National Security / Secrecy
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: Jun 28, 2016 2-Year Panel on Benghazi Ends, Finding No New Fault by Clinton
QUOTE: the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead. The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks...
New York Times May 25, 2016 State Department email audit faults Hillary Clinton
QUOTE: Hillary Clinton and her team ignored clear guidance from the State Department that her email setup broke federal standards and could leave sensitive material vulnerable to hackers, an independent audit has found. Her aides twice brushed aside concerns, in one case telling technical staff “the matter was not to be discussed further.”
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Mar 25, 2015 Iran Case Is So Secret It Can't Go On
QUOTE: When only the government gets to speak, and does all its talking in secret, there's no check over its actions. Who is a district judge to stand up to the anonymous director of some anonymous intelligence agency? The result is not just bad for the rule of law. It's an embarrassment to the entire judiciary.
Bloomberg View Jun 02, 2014 Supreme Court Rejects Appeal From Times Reporter Over Refusal to Identify Source
QUOTE: The Supreme Court on Monday turned down an appeal from James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times facing jail for refusing to identify a confidential source....The case arose from a subpoena to Mr. Risen seeking information about his source for a chapter of his 2006 book, “State of War.” Prosecutors say they need Mr. Risen’s testimony to prove that the source was Jeffrey Sterling, a former C.I.A. official.
New York Times May 17, 2014 Everyone should know just how much the government lied to defend the NSA
QUOTE: A web of deception has finally been untangled: the Justice Department got the US supreme court to dismiss a case that could have curtailed the NSA's dragnet.
Guardian Unlimited Jan 17, 2014 Obama Outlines Calibrated Curbs on Phone Spying
QUOTE: in a speech at the Justice Department that seemed more calculated to reassure audiences at home and abroad than to force radical change, Mr. Obama defended the need for the broad surveillance net assembled by the N.S.A. And he turned to Congress and the intelligence agencies themselves to work out the details of any changes.
New York Times Dec 27, 2013 How Worried Should We Be About the Alleged RSA-NSA Scheming?
QUOTE: If the NSA sabotaged a secure random number generator in a widely used commercial library, it used an extremely blunt instrument....There’s far more at stake here than NSA’s reputation or RSA’s and other U.S. business interests, however. We urgently need NSA and RSA to come clean with the public so we can begin to unravel the damage that’s been done to the basic mechanisms of trust in our online world.
Wired Dec 16, 2013 Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records
QUOTE: A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.
New York Times Nov 13, 2013 Meet the Punk Rocker Who Can Liberate Your FBI File: Ryan Shapiro's technique is so effective at unburying sensitive documents, the feds are asking the courts to stop him.
QUOTE: Invoking a legal strategy that had its heyday during the Bush administration, the FBI claims that Shapiro's multitudinous requests, taken together, constitute a "mosaic" of information whose release could "significantly and irreparably damage national security" and would have "significant deleterious effects" on the bureau's "ongoing efforts to investigate and combat domestic terrorism."
Mother Jones Oct 29, 2013 Lawmakers propose USA Freedom Act to curb NSA’s powers
QUOTE: Dozens of lawmakers from both parties introduced legislation Tuesday to rein in the National Security Agency's spying powers. The USA Freedom Act, which has 16 co-sponsors in the Senate and more than 70 in the House, would end the agency's massive phone record collection program — one of the most controversial revelations from the leaks by Edward Snowden.
The Hill Sep 30, 2013 Snowden says his “sole intention” was to prompt national security debate: Whistleblower advocate reads statement on Snowden's behalf before EU committee.
QUOTE: “I thank the European Parliament and the LIBE [Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs] Committee for taking up the challenge of mass surveillance,” said Jesselyn Radack, who read the statement for Snowden.
Ars Technica Sep 27, 2013 NSA: Some used spying power to snoop on lovers
QUOTE: The National Security Agency's internal watchdog detailed a dozen instances in the past decade in which its employees intentionally misused the agency's surveillance power, in some cases to snoop on their love interests...there are two additional incidents now under investigation and another allegation pending that may require an investigation.
CNN (Cable News Network) Sep 15, 2013 The Banality of Systemic Evil (THE STONE)
QUOTE: Clearly, there is a moral principle at work in the actions of the leakers, whistle-blowers and hacktivists and those who support them. I would also argue that that moral principle has been clearly articulated, and it may just save us from a dystopian future. In “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” one of the most poignant and important works of 20th-century philosophy, Hannah Arendt made an observation about what she called “the banality of evil.” One interpretation of this holds that it was not an observation about what a regular guy Adolph Eichmann seemed to be, but rather a statement about what happens when people play their “proper” roles within a system....A good illustration of this phenomenon appears in “Moral Mazes,” a book by the sociologist Robert Jackall that explored the ethics of decision making within several corporate bureaucracies.
New York Times Sep 10, 2013 New details in how the feds take laptops at border
QUOTE: President Barack Obama and his predecessors have maintained that people crossing into U.S. territory aren't protected by the Fourth Amendment. That policy is intended to allow for intrusive searches that keep drugs, child pornography and other illegal imports out of the country. But it also means the government can target travelers for no reason other than political advocacy if it wants, and obtain electronic documents identifying fellow supporters.
Yahoo News Sep 05, 2013 N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption
QUOTE: The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world...
New York Times Aug 27, 2013 Feds Back Away From Forced Decryption … For Now
QUOTE: Federal prosecutors have formally dropped demands that a child-porn suspect give up his encryption keys in a closely watched case, but experts warn the issue of forced decryption is very much alive....[an appellate court] eventually found the decryption order breached the Fifth Amendment right against being compelled to testify against oneself.
Wired Aug 18, 2013 Glenn Greenwald's partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act
QUOTE: "This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," Greenwald said. "To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere."
Guardian Unlimited Jul 28, 2013 Momentum Builds Against N.S.A. Surveillance
QUOTE: a plan to defund the National Security Agency’s telephone data collection program fell just seven votes short of passage. Now, after initially signaling that they were comfortable with the scope of the N.S.A.’s collection of Americans’ phone and Internet activities, but not their content, revealed last month by Edward J. Snowden, lawmakers are showing an increasing willingness to use legislation to curb those actions.
New York Times Jul 06, 2013 In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.
QUOTE: In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks...
New York Times Jul 02, 2013 America's founders would be horrified at this United States of Surveillance: How did we become so fearful and timid that we've given away essential liberties? Some are even afraid to speak up
QUOTE: No one with common sense believes Obama is planning to become a dictator. But...Obama, building on the initiatives of his immediate predecessors, has helped create the foundation for a future police state. This has happened with bipartisan support from patriotic but short-sighted members of Congress and, sad to say, the general public. The American media have played an essential role. For decades, newspaper editors and television programmers, especially local ones, have chased readers and ratings by spewing panic-inducing "journalism" and entertainment that helped foster support for anti-liberty policies.
Guardian Unlimited Jun 27, 2013 NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama
QUOTE: The Obama administration for more than two years permitted the National Security Agency to continue collecting vast amounts of records detailing the email and internet usage of Americans...under the program, launched in 2001, a federal judge sitting on the secret surveillance panel called the Fisa court would approve a bulk collection order for internet metadata "every 90 days"... The collection of these records began under the Bush administration's wide-ranging warrantless surveillance program, collectively known by the NSA codename Stellar Wind.
Guardian Unlimited Jun 25, 2013 NSA fact sheet on surveillance program pulled from Web after senators’ criticism
QUOTE: National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander acknowledged Tuesday that a fact sheet on the agency’s Web site inaccurately described the extent to which the communications of U.S. citizens are protected from the spy agency’s collection of e-mail and other material from technology companies.
Washington Post Mar 15, 2013 Drones killing innocent Pakistanis, U.N. official says
QUOTE: The New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan, drones have killed between 1,953 and 3,279 people since 2004 - and that between 18% and 23% of them were not militants....The study concludes that the strikes have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, and traumatized many more innocent people.
CNN (Cable News Network) Mar 13, 2013 Death to Whistle-Blowers? (Op-Ed)
QUOTE: ...Private Manning still faces trial on the most serious charges, including the potential capital offense of “aiding the enemy” — though the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty in this case, “only” a life sentence. If successful, the prosecution will establish a chilling precedent: national security leaks may subject the leakers to a capital prosecution or at least life imprisonment. Anyone who holds freedom of the press dear should shudder at the threat that the prosecution’s theory presents to journalists, their sources and the public that relies on them.
New York Times Feb 04, 2013 Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans
QUOTE: A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens
NBC News Jan 29, 2013 Obama Urges Speed on Immigration Plan, but Exposes Conflicts
QUOTE: Seizing an opening to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws, President Obama challenged Congress on Tuesday to act swiftly to put 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States on a clear path to citizenship. But his push for speedy action and his silence on proposals to defer the opportunity for legal residency until the country’s borders are deemed secure provoked criticism from a Republican leader on the issue.
New York Times Dec 13, 2012 Attorney General Secretly Granted Gov. Ability to Develop and Store Dossiers on Innocent Americans
QUOTE: In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens...Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases...
Wired Nov 11, 2012 Officials Say F.B.I. Knew of Petraeus Affair in the Summer
QUOTE: The new accounts of the events that led to Mr. Petraeus’s sudden resignation on Friday shed light on the competing pressures facing F.B.I. agents who recognized the high stakes of any investigation involving the C.I.A. director but who were wary of exposing a private affair with no criminal or security implications.
New York Times Jul 24, 2012 First they came for Wikileaks, then the New York Times
QUOTE: There are signs that the U.S. government wants to target mainstream journalists and media outlets for the same kind of investigation that WikiLeaks has been subjected to for publishing classified information, which makes it even more important to defend WikiLeaks’ status as a media entity.
GigaOM Feb 10, 2012 The Afghanistan Report the Pentagon Doesn't Want You to Read
QUOTE: a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military's top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going.
Rolling Stone Dec 23, 2011 CIA report: No issue with spy agency's partnership with N.Y. police
QUOTE: the agency helped police conduct covert surveillance on Muslims living in New York, raising broader civil liberty questions about the legality of the methods and scope of federal efforts to counter terrorism.
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 25, 2011 Death of U.S. teenager in drone strike stokes debate
QUOTE: 'Proportionality' is at the heart of the argument....is it acceptable in law to carry out an attack against an identified terrorist suspect where others in his immediate vicinity - whose identities are unknown - are likely to be killed or injured?...
CNN (Cable News Network) Oct 25, 2011 How the Patriot Act stripped me of my free-speech rights
QUOTE: the government implausibly claimed that if I were able to identify myself as the plaintiff in the case, irreparable damage to national security would result. But I did not believe then, nor do I believe now, that the FBI’s gag order was motivated by legitimate national security concerns. It was motivated by a desire to insulate the FBI from public criticism and oversight.
Washington Post Oct 10, 2011 Secret Orders Target Email: WikiLeaks Backer's Information Sought
QUOTE: The court clashes in the WikiLeaks case provide a rare public window into the growing debate over a federal law that lets the government secretly obtain information from people's email and cellphones without a search warrant. Several court decisions have questioned whether the law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ) Sep 30, 2011 U.S. drone killing of American al-Awlaki prompts legal, moral debate
QUOTE: The U.S. drone killing of American-born and -raised Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a major figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has re-energized a national debate over the legal and moral quandaries of a government deliberately killing a citizen.
CNN (Cable News Network) Aug 25, 2011 In Echo of Pancho Villa, Modern Raid Shakes a Town on the Edge of Extinction
QUOTE: Ninety-five years and a day after the infamous Villa raid, another group of armed men crept into Columbus [New Mexico]....They led away in handcuffs Columbus’s mayor, police chief, village trustee and numerous others accused of smuggling guns, ammunition and body armor across the border to Mexican outlaws.
New York Times Jul 14, 2011 U.S.: Catching bin Laden justifies CIA vaccination ruse (The Chart)
QUOTE: A senior U.S. official on Thursday acknowledged CIA involvement in a vaccination campaign in Pakistan, but said it was a legitimate piece of the strategy for catching Osama bin Laden....the aid group Doctors Without Borders issued a statement calling the CIA’s involvement, “a dangerous abuse of medical care.”
CNN (Cable News Network) Jul 05, 2011 U.S. to Prosecute a Somali Suspect in Civilian Court
QUOTE: The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it would prosecute in civilian court a Somali accused of ties to two Islamist militant groups. The decision to fly the man to New York for trial, after interrogating him for months aboard a United States naval vessel, is likely to reignite debate about the detention and prosecution of terrorism suspects.
New York Times Jun 30, 2011 U.S. Widens Inquiries Into 2 Jail Deaths
QUOTE: The Justice Department announced Thursday that it was opening a full criminal investigation into the deaths of two terrorism suspects in C.I.A. custody overseas, but it was closing inquiries into the treatment of nearly 100 other detainees over the last decade.
New York Times Jun 17, 2011 U.S. Pressing Its Crackdown Against Leaks
QUOTE: The Justice Department shows no sign of rethinking its campaign to punish unauthorized disclosures to the news media, with five criminal cases so far under President Obama, compared with three under all previous presidents combined....The string of cases reflects a broad belief across two administrations and in both parties in Congress that leaks have gotten out of hand, endangering intelligence agents and exposing American spying methods.
New York Times Jun 15, 2011 Ex-Spy Alleges Bush White House Sought to Discredit Critic
QUOTE: A former senior C.I.A. official says that officials in the Bush White House sought damaging personal information on a prominent American critic of the Iraq war in order to discredit him. Glenn L. Carle, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer who was a top counterterrorism official during the administration of President George W. Bush, said the White House at least twice asked intelligence officials to gather sensitive information on Juan Cole, a University of Michigan professor who writes an influential blog that criticized the war.
New York Times Jun 13, 2011 Activists cry foul over FBI probe
QUOTE: The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers....The apparent targets, all vocal and visible critics of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and South America, deny any ties to terrorism. They say the government, using its post-9/11 focus on terrorism as a pretext, is targeting them for their political views.
Washington Post Jun 07, 2011 Homeland Security Department curtails home-grown terror analysis
QUOTE: The Department of Homeland Security has stepped back for the past two years from conducting its own intelligence and analysis of home-grown extremism...The decision to reduce the department’s role was provoked by conservative criticism of an intelligence report on “Rightwing Extremism” issued four months into the Obama administration, the officials said.
Washington Post Jun 05, 2011 Israeli Soldiers Shoot at Protesters on Syrian Border
QUOTE: Israeli forces fired at pro-Palestinian protesters on the Syrian frontier on Sunday as they tried to breach the border for the second time in three weeks, reflecting a new mode of popular struggle and deadly confrontation....Israeli officials, who say they tried every nonlethal method of crowd control at their disposal before resorting to live fire, worry about being cast as the villain but admit they are in a bind.
New York Times May 25, 2011 How Can Congress Debate a Secret Law?
QUOTE: Legal scholars, law professors, advocacy groups, and the Congressional Research Service have all written interpretations of the Patriot Act and Americans can read any of these interpretations and decide whether they support or agree with them. But by far the most important interpretation of what the law means is the official interpretation used by the U.S. government and this interpretation is - stunningly -classified.
Huffington Post Apr 24, 2011 Judging Detainees’ Risk, Often With Flawed Evidence
QUOTE: The documents reveal that the analysts sometimes ignored serious flaws in the evidence… They include detainees’ admissions without acknowledging other government documents that show the statements were later withdrawn, often attributed to abusive treatment or torture.
New York Times Mar 10, 2011 Congressman Defends Hearing on Radical Islam
QUOTE: Many Muslims fear they will be made targets, while religious and civil rights leaders are protesting what they see as ethnic profiling and the singling out of a particular minority... (counterterrorism officials) are concerned that the sessions will have the opposite of their intended effect, by making Muslims, who may already be nervous about talking to the authorities, even more nervous about doing so.
New York Times Feb 25, 2011 Huawei Calls on U.S. to Investigate Accusations
QUOTE: ...Huawei complained that its push into the United States had been undermined by false allegations and mistaken suspicions that the company had close ties with the Chinese government and the military and that the privately owned company did not respect intellectual property rights.
New York Times Feb 10, 2011 Ex-C.I.A. Agent Goes Public With Story of Mistreatment on the Job
QUOTE: He contends that the events broke up his marriage and destroyed his career, and that C.I.A. officials abused the State Secrets Privilege doctrine in an effort to cover up their own negligence.
New York Times Jan 18, 2011 In Knotty State Secrets Case, Justices Ponder Telling Litigants to ‘Go Away’
QUOTE: The contractors sued, asking to keep the money and seeking $1.2 billion more. They said their work had been frustrated by the government’s failure to share classified technology. The government disputed that, but would not explain why, invoking the state secrets privilege.
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