still remains largely in the dark about digital conflict. Yet Americans have a lot at stake. The United States may be the world's strongest cyberpower, but it is also the most vulnerable. Segal writes:

The United States is . . . more exposed than any other country. Smart cities, the Internet of Things, and self-driving cars may open up vast new economic opportunities as well as new targets for destructive attacks. Cyberattacks could disrupt and degrade the American way of war, heavily dependent as it is on sensors, computers, command and control, and information dominance.

Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov visit the new GRU military intelligence headquarters building in Moscow, November 2006.

Putin and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov visit the new GRU military intelligence headquarters building in Moscow, November 2006.

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED

Neither Kaplan nor Segal offers easy solutions to these challenges. Kaplan argues that the cyber-era is much murkier than the era of the Cold War. Officials find it difficult to trace attack ers quickly and reliably, increasing the chances that the targeted country will make an error. The U.S. government and U.S. firms face cyberattacks every day, and there is no clear line between those that are merely a nuisance and those that pose a serious threat. The public also understands cyberthreats far less well than it does the threat of nuclear weapons. Much of the informa tion is classified, inhibiting public discus sion, Kaplan notes. He concludes that "we are all wandering in dark territory."

The public understands cyberthreats far less well than it does the threat of nuclear weapons.

Segal's conclusions are somewhat more prescriptive. The United States must support research and technological innovation, for example, and not just by providing more federal funding. Segal recommends that the United States replace its federal research plan with a public-private partnership to bring in academic and commercial expertise. Government and private companies need to share more information, and companies need to talk more openly with one another about digital threats. The United States should also "develop a code of conduct that draws a clear line between its friends and allies and its potential adversaries." This would include limiting cyberattacks to military actions and narrowly targeted covert operations, following international law, rarely spying on friends, and working to strengthen international norms against economic espionage. If the United States is attacked, it should not necessarily launch a counterattack, Segal argues; rather, it should explore using sanctions or other tools. This was apparently the path that Obama took after the attack on the DNC, when the United States punished Moscow by imposing fresh sanctions and expelling 35 suspected Russian spies.

It's likely only a matter of time before the Trump administration faces a major cyberattack. When that happens, the government will need to react calmly, without jumping to conclusions. Failure to do so could have dire consequences. "The United States, Russia, and China are unlikely to launch destructive attacks against each other unless they are already engaged in military conflict or perceive core interests as being threatened," Segal writes. "The greatest risks are misperception, miscalculation, and escalation."

Those risks now seem greater than ever. Some experts have argued that Obama's response to the Russian cyberattacks in 2016 did not do enough to deter future attackers. But if Obama underreacted, the United States may now face the opposite problem. Trump has proved willing to make bold, some times unsubstantiated accusations. This behavior is dangerous in any conflict, but in the fog of cyberwar, it could spell catastrophe.

Is there anything the American public can do to prevent this? All over the country, people have been trying to check Trump's worst impulses by protesting, appealing to members of Congress, or simply demanding more information. Policy about cyberspace generally doesn't draw the same level of public engagement, in part due to a lack of knowledge. Cyberbattles can seem confusing, technical, and shrouded in secrecy, perhaps better left to the experts. But cybersecurity is everyone's problem now. The American public should inform itself, and these two books are a good place to start. If Washington inadvertently led the United States into a major cyberwar, Americans would have the most to lose.

[Apr 20, 2017] Bill Binney explodes the Russia witchhunt

Mar 04, 2017 | www.youtube.com

He also exposes the NSA penchant for "swindles", such as preventing the plugging of holes in software around the world, to preserve their spying access.

Frank Oak 3 weeks ago Big Mike's boat 200 tons coke bust n Hussien on the run as cosmic Camelots​ crimes going viral

Marija Djuric 3 weeks ago Bill Binney should be head of the NSA

Nancy M 3 weeks ago The Clinton campaign to divert attention to Russia instead of her myriad of crimes that were revealed during the election must be stopped and the alt media needs to start talking about her and Obama's crimes again and demand justice...control the dialogue

John 3 weeks ago It's almost comical to hear that they lie to each other. No wonder why these retards in the mid-east and every other third world country gets the better of us.

[Apr 20, 2017] Bill Maher Interviews Bill Binney NSA Whistleblower Obama Worst Than Bush! Impeach Them ALL!

Apr 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Alex B 8 months ago

This man is definitely a patriot in the strictest sense

[Apr 20, 2017] NSA Whistleblower Everyone in US under virtual surveillance, all info stored, no matter the post

Notable quotes:
"... Who knew that the NSA mandate *is to exceed their mandate" ..."
Apr 20, 2017 | www.youtube.com

Ethercruiser 11 year ago

Great interview, thanks RT. I knew most of the material in this interview for years now, but it's good for it to get out whatever way possible. Hope you continue doing more such great interviews.

jake gittes 1 year ago

RT? Imagine the Russian equivalent? Golly, NSA out of control? Who knew? Who knew that the NSA mandate *is to exceed their mandate" .

If you were in prison for the last 15 yrs you would know that NSA security in triplicate is just doing what they've always been doing except that PRISM, restarted in 2007, is just updated software.

Jim Jimmy 2 years ago

there is one main reason they collect all information and target everyone, even members of congress and people like Angela merkel. If they have personal information on these powerful people there comes the chance to blackmail them. "vote this way on this" "consent to this policy". It's political leverage

Fighting Words 3 weeks ago

It's called POLICE STATE.

[Apr 15, 2017] Leaks NSA Penetrated Mideast Banking Networks -- News from Antiwar.com

Apr 15, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

New leaked documents released by the Shadow Brokers includes information showing that the NSA penetrated Middle Eastern financial networks , initially with an eye toward being able to track all financial transactions in the region as an "anti-money laundering" effort.

This involved hacking into the region's SWIFT banking system, and unsurprisingly,, given the NSA's penchant for mission creep fairly quickly grew this into an effort not only to have access to the information on financial transactions, but to try to gain access to a long list of banks "of interest."

The leaks provided information showing that SWIFT bureau in the Middle East, EastNet, made some very poor security choices, which would've allowed the NSA to easily attack essentially all of the banks on the network, as soon as they had compromised the first one.

Documents showed at least five of the banks "of interest" had been compromised. It is unclear from the documents whether the NSA continues to have these banks' systems compromised and is continued to collect data from them, though at the very least they now have a heads up that it's going on.

[Apr 14, 2017] 'Brought to you by agency which produced Al-Qaeda ISIS' – Assange trolls CIA chief

Notable quotes:
"... "Called a 'non-state intelligence service' today by the 'state non-intelligence agency' which produced Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet." ..."
"... "non-state hostile intelligence service," ..."
"... "he and his ilk make common cause with dictators." ..."
"... "firm and continuing policy " ..."
"... "We publish truths regarding overreaches and abuses conducted in secret by the powerful," ..."
Apr 14, 2017 | www.rt.com
Julian Assange has responded to CIA Director Mike Pompeo's accusation that WikiLeaks is a "non-state intelligence agency" by trolling the CIA over its own roles in producing "Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran and Pinochet."

Called a "non-state intelligence service" today by the "state non-intelligence agency" which produced al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet.

- Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) April 14, 2017

Assange tweeted, "Called a 'non-state intelligence service' today by the 'state non-intelligence agency' which produced Al-Qaeda, ISIS, Iraq, Iran & Pinochet."

Pompeo accused WikiLeaks of siding with dictators and being a "non-state hostile intelligence service," at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Thursday. He called Assange and his associates "demons" and said "he and his ilk make common cause with dictators."

BREAKING: #WikiLeaks is 'hostile intel' and #Assange & his followers are 'demons' - CIA chief Mike #Pompeo https://t.co/DA5MmJIYWF pic.twitter.com/MjQ87lKJgR

- RT America (@RT_America) April 13, 2017

Assange in turn accused the CIA of producing terrorist groups and dictators. He said the CIA produced Al-Qaeda, referring to the agency's role in arming and training mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets during the 1970s, some of whom – including Osama Bin Laden – later evolved into Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Assange has previously stated that the CIA's role in arming the mujahideen led to Al-Qaeda, which led to 9/11, the Iraq invasion and, later, the formation of ISIS.

The CIA admitted it was behind the 1953 coup in Iran which overthrew Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and reinstalled the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, whose 26 year rule led to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

#WikiLeaks releases more than 500k US diplomatic cables from 1979 https://t.co/9Ophyvp2zD

- RT America (@RT_America) November 28, 2016

Assange's Pinochet reference alludes to the CIA's "firm and continuing policy " to assist in the overthrowing of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973, and its support for dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Pompeo's attack on WikiLeaks appears to be in response to an op-ed Assange wrote in the Washington Post on Tuesday which referenced President Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1961 farewell speech, in which he warned of the dangers of the influence of the military industrial complex. Assange said the speech is similar to WikiLeaks' own mission statement.

READ MORE: 40 targets in 16 countries: Scale of CIA-linked #Vault7 hacking tools revealed by Symantec

"We publish truths regarding overreaches and abuses conducted in secret by the powerful," he said, going on to say that WikiLeaks' motives are the same as those of the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Pompeo himself has previously appeared to support WikiLeaks' revelations, while President Donald Trump praised the whistleblowing site on more than one occasion during the presidential election, even professing his love for WikiLeaks in October.

[Apr 06, 2017] Susan Rice just called "counter intelligence" the politically motivated surveillance of republicans

Apr 06, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm -> Peter K, April 05, 2017 at 02:45 PM
In Oct 2016 Obama said "there is no serious/sensible person who believes the US election could be hacked...."

While he said this Susan Rice was "unredacting" the politically motivated surveillance of republicans, calling it "counter intelligence" while none of these people had any critical sensitive information to share unlike Clinton's 30000 e-mails.

Those "unredactings" have been leaked to attempt to discredit the US elections.

Seems Obama was surrounded by no one who was "serious/sensible" but many who used his office to attack the US Bill of Rights.

Since 9 Nov 16 the DNC and its media tools have tried a coup by discrediting the US election using the security apparatus to assault privacy and they got nothing!

[Apr 06, 2017] Scott Uehlinger Susan Rice Unmasking 'Abuse of Power' Violates 'Spirit of the Law,' Should Be 'Further Investigated'

Notable quotes:
"... Breitbart News Daily ..."
Apr 06, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
Former CIA operations officer Scott Uehlinger, co-host of The Station Chief podcast, talked about the Susan Rice "unmasking" story with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Tuesday's Breitbart News Daily.

"I think it's an issue which deeply concerns people like myself and other people, working-level officers in the intel community," Uehlinger said. "Even though at this point, there seems to be no evidence of breaking the law, this 'unmasking' of people was ill-advised at best. I think it really shows that abuse of power and the fact that many people in the Obama administration were willing to violate the spirit of the laws designed to protect Americans, perhaps rather than the law itself."

... ... ...

"As a working-level CIA officer, we were always told by upper authority, you're always told to – and the quote is – 'avoid the appearance of impropriety,'" he said. "Well, this does not pass that smell test, definitely."

Uehlinger said another thing that concerns working-level officers in the intelligence and military communities is "the American people, average Americans like myself, are tired of seeing two sets of rules followed by the higher-ups and then the working-level people."

"This is just part of that again. A working-level officer would have gotten into big trouble doing anything remotely like this," he observed. "But now, we have a lot of people saying that she should just be given a pass."

"While I understand, you know, it's important that the Trump administration has to move forward with its domestic agenda, but these allegations demand to be further investigated," he urged.

Kassam proposed that Democrats and their media would not allow the Trump administration to move forward with any part of its agenda until this "Russia hysteria" is cleaned up. That will be a difficult task since, as Kassam noted, the hysteria has been burning at fever pitch for months without a shred of evidence to back up the wildest allegations.

Uehlinger agreed and addressed Kassam's point that media coverage alternates between "no surveillance was conducted" and "we know everything about Trump's Russia connections."

"The Obama administration relaxed the rule that allowed raw intelligence that was gathered by the NSA to be shared throughout the government," he pointed out. "First of all, to relax that, there is absolutely no operational justification for doing that. With all of the counter-intelligence problems, with espionage, with Snowden, all these things we've had, to raise by an order of magnitude the access to this very sensitive information makes no operational sense at all."

"So for someone to approve that, it's clear they had another intent, and I believe the intent was to allow for further leakage," he charged. "To give more people access, thus more leaks, which, in fact, would hurt the Trump administration. It seems very obvious when you put that together and combine it with the actions of Susan Rice and other people in unmasking people. That is the true purpose behind this."

"I say this as somebody who – you have to remember, when I was a station chief overseas, this is what I was reporting on. I was in countries like Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kosovo – countries which constantly had the offices of the prime minister or president using the intelligence services to suppress the domestic opposition. So I've been to this rodeo before, many a time. I saw the storm clouds gathering several weeks ago, and everything I've suspected has so far come to fruition," Uehlinger said.

He pronounced it "very disappointing" that such transparent abuse of government power for partisan politics would occur in the United States.

"An intelligence service has to have the trust of the people and the government in order to function effectively," he said. "With all of these scandals happening, and with the name of perhaps the CIA and other intelligence community elements in the mud, this makes the object of protecting our national security more problematic. The agencies have to have the trust of the American people, and they're losing it, because it seems as though they've been weaponized – perhaps, like I said, not breaking the law but playing very close to the line."

Kassam suggested that leaking the information might have been illegal, even if Rice was legally entitled to request information on Donald Trump's campaign and unmask the U.S. persons monitored during surveillance of foreign intelligence targets.

"That's absolutely the case," Uehlinger agreed. He went on to argue that the absence of hard evidence for any wrongdoing by the Trump campaign in all of these leaks was highly significant.

"Since basically the Obama administration has sort of loaded this with these rule changes and all to allow for leaks the fact that there is no 'smoking gun' of Trump administration collusion with Russia indicates that there isn't any. There is nothing substantial here because a juicy morsel like that would certainly have been leaked by the same people that have been leaking everything else. The fact it hasn't been leaked out means it does not exist," he reasoned.

Kassam said some of the Russia hysteria came from imputing sinister motives to conventional business dealings, arguing that Trump's organization made deals around the world, and it is exceedingly difficult to do business with any Russian entity that is not somehow connected to the Russian government.

"That's an excellent point. You're absolutely right," Uehlinger responded. "It shows these people who are doing these gambits are relying on the relative ignorance of the American public of the actual nuts and bolts of intelligence to make their point. Anyone with any background in this stuff can see it for what it is: a desperate attempt to discredit an administration because they were crushed in the past elections."

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

[Apr 04, 2017] Susan Rice asked for unmasking for national security, source says - CBS News

Notable quotes:
"... A Monday report by Bloomberg's Eli Lake said that Rice requested the unmasking of Trump officials. Names of Americans swept up incidentally in the collection of intelligence are normally masked, or kept redacted, in intelligence briefings ..."
"... the former official did not dispute the reporting by Bloomberg. ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | www.cbsnews.com

A Monday report by Bloomberg's Eli Lake said that Rice requested the unmasking of Trump officials. Names of Americans swept up incidentally in the collection of intelligence are normally masked, or kept redacted, in intelligence briefings . However, the law provides for much leeway when it comes to unmasking by National Security Council officials, which suggests that Rice's request was legal.

This type of request was not a special practice related to the Trump transition team, though the former official did not dispute the reporting by Bloomberg.

As a procedural matter, an intelligence briefer would have had to clear a requested unmasking with the head of the agency providing the intelligence. It is unclear why these intelligence intercepts were considered so important that they would need to be shared with the president's national security adviser.

A former national security official told CBS News that when such information on U.S. individuals is approved and provided by the intelligence community, it is typically given directly to the senior official who made the request and is not broadly disseminated.

On some occasions, the official added, it is necessary to know the identity of U.S. persons in order to understand the context and substance of the intelligence. There is nothing improper, unusual or political about such requests.

President Donald Trump tweeted last month that Trump Tower had been wiretapped by President Obama , a claim for which there is still no evidence. Later, House Intelligence chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said he had obtained evidence showing that the names of Trump associates that were swept up incidentally by intelligence agencies had been unmasked. That evidence is believed to have been provided to Nunes by the White House.

Rice had said that she was unaware of the names of Trump officials being swept up incidentally by intelligence agencies. "I know nothing about this," she told "PBS NewsHour" last month when asked about Nunes' claim.

[Apr 04, 2017] VIDEO Ex-Obama Staffer Who Urged Spying On Trump Predicted 'Quick' Impeachment Weeks Before Election

Apr 04, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
Speaking at a conference two weeks before the 2016 presidential election, Evelyn Farkas, a former top Obama administration official, predicted that if Donald Trump won the presidency he would "be impeached pretty quickly or somebody else would have to take over government," Breitbart News has found.

Farkas served as deputy assistant secretary of defense under the Obama administration. She has been in the spotlight since the news media last week highlighted comments she made on television that seemed to acknowledge efforts by members of the Obama administration to collect intelligence on Trump and members of his campaign.

Now it has emerged that at on October 26, 2016, Farkas made remarks as a panelist at the annual Warsaw Security Forum predicting Trump's removal from office "pretty quickly."

Asked at the event to address the priorities of a future Hillary Clinton administration, Farkas stated:

It's not a done deal, as you said. And so, to the Americans in the audience please vote. And not only vote but get everybody to vote. Because I really believe we need a landslide. We need an absolute repudiation of everything. All of the policies that Donald Trump has put out there. I am not afraid to be political. I am not hiding who I am rooting for. And I think it's very important that we continue to press forward until election day and through election day to make sure that we have the right results.

I do agree however with General Breedlove that even if we have the wrong results from my perspective America is resilient. We have a lot of presidential historians who have put forward very coherent the argument – they have given us examples of all of our horrible presidents in the past and the fact that we have endured. And we do have a strong system of checks and balances. And actually, if Donald Trump were elected I believe he would be impeached pretty quickly or somebody else would have to take over government. And I am not even joking.

Farkas was referring to General Philip Mark Breedlove, another panelist at the conference who served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations. The panel discussion was about what to expect following the Nov. 8 presidential election.

Farkas has also been in the news after remarks she made as a contributor on MSNBC on March 2 resurfaced last week. In the comments , she said that she told former Obama administration colleagues to collect intelligence on Trump and campaign officials.

"I was urging my former colleagues and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration," stated Farkas.

She continued:

Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left, so it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy that the Trump folks – if they found out how we knew what we knew about their the Trump staff dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we no longer have access to that intelligence.

The White House has utilized Farkas's statements to bolster the charge that Trump was being illicitly surveilled during the campaign.

White House Spokesman Sean Spicer last week stated :

[I]f you look at Obama's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense that is out there, Evelyn Farkas, she made it clear that it was their goal to spread this information around, that they went around and did this.

They have admitted on the record that this was their goal - to leak stuff. And they literally - she said on the record "Trump's team." There are serious questions out there about what happened and why and who did it. And I think that's really where our focus is in making sure that that information gets out.

Farkas, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton's campaign, served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia until she resigned in 2015.

She told the Daily Caller last week that she had no access to any intelligence. "I had no intelligence whatsoever, I wasn't in government anymore and didn't have access to any," she said.

Speaking to the Washington Post, Farkas denied being a source of any leaks.

The Post reported:

Farkas, in an interview with The Post, said she "didn't give anybody anything except advice," was not a source for any stories and had nothing to leak. Noting that she left government in October 2015, she said, "I was just watching like anybody else, like a regular spectator" as initial reports of Russia contacts began to surface after the election.

Farkas currently serves as a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which takes a hawkish approach toward Russia and has released numerous reports and briefs about Russian aggression.

The Council is funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Inc., the U.S. State Department, and NATO ACT. Another Council funder is the Ploughshares Fund, which in turn has received financing from billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations.

Farkas serves on the Atlantic Council alongside Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of CrowdStrike, the third-party company utilized by the FBI to make its assessment about alleged Russian hacking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Alperovitch is a nonresident senior fellow of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative at the Atlantic Council.

Last month, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency never had direct access to the DNC's servers to confirm the hacking. "Well, we never got direct access to the machines themselves," he stated. "The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system."

National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers also stated the NSA never asked for access to the DNC hardware: "The NSA didn't ask for access. That's not in our job."

[Apr 04, 2017] 11 Highlights of Susan Rice's MSNBC Interview with Andrea Mitchel

Apr 04, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
Here are the highlights of Mitchell's interview with Rice, which took up the first quarter-hour of Mitchell's show.
    Rice admitted asking for the names of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports to be "unmasked." Rice said: "There were occasions when I would receive a report in which a U.S. person was referred to. Name not provided, just U.S. person. And sometimes in that context, in order to understand the importance of the report, and assess its significance, it was necessary to find out, or request, the information as to who that U.S. official was." Rice argued it was necessary for her and other officials to request that information, on occasion, to "do our jobs" to protect national security. Rice admitted asking specifically for the names of members of Donald Trump's transition team. She argued that she had not done so for political purposes, however. Mitchell asked: "Did you seek the names of people involved in - to unmask the names of people involved in the Trump transition, the people surrounding the president-elect in order to spy on them and expose them?" Rice answered: "Absolutely not for any political purposes to spy, expose, anything." Rice denied leaking the name of former General Michael Flynn. "I leaked nothing to nobody, and never have, and never would." She added that to discuss particular targets would be to reveal classified information. She later walked back her denial. Mitchell: "The allegation is that you were leaking the fact that he spoke to the [Russian] ambassador and perhaps to others." Rice: "I can't get into any specific reports what I can say is there is an established process." Rice denied reports that she prepared a "spreadsheet" of Trump transition staff under surveillance. Mitchell asked specifically about the Daily Caller story Tuesday: "They allege there was a spreadsheet you put out of all of these names and circulated it." Rice: "Absolutely false. No spreadsheet, no nothing of the sort." She said that unmasked names "was not then typically broadly disseminated throughout the national security community or the government." Rice said that even if she did request the names of citizens to be unmasked, that did not mean she leaked them. "The notion that by asking for the identity of an American person, that is the same as leaking it, is completely false." Rice admitted that the pace of intelligence reports accelerated throughout the election. She said she could not say whether the pace of her "unmasking" requests accelerated, but she said there was increasing concern, as well as increasing information, relating to the possibility of Russian interference in the election, particularly after August 2016. Rice implied that President Obama himself ordered the compilation of intelligence reports on Trump officials. " the president requested the compliation of the intelligence, which was ultimately provided in January [2017]." Rice said that she was unaware, even while working with Flynn during the transition, that he was working for the Turkish government. Mitchell asked: "When did you learn that?" Rice answered: "In the press, as everybody else did." Mitchell, incredulously: "You didn't know that, when you were National Security Advisor?" Rice: "I did not." Rice reiterated that President Obama never tapped Trump's phone. "Absolutely false there was no such collection [or] surveillance on Trump Tower or Trump individuals directed by the White House or targeted at Trump individuals." She did not deny that there might have been some surveillance by other agencies, however. She said it was impossible for the White House to order such surveillance, but that the Department of Justice could have done so. Rice seemed aggrieved by Trump's claims. "It wasn't typical of the way presidents treat their predecessors." Rice would not say whether she would be willing to testify on Capitol Hill before Congress. "Let's see what comes. I'm not going to sit here and prejudge," she said. But she insisted that the investigations into Russian interference in the presidential election were of interest to every American citizen, and should be followed wherever the evidence leads.

[Apr 04, 2017] Report Susan Rice Ordered 'Spreadsheets' of Trump Campaign Calls

Notable quotes:
"... Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the " most influential " people in news media in 2016. His new book, ..."
"... , is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak . ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
President Barack Obama's National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, allegedly ordered surveillance of Donald Trump's campaign aides during the last election, and maintained spreadsheets of their telephone calls, the Daily Caller reports.

The alleged spreadsheets add a new dimension to reports on Sunday and Monday by blogger Mike Cernovich and Eli Lake of Bloomberg News that Rice had asked for Trump aides' names to be "unmasked" in intelligence reports. The alleged "unmasking" may have been legal, but may also have been part of an alleged political intelligence operation to disseminate reports on the Trump campaign widely throughout government with the aim of leaking them to the press.

At the time that radio host Mark Levin and Breitbart News compiled the evidence of surveillance, dissemination, and leaking - all based on mainstream media reports - the mainstream media dismissed the story as a " conspiracy theory ."

Now, however, Democrats are backing away from that allegation, and from broader allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign, as additional details of the Obama administration's alleged surveillance continue to emerge.

The Daily Caller reports :

"What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals," diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

"The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with," diGenova said. "In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls."

The surveillance and spreadsheet operation were allegedly "ordered one year before the 2016 presidential election." According to a Fox News report on Monday, former White House aide Ben Rhodes was also involved.

Rhodes and Rice were both implicated in a disinformation campaign to describe the Benghazi terror attack in Sep. 2012 as a protest against a YouTube video. Rhodes also boasted of creating an " echo chamber " in the media to promote the Iran deal, feeding stories to contrived networks of "experts" who offered the public a steady stream of pro-agreement propaganda.

On Monday, Rhodes retweeted a CNN story quoting Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) claiming that the alleged unmasking was "nothing unusual."

To the extent they have reported the surveillance story at all, CNN and other news outlets have focused on Trump's tweets last month that alleged President Obama had "wiretapped" Trump Tower, describing the claims as unfounded.

CNN continued treating story dismissively on Monday, with The Lead host Jake Tapper insisting allegations of Russian interference in the election were more important than what he referred to as the president's effort to distract from them.

Later in the day, host Don Lemon declared he would ignore the surveillance story and urged viewers to do likewise.

The potential abuse of surveillance powers for political purposes has long troubled civil libertarians, and could affect the re-authorization of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act later this year.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the " most influential " people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution , is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak .

[Apr 04, 2017] Rand Paul Susan Rice 'Ought to Be Under Subpoena,' Asked If Obama Knew About Eavesdropping

Apr 04, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called on former National Security Advisor Susan Rice to be brought in front of Congress under subpoena and asked questions about allegations she was behind the unmasking of American identities in raw surveillance.

Paul also said she should be asked about former President Barack Obama's knowledge of these alleged activities.

"For years, both progressives and libertarians have been complaining about these backdoor searches," Paul said. "It's not that we're searching maybe one foreign leader and who they talk to; we search everything in the whole world. There were reports a couple of years ago that all of Italy's phone calls were absorbed in a one month period of time. We were getting Merkel's phone calls; we were getting everybody's phone calls. But by rebound we are collecting millions of Americans phone calls. If you want to look at an American's phone call or listen to it, you should have to have a warrant, the old fashioned way in a real court where both sides get represented."

"But a secret warrant by a secret court with a lower standard level because we're afraid of terrorism is one thing for foreigners but both myself and a Progressive Ron Wyden have been warning about these back door searches for years and that they could be politicized," he continued. "The facts will come out with Susan Rice. But I think she ought to be under subpoena. She should be asked did you talk to the president about it? Did President Obama know about this? So this is actually, eerily similar to what Trump accused them of which is eavesdropping on conversations for political reasons."

[Apr 04, 2017] 5 Susan Rice Scandal Facts Every American Must Know - Breitbart

Notable quotes:
"... Special Report. ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
Below are five facts from Susan Rice scandals every American should know.

1. Susan Rice allegedly ordered surveillance of Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign aides as part of a political intelligence operation.

Rice allegedly maintained spreadsheets of Trump aides' telephone calls "one year before the 2016 presidential election," according to the Daily Caller.

The Daily Caller reports :

"What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals," diGenova told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group Monday.

"The overheard conversations involved no illegal activity by anybody of the Trump associates, or anyone they were speaking with," diGenova said. "In short, the only apparent illegal activity was the unmasking of the people in the calls."

... ... ...

5. Susan Rice was the driving force behind a misinformation campaign about the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terror attacks.

Then-UN Ambassador Rice, acting as the Obama White House's spokeswoman, appeared on five Sunday morning talk shows and repeatedly claimed that the Benghazi attacks had been caused by an anti-Islam video.

Rice appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, and CNN and regurgitated talking points purporting that the protests that had erupted "spontaneously" near two U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya and were a result of a "hateful video" that was offensive to Islam.

But government documents , released following a Judicial Watch lawsuit, reveal that government officials monitoring the attack in real-time did not cite an anti-Islam video as an explanation for the paramilitary attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

In May 2015 interview, former Obama CIA Director Mike Morell said Rice's Benghazi talking points blaming an anti-Islam YouTube video crossed "the line between national security and politics."

"I think the line in there that says one of our objectives here right on the Sunday show is to blame the video rather than a failure of policy," Morell said on Fox News' Special Report. "And as you know, I say in the book that I think that that is crossing the line between national security and politics."

[Apr 04, 2017] The pursuit of Trump may have caught the Obama White House - The Washington Post

Notable quotes:
"... The cacophony of accusations, deflections and distractions has led us to the latest revelation that is causing a "holy cow" double-take, plot-thickening moment in Washington: President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, sought to unmask the identities of Trump aides whose conversations had been collected through routine electronic intercepts of foreign officials' communications. ..."
"... Multiple senators are now demanding her testimony . There could have been crimes committed and a real scandal could develop, so you can bet the full story will be slow to emerge. It appears that Rice has issued the standard denials. And her defenders on Capitol Hill and in the media will do all they can to distract and demand that there is nothing to see here. Democrats and their media allies will continue to make baseless allegations, hoping that the Russia investigations will somehow deliver for them and become this president's Watergate. ..."
"... The result so far? Competing outrage. Just as Democrats are pursuing L-TACs (links, ties, associations or contacts) in search of a crime, the Obama White House's national security adviser has now landed as one of the ones who will have to answer for her actions under oath. ..."
Apr 04, 2017 | www.washingtonpost.com
The pursuit of Trump may have caught the Obama White House - The Washington Post It is said that Watergate wasn't about the crime, but about the coverup. Well, at least in the Watergate scandal, there was a proper crime - specifically, the break-in and wiretapping. The media hasn't even settled on what to call its quest for a potentially nefarious Russia-Trump link. The whole pursuit is vaguely referred to as looking at President Trump's "links," "ties," "associations" or "contacts" with Russia. Since this is Washington, let's give it an acronym: L-TACs. With no end in sight, the manic pursuit of L-TACs has produced a basket of denials, lies, half-baked plots, evasions, one-off non sequiturs, side tracks, conspiracies and suspicions between the Trump administration, Democrats and the media. The frenzy has created a scandal without perpetrators or a crime. There is a sense that Washington is on the brink, but no one can say on the brink of what.

When they have to be specific, some Democrats have settled on the idea that the Trump campaign may have collaborated with Russia on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and the John Podesta emails. There is no evidence of this, but it is worth remembering a few things. First, the FBI was aware of the DNC hacking when it occurred. This was confirmed again yesterday in Politico's interview with Lisa Monaco , who served as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism in the Obama White House. She said the hacking was handled as a law enforcement matter. I assume she was referring to when the FBI called the dolts at the DNC, but the DNC took no action.

Then-national security adviser Susan Rice is seen last year on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press)

And what Earth-shattering insights were revealed as a result of the hacks? That the DNC was in the tank for Hillary Clinton and had been lying to Bernie Sanders. Everybody in Washington already knew that, and it didn't make any difference to Trump. In fact, the revelations gave the Clinton camp a pretext to get rid of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz - something it wanted to do anyway. Next, Clinton campaign chairman Podesta's emails did not reveal anything beyond Beltway gossip that was only of interest to political junkies. Nothing was revealed that drove any votes. If Russian hackers wanted to harass Podesta, what is the crime that the Trump campaign might have committed?

The cacophony of accusations, deflections and distractions has led us to the latest revelation that is causing a "holy cow" double-take, plot-thickening moment in Washington: President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, sought to unmask the identities of Trump aides whose conversations had been collected through routine electronic intercepts of foreign officials' communications. To unmask, or reveal, the identities of U.S. citizens whose names and conversations were gathered through incidental collection is unusual. And there are more suspicious reasons for Obama's national security adviser to have sought to unmask the identities of Trump campaign aides than there are valid reasons. Rice has a history of a strained relationship with the truth, and for a national security adviser, she has, at times, flown close to the partisan political flame. So, what was going on? Why did she do it? And with whom, in the government and the media, did she share the information?

Multiple senators are now demanding her testimony . There could have been crimes committed and a real scandal could develop, so you can bet the full story will be slow to emerge. It appears that Rice has issued the standard denials. And her defenders on Capitol Hill and in the media will do all they can to distract and demand that there is nothing to see here. Democrats and their media allies will continue to make baseless allegations, hoping that the Russia investigations will somehow deliver for them and become this president's Watergate.

The result so far? Competing outrage. Just as Democrats are pursuing L-TACs (links, ties, associations or contacts) in search of a crime, the Obama White House's national security adviser has now landed as one of the ones who will have to answer for her actions under oath.

Washington is as scandal-primed as I've ever seen it - there is a lot of smoke right now, but no clear fire. So the noise and finger-pointing will continue. And I have no idea who is winning. The pursuit of Trump may have caught the Obama White House - The Washington Post Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour in 1991. Follow @EdRogersDC

Bigly Fan 5:38 PM EDT
How did Ed slip this article past the Wapo /DNC/Loony Left /Bezos Puppet editors?
theworm1 5:37 PM EDT
"The whole pursuit [ of Trump's Russian engagement] is vaguely referred to as looking at President Trump's "links', 'ties', 'associations' or 'contacts'"

These are the same nouns the media uses to describe the alleged "connections" between al Qaeda and Saddam and between ISIS and whoever we dont like today.

They carry meaning or they dont. I think most people think they do.

Io fifty 5:37 PM EDT
I just read in Breitbart, sure you have too Mr. Rogers ...... that Ms. Rice kept a 'spreadsheet' of phone calls taking place within the Trump campaign. Will that be in the next installment of this ongoing drama?

[Apr 04, 2017] Top Obama Adviser Sought Names of Trump Associates in Intel by Eli Lake

Apr 04, 2017 | www.bloomberg.com
White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice's requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government's policy on "unmasking" the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like "U.S. Person One."

The National Security Council's senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice's multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations -- primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.

Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment on Monday morning. Her role in requesting the identities of Trump transition officials adds an important element to the dueling investigations surrounding the Trump White House since the president's inauguration.

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are probing any ties between Trump associates and a Russian influence operation against Hillary Clinton during the election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Devin Nunes, is also investigating how the Obama White House kept tabs on the Trump transition after the election through unmasking the names of Trump associates incidentally collected in government eavesdropping of foreign officials.

Rice herself has not spoken directly on the issue of unmasking. Last month when she was asked on the "PBS NewsHour" about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said : "I know nothing about this," adding, "I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today."

Rice's requests to unmask the names of Trump transition officials do not vindicate Trump's own tweets from March 4 in which he accused Obama of illegally tapping Trump Tower. There remains no evidence to support that claim.

But Rice's multiple requests to learn the identities of Trump officials discussed in intelligence reports during the transition period does highlight a longstanding concern for civil liberties advocates about U.S. surveillance programs. The standard for senior officials to learn the names of U.S. persons incidentally collected is that it must have some foreign intelligence value, a standard that can apply to almost anything. This suggests Rice's unmasking requests were likely within the law.

The news about Rice also sheds light on the strange behavior of Nunes in the last two weeks. It emerged last week that he traveled to the White House last month, the night before he made an explosive allegation about Trump transition officials caught up in incidental surveillance. At the time he said he needed to go to the White House because the reports were only on a database for the executive branch. It now appears that he needed to view computer systems within the National Security Council that would include the logs of Rice's requests to unmask U.S. persons.

The ranking Democrat on the committee Nunes chairs, Representative Adam Schiff, viewed these reports on Friday. In comments to the press over the weekend he declined to discuss the contents of these reports, but also said it was highly unusual for the reports to be shown only to Nunes and not himself and other members of the committee.

Indeed, much about this is highly unusual: if not how the surveillance was collected, then certainly how and why it was disseminated.