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That’s Miss Jackson, if you’re NSAty!

27 Nov
One can only wonder if this bag of (biege) Nixonian dirty tricks was really only going to be used against Muslims accused of inciting terrorism.  Who of course have no rights once so accused.

NSA planned to shame ‘radicalizers’ by revealing their porn-browsing history: report

The latest document leaked by Edward Snowden reveals the National Security Agency sought to undermine the reputations of six people, including one U.S. person, who the agency believed incited terrorist activity through social media. Two of the targets could be smeared by targeting the hypocrisy of their public statements vs. their private ‘online promiscuity.’

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The National Security Agency planned to use targets’ browsing history as a way to undermine their credibility, according to a new report.

The National Security Agency proposed smearing supposed terrorist sympathizers by publicizing their visits to porn sites, according to a new report.
The NSA document provided by Edward Snowden and released late Tuesday reveals that the agency had targeted six Muslims who could be undermined by highlighting the hypocrisy of their “personal vulnerabilities,” according to the new story in the Huffington Post.
The report does not identify the targets, who the NSA dubs “radicalizers” — people who allegedly incite terrorist activity through rhetoric.
Information that could damage the targets’ reputations includes “viewing sexually explicit material online” and “using sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls,” the Huffington Post reported, citing the documents dated Oct. 3, 2012.
The six targets live outside the U.S., though one is classified as a “U.S. person,” meaning he is either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and entitled to greater legal protections, according to the report.
None of the targets were accused of terrorism — rather, they allegedly inspired others by expressing “controversial ideas” through social media, the Huffington Post reported.
The information was gleaned mostly through “Sunni extremist communications,” according to the top-secret documents.
One of the targets allegedly spread the message that “non-Muslims are a threat to Islam” — a claim that could be countered by highlighting his “online promiscuity,” according to documents.
The latest disclosure from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency targeted six Muslims — including two who had tendencies for 'online promiscuity.'


The latest disclosure from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the agency targeted six Muslims — including two who had tendencies for ‘online promiscuity.’

The NSA said the same accusation of raunchy browsing history could be used against a “respected academic” who says that “offensive jihad is justified.”
It is unclear if the NSA actually carried out the smear campaigns, or if the agency initiated contact with the targets. Their names were redacted by the Huffington Post. The Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Agency were listed as recipients of the NSA documents.
The article was co-written by Glenn Greenwald, one of the reporters who broke the first of numerous stories on Snowden’s leaks on June 5.
Snowden, a former NSA defense contractor, is living in Russia under temporary asylum. He has been charged with violations of the U.S. Espionage Act.
The ongoing disclosures have rocked the secretive NSA and spurred a debate about the balance between national security and privacy.
Among the revelations are that the NSA collects call data on essentially all phone calls made within the U.S., that it has direct access to the servers of major Internet companies, and that it also broke into the internal data streams of companies such as Google and Yahoo.
On Tuesday the Washington Post reported that Microsoft was preparing to aggressively pursue new encryption of traffic through its servers following revelations about NSA spying.

Read more:

Terms and Condition

17 Aug
A documentary, slightly comic, playing all this week in DC at the West End Cinema (23rd and M).

Here’s the trailer and some video of the discussion after the (DC) premier, including a call from Dennis Kucinich to “punch the NSA’s card” and a demented, miasmic Obama supporter who worries that Obama’s data collection on his supporters for his campaign will someday fall into the “wrong” hands.

Here’s the panel discussion:

Here’s Dennis Kucinich (in the audience) calling for the abolition of the NSA, and a slightly delusional Obama supporter worrying that the REAL problem is that Organizing for America did such a good job of data collection that the NSA will now vacuum up that data and an evil tea party president in the future will know who he is!  And maybe target him with the IRS!

Here’s the movie trailer:

More of the panel:

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, in the audience with his wife, calls for abolishing the NSA:

Reason magazine interview with Cullen Hollback, the director:

More of the panel:

And more panel:

And more!


5 Jul

Disgruntled citizens from around the nation’s capital gathered on Independence Day to rally against the U.S. government’s domestic surveillance practices at a protest inspired by recent revelations of the breadth of these programs.
“The abuse of power isn’t the problem,” Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party, told a crowd in downtown Washington, D.C.’s McPherson Square. “The problem is the power to abuse.”
The Libertarian Party was an official sponsor of Thursday’s Restore The Fourth protests, Howell said. Besides the one in Washington, Restore The Fourth saw events take place in cities around the country, including New York, Denver, Los Angeles, and Chicago, according to the organizers’website.
Howell and a roster of other speakers decried the National Security Agency’s now notorious PRISM program, the use of drones for domestic surveillance, and the FBI’s warrantless searches and seizures, among other alleged abuses. By turns, they commended whistle-blowers, including Edward Snowden, who have revealed what Thursday’s crowd viewed as violations of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin, who was arrested last week at a White House protest against the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, invited the crowd to send letters to Bradley Manning and attend his trial, in which he is being tried for multiple crimes after releasing government secrets to WikiLeaks in 2010.
IMG_2384She was seen later chatting with Thomas Drake, an earlier NSA whistle-blower who also spoke at the event.
“It’s very encouraging to know that we’re having rallies all over the country. It’s about time — I mean, my gosh,” Drake told The College Fix. “We have to shake the tree of liberty, and that’s what’s happening right now.”
Protesters came from around the region to demonstrate on Thursday, some carrying signs and wearing Guy Fawks masks. When helicopters flew overhead, eyes turned upwards, but police presence was low and no arrests were observed.
Julie Ershadi is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College
(Photos by Julie Ershadi)

Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans

21 Jun

(Michael Hastings’ last piece before his car crashed.)

Besides Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, most Democrats abandoned their civil liberty positions during the age of Obama. With a new leak investigation looming, the Democrat leadership are now being forced to confront all the secrets they’ve tried to hide.posted on June 7, 2013 at 12:10pm EDT

Image by Jeff Chiu / AP
For most bigwig Democrats in Washington, D.C., the last 48 hours has delivered news of the worst kind — a flood of new information that has washed away any lingering doubts about where President Obama and his party stand on civil liberties, full stop.
Glenn Greenwald’s exposure of the NSA’s massive domestic spy program has revealed the entire caste of current Democratic leaders as a gang of civil liberty opportunists, whose true passion, it seems, was in trolling George W. Bush for eight years on matters of national security.
“Everyone should just calm down,” Senator Harry Reid said yesterday, inhaling slowly.
That’s right: don’t panic.
The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.
Recall what Senator Levin told CNN in 2005, demanding to “urgently hold an inquiry” into what was supposedly President Bush’s domestic wiretap program.
Levin continued, at length: “It means that there’s some growing concern on Capitol Hill about a program which seems to be so totally unauthorized and unexplained…The president wraps himself in the law, saying that it is totally legal, but he doesn’t give what the legal basis is for this. He avoided using the law, which we provided to the president, where even when there is an emergency and there’s a need for urgent action can first tap the wire and then go to a court.”
There are two notable exception to this rule are Senator Ron Wyden, from Oregon, and Sen. Mark Udall from Colorado, who had seemed to be fighting a largely lonely, frustrating battle against Obama’s national security state.
As Mark Udall told the Denver Post yesterday: “[I] did everything short of leaking classified information” to stop it.
His ally in Oregon, Ron Wyden, was one of the first to seize on the Guardian’s news break: “I will tell you from a policy standpoint, when a law-abiding citizen makes a call, they expect that who they call, when they call and where they call from will be kept private,” Wyden said to Politico, noting “there’s going to be a big debate about this.” The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, admitted he’d mislead Senator Wyden at a hearing earlier this year, revising his statement yesterday to state that the NSA didn’t do “voyerustic” surveillance.
The state of affairs, in other words, is so grave that two sitting Senators went as close as they could to violating their unconstitutional security oaths in order to warn the country of information that otherwise would not have been declassified until April of 2038, according to the Verizon court order obtained by Greenwald.
Now, we’re about to see if the Obama administration’s version of the national security state will begin to eat itself.
Unsurprisingly, the White House has dug in, calling their North Korea-esque tools “essential” to stop terrorism, and loathe to give up the political edge they’ve seized for Democrats on national security issues under Obama’s leadership. The AP spying scandal — which the administration attempted to downplay at the time, even appointing Eric Holder to lead his own investigation into himself —was one of the unexpected consequences of one of two leak investigations that Obama ordered during the 2012 campaign.
It’s unclear where a possible third leak investigation would lead. However, judging by the DOJ’s and FBI’s recent history, it would seem that any new leak case would involve obtaining the phone records of reporters at the Guardian, the Washington Post, employees at various agencies who would have had access to the leaked material, as well as politicians and staffers in Congress—records, we now can safely posit, they already have unchecked and full access to.
In short: any so-called credible DOJ/FBI leak investigation, by its very nature, would have to involve the Obama administration invasively using the very surveillance and data techniques it is attempting to hide in order to snoop on a few Democratic Senators and more media outlets, including one based overseas.

Outside of Washington, D.C., the frustration that Wyden and Udall have felt has been exponentially magnified. Transparency supporters, whistleblowers, and investigative reporters, especially those writers who have aggressively pursued the connections between the corporate defense industry and federal and local authorities involved in domestic surveillance, have been viciously attacked by the Obama administration and its allies in the FBI and DOJ.
Jacob Appplebaum, a transparency activist and computer savant, has been repeatedly harassed at American borders, having his laptop seized. Barrett Brown, another investigative journalist who has written for Vanity Fair, among others publications, exposed the connections between the private contracting firm HB Gary (a government contracting firm that, incidentally, proposed a plan to spy on and ruin the reputation of the Guardian’s Greenwald) and who is currently sitting in a Texas prison on trumped up FBI charges regarding his legitimate reportorial inquiry into the political collective known sometimes as Anonymous.
That’s not to mention former NSA official Thomas Drake (the Feds tried to destroys his life because he blew the whistle ); Fox News reporter James Rosen (named a “co-conspirator” by Holder’s DOJ); John Kirakou, formerly in the CIA, who raised concerns about the agency’s torture program, is also in prison for leaking “harmful” (read: embarrassing) classified info; and of course Wikileaks (under U.S. financial embargo); WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (locked up in Ecuador’s London embassy) and, of course, Bradley Manning, the young, idealistic, soldier who provided the public with perhaps the most critical trove of government documents ever released.
The attitude the Obama administration has toward Manning is revealing. What do they think of him? “Fuck Bradely Manning,” as one White House official put it to me last year during the campaign.
Screw Manning? Lol, screw us.
Perhaps more information will soon be forthcoming.

Keep tabs on Big Data and Big Government

20 Jun

Big Data in 5 Steps: Lessons from Shawn Kingsberry, CIO of RATB

Big data is a big task. Of the many agencies dealing with massive amounts of data is the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB). As an independent agency within the federal government, RATB is focused on providing extensive transparency insights to federal programs as well as preventing waste, fraud and abuse of Recovery Act funds. Since its establishment in 2009, RATB has become one of the swiftest federal agencies in technology.
Dealing with the enormous data associated with tracking all federal spending across the country is no easy task. RATB’s ability to track this excessive amount of data and make it available to citizens through is quite impressive. The website’s main feature is an interactive map that enables folks to look up how recovery funds are being used within their communities.
GovLoop spoke with Shawn Kingsberry, Chief Information Officer at RATB, to gain insight on the challenges, rewards and key questions regarding how to approach big data. The prevailing challenge is dealing with the huge growth of data. Kingsberry states that “by 2021, we’re going to be looking at 180,000 petabytes [of data] per month” transferred across the web. To compare, in 1990, we dealt with less than 20,000 petabytes per month.
At the same time, this data has the potential for reward in the form of advancing technology that can connect citizens and government. Given this climate of big data, agencies are increasing faced with the action item to tailor their big data strategies towards reward. Through Kingsberry’s expert insights, we outlined 5 essential steps to approaching big data. Want to read about the 5 steps? Take a look GovLoop’s latest guide, Transforming Your Agency with Big Data, to get the details on each step.
Thank you to our industry partners for sponsoring the GovLoop Report, Transforming Your Agency with Big Data. With any questions about this report, please reach out to Pat Fiorenza, Senior Research Analyst, at

WikiLeaks: Michael Hastings Said FBI Was Tracking Him Hours Before His Death

20 Jun

Michael Hastings Headshot - P 2013

The organization tweeted to its 1.9 million followers that the award-winning journalist contacted its lawyer shortly before the dramatic accident that took his life.

WikiLeaks says journalist Michael Hastings, 33, killed in a fiery crash early Tuesday morning after his Mercedes plowed into a tree near the corners of Melrose and Highland Avenues, had contacted the organization hours earlier to say he was the subject of an FBI investigation.
The tweet, issued Wednesday to WikiLeaks’1.9 million followers, reads, “Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyerJennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.”
The journalism community has poured forth with expressions of shock and deep sadness since news of Hastings’ sudden and dramatic death rippled across social media Tuesday.
Hastings, perhaps best known for the 2010 Rolling Stone piece that ultimately brought down U.S. Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, was hailed in countless obituaries as a fearless and unstoppable reporter.
“Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn’t want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor,” reads one post on BuzzFeed, where Hastings was a contributor. “While there is no template for a great reporter, he was one for reasons that were intrinsic to who he was: ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave.”
We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaksAlex Gibney‘s documentary about the secretive organization that publishes top-secret documents, is currently in theaters. The Fifth Estate, a scripted WikiLeaks drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as founder Julian Assange, is currently filming and is due in theaters Oct. 11.
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request to comment on this story.

Superman on the Surveillance State

14 Jun

Is Edward Snowden Superman? Toward the end of the new movie, even after he has saved the planet, Superman crashes a multi million dollar spy satellite US military intelligence is using to track him, so they can find out his secret identity. “I grew up in Kansas, I’m as American as you can get.”

This Massive Jellyfish Is Really an Aquatic Spy Robot

30 Mar

This five-and-a-half-foot robot jellyfish could be the future of Navy underwater surveillance. Seriously. Maybe. Certainly, if a team of engineers from Virginia Tech gets its way.
Meet the Cyro, an autonomous robot with eight mechanical legs ringing its metal chassis, designed to mimic the unique, efficient underwater propulsion of a jellyfish. Covered in silicone to replicate the jellyfish’s wavy, bioluminescent mesoglea — the jelly, basically — the Cyro weighs a staggering 170 pounds, all thanks to a five-year grant from the Office of Naval Research.
The robot is still a prototype, years away from being in the water. But it represents a new kind of testbed for oceanographic surveillance, the Cyro’s basic application. Like the bird- and insect-shaped drones the Air Force is developing, a jellyfish-like spybot has a natural stealth advantage. “Mimicking a natural animal found in a region allows you to explore a lot better,” says Alex Villanueva, a graduate student at Virginia Tech working on the Cyro.
It’s a much different model for underwater propulsion than the Navy’s used to. Jellyfishes move, uniquely, by flapping themselves about. “It’s not necessarily the best hydrodynamics propulsion mechanism, but the jellyfish has a very efficient metabolism: energy going in comes out as hydrodynamic energy,” Villaneuva says. The Cyro isn’t there yet, but it gets three to four hours of swimming time out of its rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery.
And it’s also a launch-and-forget robot. There’s no remote controls on the Cyro. Place it into the water, and its roll-pitch-yaw sensor package, pressure sensors and software do the rest. That’s something for the Navy to think about as it considers designs for its forthcoming unmanned underwater vehicle fleet.
There’s no saying whether the Navy will purchase the ‘bot, and its inventors are comfortable emphasizing its civilian potential as an oceanographic research testbed. But should the Navy decide it needs a surveillance tool that looks like a massive jellyfish, there’s one on offer.