‘ NSA and FBI Covertly Monitored Emails of Prominent Muslim-Americans ‘


#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – July 18  – The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.

asim-handshake

According to documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:

Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;

• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;

• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;

Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.

The individuals appear on an NSA spreadsheet in the Snowden archives called “FISA recap”—short for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under that law, the Justice Department must convince a judge with the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that there is probable cause to believe that American targets are not only agents of an international terrorist organization or other foreign power, but also “are or may be” engaged in or abetting espionage, sabotage, or terrorism. The authorizations must be renewed by the court, usually every 90 days for U.S. citizens.

namesgrabredacted

The spreadsheet shows 7,485 email addresses listed as monitored between 2002 and 2008. Many of the email addresses on the list appear to belong to foreigners whom the government believes are linked to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Among the Americans on the list are individuals long accused of terrorist activity, including Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who were killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

But a three-month investigation by The Intercept—including interviews with more than a dozen current and former federal law enforcement officials involved in the FISA process—reveals that in practice, the system for authorizing NSA surveillance affords the government wide latitude in spying on U.S. citizens.

The five Americans whose email accounts were monitored by the NSA and FBI have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives. All five vehemently deny any involvement in terrorism or espionage, and none advocates violent jihad or is known to have been implicated in any crime, despite years of intense scrutiny by the government and the press. Some have even climbed the ranks of the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishments.

“I just don’t know why,” says Gill, whose AOL and Yahoo! email accounts were monitored while he was a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates. “I’ve done everything in my life to be patriotic. I served in the Navy, served in the government, was active in my community—I’ve done everything that a good citizen, in my opinion, should do.”

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(An Intercept video interview with Gill and Ghafoor and Awad on this link) 

They were directed by Nadia Hallgren and Intercept co-founder Laura Poitras.) 

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‘ Irish Judge Refuses Investigation into Facebook’s Alleged Sharing of Data from EU Users with NSA Timeline of Events ‘


#AceNewsServices – DUBLIN – June 18 – An Irish judge on Wednesday rejected an attempt by campaigners to force an investigation into Facebook’s alleged sharing of data from EU users with the U.S. National Security Agency.

High Court Justice Gerard Hogan, who has jurisdiction because Facebook’s European headquarters are based in Dublin, upheld an earlier decision by the country’s data protection commissioner to refuse to investigate.


​(EU Data not Compliant under Safe Harbour)

Ahead of the hearing, the campaign group europe-v-facebook indicated it planned to appeal any such decision.


​(Max Schrems, an Austrian Law Student)

(IrishExaminer) 30 April 2014 – The data protection commissioner was wrong to refuse to investigate a complaint that the Irish arm of Facebook could not permit the mass transfer of personal data to US intelligence services, it has been claimed.

Max Schrems, an Austrian law student behind a data privacy campaign group called Europe v Facebook, has brought a High Court challenge claiming Billy Hawkes wrongly interpreted and applied the law governing the mass transfer of personal data of Facebook users to the US National Security Agency when he rejected his complaint.


​He is asking Mr Justice Gerard Hogan to quash that decision and refer it back to Mr Hawkes for reconsideration. He says the commissioner’s decision was irrational and wants a preliminary reference on the matter to be made to the European Court of Justice.


​The commissioner, who found Facebook had acted within the terms of the EU-US data-sharing agreement called Safe Harbour, is opposing his action.


(Avoiding the Truth About Your EU Data)

According to Safe Harbour

The European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection went into effect in October of 1998, and would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet the European Union (EU) “adequacy” standard for privacy protection. While the United States and the EU share the goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the United States takes a different approach to privacy from that taken by the EU.

In order to bridge these differences in approach and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with the Directive, the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission developed a “Safe Harbor” framework and this website to provide the information an organization would need to evaluate – and then join – the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner of Switzerland developed a separate “Safe Harbor” framework to bridge the differences between the two countries’ approaches to privacy and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with Swiss data protection law.

This website also provides the information an organization would need to evaluate – and then join – the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor program.

(Guardian) 30 September 2011 – Facebook is to be investigated by the Irish privacy regulator into how it handles users’ data across Europe.

In the next fortnight the Irish data protection commissioner will launch a wide-ranging privacy audit of the social network after complaints about how Facebook tracks its users on-line.

The Irish regulator will conduct the audit on behalf of authorities in 27 European states, including the UK.

The commissioner expects to complete the report before the end of the year, a spokeswoman for the regulator said.

Data Protection Information

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NSA releases single Snowden e-mail as Kerry tells him ‘MAN UP’ before interview with US media


The National Security Agency said Thursday that Edward Snowden sent supervisors only one e-mail when he worked there, and it did not protest the nature of NSA surveillance programs. In the e-mail to the Office of General Counsel, Snowden posed a legal question about a training program. “There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations,” the NSA said in a statement. “We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims.”

In an interview with NBC News, Snowden said he told the NSA about his concerns about its widespread methods of intelligence gathering.

“I actually did go through channels, and that is documented,” Snowden said. “The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks, from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. … The response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, ‘You should stop asking questions.'”

Snowden — who remains in Russia, which has granted him temporary asylum — faces espionage charges in the United States.

Email:

This comes on the day John Kerry 68th United States Secretary of State said “‘Man Up And Come Home'”

US Secretary of State John Kerry has challenged Edward Snowden to “man up and come back to the United States”, after the whistleblower admitted he wanted to return home. Mr Kerry’s comments follow the former National Security Agency contractor’s interview with NBC, his first for US media since he fled the country after leaking a huge volume of classified documents. Now living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum, Mr Snowden told the network he took action in the belief that he was serving his country in exposing the surveillance programs of the NSA. “I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden said in a segment of the interview. “Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.” And Mr Kerry, speaking before NBC aired that portion of the interview, said: “If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we’ll have him on a flight today. A patriot would not run away.


Susan Rice has denied Mr Snowden’s recent claims

“He should man up and come back to the United States. If he has a complaint about what’s the matter with American surveillance, (he should) come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case. “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.” Mr Snowden had also said in an earlier part of his interview that he worked undercover and overseas for the CIA and the NSA. He claimed he had a far more important role in US intelligence than the government has acknowledged. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas,” he said. National security adviser Susan Rice insisted in a CNN interview that Mr Snowden never worked undercover. Mr Snowden said he never intended to end up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to “revoke my passport.” In response, Mr Kerry said: “Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, after all. “I think he’s confused. I think it’s very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country.”

All this after:
Edward Snowden: ‘I Worked As A Spy Overseas’


Snowden has received support during demonstrations in the US

Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has said he “trained as a spy” and worked “undercover overseas” for intelligence agencies. In his first interview in American media, he rejected claims he was merely a junior contractor, saying he worked “at all levels from the bottom on the ground, all the way to the top”. The 30-year-old, who has been charged in the US with espionage, was granted asylum by Russia in August, 2013, after instigating a series of leaks on mass surveillance in America and around the world. In the NBC News interview, due to air in full on Wednesday, Snowden defended himself against claims he had minimal intelligence experience before he released classified documents revealing the National Security Agency’s programme of phone and internet surveillance. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas – pretending to work in a job that I’m not – and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” he said. He said he had worked covertly as “a technical expert” for the Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA, and as a trainer for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“I don’t work with people,” he said. “I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels from, from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top. “So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.” After the leaks, Snowden travelled to Hong Kong, then headed to Moscow, where he was holed up in the Sheremetyevo Airport for days before he was eventually granted asylum. Secretary of State John Kerry, reacting to the interview, called Snowden a “man who has done great damage to his country”. “A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia,” Mr Kerry told NBC’s Today. “He can come home but he’s a fugitive from justice.” Snowden is wanted in the US on charges including espionage.

` United States House of Representatives Approve Surveillance Reform Bill 303 – 121 in Favour of USA Freedom Act ‘


#AceBreakingNews – WASHINGTON – May 22 – The United States House of Representatives approved a surveillance reform bill early Thursday that aims to address controversial National Security Agency programs but falls well short of doing so, according to privacy advocates.

In Washington, DC, the House voted 303-to-121 on Thursday morning in favour of the USA Freedom Act, which includes a provision that the bill’s authors say will halt the US government’s bulk collection of telephone metadata.

One day earlier, the White House endorsed the bill and said in a statement that its “significant reforms would provide the public greater confidence in our programs and the checks and balances in the system.”

“It ends collection of all bulk metadata by the government,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) a supporter of the bill, told his colleagues on the floor of Congress before Thursday’s vote.

According to an outline provided by the bill’s authors, if approved the act would “rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.”

In its current form, however, critics say it lacks the sufficient provisions to truly put a dent in the NSA’s spy programs. The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week accused the latest version of the act to have been “gutted” of its most crucial parts and “doesn’t achieve the goal of ending mass spying.”

Although the USA Freedom Act originally contained provisions that would allow companies to more fully discuss requests for data they receive from the government and install a civil liberties advocate to audit the FISA Court’s operations, those were removed ahead of Thursday’s vote.

“We are glad that the House added a clause to the bill clarifying the content of communications cannot be obtained with Section 215,” the EFF said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to the Patriot Act provision that opened the door for the NSA’s current operations. “Unfortunately, the bill’s changed definitions, the lack of substantial reform to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act and the inability to introduce a special advocate in the FISA Court severely weakens the bill.”

“This legislation was designed to prohibit bulk collection, but has been made so weak that it fails to adequately protect against mass, un-targeted collection of Americans’ private information,” added Nuala O’Connor, the president and CEO of the Centre for Democracy and Technology.

Ace Related News:
1. RT – 22/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/pq92v4y
2. EFF – 22/05/2104 – https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/05/eff-dismayed-houses-gutted-usa-freedom-act
3. Sense Brenner House 22/05 /2014 – http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/legislation/theusafreedomact.htm

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` US Department of Justice Charges Five Chinese Military Officers for Hacking American Companies ‘


#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – May 21 – The US Department of Justice is charging five Chinese military officers for hacking American entities.

Companies and organizations ranging from Alcoa to the nuclear giant Westinghouse were the targets of economic espionage, according Attorney General Eric Holder.

The federal charges come one week after new evidence revealed the scope of a program in which the National Security Agency intercepts and bugs hardware destined for foreign targets.

Discussing the charges with RT’s Lindsay France is Arik Hesseldahl, the senior editor of Re/code.

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` US House of Representatives Approves Legislation to Prevent Bulk Collection of Data ‘


#AceSecurityNews – UNITED STATES – WASHINGTON – NSA – May 08 –  A US House of Representatives committee approved legislation on Wednesday that would limit the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata. By a vote of 32 to 0, the House Judiciary Committee advanced the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s wholesale gathering and storage of American phone data, leaving telecommunications companies responsible for retaining the records.

The bill would still allow the NSA to collect a person’s phone records, and those of people two “hops” or contacts away, if a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which has been very generous to NSA spying requests in recent years, signs off on the request based on reasonable suspicion of so-called terrorism involvement.

A reform bill deemed as the toughest clampdown yet on the NSA’s collection of phone metadata is expected to move through a key US House committee this week, setting up a showdown between the bill and less stringent legislation supported by House leaders.

House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will reportedly act on the USA Freedom Act on Wednesday after the bill sat dormant since its introduction in October by former judiciary committee chair and US Patriot Act author Jim Sensenbrenner (R-OH).

The bill is the favored legislative vehicle for privacy advocates that want to see reform of the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone call data. Congressional aides believe the bill will pass through the committee with bipartisan support, the Guardian reported. Privacy advocates believe the bill has real potential to pass in a general House vote should it get the chance.

The House Judiciary Committee’s USA Freedom Act was left for dead by House Republican leadership after a competing NSA reform bill was offered in March by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. The intel committee’s proposal would allow the NSA to continue gathering domestic call data without a prior judicial order.

Hours after the Judiciary Committee announced it would markup its NSA bill on Wednesday, the Intelligence Committee said it would do the same with its own reform bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday. FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, dictates US surveillance of “foreign intelligence information” that can include American citizens or permanent residents suspected of terrorism.

Goodlatte’s support for the USA Freedom Act was reportedly in doubt before House Republican leaders decided to bypass his committee effort to reform the NSA in favor of the Intelligence Committee’s more lukewarm legislation.

The Intelligence Committee’s Rogers has criticized the USA Freedom Act for going too far in curbing bulk collection capabilities that, he says, are vital for national security reasons.

Sensenbrenner’s USA Freedom Act was initially more strict in limiting NSA collection abilities, positing that it would “end bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, in light of the massive intrusion on Americans’ privacy and the lack of evidence of its effectiveness.”

Ace Related News:

1. FOIA – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr3361ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr3361ih.pdf

2. FISA – http://judiciary.house.gov/_cache/files/d4c6f7fd-4768-4b30-813d-47109cac271a/fisa-anos-001-xml.pdf

RT – March 27

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NSA: ` Complex Analysis of Electronic Surveillance used to Target Lethal Drone Attacks ‘


#AceSecurityNews – Guest Post – May 06 – The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.

One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.

Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

Courtesy of By  and  10 Feb 2014, 12:03 AM EDT

Ace Related News:

  1. First Look

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` White House Seeks to Obtain Legislator's Approval over Legal Immunity for Companies Handing over Data '


#AceSecurityNews – WASHINGTON – WHITE HOUSE – (Guardian) – The White House has asked legislators crafting competing reforms of the National Security Agency to provide legal immunity for telecommunications firms that provide the government with customer data, the Guardian has learned.

In a statement of principles privately delivered to lawmakers some weeks ago to guide surveillance reforms, the White House said it wanted legislation protecting “any person who complies in good faith with an order to produce records” from legal liability for complying with court orders for phone records to the government once the NSA no longer collects the data in bulk.

The brief request, contained in a four-page document, echoes a highly controversial provision of the 2008 Fisa Amendments Act, which provided retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies that allowed the NSA to access calls and call data between Americans and foreigners, voiding lawsuits against them. Barack Obama’s vote for that bill as a senator and presidential candidate disappointed many supporters.

(PressTV) – A senior US administration official described the provision as typical for surveillance law that aims to protect firms that comply with Fisa court orders for customer data.

“This would refer to any new orders issued by the court under the new regime we are proposing. This is similar to the way the rest of Fisa already operates, and Fisa already contains virtually identical language for its other provisions, including Section 215,” the official stated.

A congressional aide said such companies were anticipated to “fight hard” for the provision in order to survive in any other surveillance bill.

Press TV – Guardian
Fisa 2008 Act – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-110hr6304enr/pdf/BILLS-110hr6304enr.pdf

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` Journalist’s are Honoured at ` Pulitzer Prize Awards ‘ in Difficult and Dangerous Times ‘


#AceBreakingNews – April 14 – (RT) – The Guardian US and the Washington Post are among the winners of a prestigious journalistic Pulitzer award. The newspapers shared the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Reporting for coverage of NSA surveillance and whistleblower Snowden’s leaks.

The prize is awarded “for a distinguished example of meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site through the use of its journalistic resources,” according to the Pulitzer Committee. This includes the use of “stories, editorials, cartoons, photographs, graphics, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or other visual material.”

The committee stated that it was awarded to the Washington Post for “its revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, marked by authoritative and insightful reports that helped the public understand how the disclosures fit into the larger framework of national security.”

It also awarded joint gold to Guardian US for its “revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy.”

#BREAKINGNEWS: We have won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for our coverage of Snowden’s NSA leaks, along with @GuradianUS.
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) April 14, 2014
Among Guardian US and Washington Post revelations were some of the most wide-scale and high-profile disclosures of government secrets since 1971’s Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War.

Glenn Greenwald headed up reporting at the Guardian alongside Ewen MacAskill and film-maker Laura Poitras. Poitras has also collaborated with the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman, who was also honoured.

The impact of both newspapers’ revelations has sparked global outrage at the extent of US covert surveillance of its own citizens and those of other nations. With the help of documents leaked by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, details of clandestine PRISM operations and UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) collaboration emerged.

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`Activist `Ryan Shapiro is Suing Three Government Agencies for Failing to Comply with Freedom of Information Act ‘


#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES – March 25 – Transparency activist Ryan Shapiro is suing three government agencies for failing to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests he filed in an attempt to uncover details about any role the United States played in the 1962 arrest of Nelson Mandela.

Shapiro — a doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a noted FOIA researcher — filed a lawsuit Monday morning in Washington, DC against the US National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Defence Intelligence Agency after his requests for details about the anti-apartheid activist were rebuked by the US government .

He is already suing the Central Intelligence Agency for the same reason.

The US has long been rumoured to have played an instrumental role in the 1962 arrest of Mandela, and his name remained on a government terror watch list until 2008 — more than a decade after he completed his term as the first president of South Africa after spending decades behind bars.

Following Mandela’s death last December, Shapiro filed FOIA requests with the NSA, FBI, DIA and CIA days later in hopes of uncovering evidence about what role the US played with regards to the ’62 arrest.

He sued the CIA a month later over alleged non-compliance, but only this week he filed suit against the other alphabet soup agencies due to their failure to adhere to his request.

“Though the US intelligence community is long believed to have been involved in Mandela’s arrest, little specific public information exists regarding this involvement,” Shapiro’s lawyers wrote in this week’s suit.

Speaking to Democracy Now http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/25/exclusive_nsa_fbi_dia_sued_over! Monday morning, Shapiro explained that “They are in violation of federal law, and so I am suing them to hold them accountable to federal law.”

“The records of government are the property of the people. Yet, unknown billions of pages are needlessly hidden from the American people behind closed doors and ‘classified’ markings,” he added in a statement.
http://www.sparrowmedia.net/2014/03/nsa-national-defense-espionage-act-mit-foia-nelson-mandela/

“Undefined ‘national security’ concerns ostensibly legitimize this secrecy,” he continued. “It’s not surprising those in power wish to keep their actions secret.

What’s surprising is how readily we tolerate it.”

Courtesy of RT News – http://on.rt.com/gamgg3

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` NSA: ` has Spied on `Chinese Telecom Giant Huawei ' and was a `Core Target 'during a Campaign in China '


#AceSecurityNews – NSA – 23 March – The US National Security Agency (NSA) has spied on Chinese leaders and businesses, new Snowden docs indicate.

Yet it seems that China’s telecom giant, Huawei, was the core target for the NSA campaign in China.

The new portion of revelations from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, published by Der Spiegel http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/nsa-spied-on-chinese-government-and-networking-firm-huawei-a-960199.html and The New York Times – http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/03/23/world/asia/23nsa-docs.html?, has exposed the great interest of the US secret service in obtaining data from China.

It has been revealed that America’s NSA has multiple targets in the world’s second largest economy, among them the Chinese Trade Ministry, national banks, leading telecommunications companies and the country’s top officials, like former Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Related News: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/23/world/asia/nsa-breached-chinese-servers-seen-as-spy-peril.html

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` Pentagon Law Enforcement Agency amasses ` Millions of Criminal Records ‘Called into Question’


#AceSecurityNews – A rarely reported but highly extensive database managed by a Pentagon law enforcement agency that contains millions of details including criminal records and minor infractions alike is being called into question.

PentagonAlthough the Law Enforcement Information Exchange, or LInX, contains police records pertaining to run-of-the-mill 911 calls and even mere traffic citations, millions of these records concerning harmless civilian activity are stored in a system run by the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the primary law enforcement agency of the US Navy that’s head-quartered at the Quantico, Virginia military base.

On Friday this week, an article published in the Washington Examiner by senior watchdog reporter Mark Flatten offered a detailed look at the database, and dared to ask questions about the sparsely discussed system amid growing concerns about government-sanctioned surveillance.

“Those fears are heightened by recent disclosures of the National Security Agency spying on Americans, and the CIA allegedly spying on Congress,”Flatten wrote.

Unlike the NSA’s conduct or the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities, though, the LInX System is a US military operation. The NCIS got the initiative off the ground in 2003, and says on their website that it is “designed to enhance information sharing between local, state, and federal law enforcement in areas of strategic importance to the Department of the Navy.”

“LInX provides participating law enforcement partner agencies with secure access to regional crime and incident data and the tools needed to process it, enabling investigators to search across jurisdictional boundaries to help solve crimes and resolve suspicious events,” the website reads.

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NSA take down of Terrorists and Criminals Adopts `Hacking System Administrators ‘ Private Network’s ‘


#AceSecurityNews – In its quest to take down suspected terrorists and criminals abroad, the United States National Security Agency has adopted the practice of hacking the system administrators that oversee private computer networks, new documents reveal.

InterceptThe Intercept has published a handful of leaked screenshots taken from an internal NSA message board where one spy agency specialist spoke extensively about compromising not the computers of specific targets, but rather the machines of the system administrators who control entire networks.

Journalist Ryan Gallagher reported that Edward Snowden, a former sys admin for NSA contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, provided The Intercept with the internal documents, including one from 2012 that’s bluntly titled “I hunt sys admins.”

According to the posts — some labeled “top secret” — NSA staffers should not shy away from hacking sys admins: a successful offensive mission waged against an IT professional with extensive access to a privileged network could provide the NSA with unfettered capabilities, the analyst acknowledged.

“Who better to target than the person that already has the ‘keys to the kingdom’?” one of the posts reads.

Reuters

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`Google Encrypts Gmail in Effort to Stop the Prying Eyes of the NSA – Maybe a Little To Late? ‘


#AceSecurityNews – Google is doing its best to put a lid on the NSA’s prying eyes by using enhanced encryption technology to make its flagship email service airtight.

Google Encypts Gmail“Your email is important to you, and making sure it stays safe and always available is important to us,” Gmail engineering security chief, Nicolas Lidzborski, said in a blog post.

“Starting today, Gmail will always use an encrypted HTTPS connection when you check or send email.

“Today’s change means that no one can listen in on your messages as they go back and forth between you and Gmail’s servers — no matter if you’re using public WiFi or logging in from your computer, phone or tablet.”

The internet giant’s announcement is the latest attempt to bolster the company’s widely used email service and follows a similar step in 2010, when the company made HTTPS the default connection option.

At the time, however, users had the option to turn this protection feature off.

Starting from Friday, Gmail is HTTPS-only.

The move is a response to a disclosure made by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower, Edward Snowden, that the agency had been secretly tapping into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centres around the world.

 

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NSA : ` Program ` Mystic ‘ is Capable of Recording ` 100 ‘ Percent of every Phone Call across entire Nation’s’


#AceSecurityNews A secret spy program developed by the National Security Agency and reported publicly for the first time on Tuesday has given the United States the ability to digitally record the contents of each and every phone call occurring across entire nations.

MysticCiting previously unpublished documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and statements from individuals with direct knowledge of the effort, the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani wrote that the US-administered surveillance system is capable of recording “100 percent” of a foreign country’s telephone calls.

The program, “MYSTIC,” was launched back in 2009, according to the Post, but by 2011 it was ready to be rolled-out at full capacity and was subsequently deployed against at least one target nation.

The Post says they are withholding details “that could be used to identify the country where the system is being employed or other countries where its use was envisioned” upon the request of US officials.

Once it was ready to put to the test in 2011, MYSTIC and its “retrospective retrieval” tool known as RETRO were being used to indiscriminately record “every single” conversation occurring across the entire target country, the Post reported.

Those calls — “billions,” according to the Post — are stored for 30 days, and the oldest conversations are purged as new ones are logged. Once the content entered the NSA’s system, however, analysts are able to go back and listen in as much as a month later to find information on a person who might never have been suspected of a crime at the time that their initial conversation was collected unbeknownst to them by the US government.

Read More: WP – http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-surveillance-program-reaches-into-the-past-to-retrieve-replay-phone-calls/2014/03/18/226d2646-ade9-11e3-a49e-76adc9210f19_story.html

#ANS2014

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` Syrian Hackers say they have Compromised US Central Command '


#AceSecurityNews – Syrian hackers say they’ve compromised US Central Command

Published time: March 14, 2014 18:40

 
A group of computer hackers who are loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad say they’ve accessed hundreds of documents after allegedly penetrating the network of the United States Central Command and other systems.

The Syrian Electronic Army hacktivist group said from their Twitter account on Friday that they were engaged in an operation targeting CENTCOM due to US President Barack Obama’sdecision to attack Syria with electronic warfare.”

Soon after the group claimed to have “already successfully penetrated many central repositories,” and tweeted a screenshot of what is purported to show that hackers have indeed somehow wound up inside of a military computer system of some sorts.

The image suggests that someone from the SEA may have in fact gained access to a military directory called “AKO Home” that contains a number of folders with names relating to the US Air Force specifics command units under that branch.

This is part of an ongoing operation and we have already successfully penetrated many central repositories.#SEApic.twitter.com/DSUzuFHmkN

— SyrianElectronicArmy (@Official_SEA16) March 14, 2014

In the coming days we will update you with specific details and hundreds of documents that the #SEA has obtained,” the group tweeted.

“AKO,” or “Army Knowledge Online,” is the name of a web-based enterprise information system used by the Pentagon to let military personnel access files from any internet-connected computer, and was called “the world’s largest intranet” in a 2001 Wired article.

“It’s a total aggregation of all the information the Army has, all the documents, manuals and files,” Ryan Samuel, the director of public relations at a company that helped develop the AKO, told Wired’s Louise Knapp for that article.

At the time, Louise said the AKO had room for around 70 terabytes of storage for those files, though that number has almost certainly grown exponentially over the last 13 years.

The AKO website was slow to respond following the hackers’ claim, which could be the result of a surge in visitors prompted by the SEA’s tweets, an attempted denial-of-service attack to momentarily cripple the military’s servers or, also likely, a total coincidence.

Requests for comment made by RT to the Army’s press office were not immediately returned Friday afternoon.

The SEA has engaged in a number of operations in recent months against the websites of western media outlets, and is perhaps best known for claiming to have compromised the Twitter account of the Associated Press last year. Once that account was commandeered, the SEA erroneously reported that an explosion had occurred at the White House.

In January, the SEA gained unauthorized access to the social media accounts affiliated with Skype and posted messages critical of the Microsoft-owned product and the US government’s relationship with Silicon Valley. Last month, the group reportedly accessed the email accounts of Forbes employees and then took control of associated blogs.

The US has not publically admitted to waging any cyberattacks against the Syrian government, although the White House has been linked to waging a digital attack on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program, and leaked National Security Agency documents have shown that the US intelligence community has an arsenal of offensive cyberweapons at its disposal.

RT

 

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` Snowden says in an interview with European Parliament ‘ US spy agency pressures allies to Spy ‘


#AceSecurityNews says that in an interview National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden answered questions before the European Parliament on Friday, and said that the United States spy agency pressures its allies to take steps further enabling widespread and indiscriminate surveillance.

“One of the foremost activities of the NSA’s FAD, or Foreign Affairs Division, is to pressure or incentivize EU member states to change their laws to enable mass surveillance,” Snowden said in a testimony delivered remotely from Russia. “Lawyers from the NSA, as well as the UK’s GCHQ, work very hard to search for loopholes in laws and constitutional protections that they can use to justify indiscriminate, dragnet surveillance operations that were at best unwittingly authorized by lawmakers.”

“These efforts to interpret new powers out of vague laws is an intentional strategy to avoid public opposition and lawmakers’ insistence that legal limits be respected,” Snowden insisted.

#ASN2014

` Pentagon has set-up a task force to handle `Snowden ‘ ‘Security Leaks ‘ and determine damage ‘


#AceSecurityNews says it will take two years of study and billions of dollars to overcome the loss of security to military operations that were revealed in documents taken by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, a top US military officer said.

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey tells the House Armed Services Committee the Pentagon set up a task force to determine how the documents could be used, AP reported.

The task force will take two years due to the “magnitude of this challenge.”

The vast majority of the documents taken by Snowden reportedly related to US military capabilities.

#ASN2014

`German Government does not expect to reach an agreement with `Washington’ on National Security’


#AceWorldNews says the German government does not expect to reach an agreement with Washington in the foreseeable future on a hoped-for “no-spy” deal, AP said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government sought such an accord following revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

US President Barack Obama recently said Washington doesn’t have a no-spy agreement with any country.

Negotiations continue, “but it cannot be assumed that we will reach an agreed solution in the foreseeable future,” Merkel spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz said Friday.

#ANS2014

#GCHQ : `Don’t just need `Spies’ but Magicians’ that can make things `Appear like Magic’ as they `Disappear’


#AceSecurityNews says `Western Spy Agencies’ build ‘cyber magicians’ to manipulate on-line discourse! 

Published time: February 25, 2014 03:40
Edited time: February 26, 2014 16:35

 
Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ's outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)Satellite dishes are seen at GCHQ’s outpost at Bude, close to where trans-Atlantic fibre-optic cables come ashore in Cornwall, southwest England (Reuters/Kieran Doherty)
Secret units within the ‘Five Eyes” global spying network engage in covert on-line operations that aim to invade, deceive, and control on-line communities and individuals through the spread of false information and use of ingenious social-science tactics.

Such teams of highly trained professionals have several main objectives, such as “to inject all sorts of false material onto the internet” and “to use social sciences and other techniques to manipulate on-line discourse and activism to generate outcomes it considers desirable,” The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwaldreported based on intelligence documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The new information comes via a document from the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), entitled The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations,’ which is top-secret and only for dissemination within the Five Eyes intelligence partnership that includes Britain, the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.org

The document outlines what tactics are used to achieve JTRIG’s main objectives. Among those tactics that seek to “discredit a target” include “false flag operations” (posting material online that is falsely attributed to a target), fake victim blog posts (writing as a victim of a target to disseminate false information), and posting “negative information” wherever pertinent online.

Other discrediting tactics used against individuals include setting a honey-trap(using sex to lure targets into compromising situations), changing a target’s photo on a social media site, and emailing or texting “colleagues, neighbours, friends etc.”

To “discredit a company,” GCHQ may “leak confidential information to companies/the press via blog…post negative information on appropriate forums [or] stop deals/ruin business relationships.”

JTRIG’s ultimate purpose, as defined by GCHQ in the document, is to use“online techniques to make something happen in the real world or cyber world.”These online covert actions follow the “4 D’s:” deny, disrupt, degrade, deceive.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.org

As Greenwald pointed out, the tactics employed by JTRIG are not used for spying on other nations, militaries, or intelligence services, but for “traditional law enforcement” against those merely suspected of crimes. These targets can include members of Anonymous, “hacktivists,” or really any person or entity GCHQ deems worthy of antagonizing.

“[I]t is not difficult to see how dangerous it is to have secret government agencies being able to target any individuals they want – who have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crimes – with these sorts of online, deception-based tactics of reputation destruction and disruption,” Greenwald wrote.

In addition, the targets do not need to have ties to terror activity or pose any national security threat. More likely, targets seem to fall closer to political activists that may have, for instance, used denial of service tactics, popular with Anonymous and hacktivists, which usually do only a limited amount of damage to a target.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.org

“These surveillance agencies have vested themselves with the power to deliberately ruin people’s reputations and disrupt their online political activity even though they have been charged with no crimes, and even though their actions have no conceivable connection to terrorism or even national security threats,” Greenwald wrote.

In addition to the personal attacks on targets, JTRIG also involves the use of psychological and social-science tactics to steer on-line activism and discourse. The document details GCHQ’s “Human Science Operations Cell,” which focuses on “online human intelligence” and “strategic influence and disruption”that are used to dissect how targets can be manipulated using “leaders,” “trust,” “obedience,” and “compliance.”

Using tested manipulation tactics, JTRIG attempts to influence discourse and ultimately sow discord through deception.

When reached for comment by The Intercept, GCHQ avoided answering pointed questions on JTRIG while insisting its methods were legal.

“It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters. Furthermore, all of GCHQ’s work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight, including from the Secretary of State, the Interception and Intelligence Services Commissioners and the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee. All our operational processes rigorously support this position,” GCHQ stated.

Image from firstlook.orgImage from firstlook.orgRT 

 

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