Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 40,377
Number of posts: 40,377
About Those 'Dozens' of Terror Attacks
Terrorism expert Peter Bergen of CNN with lengthy new piece up on their site with evidence that the official claims of NSA snooping halting "dozens" of terror attacks on the U.S. is wildly overblown. He actually--refreshing!--demands evidence and produces what he can find, that suggests that the few known serious plots were stopped by other methods. Perhaps, he allows, we will learn about attacks disrupted abroad. But he remains skeptical that the claims overall are not just defensive hype. Key line: "This suggests that the NSA surveillance programs are wide-ranging fishing expeditions with little to show for them."
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updated 1:28 PM EDT 06.17.13
Bergen: Did NSA stop dozens of attacks?
By Peter Bergen and David Sterman
Editor's Note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst and a director at the New America Foundation. David Sterman is a graduate student at Georgetown University's National Security Studies Program.
(CNN) - Testifying before Congress on Wednesday, Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, asserted that his agency's massive acquisition of U.S. phone data and the contents of overseas Internet traffic that is provided by American tech companies has helped prevent "dozens of terrorist events."
On Thursday, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, Democrats who both serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and have access to the nation's most sensitive secrets, released a statement contradicting this assertion. "Gen. Alexander's testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA's bulk phone records collection program helped thwart 'dozens' of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods," the two senators said.
Indeed, a survey of court documents and media accounts of all the jihadist terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 by the New America Foundation shows that traditional law enforcement methods have overwhelmingly played the most significant role in foiling terrorist attacks.
This suggests that the NSA surveillance programs are wide-ranging fishing expeditions with little to show for them.
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Homegrown jihadist extremists have mounted 42 plots to conduct attacks within the United States since 2001. Of those plots, nine involved an actual terrorist act that was not prevented by any type of government action, such as the failed attempt by Faisal Shahzad to blow up a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010. Of the remaining 33 plots, the public record shows that at least 29 were uncovered by traditional law enforcement methods, such as the use of informants, reliance on community tips about suspicious activity and other standard policing practices.
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 08:31 PM (14 replies)
NSA Leaker Snowden Location Unknown, White House Chief Says
By Julie Bykowicz
June 17, 2013 12:45 AM EDT 65 Comments
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said that he doesn’t know the whereabouts of Edward Snowden. The last known location of the admitted U.S. intelligence leaker was in Hong Kong.
McDonough, in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” declined to say whether there are plans to prosecute Snowden, a former government contractor who shared information about the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone and Internet data with the U.K. Guardian and Washington Post (WPO) newspapers.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the NSA programs, which began under President George W. Bush, saying they have produced valuable intelligence in the global war on terrorism and have led to the disruption of planned attacks on the U.S.
Cheney said he was unaware of what, if anything, President Barack Obama did to alter the surveillance techniques.
Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-16/nsa-leaker-snowden-s-whereabouts-unknown-white-house-chief-says.html
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 06:59 PM (9 replies)
Source: Associated Press
@AP: BREAKING: White House threatens veto of House farm bill over cuts to food stamp program: http://t.co/KOLflx2FsG -RJJ
WHITE HOUSE THREATENS VETO OF HOUSE FARM BILL
By MARY CLARE JALONICK
— Jun. 17 6:11 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is threatening to veto the House version of a massive, 5-year farm bill, saying food stamp cuts included in the legislation could leave some Americans hungry.
The House is preparing to consider the bill this week. The legislation would cut $2 billion annually from food stamps and make it harder for some people to qualify for the program. That is around 3 percent of current spending.
The Obama administration said in a statement that food stamps are "a cornerstone of our nation's food assistance safety net." The White House argued that the House should make deeper cuts to farm subsidies like crop insurance instead. The bill, which costs nearly $100 billion a year, would save a total of about $4 billion annually, including the food stamp cuts.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/white-house-threatens-veto-house-farm-bill
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 06:19 PM (33 replies)
Source: Pew Research
Released: June 17, 2013
Public Remains Opposed to Arming Syrian Rebels
Six-in-Ten Say Opposition May Be No Better than Current Government
Broad majorities continue to oppose the U.S. and its allies sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria. Last Thursday’s announcement that the U.S. would aid the rebels has not increased public support for action, and majorities of all partisan groups are opposed.
Overall, 70% oppose the U.S. and its allies sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria; just 20% favor this. Opinion is little changed from December of last year (24% favor) and support is down slightly from March, 2012 (29% favor).
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted June 12-16 among 1,512 adults, finds a major factor in overall attitudes about Syria is the impression that the U.S. military is already stretched thin. About two-thirds (68%) say the U.S. is too overcommitted to get involved in another conflict, and just 27% disagree. The public also has questions about the opposition groups in Syria: 60% say that they may be no better than the current government.
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There is very little partisan divide in attitudes about the conflict in Syria. Majorities of independents (74%), Republicans (71%) and Democrats (66%) oppose the U.S. and its allies sending arms and military supplies to anti-government groups in Syria.
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Those Who Favor Arming Rebels Also Have Concerns
The 20% of the public that favors arming anti-government groups in Syria also expresses concerns about the U.S. getting involved. More than half (56%) of those who favor arming rebels agree with the statement that U.S. military forces are too overcommitted to get involved in another conflict, and 55% agree that the opposition groups in Syria may be no better than the current government. However, far larger majorities agree that it is important for the U.S. to support people who oppose authoritarian regimes (76%) and that the U.S. has a moral obligation to do what it can to stop the violence in Syria (75%).
Read more: http://www.people-press.org/2013/06/17/public-remains-opposed-to-arming-syrian-rebels
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 05:28 PM (5 replies)
Edward Snowden: ‘Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped’
By Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian
Monday, June 17, 2013 15:06 EDT
In live chat with Guardian readers, NSA whistleblower says US leaders cannot ‘cover this up by jailing or murdering me’
The NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that the “truth” about the extent of surveillance carried out by US authorities would emerge, even if he is jailed or murdered.
In a live Q&A with Guardian readers from a secret location in Hong Kong, Snowden did not directly answer a question about whether he had more unpublished material. But he said: “All I can say right now is the US government is not going to be able to cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped.”
Snowden, who is in hiding at a safe house, spent nearly two hours taking questions on the Guardian website. His answered questions ranging from why he chose Hong Kong to his specific concerns about the Obama administration. He also clarified questions about his salary at Booz Allen Hamilton and the the range of access he had as analyst.
With opinion in the US divided between those who see him as a traitor and those who view him as hero, Snowden said he fled the country because he did not believe he had a chance of a fair trial.
“The US government, just as they did with other whistleblowers, immediately and predictably destroyed any possibility of a fair trial at home, openly declaring me guilty of treason and that the disclosure of secret, criminal, and even unconstitutional acts is an unforgivable crime. That’s not justice, and it would be foolish to volunteer yourself to it if you can do more good outside of prison than in it,” he said.
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 04:21 PM (41 replies)
Snowden hits back against critics of NSA leaks
Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:55pm EDT
Deborah Charles and Laura MacInnis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The former National Security Agency contractor who revealed the U.S. government's top-secret monitoring of Americans' phone and Internet data fought back against his critics on Monday, saying the government's "litany of lies" about the programs compelled him to act.
Edward Snowden told an online forum run by Britain's Guardian newspaper that he considered it an honor to be called a traitor by people like former Vice President Dick Cheney, and he urged President Barack Obama to "return to sanity" and roll back the surveillance effort.
Taking questions from readers and journalists, Snowden talked about his motivations and reaction to the debate raging about the damage or virtue of the leaks. Snowden remains in hiding, reportedly in Hong Kong.
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"It was seeing a continuing litany of lies from senior officials to Congress - and therefore the American people - and the realization that Congress ... wholly supported the lies," said Snowden, who had worked at an NSA facility in Hawaii as an employee of contractor Booz Allen Hamilton before providing the details to the Guardian and Washington Post.
Snowden referred to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's testimony to Congress in March that such a program did not exist, saying that seeing him "baldly lying to the public without repercussion is the evidence of a subverted democracy. The consent of the governed is not consent if it is not informed."
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE95G0NQ20130617
GD Real-Time Discussion Thread Here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023033003
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 04:04 PM (3 replies)
Apple got up to 5,000 data requests in six months
Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:08am EDT
(Reuters) - Apple received over the last six months between 4,000 and 5,000 requests for customer data from U.S. law enforcement authorities relating to criminal investigations and national security matters, the company said on Monday.
Microsoft and Facebook Inc published similar data last week after reaching a deal about disclosures with U.S. national security authorities.
"We have asked the U.S. government for permission to report how many requests we receive related to national security and how we handle them. We have been authorized to share some of that data," Apple said.
In a statement posted on its website Apple said that the requests were received from December 1 2012 to May 31 2013, and between 9,000 and 10,000 accounts or devices were specified in those requests, which came from federal, state and local authorities.
Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE95G04220130617
Posted by Hissyspit | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 03:59 AM (6 replies)
Source: The Guardian
@BreakingNews: RT @BreakingNewsUK: Report: UK government spied on its allies at 2 G20 summits in London in 2009 - @guardian http://t.co/dkQ3w9DCYX
Sunday 16 June 2013 15.46 EDT
GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications at G20 summits
Exclusive: phones were monitored and fake internet cafes set up to gather information from allies in London in 2009
Documents uncovered by the NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, reveal surveillance of G20 delegates' emails and BlackBerrys.
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, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
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The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.
There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were seen by the Guardian. They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.
• Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates' use of computers;
• Penetrating the security on delegates' BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;
• Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;
Read more: http://www.guardiannews.com/uk/2013/jun/16/gchq-intercepted-communications-g20-summits
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Jun 16, 2013, 04:11 PM (44 replies)
NYC dispatcher spent almost 8 hours on stroke call
POSTED: 06/16/2013 01:00:31 AM MDT
UPDATED: 06/16/2013 01:00:31 AM MDTThe Associated Press
NEW YORK—A New York City emergency dispatcher is being hailed for spending nearly eight hours on the phone with a woman who had suffered a stroke while rescuers tried to pinpoint the woman's location.
The New York Post reports dispatcher Joann Hilman-Payne took the call around 1 p.m. Monday and kept the line open until medics found the woman around 8:30 p.m.
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The call was eventually traced to a Manhattan apartment where the woman was working as a housekeeper. She remains hospitalized.
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Jun 16, 2013, 03:38 AM (5 replies)
SECRET TO PRISM PROGRAM: EVEN BIGGER DATA SEIZURE
By STEPHEN BRAUN, ANNE FLAHERTY, JACK GILLUM and MATT APUZZO
— Jun. 15 2:53 PM EDT
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The agents wanted email archives, account information, practically everything, and quickly. Engineers compiled the data, sometimes by hand, and delivered it to the government.
Often there was no easy way to tell if the information belonged to foreigners or Americans. So much data was changing hands that one former Microsoft employee recalls that the engineers were anxious about whether the company should cooperate.
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The revelation of Prism this month by the Washington Post and Guardian newspapers has touched off the latest round in a decade-long debate over what limits to impose on government eavesdropping, which the Obama administration says is essential to keep the nation safe.
But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government and technology officials and outside experts show that, while Prism has attracted the recent attention, the program actually is a relatively small part of a much more expansive and intrusive eavesdropping effort.
MORE AT LINK
Posted by Hissyspit | Sat Jun 15, 2013, 06:04 PM (13 replies)