Tag Archives | Classified

NSA And CIA Infiltrated World Of Warcraft And Second Life To Spy On Gamers

gamesIs that elf watching you? ProPublica reports on fascinating classified documents unearthed from Edward Snowden’s trove revealing that NSA and CIA spies have placed numerous avatars in popular virtual realms:

Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents.

Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels.

The spies have created make-believe characters to snoop and to try to recruit informers, while also collecting data and contents of communications between players.

But for all their enthusiasm — so many CIA, FBI and Pentagon spies were hunting around in Second Life, the document noted, that a “deconfliction” group was needed to avoid collisions — the intelligence agencies may have inflated the threat.

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Additional NSA Whistleblowers Said To Be Emerging

raddack

Conscientiousness as a domino effect, via Common Dreams:

The “courage” of Edward Snowden is “contagious,” according to lawyer and transparency advocate Jesselyn Radack.

In an interview with ABC News on Thursday, Radack revealed that an influx of NSA whistleblowers, inspired by Snowden, are now knocking on the doors of her organization, coming forward with what they consider objectionable practices by their employer.

According to Radack, several more whistleblowers have approached the Government Accountability Project (GAP)—the nation’s leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization where she is the director of National Security and Human Rights—since Snowden’s story broke.

“There definitely could be more revelations in addition to those that Snowden has revealed and that are continuing to come out,” she told ABC News.

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CIA Acknowledges Role In 1953 Overthrow Of Iran’s Democracy

iran_map1Via George Washington University’s National Security Archive:

Marking the sixtieth anniversary of the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, the National Security Archive is today posting recently declassified CIA documents on the United States’ role in the controversial operation.

American and British involvement in Mosaddeq’s ouster has long been public knowledge, but today’s posting includes what is believed to be the CIA’s first formal acknowledgement that the agency helped to plan and execute the coup.

The explicit reference to the CIA’s role appears in a copy of an internal history, The Battle for Iran, dating from the mid-1970s. The agency released a heavily excised version of the account in 1981 in response to an ACLU lawsuit, but it blacked out all references to TPAJAX, the code name for the U.S.-led operation. Those references appear in the latest release. Additional CIA materials posted today include working files from Kermit Roosevelt, the senior CIA officer on the ground in Iran during the coup.

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The NSA’s ‘Widest-Reaching’ Program XKeyscore Revealed

xkeyscoreVia the Guardian, the curtain keeps pulling back to reveal ever-greater levels of total surveillance:

The National Security Agency boasts in training materials that a program called XKeyscore is its “widest-reaching” system for developing intelligence from the internet.

The top secret program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview with the Guardian on June 10: “I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.

Training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search.

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NSA, CIA, And FBI Swap Classified Data With Media And Tech Corporations

classifiedCould Microsoft, Google, et al. be considered bureaus of the national security apparatus? Bloomberg reports that the providing of sensitive information is a two-way street:

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency.

Michael Hayden, who formerly directed the National Security Agency and the CIA, described the attention paid to important company partners: “If I were the director and had a relationship with a company who was doing things that were not just directed by law but were also valuable to the defense of the Republic, I would go out of my way to thank them and give them a sense as to why this is necessary and useful.”

Intel Corp’s McAfee unit, which makes Internet security software, regularly cooperates with the NSA, FBI and the CIA, for example, and is a valuable partner because of its broad view of malicious Internet traffic, including espionage operations by foreign powers, according to one of the four people, who is familiar with the arrangement.

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Highlights From The U.K. Defense Ministry’s Classified UFO Files

ufo reportsThe Telegraph combs through for some of the weirdest reports of UFOs by the public from formerly confidential files in the National Archive:

  • A caller to MoD UFO hotline reports that he has been “living with an alien” in Carlisle for some time.
  • A Cardiff man claimed a UFO abducted his dog, car and tent whilst he was camping with friends.
  • A Coventry woman saw “two orange balls” hovering in her back garden in July 2008 after her Springer Spaniel “unusually ran back in”. Frightened by what she saw, she locked the door and reported her sighting to the UFO hotline, asking whether she and her pet could be contaminated as a result.
  • A man, now living in the Netherlands, asked for the return of a cinefilm he said he had passed to two investigators in 1978, showing a UFO flying over his back garden in Romford. He said he had showed them where the craft had landed, and that the men had taken soil samples.

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Edward Snowden Reveals That Fake Internet Cafes Were Used To Monitor Emails At London G20 Summits

GCGQ

The Guardian has more revelations from top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, including, Britain’s GCHQ intelligence agency runs its own internet cafes in the vicinity of geopolitical conferences:

Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian.

The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.

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Former KGB Officer Describes The Soviet Union’s Secret UFO Studies

soviet ufoThe earthly or extraterrestrial origin of the UFOs was never determined, but some military officials  believed they knew how to summon them, Russia Beyond the Headlines writes:

The Soviet Union took UFOs seriously. The KGB and the Soviet Defense Ministry had dedicated units collecting and analysing information about paranormal activity. Military experts even claimed to know how to “summon” UFOs and make contact with them.

The source for this is a retired FSB major general and researcher, Vasily Yeremenko. Yeremenko was in charge of the KGB division overseeing the air force and aircraft manufacturing. This division was entrusted with the task of collecting all reports of UFO sightings.

[In the 1970s], as Yeremenko told RBTH, there had been an accumulation of reports on numerous paranormal incidents. Missile Troops units were even instructed on how to behave in the event that they spotted a UFO: the main thing was not to act in a way that could create an opportunity for a retaliatory aggression.

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The CIA’s Secret Project To Turn Cats Into Spies

History’s earliest animal cyborgs? In the 1960s the CIA implanted cats with technological devices to turn them into living surveillance machines, io9 reveals:

In an hour-long procedure, a veterinary surgeon implanted a microphone into the furry feline’s ear canal and a small radio transmitter at the base of her skull, and weaving a thin wire antenna into her long gray-and-white fur. This was top-secret Operation Acoustic Kitty. The leaders of the project hoped that by training the feline to go sit near foreign officials, they could eavesdrop on private conversations.

The problem was that cats are not especially trainable, and the program was abandoned; as a heavily redacted CIA memo from the time delicately phrased it, “Our final examination of trained cats…convinced us that the program would not lend itself in a practical sense to our highly specialized needs.”

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The Navy’s Plan To Turn Underground Wisconsin Into A Global Radio Transmitter

A dose of strange history via BLDGBLOG:

Project Sanguine was a U.S. Navy program from the 1980s that “would have involved 41 percent of Wisconsin,” turning that state into a giant “antenna farm” capable of communicating with what Wikipedia calls “deeply-submerged submarines.”

Each individual antenna would have been “buried five feet deep” in the fertile soil of the Cheese State, creating a networked system with nearly 6,000 miles’ worth of cables and receiving stations. The Navy was hoping, we read, for a system “that could transmit tactical orders one-way to U.S. nuclear submarines anywhere in the world, and survive a direct nuclear attack.” In other words, the bedrock of the Earth itself could be turned into a colossal radio station.

The project was controversial from the start and was attacked by politicians, antiwar and environmental groups concerned about the effects of high ground currents and electromagnetic fields on the environment.

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