Hello Caravan to Midnighters. Over the past few days there has been a a trove of reporting on NSA and FBI wrongdoing and outright incompetence on the part of the Department of Homeland Security, which has failed, as it does a few times a month, to prevent a massive data breach of ‘secured’ U.S. government databases.
Let’s begin with what U.S. officials report is a hack at the Office of Personnel Management that has exposed the data of 90 percent of the 4 million federal government employees – hot on the heels of reports that the poorly-named Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for protecting government databases, failed to prevent undercover investigators from smuggling fake explosives and weapons passed checkpoints 95 percent of the time through America’s 12 busiest airports. Like the ill-conceived Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is led by an inveterate liar, the DHS is another mistake made in the aftermath of 9-11, topped off with a name only a Nazi could love. Can we have any confidence in U.S. assertions that China is behind this latest hack? Judging by past performance, most notably Washington’s widely-disputed claim that North Korea was behind the Sony Hack – NO!
China Blamed for ‘Massive’ U.S. Government Data Breach (Guardian Unlimited, U.K.) http://bit.ly/1GbUqQY
Not surprisingly, Beijing denies any part of the hack and calls the claim ‘irresponsible.’ Can we believe anything that comes out of the mouths of China leaders? NO!:
China calls U.S. Hacking Accusations ‘Irresponsible and Unscientific’ (The Washington Post) http://wapo.st/1T1YIzS
Predictably enough, this latest breach has resulted in renewed calls from surveillance industry shills to give the government yet more power to spy on Americans and the planet:
U.S. Government Responds to Latest Hack: ‘Give Us More Power Over Data Collection’ (Guardian Unlimited, U.K.) http://bit.ly/1T1Mw27
On to the NSA and Edward Snowden.
Snowden had his first op-ed published today simultaneously in The New York Times, Le Monde and El Pais in Spain, on the second anniversary of the revelations that have shifted the global debate on mass surveillance:
“Privately, there were moments when I worried that we might have put our privileged lives at risk for nothing — that the public would react with indifference, or practiced cynicism, to the revelations. … Never have I been so grateful to have been so wrong. … Two years on, the difference is profound. In a single month, the N.S.A.’s invasive call-tracking program was declared unlawful by the courts and disowned by Congress. After a White House-appointed oversight board investigation found that this program had not stopped a single terrorist attack, even the president who once defended its propriety and criticized its disclosure has now ordered it terminated. … This is the power of an informed public.”
Edward Snowden: ‘World Says No to Surveillance’ (The New York Times) http://nyti.ms/1IpLI3W
Next, as an aside, one of his attorneys says that Snowden held a two-hour meeting with Argentine President Christina Kirchner – his first ‘face to face’ meeting with a head of state ‘since he fled to Russia’ (were there others before?) An Argentine TV channel cited ‘intelligence documents provided by Snowden, revealing Britain spied on Argentine military and political leaders from 2006 to 2011 to safeguard the security of the disputed Falkland Islands.’:
Argentine President Met Snowden in Moscow: ACLU Lawyer (Reuters) http://yhoo.it/1cBDA25
Next, two men who have some idea of what Edward Snowden’s journey is like – Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers, and Thomas Drake, who was one of the first to expose massive NSA spying on Americans, took time to reflect on and applaud Snowden’s work:
Snowden’s Whistleblowing Predecessors: ‘Even Your Natural Allies Don’t want to Touch You’ (Guardian Unlimited, U.K.) http://bit.ly/1KRWlgA
Are you under the impression that the courts declared bulk data collection illegal and that Congress failed to extend the program? The Guardian reports that the Obama Administration is using a loophole in the law to resume the illegal collection of the phone records of all Americans:
Back from the Dead: U.S. Officials to Ask Secret Court to Revive NSA Surveillance ‘ (Guardian Unlimited, U.K.) http://bit.ly/1cCrG8e
Moving along in today’s cavalcade of lies, disinformation and foolishness, a senior FBI official showed that he fails to understand the ramifications of the FBI’s foolhardy policy of undermining encryption, which has wreaked and continues to wreak monumental damage on America’s tech sector and its reputation by rendering U.S. technology untrustworthy:
FBI Anti-Terror Official Calls on Tech Firms to ‘Prevent Encryption Above All Else’ (Guardian Unlimited, U.K.) http://bit.ly/1Gd9I85
Sticking with the FBI for a moment, next up is investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson, who has uncovered how the FBI has been generating home-grown terrorism through sting operations that recruit mentally-ill felons. It’s absolutely incredible. This is his TED talk from March:
“There’s an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI. How? Why? In an eye-opening talk, investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems.”
VIDEO: How FBI Strategy is Actually Creating U.S.-Based Terrorists (TED, The Netherlands) http://bit.ly/1MtJL58
While we’re in video mode, this is Glenn Greenwald on the how the mainstream media ‘propagandizes the public’ rather than informing it of what is actually going on:
VIDEO: Glenn Greenwald – ‘ Media Irresponsibly Scaring People over Patriot Act’ (CNN) http://bit.ly/1QxCgux
And Daniel Ellsberg tells Going Underground’s Afshin Rattansi that ‘The NSA has been Breaking the Constitution for Years’:
VIDEO: Daniel Ellsberg om Snowden, Whistleblowers and NSA Wrongdoing (Going Underground, RT) http://bit.ly/1T5lzL7
Next up, another program emerged yesterday that shows, just as Senators Rand Paul and Ron Wyden have repeatedly warned, that the NSA is unconstitutionally and illegally spying on Americans in a whole variety of ways yet to be uncovered. Quoting The New York Times: ‘Without public notice or debate, the Obama administration has expanded the National Security Agency‘s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international Internet traffic to search for evidence of malicious computer hacking, according to classified N.S.A. documents.’:
Hunting for Hackers, NSA Secretly Expands Web Spying on Americans (The New York Times) http://nyti.ms/1Fx1F2n
Next, after experiencing the Charlie Hebdo attacks, we wouldn’t be the first to suggest that France is having a neurotic episode similar to the one that took hold in the United States after September 11. This appears to be a condition frequently accompanied by the passage of draconian surveillance legislation. For France’s Liberation, columnist Marcela Iacub cautions readers not to sacrifice all that it means to be free in order to obtain ‘the peace of the slave.’
Mass Surveillance: The ‘Security’ of Slaves (Liberation, France) http://bit.ly/1H35gtA
Next, another practice common in the intelligence world – seizing patented technology and using it without paying to do so, emerged in the case of 3rd Eye Surveillance, which is suing the federal government for ‘knowingly infringing on 3rd Eye’s patent rights and impeding the company’s ability to do business.’:
U.S. Government Sued for Surveillance System Patent Infringement (IP Watchdog.com) http://bit.ly/1eS6qgy
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