National Security Agency – Wikipedia

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a national-level intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense, under the authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The NSA is responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign and domestic intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, specializing in a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). The NSA is also tasked with the protection of U.S. communications networks and information systems.[8][9] The NSA relies on a variety of measures to accomplish its mission, the majority of which are clandestine.[10]

Seal of the National Security Agency

Flag of the National Security Agency

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become the largest of the U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget.[6][11] The NSA currently conducts worldwide mass data collection and has been known to physically bug electronic systems as one method to this end.[12] The NSA is also alleged to have been behind such attack software as Stuxnet, which severely damaged Iran's nuclear program.[13][14] The NSA, alongside the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), maintains a physical presence in many countries across the globe; the CIA/NSA joint Special Collection Service (a highly classified intelligence team) inserts eavesdropping devices in high value targets (such as Presidential palaces or embassies). SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass "close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, [and] breaking and entering".[15][16]

Unlike the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, the NSA does not publicly conduct human-source intelligence gathering. The NSA is entrusted with providing assistance to, and the coordination of, SIGINT elements for other government organizations which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities on their own.[17] As part of these responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which facilitates cooperation between the NSA and other U.S. defense cryptanalysis components. To further ensure streamlined communication between the signals intelligence community divisions, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

The NSA's actions have been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, including its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders and the agency's participation in economic espionage. In 2013, the NSA had many of its secret surveillance programs revealed to the public by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts and stores the communications of over a billion people worldwide, including United States citizens. The documents also revealed the NSA tracks hundreds of millions of people's movements using cellphones' metadata. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA's ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through "boomerang routing".[18]

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau.[19] It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army's organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy's Cryptanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and the army cryptographic section of Military Intelligence (MI-8) moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[20][21]

After the disbandment of the U.S. Army cryptographic section of military intelligence, known as MI-8, in 1919, the U.S. government created the Cipher Bureau, also known as Black Chamber. The Black Chamber was the United States' first peacetime cryptanalytic organization.[22] Jointly funded by the Army and the State Department, the Cipher Bureau was disguised as a New York City commercial code company; it actually produced and sold such codes for business use. Its true mission, however, was to break the communications (chiefly diplomatic) of other nations. Its most notable known success was at the Washington Naval Conference, during which it aided American negotiators considerably by providing them with the decrypted traffic of many of the conference delegations, most notably the Japanese. The Black Chamber successfully persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company at the time, as well as several other communications companies to illegally give the Black Chamber access to cable traffic of foreign embassies and consulates.[23] Soon, these companies publicly discontinued their collaboration.

Despite the Chamber's initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating, "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail".[24]

During World War II, the Signal Intelligence Service (SIS) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SIS was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25] This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The National Security Council issued a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9. On the same day, Truman issued a second memorandum that called for the establishment of the NSA.[28] The actual establishment of the NSA was done by a November 4 memo by Robert A. Lovett, the Secretary of Defense, changing the name of the AFSA to the NSA, and making the new agency responsible for all communications intelligence.[29] Since President Truman's memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as "No Such Agency".[30]

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding U.S. commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USSMaddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[31]

A secret operation, code-named "MINARET", was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[32] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was "disreputable if not outright illegal".[32]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit and intercept U.S. communications.[33]:Vol I, p.79

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Senator Frank Church[34] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain's SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[35] The Agency tracked these individuals in a secret filing system that was destroyed in 1974.[36] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[37] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[37] such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[38] The investigation also uncovered NSA's wiretaps on targeted U.S. citizens.[39]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[37]

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided "irrefutable" evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[40][41]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA's role in economic espionage in a report entitled 'Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information'.[42] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[43] The memorial is a, "tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology".[43] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[43]

NSA's infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain's GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a "wake-up call" for the need to invest in the agency's infrastructure.[44]

In the 1990s the defensive arm of the NSA the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) started working more openly; the first public technical talk by an NSA scientist at a major cryptography conference was J. Solinas' presentation onefficient Elliptic Curve Cryptography algorithms at Crypto 1997.[45] The IAD's cooperative approach to academia and industry culminated in its support for a transparent process for replacing the outdated Data Encryption Standard (DES) by an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Cybersecurity policy expert Susan Landau attributes the NSA's harmonious collaboration with industry and academia in the selection of the AES in 2000 and the Agency's support for the choice of a strong encryption algorithm designed by Europeans rather than by Americans to Brian Snow, who was the Technical Director of IAD and represented the NSA as cochairman of the Technical Working Group for the AES competition, and Michael Jacobs, who headed IAD at the time.[46]:75

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the NSA believed that it had public support for a dramatic expansion of its surveillance activities.[47] According to Neal Koblitz and Alfred Menezes, the period when the NSA was a trusted partner with academia and industry in the development of cryptographic standards started to come to an end when, as part of the change in the NSA in the post-September 11 era, Snow was replaced as Technical Director, Jacobs retired, and IAD could no longer effectively oppose proposed actions by the offensive arm of the NSA.[48]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a "privacy mechanism"; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread's privacy system.[49]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002 and was worked on by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Boeing, Computer Sciences Corporation, IBM, and Litton Industries. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive "test" pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[50] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[51]

The massive extent of the NSA's spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

NSA's eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[52]

According to a 2010 article in The Washington Post, "[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases."[53]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[54]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008, by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government's computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]

Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

"Echelon" was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[55] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[56]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[57] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world's transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[58]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[59] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the "ECHELON" surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[60] On November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful "global spying network" code-named Echelon, that could "eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet" with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was "linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland".[61]

NSA's United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about "... U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations...." without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[62][63]

The NSA was also involved in planning to blackmail people with "SEXINT", intelligence gained about a potential target's sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were they charged with one.[64]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting "millions of images per day".[65]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[66] This "collect it all" strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[67]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[68] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[69][70]

In June 2015, WikiLeaks published documents showing that NSA spied on French companies.[71]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents showing that NSA spied on federal German ministries since the 1990s.[72][73] Even Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[74]

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8billion telephone data items and 97.1billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. Initially, it was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France,[75] but later on, it became clear that those data were collected by European agencies during military missions abroad and were subsequently shared with NSA.

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual EC DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[76][77] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[78] Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[77]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[79][80]

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013, that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[81] However, later, Linus' father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[82]

When my oldest son was asked the same question: "Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?" he said "No", but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for clientserver and serverserver authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a "workload reduction factor" for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[84][85]

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA's ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees

A "load station" implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald's book No Place to Hide details how the agency's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as "some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world."[86]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[87] Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish a network bridge "that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants."[88]

NSA's mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes "foreign intelligence or counterintelligence" while not "acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons". NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[89]The appearance of a 'Domestic Surveillance Directorate' of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[90][91]

NSA's domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because "a person's private communications are akin to personal papers."[92] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA's foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[93] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[93]

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorneys General were unsure if the NSA's programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA's programs continued.[94] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records. This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[95]

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[96][97] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[98] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[99] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[100][101][102][103]

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division, which has been active since at least circa 1998.[104]

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, "... the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People's Republic of China."[105][106]

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria's internet blackout in 2012.[107]

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[108]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[110][111]

As of 2013[update], NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[112]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[122]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President's Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, Internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[123]

A 2016 proposal would combine the Signals Intelligence Directorate with Information Assurance Directorate into Directorate of Operations.[124]

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[125] It is a classified network,[126] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[127] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[128]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public Internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency's systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[129]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had "significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information".[130] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[131] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[132]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in "a file-sharing location on the NSA's intranet site"; so, they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents. As a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to safer storage locations.[133]

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates.In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA's budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[136]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Fort Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is "somewhere between 37,000 and one billion" as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is "probably the biggest employer of introverts."[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world's largest single employer of mathematicians.[137] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[138]

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[139] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write, "If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired." David Kahn criticized the NSA's tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress' blind faith in the agency's right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[139]

Edward Snowden's leaking of the existence of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a "two-man rule", where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[138] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[140]

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[141] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or "embarrassing personal questions" about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[141] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts periodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive "termination of employment", according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of NSA.[142]

There are also "special access examination" polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[142] NSA's brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[143] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that "It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions."[144] Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[141]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[145] The video, ten minutes long, is titled "The Truth About the Polygraph" and was posted to the Web site of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays "various applicants, or actors playing them it's not clear describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true."[146] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[145] George Maschke, the founder of the Web site, accused the NSA polygraph video of being "Orwellian".[146]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[147]

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee, The Washington Post wrote: "This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself." Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[139] Also, every person hired to a job in the US after 2007, at any private organization, state or federal government agency, must be reported to the New Hire Registry, ostensibly to look for child support evaders, except that employees of an intelligence agency may be excluded from reporting if the director deems it necessary for national security reasons.

When the agency was first established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army's cryptographic operations.[148] Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[149]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Fort Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[149] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the "Headquarters Building" and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used "Ninth Floor" to refer to their leaders.[150] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[149] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[151] The four NSA buildings became known as the "Big Four."[151] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[151]

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39632N 764617W / 39.10889N 76.77139W / 39.10889; -76.77139 in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Fort Meade is about 20mi (32km) southwest of Baltimore,[152] and 25mi (40km) northeast of Washington, D.C.[153] The NSA has two dedicated exits off BaltimoreWashington Parkway. The Eastbound exit from the Parkway (heading toward Baltimore) is open to the public and provides employee access to its main campus and public access to the National Cryptology Museum. The Westbound side exit, (heading toward Washington) is labeled "NSA Employees Only".[154][155] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[156]

NSA is the largest employer in the state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Fort Meade.[157] Built on 350 acres (140ha; 0.55sqmi)[158] of Fort Meade's 5,000 acres (2,000ha; 7.8sqmi),[159] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[153][160]

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as "a modern boxy structure" that appears similar to "any stylish office building."[161] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[161] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000m2), or more than 68 acres (28ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol "could easily fit inside it four times over."[161]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[162] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[161] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[163] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[164] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[163]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency's operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a "dark glass Rubik's Cube".[165] The facility's "red corridor" houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the "red badge" which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[163] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[166][167][168]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[169] The NSA maintains a shuttle service from the Odenton station of MARC to its Visitor Control Center and has done so since 2005.[170]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and "now the agency's ability to keep its operations going is threatened."[171]

On August 6. 2006, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA had completely maxed out the grid, and that Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) was unable to sell them any more power.[172] NSA decided to move some of its operations to a new satellite facility.

BGE provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Fort Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[173] In 2011, the NSA was Maryland's largest consumer of power.[157] In 2007, as BGE's largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[171]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at US$40million per year.[174]

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[175]

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National Security Agency - Wikipedia

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Microsoft patches Windows 10 after NSA finds vulnerability

Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., pauses while speaking during a Microsoft product event in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019.

Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The National Security Agency alerted Microsoft in recent weeks to a significant issue affecting its Windows 10 operating system, ubiquitous within corporations and among consumers, two senior federal cybersecurity officials told CNBC.

The flaw affected encryption of digital signatures used to authenticate content, including software or files. If exploited, the flaw could allow criminals to send malicious content with fake signatures that make it appear safe. The finding was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

"Patching like this, in general, should always be important, but the fact that the NSA is the one that disclosed this to Microsoft as well gave it some more importance," said Satnam Narang, a senior research engineer with cybersecurity company Tenable. Attackers often will steal security certificates in order to send a victim a malicious file that appears to be trustworthy, but with this flaw, the attacker can simply spoof the Microsoft certificate, making the process much easier, Narang said.

It is unclear how long the NSA knew about the flaw before reporting it to Microsoft. The cooperation, however, is a departure from past interactions between the NSA and major software developers such as Microsoft. In the past, the top security agency has kept some major vulnerabilities secret in order to use them as part of the U.S. tech arsenal.

In a statement, Microsoft declined to confirm or offer further details. "We follow the principles of coordinated vulnerability disclosure as the industry best practice to protect our customers from reported security vulnerabilities. To prevent unnecessary risk to customers, security researchers and vendors do not discuss the details of reported vulnerabilities before an update is available."

Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft said in a statement Tuesday: "Customers who have already applied the update, or have automatic updates enabled, are already protected. As always we encourage customers to install all security updates as soon as possible." Microsoft told CNBC that it had not seen any exploitation of the flaw "in the wild," which means outside a lab testing environment.

"I do want to stress that this information just dropped in the last hour, and it is still pretty fresh. So we are trying to fully grasp how this plays into the grand scheme of things," said Narang at Tenable, who wrote further about the flaw in a blog post today. "In the grand scheme of things, this is just another tool in the toolbox for attackers."

Follow @CNBCtech on Twitter for the latest tech industry news.

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Microsoft patches Windows 10 after NSA finds vulnerability

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NSA goes public with Windows security vulnerability – Technical.ly DC

The Fort Meade, Maryland-based National Security Agencys cybersecurity work typically operates out of view. After all, it famously earned the nickname No Such Agency.

But this week, the NSA went public with a security flaw it found. The serious vulnerability was flagged in Microsoft products including Windows 10 and Server 16. The bug traces to a weakness in a cryptography function that verifies whether a system is downloading software that is legitimately from Microsoft.

You can use that weakness to make Windows [10] systems download and install software that appears to be coming from Microsoft that is not, said Edward Stanford, CTO of Columbia-based Zuul, which works with customers on certificate management and cryptography management for industrial controls and Internet of Things systems.

This could lead attackers to develop new exploits that take control of systems. The NSA alerted Microsoft to the vulnerability, and the company released a patch to fix systems. NSA then went public with a key message: Update systems with a patch.

This is bad, Stanford said. If you do it right then you can take over most networks or computers that are Windows-based. The faster they get patched, the less true that statement will be.

This could affect a broad group of systems, from personal laptops to corporate servers. But installing a patch on a home laptop is a fix on a different scale from making sure an entire companys network is protected.

Now that its a widely known exploit, everyones got to defend against it. Most home systems have an easy button, most corporate systems dont, Stanford said. However, he said of the company systems, that doesnt mean it cant be done.

Plenty of companies have been taking action, as well, including Columbia-based cybersecurity company Tenable,which works with released plugins to identify the vulnerability.

This vulnerability, and the attention its received from various government agencies, is unprecedented. It calls into question our very trust in todays digital world the trust that our encoded communications are secure, said Renaud Deraison, cofounder and CTO of Tenable, in a statement. We implore organizations to patch their systems immediately.

For NSA, the public announcement isnt unprecedented, but its also not a move thats made often. For one, that indicates the severity of the threat posed by the vulnerability. At the same time, Wired noted that its distinct from how the NSA approached a hacking tool known as EternalBlue, which also centered on a Microsoft vulnerability. In that case, NSA did not disclose the flaw publicly. This squares with actions of an intelligence agency looking to gain an edge on the cyber battlefield. But it was later leaked online, and used in attacks. Going forward, NSA Cybersecurity Directorate head Anne Neuberger told reporters this week that the agency will disclose more findings to the public.

Stanford said this weeks public disclosure shows a willingness by NSA to embrace another part of its mission: protecting the countrys infrastructure.

Im really glad they stepped up, saw a problem and helped everyone fix it, he said.

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NSA tips off Microsoft to security flaw | TheHill – The Hill

The National Security Agency (NSA) found and notified Microsoft of what it called a serious vulnerability inthe company's Windows 10 operating system that could potentially expose computer users to significant breaches, surveillance or disruption, officials announced Tuesday.

The public disclosure is unlike the NSA's usual approach of using such flaws to build hacking toolsthat allow the agency to spy on adversaries networks, according to The Washington Post. Rather, officials released a fix.

This is ... a change in approach ... by NSA of working to share, working to lean forward, and then working to really share the data as part of building trust, Anne Neuberger, director of the NSAs Cybersecurity Directorate, which was launched in October, told the Post.

The NSA discovered an error in the Microsoft code that verifies digital signatures, which could enable a hacker to forge the signature and breach a computer.

The patch is the only comprehensive means to mitigate the risk, the NSA's statement read. While means exist to detect or prevent some forms of exploitation, none of them are complete or fully reliable.

Microsoft said it addressed the flaw promptly andreleased a security updateTuesday. Customers who have already applied the update, or have automatic updates enabled, should be protected.

Microsoft told the Post that it has seen no active exploitation of the flaw.


NSA tips off Microsoft to security flaw | TheHill - The Hill

Posted in NSA

Edward Snowden – Wikipedia

American whistleblower and former National Security Agency contractor

Edward Joseph Snowden (born June 21, 1983) is an American whistleblower who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013 when he was a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) employee and subcontractor. His disclosures revealed numerous global surveillance programs, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments, and prompted a cultural discussion about national security and individual privacy.

In 2013, Snowden was hired by an NSA contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, after previous employment with Dell and the CIA.[1] Snowden says he gradually became disillusioned with the programs with which he was involved and that he tried to raise his ethical concerns through internal channels but was ignored. On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong after leaving his job at an NSA facility in Hawaii, and in early June he revealed thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and Ewen MacAskill. Snowden came to international attention after stories based on the material appeared in The Guardian and The Washington Post. Further disclosures were made by other publications including Der Spiegel and The New York Times.

On Snowden's 30th birthday, June 21, 2013, the United States Department of Justice unsealed charges against Snowden of two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and theft of government property,[2] following which the Department of State revoked his passport.[3] Two days later, he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, where Russian authorities noted that his U.S. passport had been cancelled, and he was restricted to the airport terminal for over one month. Russia later granted Snowden the right of asylum with an initial visa for residence for one year, and repeated extensions have permitted him to stay at least until 2020. In early 2016, he became the president of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a San Francisco-based organization that states its purpose is to protect journalists from hacking and government surveillance.[4] As of 2017 he is married and living in Moscow.[5][6]

On September 17, 2019, his memoir Permanent Record was published.[7] On the first day of publication, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Snowden over publication of his memoir, alleging he had breached nondisclosure agreements signed with the U.S. federal government.[8] Former The Guardian national security reporter Ewen MacAskill called the civil lawsuit a "huge mistake", noting that the "UK ban of Spycatcher 30 years ago created huge demand".[9][10] The memoir was listed as no. 1 on Amazon's bestseller list that same day.[11] In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! on September 26, 2019, Snowden clarified he considers himself a "whistleblower" as opposed to a "leaker" as he considers "a leaker only distributes information for personal gain".[12]

Edward Joseph Snowden was born on June 21, 1983,[13] in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.[14] His maternal grandfather, Edward J. Barrett,[15][16] a rear admiral in the U.S. Coast Guard, became a senior official with the FBI and was at the Pentagon in 2001 during the September 11 attacks.[17] Snowden's father, Lonnie, was also an officer in the Coast Guard,[18] and his mother, Elizabeth, is a clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.[19][20][21][22][23] His older sister, Jessica, was a lawyer at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C. Edward Snowden said that he had expected to work for the federal government, as had the rest of his family.[24] His parents divorced in 2001,[25] and his father remarried.[26] Snowden scored above 145 on two separate IQ tests.[24]

In the early 1990s, while still in grade school, Snowden moved with his family to the area of Fort Meade, Maryland.[27] Mononucleosis caused him to miss high school for almost nine months.[24] Rather than returning to school, he passed the GED test[28] and took classes at Anne Arundel Community College.[21] Although Snowden had no undergraduate college degree,[29] he worked online toward a master's degree at the University of Liverpool, England, in 2011.[30] He was interested in Japanese popular culture, had studied the Japanese language,[31] and worked for an anime company that had a resident office in the U.S.[32][33] He also said he had a basic understanding of Mandarin Chinese and was deeply interested in martial arts. At age 20, he listed Buddhism as his religion on a military recruitment form, noting that the choice of agnostic was "strangely absent."[34] In September 2019, as part of interviews relating to the release of his memoir Permanent Record, Snowden revealed to The Guardian that he married Lindsay Mills in a courthouse in Moscow.[7]

Snowden has said that, in the 2008 presidential election, he voted for a third-party candidate, though he "believed in Obama's promises." Following the election, he believed President Barack Obama was continuing policies espoused by George W. Bush.[35]

In accounts published in June 2013, interviewers noted that Snowden's laptop displayed stickers supporting Internet freedom organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Tor Project.[28] A week after publication of his leaks began, Ars Technica confirmed that Snowden had been an active participant at the site's online forum from 2001 through May 2012, discussing a variety of topics under the pseudonym "TheTrueHOOHA."[36] In a January 2009 entry, TheTrueHOOHA exhibited strong support for the U.S. security state apparatus and said leakers of classified information "should be shot in the balls."[37] However, Snowden disliked Obama's CIA director appointment of Leon Panetta, saying "Obama just named a fucking politician to run the CIA."[38] Snowden was also offended by a possible ban on assault weapons, writing "Me and all my lunatic, gun-toting NRA compatriots would be on the steps of Congress before the C-Span feed finished."[38] Snowden disliked Obama's economic policies, was against Social Security, and favored Ron Paul's call for a return to the gold standard.[38] In 2014, Snowden supported a basic income.[39]

Feeling a duty to fight in the Iraq War to help free oppressed people,[28] Snowden enlisted in the United States Army Reserve on May 7, 2004, and became a Special Forces candidate through its 18X enlistment option.[40] He did not complete the training[13] because he broke both legs in a training accident,[41] and was discharged on September 28, 2004.[42]

Snowden was then employed for less than a year in 2005 as a security guard at the University of Maryland's Center for Advanced Study of Language, a research center sponsored by the National Security Agency (NSA).[43] According to the University, this is not a classified facility,[44] though it is heavily guarded.[45] In June 2014, Snowden told Wired that his job as a security guard required a high-level security clearance, for which he passed a polygraph exam and underwent a stringent background check.[24]

After attending a 2006 job-fair focused on intelligence agencies, Snowden accepted an offer for a position at the CIA.[24][46] The Agency assigned him to the global communications division at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.[24]

In May 2006, Snowden wrote in Ars Technica that he had no trouble getting work because he was a "computer wizard".[34] After distinguishing himself as a junior employee on the top computer team, Snowden was sent to the CIA's secret school for technology specialists, where he lived in a hotel for six months while studying and training full-time.[24]

In March 2007, the CIA stationed Snowden with diplomatic cover in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was responsible for maintaining computer-network security.[24][47] Assigned to the U.S. Permanent Mission to the United Nations, a diplomatic mission representing U.S. interests before the UN and other international organizations, Snowden received a diplomatic passport and a four-bedroom apartment near Lake Geneva.[24] According to Greenwald, while there Snowden was "considered the top technical and cybersecurity expert" in that country and "was hand-picked by the CIA to support the president at the 2008 NATO summit in Romania".[48] Snowden described his CIA experience in Geneva as formative, stating that the CIA deliberately got a Swiss banker drunk and encouraged him to drive home. Snowden said that when the latter was arrested, a CIA operative offered to help in exchange for the banker becoming an informant.[49] Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss Confederation for the year 2013, in June of that year publicly disputed Snowden's claims. "This would mean that the CIA successfully bribed the Geneva police and judiciary. With all due respect, I just can't imagine it," said Maurer.[50] In February 2009, Snowden resigned from the CIA.[51]

In 2009, Snowden began work as a contractee for Dell,[52] which manages computer systems for multiple government agencies. Assigned to an NSA facility at Yokota Air Base near Tokyo, Snowden instructed top officials and military officers on how to defend their networks from Chinese hackers.[24] Snowden looked into Mass surveillance in China prompted him to investigate and then expose Washington's mass surveillance programme after he was asked in 2009 to brief a conference in Tokyo.[53] During his four years with Dell, he rose from supervising NSA computer system upgrades to working as what his rsum termed a "cyberstrategist" and an "expert in cyber counterintelligence" at several U.S. locations.[54] In 2011, he returned to Maryland, where he spent a year as lead technologist on Dell's CIA account. In that capacity, he was consulted by the chiefs of the CIA's technical branches, including the agency's chief information officer and its chief technology officer.[24] U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the investigation said Snowden began downloading documents describing the government's electronic spying programs while working for Dell in April 2012.[52] Investigators estimated that of the 50,000 to 200,000 documents Snowden gave to Greenwald and Poitras, most were copied by Snowden while working at Dell.[1]

In March 2012, Dell reassigned Snowden to Hawaii as lead technologist for the NSA's information-sharing office.[24] At the time of his departure from the U.S. in May 2013, he had been employed for 15 months inside the NSA's Hawaii regional operations center, which focuses on the electronic monitoring of China and North Korea,[1] the last three of which were with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.[55] While intelligence officials have described his position there as a system administrator, Snowden has said he was an infrastructure analyst, which meant that his job was to look for new ways to break into Internet and telephone traffic around the world.[56] On March 15, 2013 three days after what he later called his "breaking point" of "seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress"[57] Snowden quit his job at Dell.[58] Although he has said his career high annual salary was $200,000,[59] Snowden said he took a pay cut to work at Booz Allen,[59] where he sought employment in order to gather data and then release details of the NSA's worldwide surveillance activity.[60] An anonymous source told Reuters that, while in Hawaii, Snowden may have persuaded 2025 co-workers to give him their login credentials by telling them he needed them to do his job.[61] The NSA sent a memo to Congress saying that Snowden had tricked a fellow employee into sharing his personal public key infrastructure certificate to gain greater access to the NSA's computer system.[62][63] Snowden disputed the memo,[64] saying in January 2014, "I never stole any passwords, nor did I trick an army of co-workers."[65][66] Booz Allen terminated Snowden's employment on June 10, 2013, one month after he had left the country.[67]

A former NSA co-worker said that although the NSA was full of smart people, Snowden was a "genius among geniuses" who created a widely implemented backup system for the NSA and often pointed out security flaws to the agency. The former colleague said Snowden was given full administrator privileges with virtually unlimited access to NSA data. Snowden was offered a position on the NSA's elite team of hackers, Tailored Access Operations, but turned it down to join Booz Allen.[64] An anonymous source later said that Booz Allen's hiring screeners found possible discrepancies in Snowden's resume but still decided to hire him.[29] Snowden's rsum stated that he attended computer-related classes at Johns Hopkins University. A spokeswoman for Johns Hopkins said that the university did not find records to show that Snowden attended the university, and suggested that he may instead have attended Advanced Career Technologies, a private for-profit organization that operated as the Computer Career Institute at Johns Hopkins University.[29] The University of Maryland University College acknowledged that Snowden had attended a summer session at a UM campus in Asia. Snowden's rsum stated that he estimated that he would receive a University of Liverpool computer security master's degree in 2013. The university said that Snowden registered for an online master's degree program in computer security in 2011 but was inactive as a student and had not completed the program.[29]

Snowden has said that he had told multiple employees and two supervisors about his concerns, but the NSA disputes his claim.[68] Snowden elaborated in January 2014, saying "[I] made tremendous efforts to report these programs to co-workers, supervisors, and anyone with the proper clearance who would listen. The reactions of those I told about the scale of the constitutional violations ranged from deeply concerned to appalled, but no one was willing to risk their jobs, families, and possibly even freedom to go through what [Thomas Andrews] Drake did."[66][69] In March 2014, during testimony to the European Parliament, Snowden wrote that before revealing classified information he had reported "clearly problematic programs" to ten officials, who he said did nothing in response.[70] In a May 2014 interview, Snowden told NBC News that after bringing his concerns about the legality of the NSA spying programs to officials, he was told to stay silent on the matter. He asserted that the NSA had copies of emails he sent to their Office of General Counsel, oversight and compliance personnel broaching "concerns about the NSA's interpretations of its legal authorities. I had raised these complaints not just officially in writing through email, but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office."[17]

In May 2014, U.S. officials released a single email that Snowden had written in April 2013 inquiring about legal authorities but said that they had found no other evidence that Snowden had expressed his concerns to someone in an oversight position.[71] In June 2014, the NSA said it had not been able to find any records of Snowden raising internal complaints about the agency's operations.[72] That same month, Snowden explained that he himself has not produced the communiqus in question because of the ongoing nature of the dispute, disclosing for the first time that "I am working with the NSA in regard to these records and we're going back and forth, so I don't want to reveal everything that will come out."[73]

In his May 2014 interview with NBC News, Snowden accused the U.S. government of trying to use one position here or there in his career to distract from the totality of his experience, downplaying him as a "low level analyst." In his words, he was "trained as a spy in the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseaspretending to work in a job that I'm notand even being assigned a name that was not mine." He said he'd worked for the NSA undercover overseas, and for the DIA had developed sources and methods to keep information and people secure "in the most hostile and dangerous environments around the world. So when they say I'm a low-level systems administrator, that I don't know what I'm talking about, I'd say it's somewhat misleading."[17] In a June interview with Globo TV, Snowden reiterated that he "was actually functioning at a very senior level."[74] In a July interview with The Guardian, Snowden explained that, during his NSA career, "I began to move from merely overseeing these systems to actively directing their use. Many people dont understand that I was actually an analyst and I designated individuals and groups for targeting."[75] Snowden subsequently told Wired that while at Dell in 2011, "I would sit down with the CIO of the CIA, the CTO of the CIA, the chiefs of all the technical branches. They would tell me their hardest technology problems, and it was my job to come up with a way to fix them."[24]

Of his time as an NSA analyst, directing the work of others, Snowden recalled a moment when he and his colleagues began to have severe ethical doubts. Snowden said 18 to 22-year-old analysts were suddenly

"thrust into a position of extraordinary responsibility, where they now have access to all your private records. In the course of their daily work, they stumble across something that is completely unrelated in any sort of necessary sensefor example, an intimate nude photo of someone in a sexually compromising situation. But they're extremely attractive. So what do they do? They turn around in their chair and they show a co-worker ... and sooner or later this person's whole life has been seen by all of these other people."

As Snowden observed it, this behavior happened routinely every two months but was never reported, being considered one of the "fringe benefits" of the work.[76]

The exact size of Snowden's disclosure is unknown,[77] but Australian officials have estimated 15,000 or more Australian intelligence files[78] and British officials estimate at least 58,000 British intelligence files.[79] NSA Director Keith Alexander initially estimated that Snowden had copied anywhere from 50,000 to 200,000 NSA documents.[80] Later estimates provided by U.S. officials were on the order of 1.7 million,[81] a number that originally came from Department of Defense talking points.[82] In July 2014, The Washington Post reported on a cache previously provided by Snowden from domestic NSA operations consisting of "roughly 160,000 intercepted e-mail and instant-message conversations, some of them hundreds of pages long, and 7,900 documents taken from more than 11,000 online accounts."[83] A U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report declassified in June 2015 said that Snowden took 900,000 Department of Defense files, more than he downloaded from the NSA.[82]

In March 2014, Army General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee, "The vast majority of the documents that Snowden ... exfiltrated from our highest levels of security ... had nothing to do with exposing government oversight of domestic activities. The vast majority of those were related to our military capabilities, operations, tactics, techniques and procedures."[84] When asked in a May 2014 interview to quantify the number of documents Snowden stole, retired NSA director Keith Alexander said there was no accurate way of counting what he took, but Snowden may have downloaded more than a million documents.[85]

According to Snowden, he did not indiscriminately turn over documents to journalists, stating that "I carefully evaluated every single document I disclosed to ensure that each was legitimately in the public interest. There are all sorts of documents that would have made a big impact that I didn't turn over"[28] and that "I have to screen everything before releasing it to journalists ... If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country."[60] Despite these measures, the improper redaction of a document by the New York Times resulted in the exposure of intelligence activity against al-Qaeda.[86]

In June 2014, the NSA's recently installed director, U.S. Navy Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said that while some terrorist groups had altered their communications to avoid surveillance techniques revealed by Snowden, the damage done was not significant enough to conclude that "the sky is falling."[87] Nevertheless, in February 2015, Rogers said that Snowden's disclosures had a material impact on the NSA's detection and evaluation of terrorist activities worldwide.[88]

On June 14, 2015, UK's Sunday Times reported that Russian and Chinese intelligence services had decrypted more than 1 million classified files in the Snowden cache, forcing the UK's MI6 intelligence agency to move agents out of live operations in hostile countries. Sir David Omand, a former director of the UK's GCHQ intelligence gathering agency, described it as a huge strategic setback that was harming Britain, America, and their NATO allies. The Sunday Times said it was not clear whether Russia and China stole Snowden's data or whether Snowden voluntarily handed it over to remain at liberty in Hong Kong and Moscow.[89][90] In April 2015 the Henry Jackson Society, a British neoconservative think tank, published a report claiming that Snowden's intelligence leaks negatively impacted Britain's ability to fight terrorism and organized crime.[91] Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International, criticized the report for, in his opinion, presuming that the public became concerned about privacy only after Snowden's disclosures.[92]

Snowden's decision to leak NSA documents developed gradually following his March 2007 posting as a technician to the Geneva CIA station.[93] Snowden first made contact with Glenn Greenwald, a journalist working at The Guardian, on December 1, 2012.[94][95] He contacted Greenwald anonymously as "Cincinnatus"[96] and said he had sensitive documents that he would like to share.[97] Greenwald found the measures that the source asked him to take to secure their communications, such as encrypting email, too annoying to employ. Snowden then contacted documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras in January 2013.[98] According to Poitras, Snowden chose to contact her after seeing her New York Times article about NSA whistleblower William Binney.[99] What originally attracted Snowden to both Greenwald and Poitras was a Salon article written by Greenwald detailing how Poitras's controversial films had made her a target of the government.[97]

Greenwald began working with Snowden in either February[100] or April 2013, after Poitras asked Greenwald to meet her in New York City, at which point Snowden began providing documents to them.[94] Barton Gellman, writing for The Washington Post, says his first direct contact was on May 16, 2013.[101] According to Gellman, Snowden approached Greenwald after the Post declined to guarantee publication within 72 hours of all 41 PowerPoint slides that Snowden had leaked exposing the PRISM electronic data mining program, and to publish online an encrypted code allowing Snowden to later prove that he was the source.[101]

Snowden communicated using encrypted email,[98] and going by the codename "Verax". He asked not to be quoted at length for fear of identification by stylometry.[101]

According to Gellman, prior to their first meeting in person, Snowden wrote, "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions, and that the return of this information to the public marks my end."[101] Snowden also told Gellman that until the articles were published, the journalists working with him would also be at mortal risk from the United States Intelligence Community "if they think you are the single point of failure that could stop this disclosure and make them the sole owner of this information."[101]

In May 2013, Snowden was permitted temporary leave from his position at the NSA in Hawaii, on the pretext of receiving treatment for his epilepsy.[28] In mid-May, Snowden gave an electronic interview to Poitras and Jacob Appelbaum which was published weeks later by Der Spiegel.[102]

After disclosing the copied documents, Snowden promised that nothing would stop subsequent disclosures. In June 2013, 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."[103]

On May 20, 2013, Snowden flew to Hong Kong,[104] where he was staying when the initial articles based on the leaked documents were published,[105] beginning with The Guardian on June 5.[106] Greenwald later said Snowden disclosed 9,000 to 10,000 documents.[107]

Within months, documents had been obtained and published by media outlets worldwide, most notably The Guardian (Britain), Der Spiegel (Germany), The Washington Post and The New York Times (U.S.), O Globo (Brazil), Le Monde (France), and similar outlets in Sweden, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Australia.[108] In 2014, NBC broke its first story based on the leaked documents.[109] In February 2014, for reporting based on Snowden's leaks, journalists Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman and The Guardians Ewen MacAskill were honored as co-recipients of the 2013 George Polk Award, which they dedicated to Snowden.[110] The NSA reporting by these journalists also earned The Guardian and The Washington Post the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service[111] for exposing the "widespread surveillance" and for helping to spark a "huge public debate about the extent of the government's spying". The Guardian's chief editor, Alan Rusbridger, credited Snowden for having performed a public service.[112]

The ongoing publication of leaked documents has revealed previously unknown details of a global surveillance apparatus run by the United States' NSA[115] in close cooperation with three of its four Five Eyes partners: Australia's ASD,[116] the UK's GCHQ,[117] and Canada's CSEC.[118]

On June 5, 2013, media reports documenting the existence and functions of classified surveillance programs and their scope began and continued throughout the entire year. The first program to be revealed was PRISM, which allows for court-approved direct access to Americans' Google and Yahoo accounts, reported from both The Washington Post and The Guardian published one hour apart.[113][119][120] Barton Gellman of The Washington Post was the first journalist to report on Snowden's documents. He said the U.S. government urged him not to specify by name which companies were involved, but Gellman decided that to name them "would make it real to Americans."[121] Reports also revealed details of Tempora, a British black-ops surveillance program run by the NSA's British partner, GCHQ.[119][122] The initial reports included details about NSA call database, Boundless Informant, and of a secret court order requiring Verizon to hand the NSA millions of Americans' phone records daily,[123] the surveillance of French citizens' phone and Internet records, and those of "high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics."[124][125][126] XKeyscore, an analytical tool that allows for collection of "almost anything done on the internet," was described by The Guardian as a program that shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements: "I, sitting at my desk [could] wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email."[127]

The NSA's top-secret black budget, obtained from Snowden by The Washington Post, exposed the successes and failures of the 16 spy agencies comprising the U.S. intelligence community,[128] and revealed that the NSA was paying U.S. private tech companies for clandestine access to their communications networks.[129] The agencies were allotted $52 billion for the 2013 fiscal year.[130]

It was revealed that the NSA was harvesting millions of email and instant messaging contact lists,[131] searching email content,[132] tracking and mapping the location of cell phones,[133] undermining attempts at encryption via Bullrun[134][135] and that the agency was using cookies to piggyback on the same tools used by Internet advertisers "to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance."[136] The NSA was shown to be secretly accessing Yahoo and Google data centers to collect information from hundreds of millions of account holders worldwide by tapping undersea cables using the MUSCULAR surveillance program.[113][114]

The NSA, the CIA and GCHQ spied on users of Second Life, Xbox Live and World of Warcraft, and attempted to recruit would-be informants from the sites, according to documents revealed in December 2013.[137][138] Leaked documents showed NSA agents also spied on their own "love interests," a practice NSA employees termed LOVEINT.[139][140] The NSA was shown to be tracking the online sexual activity of people they termed "radicalizers" in order to discredit them.[141] Following the revelation of Black Pearl, a program targeting private networks, the NSA was accused of extending beyond its primary mission of national security. The agency's intelligence-gathering operations had targeted, among others, oil giant Petrobras, Brazil's largest company.[142] The NSA and the GCHQ were also shown to be surveilling charities including UNICEF and Mdecins du Monde, as well as allies such as European Commissioner Joaqun Almunia and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[143]

In October 2013, Glenn Greenwald said "the most shocking and significant stories are the ones we are still working on, and have yet to publish."[144] In November, The Guardian's editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said that only one percent of the documents had been published.[145] In December, Australia's Minister for Defence David Johnston said his government assumed the worst was yet to come.[146]

By October 2013, Snowden's disclosures had created tensions[147][148] between the U.S. and some of its close allies after they revealed that the U.S. had spied on Brazil, France, Mexico,[149] Britain,[150] China,[151] Germany,[152] and Spain,[153] as well as 35 world leaders,[154] most notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said "spying among friends" was unacceptable[155][156] and compared the NSA with the Stasi.[157] Leaked documents published by Der Spiegel in 2014 appeared to show that the NSA had targeted 122 high-ranking leaders.[158]

An NSA mission statement titled "SIGINT Strategy 2012-2016" affirmed that the NSA had plans for continued expansion of surveillance activities. Their stated goal was to "dramatically increase mastery of the global network" and to acquire adversaries' data from "anyone, anytime, anywhere."[159] Leaked slides revealed in Greenwald's book No Place to Hide, released in May 2014, showed that the NSA's stated objective was to "Collect it All," "Process it All," "Exploit it All," "Partner it All," "Sniff it All" and "Know it All."[160]

Snowden said in a January 2014 interview with German television that the NSA does not limit its data collection to national security issues, accusing the agency of conducting industrial espionage. Using the example of German company Siemens, he said, "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to US national interestseven if it doesn't have anything to do with national securitythen they'll take that information nevertheless."[161] In the wake of Snowden's revelations and in response to an inquiry from the Left Party, Germany's domestic security agency Bundesamt fr Verfassungsschutz (BfV) investigated and found no concrete evidence that the U.S. conducted economic or industrial espionage in Germany.[162]

In February 2014, during testimony to the European Union, Snowden said of the remaining undisclosed programs, "I will leave the public interest determinations as to which of these may be safely disclosed to responsible journalists in coordination with government stakeholders."[163]

In March 2014, documents disclosed by Glenn Greenwald writing for The Intercept showed the NSA, in cooperation with the GCHQ, has plans to infect millions of computers with malware using a program called TURBINE.[164] Revelations included information about QUANTUMHAND, a program through which the NSA set up a fake Facebook server to intercept connections.[164]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information furnished by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, message texts, and online accounts, that support the claim.[165]

In an August 2014 interview, Snowden for the first time disclosed a cyberwarfare program in the works, codenamed MonsterMind, that would automate detection of a foreign cyberattack as it began and automatically fire back. "These attacks can be spoofed," said Snowden. "You could have someone sitting in China, for example, making it appear that one of these attacks is originating in Russia. And then we end up shooting back at a Russian hospital. What happens next?"[24]

Snowden first contemplated leaking confidential documents around 2008 but held back, partly because he believed the newly elected Barack Obama might introduce reforms.[1] After the disclosures, his identity was made public by The Guardian at his request on June 9, 2013.[100] "I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded," he said. "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them."[104]

Snowden said he wanted to "embolden others to step forward" by demonstrating that "they can win."[101] He also said that the system for reporting problems did not work. "You have to report wrongdoing to those most responsible for it." He cited a lack of whistleblower protection for government contractors, the use of the Espionage Act of 1917 to prosecute leakers, and his belief that had he used internal mechanisms to "sound the alarm," his revelations "would have been buried forever."[93][166]

In December 2013, upon learning that a U.S. federal judge had ruled the collection of U.S. phone metadata conducted by the NSA as likely unconstitutional, Snowden said, "I acted on my belief that the NSA's mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts ... today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights."[167]

In January 2014, Snowden said his "breaking point" was "seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress."[57] This referred to testimony on March 12, 2013three months after Snowden first sought to share thousands of NSA documents with Greenwald,[94] and nine months after the NSA says Snowden made his first illegal downloads during the summer of 2012[1]in which Clapper denied to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA wittingly collects data on millions of Americans.[168] Snowden said, "There's no saving an intelligence community that believes it can lie to the public and the legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back. Beyond that, it was the creeping realization that no one else was going to do this. The public had a right to know about these programs."[169] In March 2014, Snowden said he had reported policy or legal issues related to spying programs to more than ten officials, but as a contractor had no legal avenue to pursue further whistleblowing.[70]

In May 2013, Snowden took a leave of absence, telling his supervisors he was returning to the mainland for epilepsy treatment, but instead left Hawaii for Hong Kong[170] where he arrived on May 20. Snowden told Guardian reporters in June that he had been in his room at the Mira Hotel since his arrival in the city, rarely going out. On June 10, correspondent Ewen MacAskill said Snowden had left his hotel only briefly three times since May 20.[171]

Snowden vowed to challenge any extradition attempt by the U.S. government, and engaged a Hong Kong-based Canadian human rights lawyer Robert Tibbo as a legal adviser.[1][172][173] Snowden told the South China Morning Post that he planned to remain in Hong Kong for as long as its government would permit.[174][175] Snowden also told the Post that "the United States government has committed a tremendous number of crimes against Hong Kong [and] the PRC as well,"[176] going on to identify Chinese Internet Protocol addresses that the NSA monitored and stating that the NSA collected text-message data for Hong Kong residents. Glenn Greenwald said Snowden was motivated by a need to "ingratiate himself to the people of Hong Kong and China."[177]

After leaving the Mira Hotel, Snowden was housed for two weeks in a number of apartments by other refugees seeking asylum in Hong Kong, an arrangement set up by Tibbo to hide from the US authorities.[178][179]The Russian newspaper Kommersant nevertheless reported that Snowden was living at the Russian consulate shortly before his departure from Hong Kong to Moscow.[180] Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and legal adviser to Snowden, said in January 2014, "Every news organization in the world has been trying to confirm that story. They haven't been able to, because it's false."[181] Likewise rejecting the Kommersant story was Anatoly Kucherena, who became Snowden's lawyer in July 2013 when Snowden asked him for help in seeking temporary asylum in Russia.[182] Kucherena said Snowden did not communicate with Russian diplomats while he was in Hong Kong.[183][184] In early September 2013, however, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that, a few days before boarding a plane to Moscow, Snowden met in Hong Kong with Russian diplomatic representatives.[185]

On June 22, 18 days after publication of Snowden's NSA documents began, officials revoked his U.S. passport.[186] On June 23, Snowden boarded the commercial Aeroflot flight SU213 to Moscow, accompanied by Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.[187][188] Hong Kong authorities said that Snowden had not been detained for the U.S. because the request had not fully complied with Hong Kong law,[189][190] and there was no legal basis to prevent Snowden from leaving.[191][192][Notes 1] On June 24, a U.S. State Department spokesman rejected the explanation of technical noncompliance, accusing the Hong Kong government of deliberately releasing a fugitive despite a valid arrest warrant and after having sufficient time to prohibit his travel.[195] That same day, Julian Assange said that WikiLeaks had paid for Snowden's lodging in Hong Kong and his flight out.[196]

In October 2013, Snowden said that before flying to Moscow, he gave all the classified documents he had obtained to journalists he met in Hong Kong, and kept no copies for himself.[93] In January 2014, he told a German TV interviewer that he gave all of his information to American journalists reporting on American issues.[57] During his first American TV interview, in May 2014, Snowden said he had protected himself from Russian leverage by destroying the material he had been holding before landing in Moscow.[17]

In January 2019, Vanessa Rodel, one of the refugees who had housed Snowden in Hong Kong, and her 7-year-old daughter were granted asylum by Canada. Five other people who helped Snowden still remain in Hong Kong awaiting a response to their asylum request.[197]

On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.[198] WikiLeaks said he was on a circuitous but safe route to asylum in Ecuador.[199] Snowden had a seat reserved to continue to Cuba[200] but did not board that onward flight, saying in a January 2014 interview that he intended to transit through Russia but was stopped en route. He asserted "a planeload of reporters documented the seat I was supposed to be in" when he was ticketed for Havana, but the U.S. cancelled his passport.[181] He said the U.S. wanted him to stay in Moscow so "they could say, 'He's a Russian spy.'"[74] Greenwald's account differed on the point of Snowden being already ticketed. According to Greenwald, Snowden's passport was valid when he departed Hong Kong but was revoked during the hours he was in transit to Moscow, preventing him from obtaining a ticket to leave Russia. Greenwald said Snowden was thus forced to stay in Moscow and seek asylum.[201]

According to one Russian report, Snowden planned to fly from Moscow through Havana to Latin America; however, Cuba told Moscow it would not allow the Aeroflot plane carrying Snowden to land.[183] Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that Cuba had a change of heart after receiving pressure from U.S. officials,[202] leaving him stuck in the transit zone because at the last minute Havana told officials in Moscow not to allow him on the flight.[203] The Washington Post contrasted this version with what it called "widespread speculation" that Russia never intended to let Snowden proceed.[204] Fidel Castro called claims that Cuba would have blocked Snowden's entry a "lie" and a "libel."[200] Describing Snowden's arrival in Moscow as a surprise and likening it to "an unwanted Christmas gift,"[205] Russian president Putin said that Snowden remained in the transit area of Sheremetyevo Airport, had committed no crime in Russia, was free to leave and should do so.[206] Putin denied that Russia's intelligence agencies had worked or were working with Snowden.[205]

Following Snowden's arrival in Moscow, the White House expressed disappointment in Hong Kong's decision to allow him to leave.[207][208][195] An anonymous U.S. official not authorized to discuss the matter told AP Snowden's passport had been revoked before he left Hong Kong, but that a senior official in a country or airline could order subordinates to overlook the withdrawn passport.[209] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Snowden's passport was cancelled "within two hours" of the charges against Snowden being made public[3] which was Friday, June 21.[2] In a July 1 statement, Snowden said, "Although I am convicted of nothing, [the U.S. government] has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum."[210]

Four countries offered Snowden permanent asylum: Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Venezuela.[211] No direct flights between Moscow and Venezuela, Bolivia or Nicaragua existed, however, and the U.S. pressured countries along his route to hand him over. Snowden said in July 2013 that he decided to bid for asylum in Russia because he felt there was no safe way to reach Latin America.[212] Snowden said he remained in Russia because "when we were talking about possibilities for asylum in Latin America, the United States forced down the Bolivian President's plane", citing the Morales plane incident. On the issue, he said "some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights."[213] He said that he would travel from Russia if there was no interference from the U.S. government.[181]

Four months after Snowden received asylum in Russia, Julian Assange commented, "While Venezuela and Ecuador could protect him in the short term, over the long term there could be a change in government. In Russia, he's safe, he's well-regarded, and that is not likely to change. That was my advice to Snowden, that he would be physically safest in Russia."[170] According to Snowden, "the CIA has a very powerful presence [in Latin America] and the governments and the security services there are relatively much less capable than, say, Russia.... they could have basically snatched me...."[214]

In an October 2014 interview with The Nation magazine, Snowden reiterated that he had originally intended to travel to Latin America: "A lot of people are still unaware that I never intended to end up in Russia." According to Snowden, the U.S. government "waited until I departed Hong Kong to cancel my passport in order to trap me in Russia." Snowden added, "If they really wanted to capture me, they would've allowed me to travel to Latin America, because the CIA can operate with impunity down there. They did not want that; they chose to keep me in Russia."[215]

On July 1, 2013, president Evo Morales of Bolivia, who had been attending a conference in Russia, suggested during an interview with Russia Today that he would consider a request by Snowden for asylum.[216] The following day, Morales's plane, en route to Bolivia, was rerouted to Austria and landed there, after France, Spain, and Italy denied access to their airspace. While the plane was parked in Vienna, the Spanish ambassador to Austria arrived with two embassy personnel and asked to search the plane but they were denied permission by Morales himself.[217] U.S. officials had raised suspicions that Snowden may have been on board.[218] Morales blamed the U.S. for putting pressure on European countries, and said that the grounding of his plane was a violation of international law.[219]

In April 2015, Bolivia's ambassador to Russia, Mara Luisa Ramos Urzagaste, accused Julian Assange of inadvertently putting Morales's life at risk by intentionally providing to the U.S. false rumors that Snowden was on Morales's plane. Assange responded that "we weren't expecting this outcome. The result was caused by the United States' intervention. We can only regret what happened."[220][221]

Snowden applied for political asylum to 21 countries.[222][223] A statement attributed to him contended that the U.S. administration, and specifically Vice President Joe Biden, had pressured the governments to refuse his asylum petitions. Biden had telephoned President Rafael Correa days prior to Snowden's remarks, asking the Ecuadorian leader not to grant Snowden asylum.[224] Ecuador had initially offered Snowden a temporary travel document but later withdrew it,[225] and Correa later called the offer a mistake.[226]

In a July 1 statement published by WikiLeaks, Snowden accused the U.S. government of "using citizenship as a weapon" and using what he described as "old, bad tools of political aggression." Citing Obama's promise to not allow "wheeling and dealing" over the case, Snowden commented, "This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile."[227] Several days later, WikiLeaks announced that Snowden had applied for asylum in six additional countries, but declined to name them, alleging attempted U.S. interference.[228]

After evaluating the law and Snowden's situation, the French interior ministry rejected his request for asylum.[229] Poland refused to process his application because it did not conform to legal procedure.[230] Brazil's Foreign Ministry said the government planned no response to Snowden's asylum request. Germany and India rejected Snowden's application outright, while Austria, Ecuador, Finland, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain said he must be on their territory to apply.[231][232][233] In November 2014, Germany announced that Snowden had not renewed his previously denied request and was not being considered for asylum.[234] Glenn Greenwald later reported that Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of Germany, told him the U.S. government had threatened to stop sharing intelligence if Germany offered Snowden asylum or arranged for his travel there.[235]

Putin said on July 1, 2013, that if Snowden wanted to be granted asylum in Russia, he would be required to "stop his work aimed at harming our American partners."[236] A spokesman for Putin subsequently said that Snowden had withdrawn his asylum application upon learning of the conditions.[237]

In a July 12 meeting at Sheremetyevo Airport with representatives of human rights organizations and lawyers, organized in part by the Russian government,[238] Snowden said he was accepting all offers of asylum that he had already received or would receive. He added that Venezuela's grant of asylum formalized his asylee status, removing any basis for state interference with his right to asylum.[239] He also said he would request asylum in Russia until he resolved his travel problems.[240]Russian Federal Migration Service officials confirmed on July 16 that Snowden had submitted an application for temporary asylum.[241] On July 24, Kucherena said his client wanted to find work in Russia, travel and create a life for himself, and had already begun learning Russian.[242]

Amid media reports in early July 2013 attributed to U.S. administration sources that Obama's one-on-one meeting with Putin, ahead of a G20 meeting in St Petersburg scheduled for September, was in doubt due to Snowden's protracted sojourn in Russia,[243] top U.S. officials repeatedly made it clear to Moscow that Snowden should immediately be returned to the United States to face charges for the unauthorized leaking of classified information.[244][245][246] His Russian lawyer said Snowden needed asylum because he faced persecution by the U.S. government and feared "that he could be subjected to torture and capital punishment."[247]

In a letter to Russian Minister of Justice Aleksandr Konovalov dated July 23, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder repudiated Snowden's claim to refugee status, and offered a limited validity passport good for direct return to the U.S.[248] He further asserted that Snowden would not be subject to torture or the death penalty, and would receive trial in a civilian court with proper legal counsel.[249] The same day, the Russian president's spokesman reiterated that his government would not hand over Snowden, noting that Putin was not personally involved in the matter and that it was being handled through talks between the FBI and Russia's FSB.[250]

On June 14, 2013, United States federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against Snowden, charging him with theft of government property and two counts of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 through unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person.[2][248] Each of the three charges carries a maximum possible prison term of ten years. The charge was initially secret and was unsealed a week later.

Snowden was asked in a January 2014 interview about returning to the U.S. to face the charges in court, as Obama had suggested a few days prior. Snowden explained why he rejected the request:

What he doesn't say are that the crimes that he's charged me with are crimes that don't allow me to make my case. They don't allow me to defend myself in an open court to the public and convince a jury that what I did was to their benefit. ... So it's, I would say, illustrative that the President would choose to say someone should face the music when he knows the music is a show trial.[57][251]

Snowden's legal representative, Jesselyn Radack, wrote that "the Espionage Act effectively hinders a person from defending himself before a jury in an open court." She said that the "arcane World War I law" was never meant to prosecute whistleblowers, but rather spies who betrayed their trust by selling secrets to enemies for profit. Non-profit betrayals were not considered.[252]

On September 17, 2019, the United States filed a lawsuit against Snowden for alleged violations of non-disclosure agreements with the CIA and NSA.[253] The complaint alleges that Snowden violated prepublication obligations related to the publication of his memoir Permanent Record. The complaint lists the publishers Macmillan and Holtzbrink as relief-defendants.[254]

On June 23, 2013, Snowden landed at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport aboard a commercial Aeroflot flight from Hong Kong.[255][187][256] On August 1, after 39 days in the transit section, he left the airport and was granted temporary asylum in Russia for one year.[257] A year later, his temporary asylum having expired, Snowden received a three-year residency permit allowing him to travel freely within Russia and to go abroad for up to three months. He was not granted permanent political asylum.[258] In January 2017, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry wrote on Facebook that Snowden's asylum, which was due to expire in 2017, was extended by "a couple more years".[259][260] Snowden's lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said the extension was valid until 2020.[261]

As of October 2019, Snowden had been granted permanent residency in Russia, which is renewed every three years. He secretly married Lindsay Mills in 2017. By 2019 he no longer felt the need to be disguised in public and lived what was described as a "more or less normal life", able to travel around Russia and make a living from speaking arrangements (locally and over the internet). His memoir Permanent Record was released internationally, and while U.S. royalties were expected to be seized, he was able to receive the advance.[6] According to Snowden, "One of the things that is lost in all the problematic politics of the Russian government is the fact this is one of the most beautiful countries in the world" with "friendly" and "warm" people.[6] In another interview, Snowden went on to say: "There's a way to criticize the Russian government's policies without criticizing the Russian people who are ordinary people, who just want to have a happy life; they just want to do better. They want the same things that you do."[262]

A subject of controversy, Snowden has been variously called a hero,[263][264][265] a whistleblower,[266][267][268][269] a dissident,[270] a patriot,[271][272][273] and a traitor.[274][275][276][277] Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg called Snowden's release of NSA material the most significant leak in U.S. history.[278][279]

Numerous high-ranking current or former U.S. government officials reacted publicly to Snowden's disclosures.

In the U.S., Snowden's actions precipitated an intense debate on privacy and warrantless domestic surveillance.[294][295] President Obama was initially dismissive of Snowden, saying "I'm not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker."[296][297][298] In August 2013, Obama rejected the suggestion that Snowden was a patriot,[299] and in November said that "the benefit of the debate he generated was not worth the damage done, because there was another way of doing it."[300]

In June 2013, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont shared a "must read" news story on his blog by Ron Fournier, stating "Love him or hate him, we all owe Snowden our thanks for forcing upon the nation an important debate. But the debate shouldn't be about him. It should be about the gnawing questions his actions raised from the shadows."[301] In 2015, Sanders stated that "Snowden played a very important role in educating the American public" and that although Snowden should not go unpunished for breaking the law, "that education should be taken into consideration before the sentencing."[302]

Snowden said in December 2013 that he was "inspired by the global debate" ignited by the leaks and that NSA's "culture of indiscriminate global espionage ... is collapsing."[303]

At the end of 2013, however, The Washington Post noted that the public debate and its offshoots had produced no meaningful change in policy, with the status quo continuing.[139]

In 2016, on The Axe Files podcast, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that Snowden "performed a public service by raising the debate that we engaged in and by the changes that we made." Holder nevertheless said that Snowden's actions were inappropriate and illegal.[304]

In September 2016, the bipartisan U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence completed a review of the Snowden disclosures and said that the federal government would have to spend millions of dollars responding to the fallout from Snowden's disclosures.[305] The report also said that "the public narrative popularized by Snowden and his allies is rife with falsehoods, exaggerations, and crucial omissions."[306] The report was denounced by Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who called it "aggressively dishonest" and "contemptuous of fact."[307]

In August 2013, President Obama said that he had called for a review of U.S. surveillance activities before Snowden had begun revealing details of the NSA's operations,[299] and announced that he was directing DNI James Clapper "to establish a review group on intelligence and communications technologies."[308][309] In December, the task force issued 46 recommendations that, if adopted, would subject the NSA to additional scrutiny by the courts, Congress, and the president, and would strip the NSA of the authority to infiltrate American computer systems using backdoors in hardware or software.[310] Panel member Geoffrey R. Stone said there was no evidence that the bulk collection of phone data had stopped any terror attacks.[311]

On June 6, 2013, in the wake of Snowden's leaks, conservative public interest lawyer and Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman filed a lawsuit claiming that the federal government had unlawfully collected metadata for his telephone calls and was harassing him. In Klayman v. Obama, Judge Richard J. Leon referred to the NSA's "almost-Orwellian technology" and ruled the bulk telephone metadata program to be probably unconstitutional.[312] Snowden later described Judge Leon's decision as vindication.[313]

On June 11, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, alleging that the NSA's phone records program was unconstitutional. In December 2013, ten days after Judge Leon's ruling, Judge William H. Pauley III came to the opposite conclusion. In ACLU v. Clapper, although acknowledging that privacy concerns are not trivial, Pauley found that the potential benefits of surveillance outweigh these considerations and ruled that the NSA's collection of phone data is legal.[314]

Gary Schmitt, former staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote that "The two decisions have generated public confusion over the constitutionality of the NSA's data collection programa kind of judicial 'he-said, she-said' standoff."[315]

On May 7, 2015, in the case of ACLU v. Clapper, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said that Section 215 of the Patriot Act did not authorize the NSA to collect Americans' calling records in bulk, as exposed by Snowden in 2013. The decision voided U.S. District Judge William Pauley's December 2013 finding that the NSA program was lawful, and remanded the case to him for further review. The appeals court did not rule on the constitutionality of the bulk surveillance, and declined to enjoin the program, noting the pending expiration of relevant parts of the Patriot Act. Circuit Judge Gerard E. Lynch wrote that, given the national security interests at stake, it was prudent to give Congress an opportunity to debate and decide the matter.[316]

On June 2, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed, and President Obama signed, the USA Freedom Act which restored in modified form several provisions of the Patriot Act that had expired the day before, while for the first time imposing some limits on the bulk collection of telecommunication data on U.S. citizens by American intelligence agencies. The new restrictions were widely seen as stemming from Snowden's revelations.[317][318]

Hans-Georg Maaen, head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's domestic security agency, speculated that Snowden could have been working for the Russian government.[319][320] Snowden rejected this insinuation,[321] speculating on Twitter in German that "it cannot be proven if Maaen is an agent of the SVR or FSB."[322]

Crediting the Snowden leaks, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted Resolution 68/167 in December 2013. The non-binding resolution denounced unwarranted digital surveillance and included a symbolic declaration of the right of all individuals to online privacy.[323][324][325]

Support for Snowden came from Latin American leaders including the Argentinian President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Nicols Maduro, and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega.[326][327]

In an official report published in October 2015, the United Nations special rapporteur for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of speech, Professor David Kaye, criticized the U.S. government's harsh treatment of, and bringing criminal charges against, whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden. The report found that Snowden's revelations were important for people everywhere and made "a deep and lasting impact on law, policy and politics."[328][329] The European Parliament invited Snowden to make a pre-recorded video appearance to aid their NSA investigation.[330][331] Snowden gave written testimony in which he said that he was seeking asylum in the EU, but that he was told by European Parliamentarians that the U.S. would not allow EU partners to make such an offer.[332] He told the Parliament that the NSA was working with the security agencies of EU states to "get access to as much data of EU citizens as possible."[333] The NSA's Foreign Affairs Division, he claimed, lobbies the EU and other countries to change their laws, allowing for "everyone in the country" to be spied on legally.[334]

In July 2014, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told a news conference in Geneva that the U.S. should abandon its efforts to prosecute Snowden, since his leaks were in the public interest.[335]


Edward Snowden - Wikipedia

Posted in NSA

The Decade We Learned Theres No Such Thing as Privacy Online – VICE

In the past ten years, we lost hope in American politics, realized we were being watched on the internet, and finally broke the gender binary (kind of). So many of the beliefs we held to be true at the beginning of the decade have since been proved to be falseor at least, much more complicated than they once seemed. The Decade of Disillusion is a series that tracks how the hell we got here.

The last decade has seen no limit of scandals highlighting how personal privacy in the internet era doesnt actually exist. Whether were talking about wireless carriers selling your daily location data to any nitwit with a nickel, or incompetent executives leaving consumer data openly exposed on the Amazon cloud, calling the last decade ugly would be an understatement.

Whats more the government, utterly captured by the industries its supposed to hold accountable, has proven feckless in the face of the threat. The United States still lacks any meaningful law governing behavior in the internet era, and the glaring lack of accountability couldnt have been made any more obvious over the last ten years.

2010: The Rise of the Internet of Very Broken Things

During the late 90s and early aughts, internet of things evangelists routinely heralded a hyper-connected future, where everything from your refrigerator to your tea kettle would be connected to the internet. The end result, they promised, would be unprecedented convenience and a Jetsons-esque future, contributing to a simpler, more efficient existence.

The end result wasnt quite what was advertised.

A lack of any meaningful privacy or security safeguards quickly ruined the party, turning the IoT revolution into the butt of endless jokes. Throughout the decade, evidence emerged that everything from your smart television to your kids WiFi-enabled Barbie doll was easily hackable, showcasing that the smarter choice is often dumber, older tech.

May 2013: Edward Snowden reveals the NSA's surveillance dragnet

Snowden, the most famous whistleblower of a generation, gave thousands of classified NSA documents to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras. The documents showed in great detail how the post 9/11 intelligence apparatus was collecting data in bulk on American citizens and people around the world through programs like PRISM, XKeyscore, LoveINT, and a host of others. The revelations showed that the NSA had backdoors into the databases of many of Silicon Valley's largest companies, that it was surveilling world leaders and American allies, and that the U.S. government's surveillance state had become ever present in American life.

Snowden's revelations were published over the course of yearsthis slow drip of information kept Snowden, NSA surveillance, and privacy in the news, making it an ongoing national conversation over the entire decade.

August 2013: Hackers steal the data of 3 billion Yahoo users

In September 2016, as the company attempted to sell itself to Verizon, Yahoo belatedly revealed it had been the victim of a series of major hacks in 2013 and 2014. After initially claiming that 500 million users were impacted, it would later acknowledge that the hack impacted roughly 3 billion users, the biggest data breach in U.S. history.

Yahoo would ultimately have to pay a $35 million penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission for pretending the hacks never happened, and another $80 million as part of a class action settlement. But as with most punishment, much of the money went to lawyers, and the penalties paled in comparison to the money made from monetizing user data.

2017: Congress helps big telecom kill FCC privacy rules

Big telecom has always had a flippant relationship when it comes to respecting your private data. For years ISPs quietly monetized your every online click, and have even charged customers significantly more if they wanted their privacy respected. In 2014, Verizon was busted modifying user data packets to covertly track users around the internet without telling them.

In 2016 the FCC under Tom Wheeler tried to do something about it, passing some modest broadband privacy rules that would have forced ISPs to be transparent about what data was collected and sold, and to whom. The rules would have also required that consumers opt in before ISPs and mobile carriers could share and sell more sensitive financial data.

But in 2017 the House and Senate voted to eliminate those rules at the behest of industry, opening the door to years of additional abuse by the sector.

March 2017: The Equifax hack heard around the world

The last decade saw no shortage of breaches that exposed mountains of personal data, be it the hack of Marriott (500 million customers), Adult Friend Finder (412.2 million users) or EBay (145 million). But none highlighted corporate incompetence or government fecklessness quite like the 2017 hack of Equifax, which exposed the financial data of 145 million Americans.

In part because data would later reveal that Equifax knew about the vulnerability and did nothing about it. But also because the punishment doled out by the FTCwhich included a $125 cash payout that disappeared when consumers went to collect itshowcased a feckless government incapable and unwilling to seriously rein in corporate Americas incompetence and greed.

2018: Facebook lets Cambridge Analytica abuse your private data

While Cambridges abuse of Facebook data was first reported in 2015, it wasnt until 2018 that people realized the full scope of the problem. For years Facebook casually allowed third-party app-makers unfettered access to consumer datasets, allowing outfits like Cambridge to weaponize your personal information in the lead up to the 2016 election.

Privacy experts like Gaurav Laroia tell Motherboard that pound for pound, no event in the last decade had as much of an impact on public perception as Facebooks epic face plant.

The Cambridge Analytical scandal had the right combination of scale, malfeasance, and consequence to sear into everyday Americans how companies like Facebook sell access to our personal information and how dangerous that can be, Laroia said.

That a researcher was able to take the profile information of tens of millions of Americans and sell it to an unscrupulous company with little consequence, in violation of an agreement with Facebook, showed how industry self-regulation has failed and why the government must act to protect our privacy, he added.

2019: Wireless carriers busted selling your cell phone location data

Thanks in no small part to Congress decision to kill FCC broadband privacy rules in 2017, theres been little penalty for telecom giants that abuse your private information. Case in point: Motherboards blockbuster January, 2019 investigation showing that wireless carriers routinely sell your every waking movement to a wide variety of often dubious middlemen.

The investigation resulted in numerous calls for action by politicians like Senator Ron Wyden, though to date nobodybe it the FCC or Congresshas actually lifted a finger to stop the practice or forced the deletion of decades worth of your daily location data.

The decades theme couldnt be more obvious: either via corruption, incompetence, or apathy, giant corporations routinely pay empty lip service to consumer privacy, before engaging in face plant after face plant. Just as often, the governments response to a chorus line of piracy scandals has ranged from underwhelming to nonexistent.

Part of the problem is US regulators enjoy a tiny fraction of the resources given to privacy regulators overseas, and thanks to industry lobbying, the U.S. still lacks any kind of meaningful privacy law for the internet era. While efforts are afoot to change that, a cross-industry coalition of lobbyists is working hard to ensure this dysfunctional status quo never changes.

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The Decade We Learned Theres No Such Thing as Privacy Online - VICE

Posted in NSA

McKean County man serves and protects as a dog handler in the U.S. Navy – Olean Times Herald

Master-at-Arms 3rd Class James Lingerfelter has found a way to combine a love of animals and an interest in law enforcement in a job that takes him around the world.

Lingerfelter is a dog handler with the U.S. Navy, currently stationed in Italy, but from there he can be deployed with his canine to support missions in places across Europe or in Asia or Africa.

A 2015 Kane (Pa.) Area High School graduate, Lingenfelter enlisted in the U.S. Navy in August 2015.

I wanted to use the Navy as a stepping stone to get into the Pennsylvania State Police, a goal which Lingenfelter said is still his ambition. He enlisted to be a master-at-arms military police in the U.S. Navy.

For me, I always liked dogs and animals in general, said Lingenfelter, who is an outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing. He learned to hunt with dogs when he was growing up and finds that the drive hunting dogs have is the same that military dogs have.

Its just one big game for them, he said.

The dog that Lingenfelter is currently working with is a 3-year-old German shepherd named Vicki that has been with the Navy in Italy since February 2016.

This was her first command, he noted.

One big misconception he encounters is that military dogs follow their handlers, but that is not the case, Lingenfelter said. He explained that when he leaves NSA Naples, Vicki will stay there, and he will be paired with a new dog at his next assignment.

The military canines are trained to find various substances, a task which can also be used for deterrence purposes, he said, explaining that when people see one of the dogs at work, it keeps them on their toes.

Lt. Commander Lenaya Rotklein, a public relations officer with the Navy, explained that military working dogs (MWD) receive special training for different tasks that can include drug detection, finding explosives and even finding humans.

Lingenfelter said he is proud to serve the nation and explained that what makes him really proud is being able to do things that most people wouldnt, especially the work he does with the military working dogs.

He is a protector part of a group that is putting ourselves in harms way so other people dont have to. In his role as a dog handler, his team looks for potential dangers before sending others in to the front line.

Being a dog handler is a different specialization than he was in when he first enlisted.

Lingenfelter went to naval boot camp in October 2015, then on to Texas for technical school, where he learned his job of master-at-arms. He graduated from technical school that December and reported to Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain at the beginning of 2016.

He stayed at NSA Bahrain for two years, working in antiterrorism and force protection, then reported to NSA Naples in February 2018. He spent a year doing law enforcement and force protection.

At the beginning of 2019, I started volunteering in my off-duty hours going into the kennels.

During that time, Lingenfelter was getting to know the military dog system better and prove myself to the handlers that were my mentors.

In June, he was sent for a handlers course in Texas. He graduated in August and reported back to Italy.

Im still feeling it out and Im loving every bit of it because its so brand new to me, Lingenfelter said.

Lingenfelter may be traveling the world now, but he still has strong ties to McKean County.

His mother and father, Donna and Philip Lingenfelter, live in Kane, and his wife, Taylor, lives in Bradford.

His mother was originally from Shinglehouse and his father from Emporium.

We moved to Kane when I was about 5 years old, he said.

Being away from rural Pennsylvania for a year at a time makes him more aware of his love for the area when he visits.

Its such a beautiful place that we live in, Lingenfelter said.

Being home also reminds him why his work in the military is so important: We do the things that we do in order so that we can have that at home.

Lingenfelter noted he was big into football when he was in high school, serving as a starter for three years, a defensive MVP in District 9 his senior year and an all-star player in 2013 and 2014. He played in the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic football game in 2015 and was a defensive MVP for the Big 30 team.

He wrestled and played baseball in Kane as well.

Originally posted here:

McKean County man serves and protects as a dog handler in the U.S. Navy - Olean Times Herald

Posted in NSA

NSA O’Brien on North Korea: ‘We Have a Lot of Tools in Our Toolkit’ – MRCTV

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National Security Advisor Robert OBrien said Sunday the U.S. was closely monitoring developments in North Korea and was concerned about the situation, but also had a lot of tools in our toolkit and was able to bring more pressure to bear in the event of a provocation.

MRCTV Reader,

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NSA O'Brien on North Korea: 'We Have a Lot of Tools in Our Toolkit' - MRCTV

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On CAA and Article 370, former NSA Shivshankar Menon warns India of international isolation – Scroll.in

Former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon on Friday said that the Citizenship Amendment Act and the withdrawal of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution had led to India being isolated from the international community, even by its traditional allies, the Hindustan Times reported.

There has been no meaningful international support for this series of actions, apart from a few committed members of the diaspora and a ragtag bunch of Euro MPs from the extreme right, Menon said at an event in New Delhi. He said many world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and even King Harald V of Norway have criticised Indias actions.

Merkel had on November 1, during a visit to India, said that the present situation in Kashmir is not sustainable.

We seem to know that we are isolated, Menon said, referring to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankars decision to skip a meeting with the foreign affairs committee in the United States due to the presence of Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who has been critical of Indias actions in Kashmir.

Menon added that Jayapals resolution on Kashmir, urging India to end the communications blockade as quickly as possible, and ensure religious freedom for all, had been now has 29 co-sponsors, including Republican Party members. He said this list includes the only Indian-origin lawmaker who attended the Howdy Modi conference in September, Raja Krishnamoorthi.

Menon said that India was violating Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which it had signed, by passing the Citizenship Amendment Act. We seem to be in violation of our international commitments, he said. You must consider the political and other consequences of being perceived as violators of international law.

The former national security advisor said that India, along with Pakistan, now has an image of a religiously driven and intolerant country. We have gifted our adversaries platforms from which to attack us, he added.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, makes citizenship smoother for refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country before December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims, leading to protests against it. At least 26 people have died so far in protests against the Act, which have turned violent at times.

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On CAA and Article 370, former NSA Shivshankar Menon warns India of international isolation - Scroll.in

Posted in NSA

NSA ‘cautious’ response to UK farm funding – The Scottish Farmer

SHEEP FARMERS are 'not feeling at all reassured' about the UK government's long-term plans for agricultural support.

The National Sheep Association 'cautiously' welcomed Westminster's announcement regarding funding for agriculture in coming years, but noted that it indicated a reduction in 2021/22.

We welcome the announcement of allocated agricultural funding in 2020," said NSA chief executive Phil Stocker. "Knowing the money is ring fenced and secure offers reassurance for our industry in the coming year as the Government strives to build strong and reliable free trade agreements with the EU and other countries, which benefit industry and support UK production.

However, this is just the first year of a significant transition, and we are not feeling at all reassured by the indicated reduction of funds allocated for 2021/2022," said Mr Stocker. "We are still facing much uncertainty about whether beneficial trade agreements can be struck in time and, if not, we will again be facing the detrimental prospect of WTO tariffs from the beginning of 2021.

Seeing allocated support dropping during that period of uncertainty is not desirable and we hope Government will recognise this and deliver on its promises of stability throughout 2020 and to recognise the important and valuable work our farmers are doing already to provide public goods and food security for the country.

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NSA 'cautious' response to UK farm funding - The Scottish Farmer

Posted in NSA

Popular messaging app is UAE spy tool, developed by firm employing ex-NSA and Israeli intel officers – Haaretz

A messaging app downloaded by millions of users in the United Arab Emirates and abroad is actually a spying tool used by the Emirati government, which limits the use of Whatsapp and Skype, according to an investigative report published Monday.

According to the New York Times report, ToTok, which has been available for a few months and became the most downloaded social app in the United States last week, was covertly launched by DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyber intelligence and hacking company that is thought to have lured former Israeli intelligence officers to work for it by offering enormous salaries.

The Mossad, China's Trojan horse, censorship and state secrets on our podcast. Listen

The FBI is reportedly investigating the firm for cybercrimes.

The paper describes the move as the "latest escalation in a digital arms race among wealthy authoritarian governments," adding that "governments are pursuing more effective and convenient methods to spy on foreign adversaries, criminal and terrorist networks, journalists and critics."

At the end of last week, both Google and Apple made the app unavailable without providing explanations for the move.

Meanwhile, however, ToTok became one of the 50 most popular free apps in Saudi Arabia, the U.K., India, Sweden and other countries.

DarkMatter, a cybersecurity company formed in 2015 in Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, officially limits itself to cyber defense. But according to a Reuters expose published earlier this year, DarkMatter provides hacking services to the UAE intelligence agency against Western targets, journalists and human rights activists.

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The company operates an office in Cyprus, which among other things employs Israeli software developers. A source in the Israeli cyber intelligence sector previously told Haaretzthat the company was"taking these young people to Cyprus, buying them off with huge salaries."

In March, The New York Times reported that in 2017 the Israelicyber intelligence company NSOsuffered a wave of employee departures, all veterans of theIDFs vaunted 8200 unit.A private investigator retained by NSO to discover what was behind the exodus found they had all gone to Cyprus. They worked at a research facility in a building owned by a company affiliated with DarkMatter, the Times said.

DarkMatter was founded and is led by Faisal Al Bannai, who also established Axiom Telecom, one of the Gulfs biggest sellers of mobile phones. His father is a general in the UAE military.Reuters has reported that Al Bannai has visited Israel several times for business and met with Israeli cybersecurity executives.

On at least two occasions, Israeli companies have sold tracking technology to the UAE. As far as is known, both contracts were cleared by Israels Defense Ministry.

In the first, it was revealed in 2016 that the Gulf country had bought technology from NSO that was used to break into the iPhone of the Emirati human rights activist and government opponent Ahmed Mansoor, who was subsequently arrested and tortured.

A year earlier, it was reported that AGT International, a company controlled by Mati Kochavi, an Israeli, had been contracted to develop a smart-city project in Abu Dhabi. The technology would enable the government to monitor citizens.

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Popular messaging app is UAE spy tool, developed by firm employing ex-NSA and Israeli intel officers - Haaretz

Posted in NSA

Jewel v. NSA: On to the Ninth Circuit: 2019 Year in Review – EFF

Jewel v. NSA, EFFs landmark case challenging NSAs mass spying moved forward in 2019, setting up a crucial decision for the Ninth Circuit in 2020. Weve pursued this case for over a decade because we believe that mass surveillance, like all general search and seizure schemes, is both illegal and unconstitutional. The case arises from general seizures and searches conducted through three NSA surveillance programs: the NSAs current Upstream tapping of the Internet backbone, its past actions collecting Internet metadata and its discontinued mass telephone records collection, purportedly authorized by section 215 of the Patriot Act. Congress just shamefully kicked debate on reauthorization of section 215 until March, 2020, even though it was stopped in 2018 after concerns of massive overcollection by the secret FISA Court and has never helped catch a terrorist.

In 2019, we had bad news and good news on the litigation front.

The bad news came in April, when the District Court ruled that, despite the enormous amountof direct and circumstantial evidence showing our clients communications likely swept up by the NSA dragnet surveillance to establish legal standing,no public court can rule on whether this surveillance is legal. The Court agreed with the government that our claims were caught in a state secrets privilege Catch-22: no one can sue to stop illegal surveillance unless the court first determines that they were certainly touched by the vast surveillance mechanisms of the NSA. But the court cannot decide whether any particular persons email, web searches, social media or phone calls were touched by the surveillance unless the government admits it which the government will not do. This circular ruling matched an earlier ruling by the District Court under the Fourth Amendment, and, at long last, set both of these rulings up for review by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

We made three key arguments in our opening briefs, filed in September:

We didnt go to the Ninth Circuit alone, though. In early October six amicus briefs were filed in support of our case:

The governments responsive briefs are due in early December, with our final briefs likely due in January. Were hopeful that the Ninth Circuit will recognize the importance of the case and hold a hearing in the Spring.

This article is part of our Year in Review series. Read other articles about the fight for digital rights in 2019.


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Jewel v. NSA: On to the Ninth Circuit: 2019 Year in Review - EFF

Posted in NSA

No Surprise: Judge Says US Government Can Take The Proceeds From Snowden’s Book – Techdirt

from the contracts,-man dept

Back in the fall, we noted that, even if we thought it was silly, under existing law, it seemed highly likely that the DOJ would win its lawsuit against the publisher for Ed Snowden's memoir, Permanent Record. As I noted at the time, the government and the intelligence community in particular take the issue of "pre-publication review" incredibly seriously. Basically, if you take a job in the intel community, you sign a lifelong contract that says if you ever publish a book about anything regarding the intelligence community, you have to submit it for pre-publication review. Officially, this is to avoid classified information showing up in a book. Unofficially, it also gives the US government a sneak peek at all these books, and sometimes (it appears) allows them to hide stuff they'd rather not be public.

As I noted when the lawsuit was filed, there is another ongoing lawsuit challenging pre-publication review requirements on 1st Amendment grounds -- but given the state of the law today, it seemed pretty clear that Snowden would lose this case. And, that's exactly what's happened. Judge Liam O'Grady (who seems to end up with all sorts of high profile cases) easily ruled in favor of the government last week. In short, the court says: an unambiguous contract is an unambiguous contract.

The plain meaning of the contracts set forth above require prepublication review of a signatory's public disclosure which refer to, mention, or are based upon, classified information or intelligence activities or materials. The contractual language here is clear, and this Court is therefore legally barred from accepting extrinsic evidence of course of performance, course of dealing, and common trade practices.

That was in response to Snowden's legal team from the ACLU trying to seek discovery to get more evidence to support his case before it went up for dismissal. No go. In the end, a contract is a contract:

The terms of these Secrecy Agreements are clear, and provide that he is in breach of his contracts and the fiduciary duties identified therein if his public disclosures include the type of information and materials the contracts required to be submitted for prepublication review. Specifically, the CIA Secrecy Agreement requires prepublication review of "any writing... which contains any mention of intelligence data or activities, or contains any other information or material that might be based on" certain information, which was "received or obtained in the course of [CIA] employment... that is marked as classified or [known to be classified or known to be in the process of classification determination]."... Similarly, the NSA Secrecy Agreement require prepublication review of "all information or materials... prepared for public disclosure which contain or purport to contain, refer to, or are based upon protected information," which is "[i]nformation obtained as a result of [a] relationship with NSA which is classified or in the process of a classification determination," including but "not limited to, intelligence and intelligence-related information."... Because there is no genuine dispute of material fact that Snowden publicly disclosed the type of information and materials described above in Permanent Record and his speeches, the Government is entitled to summery judgment on both Counts.

As Snowden pointed out when this happened, all this has really done is to draw more public attention to his book, of course. But, I can see from the DOJ's viewpoint that it may have felt that if it didn't go after Snowden and Macmillan for this, then others might question why they had to go through pre-publication review as well.

Filed Under: cia, doj, ed snowden, liam o'grady, nsa, permanent record, prepublication reviewCompanies: macmillan

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No Surprise: Judge Says US Government Can Take The Proceeds From Snowden's Book - Techdirt

Posted in NSA

Turkish Pro-Government Daily Yeni Akit: ‘The "Great Satan" [The U.S.] Is Occupying The World With Bases’ – Middle East Media Research…

A December 26, 2019 article in the Turkish daily Yeni Akit, titled "There Is No Place Left That They Have Not Messed Up! The 'Great Satan' Is Occupying The World With Bases" read: "The U.S., which brings disasters to the places it sees with drunken shouts of 'we are bringing humanity!' and is turning the Middle East into a place of fire, has 800 military bases around the world." The article gives a list of the major U.S. military bases in the Middle East and elsewhere.[1]

Turkish media have been discussing the U.S. bases in Turkey following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan's statement in a December 15, 2019 interview that "if it needs to be shut down, we will shut down Incirlik [Airbase]. If it needs to be shut down, we will shut down Krecik [Radar Station]" (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7661 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan: We Have The Authority To Shut Down U.S.-Run Airbase, Radar Station In Turkey; If Measures Such As Sanctions Are Taken Against Us, We Will Respond As Necessary, December 15, 2019).

Following is the text of the Yeni Akit article:

"There Are About 180,000 Military Personnel At These Bases, With 60,000 To 70,000 In The Middle East"

"In recent years, despite having bases covering regions including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, the U.S. has approximately 800 bases around the world, some of which are small radar stations, others are the size of cities. Maintaining these bases costs 200 billion dollars. According to data from the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. bases cost 749 billion dollars in 2018.

"The U.S. bases include all U.S. military structures connected to the Department of Defense, from enemy observation points to naval supply points, from training bases to radar bases. There are about 180,000 military personnel at these bases, with 60,000 to 70,000 in the Middle East. These numbers become more important when it is understood that they are found primarily in 17 countries that have permanent bases, and approximately 70 countries in total."

"In The List Of Countries With U.S. Bases, Turkey Comes Ninth With Nine Military Structures"

"It appears that the basic reason why the number of U.S. bases is so high is that the U.S. rarely abandons a base that it establishes in a country. The U.S.'s Ramstein base in Germany is an example of this. This base, which the U.S. established in 1949 after the Second World War, still serves the U.S. Air Force and, with 53,000 personnel, it is the U.S.'s largest base outside of its territory.

"Aside from Ramstein, the U.S. has 87 more bases in Germany. Germany is also the country, aside from the U.S., that has the most U.S. bases. After Germany comes Japan with 86, South Korea with 64, Italy with 29, and the U.K. with 16. In the list of countries with U.S. bases, Turkey comes ninth with nine military structures. Incirlik Airbase is the largest and most well-known military structure in Turkey. There are about 2,500 personnel and units belonging to the U.S. Air Force at the base, which was established in the 1950s after Turkey joined NATO."

"The U.S.'s Colossal Bases That Are Spreading Around The World Are Frequently Protested"

"The U.S.'s colossal bases that are spreading around the world are frequently protested, with 70,000 people demonstrating in Okinawa, Japan in 2018 and thousands of people in front of Germany's Ramstein Airbase. According to data from the U.S. Department of Defense, while the capacity of the existing bases is 21 percent more than the need, 30 percent of the infrastructure of these bases is weak or collapsing. The annual cost of only the unused bases is more than $500 million.

"The large, permanent bases around the world are as follows:

"Afghanistan: Bagram Air Base, Camp Dwyer, Camp Leatherneck, FOB Delaram, Kandahar Int. Airport, Shindand Airbase.

"Bahrain: NRCC Bahrain, NSA Bahrain.

"Belgium: USAG Benelux, USAG Brussels.

"Bulgaria: Aitos Logistics Center, Bezmer Air Base, Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Novo Selo Range.

"Cuba: Guantanamo Bay.

"Djibouti: Camp Lemonnier.

"Germany: Campbell Barracks, Landstuhl Medical Center, NATO Base Geilenkirchen, Panzer Kaserne, Patrick Henry Village, Ramstein AB, Spangdahlem Air Base, USAG Ansbach, USAG Bamberg, USAG Baumholder, USAG Darmstadt, USAG Garmisch, USAG Grafenwoehr, USAG Heidelberg, USAG Hessen, USAG Hohenfels, USAG Kaiserslautern, USAG Mannheim, USAG Schweinfurt, USAG Stuttgart, USAG Wiesbaden.

"Greece: NSA Souda Bay.

"Greenland: Thule Air Base, Guam, Andersen AFB, Naval Base Guam, Naval Forces Marianas.

"Iraq: Camp Baharia, Camp Banzai, Camp Bucca, Camp Fallujah, Camp Taji, Camp Victory, COP Shocker, FOB Abu Ghraib, FOB Grizzly, FOB Sykes, Joint Base Balad, Victory Base Complex.

"Italy: Aviano AB, Camp Darby, Caserma Ederle, NAS Sigonella, NSA Gaeta, NSA La Maddalena, NSA Naples.

"Japan: Camp Courtney, Camp Foster, Camp Fuji, Camp Gonsalves, Camp Hansen, Camp Kinser, Camp Lester, Camp McTureous, Camp S.D. Butler, Camp Schwab, Camp Zama, Fleet Activities Okinawa, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Fort Buckner, Kadena Air Base, MCAS Futenma, MCAS Iwakuni, Misawa Air Base, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Torii Station, Yokota Air Base, Yontan Airfield.

"Kosovo: Camp Bondsteel.

"Kuwait: Ali Al Salem Airbase, Camp Arifjan, Camp Buehring, Camp Doha, Camp New York, Camp Patriot, Camp Spearhead, Camp Virginia.

"Kyrgyzstan: Transit Center at Manas.

"The Netherlands: Joint Force Command, USAG Schinnen.

"Peru: Naval Medical Research Unit Six.

"Portugal: Lajes Field, Porto Riko, Fort Buchanan.

"Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base.

"Saudi Arabia: Eskan Village Air Base, King Abdul Aziz Air Base, King Fahd Air Base, King Khalid Air Base, Riyadh Air Base.


"South Korea: Camp Carroll, Camp Casey, Camp Castle, Camp Eagle, Camp Hovey, Camp Humphreys, Camp Market, Camp Red Cloud, Camp Stanley, Fleet Activities Chinhae, K-16 Air Base, Kunsan Air Base, Osan Air Base, USAG Daegu, USAG Yongsan.

"Spain: Morn Air Base, Naval Station Rota.

"Turkey: Incirlik Air Base, Izmir Air Base.

"United Kingdom: RAF Alconbury, RAF Croughton, RAF Fairford, RAF Lakenheath, RAF Menwith Hill, RAF Mildenhall."

[1] Yeniakit.com.tr/haber/karistirmadiklari-yer-kalmadi-buyuk-seytan-dunyayi-uslerle-isgal-ediyor-979714.html, December 26, 2019.

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Turkish Pro-Government Daily Yeni Akit: 'The "Great Satan" [The U.S.] Is Occupying The World With Bases' - Middle East Media Research...

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Is this What the Huawei P40 Pro Will Look Like? – Gizchina.com

Is this What the Huawei P40 Pro Will Look Like?

The surfacing of renders for the upcoming Huawei P40 series has almost become a daily occurrence and today is no different. Thus lets have a look at the latest ones coming from the TargetYouTube.

According to the website, the Huawei P40 Pro will look a lot like the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 10 at the front. This means we find a punch-hole camera in the upper part of the display. Now, while the Chinese phone maker has been using larger notches in their latest flagships, the punch-hole camera is definitely where the mobile industry is going in 2020; thus its plausible the P40 Pro will adopt it as well.

Additionally, the smartphone also appears to feature a curved display to achieve that full-screen look without bezels. As always, some will love this design, while other will prefer a flat display.

Moving onto the back of the phone. We find the camera module design weve seen in so many renders in these past weeks. This consists in a rectangular camera bump with at least five image sensors; accompanied by a large dual LED flash.

Specs wise, the P40 Pro by Huawei is expected to pack the latest Kirin 990 5G SoC. A chipset that uses the industrys most advanced 7nm + EUV manufacturing process and integrates 5G modem into the chip for the first time. As that werent enough, its also the worlds first mobile chip with more than 10.3 billion transistors.

The smartphone will also support SA and NSA dual-mode 5G, a technology that increases the coverage area over NSA-only phones.

Finally, according to Chinese media, the Huawei P40 Pro is expected to launch in March of next year.

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Is this What the Huawei P40 Pro Will Look Like? - Gizchina.com

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Former NSA Director Cooperating With Probe of Trump-Russia Investigation – The Intercept

Retired Adm. Michael Rogers,former director of the National Security Agency, has been cooperating with the Justice Departments probe into the origins of the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump presidential campaigns alleged ties to Russia, according to four people familiar with Rogerss participation.

Rogers has met the prosecutor leading the probe, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, on multiple occasions, according to two people familiar with Rogerss cooperation. While the substance of those meetings is not clear, Rogers has cooperated voluntarily, several people with knowledge of the matter said.

Rogers, who retired in May 2018, did not respond to requests for comment.

The inquiry has been a pillar of Attorney General William Barrs tenure. He appointed Durham to lead the inquiry last spring, directing him to determine whether the FBI was justified in opening a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and alleged links between Russia and the Trump campaign, among other matters. What began as a broad review has turned into a criminal investigation, according to the New York Times. Barr has described the use of undercover FBI agents to investigate members of the campaign as spying.

Last week, a separate, nonpartisan review of the investigation by the Justice Department inspector general concluded that while the FBI and Justice Department committed serious errors in their applications to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, the investigation was opened properly and without political bias. Barr and Durham took the unusual step of publicly disagreeing with some of the inspector generals conclusions, with Barr describing the FBIs justification for the inquiry as very flimsy.

Rogerss voluntary participation, which has not been previously reported, makes him the first former intelligence director known to have been interviewed for the probe.

Hes been very cooperative, one former intelligence officer who has knowledge of Rogerss meetings with the Justice Department said.

Politico and NBC News have previously reported that Durham intends to interview both former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. It is unclear if that has happened. Brennan and the Justice Department declined to comment. Clapper could not be reached for comment.

The Times reported on Thursday that Durham is examining Brennans congressional testimony and communications with a focus on whatthe former CIA directormay have told other officials about his views on the so-called Steele dossier, a set of unverified allegations about links between Russia, Trump, and his campaign compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Rogers is no stranger to the controversy surrounding the 2016 election. Shortly after Trump won the presidency, Rogers traveled to Trump Tower in New York, where he provided an unsolicited briefing to the then president-elect. Rogers informed Trump that the NSA knew that the Russians interfered in the election, according to three people familiar with the briefing. Despite delivering what Rogers told a confidant was bad news, Trump would keep Rogers on as NSA director while dismissing Brennan and Clapper.

In January 2017 just before Trump took office, the intelligence community released an unclassified assessment concluding that Russia interfered in the election. The assessment was based on a combination of intelligence collected and reviewed by the NSA, CIA, and FBI.

Russias initial purpose, the assessment found, was to undermine confidence in American democracy, but the effort ultimately focused on damaging Hillary Clintons campaign in an effort to help elect Trump. While all three intelligence agencies agreed on that aspect of the assessment, the CIA and FBI expressedhigh confidence that the Russian government sought to help Trump win by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him, while Rogerss NSA had only moderate confidence in that finding.

Trump entered his presidency deeply suspicious of the U.S. intelligence community and skeptical of the assessment. He has spent much of his administration claiming that he is the victim of a deep-state coup, beginning with the counterintelligence investigation into his presidential campaign. He has downplayed the intelligence communitys conclusions about Russias responsibility for hacking the Democratic National Committee computer system and providing internal emails to WikiLeaks, which published them beginning in July 2016, instead affirming conspiracy theories that blame Ukraine for stealing the emails.

A year into the Trump administration, in February 2018, Rogers testified at a Senate hearing that the White House had given the NSA no orders or instructions for countering further Russian election meddling.

President Putin has clearly come to the conclusion that theres little price to pay and that therefore I can continue this activity, Rogers said. Clearly, what we have done is not enough.

Four months later in Helsinki, Trump said that he confronted the Russian president about meddling in the election. But Vladimir Putin denied that his government was involved, and Trump said he believed him, directly contradicting Rogers and the other U.S. intelligence directors.

Rogers was concerned that his testimony before Congress drew the presidents ire, according to a former Trump White House official who spoke with Rogers earlier this year.

He asked if the president was mad at him, the former official said. I told him, No way, the president has always liked you.

The White House declined to comment.

Durhams inquiry into the origins of the Russia probe has perpetuated the bitter partisan conflict fueled earlier by special counsel Robert Muellers investigation. Among Muellers key findings was that Russias military intelligence unit, the GRU, stole Clinton campaign manager John Podestas emails, along with emails from the DNC, and delivered them to WikiLeaks. The Mueller investigation led to federal indictments or guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies, but concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone in the Trump campaign with coordinating with the Russian government.

Yet the Mueller probe, the recent inspector generals report, and now the Durham investigation have done little to bridge the yawning political divide between Trump and his supporters, who continue to see him as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt, and career intelligence and national security officials, who view the Durham investigation as an effort to punish those who led U.S. efforts to investigate Russias election meddling. In May, Trump gave Barr the unprecedented authority to review and declassify intelligence related to the Russia investigation, further inflaming national security veterans.

Durhams investigation has also sought information from foreign governments. This summer, Barr and Durham traveled to Italy to request information from Italian intelligence officials about Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor who first told a Trump campaign adviser that the Russians had dirt on Clinton in the form of stolen emails. That claim played a central role in the FBIs decision to open an investigation into the Trump campaign. But in the conservative press and the right-wing social media ecosystem, Mifsud was portrayed as part of an Obama administration plot to entrap and frame Trump. The inspector generals report concluded that there is no evidence that Mifsud had any affiliation with the FBI.

Barrs visit to Italy coincided with Trumps offer to trade congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine for that countrys help in pursuing the unsupported allegations that Ukraine hacked the DNC and framed Russia. Trumps efforts to solicit a favor from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Zelensky publicly announce an investigation into purported Ukrainian-backed hacking and look into alleged corruption by Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joseph Biden on behalf of Bidens son Hunter led to Trumps impeachment in the House of Representatives this week.

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Former NSA Director Cooperating With Probe of Trump-Russia Investigation - The Intercept

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NSA has been lying to the courts all along, says whistleblower, as judges give warrantless surveillance the thumbs-up – RT

The National Security Agency can gather the data of US citizens without a warrant - as long as it gathers this data by mistake, a court has ruled. However, this suits the agency just fine, whistleblower William Binney told RT.

The NSA is permitted to gather data on US citizens abroad, or foreign connected Americans at home. The dragnet surveillance operation necessary to gather this information also sucks up data on millions of Americans with no foreign contacts, a process critics say is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, the 2nd Court of Appeals in New York declared this incidental collection of information permissible. The NSA has maintained that it is incapable of separating properly and improperly gathered data, but former NSA Technical Director William Binney told RT that this is simply untrue.

Theyve been lying to the courts all along, Binney said. Theyve had the capability to sort that stuff out. Its just that they dont want to.

This gives them power over everyone, the ability to look into political opponents like they did with President Trump, he continued.

While the court ruling gives the NSA free rein to suck up data on Americans phone and internet communications, it did not authorize the US other intelligence and law enforcement agencies to dig through this data. However, according to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court ruling issued last year, the FBI accessed this data trove some 3.1 million times in 2017.

Its agents did so without proper warrants, and on persons unrelated to ongoing criminal cases, as explicitly forbidden by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In at least one case, the FBI illegally accessed the data of a suspect before seeking a warrant to spy on them legally.

Wednesdays court ruling concerned Agron Hasbajrami, a US permanent resident who was arrested en route to Turkey in 2011. The government claimed that Hasbajrami was travelling to Pakistan to join a terrorist organization. Hasbajrami claims that the government illegally accessed NSA data to build its case against him.

The court did not issue a ruling on this data access, instead punting the decision back down to a lower court to examine the Fourth Amendment implications.

Hasbajramis case is rare, in that he was informed that the evidence against him was collected by the NSA. Defendants are usually kept in the dark when clandestine agencies do the investigating.

The CIA, the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement people have access to that data to search for common crime within the United States, Binney said. And they use it against US citizens in criminal courts without telling anyone in the court, or anyone else in the court, lawyers included.

So theyre fundamentally violating the rights of thousands of US citizens every year...without any oversight whatsoever.

The existence of the NSAs mass surveillance program was revealed in 2013 by former agency contractor Edward Snowden. Though the agency has reportedly ended its phone spying program, the espionage charges against Snowden remain in place, and Snowden himself remains in Moscow, where he has been granted asylum.

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Government can seize all profits from Edward Snowden’s book – We Are The Mighty

Edward Snowden won't see any of the proceeds from his new memoir instead, the US government is entitled to seize the profits, a federal judge ruled Dec. 17, 2019.

Snowden's memoir, "Permanent Record," describes his work as a contractor for the National Security Administration and his 2013 decision to leak government secrets, including the fact that the NSA was secretly collecting citizens' phone records. Snowden has lived in Moscow since 2013, where he has been granted asylum.

The US sued Snowden on the day his memoir was published in September, alleging that he violated contracts with the NSA by writing about his work there without pre-clearance.

Judge Liam O'Grady made a summary judgement in favor of the US government on Dec. 17, 2019, rejecting requests from Snowden's lawyers to move the case forward into the discovery stage. O'Grady ruled that Snowden violated his contracts, both with the publication of the memoir and through other public speaking engagements in which he discussed his work for the NSA.

"Snowden admits that the speeches themselves purport to discuss intelligence-related activities," O'Grady wrote in his decision, adding that Snowden "breached the CIA and NSA Secrecy agreements."

In recent years, Snowden has maintained his criticisms of US surveillance while also turning his attention to big tech companies. In November, he decried the practice of aggregating personal data, arguing that Facebook, Google, and Amazon "are engaged in abuse."

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

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$0.39 EPS Expected for National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) This Quarter – Riverton Roll

Analysts forecast that National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) will post earnings of $0.39 per share for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Three analysts have made estimates for National Storage Affiliates Trusts earnings, with estimates ranging from $0.38 to $0.40. National Storage Affiliates Trust posted earnings per share of $0.37 during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a positive year over year growth rate of 5.4%. The company is expected to report its next quarterly earnings results on Monday, February 24th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that National Storage Affiliates Trust will report full year earnings of $1.53 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.52 to $1.54. For the next fiscal year, analysts expect that the firm will post earnings of $1.62 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.61 to $1.64. Zacks earnings per share averages are an average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that cover National Storage Affiliates Trust.

National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, October 31st. The real estate investment trust reported ($0.20) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.39 by ($0.59). National Storage Affiliates Trust had a negative return on equity of 1.45% and a negative net margin of 4.87%. The firm had revenue of $101.34 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $100.49 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.36 earnings per share. The firms revenue for the quarter was up 18.7% compared to the same quarter last year.

A number of research firms have recently issued reports on NSA. Morgan Stanley lifted their price target on National Storage Affiliates Trust from $27.00 to $32.00 and gave the company an equal weight rating in a report on Monday, September 16th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, December 3rd. BMO Capital Markets restated a hold rating and issued a $26.00 price objective on shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust in a research report on Thursday, October 31st. ValuEngine downgraded shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, September 4th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co reiterated a buy rating on shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust in a research report on Monday, December 9th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the companys stock. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $33.83.

Shares of NYSE NSA traded up $0.02 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $32.76. 4,971 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 534,123. National Storage Affiliates Trust has a 12 month low of $25.11 and a 12 month high of $35.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.26, a quick ratio of 0.64 and a current ratio of 0.64. The stocks 50-day simple moving average is $32.98 and its 200-day simple moving average is $32.19. The firm has a market cap of $1.93 billion, a PE ratio of 23.71, a PEG ratio of 4.17 and a beta of 0.29.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, December 31st. Shareholders of record on Friday, December 13th will be paid a $0.33 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 12th. This is a boost from National Storage Affiliates Trusts previous quarterly dividend of $0.32. This represents a $1.32 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.03%. National Storage Affiliates Trusts dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 95.65%.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 3.3% during the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 6,624,526 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock worth $191,714,000 after purchasing an additional 213,375 shares during the period. State Street Corp raised its stake in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 3.1% in the 3rd quarter. State Street Corp now owns 3,143,735 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock valued at $104,906,000 after purchasing an additional 93,419 shares during the period. Invesco Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 228.9% in the second quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 2,041,493 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock valued at $59,081,000 after purchasing an additional 1,420,851 shares in the last quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust in the second quarter valued at about $45,783,000. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC boosted its position in shares of National Storage Affiliates Trust by 5.4% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,527,814 shares of the real estate investment trusts stock worth $44,215,000 after buying an additional 78,100 shares during the period. 92.95% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About National Storage Affiliates Trust

National Storage Affiliates Trust is a Maryland real estate investment trust focused on the ownership, operation and acquisition of self storage properties located within the top 100 metropolitan statistical areas throughout the United States. The Company currently holds ownership interests in and operates 709 self storage properties located in 35 states and Puerto Rico with approximately 44.9 million rentable square feet.

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$0.39 EPS Expected for National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA) This Quarter - Riverton Roll

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Is Admiral Mike Rogers the Hero of this Story? – Ricochet.com

There is an official Department of Justice criminal investigation underway being conducted by US Attorney John Durham. Durham is looking into a number of events leading up to the Mueller Special Counsel Investigation that impaired the ability of the Trump Administration to function at an expected level for much of its first three years. A major function touching on all pieces of the controversial topic of Russian interference in Americas 2016 election is intelligence work and its products.

All manner of government organizations are involved in or affected directly by intelligence activities. The NSA, CIA, and FBI are major producers and custodians of intelligence information and related analyses. The POTUS receives daily briefings of what is called intelligence assessments as a result of this intelligence work. The Senate and the House have standing committees that get quarterly briefings of sensitive intelligence developments and those committees initiate legislation that governs how this work is done.

Devin Nunes, when he chaired the House Intelligence Committee, investigated and surfaced a number of actions undertaken by the Obama Administration that were revealed as possible misuse of intelligence functions and information. Nunes was hampered in his investigation by lack of cooperation from the executive agencies. A senior staff official of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, chaired by Richard Burr, was charged with leaking classified intelligence to a newspaper reporter, but got a plea deal that avoided any public disclosure of case facts. There are several other questions related to actions of members and staff of this committee.

In the fall of 2016 just prior to the election, NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers became aware of suspicious NSA database inquiries that he judged to be out of order and demanded they be stopped. Rogers also visited President-Elect Trump after the election. Here is an excerpt from a New York Times article published in the Fall of 2016:

Administration officials had planned to relieve Admiral Rogers of his duties after the election and announce a plan to create separate chains of command for the N.S.A. and Cyber Command. But the plan, supported by Mr. Carter and Mr. Clapper, stalled in part because of opposition from Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who heads the Armed Services Committee.

Under the plan, Cyber Command would remain under the Armed Services Committees jurisdiction, but oversight of the N.S.A. would shift to the Senate Intelligence Committee. Mr. Trumps victory complicated the planning.

I guess the fact that Clinton was not elected was what really complicated the planning.

I wonder where we would be now in terms of the intelligence function if Trump was not President and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was the oversight body for the National Security Agency.

It is being reported now that retired Admiral Mike Rogers has met several times with Durham Investigation officials.

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Is Admiral Mike Rogers the Hero of this Story? - Ricochet.com

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