NSA mass spying undermines journalists and attorneys’ ability to work

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Dozens of journalists and attorneys surveyed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch for a new report say that the United States government’s surveillance operations are eroding their ability to work.

The results of the collaborative effort between the ACLU and HRW was published on Monday this week and contains a number of chilling accounts from Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters and acclaimed attorneys alike who say the US government’s spy programs have put a damper on their professions.

After surveying 92 participants — 46 reporters, 42 lawyers and a handful of current or former government officials — the authors of the 126-page “With Liberty to Monitor All” study conclude that US surveillance practices are “harming journalism, law and American democracy” by making it increasingly difficult for professionals tasked with keeping governments accountable and preserving justice from accomplishing as much.

In the wake of last year’s National Security Agency disclosures, the report found, journalists and attorneys who handle sensitive information are changing their work habits and how they communicate to keep personal details private and prevent government eavesdroppers from interfering.

“Freedoms of expression and association, as well as rights to a fair trial, are protected by the Constitution, and US officials speak with pride of the freedom of the media to report on matters of public concern and hold government to account for its actions,” the paper reads in part. “Yet, as this report documents, today those freedoms are very much under threat due to the government’s own policies concerning secrecy, leak prevention, and officials’ contact with the media, combined with large-scale surveillance programs.”

Several of the people surveyed told the study’s authors that they’ve drastically altered the way they do work in order to elude federal investigators: US President Barack Obama’s precedent-setting number of leak prosecutions has made national security sources more hesitant than ever to speak with reporters, and attorneys tasked with keeping their clients’ details safe told the ACLU and HRW that they fear they’re being spied on as well.

Among the chances those professionals have made to counter those fears, the report reveals, are tactics that range from relying on encrypted email and burner phones, to sending information through the Postal Service instead of the web and making fake travel plans to confuse any curious government eavesdroppers.

“I don’t want the government to force me to act like a spy. I’m not a spy; I’m a journalist,” one prominent reporter told the researchers.

“I’ll be damned if I have to start acting like a drug dealer in order to protect my client’s confidentiality,” added national security defense attorney Tom Durkin.

Nancy Hollander, the lawyer for convicted WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning, told interviewers that she now concludes every professional email with a warning: “Based on recent news reports, it is possible that the NSA is monitoring this communication.”

“If the US fails to address these concerns promptly and effectively,” report author G. Alex Sinha writes, “it could do serious, long-term damage to the fabric of democracy in the country.”

THE “INSIDER THREAT PROGRAM” AND THE GOVERNMENT’S WAR ON WHISTLEBLOWERS

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The Obama Administration’s Orwellian government employee snitch network, dubbed the “Insider Threat Program,” first made headlines about a year ago.

By Scott Higham July 23

In early April, Sen. Charles E. Grassley summoned FBI officials to his Capitol Hill office. He said he wanted them to explain how a program designed to uncover internal security threats would at the same time protect whistleblowers who wanted to report wrongdoing within the bureau.

The meeting with two FBI officials, including the chief of the bureau’s Insider Threat Program, ended almost as soon as it began. The officials said the FBI would protect whistleblowers by “registering” them. When Grassley’s staff members asked them to elaborate, the FBI officials declined to answer any more questions and headed for the door.

“We’re leaving,” said J. Christopher McDonough, an FBI agent assigned to the bureau’s congressional affairs office, said Senate staff members who attended the meeting.

The episode infuriated Grassley (Iowa), a leading advocate for whistleblowers in Congress and the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Any effort to register whistleblowers, he said, would “clearly put a target on their backs.”

The Insider Threat Program and a continuous monitoring initiative under consideration in the intelligence community were begun by the Obama administration after the leaks of classified information by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, and the Navy Yard shootings by Aaron Alexis, who used his security clearance to gain access to the base.

The programs are designed to prevent leaks of classified information by monitoring government computers and employees’ behavior.

Grassley said the episode with the FBI illustrates how federal agencies are setting up internal security programs without giving careful consideration to whether they could dissuade whistleblowers from coming forward.

“The Insider Threat Program has the potential for taking the legs out from underneath all of the whistleblower protections we have,” Grassley said in a recent interview.

Greg Klein, the head of the FBI’s Insider Threat Program, and McDonough, the congressional affairs agent, did not return calls seeking comment. An FBI spokesman said the bureau does not plan to register whistleblowers. He said there was a misunderstanding about the nature of the briefing with staff members for Grassley, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and a law enforcement official who is assigned to the Senate panel. The spokesman noted that the FBI has a whistleblower training program for employees and a whistleblower protection office.

“We recognize the importance of protecting the rights of whistleblowers,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

Grassley is part of a growing chorus of lawmakers on Capitol Hill and attorneys for whistleblowers who warn that the Insider Threat Program and the potential intelligence community initiative threaten to undermine federal workers’ ability to report wrongdoing without retaliation.

Together, the programs cover millions of federal workers and contractors at every government agency.

In February, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee that a system was being considered to continuously monitor the behavior of employees with security clearances “on the job as well as off the job.”

A senior intelligence official said a continuous monitoring program, mandated under the Intelligence Authorization Act and signed into law by President Obama on July 7, is being set up and initially will include federal employees who hold top-secret security clearances. The official said there are no plans to monitor employees after hours while they are using non-government computer systems.

“I think it’s time to put up the caution light here,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

While Wyden included a provision in the most recent Intelligence Authorization Act that would prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers, he said he remains concerned about the impact of the threat programs.

“This really has the potential for abuse, and I think it could have a chilling effect on the public’s right to know and effective oversight of our government,” Wyden said.

Dan Meyer, the head of the Intelligence Community Whistleblowing & Source Protection program, created last year as part of the Office of Intelligence Community Inspector General, said he is working to ensure that employees who want to report wrongdoing can do so anonymously and without reprisal.

“The critical thing is to maintain confidentiality,” Meyer said. He said he is preparing training materials for intelligence officers and spreading the word that employees can come to him anonymously through third parties.

If an employee has verifiable information about wrongdoing, a presidential directive takes effect, providing employees with protection against retaliation.

“We are in the process of making a systematic, cultural change and getting everyone on board,” Meyer said.

After Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks four years ago, Obama signed Executive Order 13587, directing government agencies to assess how they handle classified information. On Nov. 28, 2010, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive issued a memo to senior government agency officials, advising them to identify insider threats.

The memo suggested using psychiatrists and sociologists to assess changes in employees’ behavior.

“What metrics do you use to measure ‘trustworthiness’ without alienating employees?” the counterintelligence office asked the agency chiefs. “Do you use a psychiatrist or sociologist to measure: relative happiness as a means to gauge trustworthiness? Despondence and grumpiness as a means to gauge waning trustworthiness?”

“It will only increase hostility between the government and really serious federal employees who are trying to improve the system,” said Lynne Bernabei, a partner at Bernabei & Wachtel in Washington who has been representing whistleblowers for nearly 30 years. “Turning the security apparatus against its own people is not going to work.”

Whistleblower lawyers said they understand the need to protect classified information but think some of the new programs go too far.

“There are legitimate reasons for employers to be on the lookout for people who might be leaking classified information, but this will obviously have a chilling effect on employees who might want to blow the whistle,” said Jason Zuckerman, who served as the senior legal adviser to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the federal agency charged with protecting whistleblowers, and now represents whistleblowers nationwide.

Michael German, a former undercover FBI agent and whistleblower, called the Insider Threat Program a “dangerous” initiative.

“These agencies have long treated whistleblowers as security threats and this makes things even worse,” said German, now a senior national security fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

Mark S. Zaid, a lawyer who specializes in representing whistleblowers in the intelligence community and the military, said the administration is moving too quickly.

“They are using a very big net to catch a few small fish, and they are going to hurt a lot of good people in the process,” he said.

GCHQ FUROR, SNOWDEN KEEP NSA IN THE MEDIA SPOTLIGHT

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NSA will continue to stay in the news for a long time to come

By James RogersPublished July 22, 2014FoxNews

The controversy surrounding the National Security Agency is unlikely to fade anytime soon, thanks to a spying furor now engulfing the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Great Britain and the continued high profile of Edward Snowden, a U.K.-based security expert says.

“I think that we will hear a lot more about the tactics of the NSA,” Michela Menting, cybersecurity practice director at the tech analyst firm ABI Research, told FoxNews.com. “It’s certainly something that’s going to run for the next year or so.”

Hot on the heels of the firestorm that Snowden, a former NSA contractor, ignited when he stole a cache of NSA documents last year and began releasing them to the press, a document that appeared to detail cyber-espionage tricks at GCHQ, the American agency’s British counterpart, was leaked last week.

The document, posted by The Intercept, which reported it had been provided by Snowden, described a host of covert online tools used by GCHQ, including ways to manipulate online polls, send spoof emails and perform denial of service (DOS) attacks on Web servers.

In a statement emailed to FoxNews.com, GCHQ declined to comment on the document and said the agency’s work is carried out within “a strict legal and policy framework.”

The document outlined more than 100 code-named tools and projects, including “Angry Pirate,” a tool designed to “permanently disable a target’s account” on his computer, and “Hacienda,” a port-scanning tool “designed to scan an entire country or city.”

Menting said the slow release of Snowden’s documents would keep the heat on the NSA. “This trickle is more powerful, because you keep getting this constant flow of information,” she told FoxNews.com. “If you dump all the information at once, you dilute some of its potency.”

The document has also prompted speculation that NSA tools could be compromised. Security technology expert Bruce Schneier, author of “Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust that Society Needs to Thrive,” says that the document could prove problematic for the U.S. agency.

“My guess is that these tools are shared back and forth all the time,” he told FoxNews.com. “The countries’ intelligence agencies are very close partners – they share information and they share techniques.”

“They will be worried a little,” Menting said, but she noted that the NSA is better positioned than GCHQ to fix any compromised tools. “The U.S. has dedicated teams that they use to find their own vulnerabilities – the U.S. has more extensive capabilities in this domain than the U.K.”

In an interview transcript published by The Guardian on Friday, Snowden said British citizens are at greater risk of government snooping than people in the U.S. because GCHQ’s role is not “as strongly encoded in law or policy” as the NSA’s.

Snowden also alleged that sexually explicit photos from citizens’ private records were sometimes shared by military personnel working at the NSA. “These are seen as the fringe benefits of surveillance positions,” he said.

He described NSA auditing as inadequate. “People talk about things that they shouldn’t have done as if it’s no big deal because nobody expects any consequences. Nobody expects to be held to account.”

In an email to FoxNews.com, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines wrote, “NSA is a professional foreign-intelligence organization with a highly trained workforce, including brave and dedicated men and women from our armed forces. As we have said before, the agency has zero tolerance for willful violations of the agency’s authorities or professional standards, and would respond as appropriate to any credible allegations of misconduct.”

Government snooping continues to cause concern across the globe. Last week U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay released a report warning that nations on every continent are hiding their growing reliance on private companies to snoop on citizens.

‘Test it on Brits:’ Snowden says GCHQ even worse than NSA

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British intelligence is permitted to go further in surveillance than similar agencies in other Western countries, according to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who spoke of GCHQ’s lack of oversight in a recent interview to the Guardian.

Snowden’s life in Russia: ‘Much happier than be unfairly tried in US’

Snowden believes the powers of the British intelligence are not restricted effectively enough by “law or policy”. Despite the UK government publicly claiming that regulations over the spy activity are strict, GCHQ’s private documents suggest the opposite is true.

“You’ve got their own admission in their own documents that ‘we’ve got a much lighter oversight regime than we should have,’ full stop,” Snowden said. “That’s what they’re talking about. They enjoy authorities that they really shouldn’t be entitled to.”

The lack of legal restrictions leads to UK intelligence being able to target more people than is necessary.

“Tempora [GCHQ’s internet surveillance program] is really proof … that GCHQ has much less-strict legal restrictions than other Western government intelligence.”

Taking that into account, Snowden is sure the UK citizens could be ones on whom intelligence techniques could be tested to then be used by all of the other so-called Five Eyes partners – Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

AFP Photo / Frederick Florin AFP Photo / Frederick Florin

“And what that means is UK citizens and UK intelligence platforms are used as a testing ground for all of the other Five Eyes partners,” he said.

In May, a group of British MPs called for more accountability on the part of the country’s intelligence. They said the confidential files, leaked by Edward Snowden revealed the “embarrassing” state of legal oversight into the British surveillance system.

US knew about Snowden file destruction at UK newspaper

Snowden recalled a raid on the Guardian’s offices a year ago to obtain and destroyed hard drives with leaked files as another example of the country’s intelligence going too far in its activity.

“It seemed like a clear intent to intimidate the press into pulling back and not reporting,” Snowden said. “And I think that was why it was inappropriate, but tremendously beneficial for the public conversation because they gave everyone who was concerned about the abuses of power a clear and specific example.”

The raid was not only intimidating, but also “stupid”, Snowden added, ridiculing the idea of someone trying to “grind data out of existence when we have a global interconnected internet.”

Obama’s ratings tumble in Germany, Russia in wake of NSA spying, Ukraine crisis

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Revelations of the National Security Agency’s global spy program, together with civil strife in Ukraine has severely damaged Barack Obama’s popularity among Brazilians, Germans and Russians, a major US polling agency reported.

Thanks to a series of global scandals, the United States in general, and its commander-in-chief in particular, have suffered a drop in favorability among the majority of countries polled by Pew Research.

“In 22 of 36 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2014, people are significantly less likely to believe the US government respects the personal freedoms of its citizens,” the report said.

Spring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew ResearchSpring 2014 Global Attitudes Survey, Pew Research

Among privacy-loving Germans – many of whom have even refused to allow the Google Maps car to film their homes – Obama’s reputation nosedived when it was revealed that the NSA was collecting communication metadata not only on average Germans, but also on Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose personal mobile phone had been hacked by US intelligence.

Germans’ confidence in Obama sunk to 71 percent, 17 points down from 2013.

Tensions between NATO’s two biggest members escalated this month German authorities arrested a Defense Ministry official suspected of passing secrets to the US. This shocking incident came just one week after the arrest of a German intelligence officer who worked as a double agent for the Americans.

German authorities took the unprecedented step of ordering the expulsion of the Berlin CIA station chief.

“Revelations that Washington systematically reads both Americans’ and some foreigners’ emails and listens in on their telephone conversations appears to have significantly damaged Obama’s approval in only one European Union country: Germany,” Pew reported.

Brazilians’ confidence in the first black American leader dropped from 69 percent in 2013 to 52 percent presently.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was also the victim of NSA snooping on her personal communications, expressed her anger at those revelations by canceling an official visit to Washington in October.

Finally, Russia, which is watching neighboring Ukraine teeter on the edge of full-blown civil war, sees an American hand provoking the situation behind the scenes, especially after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich decided against signing as association agreement with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Moscow.

The decision by sparked a violent showdown in the capital Kiev, which has led to nationwide civil strife that continues today.

“Russian faith in Obama, already quite low in 2013, is down 14 points (to 15 percent), a likely casualty of the Ukraine confrontation,” Pew said.

Meanwhile, America’s once invincible reputation for protecting individual liberties has suffered a major reality check following damning revelations about the extent of NSA surveillance from whistleblower Edward Snowden, presently living in Russia, where he has been granted asylum.

Belief that the US government respects personal freedoms plummeted 25 points in Brazil to 50 percent over the last year; 23 points in Germany to 58 percent; 20 points to 40 percent in Russia; and 11 points to 69 percent in France. Meanwhile, even the United Kingdom, a trusted ally, appears to have experienced a chilling effect by America’s recent naughtiness, dropping 10 points to 65 percent.

Germany expels Berlin CIA chief

US drone strikes have also struck a negative chord among allies and enemies alike, including in NATO member states like Britain, France and Spain. In 37 of 44 surveyed countries, half or more of the public expressed disapproval of drone attacks.

SNOWDEN STRIKES AGAIN: UK intelligence used FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE to manipulate online behavior…

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Summary: A fresh set of documents leaked by Edward Snowden show how the UK intelligence agency can manipulate online polls and debates, spread messages, snoop on YouTube and track Facebook users.

By Charlie Osborne for Zero Day | July 15, 2014 — 08:10 GMT (01:10 PDT)

GCHQ has developed a toolkit of software programs used to manipulate online traffic, infiltrate users’ computers and spread select messages across social media sites including Facebook and YouTube.

Read more
The UK spy agency’s dark arts were revealed in documents first published by The Intercept, and each piece of software is described in a wiki document written up by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG). The document, which reads like a software inventory, calls the tools part of the agency’s “weaponised capability.”

Some of the most interesting capabilities of the tools on the list include the ability to seed the web with false information — such as tweaking the results of online polls — inflating pageview counts, censoring video content deemed “extremist” and the use of psychological manipulation on targets — something similar to a research project conducted with Facebook’s approval, which resulted in heavy criticism and outrage levied at the social media site.

A number of interesting tools and their short descriptions are below:

ASTRAL PROJECTION: Remote GSM secure covert Internet proxy using TOR hidden service
POISON ARROW: Safe malware download capability
AIRWOLF: YouTube profile, comment and video collection
BIRDSTRIKE: Twitter monitoring and profile collection
GLASSBACK: Technique of getting a target’s IP address by pretending to be a spammer and ringing them. Target does not need to answer.
MINIATURE HERO: Active skype capability. Provision of realtime call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.
PHOTON TORPEDO: A technique to actively grab the IP address of MSN messenger user
SPRING-BISHOP: Finding private photos of targets on Facebook
BOMB BAY: The capacity to increase website hits, rankings
BURLESQUE: The capacity to send spoofed SMS messages
GESTATOR: Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (YouTube)
SCRAPHEAP CHALLENGE: Perfect spoofing of emails from Blackberry targets
SUNBLOCK: Ability to deny functionality to send/receive email or view material online
SWAMP DONKEY: A tool that will silently locate all predefined types of file and encrypt them on a targets machine
UNDERPASS: Change outcome of online polls (previously known as NUBILO).
WARPATH: Mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign.
HUSK: Secure one-on-one web based dead-drop messaging platform.
The list, dated from 2012, says that most of the tools are “fully operational, tested and reliable,” and adds: “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.”

“We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready,” the document notes.

The release of these documents comes in the same week that the UK intelligence agency’s spying activities are being investigated by surveillance watchdog the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). Civil liberty groups set a legal challenge against the GCHQ in order to question the legal standing of schemes such as Tempora — a project revealed in the NSA scandal that showed the agency placed data interceptors on fiber-optic cables that carry Internet traffic to and from the UK.

German-American friendship at crossroads, Berlin leaning toward Moscow?

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As a never-ending stream of spy scandals put Washington-Berlin relations under unprecedented strain, Germans are increasingly asking themselves whether the country should be blindly following the US.

A recent poll for Der Spiegel showed that up to 57 percent of Germans would like Berlin to conduct policies more independent from the US, and an Op-Ed article by the publication asked more bluntly: “Germany’s Choice: Will It Be America or Russia?”

This question, previously unimaginable for Berlin, show just how deeply the US spy scandals are shattering German politics.

An unceasing row of intelligence scandals, that started over a year ago with revelations of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have revealed that the US has been eavesdropping Germans, Chancellor Angela Merkel included, for years now.

The grandeur of the American eavesdropping effort against NATO allies forced German politicians to give the alliance with Washington a second thought.

The continuation of the spy scandals has put German elite in an “either/or” position, when they should either turn a blind eye on the current state of things and remain American protégé or dash away from American chokehold.

Though US Secretary of State John Kerry has told German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier that Washington and Berlin remain “great friends” despite the new spying scandal that rocked bilateral relations in recent two weeks, Germans themselves feel the friendship went wrong.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) , in Vienna, on July 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Jim Bourg)US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) , in Vienna, on July 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Jim Bourg)

Ever since the creation of the post-WWII West Germany in 1949, the country remained in the orbit of American foreign policy, not least because of a large number of American bases deployed in the country. After reunion with the East Germany in 1990, relations did not change a jot over the next two decades.

According to Der Spiegel, Chancellor Angela Merkel would probably like to distance herself from the scandal if Americans stop putting her in awkward situations, such as tapping her phone.

But as German intelligence agency the BND has found out, the Americans never calmed down and continued spying, this time sneaking documents of the investigation of NSA intelligence activities in Germany, Der Spiegel said.

“If it is confirmed that the spying activities against the BND also targeted the work of the NSA investigative committee, it will be an unprecedented assault on the parliament and our democratic institutions,” Der Spiegel cited Thomas Oppermann, parliamentary leader of the SPD.

Last Wednesday Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, indicated that German-American relations had hit a new low, mentioning “profound differences of opinion” between Berlin and Washington. Next day the CIA’s station chief in Germany was asked to leave the country.

The abovementioned Körber Foundation study revealed another interesting fact: approximately equal number of Germans sees their country cooperating the most in the future with either the US or Russia.

For nearly a quarter of a century since the reunion of the country, Germans have actually not questioned which side they are on.

But two things that have been growing on over the last year sort of “awakened” Germans from quiescence.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin chat at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Pedro Ugarte)German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Russian President Vladimir Putin chat at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014.(AFP Photo / Pedro Ugarte)

The first is the NSA spy scandal that emerged in June 2013 and is still unwinding, which opened eyes of ordinary Germans being under constant surveillance from the US intelligence agencies.

The second one is the spreading civil war in Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia promoted by Washington for alleged “support to Ukrainian separatists.” While for the US any sanctions Moscow would mean little economic losses, for Germany Russia is a major economic partner and cutting ties with Moscow would mean multibillion missed profit, hundreds of thousands of jobless citizens and giant losses for the economy in general.

Der Spiegel, a magazine that is well-informed on domestic policy, said: “Germany can no longer avoid the question of which side it supports.”

Whistleblower: NSA stores 80% of all phone calls, not just metadata – full audio

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At least 80 percent of all audio calls are gathered and stored by the NSA, whistleblower William Binney has revealed. The former code-breaker says the spy agency’s ultimate aim is no less than total population control.

The National Security Agency lies about what it stores, said William Binney, one of the highest profile whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA, at a conference in London organized by the Center for Investigative Journalism on July 5. Binney left the agency shortly after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center because he was disgusted at the organizations move towards public surveillance.

Former technical director of the National Security Agency (NSA) William Binney (Reuters/Thomas Peter)Former technical director of the National Security Agency (NSA) William Binney (Reuters/Thomas Peter)

“At least 80 percent of fiber-optic cables globally go via the US,” Binney said. “This is no accident and allows the US to view all communication coming in. At least 80 percent of all audio calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the US. The NSA lies about what it stores.”

Binney has no evidence to substantiate his claims as he did not take any documents with him when he left the NSA. However, he insists the organization is untruthful about its intelligence gathering practices and their ultimate aim. He says that recent Supreme Court decisions have led him to believe the NSA won’t stop until it has complete control over the population.

“The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control,” Binney said, “but I’m a little optimistic with some recent Supreme Court decisions, such as law enforcement mostly now needing a warrant before searching a smartphone.”

During his speech at the conference, Binney praised spy-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden for disseminating the classified documents that revealed the NSA’s global spy programs. The latest revelations showed that contrary to the NSA’s claims, the majority of information the agency gathers is from ordinary citizens with no connection to terrorism.

NSA gathered ‘startlingly intimate’ data on ordinary citizens, Snowden data reveals

Washington has defended its spy programs, claiming that the NSA targets individuals with connections to known terrorist groups to thwart attacks. Binney said this was a lie and the NSA had stopped “zero attacks” with its intelligence gathering programs.

One of the main factors that has allowed the NSA to increase its spy programs is the lack of oversight in the US, argues Binney. In particular, he took issue with the Foreign Surveillance Court (FISA), which oversees the issue of search warrants against people suspected of terrorism. Binney believes the court is meaningless and always sides with the US government.

“The Fisa court has only the government’s point of view,” he said. “There are no other views for the judges to consider. There have been at least 15-20 trillion constitutional violations for US domestic audiences and you can double that globally.”

Revelations about US global spy programs have sparked mass indignation, with one American judge saying the surveillance was almost Orwellian in nature. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also compared US intelligence policy to the antics of the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany.

HIGH-LEVEL NSA OFFICIAL: THE NSA HAS BECOME “J. EDGAR HOOVER ON SUPER STEROIDS”

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Spying On – and Blackmailing – Politicians, Generals, Judges, Lawyers and Citizens

by WASHINGTON’S BLOG | JULY 10, 2014

The newly-published revelations from Edward Snowden show that the NSA and FBI spied on anAmerican citizen running for political office:

The NSA also surveilled a U.S. citizen while he ran for political office:https://t.co/UzFya8ltmjpic.twitter.com/3jZdsYxQRG

The Washington Post’s report last week also shows that the NSA also collected information on President Obama, both as president-elect and as president:

A “minimized U.S. president-elect” begins to appear in the files in early 2009, and references to the current “minimized U.S. president” appear 1,227 times in the following four years.
While the particular NSA reports discussed by the Washington Post don’t specifically mention Obama by name, the Post notes:

[These minimization attempts] border on the absurd, using titles that could apply to only one man.
Of course, the NSA has pretty much admitted to spying on Congress. And see this.

And even the raw data on American citizens collected by the NSA is shared with Israel. This likelyincludes Congress members and other politicians, as well.

But these new reports add some weight to the allegations of high-level NSA whistleblower Bill Binney, who told Washington’s Blog that NSA surveillance allows the government to target:

“[CIA head] General Petraeus and General Allen and others like [New York State Attorney General] Elliot Spitzer”
“Supreme Court Judges, other judges, Senators, Representatives, law firms and lawyers, and just anybody you don’t like … reporters included”
Binney also told us on Monday:

Bulk collection of everything gives law enforcement all the data they need on every citizen in the country. And, it gives NSA all that info on everyone too. Makes them akin to a J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids.
FBI head Hoover was famous for blackmailing everyone … including politicians. The New York Timesreports:

J. Edgar Hoover compiled secret dossiers on the sexual peccadillos and private misbehavior of those he labeled as enemies — really dangerous people like … President John F. Kennedy, for example.
Alfred McCoy – Professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – provides details:

Upon taking office on Roosevelt’s death in early 1945, Harry Truman soon learned the extraordinary extent of FBI surveillance. “We want no Gestapo or Secret Police,” Truman wrote in his diary that May. “FBI is tending in that direction. They aredabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail.”

After a quarter of a century of warrantless wiretaps, Hoover built up a veritable archive of sexual preferences among America’s powerful and used it to shape the direction of U.S. politics. He distributed a dossier on Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson’s alleged homosexuality to assure his defeat in the 1952 presidential elections,circulated audio tapes of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philandering, and monitoredPresident Kennedy’s affair with mafia mistress Judith Exner. And these are just a small sampling of Hoover’s uses of scandal to keep the Washington power elite under his influence.

“The moment [Hoover] would get something on a senator,” recalled William Sullivan, the FBI’s chief of domestic intelligence during the 1960s, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter…’ From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.” After his death, an official tally found Hoover had 883 such files on senators and 722 more on congressmen.

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With a few hundred cable probes and computerized decryption, the NSA can now capture the kind of gritty details of private life that J. Edgar Hoover so treasured and provide the sort of comprehensive coverage of populations once epitomized by secret police like East Germany’s Stasi. And yet, such comparisons only go so far.

After all, once FBI agents had tapped thousands of phones, stenographers had typed up countless transcripts, and clerks had stored this salacious paper harvest in floor-to-ceiling filing cabinets, J. Edgar Hoover still only knew about the inner-workings of the elite in one city: Washington, D.C. To gain the same intimate detail for an entire country, the Stasi had to employ one police informer for every six East Germans — an unsustainable allocation of human resources. By contrast, the marriage of the NSA’s technology to the Internet’s data hubs now allows the agency’s 37,000 employees a similarly close coverage of the entire globe with just one operative for every 200,000 people on the planet.

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In the Obama years, the first signs have appeared that NSA surveillance will use the information gathered to traffic in scandal, much as Hoover’s FBI once did. In September 2013, the New York Times reported that the NSA has, since 2010, applied sophisticated software to create “social network diagrams…, unlock as many secrets about individuals as possible…, and pick up sensitive information likeregular calls to a psychiatrist’s office, late-night messages to an extramarital partner.”

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By collecting knowledge — routine, intimate, or scandalous — about foreign leaders, imperial proconsuls from ancient Rome to modern America have gained both the intelligence and aura of authority necessary for dominion over alien societies. The importance, and challenge, of controlling these local elites cannot be overstated. During its pacification of the Philippines after 1898, for instance, the U.S. colonial regime subdued contentious Filipino leaders via pervasive policing that swept up both political intelligence and personal scandal. And that, of course, was just what J. Edgar Hoover was doing in Washington during the 1950s and 1960s.

***

According to James Bamford, author of two authoritative books on the agency, “TheNSA’s operation is eerily similar to the FBI’s operations under J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960s where the bureau used wiretapping to discover vulnerabilities, such as sexual activity, to ‘neutralize’ their targets.”

The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer has warned that a president might “ask the NSA to use the fruits of surveillance to discredit a political opponent, journalist, or human rights activist. The NSA has used its power that way in the past and it would be naïve to think it couldn’t use its power that way in the future.” Even President Obama’s recently convened executive review of the NSA admitted: “[I]n light of the lessons of our own history… at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking.”

Indeed, whistleblower Edward Snowden has accused the NSA of actually conducting such surveillance. In a December 2013 letter to the Brazilian people, he wrote, “They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target’s reputation.” If Snowden is right, then one key goal of NSA surveillance of world leaders is not U.S. national security but political blackmail— as it has been since 1898.
Postscript: NSA whistleblower Russell Tice (a key source in the 2005 New York Times report that blew the lid off the Bush administration’s use of warrantless wiretapping), also says:

The NSA isspying onandblackmailingits overseers in Washington, as well as Supreme Court judges, generals and others
The agency started spying on Barack Obama when he was just a candidate for the Senate

‘Second CIA spy in Germany': Berlin raids Ministry of Defense

German authorities have carried out a raid on the residence of a defense ministry official suspected of passing secrets to the US, just one week after the arrest of a German intelligence officer who worked as a double agent.

Officials from the Federal Prosecutor’s Office said Wednesday that residential and office premises of the staff of the Federal Ministry of Defense in Berlin were searched on “initial suspicion of activity for an intelligence agency.”

According to the German newspaper Die Welt, a soldier of the Bundeswehr is suspected of committing espionage. The individual was said to have made “intensive contacts” with alleged US intelligence officials and was under the surveillance of the Military Intelligence (MAD) some time ago.

“When sufficient evidence existed, the case was handed over to the federal prosecutor,” security sources told the paper.

The news comes just one week after a 31-year-old German intelligence official was arrested on suspicion of spying for a “foreign power” since 2012. German media reported the double agent, who has not been identified, worked on behalf of the CIA..

Meanwhile, the United States has not denied allegations that the German intelligence officer arrested earlier was passing secret files to the US National Security Agency (NSA).

U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Reuters)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke on Monday following the initial spy investigations, declaring, “It would be a clear contradiction of what I consider to be trusting co-operation” with the United States.

Americans admit to recruiting German spy

Relations between Berlin and Washington, representatives of NATO’s two largest members, were already strained after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden last year released documents showing that the NSA was conducting wide-scale surveillance on German citizens’ communications – up to and including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cellphone.

US Ambassador to Germany John B. Emerson was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Friday following news of the first case. A German official who spoke on condition of anonymity told AP that Emerson was at the ministry again on Wednesday, although the reason for the latest meeting was not publicly announced.