Poppy-flowered Anemone. "Mister Fokker". Photo by: joanneleon.
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News & Opinion
You've heard by now that the latest release of documents happened yesterday. Just before they were published, Spencer Ackerman, who co-wrote with Glenn Greenwald the article that accompanied them, sent these out on Twitter:
OK, so. Are you ready for more? #NSAFiles— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
After NYT revealed part of it in 2005, the national-security white whale has been NSA's STELLARWIND. We speared it. http://t.co/...— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
A sidebar, w MORE NSA programs, which seem to indicate NSA is still collecting lots of Americans' Internet records. http://t.co/...— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
ANOTHER sidebar, this one a critical assessment of ex-DOJ official Jim Comey, now tapped to be FBI Director. http://t.co/...— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
There is so, so much more in the secret history of NSA warrantless surveillance than we could write up. That's where you come in.— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
So, as emptywheel has said, this document dump is much "meatier" than the previous ones, and the Guardian team is looking for help going through them and pulling all the relevant information out, connecting dots, etc. emptywheel went to work straight away with one of her her signature working thread posts over at her site and there is collaboration going on in various places, which you can watch happening on sites and social media. I suspect that there will be more focus on the NSA Files themselves for awhile rather than on taking down Snowden and Greenwald, for people who are more interested in the story than the messengers.
"Stellar Wind" is the program that whistleblower William Binney has been talking about for a number of years (and which ruined his career after he went through the official channels), and the one that James Risen wrote about in 2005 (and has been pursued by the DoJ for ever since). So for everyone who has been slapping the 'crazy conspiracy theorist' label on people who believed the very credible from the start Binney, you are the the ones with no credibility and your tactical conspiracy theory attacks are exposed for what they are. Oh, and you can shove it. Not one NSA whistleblower has been proven wrong by the Snowden documents and some have been vindicated. If what Russell Tice has revealed is also proven, then there is some serious trouble ahead.
NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under ObamaI've been using the term American Stasi about all of this. Turns out that the East German Stasi doesn't think that is hair on fire hater hyperbole.
• Secret program launched by Bush continued 'until 2011'
• Fisa court renewed collection order every 90 days
• Current NSA programs still mine US internet metadata
The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans, according to secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
The documents indicate that under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata "every 90 days". A senior administration official confirmed the program, stating that it ended in 2011.
The collection of these records began under the Bush administration's wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.
Memories of Stasi color Germans’ view of U.S. surveillance programs
BERLIN — Wolfgang Schmidt was seated in Berlin’s 1,200-foot-high TV tower, one of the few remaining landmarks left from the former East Germany. Peering out over the city that lived in fear when the communist party ruled it, he pondered the magnitude of domestic spying in the United States under the Obama administration. A smile spread across his face.
“You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true,” he said, recalling the days when he was a lieutenant colonel in the defunct communist country’s secret police, the Stasi.
Greenwald: Snowden’s Files Are Out There if ‘Anything Happens’ to Him
Snowden has shared encoded copies of all the documents he took so that they won’t disappear if he does, Glenn Greenwald tells Eli Lake.
For now, Greenwald said he is taking extra precautions against the prospect that he is a target of U.S. surveillance. He said he began using encrypted email when he began communicating with Snowden in February after Snowden sent him a YouTube video walking him through the procedure to encrypt his email.
“When I was in Hong Kong, I spoke to my partner in Rio via Skype and told him I would send an electronic encrypted copy of the documents,” Greenwald said. “I did not end up doing it. Two days later his laptop was stolen from our house and nothing else was taken. Nothing like that has happened before. I am not saying it’s connected to this, but obviously the possibility exists.”
When asked if Greenwald believed his computer was being monitored by the U.S. government. “I would be shocked if the U.S. government were not trying to access the information on my computer. I carry my computers and data with me everywhere I go.”
Smear Artists Think We're Stupid. Are They Right?So it looks like Joy Reid (@thereidreport) is using her spot on MSNBC to suggest that Greenwald conspired with Snowden, to raise questions about the timing of his job and to raise doubts about whether he and Laura Poitras got him to take a job at Booz and get specific secret documents. This is similar to the way the government is trying to make a case against Assange as a conspirator with Bradley Manning and to strip him of 1st amendment freedom of the press protections so that they can slap him with the Espionage Act. So many people are revealing things about themselves with this NSA Files project. It will be interesting to see how Reid handles it going forward. I had not paid much attention to this Washington Post story about her appearance on Lawrence O'Donnell's show and hadn't noticed anything that she had said or tweeted since the story broke. Another thing that I find highly curious is that the people who are targeting Greenwald are conveniently forgetting WaPo's Barton Gellman, who also broke the PRISM story. Why is that?
Second, what would be logically relevant is some examination of where Dareh Gregorian got his information. Who provided the information to Gregorian? Why? Was there any quid pro quo? For anyone inclined to complain that I'm asking for the kind of information about Gregorian that Gregorian is passing on about Greenwald, I'm not. Admittedly, there would be a form of karmic satisfaction in watching the Gregorians of the world wind up on the wrong end of their own slimy tactics, but learning anything salacious about Gregorian would be no more relevant than it is when we learn it about anyone else. But when someone puts his name on a logically irrelevant hit piece like Gregorian's, knowing who fed him his dirt and why would be hugely educational for people manipulated by establishment servants posing as journalists.
I have to emphasize that point for the Joy Reids of the world. What matters is relevance. As I noted above, Glenn Greenwald could be an axe murderer whose favorite hobby is bludgeoning baby seals -- and it would have zero bearing on the accuracy, relevance, or importance of what he's reported. But learning that someone like Darah Gregorian is being spoon-fed decade-old dirt (and not even particularly dirty dirt -- again, see #ggscandals) that has no logical relevance at all to the existence and ramifications of a metastasized domestic spying operation would go a long way toward helping consumers of media understand how the powers that be try to manipulate them.
In this regard, it's good to remember that the tactic of smearing whistleblowers and anyone else who challenges America's oligarchy isn't new. The Nixon administration broke into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist to try to uncover salacious material about Ellsberg. And Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton, and various other appendages of the ruling class have long been revealed to be engaging in similar, COINTELPRO-like tactics against Greenwald himself.
MSNBC’s Reid raises ‘questions’ about Guardian’s Glenn GreenwaldThe #ggscandals continue in the Twitterverse.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid responded that Snowden’s Booz maneuver sounded like fraud, then turned the focus to Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian columnist who has passed along Snowden’s leaks to the public. Reid:[...] There`s all sorts of questions here that haven`t been answered including by the journalists, by the way, who their whole point is transparency, but we’ve had this information sort of drip out now. We didn’t get it from those journalists in the first place saying, no, maybe he didn’t actually have this stuff when we talked to him in February.
And then I have this other question about they’re saying that — or at least Glenn Greenwald is saying he didn’t even know who the guy was, didn’t know his name until they flew to Hong Kong and transacted the leak. Well, my question is would you fly to Hong Kong and go through all of that trouble for someone you had no idea who they were and no verification of their identity? There are still so many questions about that that it has literally taken all the steam out of arguing about the actual contents of what was disclosed.
Glen Greenwald bites the heads off the gummy bears first. #ggscandals— revolutioncalling (@im1013) June 27, 2013
All of Glenn Greenwald's dogs are named "Glenn Greenwald" #ggscandals— Kevin Dooley (@kevindooleyirl) June 27, 2013
Narcissistic use of two n's in his first name #ggscandals— rosetta babel (@rosettababel) June 27, 2013
As you know, Comey has been nominated to head the FBI.
Hearing on James B. Comey to be Director of the FBI--July 9, 2013-- Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226 10AM http://t.co/...— Robert Caruso (@robertcaruso) June 27, 2013
James Comey remained at Justice Department as monitoring went on
Incoming FBI chief threatened to quit over illegal surveillance but NSA continued to harvest data after his act of rebellion
President Obama directly referred to that reputation when he nominated Comey to take over the FBI on June 21. Hovering over the announcement were the Guardian and Washington Post's revelations of wide-ranging surveillance efforts.
"To know Jim Comey is also to know his fierce independence and his deep integrity," Obama said. "He was prepared to give up a job he loved rather than be part of something he felt was fundamentally wrong."
Except that a classified report recounting the incident, acquired by the Guardian, complicates that view. Comey threatened to resign over the perceived illegality of one aspect of the surveillance. But he remained at the Justice Department for another year as that effort, operating under a new legal theory, continued nearly unchanged.
Shane Harris didn't waste any time.
The NSA Can't Tell the Difference Between an American and a ForeignerMatt Taibbi. Devastating.
That's why it sucks up information on everyone.
The National Security Agency has said for years that its global surveillance apparatus is only aimed at foreigners, and that ordinary Americans are only captured by accident. There's only problem with this long-standing contention, people who've worked within the system say: it's more-or-less technically impossible to keep average Americans out of the surveillance driftnet.
"There is physically no way to ensure that you're only gathering U.S. person e-mails," said a telecommunications executive who has implemented U.S. government orders to collect data on foreign targets. "The system doesn't make any distinction about the nationality" of the individual who sent the message.
While it's technically true that the NSA is not "targeting" the communications of Americans without a warrant, this is a narrow and legalistic statement. It belies the vast and indiscriminate scooping up of records on Americans' phone calls, e-mails, and Internet communications that has occurred for more than a decade under the cover of "foreign intelligence" gathering.
The NSA is routinely capturing and storing vast amounts of the electronic communications of American citizens and legal residents, even though they were never individually the subject of a terrorism or criminal investigation, according to interviews with current and former intelligence officials, technology experts, and newly released government documents.
Hey, MSM: All Journalism is Advocacy JournalismFinally some good people are coming right out and saying it, and as I've thought from the start of the NSA Files story, a lot of people are revealing themselves. No, we're not stupid and it's not like it hasn't been fairly obvious before, others not so obvious, but this story is so important to the State, it will be interesting to see if they will require all of their assets, even the most covert, to out themselves to save the status quo. Jeff Cohen makes some very good points in this article. You can see this war between independent journalism and the corporate media playing out in real time now. So who and what are they, really? And I think that limiting one faction to the "corporate media system" is not comprehensive enough. This isn't just happening in the corporate media, which you can see if you watch closely.
So New York Times Dealbook writer Andrew Ross Sorkin has apologized to journalist Glenn Greenwald for saying he'd "almost arrest" him, for his supposed aid and comfort of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. "I veered into hyperbole," was Sorkin's explanation.
I got into trouble the other day on Twitter for asking if David Gregory may have just had a "brain fart" when he asked Greenwald his infamous question, "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you be charged with a crime?" I hadn't seen the show and had only read the quote, and quite frankly, I don't watch a lot of David Gregory. Apparently, in context, even the question I asked is absurd (more on that later). But Sorkin is different. For Sorkin to call his outburst an accident, that I know is hilarious.
Did he also "veer into" a long career as a shameless, ball-gargling prostitute for Wall Street? As Jeff Cohen eloquently pointed out on HuffPo, isn't Sorkin the guy who's always bragging about how close he is to top bankers and parroting their views on things? This is a man who admitted, in print, that he only went down to Zucotti Park after a bank C.E.O. asked him, "Is this Occupy thing a big deal?"
Snowden Coverage: If U.S. Mass Media Were State-Controlled, Would They Look Any Different?I'm not sure what to think about this. So it looks like the Obama admin found their Stuxnet leaker, one of two big leak investigations he announced back in May, 2012, if I remember correctly. The other big leak they were investigating was related to the underwear bomber 2.0, and the pre-NSA Files disclosures about DoJ spying on news organizations was related to that. No announcement of who the leaker was has happened there. One of the things I find interesting about this General is that it seems he was against more war, to some extent. I've seen comments about this saying that the existence of Stuxnet wasn't the big problem our govt. had with this leak, it was the revelation of Israel's involvement in the development of it, and the revelation that someone in the Israeli establishment modified it in such a way that it was let loose. I think there will be a lot more reporting on this.
The Edward Snowden leaks have revealed a U.S. corporate media system at war with independent journalism. Many of the same outlets -- especially TV news -- that missed the Wall Street meltdown and cheer-led the Iraq invasion have come to resemble state-controlled media outlets in their near-total identification with the government as it pursues the now 30-year-old whistleblower.
While an independent journalism system would be dissecting the impacts of NSA surveillance on privacy rights, and separating fact from fiction, U.S. news networks have obsessed on questions like: How much damage has Snowden caused? How can he be brought to justice?
Unfazed by polls showing that half of the American rabble -- I mean, public -- believe Snowden did a good thing by leaking documentation of NSA spying, TV news panels have usually excluded anyone who speaks for these millions of Americans. Although TV hosts and most panelists are not government officials, some have a penchant for speaking of the government with the pronoun "We."
I teach college journalism classes about independent media. New developments like WikiLeaks and independent bloggers like Glenn Greenwald may scare the wits out of establishment media, but they sure don't scare young people or journalism students.
As media employees at elite outlets have grown cozier with their government and corporate sources (Sorkin is famously close with Wall Street CEOs), they exhibit an almost instinctual antipathy toward those adversarial journalists who challenge powerful elites day after day.
I wonder if Cartwright will speak for himself on it. In any case, any time that a high level officer is under investigation for something like this, it's a really big deal. And yet again I wonder about the irony of an anonymous source leaking? information about this investigation, of a leaker. Down another rabbit hole? This administration is pretty amazing in that way -- they ferociously pursue leakers but they are infamous for their "authorized leaks". If they want information out in the public, why don't they issue official statements instead of constantly making use of anonymous officials? And of course the other big question is, how did they identify him?
Ex-US general under investigation for leaks
Reports say retired general is being probed for leaks linked to 2010 cyber attack on Iran's nuclear programme.
One of the highest ranking military officers in the US is under investigation for allegedly leaking top secret information about a cyber attack on Iran's nuclear programme, according to reports.
NBC news channel reported on Thursday that retired General James Cartwright, a former second-highest-ranking officer, was under investigation for leaking information on a covert computer virus, called Stuxnet.
Steve Aftergood, director of of the Federation of American Scientists, told NBC that "there are many reasons why people leak classified information".
"Sometimes to attack a programme, sometimes to defend it, sometimes we don't ever know," he said
Retired U.S. General Is Focus of Inquiry Over Iran Leak
WASHINGTON — The former second-ranking officer in the United States military, retired Gen. James E. Cartwright of the Marines, is a target of an investigation into the leak of classified information about American cyberattacks on Iran’s nuclear program, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed Thursday night.
Since his retirement in 2011, General Cartwright has joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies and has spoken in favor of major cuts in nuclear weapons and warned of possible “blowback” from the use of drone aircraft by the United States in Pakistan and Yemen.
Stop Watching Us.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
On Dec 31, 2012, one NSA unit celebrated having "processed its One Trillionth metadata record": almost 50% from 2012 http://t.co/...— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 27, 2013
Today's NSA documents vindicate the claims of NSA whistleblower William Binney http://t.co/...— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 27, 2013
Note the part where the NSA doesn't tell the presiding judge of FISA court about STELLARWIND for 3 months; & rest of FISA Court for 4 years.— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
Obvious but easily overlooked point: STELLARWIND was supposed to be an emergency program. Aspects of its surveillance persist 12 yrs on.— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
Fun fact: NSA IG report explicitly refers to Cheney & Addington as drivers of STELLARWIND. The public 2009 multi-IG report? Doesn't name 'em— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) June 27, 2013
Hearing on James B. Comey to be Director of the FBI--July 9, 2013-- Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226 10AM http://t.co/...— Robert Caruso (@robertcaruso) June 27, 2013
FISC opinion ruling some spying unconstitutional dated 10/3/11. https://t.co/... If Internet data mining "ended" in 2011, prolly why.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) June 27, 2013
Also, if I ever meet Edward Snowden I will kiss him for leaking a DRAFT! I love drafts.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) June 27, 2013
US Army doesn't trust soldiers not to read secret NSA docs so it's copying China playbook and blocking Guardian http://t.co/...— Rajiv Chandrasekaran (@rajivwashpost) June 28, 2013
Unamed company (aka Yahoo) has asked the FISA court to release a 5yr old FISA opinion approving blanket surveillance http://t.co/...— Christopher Soghoian (@csoghoian) June 28, 2013
Quite an ideological journey for Ed Snowden: http://t.co/... This seems to make the act of conscience motivation more credible— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 26, 2013
Supertramp, Roger Hodgson - Take The Long Way Home