Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: NSA

Trump Names Indiana Senator Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 6, 2017:

Members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team said Thursday that he has picked Republican Indiana Senator Dan Coats to head the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Coats is a hardliner on Russia but soft on the Second Amendment.

Coats would spearhead changes to make the ODNI more efficient. Created in 2004 to coordinate the information-gathering efforts of 17 separate agencies, the ODNI is currently headed by outgoing director James Clapper (shown, middle).

Clapper was unanimously confirmed for that position in August 2010 by the Senate, but

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Who Is Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump’s Pick for Nat’l Security Advisor?

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 18, 2016:

On Thursday Donald Trump not only announced his appointment of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security advisor, but he also advised of a significant shift in Washington’s view of Islamic terrorism under his incoming administration.

What is Flynn’s background? A 33-year career Army soldier, he focused the last decade of his career on intelligence gathering, serving as director of intelligence for the U.S. Central Command, director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, director of intelligence for the International Security Assistance Force, and, finally, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was forced to retire a year earlier than planned by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (who, incidentally, just announced his retirement when President Obama leaves office in January). Flynn apparently got sideways with Clapper over the issue of Islamist terrorism.

Upon retiring in 2014,

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Feds Scanning License Plates of Gun Show Attendees

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, October 4, 2016:  

English: Houston Gun show at the George R. Bro...

As the Wall Street Journal reported, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has has a program in place since 2010 to use license-plate readers to read the license plates of gun show attendees in southern California. The theory was simple: compare those scans to cars crossing the border into Mexico and — voila! — ICE could find potential gun runners who warranted further investigation.

But the ICE didn’t do the scanning.

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Passage of the Freedom Act Assures Continuation of the Surveillance State

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, May 15, 2015: 

Passage of The Freedom Act in the House on Wednesday, May 13, 338-88, was for show only. The bill with real teeth that would have done something substantial about rolling back the surveillance state is collecting dust in Speaker John Boehner’s inbox.

Freedom Act 2.0 is even weaker than the one the House passed last year, which the Senate essentially ignored until it was too close to the midterms for it to vote on. It does not, as sponsor Rep. James Sensenbrenner hoped it would, end the surveillance state, nor even slow it down. It merely shifts the collection center from Utah to the phone companies. Under the bill,

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Wiki Lawsuit Highlights NSA’s All-Inclusive, Unconstitutional Spying

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, March 11, 2015:

Official portrait of NSA director Keith B. Ale...

Official portrait of NSA director Keith B. Alexander

As reported by The New American on Tuesday, Wikipedia has joined forces with the ACLU in representing itself and other groups violated by the NSA’s unrestrained data collection by suing the agency.

The lawsuit holds that the NSA has — by its relentless, warrantless, and suspicionless secret acquisition of Wikipedia’s private customer information — not only infringed on the precious freedoms of those customers guaranteed in the First and Fourth Amendments, but also exceeded authority granted to it by Congress under the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act.

Early in President George W. Bush’s first term, the NSA was given essentially carte blanche to

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Patriot Act’s Illegal Section 215 due to Expire June 1

This article first appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, February 18, 2015:

The seal of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire June 1, and each side in the upcoming battle to renew, reform, or let expire this unconstitutional abridgement of freedoms is rolling out its arguments.

Section 215 is often referred to as the Patriot Act’s “library records” provision because it allows the FBI to order a library or any other source to produce, without a warrant showing probable cause (as required under the Fourth Amendment), all “tangible things” belonging to its target of interest including “books, records, papers, documents, and other items.” That includes books borrowed and websites visited by the target while at the library. Niceties demanded by the Fourth Amendment are ignored in Section 215 as long as the FBI “specifies” that its order is “for an authorized investigation … to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

One of those favoring renewal of Section 215 is Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

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The Privacy Pendulum is Swinging back Towards Freedom

With Apple’s announcement of its new iPhone 6 10 days ago also came the announcement of an upgrade of its operating software – the iOS 8 – that now makes it impossible for law enforcement to break the code and retrieve the phone’s private information, even if it has a search warrant. On its website, Apple said:

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Leahy Offers Weak Bill to Curb NSA Eavesdropping on Americans

This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 30, 2014:

English: Official photo of Senator Patrick Lea...

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

On Tuesday, Senator Patrick Leahy (shown, D-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced his version of the USA Freedom Act intended to strengthen a similar bill passed by the House last May. It’s scarcely an improvement and likely won’t be taken up before November, if at all in this congress.

But Leahy was optimistic nonetheless, saying that his bill, if enacted, “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since … the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.” That was easy for this hard-left Democrat to say, as there has been no reform of the unconstitutional Patriot Act since it was passed. In fact, without revelations provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, even these modest “reforms” would never have been presented. Without Snowden, the NSA would have continued collecting every last piece of communications data it could and storing it for future reference at one or more of its vast collection facilities around the country. Since the bill was presented so late in this Congress, it is virtually certain no action will be taken on it.

The House bill that was passed back in May was so full of loopholes and modifications by last minute amendments as to make the effort essentially ludicrous. Although offered jointly in October 2013 by Leahy and his House counterpart, Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin (the author of the Patriot Act), only the House bill ever saw the light of day. At the time, Sensenbrenner expressed great hopes for his bill:

Following 9/11, the USA Patriot Act … has helped keep Americans safe by ensuring information is shared among those responsible for defending our country and by enhancing the tools the intelligence community needs to identify and track terrorists.

But somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost…. Washington must regain Americans’ trust in their government. The USA Freedom Act [I am offering] is an essential first step.

That first step was more like a stumble. Under the bill, according to The Guardian, “the government will still be able to collect phone data on Americans, pending a judge’s individualized order based on ‘reasonable articulable suspicion’ — the standard preferred by the NSA (National Security Agency) — of wrongdoing.” This is a far cry from the “probable cause” requirement demanded in the Fourth Amendment, but that’s only the beginning.

The bill purports to modify Section 715 of the Patriot Act while saying nothing about Section 702, which allows worldwide surveillance by the NSA. The bill allows for the continuous collection of Americans’ telephone records, according to the Open Technology Institute. Most grievously, the bill extended the Patriot Act until December of 2017.

Once the House passed its USA Freedom Act, 303 to 121, those opposed, including Republicans Darrell Issa, Ted Poe, and Raul Labrador and Democrat Zoe Lofgren expressed their disappointment with it. Said Lofgren, “[This] bill will actually not end bulk collection, regrettably.” It shifts collection responsibilities from the NSA to the telephone companies to which the NSA has virtually unlimited access, so it’s a cosmetic change only. The bill requires the NSA to get permission from the FISA Court, but FISA is not known for having a high regard for the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights.

When Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) saw what the House had wrought, he said he was “gravely concerned that the changes that have been made to the House version of this bill have watered it down so far that it fails to protect Americans from suspicionless mass surveillance.”

Not surprisingly, the White House endorsed the watered-down version of the bill:

The Administration strongly supports … the USA Freedom Act…. The Administration applauds and appreciates the strong bipartisan effort that led to the formulation of this bill, which heeds the President’s call on this important issue.

The bill ensures our intelligence and law enforcement professionals have the authorities they need to protect the Nation, while further ensuring that individuals’ privacy is appropriately protected.

Especially grievous is the power that continues to be granted to the so-called FISA “court.” This is the secret court that first came to light when Edward Snowden in 2013 leaked a top-secret order issued by the court requiring a subsidiary of Verizon to provide a daily, on-going feed of all call detail records — including those for domestic calls — to the NSA. As Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford Law School, explained,

The Administration and the intelligence community believe they can do whatever they want, regardless of the laws Congress passes, so long as they can convince one of the judges appointed to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to agree. This isn’t the rule of law. This is a coup d’etat.

Leahy’s bill allegedly will tighten up the House bill somewhat, creating a “special advocate” for liberty at the FISA courts, and limiting the NSA from vacuuming up data from an entire zip code or all the records from a communications service provider. It also declassifies some of those FISA court orders which have remained sealed and protected from public view. In its tentative support for Leahy’s new offering, Nadia Kayyall of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), said,

The legislation may not completely end suspicionless surveillance … it allows the NSA to get a second set of records (a second “hop”) with an undefined “direct connection” to the first specific selection term.

Because the “direct connection” standard is vague, the government may seek to construe that phrase to mean less than reasonable suspicion.

Translation: The NSA, under Leahy’s new stronger, tighter, more restrictive language, may continue to do whatever it pleases in collecting and storing for later use all private communications from Americans.

Leahy’s bill will probably never see the light of day in this congress and will have to be reintroduced in the next session if anything is to be done to rein in the NSA’s collection of data. In the meantime, the NSA’s vacuuming of innocent Americans’ private communication continues unabated.

 

 

Supreme Court Refuses to hear case on Reporter’s Privilege

 

Cover of "State of War: The Secret Histor...

By refusing to hear an appeal from New York Times’ investigative journalist James Risen last week [not to be confused with Fox analyst James Rosen] that his sources for a controversial chapter in his book State of War are protected under the First Amendment and reporters’ “privilege”, the Supreme Court has de facto endorsed its controversial decision from 1972. In that decision, the Court determined that the First Amendment does not give reporters like Risen any reportorial “privilege” in protecting their confidential sources.

If the government moves ahead with its subpoena of Risen to testify or be held in contempt in its case against former CIA agent Jeffrey Sterling, Risen said he would go to jail rather than reveal his sources.

In a strange comment following the Court’s decision not to hear Risen’s appeal, Attorney General Eric Holder, the head of the department bringing the suit against Sterling, said:

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Glenn Greenwald Catches Establishment Flak for His Book “No Place to Hide”

 

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Marylan...

Headquarters of the NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Español: Instalaciones generales de la NSA en Fort Meade, Maryland. Русский: Штаб-квартира АНБ, Форт-Мид, Мэриленд, США (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, May 28, 2014:

 

Back in 1975, when Idaho Senator Frank Church was running the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities (better known as the Church Committee), he warned:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [it] to monitor the messages that go through the air….

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is their capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

When Glenn Greenwald was looking for a title for his book, what better choice than that?

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Review of “No Place to Hide” by Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald, the facilitator in bringing to light Edward Snowden’s staggering revelations over the NSA’s surveillance of Americans, titled his book from a comment made by Senator Frank Church back in 1975. As head of the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence Activities, Church said:

The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables [them] to monitor the messages that go through the air…

That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left. Such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter.

There would be no place to hide.

Greenwald opens his book as if it were a John Grisham thriller,

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Senior Editor at New York Times Fired on Wednesday

IMG_5653

(Photo credit: US Department of Labor)

The only people caught by surprise at the sudden firing of Executive Editor Jill Abramson at the New York Times on Wednesday were those not paying attention. Back in January she infuriated the White House with her candid assessment of its restrictions and lack of transparency for reporters from the Times trying to vet various articles for the paper. She told Al Jazeera:

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The Left Attacks Pulitzer for its Public Service Award to Washington Post

snowden_nyc26_june_DSC_0046

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, April 16, 2014:

Instead of supporting the Pulitzer Prize Committee’s decision to give its coveted Public Service award to the Washington Post for publishing Edward Snowden’s revelations over NSA’s spying on innocent Americans, the Left (i.e., those supporting the surveillance state) has instead rather come unglued over the matter. Rep. Peter King, the noisy center-left RINO from New York, was first out of the box:

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Pulitzer Prize Award Over NSA Revelations Generates Vitriolic Criticism

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award 한국어: 퓰리처상 ...

The Pulitzer Prize gold medal award (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Washington Post’s Executive Editor Martin Baron anticipated that there would be strong criticism voiced when those opposed to Edward Snowden’s revelations learned of the Pulitzer Prize Committee’s decision to award its prestigious Public Service award to his paper. He may not have estimated the degree and extent and especially the vitriol of that criticism.

Said Baron:

Disclosing the massive expansion of the NSA’s surveillance network absolutely was a public service. In constructing a surveillance system of breathtaking scope and intrusiveness, our government also sharply eroded individual privacy. All of this was done in secret, without public debate…

[Without Edward Snowden’s disclosures] we never would have known how far this country had

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Spending on Surveillance by US Spy Agencies is Vastly Larger than Previously Thought

Thanks to the efforts of whistleblower Edward Snowden and the reluctant cooperation of the Washington Post, American citizens are now able to see just what their half-trillion dollars have bought them over the last ten years:

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Senator Wyden warns against the Surveillance State

In a remarkable speech to the left-wing progressive Center for American Progress on Tuesday, hard-core liberal Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden (Freedom Index Rating of 17) tore into the surveillance state, exposing its capabilities, its secret rules, its secret court and its failed efforts to protect itself from exposure.  He also noted the barest beginnings of a congressional effort to

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NSA disclosures recall days of the East German STASI

When Wolfgang Schmidt learned about NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations concerning its ability to collect personal data on millions of American citizens, he was astonished. As a lieutenant colonel in East Germany’s secret police, the STASI, his department was limited to tapping just 40 phones every day. If a decision was made to tap a new phone, one of the others had to be disconnected. Said Schmidt:

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New Revelations about NSA Spying Abroad Enrage European Officials

Saturday’s revelations by the German newspaper Der Spiegel that the US placed bugs in European Union officials’ offices in New York and Washington and hacked into EU headquarters in Brussels have ignited a firestorm of indignation among German and European officials. Coming on the heels of the FISA court’s ruling in April that Verizon must turn over telephone records to the National Security Agency and Edward Snowden’s exposure in June of PRISM that has been vacuuming up American citizens’ internet communications for years, expressions of outrage were heard from German and European Union politicians.

Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, said:

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Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, likely headed for Ecuador for asylum

As of 10:32AM EDT on Monday Edward Snowden’s whereabouts were unknown, despite an international effort to track him down. His final destination was also in doubt, with reports of Ecuador, Venezuela or even Cuba being his target to escape prosecution for whistleblowing by the National Security Agency (NSA).

Following his leaking of NSA’s surveillance of phone calls and emails of citizens and government officials worldwide, Snowden headed for

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2nd Generation Quantum Computer System to “Improve” Machine Learning

Two unheralded announcements in May about the collaboration of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Google, and a private, non-profit group, the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) marked an impressive, and potentially threatening, milestone in “machine learning” – teaching computers how to

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2020 Bob Adelmann