On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to intelligence analyst and NSA whistleblower William Binney about the Washington Post’s revelations over the CIA and West German intelligence (BND) setting up a Swiss company, Crypto AG, to sell encrypted machines to more than 120 governments worldwide. From 1970 through to 2018, the CIA intercepted foreign government communications. Among the countries buying the machines were France, Iran, the Vatican, and Venezuela. “It was the intelligence coup of the century,” stated the CIA’s own report on the program. Russia and China did not buy the service.
After intense speculation, President Trump said today that he has selected Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to succeed retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. In his announcement, the president introduced his nominee as a jurist with “impeccable credentials” and as “a judge’s judge.” Kavanaugh, who was nominated to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit by George W. Bush, where he currently serves, certainly has a notable, if likely controversial, record on tech policy issues. While it’s difficult to anticipate exactly which issues might come before the court, his past rulings suggest a reliably conservative voice on tech. His addition to the highest court in the country could vastly reshape the digital landscape.
Reality Winner, the former NSA contract employee who allegedly provided a classified document to two journalists at The Intercept, agreed on Tuesday to change her plea to “guilty” and to accept a sentence of 63 months in prison, three years of “supervised release” and forfeiture of her electronic devices. The plea was made to one count of “espionage,” which, since my case in 2012, has been interpreted as “the provision of national defense information to any person not entitled to receive it.” The sentence is unprecedentedly harsh and Winner was brought into the court literally in chains.
“It hangs up a sign on Michigan’s door saying, ‘No violation of the Fourth Amendment, look elsewhere,’” Howrylak said. “Democrats, as well as Republicans, would certainly stand very strong in our position on what this law means.” While Howrylak said he thinks the law makes “a strong court case saying this is what the state intends,” he hopes other states will join in by passing similar legislation, in an effort to cripple the NSA’s illegal activities. Next month marks 5 years since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released a trove of classified documents revealing that the United States government was routinely collecting metadata from innocent American citizens without warrants, and using “national security” to justify its actions.
At the height of the Cold War, during the winter of 1980, FBI agents recorded a phone call in which a man arranged a secret meeting with the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C. On the day of his appointment, however, agents were unable to catch sight of the man entering the embassy. At the time, they had no way to put a name to the caller from just the sound of his voice, so the spy remained anonymous. Over the next five years, he sold details about several secret U.S. programs to the USSR. It wasn’t until 1985 that the FBI, thanks to intelligence provided by a Russian defector, was able to establish the caller as Ronald Pelton, a former analyst at the National Security Agency.
The NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White Thursday that data and “backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016,” Politico reported. On Friday, President Donald Trump extended a law that includes provisions for the NSA to work with U.S. internet providers and tech companies for its surveillance efforts, according to reports. “The NSA sincerely regrets its failure to prevent the deletion of this data,” an NSA official identified publicly as Elizabeth B. wrote in a declaration. “NSA senior management is fully aware of this failure, and the Agency is committed to taking swift action to respond to the loss of this data.”
By Whitney Webb for Mint Press News - Ever since Edward Snowden helped reveal the true extent of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive spying program, U.S. politicians have attempted to “fix” the program’s gross violations of the Fourth Amendment with legislation. While some legislative efforts were “fake fixes,” others were well-meaning but have fallen short, as legislators still lack key information regarding how the government interprets and uses Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Section 215 of the Patriot Act to legally justify its dragnet collection of citizen phone records and other information. Indeed, over the past four years, Congress has been stonewalled by the NSA in its attempts to learn more about the program. The NSA has repeatedly refused even to estimate how many Americans are spied on by the agency’s most invasive programs and has even refused to reveal whether it spies on members of Congress or other elected officials in the United States. Despite the NSA’s failure to cooperate, Congress is again attempting to rein in the agency’s internet surveillance program, as its key legislative underpinning is set to expire by year’s end. The newly introduced bill, titled the USA Liberty Act, seeks to address the worst of the program’s abuses while also reauthorizing some aspects of the program to continue for another six years.
By Tom Secker for Insurge Intelligence/ Medium - Alongside the massive scale of these operations, our new book National Security Cinema details how US government involvement also includes script rewrites on some of the biggest and most popular films, including James Bond, the Transformers franchise, and movies from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes. A similar influence is exerted over military-supported TV, which ranges from Hawaii Five-O to America’s Got Talent, Oprah and Jay Leno to Cupcake Wars, along with numerous documentaries by PBS, the History Channel and the BBC. National Security Cinema also reveals how dozens of films and TV shows have been supported and influenced by the CIA, including the James Bond adventure Thunderball, the Tom Clancy thriller Patriot Games and more recent films, including Meet the Parents and Salt. The CIA even helped to make an episode of Top Chef that was hosted at Langley, featuring then-CIA director Leon Panetta who was shown as having to skip dessert to attend to vital business. Was this scene real, or was it a dramatic statement for the cameras?
By Staff of We Meant Well - Now let’s look at what we know so far about how this happened. A 25-year-old improbably-named Reality Winner leaves behind a trail long and wide on social media of anti-Trump stuff, including proclaiming herself a member of The Resistance. Never mind, she takes her Top Secret clearance with her out of the Air Force (she had been stationed with the military’s 94th Intelligence Squadron out of Fort Meade, Maryland, co-located with the NSA’s headquarters) and scores a job with an NSA contractor. Despite the lessons of too-much-access the Snowden episode should have taught the NSA, Winner apparently enjoys all sorts of classified documents — her Air Force expertise was in Afghan matters, so it is unclear why she would have access to info on Russia hacking of U.S. domestic companies. Within only about 90 days of starting her new job, she prints out the one (and only one apparently, why not more?) document in question and mails it to The Intercept. She also uses her work computer inside an NSA facility to write to the Intercept twice about this same time.