The Men Who Leaked The Secrets
To the likes of Brooks, Snowden was a disconcerting mystery; Glenn Greenwald, though, got him right away. "He had no power, no prestige, he grew up in a lower-middle-class family, totally obscure, totally ordinary," Greenwald says. "He didn't even have a high school diploma. But he was going to change the world – and I knew that." And, Greenwald also believed, so would he. "In all kinds of ways, my whole life has been in preparation for this moment," he says. [more inside]
How would you, as a junior analyst in S2C41, the branch of the Signals Intelligence Directorate, navigate the millions of records logged daily, in order to find the nugget to get you noticed?
“EVILOLIVE, MADCAPOCELOT, ORANGECRUSH, COBALTFALCON, DARKTHUNDER: the names are beguiling. But they don’t always tell us much, which is their reason for existing: covernames aren’t classified, and many of them – including the names of the NSA’s main databases for intercepted communications data, MAINWAY, MARINA, PINWALE and NUCLEON – have been seen in public before, in job ads and resumés posted online.” Daniel Soar sorts through the possibilities in the London Review of Books
, 24 Oct 2013. (See also William Arkin's blog on codenames) [more inside]
The United States' National Security organization has many parts, from the famous (NSA
) to the mundane (OCI
) to the more esoteric (NRO
). But even the most dedicated Washington insider may not have heard of INR
. [more inside]
In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall)
of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program
documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations
against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission
and the Church
committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George
,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly
: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
NSA E-Mail Surveillance Renews Concerns in Congress.
"Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation." [Via]
Is Congress gearing up to hold a new American Truth Commission?
What new horrors would they find if they did? The last time we tried this
we uncovered MK/ULTRA
, plots to kill Castro
& Project SHAMROCK
. One of the most significant outcomes was a little thing called FISA
. After 30 years it may finally be time to wash out our national dirty laundry again.
The NSA Bibliographies The NSA
internally publishes thousands of papers every year, on every topic from spycraft to cryptography to physics & aliens (no, really!). Each year the titles of these papers gets indexed & those indexes are also published internally. The Memory Hole has made a successful FOIA request for a large number of these, spanning almost 50 years. We don't get to see the actual papers, but just the titles are fascinating - including such page turners as "Computer Virus Infections: Is NSA Vulnerable?", "KAL 007 Shootdown: A View from [redacted]", "NSA in the Cyberpunk Future", "Telephone Codes and Safe Combinations: A Deadly Duo", "Coupon Collecting and Cryptology", "Cranks, Nuts, and Screwballs" & my personal favorite, "Key to the Extraterrestrial Messages". When you're done browsing the titles, there's a sample form you can use to request some of the documents yourself!
'The committee is, to put it bluntly, basically under the control of the White House,"
said Jay Rockefeller, vice-president of the Senate Intelligence Committee, after the committee quashed a broad inquiry into the legality of the NSA spying on Americans -- despite an increasing number of legal scholars coming forward
that the program is "blatantly illegal,"
in the words of Yale Law School dean Harold Koh. Meanwhile, the GOP proposes giving spying on Americans the "force of law"
while subjecting it to "rigorous oversight."
The New Hows and Whys of Global Eavesdropping
[book review: for access: "legion" "legion"
] Remember chatter? After 9/11, it was all over the news. For months, snatches of cellphone conversations in Karachi or Tora Bora routinely made the front page. Television newscasters could chill the blood instantly by reporting on "increased levels of chatter" somewhere in the ether. But what exactly was it? Who was picking it up, and how were they making sense of it?
Patrick Radden Keefe does his best to answer these questions and demystify a very mysterious subject in "Chatter," a beginner's guide to the world of electronic espionage and the work of the National Security Agency, responsible for communications security and signals intelligence, or "sigint." In a series of semiautonomous chapters, he describes Echelon, the vast electronic intelligence-gathering system operated by the United States and its English-speaking allies; surveys the current technology of global eavesdropping; and tries to sort out the vexed issue of privacy rights versus security demands in a world at war with terrorism.
Intelligence expert does new kind of spin
(as in the 180 degree kind). Intelligence expert (and former National Security Advisor) Kenneth Pollack appeared on NPR
[scroll to 3rd entry for full audio] to retract statements that he made on the same show
Pollack seems to be the first major wonk to call change his mind not on a single, tangible intelligence claim, but on the broader rationale for war in Iraq, and on the reliability of American intelligence in general.
Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans
And this is justified because of National Security. We will lose much that is personal, private, but in turn we will be protefted against the bad guys. Or will we? When NASA and CIA claim they need to spy domestically, and computers gather all data on Americans, what is left that is not what Orwell had suggested might our future be like?Or, as Morth Sahl once labelled a comic record: TheFuture Lies Ahead."