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Edward Snowden: ‘The Mission’s Already Accomplished… I Already Won’

Edward Snowden: ‘The Mission’s Already Accomplished… I Already Won’.

During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person since arriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug. 1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.

Read the whole story at The Washington Post

MOSCOW — The familiar voice on the hotel room phone did not waste words.“What time does your clock say, exactly?” he asked.

2013 NSA recap

He checked the reply against his watch and described a place to meet.“I’ll see you there,” he said.Edward Joseph Snowden emerged at the appointed hour, alone, blending into a light crowd of locals and tourists. He cocked his arm for a handshake, then turned his shoulder to indicate a path. Before long he had guided his visitor to a secure space out of public view.

During more than 14 hours of interviews, the first he has conducted in person sincearriving here in June, Snowden did not part the curtains or step outside. Russia granted him temporary asylum on Aug. 1, but Snowden remains a target of surpassing interest to the intelligence services whose secrets he spilled on an epic scale.

Late this spring, Snowden supplied three journalists, including this one, with caches of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency, where he worked as a contractor. Dozens of revelations followed, and then hundreds, as news organizations around the world picked up the story. Congress pressed for explanations, new evidence revived old lawsuits and the Obama administration was obliged to declassify thousands of pages it had fought for years to conceal.

Taken together, the revelations have brought to light a global surveillance system that cast off many of its historical restraints after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Secret legal authorities empowered the NSA to sweep in the telephone, Internet and location records of whole populations. One of the leaked presentation slides described the agency’s “collection philosophy” as “Order one of everything off the menu.”

Six months after the first revelations appeared in The Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Snowden agreed to reflect at length on the roots and repercussions of his choice. He was relaxed and animated over two days of nearly unbroken conversation, fueled by burgers, pasta, ice cream and Russian pastry.

Snowden offered vignettes from his intelligence career and from his recent life as “an indoor cat” in Russia. But he consistently steered the conversation back to surveillance, democracy and the meaning of the documents he exposed.

“For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished,” he said. “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

“All I wanted was for the public to be able to have a say in how they are governed,” he said. “That is a milestone we left a long time ago. Right now, all we are looking at are stretch goals.”

‘Going in blind’

Snowden is an orderly thinker, with an engineer’s approach to problem-solving. He had come to believe that a dangerous machine of mass surveillance was growing unchecked. Closed-door oversight by Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was a “graveyard of judgment,” he said, manipulated by the agency it was supposed to keep in check. Classification rules erected walls to prevent public debate.

Toppling those walls would be a spectacular act of transgression against the norms that prevailed inside them. Someone would have to bypass security, extract the secrets, make undetected contact with journalists and provide them with enough proof to tell the stories.

The NSA’s business is “information dominance,” the use of other people’s secrets to shape events. At 29, Snowden upended the agency on its own turf.

“You recognize that you’re going in blind, that there’s no model,” Snowden said, acknowledging that he had no way to know whether the public would share his views.

“But when you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act,” he said, “you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, it’s clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing.”

By his own terms, Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition. The NSA, accustomed to watching without being watched, faces scrutiny it has not endured since the 1970s, or perhaps ever.

The cascading effects have made themselves felt in Congress, the courts, popular culture, Silicon Valley and world capitals. The basic structure of the Internet itself is now in question, as Brazil and members of the European Union consider measures to keep their data away from U.S. territory and U.S. technology giants including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo take extraordinary steps to block the collection of data by their government.

For months, Obama administration officials attacked Snowden’s motives and said the work of the NSA was distorted by selective leaks and misinterpretations.

On Dec. 16, in a lawsuit that could not have gone forward without the disclosures made possible by Snowden, U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon described the NSA’s capabilities as “almost Orwellian” and said its bulk collection of U.S. domestic telephone records was probably unconstitutional.

The next day, in the Roosevelt Room, an unusual delegation of executives from old telephone companies and young Internet firms told President Obama that the NSA’s intrusion into their networks was a threat to the U.S. information economy. The following day, an advisory panel appointed by Obama recommended substantial new restrictions on the NSA, including an end to the domestic call-records program.

“This week is a turning point,” said the Government Accountability Project’s Jesselyn Radack, who is one of Snowden’s legal advisers. “It has been just a cascade.”

‘They elected me’

On June 22, the Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint charging Snowden with espionage and felony theft of government property. It was a dry enumeration of statutes, without a trace of the anger pulsing through Snowden’s former precincts.

In the intelligence and national security establishments, Snowden is widely viewed as a reckless saboteur, and journalists abetting him little less so.

At the Aspen Security Forum in July, a four-star military officer known for his even keel seethed through one meeting alongside a reporter he knew to be in contact with Snowden. Before walking away, he turned and pointed a finger.

“We didn’t have another 9/11,” he said angrily, because intelligence enabled warfighters to find the enemy first. “Until you’ve got to pull the trigger, until you’ve had to bury your people, you don’t have a clue.”

It is commonly said of Snowden that he broke an oath of secrecy, a turn of phrase that captures a sense of betrayal. NSA Director Keith B. Alexander and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., among many others, have used that formula.

In his interview with The Post, Snowden noted matter-of-factly that Standard Form 312, the classified-information nondisclosure agreement, is a civil contract. He signed it, but he pledged his fealty elsewhere.

“The oath of allegiance is not an oath of secrecy,” he said. “That is an oath to the Constitution. That is the oath that I kept that Keith Alexander and James Clapper did not.”

People who accuse him of disloyalty, he said, mistake his purpose.

“I am not trying to bring down the NSA, I am working to improve the NSA,” he said. “I am still working for the NSA right now. They are the only ones who don’t realize it.”

What entitled Snowden, now 30, to take on that responsibility?

“That whole question — who elected you? — inverts the model,” he said. “They elected me. The overseers.”

He named the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees.

Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings, he said. “Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. . . . The FISA court elected me when they decided to legislate from the bench on things that were far beyond the mandate of what that court was ever intended to do. The system failed comprehensively, and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility.”

“It wasn’t that they put it on me as an individual — that I’m uniquely qualified, an angel descending from the heavens — as that they put it on someone, somewhere,” he said. “You have the capability, and you realize every other [person] sitting around the table has the same capability but they don’t do it. So somebody has to be the first.”

‘Front-page test’

Snowden grants that NSA employees by and large believe in their mission and trust the agency to handle the secrets it takes from ordinary people — deliberately, in the case of bulk records collection, and “incidentally,” when the content of American phone calls and e-mails are swept into NSA systems along with foreign targets.

But Snowden also said acceptance of the agency’s operations was not universal. He began to test that proposition more than a year ago, he said, in periodic conversations with co-workers and superiors that foreshadowed his emerging plan.

Beginning in October 2012, he said, he brought his misgivings to two superiors in the NSA’s Technology Directorate and two more in the NSA Threat Operations Center’s regional base in Hawaii. For each of them, and 15 other co-workers, Snowden said he opened a data query tool called BOUNDLESSINFORMANT, which used color-coded “heat maps” to depict the volume of data ingested by NSA taps.

His colleagues were often “astonished to learn we are collecting more in the United States on Americans than we are on Russians in Russia,” he said. Many of them were troubled, he said, and several said they did not want to know any more.

“I asked these people, ‘What do you think the public would do if this was on the front page?’ ” he said. He noted that critics have accused him of bypassing internal channels of dissent. “How is that not reporting it? How is that not raising it?” he said.

By last December, Snowden was contacting reporters, although he had not yet passed along any classified information. He continued to give his colleagues the “front-page test,” he said, until April.

Asked about those conversations, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines sent a prepared statement to The Post: “After extensive investigation, including interviews with his former NSA supervisors and co-workers, we have not found any evidence to support Mr. Snowden’s contention that he brought these matters to anyone’s attention.”

Snowden recounted another set of conversations that he said took place three years earlier, when he was sent by the NSA’s Technology Directorate to support operations at a listening post in Japan. As a system administrator, he had full access to security and auditing controls. He said he saw serious flaws with information security.

“I actually recommended they move to two-man control for administrative access back in 2009,” he said, first to his supervisor in Japan and then to the directorate’s chief of operations in the Pacific. “Sure, a whistleblower could use these things, but so could a spy.”

That precaution, which requires a second set of credentials to perform risky operations such as copying files onto a removable drive, has been among the principal security responses to the Snowden affair.

Vines, the NSA spokeswoman, said there was no record of those conversations, either.

U.S. ‘would cease to exist’

Just before releasing the documents this spring, Snowden made a final review of the risks. He had overcome what he described at the time as a “selfish fear” of the consequences for himself.

“I said to you the only fear [left] is apathy — that people won’t care, that they won’t want change,” he recalled this month.

The documents leaked by Snowden compelled attention because they revealed to Americans a history they did not know they had.

Internal briefing documents reveled in the “Golden Age of Electronic Surveillance.” Brawny cover names such as MUSCULAR, TUMULT and TURMOIL boasted of the agency’s prowess.

With assistance from private communications firms, the NSA had learned to capture enormous flows of data at the speed of light from fiber-optic cables that carried Internet and telephone traffic over continents and under seas. According to one document in Snowden’s cache, the agency’s Special Source Operations group, which as early as 2006 was said to be ingesting “one Library of Congress every 14.4 seconds,” had an official seal that might have been parody: an eagle with all the world’s cables in its grasp.

Each year, NSA systems collected hundreds of millions of e-mail address books, hundreds of billions of cellphone location records and trillions of domestic call logs.

Most of that data, by definition and intent, belonged to ordinary people suspected of nothing. But vast new storage capacity and processing tools enabled the NSA to use the information to map human relationships on a planetary scale. Only this way, its leadership believed, could the NSA reach beyond its universe of known intelligence targets.

In the view of the NSA, signals intelligence, or electronic eavesdropping, was a matter of life and death, “without which America would cease to exist as we know it,” according to an internal presentation in the first week of October 2001 as the agency ramped up its response to the al-Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

With stakes such as those, there was no capability the NSA believed it should leave on the table. The agency followed orders from President George W. Bush to begin domestic collection without authority from Congress and the courts. When the NSA won those authorities later, some of them under secret interpretations of laws passed by Congress between 2007 and 2012, the Obama administration went further still.

Using PRISM, the cover name for collection of user data from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and five other U.S.-based companies, the NSA could obtain all communications to or from any specified target. The companies had no choice but to comply with the government’s request for data.

But the NSA could not use PRISM, which was overseen once a year by the surveillance court, for the collection of virtually all data handled by those companies. To widen its access, it teamed up with its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, to break into the private fiber-optic links that connected Google and Yahoo data centers around the world.

That operation, which used the cover name MUSCULAR, tapped into U.S. company data from outside U.S. territory. The NSA, therefore, believed it did not need permission from Congress or judicial oversight. Data from hundreds of millions of U.S. accounts flowed over those Google and Yahoo links, but classified rules allowed the NSA to presume that data ingested overseas belonged to foreigners.

‘Persistent threat’

Disclosure of the MUSCULAR project enraged and galvanized U.S. technology executives. They believed the NSA had lawful access to their front doors — and had broken down the back doors anyway.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith took to his company’s blog and called the NSA an “advanced persistent threat” — the worst of all fighting words in U.S. cybersecurity circles, generally reserved for Chinese state-sponsored hackers and sophisticated criminal enterprises.

“For the industry as a whole, it caused everyone to ask whether we knew as much as we thought,” Smith recalled in an interview. “It underscored the fact that while people were confident that the U.S. government was complying with U.S. laws for activity within U.S. territory, perhaps there were things going on outside the United States . . . that made this bigger and more complicated and more disconcerting than we knew.”

They wondered, he said, whether the NSA was “collecting proprietary information from the companies themselves.”

Led by Google and then Yahoo, one company after another announced expensive plans to encrypt its data traffic over tens of thousands of miles of cable. It was a direct — in some cases, explicit — blow to NSA collection of user data in bulk. If the NSA wanted the information, it would have to request it or circumvent the encryption one target at a time.

As these projects are completed, the Internet will become a less friendly place for the NSA to work. The agency can still collect data from virtually anyone, but collecting from everyone will be harder.

The industry’s response, Smith acknowledged, was driven by a business threat. U.S. companies could not afford to be seen as candy stores for U.S. intelligence. But the principle of the thing, Smith said, “is fundamentally about ensuring that customer data is turned over to governments pursuant to valid legal orders and in accordance with constitutional principles.”

‘Warheads on foreheads’

Snowden has focused on much the same point from the beginning: Individual targeting would cure most of what he believes is wrong with the NSA.

Six months ago, a reporter asked him by encrypted e-mail why Americans would want the NSA to give up bulk data collection if that would limit a useful intelligence tool.

“I believe the cost of frank public debate about the powers of our government is less than the danger posed by allowing these powers to continue growing in secret,” he replied, calling them “a direct threat to democratic governance.”

In the Moscow interview, Snowden said, “What the government wants is something they never had before,” adding: “They want total awareness. The question is, is that something we should be allowing?”

Snowden likened the NSA’s powers to those used by British authorities in Colonial America, when “general warrants” allowed for anyone to be searched. The FISA court, Snowden said, “is authorizing general warrants for the entire country’s metadata.”

“The last time that happened, we fought a war over it,” he said.

Technology, of course, has enabled a great deal of consumer surveillance by private companies, as well. The difference with the NSA’s possession of the data, Snowden said, is that government has the power to take away life or freedom.

At the NSA, he said, “there are people in the office who joke about, ‘We put warheads on foreheads.’ Twitter doesn’t put warheads on foreheads.”

Privacy, as Snowden sees it, is a universal right, applicable to American and foreign surveillance alike.

“I don’t care whether you’re the pope or Osama bin Laden,” he said. “As long as there’s an individualized, articulable, probable cause for targeting these people as legitimate foreign intelligence, that’s fine. I don’t think it’s imposing a ridiculous burden by asking for probable cause. Because, you have to understand, when you have access to the tools the NSA does, probable cause falls out of trees.”

‘Everybody knows’

On June 29, Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union’s counter­terrorism coordinator, awoke to a report in Der Spiegel that U.S. intelligence had broken into E.U. offices, including his, to implant surveillance devices.

The 56-year-old Belgian, whose work is often classified, did not consider himself naive. But he took the news personally, and more so when he heard unofficial explanations from Washington.

“ ‘Everybody knows. Everybody does’ — Keith Alexander said that,” de Kerchove said in an interview. “I don’t like the idea that the NSA will put bugs in my office. No. I don’t like it. No. Between allies? No. I’m surprised that people find that noble.”

Comparable reactions, expressed less politely in private, accompanied revelations that the NSA had tapped the cellphones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. The blowback roiled relations with both allies, among others. Rousseff canceled a state dinner with Obama in September.

When it comes to spying on allies, by Snowden’s lights, the news is not always about the target.

“It’s the deception of the government that’s revealed,” Snowden said, noting that the Obama administration offered false public assurances after the initial reports about NSA surveillance in Germany “The U.S. government said: ‘We follow German laws in Germany. We never target German citizens.’ And then the story comes out and it’s: ‘What are you talking about? You’re spying on the chancellor.’ You just lied to the entire country, in front of Congress.”

In private, U.S. intelligence officials still maintain that spying among friends is routine for all concerned, but they are giving greater weight to the risk of getting caught.

“There are many things we do in intelligence that, if revealed, would have the potential for all kinds of blowback,” Clapper told a House panel in October.

‘They will make mistakes’

U.S. officials say it is obvious that Snowden’s disclosures will do grave harm to intelligence gathering, exposing methods that adversaries will learn to avoid.

“We’re seeing al-Qaeda and related groups start to look for ways to adjust how they communicate,” said Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center and a former general counsel at the NSA.

Other officials, who declined to speak on the record about particulars, said they had watched some of their surveillance targets, in effect, changing channels. That evidence can be read another way, they acknowledged, given that the NSA managed to monitor the shift.

Clapper has said repeatedly in public that the leaks did great damage, but in private he has taken a more nuanced stance. A review of early damage assessments in previous espionage cases, he said in one closed-door briefing this fall, found that dire forecasts of harm were seldom borne out.

“People must communicate,” he said, according to one participant who described the confidential meeting on the condition of anonymity. “They will make mistakes, and we will exploit them.”

According to senior intelligence officials, two uncertainties feed their greatest concerns. One is whether Russia or China managed to take the Snowden archive from his computer, a worst-case assumption for which three officials acknowledged there is no evidence.

In a previous assignment, Snowden taught U.S. intelligence personnel how to operate securely in a “high-threat digital environment,” using a training scenario in which China was the designated threat. He declined to discuss the whereabouts of the files, but he said that he is confident he did not expose them to Chinese intelligence in Hong Kong. And he said he did not bring them to Russia.

“There’s nothing on it,” he said, turning his laptop screen toward his visitor. “My hard drive is completely blank.”

The other big question is how many documents Snowden took. The NSA’s incoming deputy director, Rick Ledgett, said on CBS’s “60 Minutes” recently that the number may approach 1.7 million, a huge and unexplained spike over previous estimates. Ledgett said he wouldfavor trying to negotiate an amnesty with Snowden in exchange for “assurances that the remainder of the data could be secured.”

Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, later dismissed the possibility.

“The government knows where to find us if they want to have a productive conversation about resolutions that don’t involve Edward Snowden behind bars,” said the American Civil Liberties Union’s Ben Wizner, the central figure on Snowden’s legal team.

Some news accounts have quoted U.S. government officials as saying Snowden has arranged for the automated release of sensitive documents if he is arrested or harmed. There are strong reasons to doubt that, beginning with Snowden’s insistence, to this reporter and others, that he does not want the documents published in bulk.

If Snowden were fool enough to rig a “dead man’s switch,” confidants said, he would be inviting anyone who wants the documents to kill him.

Asked about such a mechanism in the Moscow interview, Snowden made a face and declined to reply. Later, he sent an encrypted message. “That sounds more like a suicide switch,” he wrote. “It wouldn’t make sense.”

‘It’s not about me’

By temperament and circumstance, Snowden is a reticent man, reluctant to discuss details about his personal life.

Over two days his guard never dropped, but he allowed a few fragments to emerge. He is an “ascetic,” he said. He lives off ramen noodles and chips. He has visitors, and many of them bring books. The books pile up, unread. The Internet is an endless library and a window on the progress of his cause.

“It has always been really difficult to get me to leave the house,” he said. “I just don’t have a lot of needs. . . . Occasionally there’s things to go do, things to go see, people to meet, tasks to accomplish. But it’s really got to be goal-oriented, you know. Otherwise, as long as I can sit down and think and write and talk to somebody, that’s more meaningful to me than going out and looking at landmarks.”

In hope of keeping focus on the NSA, Snowden has ignored attacks on himself.

“Let them say what they want,” he said. “It’s not about me.”

Former NSA and CIA director Michael V. Hayden predicted that Snowden will waste away in Moscow as an alcoholic, like other “defectors.” To this, Snowden shrugged. He does not drink at all. Never has.

But Snowden knows his presence here is easy ammunition for critics. He did not choose refuge in Moscow as a final destination. He said that once the U.S. government voided his passport as he tried to change planes en route to Latin America, he had no other choice.

It would be odd if Russian authorities did not keep an eye on him, but no retinue accompanied Snowden and his visitor saw no one else nearby. Snowden neither tried to communicate furtively nor asked that his visitor do so. He has had continuous Internet access and has talked to his attorneys and to journalists daily, from his first day in the transit lounge at Sheremetyevo airport.

“There is no evidence at all for the claim that I have loyalties to Russia or China or any country other than the United States,” he said. “I have no relationship with the Russian government. I have not entered into any agreements with them.”

“If I defected at all,” Snowden said, “I defected from the government to the public.”

NSA considered spying on Canadians without this country’s consent, top-secret directive says | National Post

NSA considered spying on Canadians without this country’s consent, top-secret directive says | National Post.

OTTAWA — The U.S. National Security Agency considered spying on Canadians without the knowledge or consent of its intelligence partners in this country, according to a top-secret draft NSA directive.

The 2005 memo, leaked to The Guardian newspaper by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, details how the NSA considered “unilaterally” targeting the citizens and communication systems of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The countries are part of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-gathering pact that also includes the U.S. and United Kingdom. The directive refers to partner nations as “second-party” countries.

“Under certain circumstances, it may be advisable and allowable to target second party persons and second party communications systems unilaterally when it is in the best interests of the U.S. and necessary for U.S. national security,” says the directive, classified as “NF” for No Foreign and is titled Collection, Processing and Dissemination of Allied Communications.

“Such targeting must be performed exclusively within the direction, procedures and decision processes outlined in this directive.”

The document states the proposed U.S. spying on its Five-Eyes partners can take place even when the partner government has explicitly denied the U.S. permission to do so, says The Guardian. “The memo makes clear that partner countries must not be informed about this surveillance, or even the procedure itself.”

In a later part of the draft cleared for release to the Five-Eyes countries, the document suggests there may be circumstances in which Canada, Australia and New Zealand should co-operate to allow the U.S. to target their citizens.

The public release of the directive is part of a series of calculated leaks over the past year in which Snowden has exposed a vast campaign by the NSA, assisted by Five-Eyes partners, to snoop on U.S. and global electronic communications in the name of counter-terrorism.

“The slow release of secret documents by Snowden [via journalist Glenn] Greenwald is having a cumulative effect which may reach a tipping point,” says Tom Quiggin, an Ottawa security and intelligence expert.

“The NSA runs the risk of losing the confidence of its allies and forcing allied agencies into distancing themselves from the NSA and the U.S. government.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Internet and telecommunications companies such as Cisco are now reporting slipping international sales directly attributable to the drip-drip-drip of Snowden’s unauthorized disclosures.

Microsoft moved this week to assure international customers by pledging to fight in court any attempt by U.S. intelligence agencies to seize its foreign customers’ data under American surveillance laws, one of a series of steps aimed at reassuring nervous users abroad.

Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith told Reuters the company will dramatically increase the amount of encryption it uses for internal traffic, following similar moves by Google and Yahoo after reports the NSA had illicitly tapped into their facilities overseas.

The NSA runs the risk of losing the confidence of its allies and forcing allied agencies into distancing themselves from the NSA and the U.S. government

The Five-Eyes coalition was formed under the 1946 UKUSA Agreement, which was believed to limit the ability of the partner countries to spy on each other. Ottawa’s Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the country’s premier intelligence agency, maintains a close partnership with the NSA.

The original 1946 UKUSA agreement between the U.S. and Britain was previously designed only for “foreign intelligence” operations. The draft directive appears to indicate that the agreement has changed, according to The Guardian.

“(The 1946 UKUSA) agreement has evolved to include a common understanding that both governments will not target each other’s citizens/persons” says the directive. “However, when it is in the best interest of each nation, each reserved the right to conduct unilateral Comint (communications intelligence) action against each other’s citizens/persons.”

In a later part of the draft cleared for release to the Five-Eyes countries, the document suggests there may be circumstances in which Canada, Australia and New Zealand should co-operate to allow the U.S. to target their citizens.

International law does not provide much guidance on transnational peacetime spying, says Craig Forcese, a leading expert on national security law at the University of Ottawa.

“International law rules pertaining to spying are best described as a checkerboard of principles,” he wrote in a recent blog posting. “The clearest principle is a simple expression of sovereignty preoccupations: don’t spy on the territory of another state, in violation of its laws.

“Beyond that, there is no simple rule governing the international legality of spying. This may not be a happy situation, but it is fair to say that this is the world that states have quite clearly set out to create. After all, all states spy at one time or another.”

In the long run, the real damage may be to U.S. society, concludes Quiggin.

“Ironically, it was similar spying and information collection activities of the British Crown that lit the fires of revolution in America in the 1760s. Using a new law called the ‘Writs of Assistance,’ the King’s men were able to search the homes, papers and belongings of anyone without warning and seize all information and goods,” in pursuit of smuggled contraband.

 

This Is How The NSA Is Tracking You This Instant | Zero Hedge

This Is How The NSA Is Tracking You This Instant | Zero Hedge.

That little “entertaining” cell phone in your back pocket, which you are so addicted to thanks to all its apps, videos, messaging function and all other cool bells and whistles, that you can’t possibly live without? It is simply the definitive NSA tracking beacon used to find where you are at any given moment. The following infographic explains how the NSA does just that…

 

An open letter from Carl Bernstein to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger | Media | theguardian.com

An open letter from Carl Bernstein to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger | Media | theguardian.com.

Carl Bernstein

Carl Bernstein, Watergate journalist and author, who has written a letter to the Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, who is to be questioned by MPs over the NSA revelations. Photograph: Teri Pengilley

Dear Alan,

 

There is plenty of time – and there are abundant venues – to debate relevant questions about Mr Snowden’s historical role, his legal fate, the morality of his actions, and the meaning of the information he has chosen to disclose.

 

But your appearance before the Commons today strikes me as something quite different in purpose and dangerously pernicious: an attempt by the highest UK authorities to shift the issue from government policies and excessive government secrecy in the United States and Great Britain to the conduct of the press – which has been quite admirable and responsible in the case of the Guardian, particularly, and the way it has handled information initially provided by Mr Snowden.

 

Indeed, generally speaking, the record of journalists, in Britain and the United States in handling genuine national security information since World War II, without causing harm to our democracies or giving up genuine secrets to real enemies, is far more responsible than the over-classification, disingenuousness, and (sometimes) outright lying by a series of governments, prime ministers and presidents when it comes to information that rightly ought to be known and debated in a free society. Especially in recent years.

 

You are being called to testify at a moment when governments in Washington and London seem intent on erecting the most serious (and self-serving) barriers against legitimate news reporting – especially of excessive government secrecy – we have seen in decades.

 

The stories published by The Guardian, the Washington Post and the New York Times based on Mr Snowden’s information to date hardly seem to represent reckless disclosure of specific national security secrets of value to terrorists or enemy governments or in such a manner as to make possible the identification of undercover agents or operatives whose lives or livelihoods would be endangered by such disclosure. Such information has been carefully redacted by the Guardian and other publications and withheld from stories based on information from Mr Snowden. Certainly terrorists are already aware that they are under extensive surveillance, and did not need Mr Snowden or the Guardian to tell them that.

 

Rather, the stories published by the Guardian – like those in the Washington Post and the New York Times – describe the scale and scope of electronic information-gathering our governments have been engaged in – most of it hardly surprising in the aggregate, given the state of today’s technology, and a good deal of it previously known and reported and indeed often discussed “on background” with reporters by high government officials from the White House to Downing Street confident that their identities will not be disclosed.

 

Moreover, the Guardian—like the Times and the Post in the US – has gone to great lengths to consult with Downing Street, the White House and intelligence agencies before publishing certain information, giving time for concerns to be raised, discussed sensibly, and considered.

 

What is new and most significant about the information originating with Mr Snowden and some of its specificity is how government surveillance has been conducted by intelligence agencies without the proper oversight – especially in the United States – by the legislative and judicial branches of government charged with such oversight, especially as the capabilities of information-gathering have become so pervasive and enveloping and with the potential to undermine the rights of all citizens if not carefully supervised. The “co-operation” of internet and telecommunications companies in some of these activities ought to be of particular concern to legislative bodies like the Commons and the US Congress.

 

As we have learned following the recent disclosures initiated by Mr Snowden, intelligence agencies – especially the NSA in the United States – have assiduously tried to avoid and get around such oversight, been deliberately unforthcoming and oftentimes disingenuous with even the highest government authorities that are supposed to supervise their activities and prevent abuse.

 

That is the subject of the rightful and necessary public debate that is now taking place in the US, the UK and elsewhere.

 

Rather than hauling in journalists for questioning and trying to intimidate them, the Commons would do well to encourage and join that debate over how the vast electronic intelligence-gathering capabilities of the modern security-state can be employed in a manner that gives up little or nothing to real terrorists and real enemies and skilfully uses all our technological capabilities to protect us, while at the same time taking every possible measure to insure that these capabilities are not abused in a way that would abrogate the rights and privacy of law-abiding citizens.

 

There have always been tensions between such objectives in our democracies, especially in regard to the role of the press. But as we learned in the United States during our experience with the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, it is essential that no prior governmental restraints or intimidation be imposed on a truly free press; otherwise, in such darkness, we encourage the risk of our democracies falling prey to despotism and demagoguery and even criminality by our elected leaders and government officials.

 

With warmest regards and admiration,

 

Carl Bernstein

 

You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure |

You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure |.

Are you ready for total grid failure

If you haven’t been in a bubble cut off from all forms of media lately, it would be impossible to have missed all of the warnings being issued about the impending loss of our electrical grid.

This isn’t just coming from so-called “gloom and doom” sites or from alternative media.  Major mainstream media sources such as ABC News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and CBS News have all issued the alerts. Unfortunately, the hordes seem to be brushing these warnings off as something that cannot happen, because the reality is too unpleasant to even contemplate.  Many seem to think that they are far better to stick their heads in the sand and be assured it can never happen than to prepare ahead of time.

Who Is Ringing the Warning Bell?

In case you’ve missed it, here are some of the warnings over the past few months that most people are ignoring.

When Janet Napolitano stepped down from her role as head of the DHS she released an open letter to her successor.  One chilling tidbit she passed on was this.

The outgoing Homeland Security Secretary has a warning for her successor: A massive and “serious” cyber attack on the U.S. homeland is coming, and a natural disaster — the likes of which the nation has never seen — is also likely on its way. (source)

Read more on Napolitano’s warning HERE.

But there’s more.  Big Sis isn’t the only one warning us about the possibility of a grid-down scenario.

Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan has co-authored a book about the topic with David Hagberg – his novel Gridlock is a fictional account of a very real threat.

“Our power system is very vulnerable. You could see a shutdown by hackers in cyber terror. You could see it shutdown for days, weeks or months, crippling this country and causing enormous havoc.” (source)

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) also actively agrees with the threat assessment.  He released a report last May that said our power infrastructure was “highly vulnerable to attacks from Iran and North Korea” and as well as to natural threats such as geomagnetic storms from solar activity.

“With one well-placed keystroke, Americans could be plunged into darkness and chaos through the damage to our electric grid. Foreign enemies are employing Web warriors to attack our way of life, and it’s time that our actions respond to the potential threat.” (source)

Other people in the know have attempted to make the public aware of the potential for apocalyptic disaster, but few seem to be taking them seriously.

We are only one act of madness away from a social cataclysm unlike anything our country has ever known.
-Congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), Senior Member House Armed Service Committee

EMP is one of the small number of threats that could hold at risk the continued existence of U.S. civil society.
-Dr. Robert Hermann, Commissioner US Congress EMP Commission

Just one violent active region on the sun can cause continent-wide, perhaps even planetary-scale impacts to our critical infrastructure.
-John Kappenman, Principal Investigator US Congress EMP Commission

The Likelihood of a severe geo-magnetic event capable of crippling our electric grid is 100%.
-Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Senior Member House Homeland Security Committee

(source)

Former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has been preaching the dangers of EMP, whether deliberate or natural, for many years:

We could have events in the future where the power grid will go down and it’s not, in any reasonable time, coming back up. For instance, if when the power grid went down some of our large transformers were destroyed, damaged beyond use, we don’t make any of those in this country. They’re made overseas and you order one and 18 months to two years later they will deliver it. Our power grid is very vulnerable. It’s very much on edge. Our military knows that.

There are a number of events that could create a situation in the cities where civil unrest would be a very high probability.

I think that those who can, and those who understand, need to take advantage of the opportunity when these winds of strife are not blowing to move their families out of the city. (source)

Don’t forget the veiled warnings implicit in predictive programming entertainment.  One of last year’s biggest television hits was the show “Revolution“, which portrayed life 15 years after a deliberate takedown of the power grid.

GridEx Drill in November

And finally, if all of these warnings aren’t enough to alert your Spidey senses, here is one that is undeniable.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada intend to participate in a drill in November that will simulate the takedown of the grid.

An electrical grid joint drill simulation is being planned in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Thousands of utility workers, FBI agents, anti-terrorism experts, governmental agencies, and more than 150 private businesses are involved in the November power grid drill.

The downed power grid simulation will reportedly focus on both physical and cyber attacks. The antiquated electrical system in the United States has been one of the most neglected pieces of integral infrastructure.

The disaster drill is being described as a crisis practice unlike anything the real power grid has ever experienced. The GridEX II drill Nov. 13-14 will focus primarily on how governments will react if the electrical grid fails and, for instance, the food supply chain collapses.

American utility companies are responsible for running approximately 5,800 power plants and about 450,000 high-voltage transmission lines, controlled by various devices which have been put into place over the past decades. Some of the utility companies which oversee the power grid reportedly use “antique computer protocols” which are “probably” safe from cyber hackers,” The New York Times reported.

“If an adversary lands a knockout blow, [experts] fear, it could black out vast areas of the continent for weeks; interrupt supplies of water, gasoline, diesel fuel and fresh food; shut down communications; and create disruptions of a scale that was only hinted at by Hurricane Sandy and the attacks of Sept. 11,” The Times said.

If the power grid fails, a lack of electricity and food delivery are only the first wave of troubles facing the American people. Police could face major problems with civil unrest. Of course, there also would not be any electric heating or cooling, which easily could lead to many deaths depending on the season. (source)

The most alarming thing about this drill is the trend of suspected false flag events in America that have corresponded with “drills”.  Whether or not this will coincide in a real take-down of the grid remains to be seen, but one only needs to think back to events such as the Boston Marathon Bombing, the 9/11 attacks, and the Oklahoma City Bombing to see that there is a possibility that when “drills” occur, often the players are simply being moved into place right under the nose of the public.

What Can You Do to Be Ready?

It doesn’t honestly matter HOW the grid goes down. Whether it is an enemy attack, as in the novel One Second After, a government false flag in order to institute martial law, or a natural act that is the result of a solar flare, a long-term grid collapse will result in an extremely high death toll.

If you are already of the preparedness mindset, you’ll fare better than the average North American.  However, many people have never contemplated the following questions:

  • How will you get food if the grocery stores are closed?
  • How will you cook food if you are able to acquire it?
  • What will happen to the perishable food in your refrigerator and freezer?
  • How will you heat and cool your home if you are in an area subject to extreme temperatures?
  • What will you use for light once the scented candle that sits on your coffee table is gone?
  • How will you transport yourself if a) your vehicle doesn’t run because the computers are fried or b) it runs but you can’t get gas because the pumps at the station run on electricity?
  • What will you drink and wash with if the municipal water facilities are no longer providing water or if the pump on your well runs on electricity?

Find as many solutions as possible for the issues you would face if going for weeks (or longer) without power.  You must stay warm, eat, and drink.  Everything else is a bonus. You can live without the television, the video game console, the microwave in the kitchen, and the laptop.

Some people like to give arguments as to why they can’t resolve these issues.  They live in an apartment, they rent, they have a limited budget….the list is as long as indefinite detention.  The fact is, by realizing these things are necessary and refusing to face them and find solutions for your particular situation, you are setting your family up to suffer, and possibly even die, when it could be avoided.

A recent article encouraged readers who were new to prepping to start out by getting ready for a two week power outage.  Apply the following  information to create your own preparedness plan for the grid failure that is sure to come. Modify the suggestions to adapt them to your particular home, family, and climate.

Water

Everyone knows that clean drinking water is something you can’t live without. In the event of a disaster, the water may not run from the taps, and if it does, it might not be safe to drink, depending on the situation.  If there is a boil order in place, remember that if the power is out, boiling your water may not be as easy as turning on your stove.

Each family should store a two week supply of water. The rule of thumb for drinking water is 1 gallon per day, per person.  Don’t forget to stock water for your pets, also.

You can create your water supply very inexpensively.  Many people use clean 2 liter soda pop bottles to store tap water.  Others purchase the large 5 gallon jugs of filtered water from the grocery store.  Consider a gravity fed water filtration device and water purification tablets as well.

Food and a Way to Prepare It

There are two schools of thought regarding food during a power outage.  One: you need a cooking method that does not require the grid to be functioning.  Two: you can store food that doesn’t require cooking.

If you opt for a secondary cooking method, be sure that you have enough fuel for two weeks.  Store foods that do not require long cooking times – for example, dried beans would use a great deal of fuel, but canned beans could be warmed up, or even eaten cold.

Click HERE for a short term food storage list

Click HERE to find a list of foods that require no cooking.

Heat (Depending on Your Climate)

If your power outage takes place in the winter and you live in a colder climate, heat is another necessity.  During the first 24 hours after a power outage, you can stay fairly warm if you block off one room of the house for everyone to group together in.  Keep the door closed and keep a towel or blanket folded along the bottom of the door to conserve warmth.  You can safely burn a couple of candles also, and in the enclosed space, your body heat will keep it relatively warm.  As well, dress in layers and keep everything covered – wear a hat, gloves (fingerless ones allow you to still function), and a scarf.

Click HERE to learn how to stay warm with less heat.

However, after about 48 hours, that’s not going to be enough in very cold weather. You will require back-up heat at this point in certain climates.  If you are lucky enough to have a source of heat like a fireplace or woodstove, you’ll be just fine as long as you have a supply of wood.

Consider a portable propane heater (and propane) or an oil heater.  You have to be very careful what type of backup heat you plan on using, as many of them can cause carbon monoxide poisoning if used in a poorly ventilated area.

Learn more about off-grid heat options HERE.

Sanitation Needs

A common cause of illness, and even death, during a down-grid situation is lack of sanitation.  We’ve discussed the importance of clean drinking water, but you won’t want to use your drinking water to keep things clean or to flush the toilet.

For cleaning, reduce your need to wash things. Stock up on paper plates, paper towels, and disposable cups and flatware.  Keep some disinfecting cleaning wipes and sprays (I don’t recommend using antibacterial products on a regular basis, however in the event of an emergency they can help to keep you healthy.)  Use hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before handing food or beverages – there may be a lot more germs afoot in a disaster.

Look at your options for sanitation.  Does your toilet still flush when the electricity is out?  Many people discovered the hard way that the toilets didn’t work  when the sewage backed up in the highrises in New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  At our cabin, the toilet won’t flush without power because the pump is electric.

If you are on a septic system, with no risk of the toilet backing up into the house, simply store some water for flushing in the bathroom.  (At the first sign of a storm, we always fill the bathtub for this purpose.)  Add the water to the tank so that you can flush.

If this is not an option, another solution is to stock up on extremely heavy duty garbage bags (like the kind that contractors use at construction sites) and kitty litter.  Place a bag either in your drained toilet or in a bucket.  Sprinkle some kitty litter in the bottom of the bag.  Each time someone uses the bathroom, add another handful of litter. Be very careful that the bag doesn’t get too heavy for you to handle it.  Tie it up very securely and store it outside until services are restored.

Light

Lighting is absolutely vital, especially if there are children in the house.  Nothing is more frightening than being completely in the dark during a stressful situation. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest things to plan for, as well as one of the least expensive.

Some lighting solutions are:

  • Garden stake solar lights
  • Candles
  • Kerosene lamps
  • Flashlights (don’t forget batteries)
  • Hand crank camping lantern
  • Don’t forget matches or lighters

Tools and Supplies

Some basic items will make your life much easier during an emergency. Here are some things that are essential in the event of a power outage:

  • Lighter/waterproof matches
  • Batteries in various sizes
  • Manual can opener
  • Basic tools: Pliers, screwdriver, wrench, hammer
  • Duct tape
  • Crazy glue
  • Sewing supplies
  • Bungee cords

If you’d like to expand on the basic supplies, a more detailed list of tools and hardware can be found HERE.

First Aid Kit

It’s important to have a basic first aid kit on hand at all times, but particularly in the event of an emergency.  Your kit should include basic wound care items like bandages, antibiotic ointments, and sprays.  As well, if you use them, keep on hand a supply of basic over-the-counter medications, like pain relief capsules, cold medicine, cough syrup, anti-nausea pills, and allergy medication. Particularly important if sanitation is a problem are anti-diarheal medications.

If you want to put together a more advanced medical kit, you can find a list HERE.

Special Needs

This is something that will be unique to every family. Consider the things that are needed on a daily basis in your household. It might be prescription medications, diapers, or special foods.  If you have pets, you’ll need supplies for them too.  The best way to figure out what you need is to jot things down as you use them over the course of a week or so.

Get Started Today

You can start right now – this very minute – all you have to do is grab a pad of paper and a pen.

  1. Begin by personalizing the suggestions above to fit your family’s needs and make a list of your requirements.
  2. Next, do a quick inventory – as I mentioned above, you may be surprised to see that you already have quite a few of the supplies that are recommended.
  3. Make a shopping list and acquire the rest of the items you need.  If you can’t afford everything right now, prioritize the most important things first.
  4. Organize your supplies so that they are easily accessible when you need them. It’s hard to find seldom-used items in the dark.

When the lights go out, don’t be left to the not-so-tender mercies of those who would place themselves in charge.  Maintain your independence by strengthening the position of your family.  Take steps towards preparedness and self-sufficiency so  that you won’t need the government’s assistance to weather the storm.

If you must comply to survive, your freedom is just an illusion. You’ve been warned – what you do with the information is up to you.

About the author:

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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NSA Website Hacked Ahead Of “Stop Watching Us” Rally | Zero Hedge

NSA Website Hacked Ahead Of “Stop Watching Us” Rally | Zero Hedge. (source)

Update: As of 6:30 pm Eastern, the NSA’s website has been down for 5 hours.

Following our earlier comments on the vulnerabilities of the Obamacare websites, the fact that the United States National Security Agency suddenly went offline Friday is still surprising. As RT reports,NSA.gov has been unavailable globally as of late Friday afternoon, and Twitter accounts belonging to people loosely affiliated with the Anonymous hacktivism movement have suggested they are responsible.

It is perhaps not entirely coincidental that there is a major “Stop Watching Us” rally scheduled for Saturday in Washington, DC.

where the following letter was sent to Congress:

Dear Members of Congress,

We write to express our concern about recent reports published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, and acknowledged by the Obama Administration, which reveal secret spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) on phone records and Internet activity of people in the United States.

The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by an intelligence contractor showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments. As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization.

Leaked reports also published by the Guardian and confirmed by the Administration reveal that the NSA is also abusing a controversial section of the PATRIOT Act to collect the call records of millions of Verizon customers. The data collected by the NSA includes every call made, the time of the call, the duration of the call, and other “identifying information” for millions of Verizon customers, including entirely domestic calls, regardless of whether those customers have ever been suspected of a crime. The Wall Street Journal has reported that other major carriers, including AT&T and Sprint, are subject to similar secret orders.

This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously, guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, and protect their right to privacy.

We are calling on Congress to take immediate action to halt this surveillance and provide a full public accounting of the NSA’s and the FBI’s data collection programs. We call on Congress to immediately and publicly:

  1. Enact reform this Congress to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, the state secrets privilege, and the FISA Amendments Act to make clear that blanket surveillance of the Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the U.S. is prohibited by law and that violations can be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
  2. Create a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying. This committee should create specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance;
  3. Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Via RT,

Twitter users @AnonymousOwn3r and @TruthIzSexy both were quick to comment on the matter, and implied that a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, may have been waged as an act of protest against the NSA

So If it’s a attack comming from me, or maybe from a country? won’t say! It’s just looks like a start of a cyber war

— Anonymous Own3r (@AnonymousOwn3r) October 25, 2013

‘Sir’ @BarackObama you haz problem? Perhaps you should check your national fucking security cos the NSA wont load? http://t.co/e6P0NHQYcO xD

— S.3xe (@TruthIzSexy) October 25, 2013

Allegations that those users participated in the DDoS — a method of over-loading a website with too much traffic — are currently unverified, and @AnonymousOwn3r has previously taken credit for downing websites in a similar fashion, although those claims have been largest contested.

The question, of course, is whether this is retalization from Europe (or Brazil) for the ‘denied’ allegations over spying?

Snowden files reveal NSA, CIA teamed up on targeted killings – World – CBC News

Snowden files reveal NSA, CIA teamed up on targeted killings – World – CBC News. (source)

Related Stories

The National Security Agency has been extensively involved in the U.S. government’s targeted killing program, collaborating closely with the CIA in the use of drone strikes against terrorists abroad, The Washington Post reported after a review of documents provided by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden.

In one instance, an email sent by the wife of an Osama bin Laden associate contained clues as to her husband’s whereabouts and led to a CIA drone strike that killed him in Pakistan in October 2012, the Post reported in its online edition Wednesday night.

While citing documents provided by Snowden — the American is hiding out in Russia after being granted asylum there — the Post reported that it was withholding many details about the drone-strike missions at the request of U.S. intelligence officials. They cited potential damage to ongoing operations and national security for their request, the paper reported.

The documents make clear that the CIA-operated drone campaign relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to vacuum up enormous quantities of e-mail, phone calls and other fragments of signals intelligence, or SIGINT, the newspaper said.

hi-snowden-04699556Edward Snowden is hiding out in Russia after being granted asylum there.

The NSA created a secret unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to concentrate the agency’s vast resources on hard-to-find terrorism targets, the Post reported.

The documents provided by Snowden don’t explain how the bin Laden associate’s email was obtained or whether it was obtained through the controversial NSA programs recently made public, including its metadata collection of numbers dialed by nearly every person in the United States.

Instead, the Post said its review of the documents indicates that the agency depends heavily on highly targeted network penetrations to gather information that wouldn’t otherwise be trapped in surveillance nets that the NSA has set at key Internet gateways.

The U.S. has never publicly acknowledged killing bin Laden associate Hassan Ghul, according to the Post. The al-Qaida operative had been captured in 2004 and helped expose bin Laden’s courier network, a key development in the effort to locate bin Laden. Ghul then spent two years in a secret CIA prison and returned to al-Qaida after the U.S. sent him to his native Pakistan in 2006.

U.S. forces killed bin Laden at his Pakistan hideout in 2011. That same year, the Treasury Department named Ghul a target of U.S. counterterrorism sanctions after he had helped al-Qaeda re-establish logistics networks, enabling al-Qaida to move people and money in and out of the country. The Post said an NSA document described Ghul as al-Qaida chief of military operations and detailed a broad surveillance effort to find him.

Obtained during a monthslong effort to find Ghul, the email from his wife erased doubts U.S. forces had found him, the Post said.

 

The Gravity Of Our Situation | Zero Hedge

The Gravity Of Our Situation | Zero Hedge. (source)

We have heard all day long what a dismal wreck the Republican Party is about to become, or has, courtesy of the “Wheel of Misfortune” among others. In light of this “fold” we though the following “infographic”, courtesy of Jim Quinn’s Burning Platform, would help with a “fair and balanced” perspective ofjust how irresponsible Washington has become, and that at the end of the day, there is no difference between “our” team and “their” team.

NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally – The Washington Post

NSA collects millions of e-mail address books globally – The Washington Post.

The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and “buddy lists” from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message, or synchronizes a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers.

Rather than targeting individual users, the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and to map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.

During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document, correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year….

 

Media Blasts Obama: Most Closed, Control Freak Administration | Judicial Watch

Media Blasts Obama: Most Closed, Control Freak Administration | Judicial Watch. (FULL ARTICLE)

You know things are really bad when the mainstream press corps trashes the Obama administration—on the record!—for its secrecy, aggressive efforts to control information and hostility towards the media when it exposes information viewed as unfavorable to the president.

This includes an unprecedented number of prosecutions of government sources, seizures of journalists’ records and even criminal investigations of reporters. As a result government sources are afraid to speak to journalists, even if it doesn’t involve sensitive national security issues but rather routine stories that help keep elected officials and government accountable. “There’s no question that sources are looking over their shoulders,” said a senior managing editor at the Associated Press, who added that “sources are more jittery and more standoffish.”

A veteran chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, David E. Sanger says “this is the most closed, control freak administration I’ve ever covered.” Consider the source; a journalist at a powerful mainstream newspaper well known for its favorable coverage of everything Obama. The surprising lashing by the mainstream media comes this week via a special report on the Obama administration and the press from the Committee to Protect Journalists….

 

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