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Indi Guy

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Member since: Sat Oct 13, 2007, 07:04 AM
Number of posts: 3,992

Journal Archives

NSA, Homeland Security issue ‘cease and desist’ letters to novelty store owner

Source: The Washington Times

The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have issued “cease and desist” letters to a novelty store owner who sells products that poke fun at the federal government.

Dan McCall, who lives in Minnesota and operates LibertyManiacs.com, sells T-shirts with the agency’s official seal that read: “The NSA: The only part of government that actually listens,” Judicial Watch first reported. Other parodies say, “Spying on you since 1952,” and “Peeping while you’re sleeping,” the report said.

Federal authorities claimed the parody images violate laws against the misuse, mutilation, alteration or impersonation of government seals, Judicial Watch reported.

Mr. McCall removed the items from his website, but he also has filed a federal complaint claiming the government is violating his First Amendment rights...

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/3/nsa-dhs-issue-cease-and-desist-letters-novelty-sto/

Snowden: US would have buried NSA red flags

Source: MSNBC

For former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, the decision to spill the beans wasn’t about joining the ranks of history’s most infamous whistleblowers.

In a New York Times interview, the 30-year-old said he had no faith in the internal reporting channels when he leaked thousands of classifed documents, exposing the breadth of the U.S. government’s surveillance programs. Snowden said his efforts to report his concerns through the proper chain of command “would have been buried forever,” leaving him “discredited and ruined.”

“The system does not work,”
said Snowden in a wide-ranging interview spanning several days last week. “You have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it.”

Snowden learned that lesson the hard way....

Read more: http://www.msnbc.com/news-nation/bad-blood

Texas GOP candidate: 4 liberal states should secede

Source: USA Today

Forget about Texas seceding from the union. It's solidly blue states like California, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut that should get the boot, jokes a Republican running for Texas lieutenant governor.

"I'm in favor of expulsion," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson told the Associated Press. "New York, California — and there's some good people in New York and California — but their legislatures' aren't representing them."

Patterson may only be half-joking.

Earlier this year, more than 100,000 people signed a petition on the White House website calling on the Obama administration to allow Texas to secede and create its own government. It was similar to petitions filed by people in Alabama, Louisiana and other states where Obama isn't popular. The White House responded by citing an 1869 Supreme Court decision that found individual states do not have the right to secede...

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2013/10/11/jerry-patterson-texas-liberal-states-secede/2966519/

I get it...

plan A: Failing voluntary deportation -- the expulsion of "liberal" states (I guess purple states are tolerable).

...Only a few constitutional amendments involved there.

Plan B: Secession.

OK Texas; when hurricane Lee hits Corpus Christie, you're on your own. No declaration of a "national" disaster. No federal intervention or funding for rescue, recovery, cleanup, rebuilding etc.

All your politics & politicians will be local & I guarantee you that every last one of your "leaders" will be swept out of office for pandering to the mindless ideologues who considered secession to be a viable expression of opposition to the current administration.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the divided state of Texas, and against the republic which it stands against..."

Oh that's right Mr. Patterson, your statements were only hyperbole.

Julian Assange: Surveillance Apparatus ‘a Threat to U.S. Democracy’

Source: ABC News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange today dismissed criticism from British and U.S. intelligence officials who called recent leaks about secret surveillance programs a “gift” to terrorists, saying in an interview on “This Week” that the programs are a “threat to U.S. democracy.”

Andrew Parker, the new head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency MI5, said in a speech Tuesday that the leaking of classified information about surveillance programs such as those by Edward Snowden “hands the advantage to the terrorists.”

NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander said Thursday that terrorists “listen, they see what has come out in the press and they adjust. … I believe people will die because we won’t be able to stop some of those threats.”

Assange, the mastermind behind WikiLeaks’ release of tens of thousands of secret documents online in recent years, rejected that notion today. “Every time the press embarrasses the security establishment, shows they have been acting unlawfully, against what they have said to Congress or to the media, they trot out this old canard, that some speculative harm sometime in the future might happen, when we’re discussing harm that is happening right now, as a result of these abusive programs,” Assange told George Stephanopoulos...

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/10/julian-assange-surveillance-apparatus-a-threat-to-u-s-democracy/

NSA Veterans: The White House Is Hanging Us Out to Dry

Source: Foreign Policy

Gen. Keith Alexander and his senior leadership team at the National Security Agency are angry and dispirited by what they see as the White House's failure to defend the spy agency against criticism of its surveillance programs, according to four people familiar with the NSA chiefs' thinking. The top brass of the country's biggest spy agency feels they've been left twisting in the wind, abandoned by the White House and left largely to defend themselves in public and in Congress against allegations of unconstitutional spying on Americans.

Former intelligence officials closely aligned with the NSA criticized President Obama for saying little publicly to defend the agency, and for not emphasizing that some leaked or officially disclosed documents arguably show the NSA operating within its legal authorities.

"There has been no support for the agency from the President or his staff or senior administration officials, and this has not gone unnoticed by both senior officials and the rank and file at the Fort," said Joel Brenner, the NSA's one-time inspector general, referring to the agency's headquarters at Ft. Meade, Maryland.

The weak backing from top administration officials has aggravated the relationship between Alexander and the White House, where he has never been warmly embraced. The NSA now finds itself without the strong, visible support of the President at a time of extraordinary political vulnerability, with the agency's secrets laid bare and its future in doubt....

Read more: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/10/10/nsa_veterans_the_white_house_is_hanging_us_out_to_dry

Ex-NSA Chief Jokes About Putting Edward Snowden on Kill List...

Source: The Hill

Former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden joked Thursday about putting Edward Snowden on a kill list. Hayden noted that Snowden has been nominated for a European human rights award.

"I must admit, in my darker moments over the past several months, I'd also thought of nominating Mr. Snowden, but it was for a different list," Hayden said during a panel discussion on cybersecurity hosted by The Washington Post.

The audience laughed, and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee who was also on the panel, responded, "I can help you with that."

Both officials argued that Snowden's leaks about the scope of the NSA's surveillance programs have done serious damage to U.S. national security...

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/326315-former-nsa-chief-jokes-about-putting-snowden-on-kill-list

A CEO who resisted NSA spying is out of prison. And he feels ‘vindicated’ by Snowden leaks...

Source: Washington Post

Just one major telecommunications company refused to participate in a legally dubious NSA surveillance program in 2001. A few years later, its CEO was indicted by federal prosecutors. He was convicted, served four and a half years of his sentence and was released this month. Prosecutors claim Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio was guilty of insider trading, and that his prosecution had nothing to do with his refusal to allow spying on his customers without the permission of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. But to this day, Nacchio insists that his prosecution was retaliation for refusing to break the law on the NSA's behalf.

After his release from custody Sept. 20, Nacchio told the Wall Street Journal that he feels "vindicated" by the content of the leaks that show that the agency was collecting American's phone records.

Nacchio was convicted of selling of Qwest stock in early 2001, not long before the company hit financial troubles. However, he claimed in court documents that he was optimistic about the firm's ability to win classified government contracts — something they'd succeeded at in the past. And according to his timeline, in February 2001 — some six months before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks — he was approached by the NSA and asked to spy on customers during a meeting he thought was about a different contract. He reportedly refused because his lawyers believed such an action would be illegal and the NSA wouldn't go through the FISA Court. And then, he says, unrelated government contracts started to disappear.

His narrative matches with the warrantless surveillance program reported by USA Today in 2006 which noted Qwest as the lone holdout from the program, hounded by the agency with hints that their refusal "might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government." But Nacchio was prevented from bringing up any of this defense during his jury trial — the evidence needed to support it was deemed classified and the judge in his case refused his requests to use it. And he still believes his prosecution was retaliatory for refusing the NSA requests for bulk access to customers' phone records. Some other observers share that opinion, and it seems consistent with evidence that has been made public, including some of the redacted court filings unsealed after his conviction...

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/09/30/a-ceo-who-resisted-nsa-spying-is-out-of-prison-and-he-feels-vindicated-by-snowden-leaks/

NSA Employee Spied on Nine Women Without Detection, Internal File Shows...

Source: the guardian

A National Security Agency employee was able to secretly intercept the phone calls of nine foreign women for six years without ever being detected by his managers, the agency's internal watchdog has revealed.

The unauthorised abuse of the NSA's surveillance tools only came to light after one of the women, who happened to be a US government employee, told a colleague that she suspected the man – with whom she was having a sexual relationship – was listening to her calls.

The case is among 12 documented in a letter from the NSA's inspector general to a leading member of Congress, who asked for a breakdown of cases in which the agency's powerful surveillance apparatus was deliberately abused by staff. One relates to a member of the US military who, on the first day he gained access to the surveillance system, used it to spy on six email addresses belonging to former girlfriends.

The letter, from Dr George Ellard, only lists cases that were investigated and later "substantiated" by his office. But it raises the possibility that there are many more cases that go undetected. In a quarter of the cases, the NSA only found out about the misconduct after the employee confessed...

General Keith Alexander said abuse of the NSA's powerful monitoring tools were 'with very rare exception' unintentional mistakes.
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/27/nsa-employee-spied-detection-internal-memo

Obama Administration Had Restrictions on NSA Reversed in 2011...

Source: Washington Post

The Obama administration secretly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 to reverse restrictions on the National Security Agency’s use of intercepted phone calls and e-mails, permitting the agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases, according to interviews with government officials and recently declassified material.

In addition, the court extended the length of time that the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted U.S. communications from five years to six years — and more under special circumstances, according to the documents, which include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What had not been previously acknowledged is that the court in 2008 imposed an explicit ban — at the government’s request — on those kinds of searches, that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the bar and that the search authority has been used.

Together the permission to search and to keep data longer expanded the NSA’s authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress. The administration’s assurances rely on legalistic definitions of the term “target” that can be at odds with ordinary English usage. The enlarged authority is part of a fundamental shift in the government’s approach to surveillance: collecting first, and protecting Americans’ privacy later...

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-administration-had-restrictions-on-nsa-reversed-in-2011/2013/09/07/c26ef658-0fe5-11e3-85b6-d27422650fd5_story.html

Artist Who Painted Putin in Lingerie Seeking Asylum in France

Source: Salon

[font size="5"]R[/font]ussian artist Konstantin Altunin, who made international headlines this week after police seized his painting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in women’s underwear, is seeking asylum in France.

The 45-year-old fled Russia on Tuesday night after police raided an art gallery in the northwestern city of Saint Petersburg and confiscated various works, including Altunin’s painting depicting Putin in a pink nightie and Medvedev in a bra and knickers. Altunin fears he would be arrested if he returned to Russia.

“Yesterday I went to the prefecture in Paris … and made this request (for asylum). I now need to go through the procedure and bring written confirmation of where I am staying,” Altunin told the Agence France-Presse.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg, Altunin said: “I don’t want to return to Russia. I want to live and work in an atmosphere of freedom.”...

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2013/08/31/artist_who_painted_putin_in_lingerie_seeking_asylum_in_france_partner/

The painting:

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