October 29, 2013 CNN
October 29, 2013 CNN
Inside Fort Meade, Maryland, a top-secret city bustles. Tens of thousands of people move through more than 50 buildings—the city has its own post office, fire department, and police force. But as if designed by Kafka, it sits among a forest of trees, surrounded by electrified fences and heavily armed guards, protected by antitank barriers, monitored by sensitive motion detectors, and watched by rotating cameras. To block any telltale electromagnetic signals from escaping, the inner walls of the buildings are wrapped in protective copper shielding and the one-way windows are embedded with a fine copper mesh.
This is the undisputed domain of General Keith Alexander, a man few even in Washington would likely recognize. Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world’s largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the US Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
Schematically, Alexander’s empire consists of the following: virtually every piece in America’s information intelligence arsenal.
With his revelations exposing the extent of potential, and actual, pervasive NSA surveillance over the American population, Edward Snowden has done a great service for the public by finally forcing it to answer the question: is having Big Brother peek at every private communication and electronic information, a fair exchange for the alleged benefit of the state’s security. Alas, without further action form a population that appears largely numb and apathetic to disclosures that until recently would have sparked mass protests and toppled presidents, the best we can hope for within a political regime that has hijacked the democratic process, is some intense introspection as to what the concept of “America” truly means.
However, and more importantly, what Snowden’s revelations have confirmed, is that behind the scenes, America is now actively engaged in a new kind of war: an unprecedented cyber war, where collecting, deciphering, intercepting, and abusing information is the only thing that matters and leads to unprecedented power, and where enemies both foreign and domestic may be targeted without due process based on a lowly analyst’s “whim.”
It has also put spotlight on the man, who until recently deep in the shadows, has been responsible for building America’s secret, absolutely massive cyber army, and which according to a just released Wired profile is “capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. Now it’s ready to unleash hell.”
Meet General Keith Alexander, “a man few even in Washington would likely recognize”, which is troubling because Alexander is now quite possibly the most powerful person in the world, that nobody talks about. Which is just the way he likes it.
– NSA Admits To Warrantless Wiretapping According To House Judiciary Committee Member (ZeroHedge, June 16, 2013):
More confusion, or just more lies? You decide.In an exchange first caught by CNET, Rep Gerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, questioned FBI Director Robert Mueller late last week about the NSA surveillance programs.
Nadler asked Mueller if a warrant is needed to listen to the content of a domestic phone call. Mueller said a national security letter is needed to get subscriber info and a FISA warrant is needed to get content. Nadler said he was told the exact opposite.
See commentary from reader M.G.:
“He has only provided information. It is up to Americans to stand up and demand more truth from government.
I have looked at some of the posts around the web, and appalled at the amount of fools calling him a traitor………
I checked US media TV news. MSNBC calls him an amateur, plays it down, Fox talked about milk and that NSA spying is not new……..financials talked about money, and HLN discussed the latest murder trial.
TV news is in short sound bytes, and discusses nothing in depth. It is corporate media, serving at the will of the corporate oligarchy. We have no free press in America.”
So whistleblower Edward Snowden, the source behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history, is now getting ridiculed, because the story couldn’t be ignored and had to be reported by MSM.
– The NSA wiretapping story nobody wanted (Computerworld, July 17, 2009):
IDG News Service – They sometimes call national security the third rail of politics. Touch it and, politically, you’re dead.
The cliché doesn’t seem far off the mark after reading Mark Klein’s new book, “Wiring up the Big Brother Machine … and Fighting It.” It’s an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans.
– Flashback to 2007: Obama’s Speech on Warrantless Wiretapping (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 7, 2013):
At this point we all understand that there is absolutely zero in common with Presidential-candidate Barack Obama and President Barack Obama.
He has so consistently lied while in office I have become convinced that he ranks deception as one of his most cherished hobbies.
Right up there with rounds of golf and posing for pictures with ice cream cones (he learned that trick from Uncle Warren). After all, the man’s entire life is a giant lie.
A constitutional law professor who spends his entire two terms dismantling the document itself.
10 Questions: Warrantless Wiretaps
– So Who is James Comey, Obama’s Nominee to Head the FBI? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 6, 2013):
In light of the latest revelations that the NSA is spying on the communications of millions of Verizon customers courtesy of information provided by the FBI, it probably makes sense to know a little more about Obama’s nominee to head that Bureau. That man is James Comey, and he was a top Department of Justice attorney under John Ashcroft during the George W. Bush Administration (since then he has worked at Lockheed Martin and at the enormous Connecticut hedge fund Bridgewater Associates). This guy defines the revolving door cancer ruining these United States.
Comey’s defenders point out that he stood up to some of the more egregious spy programs that Bush officials wanted to pursue, and that he also expressed reservations about the torture program. Nevertheless, he signed off on, and provided the legal justification for both. This is the man being recycled back through the revolving door by Obama. I have read many articles on Mr. Comey ever since it surfaced he would be nominated and, as usual, Glenn Greenwald did the best work.
From the Guardian:
In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005. It was Comey, along with Ashcroft, Mueller, and Goldsmith, who threatened to resign if it did not stop, and they deserve credit for that. But the reason they didn’t end up resigning was because Bush officials “modified” that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law. And this was accomplished by inventing a new legal theory to accompany the old one: that Congress, when it enacted the 2001 AUMF, silently and “implicitly” authorized Bush to eavesdrop in exactly the ways the law expressly forbade.
– Supreme Court Terminates Warrantless Electronic Spying Case (Wired, Oct 9, 2012):
The Supreme Court closed a 6-year-old chapter Tuesday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s bid to hold the nation’s telecoms liable for allegedly providing the National Security Agency with backdoors to eavesdrop, without warrants, on Americans’ electronic communications in violation of federal law.
The justices, without comment, declined to review a lower court’s December decision (.pdf) dismissing the EFF’s lawsuit challenging the NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping program. At the center of the dispute was 2008 congressional legislation retroactively immunizing the telcos from being sued for cooperating with the government in a program President George W. Bush adopted shortly after the September 2001 terror attacks.
After Bush signed the legislation and invoked its authority in 2008, a San Francisco federal judge tossed the case, and the EFF appealed. Among other things, the EFF claimed the legislation, which granted the president the discretion to invoke immunity, was an illegal abuse of power.
The New York Times first exposed the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of international phone calls to and from Americans in 2005. A former AT&T technician named Mark Klein later produced internal company documents suggesting that the NSA was surveilling internet backbone traffic from a secret room at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco, and similar facilities around the country. Klein’s evidence formed the basis of the now-dismissed suit, Hepting v. AT&T.
– Homeland Security: Preparing for Massive Civil War (Veterans Today, Oct 6, 2012):
The discovery by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (3 October 2012) that, “Despite reviewing 13 months’ worth of reporting originating from fusion centers from April 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010, the Subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot” means that there is no evidence of the existence of any domestic terrorist threat. On that basis, it is rational to infer (with high probability) that there is no domestic terrorist threat.
We also know that there are 300 or more FEMA camps distributed around the country. We know that Congress has authorized 30,000 drones to conduct surveillance on the American people. We know that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had requisitioned 1.5 billion rounds of .40 calibre hollow-point ammunition, which is not even permissible for use in warfare under the Geneva Conventions. Since DHS does not conduct operations abroad, it is rational to infer (with virtual certainty) that DHS must be acquiring that massive stock of ammo for use in the United States.
And we now learn that Congress is in the process of passing H.R. 6566, “The Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act”, which was posted on the govtrack.us website FEMA To Mobilize For “Mass Fatality Planning” (5 October 2012), mandating federal agency to respond to “funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries” being “overwhelmed” in the aftermath of a mass terror attack, natural disaster or other crisis. It was posted this after having been approved by the House on 28 September 2012. Not to make an obvious point, but there is no domestic terrorist threat and no conceiveable natural disaster could possibly justify this dramatic authorization for coping with staggering numbers of bodies.
You don’t have to have spent 35 years teaching logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning to put together the following premises and draw the obvious conclusion:
– Appeals Court OKs Warrantless Wiretapping (Wired, Aug 7, 2012):
The federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision reversing the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.
“This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote. (.pdf)