What did Pakistan Know about Bin Laden and when.

I have wondered this exact question since the alleged killing of Bin Laden. I say alleged because as a lay citizen there has not exactly been what you would call proof ever presented. They have made the photos off limits… They have never released the DNA for independent testing. They buried him at sea seeming the day after he was apparently or allegedly shot.

Pakistan had to know that Bin Laden was there. It is a uncomfortable truth since it raises many troubling questions about our Money flowing there and they are playing both sides almost without question. How do you live very close to the Capital of Pakistan and a town that houses the largest military academy in the Country and not know he lives miles if not yards away.

From the New York Times article this weekend.

What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.

The small, untidy entrance on the street to one of those madrasas, the Jamiya Islamiya, conceals the size of the establishment. Inside, a brick-and-concrete building three stories high surrounds a courtyard, and classrooms can accommodate 280 students. At least three of the suicide bombers we were tracing had been students here, and there were reports of more. Senior figures from Pakistani religious parties and provincial-government officials were frequent visitors, and Taliban members would often visit under the cover of darkness in fleets of S.U.V.s.

One of many madrasas in Quetta in 2008.
ALEX MAJOLI / MAGNUM
We requested an interview and were told that a female journalist would not be permitted inside, so I passed some questions to the Pakistani reporter with me, and he and the photographer went in. The deputy head of the madrasa denied that there was any militant training there or any forced recruitment for jihad. “We are educating the students in the Quran, and in the Quran it is written that it is every Muslim’s obligation to wage jihad,” he said. “All we are telling them is what is in the Quran. Then it is up to them to go to jihad.” He ended the conversation. Classes were breaking up, and I could hear a clamor rising as students burst out of their classrooms. Boys poured out of the gates onto the street. They looked spindly, in flapping clothes and prayer caps, as they darted off on their bikes and on foot, chasing one another down the street.

The reporter and the photographer joined me outside. They told me that words of praise were painted across the wall of the inner courtyard for the madrasa’s political patron, a Pakistani religious-party leader, and the Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. This madrasa, like so many in Pakistan, was a source of the Taliban resurgence that President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan leaders had long been warning about. In this nondescript madrasa in a poor neighborhood of Quetta, one of hundreds throughout the border region, the Taliban and Pakistan’s religious parties were working together to raise an army of militants.

“The madrasas are a cover, a camouflage,” a Pashtun legislator from the area told me. Behind the curtain, hidden in the shadows, lurked the ISI.

The Pakistani government, under President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was maintaining and protecting the Taliban, both to control the many groups of militants now lodged in the country and to use them as a proxy force to gain leverage over and eventually dominate Afghanistan. The dynamic has played out in ways that can be hard to grasp from the outside, but the strategy that has evolved in Pakistan has been to make a show of cooperation with the American fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban, Kashmiri and foreign Qaeda-linked militants. The linchpin in this two-pronged and at times apparently oppositional strategy is the ISI. It’s through that agency that Pakistan’s true relationship to militant extremism can be discerned — a fact that the United States was slow to appreciate, and later refused to face directly, for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.

Clearly Pakistan was endorsing and encouraging the Taliban in an attempt apparently to control Afghanistan.

Islamabad is a green, tranquil home for civil servants and diplomats, but for several days it resounded with gunfire and explosions. Crowds of worried parents arrived from all over the country to try to retrieve their children. The Red Mosque leaders tried to make the students stay. “They said if the women and others die, the people will take their side,” one father told me, and I realized then how premeditated this all was, how the girls were pawns in their plan to spark a revolution.

A week after the siege began, there was a ferocious battle. Elite Pakistani commandos rappelled from helicopters into the mosque and were raked with machine-gun fire. Perched in the mosque’s minarets and throughout its 75 rooms, the militants fought for 10 hours. They hurled grenades from bunkers and basements, and suicide bombers threw themselves at their attackers. The commandos found female students hiding in a bricked-up space beneath the stairs and led 50 women and girls to safety. Ghazi retreated to a basement in the compound. He died there as the last surviving fighters battled around him.

More than 100 people were killed in the siege, including 10 commandos. The ISI — despite having a long relationship with the mosque and its leaders, as well as two informers inside providing intelligence — played a strangely ineffective role. In a cabinet meeting after the siege, ministers questioned a senior ISI official about the intelligence service’s failure to prevent the militant action. “Who I meet in the evening and what I discuss is on your desk the next morning,” one minister told the official. “How come you did not know what was happening a hundred meters from the ISI headquarters?” The official sat in silence as ministers thumped their desks in a gesture of agreement.

“One hundred percent they knew what was happening,” a former cabinet minister who attended the meeting told me. The ISI allowed the militants to do what they wanted out of sympathy, he said. “The state is not as incompetent as people believe.”

Finally Bin Laden

It took more than three years before the depth of Pakistan’s relationship with Al Qaeda was thrust into the open and the world learned where Bin Laden had been hiding, just a few hundred yards from Pakistan’s top military academy. In May 2011, I drove with a Pakistani colleague down a road in Abbottabad until we were stopped by the Pakistani military. We left our car and walked down a side street, past several walled houses and then along a dirt path until there it was: Osama bin Laden’s house, a three-story concrete building, mostly concealed behind concrete walls as high as 18 feet, topped with rusting strands of barbed wire. This was where Bin Laden hid for nearly six years, and where, 30 hours earlier, Navy SEAL commandos shot him dead in a top-floor bedroom.

After a decade of reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan and tracking Bin Laden, I was fascinated to see where and how he hid. He had dispensed with the large entourage that surrounded him in Afghanistan. For nearly eight years, he relied on just two trusted Pakistanis, whom American investigators described as a courier and his brother.

People knew that the house was strange, and one local rumor had it that it was a place where wounded Taliban from Waziristan recuperated. I was told this by Musharraf’s former civilian intelligence chief, who had himself been accused of having a hand in hiding Bin Laden in Abbottabad. He denied any involvement, but he did not absolve local intelligence agents, who would have checked the house. All over the country, Pakistan’s various intelligence agencies — the ISI, the Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence — keep safe houses for undercover operations. They use residential houses, often in quiet, secure neighborhoods, where they lodge people for interrogation or simply enforced seclusion. Detainees have been questioned by American interrogators in such places and sometimes held for months. Leaders of banned militant groups are often placed in protective custody in this way. Others, including Taliban leaders who took refuge in Pakistan after their fall in Afghanistan in 2001, lived under a looser arrangement, with their own guards but also known to their Pakistani handlers, former Pakistani officials told me. Because of Pakistan’s long practice of covertly supporting militant groups, police officers — who have been warned off or even demoted for getting in the way of ISI operations — have learned to leave such safe houses alone.

The split over how to handle militants is not just between the ISI and the local police; the intelligence service itself is compartmentalized. In 2007, a former senior intelligence official who worked on tracking members of Al Qaeda after Sept. 11 told me that while one part of the ISI was engaged in hunting down militants, another part continued to work with them.

Soon after the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden’s house, a Pakistani official told me that the United States had direct evidence that the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, knew of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The information came from a senior United States official, and I guessed that the Americans had intercepted a phone call of Pasha’s or one about him in the days after the raid. “He knew of Osama’s whereabouts, yes,” the Pakistani official told me. The official was surprised to learn this and said the Americans were even more so. Pasha had been an energetic opponent of the Taliban and an open and cooperative counterpart for the Americans at the ISI. “Pasha was always their blue-eyed boy,” the official said. But in the weeks and months after the raid, Pasha and the ISI press office strenuously denied that they had any knowledge of Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad.

Fantastic article… If you want to understand the dynamics in place and how things went down you have to read this.

New York Times. What Pakistan knew about Bin Laden

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Amazon central to Drone Strikes on Americans. Sniper time. Secret Space plane. Cryptography and it’s value.

I am off this afternoon and usually do not blog this much. I really started the blog to talk about Backgammon and the Indianapolis Colts. I never thought anyone would ever read it… I instead starting writing about things that interest me. Drones, History, Foreign Policy, NSA, Cryptography, CIA etc…

I was totally alarmed by two things I read today.

Amazons role in targeted killings of Americans.

I personally am against the use of Drones as weapons vs anyone for any reason. If you target Americans… You are not allowing them you are taking away a persons Constitutional guarantee of due process of the law.

“”””””Amazon is now integral to the U.S. government’s foreign policy of threatening and killing.

Any presidential decision to take the life of an American citizen is a subset of a much larger grave problem. Whatever the nationality of those who hear the menacing buzz of a drone overhead, the hijacking of skies to threaten and kill those below is unconscionable. And, as presently implemented, unconstitutional.

On Feb. 11 the Times reported that the Obama administration “is debating whether to authorize a lethal strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan who some believe is actively plotting terrorist attacks.” In effect, at issue is whether the president should order a summary execution — an assassination — on his say-so.

The American way isn’t supposed to be that way. The “due process of law” required by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution is not supposed to be whatever the president decides to do.”””””””

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4775840

DHS to buy 141,000 Sniper Bullets… Bringing the amount of ammunition purchased in last several years at over 2 billion

This is just staggering and scary.

“””””””””The Department of Homeland Security is buying more bullets with a solicitation for over 141,00 rounds of sniper ammunition.

According to a solicitation posted on FedBizOpps, the federal agency is looking to procure 141,160 rounds of Hornady .308 Winchester 168gr A-MAX TAP ammunition.

Such ammunition is sometimes retailed as “Zombie Max,” a marketing gimmick alluding to its power.

“What makes the .308 ammunition so deadly is the long range capability of the round,” notes James Smith. “The ability is called ballistic coefficient, or the efficiency of a projectile in overcoming air resistance as it travels to its target. According to Speer Reloading Manual Number 13, the .308 165 grain has the highest coefficient of any hunting rifle.”

The latest purchase further illustrates the fallacy of the DHS’ excuse that it is buying bullets in bulk in order to save money.

The federal agency will pay around $1.20 for each round, when a lower grain round could be acquired for around a quarter of the price.

The DHS has faced questions over the last couple of years as to the purpose of its mass ammo purchases which have totaled over 2 billion bullets, with some fearing the federal agency is gearing up for civil unrest.””””””””

http://nation.foxnews.com/2014/02/11/homeland-security-purchase-141000-rounds-sniper-ammo

Secret Space plane in orbit for 400 days

Interesting science wise.. Terrifying it is another example of incredible technology being used for horrific purposes most likely.

“””””””The U.S. Air Force’s unmanned X-37B space plane has now circled Earth for more than 400 days on a hush-hush mission that is creeping closer and closer to the vehicle’s orbital longevity record.
The X-37B spacecraft launched on Dec. 11, 2012, meaning that it has been aloft for 413 days as of Tuesday (Jan. 28) on the third mission for the program, which is known as OTV-3 (short for Orbital Test Vehicle-3). The endurance record is 469 days, set during OTV-2, which blasted off in 2011.
OTV-2 and OTV-3 have utilized different X-37B vehicle (the Air Force currently has two vehicles). The space plane currently zipping around Earth also flew the program’s inaugural OTV-1 mission, which stayed in space for 225 days after launching in 2010. [See photos from the X-37B space plane’s OTV-3 mission] “””””””””

http://m.space.com/24459-x37b-space-plane-mission-400-days.html

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Cryptography. Why is it so vital an interest to me and especially the NSA

“”””””””Most discussion of the Snowden revelations has looked at stories that have straightforward political implications, such as the tapping of German Chancellor Merkel’s phone. However, governments have spied on each other for hundreds of years. It’s harder to understand why Snowden’s release of documents which seem to show that the NSA has compromised cryptographic standards is important.

Governments want to be able to communicate without their adversaries abroad being able to listen to what they say. They also want to be able to listen in on their adversaries. Cryptography, the science of making codes and encoding information, and cryptanalysis, the science of breaking codes and decoding information, have important implications for national security. The U.S., like many other countries, used to treat codes as potential weapons, and controlled their export to foreign countries until the 1990s. The NSA played a key role in trying to break other countries’ codes, but it also had responsibility for protecting U.S. communications from external attackers.

For a long time, the U.S. national security establishment was able to keep a lid on cryptography. On the one hand, most serious users of cryptography in the U.S. were either part of the government or large firms (which could be influenced by the government). On the other, the U.S. imposed export restrictions on cryptographic technologies, to try to prevent them getting to countries with hostile interests. The NSA could both secure U.S. systems against foreign cryptanalysis and try to break other countries’ (and non-state actors’) codes without any very obvious conflict between its two roles.

From the 1980s on, it became harder and more complicated for the NSA to balance cracking foreigners’ cryptography while protecting and developing U.S. cryptography. The NSA began to lose control of cryptography as more private companies started to use it for their own purposes, and to push for stronger codes. These codes were tougher for the NSA to crack, and more likely (because they were in the private sector) to escape to foreign jurisdictions. As Whitfield Diffie and Susan Landau’s history of cryptography policy, Privacy on the Line describes it, the NSA tried to extend its authority to cover U.S. private industry as well as the public sector. This would allow it to influence the standards used by the private sector. However, the U.S. Congress was suspicious of the NSA, and put a different body, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), in charge of private sector cryptography standards. As a top-secret memo made clear, the NSA was very unhappy with this decision, even though it still had substantial informal influence over the code making process. The NIST was poorly funded, and had little technical expertise, so that it had to consult with NSA over standards. Since the NSA had resources and technical expertise, the NSA was better able to shape NIST standards much more than Congress had ever envisaged .

These tensions broke out into the so-called “Crypto Wars” in the 1990s, when Phil Zimmerman, an activist and software developer, created a program called PGP or Pretty Good Privacy, which gave ordinary computer users access to new and powerful cryptographic techniques. U.S. authorities investigated Zimmerman for breach of export controls law, but had to give up when privacy activists pulled a series of clever stunts that made the law effectively unenforceable. At more or less the same time, the U.S. was dealing with a surging demand for strong cryptography, which it tried to resolve in law-enforcement friendly ways, through creating standards which would allow the government some access (through a scheme called “key escrow”) to encrypted communications. These efforts too failed, leading to the effective abandonment of U.S. efforts to limit private access to strong cryptography. It appeared that the national security state had lost out to an alliance of civil liberties activists (who wanted strong cryptography for individuals) and businesses (which wanted to get rid of export control rules that they saw as hampering U.S. competitiveness).

The old traditional cryptography regime, which had been dominated by national security, gave way to a new regime, based around electronic commerce, and the use of cryptography to protect communications, personal information and so on. People use sophisticated cryptography every day on the Internet, without ever realizing it, every time they click on a https:// Web address. They trust encryption to protect their bank account details, personal information and pretty much every other form of sensitive information on the Internet. Without widespread strong encryption, the Internet would be a much scarier place, where people would be far less likely to use their credit cards to buy things or reveal (knowingly or unknowingly) sensitive data.”””””””””

http://washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/02/12/the-political-science-of-cybersecurity-ii-why-cryptography-is-so-important/

Black Holes. “If you want to crown them then crown their ass”. Title dates back to a Denny Green football rant. Plus Afghanistan and our buddies the NSA.

I honestly wish I knew more about astronomy. I have heard it said it may be the toughest field to be an expert in. Almost everyone has an IQ above 160. Competition is fierce apparently. What if we rethought black holes? Stephan Hawking apparently has. Some of his thoughts are very interesting.

“””””Black holes don’t actually exist in the way we traditionally think of them, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has proposed in a short but potentially revolutionary paper.

Classical theory holds that no energy or information can ever escape a black hole, but the principles of quantum physics suggest it can. This contradiction has been the subject of debate among physicists for years. In the paper, “Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes,” Dr. Hawking proposes a solution to this paradox: instead of devouring information and energy permanently, black holes release it back into the universe in a garbled, unrecognizable form.

Traditionally, black holes were thought to contain an “event horizon,” a sharp boundary beyond which even light cannot escape the gravitational pull of the black hole’s infinitely dense core. Now Dr. Hawking proposes a shifting boundary, the “apparent” horizon, which fluctuates according to quantum effects.

“THERE ARE NO BLACK HOLES,” THE PAPER CONCLUDES

Among other implications, this new theory would have consequences for any astronaut who happened to fall into a black hole. According to quantum physics, the unlucky astronaut would immediately burn up in a “firewall” of intense radiation. Relativity, however, holds that the astronaut would be gradually pulled and stretched like pasta until being crushed at the black hole’s core. Hawking’s theory dispenses with the paradox because without an event horizon, there would be no firewall.”””””””

verge article on

Here is a link to Hawkins paper. It is fairly short.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1401.5761v1.pdf

Hawkins paper

Historical Black hole theory

“””””””The story starts in 1784, when a geologist named John Michell was thinking deeply about Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity. In Newtonian physics, a cannonball can be shot into orbit around the Earth if it surpasses a particular speed, known as the planet’s escape velocity. This speed depends on the mass and radius of the object you are trying to escape from. Michell’s insight was to imagine a body whose escape velocity was so great that it exceeded the speed of light – 300,000 kilometers per second – first measured in 1676 by the Danish astronomer Ole Romer.

Michell presented his results to other scientists, who speculated that massive “dark stars” might exist in abundance in the sky but be invisible because light can’t escape their surfaces. The French mathematician Pierre-Simon Laplace later made an independent discovery of these “dark stars” and both luminaries correctly calculated the very small radius – 6 kilometers – such an object would have if it were as massive as our sun.

After the revolutions of 20th century physics, black holes got much weirder. In 1916, a short while after Einstein published the complex equations underpinning General Relativity (which Einstein himself couldn’t entirely solve), a German astronomer named Karl Schwarzschild showed that a massive object squeezed to a single point would warp space around it so much that even light couldn’t escape. Though the cartoon version of black holes has them sucking everything up like a vacuum cleaner, light would only be unable to escape Schwarzschild’s object if it was inside a particular radius, called the Schwarzschild radius. Beyond this “event horizon,” you could safely leave the vicinity of a black hole.

Neither Schwarzschild nor Einstein believed this object was anything other than a mathematical curiosity. It took a much better understanding of the lives of stars before black holes were taken seriously. You see, a star only works because it preserves a delicate balance between gravity, which is constantly trying to pull its mass inward, and the nuclear furnace in its belly, which exerts pressure outward. At some point a star runs out of fuel and the fusion at its core turns off. Gravity is given the upper hand, causing the star to collapse. For stars like our sun, this collapse is halted when the electrons in the star’s atoms get so close that they generate a quantum mechanical force called electron degeneracy pressure. An object held up by this pressure is called a white dwarf.”””””

wired article on black hole theory in History

Afghanistan pullout seen as a peril to US drone mission

” I am not here… This isn’t happening”
Radiohead–How to disappear completely.

Apparently a big concern of pulling out the troops is we will lose use of airbases that we attack militants, women and children with. It seems like a smoke screen to me to be a concern of a pullout might affect something else. Why can we just not build more efficient drones that could take off from further away? Can’t we launch drones from Aircraft carriers or other bases in the Middle East? Hasn’t drone technology improved to the point they can almost fly 24 hours non stop? ( I believe the giant new Navy Drone can do that).

Can I say as matter of my opinion. Karzhi was one of the worst decisions that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield ever had. In my estimation they had some seriously horrible decision blunders ( Patriot Act, NSA global surveillance, enhanced interrogation, rendition program! black site prisons—I could go on and on) but he is a train wreck that we backed, financed and trained.

“”””””WASHINGTON — The risk that President Obama may be forced to pull all American troops out of Afghanistan by the end of the year has set off concerns inside the American intelligence agencies that they could lose their air bases used for drone strikes against Al Qaeda in Pakistan and for responding to a nuclear crisis in the region.

Until now, the debate here and in Kabul about the size and duration of an American-led allied force in Afghanistan after 2014 had focused on that country’s long-term security. But these new concerns also reflect how troop levels in Afghanistan directly affect long-term American security interests in neighboring Pakistan, according to administration, military and intelligence officials.

The concern has become serious enough that the Obama administration has organized a team of intelligence, military and policy specialists to devise alternatives to mitigate the damage if a final security deal cannot be struck with the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who has declined to enact an agreement that American officials thought was completed last year.”””””

Times article discussing drones

NSA– pulling massive data from your apps.

If you follow this blog you know I am fascinated and repulsed to some degree what big brother… I mean the NSA is doing. Nothing would surprise me at this point. I personally use emails that are encrypted and have started using the TOR browser to remain secure on my iMac. I have nothing to hide but it is the point. Why make it easy for them to read you like a book… Somewhere they have a huge database about you, me and almost everyone on the planet.

“””””””””New leaked NSA documents shed a new light on the agency’s assault on the data leaked by smartphone apps. By targeting the app configuration data, the NSA and GCHQ are able to pull date ranging from general characteristics like age and ethnicity to specific location based on GPS. The documents outline multiple tactics for unearthing this data, including a direct tap on app configuration data and information sent to ad networks. Using app data permissions as a jumping off point, the NSA is able to pull any data advertisers have access to, plotting data collected in this manner against the Marina database of web-based metadata. The documents point out Angry Birds as an example of an ad-supported app that sends potentially useful data to ad networks, allowing the NSA to grab the data in transit.

“INTERCEPTING GOOGLE MAPS QUERIES MADE ON SMARTPHONES”

The documents also specifically instruct agency staffers in “intercepting Google Maps queries made on smartphones, and using them to collect large volumes of location information.” A 2010 documents also highlights Android phones as sending GPS information “in the clear” (without encryption), giving the NSA the user’s location every time he or she pulls up Google Maps.””””””””

verge article on apps being used massively by NSA

From the Guardian article

“””””””””The National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet, according to top secret documents.

The data pouring onto communication networks from the new generation of iPhone and Android apps ranges from phone model and screen size to personal details such as age, gender and location. Some apps, the documents state, can share users’ most sensitive information such as sexual orientation – and one app recorded in the material even sends specific sexual preferences such as whether or not the user may be a swinger.

Many smartphone owners will be unaware of the full extent this information is being shared across the internet, and even the most sophisticated would be unlikely to realise that all of it is available for the spy agencies to collect.

Dozens of classified documents, provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden and reported in partnership with the New York Times and ProPublica, detail the NSA and GCHQ efforts to piggyback on this commercial data collection for their own purposes.

Scooping up information the apps are sending about their users allows the agencies to collect large quantities of mobile phone data from their existing mass surveillance tools – such as cable taps, or from international mobile networks – rather than solely from hacking into individual mobile handsets.

Exploiting phone information and location is a high-priority effort for the intelligence agencies, as terrorists and other intelligence targets make substantial use of phones in planning and carrying out their activities, for example by using phones as triggering devices in conflict zones. The NSA has cumulatively spent more than $1bn in its phone targeting efforts.

The disclosures also reveal how much the shift towards smartphone browsing could benefit spy agencies’ collection efforts.”””””””””””””

Guardian article outlining program

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DEA and the continued deceit and deception of the American Public

I find this to be incredibly concerning. More so than the original leaks from Snowden or The Guardian. In a lot of respects I knew what was going on from paying attention and reading between the lines. The fact is it doesn’t matter if it is the NSA OR GCHQ or anyone of the other “Five Eyes” partners who are part of Echelon… You and I and everyone is being spied upon. The idea that the DEA would have officers act as if it was coincidence you got pulled over is very very alarming. The Surveillance in 1984 seems mild compared to what is actually taking place. For reasons that mystify me they were not able to have a good grasp on the recent Al-Qaeda jail breaks from 3 different locations. Over a thousands prisoners were freed!! Isn’t that exactly the type of thing the NSA is trying to convince you that it has been able to stop? I am sorry to say that that stopping Al-Qaeda takes a back seat to the continued expansion of the total police and surveillance state.

The fact that Federal Agents were told to in effect lie and be deceitful as a part of an organized policy is downright scary.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

Reuters article

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Isn’t a well known fact the War on Drugs has been a disaster? Hasn’t it failed on so many levels?

More Guardian revelations

US embassies in the Middle East are to remain closed for the rest of the week as supporters of the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance powers used the unspecified terror alert to bolster the case against reining in the controversial measures.

A privacy group questioned the publicity given to the latest alert after the State Department announced on Sunday evening that the number of embassies and consulates closed “out of an abundance of caution”
would be increased, with some remaining shut for up to a week.

It follows the alleged interception of unspecified al-Qaida terror threats in Yemen, which intelligence committee members in Congress have been told were collected overseas using powers granted to the NSA under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Most criticism of the NSA following revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden has focused on its domestic surveillance powers under section 215 of the Patriot Act, but the NSA’s supporters seized on the terror intercepts as a way to defend the beleaguered agency from criticism of this bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, which is unlikely to have played any role in the current al-Qaida intercepts.

Rebublican senator Saxby Chambliss said the NSA had identified threats that were the most serious for years and akin to levels of “terrorist chatter” picked up before 9/11.

“These [NSA] programs are controversial, we understand that,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. “But they are also very important … If we did not have these programs, then we simply would not be able to listen in on the bad guys.”

Senator Lindsey Graham added: “To the members of Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great. If you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you’re putting our nation at risk. We need to have policies in place that can deal with the threats that exist, and they are real, and they are growing.”

It is more of a continued program to scare people into accepting the Surveillance state. It is clear as glass. Once again the majority of the public is being manipulated like they are pawns..

Further

But the widespread linking of the latest terror alerts with the debate over the domestic powers of the NSA has begun to raise concern among privacy campaigners, who fear ulterior political motives.

Amie Stepanovich, a lawyer with the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said: “The NSA’s choice to publish these threats at this time perpetuates a culture of fear and unquestioning deference to surveillance in the United States.”

News of the fresh terror alert came as Congress looked increasingly likely to pursue fresh attempts to limit the NSA’s domestic powers when it returns in September.

“The NSA takes in threat information every day. You have to ask, why now? What makes this information different?” added Stepanovich.

“Too much of what we hear from the government about surveillance is either speculation or sweeping assertions that lack corroboration. The question isn’t if these programs used by this NSA can find legitimate threats, it’s if the same threats couldn’t be discovered in a less invasive manner. This situation fails to justify the NSA’s unchecked access to our personal information.”

timing is coincidence?

I believe in coincidence.. Not when it comes to things like this. This is a well thought out aspect of policy.

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