Tag Archives | Spying

Documents Reveal NSA Bugged The United Nations

united nationsPerhaps most disturbing is how chipper they are about it. TechCrunch writes:

The NSA has been spying on the goings-on at the United Nations’ New York headquarters for nearly a year.

German news magazine Der Spiegel cites a multitude of documents that “stemmed” from Edward Snowden which purport (among other things) that the NSA first managed to crack the UN’s video conferencing system during the summer of 2012.

Some of the documents speak nicely to the sort of banality those involved ascribed to their actions — “The data traffic gives us internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!),” one of them reads.

Also on that list of targets is the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union, though at this point it’s unclear what exactly the NSA has managed to dig up on either of those bodies. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Der Spiegel notes that [the NSA's activity] “has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists.”

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NSA Officers Have Stalked And Spied On Their “Love Interests”

love interestsVia the Wall Street Journal, presenting your creepy ex who works for the NSA:

National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said. One official estimated a handful of cases in the last decade — but it’s common enough to garner its own spycraft label: LOVEINT.

Spy agencies often refer to their various types of intelligence collection with the suffix of “INT,” such as “SIGINT” for collecting signals intelligence, or communications; and “HUMINT” for human intelligence, or spying.

NSA said in a statement Friday that there have been “very rare” instances of willful violations of any kind in the past decade, and none have violated key surveillance laws.

The LOVEINT violations involved overseas communications, officials said, such as spying on a partner or spouse. In each instance, the employee was punished either with an administrative action or termination.

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U.S. Directs Agents to Cover Up Program Used to Investigate Americans

DEAFrom Reuters:

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011.

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Edward Snowden’s E-mail Provider Forced to Shut Down

BigBrotherObamThe secure E-mail provider Lavabit, whose users are said to include Edward Snowden, shut down on Wednesday for reasons that are verboten. An ominous message on the company’s homepage vows to fight for the Constitution:

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.… Read the rest

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Former NSA Chief on Spy Program: It’s Real, and It’s Spectacular

o-NSA-PHONE-RECORD-COLLECTION-facebookJust in case the cognitive dissonance wasn’t already large enough on the story-and-counterstory around programs such as XKEYSCORE and PRISM, formed NSA head Michael Hayden jumps into the ring:

Last week, the Guardian published a series of leaked documents revealing new details about an NSA surveillance program called XKEYSCORE. The newspaper said that the program enabled the agency to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals,” and secret slides dated 2008 showed how people could be deemed a target for searching the Web for “suspicious stuff” or by using encryption.

Following the disclosures, Hayden appeared on CNN to discuss the agency’s surveillance programs. The general, who directed the NSA from 1999 through 2005, was remarkably candid in his responses to Erin Burnett’s questions about the Guardian’s XKEYSCORE report. Was there any truth to claims that the NSA is sifting through millions of browsing histories and able to collect virtually everything users do on the Internet?

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Obama Says There Is No Domestic Spying Program

domestic spyingWell, that settles that. Via NPR:

President Obama defended the U.S. government’s surveillance programs, telling NBC’s Jay Leno on Tuesday that: “There is no spying on Americans.”

“We don’t have a domestic spying program,” Obama said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. “What we do have is some mechanisms that can track a phone number or an email address that is connected to a terrorist attack. … That information is useful.”

During a lengthy discussion with Leno, Obama said he was “disappointed” in Russia’s decision to grant temporary asylum to Edward Snowden.

“There are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality,” Obama said of Russia. “What I continually say to them and to President Putin, ‘That’s the past. We’ve got to think about the future.’ “

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DEA Secretly Using NSA Eavesdropping Data For Drug Prosecutions

DEA

The phone, internet, and email data gathered by the NSA isn’t kept for terrorism investigations, but rather is secretly shared with law enforcement across the country for use in drug prosecutions and more. Prosecutors then pretend they acquired the information through other means. Reuters reveals:

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated.

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

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Bush-Cheney Illegal NSA Spying Began Before 9/11, Telecom CEO Claims

NSA spyingThe spying’s purpose isn’t to keep us safe from the terrorists. Digital Journal writes:

Contradicting a statement by ex-vice president Dick Cheney on Sunday that warrantless domestic surveillance might have prevented 9/11, 2007 court records indicate that the Bush-Cheney administration began such surveillance at least 7 months prior to 9/11.

The Bush administration bypassed the law requiring such actions to be authorized by FISA court warrants. Former QWest CEO John Nacchios said that at a meeting with the NSA on February 27, 2001, he and other QWest officials declined to participate. AT&T, Verizon and Bellsouth all agreed to shunt customer communications records to an NSA database.

Other sources corroborate the former CEO’s allegations, which were made in the course of his legal defense against insider trading charges. Both Slate and National Journal have published reports in which sources are quoted which support the former CEO’s claims.

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Russia’s Kremlin Security Agency Buys Typewriters In Response To NSA News

typewritersTime for a return to analog? Via the BBC:

Russia’s agency responsible for the Kremlin security is buying typewriters – a move reportedly prompted by recent leaks by WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden. A 486,540-rouble order for electric typewriters has been placed by the FSO agency on the state procurement website.

The FSO has not commented on why it needs the old-fashioned devices. But an agency source told Russia’s Izvestiya newspaper the aim was to prevent leaks from computer hardware.

“After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposes by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being bugged during his visit to the G20 London summit (in 2009), it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents,” the source said.

The source added that typewriters were already being used at Russia’s defence and emergencies ministries for drafts and secret notes, and some reports had been prepared for President Vladimir Putin by typewriter.

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