NSA doc shows US email surveillance continued despite program ending


Although the US government says an NSA program collecting email records of Americans was shut down in December 2011, it is likely the practice still continued, according to documents obtained by the New York Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

Edward Snowden’s leaks first revealed the National Security Agency’s email metadata program to the public, but it was played down compared to other surveillance programs when US officials claimed the email program was dropped in December 2011 for “operational and resource reasons.”

The newly released January 2007 NSA Inspector General report shows that, indeed, other operations or resources were used to replace the NSA’s program. However, the replacement system came under much less scrutiny from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), while also circumventing telecommunications companies.


“Other authorities can satisfy certain foreign intelligence requirements that the PRTT program was designed to meet,” the NSA IG report reads, referring to the Pen Register and Trap and Trace program, as it had been called, which was authorized by Section 402 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

FISC had secretly authorized PRTT in 2004, but eventually placed limitations on the program, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Upon approval from a court order, the database could be accessed using something like an email address as a search target, if it was relevant to an FBI counterterrorism investigation, and if reasonable and articulable suspicion was written down by the analyst.

Moreover, if the email address could reasonably be believed to belong to a US person, the NSA Office of General Counsel would look to make sure the suspected connection to the investigation was not entirely based on First Amendment protected activity.


Citing Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which covers surveillance gathered domestically when the target is a noncitizen outside the US, and the Special Procedures Governing Communications Metadata Analysis (SPCMA) under Executive Order (EO) 12333, which authorizes collection of Americans’ data even when they’re not targets, the NSA IG report outlines how the bulk email metadata collection is still lawful.

By simply using fiber optic internet cables outside the US, the NSA can still obtain domestic email data, and the FISC hardly enters into the equation.


CIA: Paris ‘Not the Only Operation ISIS Has in the Pipeline’

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Speaking at a global security forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, CIA Director John Brennan warned that the Islamic State is probably planning more attacks like the massacre in Paris.

“I would anticipate that this is not the only operation that ISIL has in the pipeline,” said Brennan, as quoted by CBS News. “I do believe that this is something we’ll have to live with for quite some time.”

“I certainly would not consider it a one-off event. It is clear to me that ISIS has an external agenda and that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks,” he added, according to NBC News. “This was not something done in a matter of days. This was something that was deliberately and carefully.”

Brennan said it was “not a surprise” that such an attack was carried out, because Western intelligence agencies “knew that these plans, the plotting by ISIL, was underway.”

Brennan also became the latest intelligence expert to suggest that the exposure of national security secrets by leakers such as Edward Snowden have hindered our ability to monitor terrorists, although he did not refer to Snowden by name.

“In the past several years, because of the number of unauthorized disclosures and a lot of hand-wringing over the government’s role in the effort to try to uncover these terrorists. There have been policy and other legal changes that make our ability to collectively find these terrorists much more challenging,” the CIA Director asserted.

Brennan also recognized the danger of compromising civil liberties too much, in the pursuit of security. He also appeared to offer some cover for continuing President Obama’s policy of important tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States, despite mounting concerns that the migrants pose an unacceptable security risk.

“We don’t want these terrorists to succeed in taking away the liberties we pride ourselves on. We should be wary, but we don’t want to hermetically seal our borders. That is inconsistent with what our societies have been founded on,” said Brennan, as quoted by Business Insider.

Federal judge orders NSA to halt phone surveillance program

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A federal judge has ruled against the NSA’s controversial collection of Americans’ phone records. The program was set to expire by the end of the month, but the ruling is considered a victory for civil liberties because it sets a legal precedent.

In his ruling on Monday, Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court reiterated his assertion that the NSA’s program“likely violates the Construction” and said that “the loss of constitutional freedoms for even one day is a significant harm.”

In doing so, he sided with conservative legal activist Larry Klayman, whose clients had sued the NSA over its data collection following the revelations of whistleblower of Edward Snowden in 2013.

“This court simply cannot, and will not, allow the government to trump the Constitution merely because it suits the exigencies of the moment,’’ Leon wrote in his 43-page decision.

Klayman said that winning the case is a “tremendous victory for the American people.” He added that Leon is one of the few judges in the country who “has the guts to stand in the breach for the American people during a period of time where their government is running roughshod over them.”

Klayman also said that he will continue the fight and seek monetary damages from the government.

READ MORE: Federal judge says NSA’s phone surveillance program is likely unconstitutional

It’s not clear whether the Department of Justice, which had argued the case, will quickly appeal the new ruling.

The government is reviewing the decision,” spokeswoman Nicole Navas told US News and World Report in an email.

Monday’s ruling comes almost two years after Judge Leon made a similar decision, calling the mass record collection program “almost Orwellian,” and only 20 days before the program is expected to end due to the Congress passing the USA Freedom Act in June.

The USA Freedom Act will shift the responsibility of collecting data from the NSA itself to private telecom companies. Intelligence agencies like the NSA would then ask the companies for specific data on an individual allegedly connected to a terrorist organization or a foreign nation.

READ MORE: USA Freedom Act vs expired Patriot Act provisions: How do the spy laws differ?

The small window between the ruling and the implementation of the new law means that the immediate effects of Klayman’s victory will be trivial. But the precedent set by the decision could carry a lot of weight in future court battles, according to David Greene, civil liberties director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

In effect, it only requires them to stop doing very little of what they do,” Greene told Wired. “But the opinion is very broad-reaching. And because the NSA makes many of the same arguments to justify all of its mass spying programs, it’s really significant when a judge rejects them.”

Other courts have had mixed opinions about the NSA’s surveillance program. In August, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York overturned Leon’s original decision on the case, known as Klayman v. Obama, from May this year. A three-judge panel ruled that Klayman had not met the legal threshold to file the suit. When Klayman added new plaintiffs and new information, the case was sent back to Judge Leon.

However, in October the court decided in the opposite direction on the record collection issue, ruling that the phone records collection could continue until the program met its Congressionally-determined demise at the end of November. The judges said that it was not necessary to block the program, because it was already set to expire soon.

NSA blames Snowden for ISIS changing phones

Published on Nov 4, 2015

NSA Deputy Director, Richard Ledgett, recently sat down with the BCC. During the interview, he blamed Edward Snowden’s leaks for members of ISIS changing from Apple phones to Android ones. Ledgett said, in no uncertain terms, that Snowden is responsible for enabling terrorists to circumvent the NSA’s ability to keep us safe by spying. The Resident discusses. Follow The Resident athttp://www.twitter.com/TheResident

fuck the nsa. hate that company

The NSA goes against the Constitution.   So, they are the problem.

NSA = Gustapo….. Now if you tell the TRUTH and don’t embrace being gay or being a lesbian or amending are constitution/ 2nd amendment.. your a criminal ! Snowden has more of a following than ever before.

The only thing I fear is my own Government.

Got to be one of the funniest reports ever to come out the US. Just adds proof how so many americans are beyond retardment. NSA stupidity is beyond belief.

Iraq ignored US requests to deny Russian military overflights…


A Russian Su-24 bomber takes off on a night combat mission in Syria. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via Associated Press) more >


Iraq’s government has told the United States that it will not permit Russian military forces to conduct air and missile strikes inside the country. But Baghdad is allowing Russian military aircraft to overfly its territory to resupply its forces, despite a request from the United States to deny the flights.

Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, disclosed during a Senate ArmedServices Committee hearing Tuesday that the U.S. government asked the governments of Bulgaria and Iraq to close their airspace to Russian aircraft several weeks before Moscow’s Syria military intervention.

Mr. Cotton suggested that Bulgaria agreed to deny the overflights but that Baghdad rejected the U.S. request. Both Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Marine Corps. Gen. Joseph Dunford didn’t dispute that the diplomatic requests to deny Russian military supply flights were made, but he declined to detail the specifics.CIA,

“I would say it’s problematic for Russia to be resupplying its forces in Syria by flying through Iraq,” Mr. Cotton said during a Senate ArmedServices Committee hearing Tuesday. “We should renew our request that they exclude Russian aircraft from their airspace. And our military should be ready to assist them in excluding Russian aircraft from their airspace.”

Gen. Dunford confirmed that Russian supply flights have passed through Iraq but said it was “not at the understanding of the Iraqi government.”

Iraq’s small F-16 force has limited capabilities to prevent intrusions of its airspace, the four-star general said.

During a visit to Iraq recently, Gen. Dunford said, he received assurances from Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other Iraqi leaders that Baghdad would not align with Russia in battling Islamic State militants.

“And I explained to them how difficult it would be for us to continue to provide support if the Russians were invited in to conduct airstrikes,” he said, “and I was assured at every level that that wouldn’t be the case.”

Russia conducted 59 airstrikes from Oct. 23 through Oct. 25 in northern Syria, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.


Hundreds of international terrorists have changed their electronic communications operating procedures and can no longer be tracked by National Security Agency electronic spies, the NSA’s deputy director disclosed this week.

NSA Deputy Director Rick Ledgett outlined the damage caused by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in an interview with the BBC.

“We have kept track of what our targets have said about disclosures and what that means for them, and we’ve seen in the high hundreds of targets who have said, ‘Hey, we are vulnerable to these sorts of detection techniques and we need to change the way that we do that,’ and a number of them have, including several terrorist organizations and one in particular that had a mature operational plot directed against Western Europe and the U.S.,” Mr. Ledgett said, without elaborating.

“So we’ve actually seen them move away from our ability to do that as a result of those disclosures, as a direct result,” he said.

Mr. Ledgett, who headed the special NSA task force to deal with the Snowden disclosures of some 1.7 million secret NSA documents beginning in 2013, disputed claims that the former contractor was a whistleblower seeking to expose NSA wrongdoing.

The deputy director said public discussion of NSA surveillance is positive, but the way the debate came about is wrong.

“You hear claims that he was a whistleblower and that he tried to raise things. Those are just not true,” Mr. Ledgett said.

Mr. Snowden, who fled initially to Hong Kong and is currently under Russian government protection in Moscow, has asserted that the NSA is involved in illegal surveillance of Americans and is seeking to create an unrestricted secret police state. Those claims remain unproven since he provided documents to anti-secrecy and anti-surveillance advocates.

Critics say most of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures didn’t involve domestic U.S. electronic surveillance and that most of his documents disclosed by news outlets compromised sensitive methods used by the NSA to spy electronically.

Mr. Ledgett also told the news agency that the risk of foreign nations conducting cyberattacks is growing.

“If you are connected to the Internet, you are vulnerable to determined nation-state attackers,” he said. “The barrier to entry is going down and as everybody in the world becomes more connected with computers and information systems, the vulnerabilities are going up.”

The solution is to build better defenses and prepare to conduct offensive counter-cyberattacks.

The NSA’s No. 2 official also said the “jury is still out” on whether China will curb economic cyberespionage as agreed during the summit last month between President Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. “In any big organization, when guidance is sent down, then sometimes it takes awhile to get to the working level,” he said.

Two years ago, Mr. Ledgett revealed that Mr. Snowden used a hacking method called “scraping” within classified intelligence websites to gather and steal secret information.

One damaging impact was Mr. Snowden’s release of NSA spying requirements that showed NSA’s interests and gaps including some 31,000 targets, among them China, Iran and Russia.

U.S. adversaries would gain “a road map of what we know, what we don’t know, and give them, implicitly, a way to protect their information from the U.S. intelligence community’s view,” Mr. Ledgett told the CBS program “60 Minutes” in December 2013.


The Pentagon and U.S. military sought to play down the long-anticipated freedom of navigation operation by the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen through the South China Sea on Tuesday in an apparent bid to avoid upsetting China.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter at first refused to comment on the ship’s passage near the South China Sea’s Spratly island chain, but under sharp questioning from senators reluctantly confirmed that the warship passage at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.

Committee Chairman John McCain, Arizona Republican, criticized Mr. Carter for not publicly commenting on the ship’s transit.

“Why would you not confirm or deny that that happened since all the details and the action happened? This is what frustrates members of this committee when it’s there in the media, saturating the media, and you won’t even tell us,” Mr. McCain said.

“I do understand your frustration, and that is to match it with my own frustration, which is that these are operations that we should be conducting normally,” Mr. Carter said.

Mr. McCain then stated: “But the American people should know about it. And we’re their representatives. And you refuse to even confirm or deny something that is all over the media and confirmed by everyone? And you come before this committee and say you won’t comment on it? Why?”

The defense secretary said he did not like to talk about military operations, but then added that “what you read in the newspaper is accurate, but I don’t want to say more than that, and I don’t want to say when or whether and how we operate anywhere in the world.”

China called the ship transit a military provocation and a challenge to Beijing’s sovereign maritime claims.

‘They can’t track us down’ – hackers who cracked CIA Director Brennan’s email to RT




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Part of a mysterious group of young hackers who stole confidential and work-related information from CIA Director John Brennan have spoken to RT, revealing why they targeted this senior official and what they’ve got planned for the future.

The resulting embarrassment caused by the group who are believed to be in their early 20s, highlights not only the poor email security of a number of senior intelligence officials in the US, but also the secrets within – such as the security clearance application Brennan submitted to the CIA on enrollment, containing the most confidential information any person could wish to protect.

RT managed to have a brief Twitter exchange with one member of the shady hacker group – before they immediately deleted the account – and contacted another member by phone for an interview.

The user @IncursioSubter was rather open about certain details of their identity: “I’m in the UK and my bio on Twitter stated that I was arrested for computer misuse acts, so people know I’m in UK. Age under 22,” the user said.

The young hacker praised former NSA contractor and fugitive Edward Snowden for revealing to the world the truth about American intelligence agencies and the fact they spied on their own population.

Asked why they had a preference for US targets, neither @IncursioSubter nor @Derplaughing – whom we spoke to later – said they wish to restrict themselves to just the one country.

“We’ve mainly planned the US because they’ve been funding Israel more for Palestine to be slaughtered and war crimes that’ve been turned [a blind eye to]… so it’s mainly for US but we also have plans for UK governments too,”@IncursioSubter said.

The user @IncursioSubter also mentioned why they decided to target the director of intelligence and how the group managed to carry out the hack, mentioning that “because he’s in high government” and that they fund Israel.

CIA Director John Brennan © Gretchen Ertl

“It was relatively easy. We just pretended we worked for Verizon and that we needed additional information about Brennan,” something that is often considered the biggest mistake that countless online manuals on cyber protection warn people about.

“They were basically stupid enough to believe whatever we say without first verifying our identity. That was the first major problem.”

READ MORE: Leaked documents from CIA director’s email reveal thoughts on torture, Iran, Afghanistan

A conversation then ensued and the hackers called Brennan’s home.

The distressed director asked what they wanted. “We jokingly said ‘two trillion dollars.’” Then he said, “Really, how much do you want?”

“We then said, ‘We just want Palestine to be free and for the US government to stop funding Israel to kill innocent Palestinians.’”

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Asked what they felt was the most important piece of information they leaked, the hackers said “Probably the security clearance application. We’ve embarrassed the agency more than we’ve damaged it.

“The head of CIA shouldn’t be using any personal emails to discuss work,” @IncurioSubter said about the questionable choice of AOL as an email server for the highest intelligence official in the US.

“He should also be required to use an email service that requires two factor authentication. I know Mr Brennan and authorities probably want all of us in jail; however, I don’t think the agency can track us down. We used basic social engineering because we didn’t need advanced social engineering to compromise his account,” they explained.

READ MORE: CIA tortures: Will US be held accountable?

The two also told RT they’re planning to release more incriminating information on other officials on November 5, but refused to discuss details of the operation.

From the tone of the conversation, it seem like they’re far from done.

“People think we’re doing it for fame but as we have mentioned, it’s basically to get a point – never trust a government, we want to expose governments for what they are doing, for their lies, for them funding war crimes and such,” as @Derplaughing concluded.

Leaked: ‘New Snowden’ releases Obama’s drone program papers

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A cache of classified documents has revealed the inner workings of US drone operations in Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, including the mechanism of targeting suspects slated for assassination.

The documents, slides, visuals and analysis have been posted by The Intercept on Thursday as “The Drone Papers.” The cache contains two sets of slides detailing the US military’s drone operations in Somalia and Yemen between 2011 and 2013, by the secret Task Force 48-4.

The documents were provided to The Intercept by a source within the US intelligence community who wished to remain anonymous because of the government’s aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. He says the American public has the right to know about the process by which people are placed on kill lists and assassinated on orders from US government officials.

After analyzing the leaked documents for months, the eight-part investigation was then published by the Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill and his colleagues. It explores the ways drones – which “have been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA” – have been used in both declared and undeclared war zones.

READ MORE: Secret US drone operation stalking ISIS in Syria – report

Saying that “there has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing” among top US officials, the report suggests fatal drone attacks targeting people were launched from bases in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Somalia and Yemen – although “undeclared war zones… strikes [there] were justified under tighter restrictions.”

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With the first drone strike outside of a declared war zone conducted more than 12 years ago, “it was not until May 2013 that the White House released a set of standards and procedures for conducting such strikes,” the Intercept said. Despite public assurances that such strikes are “more precise” than operations on the ground, the investigation questions the side death toll of such strikes.

READ MORE: Obama ‘apologized’ to MSF for Kunduz hospital strike – White House

It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people. And it isn’t until several months or years later that you all of a sudden realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this really hot target, you wind up realizing it was his mother’s phone the whole time,” the Intercept cited its source as saying, suggesting that drone killings “depend on unreliable intelligence.”

This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the whistleblower told The Intercept.

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Data is most often gathered “from phone and computer communications intercepts,” with cell phones and emails being “the primary tools used by the military to find, fix, and finish its targets.” According to the whistleblower, such methods “require an enormous amount of faith in the technology that you’re using.”

READ MORE: New Snowden docs show how US cooperates with allies in drone killings

Faulty intelligence has led to the killing of innocent people, including US citizens, in drone strikes,” the report says.

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The strikes also allegedly hurt intelligence gathering. Saying that US drone operations have “a heavy tilt toward lethal strikes,” only one of four targets were captured in the Horn of Africa, with other targets having been eliminated instead. “Kill operations significantly reduce the intelligence available,” the report says.

They also highlight the futility of the war in Afghanistan by showing how the US has poured vast resources into killing local insurgents,” it added.

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Additional documents on drone operations in Afghanistan show that the US government has categorized unidentified people killed in drone strikes as enemies, even if they were not the intended targets, thus masking the true extent of civilian casualties.

READ MORE: No end to bloodshed: Civilian death toll in Afghanistan hits new high in 2015

Most of the assassinations are based on signals intelligence (SIGINT), from telephone metadata to signal intercepts. Faulty intelligence, often provided by local sources, is the primary cause of civilian casualties, says the whistleblower.

The special operations community dehumanizes the people targeted for drone strikes, making it easier to avoid asking moral questions, the source says. “They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst.”

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Documents describing Operation Haymaker, a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, show that US airstrikes killed over 200 people between January 2012 and February 2013, but only 35 were the intended targets. The military designated everyone killed in the strikes as “enemy killed in action (EKIA),” unless evidence later emerged specifically showing the male victims were not terrorists.

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the whistleblower said.

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Questioning the vague definition of targets given by the White House, with its policy saying that lethal force will be launched only against those who pose a “continuing, imminent threat to US persons,” the documents suggest there a lack of a “specific criterion” to whether a chosen target may present such threat.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 12.27.38 PMWhile such a rationale may make sense in the context of a declared war in which US personnel are on the ground in large numbers, such as in Afghanistan, that standard is so vague as to be virtually meaningless in countries like Yemen and Somalia, where very few US personnel operate,” the Intercept wrote.

Washington’s 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and — due to a preference for assassination rather than capture — an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects,” the report on the secret documents concluded.

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Following the publication, Amnesty International NGO focusing on human rights called for “an immediate independent inquiry into the Obama administration’s drone strikes overseas” to be launched by the Congress.

These documents raise serious concerns about whether the USA has systematically violated international law, including by classifying unidentified people as ‘combatants’ to justify their killings,” Naureen Shah, director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA said.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also condemned the alleged shortcomings of the US military program revealed by the Intercept, saying that “the Obama administration’s lethal program desperately needs transparency and accountability because it is undermining the right to life and national security.” It is now trying “to uncover more about who the government has killed and why,” it added.

READ MORE: Pentagon to expand drone flights by 50% in next 4 years

The United States has carried out many targeted assassinations in Yemen since the drone program was ramped up by the Obama Administration, and has often resulted in public backlash. In December 2013, 12 partygoers were killed and 15 others were wounded in a drone strike at a Wedding reception instead of an Al Qaeda convoy, the intended target. In April 2014, at least three civilians were killed in a series of drone strikes as well as 30 to 55 Al Qaeda militants. In February 2015, a 12-year-old boy was killed in a drone strike due to being listed as a ‘militant.’ He had previously lost his father and brother in a similar attack.

Drone carried out by the US military have killed at least 424 people since assassinations began in that country, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported in January. Of those deaths, at least 65 were civilians.