I have been looking into the NSA for several years. I just find it really interesting. I have been talking about Stellar Wind for a couple or years. I posted the Wired article about the Utah data collection center because if you read the article it is clear they need this space and this supercomputer to deal with vast amounts of data. It was clear to me that meant our Data. You and my own private Data… Or so we thought. I kept saying if we only knew the exact nature of the spying we would be shocked. It has been alleged that part of Prism allows for it to pre guess a crime happening. Almost exactly like Minority Report. Great article today in Washington Post detailing Stellar Wind and tying together a bit of the programs history.
On March 12, 2004, acting attorney general James B. Comey and the Justice Department’s top leadership reached the brink of resignation over electronic surveillance orders that they believed to be illegal.
President George W. Bush backed down, halting secret foreign-
intelligence-gathering operations that had crossed into domestic terrain. That morning marked the beginning of the end of STELLARWIND, the cover name for a set of four surveillance programs that brought Americans and American territory within the domain of the National Security Agency for the first time in decades. It was also a prelude to new legal structures that allowed Bush and then President Obama to reproduce each of those programs and expand their reach.
Last week they told us they were not spying on us nor did they have any of the capabilities that Snowden alleges.
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney and congressman who serves on the House Judiciary committee.
Wait.. What? That contradicts what they said last week. A Congresswoman was quoted as saying. The Snowden allegations are the tip of the iceberg. I believe she is right. I intend on blogging every twist and turn and development that I can find.
The federal surveillance programs revealed in media reports are just “the tip of the iceberg,” a House Democrat said Wednesday.
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) said lawmakers learned “significantly more” about the spy programs at the National Security Agency (NSA) during a briefing on Tuesday with counterterrorism officials.
“What we learned in there,” Sanchez said, “is significantly more than what is out in the media today.”
Lawmakers are barred from revealing the classified information they receive in intelligence briefings, and Sanchez was careful not to specify what members might have learned about the NSA’s work.
“I can’t speak to what we learned in there, and I don’t know if there are other leaks, if there’s more information somewhere, if somebody else is going to step up, but I will tell you that I believe it’s the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
Read more: http://thehill.com/video/house/305047-dem-rep-lawmakers-learned-significantly-more-about-surveillance-programs-in-nsa-briefing#ixzz2WP69cw8A
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One more really good article about this..
“Secret Court ruling put Tech companies in bind” NY Times.
SAN FRANCISCO — In a secret court in Washington, Yahoo’s top lawyers made their case. The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional.
The judges disagreed. That left Yahoo two choices: Hand over the data or break the law.
So Yahoo became part of the National Security Agency’s secret Internet surveillance program, Prism, according to leaked N.S.A. documents, as did seven other Internet companies.
Like almost all the actions of the secret court, which operates under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the details of its disagreement with Yahoo were never made public beyond a heavily redacted court order, one of the few public documents ever to emerge from the court. The name of the company had not been revealed until now. Yahoo’s involvement was confirmed by two people with knowledge of the proceedings. Yahoo declined to comment.
But the decision has had lasting repercussions for the dozens of companies that store troves of their users’ personal information and receive these national security requests — it puts them on notice that they need not even try to test their legality. And despite the murky details, the case offers a glimpse of the push and pull among tech companies and the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that try to tap into the reams of personal data stored on their servers.
2012 report to Harry Reid about FISA implementation.
I need to look into FISA a bit… Hope those are not my famous last words.
Since 2002. Interesting article I just ran across.
Bonus Cyberwar stuff:•••
On the hidden battlefields of history’s first known cyber-war, the casualties are piling up. In the U.S., many banks have been hit, and the telecommunications industry seriously damaged, likely in retaliation for several major attacks on Iran. Washington and Tehran are ramping up their cyber-arsenals, built on a black-market digital arms bazaar, enmeshing such high-tech giants as Microsoft, Google, and Apple. With the help of highly placed government and private-sector sources, Michael Joseph Gross describes the outbreak of the conflict, its escalation, and its startling paradox: that America’s bid to stop nuclear proliferation may have unleashed a greater threat.
Fantastic article. Very compelling to me personally. Very interested in this type of thing.
Since I am at it…
A great short bio of Keith Alexander (Head of Cyber activities).
Illustrations by Mark Weaver
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.
Alexander runs the nation’s cyberwar efforts, an empire he has built over the past eight years by insisting that the US’s inherent vulnerability to digital attacks requires him to amass more and more authority over the data zipping around the globe. In his telling, the threat is so mind-bogglingly huge that the nation has little option but to eventually put the entire civilian Internet under his protection, requiring tweets and emails to pass through his filters, and putting the kill switch under the government’s forefinger. “What we see is an increasing level of activity on the networks,” he said at a recent security conference in Canada. “I am concerned that this is going to break a threshold where the private sector can no longer handle it and the government is going to have to step in.”
Great article. Written by Bamford who has written several books on the NSA.
Bonus link. Thought you would find this interesting.
Wow dbl bonus link and this is actually very relevant to what I am talking about.
Almost everything they deny doing in this letter June 8th 2013 has since been proven to actually be a part of Prism.