Tag Archives | NSA

White House Rejects Petition to Pardon Snowden

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Nadia Prupis’ articles here.

The White House on Tuesday formally rejected a ‘We the People’ petition to pardon Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been living in exile since exposing the U.S. government’s invasive spying operation in 2013.

More than 167,000 people signed the petition urging the government to grant him clemency, stating in their petition that Snowden is “a national hero … [who] should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.”

Not only will Snowden not be pardoned, the Obama administration said, he should face criminal charges for his actions.

“Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, adviser to President Barack Obama on homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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Stop CISA: Join EFF in a Week of Action Opposing Broad “Cybersecurity” Surveillance Legislation

How do you kill a zombie bill like CISA? Grassroots action. That’s why EFF and over a dozen other groups are asking you to join us in a Week of Action to Stop CISA.  The Senate is likely to vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in the coming weeks, and only you can help us stop it.

We keep hearing that CISA and the other “cybersecurity” bills moving through Congress are “must-pass” legislation. But just like the original version of CISA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we think grassroots activism can stop this legislation in its tracks.

CISA is fundamentally flawed because of its broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers. Combined, they make the bill a surveillance bill in disguise. The bill may even make things worse for Internet users in several ways.

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Spy Agency’s Secret Plans to Foster Online “Conformity” and “Obedience” Exposed

Creative Heroes (CC BY 2.0)

Creative Heroes (CC BY 2.0)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Jon Queally’s posts here.

With never-before-seen documents accompanied by new reporting on Monday, The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald and Andrew Fishman are offering a more in-depth look than ever into how a secretive unit of the UK’s GCHQ surveillance agency used a host of psychological methods and online subterfuge in order to manipulate the behavior of individuals and groups through the internet and other digital forms of communication.

According to the reporting, the latest documents, which were leaked to journalists by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,

demonstrate how the Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), a unit of the signals intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), is involved in efforts against political groups it considers “extremist,” Islamist activity in schools, the drug trade, online fraud, and financial scams.

Though its existence was secret until last year, JTRIG quickly developed a distinctive profile in the public understanding, after documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the unit had engaged in “dirty tricks” like deploying sexual “honey traps” designed to discredit targets, launching denial-of-service attacks to shut down internet chat rooms, pushing veiled propaganda onto social networks, and generally warping discourse online.

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Why ‘National Security’ Is a Fallacy

National_Security_Agency_headquarters,_Fort_Meade,_Maryland

Ian Sanjay Patel writes at Middle East Eye:

Despite the expiration of a Section of the US Patriot Act on 1 June, the ongoing influence and legacy of the Act continues to be felt around the world. Following 2001, dozens of countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe drafted counterterrorism laws in its image. As I write this, controversial new counterterrorism legislation – criticised for its arbitrary fault line between terrorism and political dissent – has been passed or is now being considered in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and the UK.

Deliberate vagueness

UK government guidance on its Counterterrorism and Security Act, which came into force in February this year, refers to “extremist organisations” and “extremist ideology” with a deliberate vagueness that is characteristic of the “war on terror”. The Act – without sufficiently defining terrorism and insinuating itself into a vast number of public spheres in the process – imposes a “prevent duty” on professionals working in schools, universities and the health care system to “prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”.

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Inside The Secret World of NSA Art

Who knew that the NSA was a hotbed of artistic talent? The Intercept takes a peek at the Secret Power art exhibit at this year’s Venice Biennale featuring graphic art from the NSA files leaked by Edward Snowden:

VENICE, Italy — Over 17 years, David Darchicourt worked with the National Security Agency as a graphic designer and art director, illustrating top-secret documents about government surveillance programs. Now he is the unwitting central character in a new exhibition that puts the spotlight on the spy agency’s imagery.

Art: Simon Denny; Photo: Nick Ash

Art: Simon Denny; Photo: Nick Ash

Inside the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, a cavernous Renaissance library in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square, some of Darchicourt’s designs for the NSA have been placed on display among historic 16th-century pieces by famed Italian painters like Veronese and Titian.

The former NSA employee’s work is featured as part of a project called Secret Power, created by New Zealand artist Simon Denny for this year’s Biennale international art show.

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You’re a Criminal in a Mass Surveillance World – How to Not Get Caught

Anne-Frank-NSA

David Montgomery via Liberty.me:

Sometimes you just get lucky.

I was in Amsterdam when the Snowden story broke. CNN was non-stop asking politicians and pundits, “Is Edward Snowden a traitor?” Those who said he betrayed America also said something else: Mass surveillance is only an issue if you’re a criminal. If you’ve got nothing to hide then you’ve got nothing to fear.

The Snowden story hit me upon my return from – of all places on earth – the Secret Annex of the Anne Frank House. The Secret Annex is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis for two years. It was during this period of hiding in terror that Anne wrote her world-famous diary. In it she confided, “I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met.”

The “Anne Frank House” — then and now

The “Anne Frank House” — then and now

I say I was lucky because the cosmic unlikeliness of my Secret Annex visit coinciding with Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations led to some revelations of my own.

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‘Freelance’ Spies Filling in for NSA, Recording Your Private Conversations

Now that the NSA is readying to shut down its domestic surveillance operation as the Patriot Act goes into limbo, some freelancers in New York City are picking up the NSA’s reins and recording private conversations at restaurants, gyms and other public locations. Generously, they are “declassifying” the recordings and publishing them at their website, WeAreAlwaysListening.com. Gothamist reports:

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know that the National Security Agency collects the phone records of every American in order to keep the country safe from terrorism. But for the past eight months a group of artists claiming to work for the NSA on “a freelance, pro bono basis” have been recording people’s private conversations in popular bars, restaurants, and gyms in Lower Manhattan to ensure that no actionable intelligence falls through the cracks.

Recording devices from WeAreListening.com

Recording devices from WeAreListening.com

 

“We’re looking for terrorism, we’re looking for signs of plots and schemes that could put the homeland at risk,” one of the group’s “agents” tells us.

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NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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Federal Court Rules NSA Violated Patriot Act By Collecting Phone Records

It really hasn’t been a great year or two for the NSA, has it? The once secret American spy agency is getting slammed from all sides with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit piling on and overruling a lower court that decided to look the other way on the NSA’s massive collection of private phone conversations. From the Washington Post:

A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that the National Security Agency’s collection of millions of Americans’ phone records violates the Patriot Act, the first appeals court to weigh in on a controversial surveillance program that has divided Congress and ignited a national debate over the proper scope of the government’s spy powers.

NSA-facebook-cover

Credit: EFF (CC)

 

In a blistering 97-page opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned a lower court and determined that the government had stretched the meaning of the statute to enable “sweeping surveillance” of Americans’ data in “staggering” volumes.

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Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive

snowdenarchive

via Snowden Archive:

This archive is a collection of all documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that have subsequently been published by news media.

Our aim in creating this archive is to provide a tool that would facilitate citizen, researcher and journalist access to these important documents. Indexes, document descriptions, links to original documents and to related news stories, a glossary and comprehensive search features are all designed to enable a better understanding of state surveillance programs within the wider context of surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) along with its partners in the Five Eyes countries – U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Our hope is that this resource will contribute to greater awareness of the broad scope, intimate reach and profound implications of the global surveillance infrastructures and practices that Edward Snowden’s historic document leak reveals.

The Snowden Archive is the result of a research collaboration between Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the Politics of Surveillance Project at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.

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