surveillance and then some

150px-Yardley_pic.jpg-father of American cryptology, Herbert O. Yardley (1889-1958), who got blacklisted by the American government

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3-5-17        one especially problematic section of FISA:  Section 702, which the government relies on to surveil essentially all Americans’ international communications.  Unlike “traditional” FISA, which at least requires the government to obtain an individualized court order to conduct surveillance, Section 702 authorizes the warrantless surveillance of vast quantities of international communications, with virtually no judicial oversight.

Assisted by companies like Facebook, Google, AT&T, and Verizon, the government uses this law to monitor Americans’ communications with foreigners abroad.  In doing so, the government sweeps up billions of international emails, web-browsing activities, and phone calls–which NSA, CIA, and FBI analysts can then sift through looking for information about Americans.  While there have been no public indications of this to date, it’s possible that Section 702 surveillance also captured communications between the Trump campaign team and the same Russian entities abroad.     https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/trumps-wiretapping-accusations-heres-what-government-can-actually-do

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Section 702 permits the NSA, FBI, and CIA to spy on communications without a warrant when two primary conditions are met.  First, the “target” of the surveillance must be a foreigner located abroad.  And second, a significant purpose of the surveillance must be to gather “foreign intelligence information.”

Neither of these conditions imposes a meaningful constraint on the government’s ability to spy.  Almost anyone abroad could be an eligible target.  Indeed, Section 702 does not require the government to make any finding–let alone demonstrate probable cause to a judge–that its surveillance targets are agents of a foreign power, engaged in criminal activity, or even remotely associated with terrorism.  (Instead, judges on a secret intelligence court approve only the general procedures that government analysts are supposed to follow.)  In addition, the law defines the term “foreign intelligence” broadly–so broadly that the surveillance could readily include communications by journalists, human rights workers, whistleblowers, and virtually anyone else talking about foreign affairs.  As a result, low-level NSA analysts have tremendous discretion in selecting whom to target….

Under the “Upstream” program revealed by Snowden, the government is searching the contents of international internet communications in real-time, looking for references to its many targets.  (This is sometimes called “about” surveillance, because it involves combing through the full text of communications in search of those that are merely about a target.)  With the compelled assistance of companies like AT&T and Verizon, the NSA has installed surveillance equipment at dozens of points along the internet “backbone,” the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that carry your email, web browsing, and other internet communications. The NSA systematically copies and searches the contents of substantially all the international communications flowing past those surveillance devices.

This is precisely the kind of general search that the Fourth Amendment was intended to prohibit.

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NSA spying defenders say that Congress has been briefed on these programs.  But other members of Congress have repeatedly noted that it is incredibly difficult to get answers from the intelligence community, and that attending classified hearings means being unable to share any information obtained at such hearings.  What’s more, as Senator Barbara Mikulski stated:  “‘Fully briefed’ doesn’t mean that we know what’s going on.”  Without a full picture of Section 702 surveillance, Congress simply cannot provide oversight….

Unlike searches done under a search warrant authorized by a judge, Section 702 has been used by the NSA to get broad FISA court authorization for general search and seizure of huge swathes of communications.  The NSA says this is OK because Section 702 targets foreign citizens (and then anyone connecting to them).   https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/05/way-nsa-uses-section-702-deeply-troubling-heres-why

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Examples of surveillance, spanning all presidents from FDR to Nixon, both legal and illegal, contained in the Church Committee report:[36]

  • President Roosevelt asked the FBI to put in its files the names of citizens sending telegrams to the White House opposing his “national defense” policy and supporting Col. Charles Lindbergh.
  • President Truman received inside information on a former Roosevelt aide’s efforts to influence his appointments, labor union negotiating plans, and the publishing plans of journalists.
  • President Eisenhower received reports on purely political and social contacts with foreign officials by Bernard BaruchEleanor Roosevelt, and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.
  • The Kennedy administration had the FBI wiretap a congressional staff member, three executive officials, a lobbyist, and a Washington law firm.  US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy received the fruits of an FBI wire tap on Martin Luther King, Jr.and an electronic listening device targeting a congressman, both of which yielded information of a political nature.
  • President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct “name checks” of his critics and members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO     He also requested purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic Convention from FBI electronic surveillance.
  • President Nixon authorized a program of wiretaps which produced for the White House purely political or personal information unrelated to national security, including information about a Supreme Court Justice.       -source:  wikipedia article on cointelpro
  • ………………………………………………………………………….. Nevertheless, the Government Privacy Board suggests that the government take on the “backdoor searches” that have alarmed Wyden.  In those searches, the government searches through the content of communications collected while targeting foreigners for search terms associated with U.S. citizens and residents. The House voted in June to end such searches.      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/02/pclob-section-702_n_5550010.html
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  • “Is 702 consistent with the Constitution?  That’s the fundamental question,” Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, asked during the hearing.  There is some worry that those communications could potentially be used to prosecute Americans.  Ranking member Rep. John Conyers of Michigan is calling for a reform of the (FISA) amendments, citing the possibility of a large amount of communications by American citizens being incidentally collected under 702.Last year, Mr. Conyers sent a formal letter asking the intelligence community to give him the number of potential communications that could have been incidentally collected under Section 702.  The government has not yet provided that number to the committee.“The idea of using this authority to collect a large amount of information about United States citizens without a warrant or individualized suspicion and then applying that information to purposes having nothing to do with counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism is in a word, wrong,” said Mr. Conyers.

    Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Republican and House Judiciary Committee chairman, said America’s intelligence community considers Section 702 to be the “most important tool in battling terrorism.”   http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/mar/1/house-committee-addresses-foreign-intelligence-sur/

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  • 3-1-17         The Trump administration does not want to reform an internet surveillance law to address privacy concerns, a White House official told Reuters on Wednesday, saying it is needed to protect national security.  http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-fisa-idUSKBN16855P
  • …………………………………………………………………………………….Sen. Rand Paul explained how the NSA routinely and deliberately spies on Americans’ communications–listens to their calls and reads their emails– without a judicial warrant of any kind:       “The way it works is, the FISA court, through Section 702, wiretaps foreigners and then [NSA] listens to Americans.  It is a backdoor search of Americans.  And because they have so much data, they can tap–type Donald Trump into their vast resources of people they are tapping overseas, and they get all of his phone calls.”And so they did this to President Obama.  They– 1,227 times eavesdrops on President Obama’s phone calls.  Then they mask him.  But here is the problem, and General Hayden said this the other day.  He said even low-level employees can unmask the caller.  That is probably what happened to Flynn.  They are not targeting Americans, they are targeting foreigners.  But they are doing it purposefully to get to Americans. ”        https://theintercept.com/2017/03/13/rand-paul-is-right-nsa-routinely-monitors-americans-communications-without-warrants/…………………………………………………………..
  • 5-16-06          the NSA seemingly induced AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth to violate prohibitions in the Stored Communications Act and the 1996 Telecommunications Act that protect data privacy.  These statutes prohibit telephone companies’ disclosure of customer information except under narrow circumstances that appear not to apply here.  https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/derelict-domestic-spying
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  • 5-16-14      Every day, there are new stories showing duplicity in high places and revealing the existence of new tracking technologies and forced and voluntary collusion between the secret agency and its many “partners” in the private sector….American corporations are not just cooperating with the NSA but competing with it.  And not just with Google cars photographing every street in the world.   http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/05/16/can-we-stop-americas-surveillance-state
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  • 7-1-13      The CMS [Centralized Monitoring System], by contrast, will give nine Indian government agencies–including the tax department–the power to access, in real-time, phone conversations, video conferences, text messages, emails, and even internet search data and social media activity…If that’s not enough to make the NSA’s staunchest supporters begin fantasizing about setting the Constitution ablaze using the Bill of Rights as kindling, it gets even better/worse, depending on your point of view.  [The agencies] will work without any independent oversight, Reuters reports [and] the agencies can start monitoring targets without the approval of the courts or the parliament.  We get the impression here that the NSA works without oversight, but many have rushed to point out that Congress is (supposedly) watching the watchers and all requests must receive FISA court approval, something that seems about as difficult to obtain as a “Participant” ribbon.  India is simply being more efficient and cutting out the brief “makin’ it legal” stops on the way to the domestic data harvest.The CMS has it easy.  No privacy laws to break.  A system that is its own rubber stamp.  But it goes even further.  Someone must have wondered aloud during the formation of the CMS, “It’s almost too easy.  But is it too easy enough?  “Moreover, with the CMS, security agencies won’t need to request users’ information from telcos. They’ll be able to get it directly, using existing interception systems that are built into telecom and data-service networks.  According to the Hindu newspaper, the system will have dedicated servers and extensive data-mining capabilities that can be used for surveillance.        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130629/17255423670/how-indian-governments-central-monitoring-system-makes-nsa-look-like-paragon-restraint.shtml
  • ……………………………………………………………………………………..Anyone who paid attention to the Edward Snowden revelations knows that the NSA is in a total data acquisition mode, hoovering up information from smart devices and able to use computers and tablets as monitoring devices.  But Trump used the word “wiretapping” which gave his opponents a huge out, since that means a judge gave a warrant to allow for monitoring.  And pinning surveillance on Obama personally was another huge stretch.  In other words, Trump took what could have been an almost certain statement of fact, and by larding it up with dodgy particulars, pushed it well into crazypants terrain.What made Trump look bad was the FBI making clear it was not snooping on Trump, when the FBI would have been involved in a wiretap.  Lambert and I discussed that it wasn’t hard to come up with scenarios that weren’t wiretaps by which Trump could have been spied upon while keeping Obama Administration hands clean.  The most obvious was to have another member of the Five Eyes do the dirty work….PAUL JAY:  Is part of what’s going on here, is that all of these institutions whether it’s CIA or FBI or NSA and on and on with all the alphabet, that their first priority, their deepest interest is their own agency. Their existence, their funding, their own jobs, that this is really–it’s not about some supposed national interest to start with it starts with just who these guys are and they become entities unto themselves.

    LARRY WILKERSON:  Absolutely.  Hoover, take Hoover at the FBI, during World War II, it can be proven, it can be analytically demonstrated that Hoover spent more man hours and more money trying to look at his own administration, trying to gain power over elements of that administration than he did looking at the Nazis.  I mean, this is not anything new, it’s just come to a depth and a profundity of action that is scary and dangerous.

    When you have your entire intelligence community more interested in its own survival and its own power and therefore playing in politics to the degree that we have it doing so today, you’ve got a real problem.

    LARRY WILKERSON:    This empire is decaying at a rapid rate.  And it is not just reflected in the fact that we can’t govern ourselves, the fact that we have a Congress that can’t even see the nation for the trees.  http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/03/empire-in-decay-as-trump-spying-allegations-fly.html  ……………………………………………………………………………………  Beloved ones, in one’s home and sanctuary one ought to be able to speak without surveillance and persecution, whether by one’s government or by private citizens.  Beloved ones, understand the meaning of freedom and do not let your freedom to be who you are be encroached upon in this hour or in any other situation….throughout the Earth at the subconscious level there is an extreme anxiety on the part of the children of God who ought to take dominion and follow the lead of their Teachers in the person of the archangels.  This anxiety causes a preoccupation with the minutiae of life, avoiding the direct encounter with the real issues of our time nation by nation….Therefore we say that the psychology of madness is in full swing upon planet Earth.  And this madness feeds upon itself.           -Archangel Zadkiel:  2-16-1986 at Manila via Messenger E C Prophet

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    178.  The weak-minded also need surveillance.  Madness is contagious.  -Morya:  Brotherhood 1937

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  • 3-17-17       A Kaspersky Labs subsidiary, Kaspersky Government Security Solutions, paid Flynn to speak at a government cybersecurity forum held in Washington D.C. in 2015.

    The company said that Flynn had attended the forum to speak alongside leading political and IT experts before he took up his post in the White House.

    “As a private company, Kaspersky Labs is not affiliated with any government, but is proud of its cooperation with the authorities of many countries and international law enforcement organizations in the fight against cybercrime,” the company said in a statement.

    Documents published by the Congressional Oversight Committee on Thursday showed that Flynn received more than $50,000 from Russian companies in 2015. As well as receiving a fee from Kaspersky Labs, Flynn was paid money by Kremlin-backed television channel RT and a U.S. air cargo company affiliated with the Volga-Dnepr Group.         https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russias-kaspersky-labs-confirms-payment-to-former-trump-advisor-michael-flynn-57463

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    3-18-17      It is widely believed that a large emphasis at the NSA Utah Data Center will be put on cracking encryption.  You know, breaking the private codes.  This will done in conjunction with their Oakridge, Tennessee facility which is developing the world’s fastest supercomputer.

    Currently encryption done at 128 bits, and 192 bits, and most securely at 256 bits has them at bay.  But between the vast storage data in Utah and the lightning speed in Tennessee they think they may be able to crack them.  Would it be okay to pray for a large magnetic storm?

    And they’re building another data center in Fort Meade, Maryland that will be two and one-half times bigger.  Just what are they going to do there?   http://www.newswithviews.com/Herne/ronnie109.htm

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