‘Global Britain’? Assessing Boris Johnson’s major changes to national security and foreign policy – British Politics and Policy at LSE

There is a real risk that the shake-up of UK national security and foreign policy currently being orchestrated by Number 10 will not provide the solutions the country needs, write Edward Elliott and Sam Goodman. Here they interview former National Security Advisers, former Foreign Secretaries, former foreign policy advisers to PMs, and former senior diplomats, to assess recent developments and their potential repercussions.

The first year of Boris Johnsons premiership has been dominated by Brexit and then COVID-19. This chaotic schedule has not held him back though from making a big shake-up of UK national security and foreign policy. But is it the right shake-up? Many policy experts have long argued that the UK has been in need of greater co-ordination in how it approaches national security and foreign policy; and under the auspices of the Sedwill driven Fusion Doctrine, an attempt to fuse capabilities to deliver strategy-led design of (national security) policy, the Conservative Government has been moving around the pieces of the UKs national security infrastructure over the last few years.

The Prime Minister has ramped up this process in recent weeks, He replaced Sir Mark Sedwill as National Security Adviser (NSA) with political appointee David Frost, merged the Department for International Development (DfID) into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and encouraged Sir Simon McDonald to step down early as Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO. Through these changes, and the upcoming Integrated Review, there is a risk that this government could end up centralising foreign policy once again to the confines of a small cadre of unaccountable advisers loyal to the Prime Minister.

National Security Council (NSC)

The NSC is supposedly central to all national security decisionmaking yet has been neglected by Johnson. In many ways, the NSC is the perfect showcase of the changes the PM is looking to make and of the risks that come with it. The decisionmaking process at the top level of foreign policy is always going to be somewhat nebulous, and it is hard to know exactly what happens behind closed doors.

In late May, it was revealed that the NSC had not met in months, with the official excuse being the pandemic. Although former NSAs we spoke to confirmed it had started meeting again since the end of lockdown, the ease with which the NSC has been put to one side during a national crisis is worrying. To provide just one example, one source told us the NSC had only met once in the past few months on Huawei, a critical national security issue that has yet to be fully addressed and resolved.

Now more than ever, the future of the NSC is up in the air.

Decline of the NSC over the years

The UKs NSC structure was the brainchild of the Coalition Government and was considered a break from past allegations of foreign policy being run by a small clique of advisers and Ministers in an informal setting. Under the Coalition, the NSC stood separate from No.10 with its own secretariat under a permanent secretary-level National Security Adviser. Members of the NSC have generally included relevant government ministers, the heads of the security and intelligence agencies, and the Chief of the Defence Staff.

According to Lord Peter Ricketts NSA under Cameron the NSC would meet every week after Cabinet; key ministers would be expected to attend or decisions would be made affecting their Department in their absence. Other sources confirmed that it met weekly under Theresa May too. However, there were instances where meetings would be postponed, with former members of the NSC stating that over the past ten years, it would be reasonable to estimate that it met on average 30-35 times a year.

Much of the initial decline of the prominence of the NSC happened under May. Arguably the biggest structural shift was combining the role of the NSA with that of the Cabinet Secretary. By merging those two roles, May was inevitably diluting the impact of the NSA, who had less time to dedicate to the role. Sedwills predecessor as NSA between 2015-2017, Sir Mark Lyall Grant, told us that the merging of the two roles was a mistake, although one brought about by the circumstances at the time.. This sentiment has been shared by many, including former NSA Lord Ricketts and Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair of the Defence Select Committee.

When quizzed by the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy in 2019, Mark Sedwill admitted doing the job somewhat differently from his predecessors, focusing on embedding the Fusion Doctrine and reforming Whitehall. The question then becomes who takes the decisions the NSA used to take? Sir David Manning, former UK Ambassador to Israel and the US, and former foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair, has stated that the NSCs focus and effectiveness, unlike the US NSC, seemed to depend strongly on the personality, interests, and time of the Prime Minister of the day. He or she chairs the meetings as they are the ones who chair the meetings and, it would appear, decides what priority to give to NSC business. This assertion is backed up by Ricketts, who recognises that the NSCs effectiveness depends on the Prime Ministers use of it.

Gavin Williamsons supposed leaks from the NSC in 2019 further undermined the NSC, risking making senior civil servants and intelligence officials less willing tospeak freely about sensitive issues one of the original benefits of having an NSC. Under Theresa May, the number of NSC sub-committees was also reduced sources indicated that some of these hardly ever met at all.

The political instability in this period of time, due to the lack of a parliamentary majority, battles over Brexit, and rising ministerial leaks, was part and parcel of a breakdown of trust which coincided with the devaluation of the NSC under May. Some sources indicated that May really valued the NSC, but even if it was a consequence of circumstance and external pressure, Theresa May oversaw a notable decline in the NSC.

New National Security Adviser: a frosty reception

The biggest announced change to the NSC is the appointment of David Frost as NSA. A former diplomat, Scotch Whisky Association CEO, and SpAD to Boris Johnson, David Frost is well-respected. Yet there has been widespread concern about his appointment to the role of NSA, due to both the lack of relevant security experience and the lack of accountability following the decision to make his appointment a political one, breaking from previous tradition. Frost will also hold the role of chief Brexit negotiator when he starts as NSA which is a concern for some, even though the overlap with the two roles is currently expected to be of short duration.

It makes sense to look to Americas NSC; after all, our model is based on theirs. But we should avoid copying their mistakes: in defending the decision to make the NSA a political appointee, the government argued that this was not unusual in America. However, Javed Ali, a former Senior Director of Counterrorism at the American NSC, told us how having a political appointee as NSA was controversial in the US too, stating that there has been lots of debate in Congress in changing the law about the Nat Sec Advisor position to allow the Senate to exercise its advice and consent role, similar to the confirmation process for other equivalent positions. There are also concerns in the US about the NSA holding a second position. Ali told us that there is some thought too that active duty military officers should retire if so appointed (like McMaster) in order to not conflict with the unique requirements of the job.

Other potential NSC reform

The possibilities for reform extend beyond just the NSA. For example, the argument of needing to balance the members who attend the NSC is a well-trodden one. In light of the DfID/FCO merger, several former members of the NSC spoke to us about the importance of keeping a unique voice for Development on the table, to avoid the risk of this being absorbed by the FCO. This contrasts with the view shared with us by Tom Swarbrick, a former adviser to Theresa May, who argues that there is a need to reduce the number of people who attend NSC meetings. Members of the NSC have previously expressed to him that membership size creates logistical issues including there not being enough time for everyone to make their points and then substantially discuss the issues at hand.

There is also a need to have a membership of the NSC that reflects the immediate threats facing the UK. The 2015 NSS and SDSR identified pandemics as a top threat for the UK yet the Health Secretary was not a permanent member. The fact that this was still the case when the latest list of members was published in late June, in the middle of a huge crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, remains baffling.

One of the challenges of the national security and foreign policy process is finding the balance between crisis management and strategic thinking. An aspect of the NSC infrastructure that is crucial in obtaining this balance is the NSC Officials Group, with permenent-secretary-level attendees and focussed more on long-term strategic thinking. As Johnson looks to reform the national security apparatus, it is key that this group is maintained and continues to meet, even when the main NSC isnt able to. Again we can turn to our US counterparts to see the value they place on having an equivalent system at the NSC. Javed Ali talked about the importance of having a built-in layer of integration and transparency that informs the highest level of decision making, and that without that revert to a decentralised approach, which leads to bad policy outcomes with unintended consequences. Bolstering the NSC in this manner does carry some risks. Sir Christopher Meyer, former UK Ambassador to the US, told us the UK does not need/want American bureaucratic gigantism in its national security process.

The Merger of DfID into the FCO

The merger was unsurprisingly unpopular in the international development sector, but many of the former foreign policy advisers we spoke with reserved judgment, arguing that in theory the move could be successful. There has been a need for several years now to better co-ordinate foreign policy in Whitehall, especially around having a shared strategic vision. This has been paired with growing concerns that an under-funded and under-staffed Foreign Office has fallen into neglect. Former Foreign Secretary, Lord David Owen, in particular believes that the merger fits with the radical need to reduce the number of separate ministries and number of ministers who attend Cabinet for it to become an effective decisionmaking body again.

There are of course risks that could stem from the DfID/FCO merger, including the fact that it could serve as the starting point to more fundamental changes to how the UK does international aid. These range from moving away from the transparency and accountability of Official Development Assistance spending that the UK had in DfID, to bigger moves such as moving away from the OECD definition of Official Development Assistance, or even eventually scrapping the 0.7% gross national income spending on it.

The Integrated Review

In 2020, Johnson announced the Integrated Review, the newest version of what was the NSS, but which brings foreign policy and international development very explicitly into the fold. One of its four remits is to identify the necessary reforms to Government systems and structures to achieve these goals. Although the Integrated Review has been delayed, the reforms clearly havent. If the reforms precede the review, what remains the purpose of the latter? Tobias Ellwood recently echoed that we are: seeing changes in Whitehall architecture without firstly understanding threats coming over the horizon, taking a stock check of our current capabilities and then working out what we actually want.

For Lyall Grant, the biggest strategic security threat the UK faces remains the threat to the rules-based international order. To combat that threat, in particular from China, Lord David Owen said the UK must focus on by strengthening defence spending within NATO, forging a unified stance within the Five Eyes rejecting Huawei 5G, and working with partners towards a new policy of containment to deal with the CCPs expansionist ambitions and in response to dismantling of One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong.

The UK also needs to assess its capabilities across defence, soft power, aid, diplomacy, and more. For Sir David Manning, the review must consider not only the post-Brexit world but the potential for a post-special relationship one that may be under great strain if Trump is re-elected. He cautions that if Global Britain is to mean anything we need to invest in our defence and intelligence capabilities and above all in reinforcing the Foreign Office and our diplomatic network overseas.

All of this leads to the hope that the Integrated Review can help the UK decide on what it wants its role in the world to be. Sir Stephen Wall, the former Ambassador to the EU and private secretary to John Major believes the integrated review should take an objective, rigorous, fact-based approach to the UKs place in the world post-Brexit. Lyall Grant told us that it is likely the UK will make the strategic choice to remain a global player with strong regional interests and that the review should go much wider than machinery of government and focus on building on the strategic direction taken in 2015. In order to do so, Sir Stephen Wall argues the UK must make ourselves an unavoidable partner both for the US and our erstwhile fellow EU member states, even if it will be impossible to replicate the unique cooperation the EU provides.

Whilst it is unfortunate that this government has decided to implement structural reform before reviewing its objectives and capabilities, its success will ultimately depend on the degree of clarity it brings to the objectives of Global Britain, and whether it can show a detailed pathway of how the UK can get to where it wants to be.


After one year as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has stuck with his ambition for a Global Britain and not been shy to make major changes in that pursuit. It has been clear for a while that the UKs security and foreign policy has been in need of a shake-up. Yet there is a real risk that the shake-up currently being orchestrated by Number 10 will not provide the solutions the UK needs. Recent changes already indicate that the UKs national security decisionmaking process is set to further radically shift under Johnsons tenure there even still remains a small possibility that the NSC in its current format will be scrapped altogether. This would be a mistake as it continues to have immense value as a vehicle for coordinating policy.

The UK has a unique opportunity to provide strategic clarity, appropriate funding, and structural soundness to its foreign policy and national security, and the fact the government has already shown it is willing to take action is a positive sign. However, as it does so, the UK risks veering towards the tendency of many of Johnsons predecessors: to centralise power in an unaccountable nucleus at the expense of a collaborative model designed to encourage long-term strategic thinking.


About the Authors

Edward Elliott is Senior Associate at the British Foreign Policy Group.

Sam Goodmanis an Associate at the British Foreign Policy Group.

Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

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'Global Britain'? Assessing Boris Johnson's major changes to national security and foreign policy - British Politics and Policy at LSE

Posted in NSA

How the Media Mangled the ‘Russian Invasion’ of the Trump Administration – The National Interest

Throughout the Trump years, various reporters have presented to great fanfare one dubious, thinly sourced story after another about Moscows supposedly nefarious plots against the United States. The unsupported allegations about an illegal collusion between Donald Trumps 2016 campaign and the Russian government spawned a host of subsidiary charges that proved to be bogus. Yet, prominent news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC ran stories featuring such shaky accusations as if they were gospel.

The willingness of the press to circulate any account that puts Russia in a bad light has not diminished with the collapse of the Russia-Trump collusion narrative. The latest incident began when the New York Times published a front-page article on June 28, based on an anonymous source within the intelligence community, that Moscow had put a bounty on the lives of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. The predictable, furious reaction throughout the media and the general public followed. When the White House insisted that the intelligence agencies had never informed either the president or vice president of such reports, most press reactions were scornful.

As with so many other inflammatory news accounts dealing with Russia, serious doubts about the accuracy of this one developed almost immediately. Just days later, an unnamed intelligence official told CBS reporter Catherine Herridge that the information about the alleged bounties was uncorroborated. The source also revealed to Herridge that the National Security Agency (NSA) concluded that the intelligence collection report does not match well-established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices and lacked sufficient reporting to corroborate any links. The report had reached low levels at the National Security Council, but it did not travel farther up the chain of command. The Pentagon, which apparently had originated the bounty allegations and tried to sell the intelligence agencies on the theory, soon retreated and issued its own statement about the unconfirmed nature of the information.

There was a growing sense of dj vu, as though the episode was the second coming of the infamous, uncorroborated Steele dossier that caused the Obama administration to launch its 2016 collusion investigation. A number of conservative and antiwar outlets highlighted the multiplying doubts. They had somewhat contrasting motives for doing so. Most conservative critics believed that it was yet another attempt by a hostile media to discredit President Trump for partisan reasons. Antiwar types suspected that it was an attempt by both the Pentagon and the top echelons of some intelligence agencies to use the media to generate more animosity toward Russia and thwart the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a process that was still in its early stages following Washingtons February 29, 2020, peace accord with the Taliban.

The bounty stories certainly had that effect. Congressional hawks in both parties immediately called for a delay in further withdrawals while the allegations were investigated. They also made yet more Trump is Putins puppet assertions. Nancy Pelosi could not resist hurling another smear with that theme. With him, all roads lead to Putin, Pelosi said. I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially.

Despite the growing cloud of uncertainty about the source or accuracy of the bounty allegation, several high-profile journalists treated it as though it was incontrovertible. A typically blatant, hostile spin was evident in a New York Times article by Michael Crowley and Eric Schmitt. The principal evidence that they cited for the intelligence report was the earlier story in their own newspaper. An admission that there were divisions within the intelligence agencies about the report, the authors buried far down in their article.

High-level intelligence personnel giving the president verbal briefings did not deem the bounty report sufficiently credible, much less alarming, to bring it to his attention. Former intelligence official Ray McGovern reached a blunt conclusion: As a preparer and briefer of The Presidents Daily Brief to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, I can attest to the fact thatbased on what has been revealed so farthe Russian bounty story falls far short of the PDB threshold.

Barbara Boland, a national security correspondent for the American Conservative and a veteran journalist on intelligence issues, cited some glaring problems with the bounty charges. One was that the Times anonymous source stated that the assessment was based on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals. Boland noted that John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that capturedsenior al-Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah in 2002, termed reliance on coercive interrogations a red flag. Kiriakou added, When you capture a prisoner, and youre interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell youwhat he thinks you want tohear. Boland reminded readers that under interrogation Khalid Sheik Mohammed made at least 31 confessions, many of which were completely false.

A second problem Boland saw with the bounty story was identifying a rational purpose for such a Russian initiativesince it was apparent to everyone that Trump was intent on pulling U.S. troops out. Moreover, she emphasized, only eight U.S. military personnel were killed during the first six months of 2020, and the New York Times story could not verify that even one fatality resulted from a bounty. If the program existed at all, then it was extraordinarily ineffective.

Nevertheless, most media accounts breathlessly repeated the charges as if they were proven. In the New York Times, David Sanger and Eric Schmitt asserted that, given the latest incident, it doesnt require a top-secret clearance and access to the governments most classified information to see that the list of Russian aggressions in recent weeks rivals some of the worst days of the Cold War. Ray McGovern responded to the Sanger-Schmitt article by impolitely reminding his readers about Sangers dreadful record during the lead-up to the Iraq War of uncritically repeating unverified leaks from intelligence sources and hyping the danger of Saddam Husseins alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Another prominent journalist who doubled down on the bounty allegations was the Washington Posts Aaron Blake. The headline of his July 1 article read The only people dismissing the Russia bounties intel: the Taliban, Russia and Trump. Apparently, the NSAs willingness to go public with its doubts, as well as negative assessments of the allegations by several veteran former intelligence officials, did not seem to matter to Blake. As evidence of how serious the situation was (despite a perfunctory nod that the intelligence had not yet been confirmed), Blake quoted several of the usual hawks from the presidents own party.

As time passed, outnumbered media skeptics of the bounties story nevertheless lobbed increasingly vigorous criticisms of the allegations. Their case for skepticism was warranted. It became clear that even the CIA and other agencies that embraced the charges of bounties ascribed only medium confidence to their conclusions. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), there are three levels of confidence, high, moderate, and low. A moderate confidence level means that the information is credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroborated sufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence. The NSA (and apparently the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and possibly other portions of the intelligence community) gave the reports the low confidence designation, meaning that the informations credibility and/or plausibility is questionable, or that the information is too fragmented or poorly corroborated to make solid analytic inferences, or that [there are] significant concerns or problems with the sources.

Antiwar journalist Caitlin Johnstone offered an especially brutal indictment of the medias performance regarding the latest installment of the Russia is Americas mortal enemy saga. All parties involved in spreading this malignant psyop are absolutely vile, she wrote, but a special disdain should be reserved for the media class who have been entrusted by the public with the essential task of creating an informed populace and holding power to account. How much of an unprincipled whore do you have to be to call yourself a journalist and uncritically parrot the completely unsubstantiated assertions of spooks while protecting their anonymity?

The media should not have ignored or blithely dismissed the bounty allegation, but far too many members ran enthusiastically with a story based on extremely thin evidence, questionable sourcing, and equally questionable logic. Once again, they seemed to believe the worst about Russias behavior and Trumps reaction to it because they had long ago mentally programmed themselves to believe such horror stories without doubt or reservation. The assessment by Adam Macleod of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is devastatingly accurate. With regard to the bounty story, he concluded, evidence-free claims from nameless spies became fact in most media accounts. Instead of sober, restrained inquiries from a skeptical, probing press, readers and viewers were treated to yet another installment of over-the-top anti-Russia diatribes. That treatment had the effect, whether intended or unintended, of promoting even more hawkish policies toward Moscow and undermining the already much-delayed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It was a biased, unprofessional performance that should do nothing to restore the publics confidence in the medias already tattered credibility.

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How the Media Mangled the 'Russian Invasion' of the Trump Administration - The National Interest

Posted in NSA

Auction mart to be headline sponsor at North Sheep 2021 – Darlington and Stockton Times

NEXT year's North Sheep 2021 is pleased to announce that Hexham and Northern Marts will be its headline sponsor.

The National Sheep Association's (NSA) showcase event will be held at a noted sheep producing farm, Bradford House Farm, near Ponteland in Northumberland on Wednesday, June 2.

The NSA is dedicated to safeguarding the interests and future of all aspects of the sheep industry and this key showcase will provide farmers with a forum to see a tremendous sheep farming enterprise, along with accessing the latest genetics, technologies and genetics.

Hexham & Northern Marts is one of the North of Englands foremost livestock trading companies. Established more than 100 years ago, it hosts weekly livestock auctions at both Hexham and Scots Gap Marts.

Host of next years event, Willie Woodman, of JE Woodman & Sons farming enterprise, is both a long-standing customer of Hexham & Northern along with acting as a company director.

In hosting NSA North Sheep 2021, Willie alongside his wife, Christine, and son, Martin, will present the workings of their traditional Northumbrian sheep farm, focusing on the production of top-quality prime and breeding sheep they sell at Hexham Mart.

The event itself will take place at their 930-acre Bradford House Farm, home to a lowland flock of 250 Mule Ewes and 200 Texel cross ewes. There will also be display of Blackface sheep from Great Chesters, their 1,200-acre hill farm.

Robert Addison,managing director of Hexham & Northern Marts, said: We are delighted to have NSA North Sheep returning to Northumberland and on our doorstep next year and to have the opportunity to support both the event and the Woodman Family.

"I am sure that given the cancellation of this years shows and sheep events, people will be particularly keen to attend, not just in terms of learning and knowledge transfer, but from a social aspect, to meet with like-minded farmers and friends.

"Bradford House Farm is a tremendous livestock farm and this unique event will provide the thousands of people expected to attend with an insight into the production techniques of one of our long-standing customers along with a showcase roadmap to increased profitability.

The NSA North Sheep is a key date in the industrys diary, attracting thousands of sheep farmers from across the north of England and beyond. In addition to the huge number of trade stands expected, there will be a series of seminars and demonstrations covering all areas of the sheep industry.

The events organiser and NSA Northern regional manager, Heather Stoney-Grayshon said: We are very pleased to announce this partnership with long-standing supporters Hexham & Northern Marts. It is only thanks to commitment from businesses such as this that we the Northern Region of the NSA are able to host what I hope will once again be a fantastic celebration of the sheep farming industry.

The NSA is funded by the membership of its sheep farmers. Through the many industry related activities, such as the North Sheep Showcase, the NSA is dedicated to safeguarding the interests of sheep producers throughout the UK. The NSA forms an essential network sheep producers throughout the UK and receive significant support from those connected to the industry.

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Auction mart to be headline sponsor at North Sheep 2021 - Darlington and Stockton Times

Posted in NSA

NSA Ram Sales in East and South West to go ahead – FarmingUK

NSA Ram Sales in East and South West are set to go ahead in August and September

NSA Ram Sales in the East and South West of England will continue despite the Covid-19 constraints, organisers have said.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has announced the confirmed dates of its ram sales in its Eastern Region and South West Region.

The Eastern Region sales will take place at Rugby on 28 August, and the sale at Melton Mowbray will take place on the revised date of 18 September 2020.

Meanwhile, NSA South West Regions sale is continuing to make pace at Exeter and will be held on 19 August.

NSA Eastern Region Ram Sale organiser, Jonathan Barber said: It is wonderful to be able to work with both groups of auctioneers to keep our Eastern Region Ram sales going, they have worked extremely hard to allow this to happen."

However, he warned: "We must remain aware there will still be constraints and social distancing at all times.

NSA South West Regional Manager, Ian May highlighted the importance of following social distancing rules.

South West Region is pleased to be able to continue with the sale at Exeter but emphasise the need to follow social distancing rules and register in advance of the sale.

"While these are extra constraints, they are necessary to allow the sale to go ahead, which is the region's priority, Mr May said.

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NSA Ram Sales in East and South West to go ahead - FarmingUK

Posted in NSA

Newly elected Executives of GSA call on D-G of NSA – BusinessGhana

The newly elected Executive Committee members of the Ghana Scrabble Association (GSA) on Wednesday, July 8, called on the Director-General of the National Sports Authority to introduce themselves to the NSA.

The NSA on June 3, 2020, held online elections to elect a five-member executive committee to steer the affairs of the GSA for the next four years.

Professor Peter Twumasi the Director-General of the NSA expressed satisfaction with the electoral process especially during the pandemic and congratulated the elected executives for their success in the elections.

He advised them to work in partnership with the NSA to move the association to a professional status.

Professor Twumasi also asked them to work on a comprehensive constitution which would be a legal document to guide the associations activities.


Haruna Adamu newly elected president expressed appreciation to the Director-General for his warm reception.

He said the new executives would work in partnership with the NSA to ensure their progress.

The newly elected officials are; Haruma Adamu - President, Mohamed Rashad - Vice President, Carlos Otoo -Treasurer, David Akpor Adjei - National Organiser, Henry Adotey Akagbor - Marketing Officer, and Christiana Ashley - Secretary-General.



Newly elected Executives of GSA call on D-G of NSA - BusinessGhana

Posted in NSA

Ajit Doval | The spy who came in from the cold – The Hindu

Earlier this year, National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval walked through the narrow lanes of northeast Delhi that just witnessed one of the worst communal riots in more than three decades. With television cameras milling around, the 75-year-old Mr. Doval, a former Intelligence Bureau (IB) Director, marched and stopped to speak to residents, assuring them of peace and justice.

On February 26, as TV channels beamed the visuals and social media was agog with praises for the septuagenarian, reporters were duly informed that it was Home Minister Amit Shahs idea to send Mr. Doval to the riot-hit areas. On March 11, Mr. Shah himself informed the Lok Sabha that it was on his request that the NSA visited northeast Delhi so that the latter could motivate Delhi Police. The police were criticised for being mute spectators as rioters burnt houses and went on a killing spree.

Ever since Mr. Doval was reappointed NSA in the second Modi government and Mr. Shah moved to North Block, there has been discussion on the power equation at play. The question often asked: whose words on internal security weigh more to the Prime Minister? Both have responsibilities and roles that often overlap. Mr. Doval had an amiable working equation with Rajnath Singh, Mr. Shahs predecessor. After Article 370 was diluted last August and Jammu and Kashmir was placed under an unprecedented lockdown and a communication blockade, photos and videos of Mr. Doval eating chicken curry and rice with local people in southern Kashmirs Shopian emerged. With the local cable channels snapped and the phone and Internet lines down, the video was played on loop on Delhi-based satellite news channels, the only connect Kashmiris had with the outside world. Cooped in their homes, with concertinas ringed at every lane, Kashmiris watched as Mr. Doval spoke of the benefits (of reading down Article 370 and turning the State into a Union Territory) and the bright future that awaited them. Officials say Mr. Doval is heavily invested in the security affairs of Kashmir.

Born in 1945 at Pauri Garhwal in the erstwhile United Provinces, now in Uttarakhand, Mr. Doval grew up in Ajmer, Rajasthan. His father was an officer in the Indian Army. After graduating from Agra University, he joined the IPS in 1968 in the Kerala cadre. He cut his teeth in anti-insurgency operations in Mizoram and Punjab, including undercover missions. In 1999, Mr. Doval was one of those who negotiated the release of passengers from the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in Kandahar. In July 2004, he was appointed Director of the IB. After retirement in 2005, Mr. Doval retreated to his private life, often contributing to the national security discussions through commentaries and talks. When Mr. Modi came to power in 2014, the former spymaster returned to the government, as the countrys fifth NSA.

On June 3 last year, when Mr. Doval was reappointed, the NSAs post was upgraded from the rank of Minister of State to Cabinet Minister in the table of precedence, a first since the post was created in 1998. The decision was reportedly taken as Mr. Doval was also leading strategic dialogues with many countries. A case in point being the talks between Special Representatives of India and China on the Boundary Question.

While China was represented by the State Councilor with a Cabinet rank, India was represented by the NSA with a Minister of State rank. The mismatch in hierarchy had raised protocol issues with the Chinese. The leg-up was also accelerated by the appointment of S. Jaishankar, a retired Foreign Secretary who was much junior in service to Mr. Doval, as the External Affairs Minister. In the first stint of the Modi government, the two differed on various foreign policy matters. Mr. Jaishankar, then Foreign Secretary, had shot off a terse letter to the Home Ministry and the NSA in 2016 after Chinese Uighur activist Dolkun Isa was granted a visa to attend a conference at Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh. In the letter, Mr. Jaishankar asked both to consult the Ministry of External Affairs to better manage the political and media fallout from such decisions.

To address the ongoing Chinese troops build-up at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, Mr. Doval quietly revived the China Study Group (CSG). An informal group constituted in 1997, the CSG comprises the Cabinet Secretary, Secretaries of Defence and Home, Army chief and Director of Intelligence Bureau, among others. The group has met at least on three occasions since May. The government had initially denied any serious crisis on the LAC. The extent of the Chinese build-up was later established through satellite images. On July 5, Mr. Doval held talks with Chinas Special Representative Wang Yi on the disengagement plan at all the confrontation points, including the Galwan Valley where 20 Indian soldiers were killed in violent clashes with the Chinese on June 15.

Before he sat for the talks on the phone, the ground commanders were sent again to check if the Chinese had indeed moved back 2 km as agreed during the June 30 Corps Commander level talks. As per the agreement, Indian troops also pulled back 1.5 km from Indias perception of the LAC with a 30-day moratorium on foot patrolling. Two days before the Doval-Wang meeting, Prime Minister Modi made a surprise visit to Ladakh. Mr. Doval did not accompany the Prime Minister as he was in self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though he has an office in South Block, in 2018, Mr. Doval ensured that the Sardar Patel Bhavan at Parliament Street in New Delhi was taken over exclusively for the functioning of the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS). The NSCS, headed by Mr. Doval, works as an advisory group, comprising various experts on security related matters. Several Ministries and departments were moved out of the five-storeyed building to make space for the NSCS.

Last August, the Cabinet Secretariat amended the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 to include the NSCS, granting it a constitutional authority. Through the order, the NSCS has been empowered to generate Cabinet notes, a role till now reserved for the concerned Ministries. The order said the Secretariat would assist the National Security Adviser, the Principal Adviser on National Security matters to the Prime Minister; and the National Security Council. The Hindu has learnt that the NSCS has so far not generated a single proposal for consideration of the Union Cabinet.

The oft-repeated tales of his undercover operations in Pakistan have helped craft his image as a super spy among the common people. When the NSA enters a government building, security personnel and civilians stand in reverence, a gesture duly acknowledged by Mr. Doval.

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Ajit Doval | The spy who came in from the cold - The Hindu

Posted in NSA

Why No NSA Was Never Invoked Against A Gangster "Vikas Dubey" In UP Where Police And Yogi Sarkar Are Famous For Arresting People And…

On April 3, 2020, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath invoked the National Security Law (NSA) against six Tablighi Jamaat people for allegedly misbehaving with MMG District Hospital staff.

Yogi Adityanath said in one of his statements that the defendants did not obey the law and declared them the enemy of humanity.

If Yogi Sarkar invoked the NSA against 6 Tablighi Jamaat members for misbehaving in the hospital, then why was the NSA never invoked against gangster Vikas Dubey despite having 60 pending cases on his name?

On July 2, eight police officers were murdered after Vikas and his men allegedly began firing on the police force who went to his village to arrest him.

What is NSA?

NSA is the National Security Act, which is a strict law that allows for preventive detention for months if the authorities are convinced that a person is a threat to national security or to law and order.

In popular phraseology, the NSA is known as a law in which there is no appeal, no daleel, no vakil, ( no appeal, no argument, no lawyer). The Law, whose stated purpose is to provide preventive detention in certain cases and for matters related to this, entered into force on September 23, 1980.

Central and state governments are empowered to detain a person to prevent them from acting in a manner detrimental to Indias security, Indias relations with foreign countries, the maintenance of law and order, or the maintenance of essential supplies and services to the community.

The maximum period of detention is 12 months. The order may also be made by the district magistrate or a police commissioner under their respective jurisdictions, but the arrest must be reported to the state government along with the reasons for the order.

In other words, according to this Act, a person can be detained for up to 10 days without being informed of the reasons for the arrest. The government may withhold information supporting the detention in public interest.

A detained person is not allowed to question his accusers or the evidence supporting his detention. He will also not allowed an attorney in this period. A three-person advisory board made up of high court judges or persons qualified to be superior court judges determines the legitimacy of any order issued for more than three months. If approved, a person can be held extrajudicially for up to 12 months.

Successive governments have made free use of the NSA and at any time, Uttar Pradesh is generally among the top five states in terms of the numbers arrested under it.

The Uttar Pradesh Government, headed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has ordered strict action under the powerful National Security Act (NSA) against those who attack police personnel anywhere in the state.

The decision comes after incidents in which police personnel is thwarted by people who were violating guidelines issued amid the 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

The police perform their duties by restricting peoples access to the restricted area in the lockdown. There have been some incidents in the state, in which the police were attacked. In order to deter these people, it was decided to invoke the National Security Agency to these people, a senior official from the Ministry of the Home said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also took the flogging action andordered invoked by the National Security Agency (NSA) against the perpetrators who arson to the Dalit houses in Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh.

The incident where a dozen Dalit houses were burned down by a crowd. This started with a small problem between groups belonging to youth from two communities. It became a huge controversy and a fight between the Jaunpur villagers and a group set fire to the 12 Dalit houses.

CM Yogi Adityanath took note of this incident and orderedstrict action against those responsible for this. Invocation of NSA and gangster act against all accused, he said.

Wangkhems other case: On November 20, 2018, two years ago, Wangkhem was arrested on sedition charges for allegedly uploading videos on Facebook critical of Chief Minister Biren Singh. The videos described Singh as a Modi puppet to celebrate the anniversary of Rani Laxmibais birth. He was released six days later, only to be sent to prison under the NSA a day later.

He stated: The government must know that it cannot misuse its power and violate the basic principles of the Constitution.

Criticism is salubrious for democracy; it is needed for national development. So, the government should have the tolerance to listen to criticism and analyze its mistakes. I will continue to express my personal opinions dauntlessly on social media platforms.

In such cases, we can clearly understand that the government invokes NSA and police can file FIR against anyone, but no one ever registered FIR or invoked NSA against gangsters like Vikas Dubey.

In the 2020 year,the NSA has been invoked in 120 cases of which 63 were related to cow slaughter, 3 crimes against women, and 13 other heinous crimes, said Awanish Awasthi, additional chief secretary cum principal secretary of Uttar Pradesh.

If Yogi Sarkar took significant steps in all serious matters, then why did Yogi Sarkar never take any action against Vikas Dubey, who committed many crimes?

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Why No NSA Was Never Invoked Against A Gangster "Vikas Dubey" In UP Where Police And Yogi Sarkar Are Famous For Arresting People And...

Posted in NSA

National Security Agency – Wikipedia

U.S. signals intelligence organization

Seal of the National Security Agency

Flag of the National Security Agency

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]

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 antiVietnam 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 $3million 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 NSAthe 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 on efficient 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 2000and the Agency's support for the choice of a strong encryption algorithm designed by Europeans rather than by Americansto 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 (Australian 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 themit's not cleardescribing 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]

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National Security Agency - Wikipedia

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National Security Agency | History, Role, & Surveillance …

National Security Agency (NSA), U.S. intelligence agency within the Department of Defense that is responsible for cryptographic and communications intelligence and security. Its headquarters are in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Britannica Quiz

World Organizations: Fact or Fiction?

The World Health Organization is a specialized branch of the United States government.

The NSA grew out of the communications intelligence activities of U.S. military units during World War II. It was established in 1952 by a presidential directive from Harry S. Truman in which he specified its mission as

to provide an effective, unified organization and control of the communications intelligence activities of the United States conducted against foreign governments, to provide for integrated operational policies and procedures pertaining thereto.

The NSA was created in part out of the belief that the importance and distinct character of communications intelligence warranted an organization distinct from both the armed forces and the other intelligence agencies. While it operates within the Department of Defense, the NSA also belongs to the Intelligence Community (a coalition of 17 intelligence agencies) and as such acts under the supervision of the director of national intelligence. The director of the NSA is a military officer of flag rank (i.e., a general or an admiral) with a minimum of three stars. Not being a creation of Congress, the NSA often acts outside of congressional review; it is the most secret of all U.S. intelligence agencies.

The agencys mission includes the protection and formulation of codes, ciphers, and other cryptology for the U.S. military and other government agencies as well as the interception, analysis, and solution of coded transmissions by electronic or other means. The agency conducts research into all forms of electronic transmissions. It also operates posts for the interception of signals around the world. In 1972 a joint organization, the Central Security Service (CSS), was created to coordinate the intelligence efforts of the NSA with the U.S. military. The director of the NSA also heads the CSS (under the title of Chief, CSS).

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) restricts the NSA mandate to the interception of foreign communications and forbids the agency from targeting a U.S. citizen unless the latter is considered an agent of a foreign power. In exceptional cases that are considered critical to national security, the agency can obtain a warrant to intercept domestic communications. In 2008, amendments to FISA relaxed those restrictions and allowed the agency to monitor domestic communications without a warrant as long as one party is reasonably believed to be outside the United States.

In 2013 NSA activities were put in the limelight after a former computer security contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked classified information about two surveillance programsone collecting information from U.S. Internet service providers (PRISM) and the second collecting so-called metadata on cellular phone calls (information including phone numbers and length of the calls but not their content). Those programs were designed to target non-Americans, but they also collected a massive amount of information from Americans with whom those individuals had communicated. Other NSA programs included the extensive, worldwide, and allegedly untargeted collection of text messages (Dishfire) and of the locations of cell phones.

While less known to the American public than the Central Intelligence Agency, the NSA is believed to be far larger in size in terms of workforce and budget. According to Michael Hayden, a former director (19992005) of the NSA, it is also the worlds largest collector of foreign signals intelligence.

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NSA Surveillance | American Civil Liberties Union

The National Security Agencys mass surveillance has greatly expanded in the years since September 11, 2001. Disclosures have shown that, until recently, the government regularly tracked the calls of hundreds of millions of Americans. Today, it continues to spy on a vast but unknown number of Americans international calls, text messages, web-browsing activities, and emails.

The governments surveillance programs have infiltrated most of the communications technologies we have come to rely on. They are largely enabled by a problematic law passed by Congress the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), which is set to expire this year along with Executive Order 12,333, the primary authority invoked by the NSA to conduct surveillance outside of the United States. The Patriot Act has also made it easier for the government to spy on Americans right here at home over the past 15 years. Although the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversees some of the governments surveillance activities, it operates in near-total secrecy through one-sided procedures that heavily favor the government.

Our Constitution and democratic system demand that government be transparent and accountable to the people, not the other way around. History has shown that powerful, secret surveillance tools will almost certainly be abused for political ends.

The ACLU has been at the forefront of the struggle to rein in the surveillance superstructure, which strikes at the core of our rights to privacy, free speech, and association.

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) gives the NSA almost unchecked power to monitor Americans international phone calls, text messages, and emails under the guise of targeting foreigners abroad. The ACLU has long warned that one provision of the statute, Section 702, would be used to eavesdrop on Americans private communications. In June 2013, The Guardian published documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden confirming the massive scale of this international dragnet. Recent disclosures also show that an unknown number of purely domestic communications are monitored, that the rules that supposedly protect Americans' privacy are weak and riddled with exceptions, and that virtually every email that goes into or out of the United States is scanned for suspicious keywords.

Learn more about Section 702

In 2008, less than an hour after President Bush signed the FAA into law, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. The case, Amnesty v. Clapper, was filed on behalf of a broad coalition of attorneys and organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive and sometimes privileged telephone and email communications with individuals located abroad. But in a 54 ruling handed down in February 2013, the Supreme Court held that the ACLU plaintiffs did not have standing to sue because they could not prove their communications had actually been surveilled under the law.

In March 2015, the ACLU filed Wikimedia Foundation v. NSA, a lawsuit challenging Upstream surveillance under the FAA. Through Upstream surveillance, the U.S. government copies and searches the contents of almost all international and many domestic text-based internet communications. The suit was brought on behalf of nine educational, legal, human rights, and media organizations, including the Wikimedia Foundation, operator of one of the most-visited websites on the internet. Collectively, the plaintiffs engage in more than a trillion sensitive internet communications every year, and each has been profoundly harmed by NSA surveillance.

Executive Order 12,333, signed by President Reagan in 1981 and modified many times since, is the authority primarily relied upon by the intelligence agencies to gather foreign intelligence outside of the United States. Recent disclosures indicate that the U.S. government operates a host of large-scale programs under EO 12333, many of which appear to involve the collection of vast quantities of Americans information. These programs have included, for example, the NSAs collection of billions of cellphone location records each day; its recording of every single cellphone call into, out of, and within at least two countries; and its surreptitious interception of data from Google and Yahoo user accounts as that information travels between those companies data centers located abroad.

In December 2013, the ACLU, along with the Media Freedom Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding that the government release information about its use of EO 12,333 to conduct surveillance of Americans communications.

For many years, the government claimed sweeping authority under the Patriot Act to collect a record of every single phone call made by every single American "on an ongoing daily basis." This program not only exceeded the authority given to the government by Congress, but it violated the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment, and the rights of free speech and association protected by the First Amendment. For this reason, the ACLU challenged the government's collection of our phone records under Section 215 of the Patriot Act just days after the program was revealed in June 2013 by The Guardian. In May 2015, a court of appeals found that the phone records program violated Section 215, and Congress allowed the provision to expire in June of that year. The program was reformed by the USA Freedom Act, which passed days later.

To bring greater transparency to the NSA's surveillance under the Patriot Act, the ACLU filed two motions with the secretive FISC asking it to release to the public its opinions authorizing the bulk collection of Americans' data by the NSA.

Our earlier work to reform the Patriot Act includes a number of successful challenges to the government's use of and secrecy surrounding National Security Letters.

The ACLU has long fought to bring greater transparency and public access to the FISC the secretive court that oversees the governments surveillance programs. When the FISC was first established in 1978, it primarily assessed individual surveillance applications to determine whether there was probable cause to believe a specific surveillance target was an agent of a foreign power. In recent years, however, the FISCs responsibilities have changed dramatically, and the FISC today oversees sweeping surveillance programs and assesses their constitutionality all without any public participation or review.

The ACLU has been advocating and petitioning for access to the FISC for more than a decade, working with Congress and the executive branch, and appearing before the court itself to push for greater transparency. Days after the courts Section 215 order was published in the press in June 2013, we filed a motion seeking access to the secret judicial opinions underlying the NSA's mass call tracking program. We have since filed two other access motions in the FISC, seeking significant legal opinions authorizing bulk collection and those interpreting the governments secret surveillance powers in the years after 9/11. We also signed a brief filed in the FISC in support of the First Amendment rights of the recipients of FISC orders, such as telephone and internet companies, to release information about the type and volume of national security requests they receive from the NSA and the FBI.

Secret law has no place in a democracy. Under the First Amendment, the public has a qualified right of access to FISC opinions concerning the scope, meaning, or constitutionality of the surveillance laws, and that right clearly applies to legal opinions interpreting Americans' bedrock constitutional rights. We all have a right to know, at least in general terms, what kinds of information the government is collecting about innocent Americans, on what scale, and based on what legal theory.

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Unpacking the National Intelligence Council’s Memo on Russian Bounty Operation – Just Security

Over the July 4 weekend, the New York Times reported that Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe has produced a memorandum that, on the one hand, acknowledges the assessment by the CIA and National Counterterrorism Center that Russia paid bounties to the Taliban to kill American service members but, on the other hand, may seek to cast doubt on this assessment to serve the White Houses political purposes. According to the Times, concerns about politics infecting the process stem from the timing and the reported content of the three-page Sense of the Community Memorandum (SOCM), a product of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), which reports directly to the DNI. The Times also quotes former intelligence officials who express concerns about the potential politics at play. One of those former officials served as chair of the NIC, and another was the predecessor to one of us as director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Based on what has been reported by the Times and other outlets, we share their concerns.

Thats a painful conclusion to put forward as it would mean the countrys top intelligence official is manipulating intelligence processes for political purposes in the context of a direct threat to American service members lives. That we even have to ask the question of whether this intelligence is being politicized is a measure of how far from normal business we have strayed in recent years.

So, why the concern over the SOCM product? First, we take no issue with the likely authors and reviewers at the NIC. One can come to the conclusion that the SOCM was tasked for a largely political purpose while, at the same time, believing that it was prepared in a professional and honest manner by analysts at the NIC. At least we have no reason to believe otherwise, and if its conclusions were significantly edited or shaped by DNI Ratcliffe, the public would likely learn of that soon. That crude form of manipulation would strike at the heart of analytic integrity, and it would probably leak if Ratcliffe or his staff at DNI inserted themselves too forcefully in the drafting or editing process.

That said, even a completely professional product can still be highly susceptible to political manipulationand there are strong reasons to believe thats what has happened here in light of all of the reporting that we have to date, including statements by lawmakers who have been briefed on the subject. How would this form of political influence work? An intelligence product that presents a relatively firm bottom line conclusion that the intelligence community believes this Russian activity was in fact occurring could still be cherry-picked to suit a political purpose and drive a particular political narrative. NSA doesnt agree, Theres no real consensus, The intelligence is muddled and unclear, The agencies are all over the map, There are intelligence gaps that need to be filled before we can trust the conclusions. All of these are characterizations of aspects of the memo that could be technically true but would still make the product susceptible to political manipulation.

In particular, each of these narratives could be drawn from a professionally and honestly produced analytical work and would obviously suit the White Houses desire to portray that the intelligence wasnt ready for prime time, that there was no need to brief the President, and that this was hardly enough to drive action to engage Putin.

And that narrative would basically be a form of propaganda that would make Soviets blush. Thats because the gaps and discrepancies within the underlying intelligence if accurately reported, including those contained in the SOCM are basically an everyday occurrence when it comes to the process of analyzing sensitive intelligence on important national security topics and presenting policymakers with the information they need to make decisions and pursue courses of action. In other words, the characterizations above could be, in a narrow sense, accurate; but the takeaways that the White House intends to draw and disseminate from them could still be wildly misleading.

The timing of the SOCM product apparently tasked only after the story first broke publicly and then produced within a matter of days also calls into question the motivations of DNI Ratcliffe. If there was a real hunger among policymakers at the White House to understand better the underlying intelligence and the nuanced (and possibly competing) views of analysts across the Intelligence Community, we suspect that tasking would have been issued months agowhen the intelligence on life-or-death threats to U.S. service members first surfaced. On the other hand, if the SOCM was tasked only lately as the Times reporting suggests, one cant help but wonder if the underlying purpose was to give the administration ammunition to cast doubt on the intelligence communitys bottom-line conclusion. All told, the recent timing of the memos tasking and rush to complete it suggests it was intended not to inform policy discussions on how to protect American troops but to inform political efforts to rebut the media reports and bipartisan concerns on the Hill.

Whats more, if the underlying intent was political, one can imagine the DNIs office might have tasked the memo in such a way as to elicit some of the answers that would be useful to a White House that wants to argue that this is all overblown. Is there complete Community consensus on the conclusions in the PDB back in February? What are the varying levels of confidence in the assessment presented? Does the IC have direct evidence as a basis for reaching a judgment with high confidence? Does the NSA have signals intelligence that provide the agency a basis for its assessment? Does the IC have information that connects President Putin or other Kremlin officials to the operation? Answers to these kinds of specific questions might well have provided the Administration with just the cherry-picked characterizations that they would need to bolster their argument that theres nothing to see hereeven though the answer to any of these narrow questions would not actually undercut the idea that theres a serious threats to American service members to which the Trump administration has failed to respond.

Indeed, reports on the content of the SOCM suggest manipulation and skewing of its conclusions. Consider three specific items in the text of the two-and-a-half-page memo as reported.

First, the SOCM stressed that the government lacks direct evidence of what the criminal network leaders and G.R.U. ofcials said at face-to-face meetings, according to the Times. The absence of direct evidence of those meetings is not actually a surprising or even notable gap in the context of assessing a Russian covert operation, given two factors: the unlikely nature of the United States gaining intelligence on the exact words spoken between Russian and Taliban officials in secret meetings, and the mosaic of other information the IC has reportedly obtained indicating that the bounty arrangement existed. So why stress its absence? If the Russians are actually engaged in the reported behavior in Afghanistan, they have every incentive to make their activities as deniable as possible, including by hiding their fingerprints, using proxies where they could, and denying at every turn. Yet its easy to imagine Ratcliffe and other Administration surrogates in the coming days describing the memo to make this intelligence gap sound like a bigger hole than it really is.

Second, the Times reports that the National Security Agency did not have information to support that conclusion [of the Russian bounty operation] at the same level [as CIA and NCTC], therefore expressing lower condence in the conclusion. And the Times goes on to say that the SOCM then emphasized that the National Security Agency did not have surveillance that conrmed what the captured detainees told interrogators about bounties. Once again, the absence of one specific type of intelligencesignals intelligenceis unsurprising here, given that its unclear how the Russians and Taliban are communicating about the bounty arrangement and given that there are (reportedly) other kinds of intelligence, from detainee interrogations to financial transactions, that indicate the arrangement exists. So why would the SOCM emphasize this absence? Whats more, the question to be asked of NSA by the NIC is whether it agrees with the all-source judgment on the existence of the operation, not whether the agency has its own information to support the conclusion at the same level of confidence. We hope thats what NSAs input reflected. It is notable that the Wall Street Journal reported last week that the differences [between the NSA and CIA] werent over the central assessment that operatives with Russias GRU intelligence agency paid bounties to the insurgent Taliban movement to kill Americans, according to some of the people familiar with the matter. That suggests the SOCM may have been produced in a way that amplifies less meaningful differences between the agencies.

Third, the Times reports that the memo identifies gaps in intelligence on the issue of specific attribution for the bounty operation within the Kremlin. The memo also says that the Defense Intelligence Agency did not have information directly connecting the suspected operation to the Kremlin, according to the Times. But when it comes to a GRU unit acting inside Afghanistan like this, it may be exceedingly difficult to directly connect it to Putin or other senior Kremlin officials. Thats of no consequence for whats at stake here. Indeed, if the IC has compelling information that the GRU section was placing bounties on American soldiers, thats more than ample information to press Putin to have it stop. Meanwhile, having this question of attribution raised in the SOCM is all too convenient for a White House interested in alluding in abstract terms to purported gaps in the intelligence.

In order to understand why the SOCM product came to look the way it did, at least as reported in the Times, its important to understand how the analysis probably emerged, with nuanced and caveated conclusions and a lack of complete consensus among the expert analysts. That in fact is the norm in intelligence work. It is rarely if ever the case that the United States or any other countrys agencies would have a singular gold nugget of incontrovertible intelligence that would prove the case on something like this. For example, its the stuff of fiction, not real intelligence work, to expect the United States to intercept Putins personal aide saying to the GRU chief: The Boss has green lighted the bounty program in Afghanistan. Go for it starting on Tuesday.

Instead, IC analysts looking at this material would have been trying to piece together a complicated mosaic, with information of all different kinds and differing degrees of reliability. There might have been one triggering piece of compelling intelligence from one part of the intelligence community, but that would have led to a careful effort to identify and evaluate other intelligence to corroborate what that initial reporting suggested. Analysts would also have been putting the information into the context of what they know from long observation about Russian interests; about Putins practices, including ratcheting up support for the Taliban over time; about the GRUs connections to Afghanistan; about the Taliban operatives; and other information. Russia analysts would have been involved, Afghan-focused analysts would have been involved, terrorism/counterterrorism analysts would have been involvedall bringing their special expertise and perspective to bear. The analytic process would have been grinding hard on information of this sort over weeks and months.

Weve painstakingly described the possible misuse of the SOCM and the underlying analytic process that probably led to its reported conclusions because those aspects of this story might help us understand why the administration seems so reluctant to credit the seemingly obvious intelligence conclusion that Russia is acting against our interests in Afghanistan. And thats the real story here. The inside baseball on intelligence work is not the part of this story that matters most.

Why do we say that? Because intelligence on hard targets like Russia or North Korea or Iran rarely comes packaged in the single gold nugget form that we alluded to above. And if any intelligence picture that falls short of meeting that standard couldnt be shared upward to the President, or if it couldnt serve as the basis for considering concrete action to respond to credible threats to American lives, then our foreign policy would be truly paralyzed. We would simply never meet the threshold to take action, let alone to consider it. So its simply not the case that we cant believe our eyes unless we have the single golden nugget of intelligence.

For all of the complexity of the intelligence process discussed above, the basic facts are clear: Our intelligence community has assessed that Russia is acting in a way that threatens American lives in Afghanistan. Yes, there are nuances and varying degrees of confidence in that conclusion. Thats normal. But there should not be any kind of debate about whether this conclusion should have been presented to senior policymakers and the President for their review and actionnor any doubt that they should have responded, urgently. In any other time, that would be a given. There might be a policy conversation to be had about what exactly to do in response, but no reasonable conversation can be had about whether to put this conclusion on the table at the level of the President and his National Security Council for discussion about what actions to take.

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Unpacking the National Intelligence Council's Memo on Russian Bounty Operation - Just Security

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Woman Admits to Willful Retention of Top Secret National Defense Information and International Parental Kidnapping – Imperial Valley News

Washington, DC -Elizabeth Jo Shirley, of Hedgesville, West Virginia, has admitted to unlawfully retaining a document containing national defense information and committing international parental kidnapping, the Department of Justice announced.

Shirley, 47, pled guilty to one count of Willful Retention of National Defense Information and one count of International Parental Kidnapping. Shirley admitted to unlawfully retaining a National Security Agency (NSA) document containing information classified at the TOP SECRET/SENSITIVE COMPARTMENTED INFORMATION (TS/SCI) level relating to the national defense that outlines intelligence information regarding a foreign governments military and political issues. Shirley also admitted to removing her child, of whom she was the non-custodial parent, to Mexico with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of the custodial fathers parental rights.

When Shirley took classified information from her work with the Intelligence Community and later fled to Mexico, she violated the confidence placed in her by the American people, said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.She doubled down on this betrayal when she sought to offer classified information to the Russian government. We are grateful for our law enforcement partners timely work to locate and arrest the defendant in Mexico. Given Shirleys troubling conduct after fleeing the United States, the damage to national security could have been far greater had law enforcement not acted swiftly. Shirley will now be held accountable for betraying the trust of the American people.

High level security clearance requires a commensurate level of trust. Shirley breached that trust and attempted to put our country at risk. National security is one of our highest priorities and always will be. Shirley will now face the consequences of her actions, said U.S. Attorney William J. Powell.

"Federal government employees and contractors with high level security clearances pledge to protect classified information from foreign adversaries. It's an essential responsibility in guarding our countrys national security," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. "Ms. Shirley had a duty to safeguard classified information. Instead, she chose to break the law and trust placed in her and made plans to pass national defense information to Russian officials, which could have put our citizens at risk. The FBI does not take these violations lightly and will work to hold wrongdoers accountable to keep our country safe."

Shirley served on active duty with the United States Air Force, and in August 1994, the Air Force granted Shirley her first TS/SCI security clearance. After leaving active duty, Shirley served in the United States Air Force Reserves and later in the United States Navy Reserves. While serving in the Air Force, she worked on assignments with the NSA. From May 2001 to August 2012, Shirley held various positions with the United States Navys Office of Naval Intelligence, the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force, and at least five different cleared defense contractors. In connection with these positions, Shirley held TOP SECRET/SCI security clearances at various times.

In July 2019, Shirley took her six-year-old daughter to Mexico with the intent to make contact with representatives of the Government of Russia to request resettlement in a country that would not extradite her to the United States. Shirley took with her to Mexico national defense information, which she had unlawfully retained. While in Mexico, Shirley prepared a written message to Russian Government officials, referencing an urgent need to have items shipped from the USA related to [her] lifes work before they are seized and destroyed.

On Aug. 13, 2019, the United States Marshals Service and Mexican law enforcement located Shirley and her daughter at a hotel in Mexico City. Mexican immigration authorities arrested Shirley pursuant to lack of legal immigration status.

The FBI subsequently executed search warrants on numerous of Shirleys electronic devices, including devices she took to Mexico in July 2019 and devices the FBI seized from her Martinsburg storage unit in August 2019. Pursuant to the search of the storage unit, the FBI located the NSA document underlying the Willful Retention of National Defense Information offense. In addition, pursuant to searches of the electronic devices, the FBI found an Office of Naval Intelligence PowerPoint presentation containing information classified at the SECRET level and messages Shirley had drafted to Russian Government officials while in Mexico, the latter of which the Central Intelligence Agency has determined to include information classified at the SECRET level.

Shirley faces up to ten years of incarceration and a fine of up to $250,000 for the national security charge and up to three years of incarceration and fine of up to $250,000 for the kidnapping charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod J. Douglas and Lara K. Omps-Botteicher and Trial Attorney Evan N. Turgeon with the Department of Justices Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, National Security Division, are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI and WVSP investigated. The Webster County Prosecuting Attorneys Office cooperated in the investigation and prosecution of the case.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble presided.

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Woman Admits to Willful Retention of Top Secret National Defense Information and International Parental Kidnapping - Imperial Valley News

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NSA welcomes Welsh Government’s response to future of farming – Meat Management

Posted on Jul 10, 2020

The National Sheep Association (NSA) has welcomed the Welsh Governments response to the Sustainable Farming and Our Land consultation but says it has some concern about the longevity of policy changes.

This comes after an official response was published to last years consultation which received over 3,300 responses from farmers.

It proposed that future funding should support farmers who operate sustainable farming systems and protect the environment, including business support with a focus on advice, capital investment and skills development and a Sustainable Farming Payment which would reward farmers for mainly environmental outcomes.

NSA chief executive, Phil Stocker, said: While there is a lot of detail to be worked through, the principles set out in the response and the Ministers statement are welcomed and read as being supportive of farming in Wales as well as recognising the value of farmers and farming to the nation.

In terms of future support to farming in Wales, again, we welcome the principle that the Government should incentivise and support farmers to run truly sustainable farming systems, and we welcome the intention to move way beyond the income foregone approach

NSA doesnt read this as meaning that change wont come in many areas we welcome change and we agree with many of the statements made in the Governments response. We welcome the references to the importance of food production in Wales and the contribution that high-quality food production will contribute to Welsh Sustainable Brand Values. We also welcome the references to food security and the importance of export and imports so that Wales can lean towards producing what the nations climate and natural resources and culture do so well, recognising that other nations will do likewise and that consumers in Wales will want choice and dietary variation.

In terms of future support to farming in Wales, again, we welcome the principle that the Government should incentivise and support farmers to run truly sustainable farming systems, and we welcome the intention to move way beyond the income foregone approach, with a strong suggestion that sustainability is viewed in the widest of contexts multifunctional farming and land management.

NSA Cymru/Wales regional development officer, Helen Roberts commented: This announcement is most certainly welcome, however, as with most announcements, there does remain some concern. In this instance, we have specific concerns about further consultation with no specific timescales. The speech seems to hint that there will be an interim scheme from when BPS ends, and a new scheme is launched. With Senedd elections due next May, there is concern this policy wont be delivered as said.

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National Storage Affiliates Trust Announces Date of its Second Quarter 2020 Earnings Release and Conference Call – Business Wire

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--National Storage Affiliates Trust (NSA or the Company) (NYSE: NSA) today announced the Company will release financial results for the three months ended June 30, 2020 after market close on Thursday, August 6, 2020. NSA will host a conference call to discuss its financial results, current market conditions and future outlook at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, August 7, 2020. Following prepared remarks, management will accept questions from registered financial analysts. All other participants are encouraged to listen to the call via webcast using the link found on the Companys website.

Conference Call and Webcast:Date/Time: Friday, August 7, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. ETWebcast link available at: http://www.nationalstorageaffiliates.com Domestic (toll free): 877-407-9711International: 412-902-1014

Replay Information:Domestic (toll free): 877-660-6853International: 201-612-7415Conference ID: 13692161

A replay of the webcast will be available for 30 days on NSAs website at http://www.nationalstorageaffiliates.com. Any transcription, recording or retransmission of the Companys conference call and webcast in any way are strictly prohibited without the prior written consent of NSA.

Supplemental materials will be posted to the investor relations section of the companys website prior to the conference call.

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. As of March 31, 2020, the Company held ownership interests in and operated 780 self storage properties located in 35 states and Puerto Rico with approximately 49 million rentable square feet. NSA is one of the largest owners and operators of self storage properties among public and private companies in the United States. For more information, please visit the Companys website at http://www.nationalstorageaffiliates.com. NSA is included in the MSCI US REIT Index (RMS/RMZ), the Russell 2000 Index of Companies and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index.


National Storage Affiliates Trust Announces Date of its Second Quarter 2020 Earnings Release and Conference Call - Business Wire

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NSA enthused by Government progress on Trade and Agriculture Commission | London Business News – London Loves Business

The National Sheep Association (NSA) are pleased to see advancement on the recently announced Trade and Agriculture Commission, set up to report to government on trade policies and agriculture.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker said, Its really pleasing to see the Government have acted so quickly on this. Were very pleased to see sheep farmer Rob Hodgkins on the panel, as an NSA member and proactive farmer, we know Rob will provide a strong voice for sheep farming interests.

However, NSA is concerned about the time frame and is calling for quick advancement of work by the commission. Stocker added, This is very time sensitive with Trade Deals already being developed by the Government. The commission needs to act quickly and decisively but taking on board the interests of all sectors to produce its report. However, six months is a tight timetable, and we are concerned the necessary work might be rushed if were not careful.

While there are strong agricultural voices at the table, there are many that arent, and we encourage the commission to draw on others expertise and experience to develop the work in a timely fashion. NSA is clear this should not be a monopoly of those at the table, but something that encompasses the industry broadly. It is further important to allow a draft to be seen and commented on by producer associations, speaking on behalf of their specific sectors. There are a lot of people leaning on this commission and so it is important it is done right and encompasses industry perspective as widely as possible.

NSA is calling now for swift advancement and timeline of how the commission is going to approach its work.

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Edward Snowden will not be pardoned in his lifetime, says author of new book on the NSA whistleblower – Yahoo News

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter who documented the scope of the U.S. governments surveillance on its own citizens after receiving leaked National Security Agency documents from Edward Snowden told Yahoo News that he believes the former NSA contractor will not be pardoned in his lifetime.

Barton Gellman, now a staff writer at the Atlantic, was one of three reporters Snowden first approached in 2013 with the archive of documents showing mass surveillance of American citizens by their own government. Gellmans book about Snowden,Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State,was released Tuesday. Gellman, who is sympathetic to Snowden but raises questions about some of his actions, said Snowden will not be able to return to America in his lifetime unless he comes in handcuffs.

Getting pardoned is going to be a very, very big lift for any president, Gellman told Yahoo News Skullduggery podcast. The intelligence community, the national security community, loathes Snowden and have long memories for this sort of thing, and I dont think hell be pardoned in his lifetime.

Gellman has spent significant time with Snowden since first meeting him in 2013 and said his books title reflects his own view of the U.S. governments surveillance capabilities and efforts.

Were transparent to our government, our government is opaque to us, and that creates distortions in the balance of power, he said.

Still, Gellman is clear that his book is not meant to be a full-throated defense of Snowden, who remains in Russia, where he has been since shortly after Gellman and other Washington Post reporters first revealed the NSAs illegal mass data collection efforts thanks to Snowdens disclosures.

Snowden had been a Hawaii-based NSA contractor before he made the decision to give Gellman the trove of documents. Snowden then traveled to Hong Kong before continuing on to Moscow in what he has said was a bid to make his way to Ecuador, which has historically refused to extradite criminal suspects to the U.S. After the Guardian and Gellman at the Washington Post first published their stories, Snowden then sharedhighly classifiedmaterial with the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post revealing NSA targets inside China, a revelation that seemed unrelated to his professed concern about wanting to protect the privacy of American citizens.When asked to explain why Snowden chose to leak information about U.S. intelligence gathering efforts in China to the South China Morning Post, Gellman said he would not defend what Snowden did.

Story continues

I have no defense of the South China Morning Post story; Snowdens view was that he was showing that even universities and hospitals that is, not defense facilities or foreign ministers were a target, Gellman said of the disclosures to a hostile foreign government. I would not have published that story, because I dont publish stories that warn specific foreign targets of legitimateforeign adversaries that theyre being spied on.

Download or subscribe on iTunes:Skullduggery from Yahoo News

Over the years, Gellman and Snowden have debated the surveillance state and its importance, sometimes ending up on opposite sides of the debate. Gellman said Snowden intrigues him in part because of how far he was willing to go to reveal sensitive and previously unknown NSA practices such as the illegal bulk collection of phone records. Congress outlawed the practice in 2015, a step that almost definitely would not have happened without Snowdens revelations.

Why do people like Snowden do what they do? Gellman asked. Most people are going to go along and get along. ... It requires a supreme confidence in your own sense of right and wrong, which Snowden does have. And it requires a sensibility that cant tolerate inaction.

Gellman said that despite speculation by others that Snowden is aRussian spy, he just doesnt believe it based on his experiences with the whistleblower. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Snowden reached out to Russian diplomats based in Hong Kong during the two weeks he spent there before the story broke, but Gellman said he spent significant time investigating Snowdens relationship with Russia and has concluded that Snowden is not a Russian asset.

Gellman pointed to the fact that Snowden ended up in Moscow when his passport was revoked en route to Cuba and then Ecuador Gellman said he has seen Snowdens plane ticket, which showed a final destination in Ecuador. And Snowden urged him not to bring any of the documents he shared with him on a trip to Russia, hardly a warning one would expect from a Russian intelligence operative hoping to access as much material as possible. As for what Putin said, Gellman concludes the Russian president may have wanted to leave a false trail or to poke the Americans.

Whatever Snowdens historical relationship with the Russian government, it is evident that Putin sees tremendous value in having Snowden remain in Moscow, where U.S. authorities cant touch him. Gellman said he believes Putin enjoys his role as international human rights defender protecting a whistleblower like Snowden. Even Snowden realizes he is a prize for Putin and is open about it, Gellman said.

Snowden has also acknowledged to me, and I thought it was very interesting, that Putin has reason to protect him, because although he is not in fact a Russian agent, he might look that way to other people and Putin does not want to discourage walk-ins by foreign intelligence officers of other countries, Gellman said. If he sent Snowden back, that would make people wary ... so Snowden says, Even though I am not a spy, he is treating me as though I were so that he doesnt blow chances with somebody else.


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Edward Snowden will not be pardoned in his lifetime, says author of new book on the NSA whistleblower - Yahoo News

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Someone is trying to catfish women by pretending to be Paul Nakasone – CyberScoop

Written by Jeff Stone May 15, 2020 | CYBERSCOOP

Gen. Paul Nakasone, the director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command, is a busy man.He oversees vast, technical surveillance efforts in the U.S. and abroad, while also commanding a military outfitcharged withlaunching cyberattacks.

Emailing random women from an outpost in Syria is probably not on his to-do list.

So when, Susan, a woman from the New York City area, started receiving correspondence from a Paul Nakasonethis week, she wondered why the self-proclaimed head of U.S. Army Cyber Command wastrying to flirt with her.

I Googled this guy and Im like, Are you kidding me? Susan, who asked to be identified by only her first name, told CyberScoop. And it was very flirtatious, but Im a married woman.

Susan ultimately realized, that, no, she was not talking to the real Paul Nakasone. She and her friend were actually dealing with scammers who were posing as top U.S. military generals in what looked to be the early stages of a romance scam.

Heres how it started: On May 12, a Facebook account under the nameGeorge Lyons commented on a public post Susan made about the musical Hamilton. The George Lyons account was populated with photos of Gen. Stephen Lyons, the current commander of U.S. Transportation Command. Susan saw that the account had also reached out to Susans friend, Cindy. Susan and Cindy started chatting with Lyons on Facebook Messenger, hoping to get the general and his troops to correspond with elderly residents in the health care facility where Susan is employed.

The conversation quickly steered toward Lyons trying to get Susan to send Nakasone an email.

[Lyons] said [Nakasone] was a widow and he needed some company, she told CyberScoop. (On his official biography page, the NSA says the real Nakasone is married and has four children.)

After sharing her email address with Lyons, Susan received an email from a Gmail address from someone claiming to be Nakasone.

The Gmail user masquerading as Nakasone claimed to be in Syria, where he spent his days on patrol and doing some paperwork. He also inundated Susan with religious messages and requests to download Google Hangouts so they could correspond further. When Susan asked the apparent general why he preferred to chaton Hangouts, he responded by blaming rebels and the Taliban for trying to dent my image.

When Susan pressed for evidence that she was talking to the real Nakasone, the account replied by citing his military background.

What is wrong with you.dont you have regard on my reputation, said a message sent Thursday. I also serve as the United States Army Cyber Command [sic]. So I see no reason why you are still saying rubbish Susan.

Meanwhile, Cindy was corresponding with a similar account, claiming to be Stephen Lyons. The emails were of a similar nature: flirtatious messages and requests to download Google Hangouts.

Susan alerted CyberScoop about the Nakasone email address after being unable to contact Facebook about the Lyons account.

The effort appears to be the early stages of an attempted romance scam, in which fraudsters from around the world pose as possible love interests, then request personal data or money from unwitting participants. Often, scammerscreate personas withU.S. military details to generate trust or sympathy in a would-be victim.

More than 19,000 Americans reported such crimes in 2019, resulting in more than $475 million in known losses, according to the FBI. U.S. prosecutors recently charged 10 people from Nigeria with a scheme in which they would ask Americans first for smaller items, like gift cards, then increase the size of their requests as the relationship evolved over email and Google Hangouts. One victim sent $201,000 to a Nigerian suspect before realizing the effort was all a fraud.

In this case, both Cindy and Susan said they were too suspicious to send money or provide any revealing personal information.

In the hopes to scare off the scammer, CyberScoop fed Susan some fodder to mess with the fake Nakasone. We asked her to get the general to clarify his position on Title 10 v. Title 50, a deeply wonkish legal debate over what part of the government has the authority to carry out cyberattacks.

As it turned out, the fake Nakasone knows how to Google for a response. His reply, according to the U.S. military website from which it was lifted, was largely accurate.

Okay let me see, the account said. TITLE 10 is commonly used to refer to day of defeat and to articulate the legal basis for military operations while TITLE 50 is referred solely to activities conducted by the central intelligence agency is at best, inaccurate as the secretary of defense also possesses significant authorities under the TITLE 50.

Both Gmail accounts were still active at press time. When reached by CyberScoop, the person posing as Stephen Lyons respondedwith, I am sending my troops to get you, I will also make a contact for the FBI to get you[.]

The full reach of this campaign, and whether the same fraudsters also posed as other U.S. military personnel, remains unclear.

Facebook removed the George Lyons page almost immediately upon notification from CyberScoop.Google did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.The NSA did not provide comment. In a statement Monday, a U.S. Transportation Command spokesman said the military outfit routinely reviews social media for fake accounts, and reporrts them to companies roughly 15 to 20 times each year.

As to why the women corresponded with the accounts in the first place, Cindy told CyberScoop the laws of attraction come before good cyber-hygiene.

Im single, and my eyes are always open, Cindy said. If I see a good looking guy in uniform, Im probably going to click.

Update, May 18, 1:44pm ET: This story has been updated to include a response from U.S. Transcom.

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Myanmar hands over 22 Northeast insurgents to India, operation monitored by NSA Ajit Doval – ThePrint

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New Delhi: The Myanmar army on Friday handed over to India 22 insurgents from the Northeast, including self-styled home secretary of NDFB (S) Rajen Daimary, in a clandestine operation monitored by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, officials said.

The insurgents were brought to India on a special aircraft and handed over to police forces in Manipur and Assam where they are wanted, they said.

This is considered an unprecedented diplomatic success led by Doval who was carrying out deliberations with the Myanmar military resulting in the first such handover of insurgents by Indias eastern neighbour, they said.

It is also a sign of deepening diplomatic and military ties between the two countries, they said.

Ten of these insurgents are wanted in Manipur while the rest are wanted in Assam, they said.

Also read: Why Modi decided to send Ajit Doval to enforce the law, bring peace to Northeast Delhi

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Myanmar hands over 22 Northeast insurgents to India, operation monitored by NSA Ajit Doval - ThePrint

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Coronavirus: Sports associations in Singapore stretched but strive to keep staff, salaries intact – The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - It has been almost eight weeks since all sporting events in Singapore were halted by the Government as the Republic battled to stem the spread of the coronavirus, and some sports bodies are feeling the pinch.

While government funding is still intact, the various National Sports Association (NSA) also rely on other sources of revenue from organising competitions and events and sponsorship. Both streams have been affected by the pandemic while corporate partners are looking to cut costs amidst the economic uncertainty.

But the majority of the 15 NSA leaders The Straits Times reached out to said they remain committed to retaining their full-time staff, and pledged not to introduce salary reductions even as they look to cost-cutting measures in other areas.

In response to queries, Sport Singapore (SportSG) said it continues to provide support to NSAs - as it did before Covid-19 - via its grants.

While noting the situation is "unprecedented... for all", Singapore Sport Institute chief Toh Boon Yi said: "We are cognisant of the challenges during this period and strongly urge all NSAs to refrain from cutting or reducing jobs and wages.

"While we understand that each respective NSA has been impacted differently and that they have to make their respective business decisions, we hope to see them reboot in strength when the situation turns for the better."

The Football Association of Singapore (FAS), the biggest NSA here with almost 60 full-time staff, recently moved to assure its staff that their jobs and salaries were safe.

General secretary Yazeen Buhari told ST: "While the pandemic has inevitably affected revenue for the organisation, the FAS considers the well-being of every staff member to be of the utmost importance to the organisation.

"Hence every effort was made to ensure that no full-time staff member's employment status would be affected as a result of the pandemic. This was made possible with our internal resource re-allocation to ensure we remain sustainable during this period."

The FAS runs the country's only professional sports league, the 25-year-old Singapore Premier League (SPL). It disbursed a supplementary subsidy of over $600,000 last month to seven local clubs so that players would continue to be paid their full wages.

The average monthly player wage bill for each SPL club ranges between $75,000 and $100,000. Some had considered wage reductions for players after jackpot operations - a key revenue stream - were halted as part of the Government's plan to tackle the Covid-19 problem.

Other leading sports bodies also indicated that job or salary cuts were not on the horizon for their staff. In order to achieve this, the Singapore Badminton Association said it would be "prudent" with its finances while Singapore Athletics noted that "alternative cost-saving strategies" would be sought "where possible".

Only one NSA has a registered business unit - the Singapore Bowling Federation (SBF), which set up SingaporeBowling Pte Ltd in 2015 to manage a $3.5 million, 38-lane centre, which opened the same year at Temasek Club.

It was set up to help the association gain financial independence from the Government in the long run.

The SBF has seen one of its revenue streams affected because of the temporary closure of its bowling centre. Its executive director Melvyn Fones said the organisation was "focused on keeping our team and staff engaged and preparing programmes" once the circuit breaker measures are fully lifted.

Singapore will begin opening up in phases from June 2 but it is unclear when sport will be able to resume.

The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) had set up a commercial arm, Rugby Singapore, to manage the World Rugby's HSBC Sevens Series Singapore, a tournament which the Republic won hosting rights in 2016.

However, Rugby Singapore chalked up debts of $1.7 million, which led to its eventual liquidation, and national agency SportSG and the Singapore Sports Hub have since taken over the running of the tournament, which drew almost 200,000 fans over four editions.

When contacted, SRU president Terence Khoo declined to elaborate on how the coronavirus situation had affected SRU's revenue or its operations.

Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA) president Ellen Lee said the pandemic has caused "much uncertainty" for the organisation, which had to cancel all its training programmes since April.

"However, instead of focusing on retrenchments and pay cuts, we have put our employees to training and upgrading during this difficult period of time," said Lee, who added the government's Jobs Support Scheme, introduced in this year's Budget to provide wage support to employers for locals, has provided relief to the STTA.

"In these uncertain times, we want to take care of our employees as (they) also have their families to take care of. We believe this goodwill will be remembered by our employees for years to come."

The FAS and Fencing Singapore are among several NSAs that have also taken to upgrading their staff's skills by conducting home-based courses and webinars.

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Post-Covid, nations will look inwards; India should look at neighbourhood: Ex-NSA – Observer Research Foundation

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There is a great shift taking place, we are moving from the global order we have known since 1945 to a new global order, an extremely uncertain one, said former National Security Advisor (NSA) of India M.K. Narayanan, during an online discussion organised jointly by ORF-Chennai Initiative and the Madras Management Association (MMA) on 29 April 2020.

In conversation with Prof. Harsh V Pant, Director (Studies) and Head-Strategic Studies, ORF, on the topic Geo-politics & Geo-economics: Consequences of COVID-19, Narayanan outlined the emerging global order, as he saw it: The new world order is no longer dominated by the US. China is to some extent in the driving-seat, though nowhere near American power in the post-War period. Most other countries are still licking their wounds from the global recession.

Reflecting on the debate on globalisation, Prof Pant wondered whether the world was entering a new, uncharted territory or if Covid-19 was simply accelerating a push-back against globalisation that has been taking place for some time with the rise of economic nationalism across countries. Responding to this, Narayanan said globalisation has undeniably been in retreat for some years now and the coronavirus pandemic is likely to exacerbate this process. Though there is a lot being said about international cooperation and international community, my own assessment is that one of the devastating impacts of Covid-19 will be that nations are going to look even more inwards. Rather than look beyond its borders, nations will focus on their narrowly-defined national interests, he said.

In times of crisis, leadership is key. Unfortunately, across the world we have a leadership vacuum. There is an absence of leaders who can think beyond their immediate problems, well beyond their immediate surroundings, Narayanan observed.

Normally, the international community would have turned to the US to lead the way. It is perhaps the only country which has the ability to spend and also has the moral stature to stand up and do something globally, but the US is faltering, he said. For a variety of reasons, not only owing to the Trump administration, the US has been retreating from the world stage for some years now. This has left open a big vacuum that regrettably international organisations havent been able to fill, he added.

There has been a total failure of international organisations, such as the UN and the WHO, to step up to the present challenges. Covid19 is graver than any military threat we have faced since 1945 and yet the UNSC dithered for days and WHO has been charged with grossly underestimating the pandemic, he pointed out.

In some ways, the geo-political situation is far more threatening than geo-economics, evaluated Narayanan. The problem we are faced with is this Who is going to show the way, which country will take charge of restarting international organisations and giving it the status, they deserve? Which country has the material capabilities and the moral authority to produce the leadership we need? he asked.

Assessing the geo-political landscape, Narayan felt that the European Union is struggling with its own internal problems; Germany without Chancellor Angela Merkel, he believed, would turn insular. The UK, post-Brexit, is not in a position to offer global leadership. West Asia has been in crisis for some time now and the region is set to face further difficulties due to the oil price meltdown. Russia, he felt, will not be severely affected, except in its oil arrangements with West Asia. India, which could have offered some leadership assistance, is disadvantaged by its economic situation, he argued.

While China is undoubtedly trying to fill the leadership vacuum, Narayanan felt this was a matter of some concern. China is not a great believer of international rules of conduct, Mr Narayan argued. According to him, China should have been stigmatised for its negligence and failure to alert the world to the pandemic. It first identified and detected the virus COVID-19 in Wuhan in December 2019, but only sounded the alarm in January 2020, Narayanan pointed out.

China, however, seems unfazed by this stigma. Having had an early recovery, China is now trying to exploit the situation by utilising its manufacturing capability into an advantage sending out masks and medical equipment to Asia and Africa. It is attempting to shift from being a Black Swan into a White Swan. This is Sino-Centrism of a particular kind, warned Narayanan.

In the light of suggestions that Covid-19 should also be seen as an opportunity for India, Prof. Pant put forward the question, Is India in a position to leverage these opportunities in the immediate aftermath of the crisis?

Narayanan responded: It is wishful thinking to believe we can exploit opportunities due to what might seem like Chinas diminished economic power due to the pandemic. If there were opportunities to exploit in terms of companies moving out of China due to Covid-19, then countries like Vietnam are more likely to benefit from it than India. He explained that though India has the resilience to survive the crisis, it is not in a position to exploit it because of its economic downturn.

Lockdown has been very important in terms of restricting the spread of the virus but economic capacities have bottomed out, he said. India will recover faster than the West, yet China will come out of Covid-19 better than most, he assessed. Most countries are still flocking to China, he pointed out. China holds all the cards, what are the cards India holds?

Looking to the future, Narayanan criticised Indias foreign policy for investing too much in the US. The world is being re-ordered in crucial ways. Indias foreign policy and its diplomatic efforts need to reflect these new changes rather than continuing to focus on the US. The US was at one time the most important power, today it is in deep trouble and is being referred to as a failing state. To hitch our wagon to the US would be unfortunate, he said.

As nations across the world turn inwards, Indias focus needs to turn towards its neighbourhood. We need to strengthen our position in South Asia and SAARC has to be brought back. We need to be seen as the glue that puts SAARC back together, he recommended.

One of the big challenges for Indias foreign policy will be to answer the question: How can India make the rest of South Asia see it as a far better friend to have rather than China? It is imperative for India to strengthen itself in South Asia, only then will the rest of the world see it as a leading power. In this regard, Narayanan said, political clout doesnt always rely on economic growth.

During the fifties, when Indian economic growth was extremely low and pejoratively referred to as the Hindu rate of growth, India was still providing leadership to many parts of the world, such as leading the Non-aligned Movement, reaching out to several African countries and even mediating in the case of the Korean War in 1950s. Of course, if you are stronger economically it makes it easier, but leadership is not entirely dependent on doling out economic aid, Narayanan remarked.

Acknowledging that maintaining relations with China is vital for India despite the problems, Prof Pant asked, What should be Indias China policy? Having been a foreign policy practitioner and China expert since the sixties, Narayanan explained that China will resent Indias efforts to gain influence in South Asia. China will be unhappy to have India on the same table as them. However, China will not look to get into a conflict with India, 1962 was an aberration. The challenge will be in terms of influence. China and India are going to be the two most important countries in the future. China will look to constrict India in its neighbourhood and isolate it from the rest of the world.

Having said that, he also maintained that China recognises strength. They have a concern and respect for India and Indias intellectual capabilities. They see that Indians are able to think spatially and in linear fashion which they are not able to do. So, there is a challenge but also there will be opportunities Narayanan outlined. Therefore, Indias most important equation for the next few decades will be China. Maintaining good relations with China will be Indias biggest foreign policy goal and challenge. This will throw up challenges as well as opportunities and will require deft handling.

Given Pakistans refusal to join the SAARC video-conference, Prof Pant asked, If India and Pakistan cannot get along even during Covid-19, does this relationship have a future? Narayanan recalled that US-India relations were not always warm. There was a time when the US-India nuclear deal seemed an impossible idea and it was widely scoffed at. Every relationship has a future. Maintaining relationships are not easy, he responded.

India can deal with Pakistan and it has to deal with Pakistan, Narayanan stated. He further pointed out, If India and Pakistan are not so hostile to each other, India-China relations will also improve and in turn our smaller neighbours will not play games with us. These are triangular, sometimes quadrangular relationships.

To conclude, Narayanan said, India is too important a country to be side-lined in the world. This is the question Indian foreign policy experts need to think seriously about:How can India be beacon of light in a world where there are no permanent relations and no permanent structures?

In his introductory remarks, Peter Rimele, Resident Representative to India, Konrad-Adenaur-Stitftung (KAS), said several questions are being raised about American power, American reliability and trust-worthiness as well as about the stability of the multi-lateral order post Covid19. East and West Europeans alike have been watching the US response to the Covid19 with alarm, he lamented. The US plans to freeze funding for the World Health Organisation (WHO) has created immense uncertainty, especially for many African and Latin American countries.

Christian Hirte, Member of German Bundestag, who joined the discussion to offer a German and trans-Atlantic perspective on the current crisis, reflected similar sentiments when he said post-pandemic, Germany will look to focus more on domestic production and domestic supply chains. Though Germanys push for a stronger EU has been its long-time agenda he wondered whether the pandemic will provide an opportunity to re-prioritise this goal.

This report was written by Dr. Vinitha Revi, Independent Researcher, Chennai

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Post-Covid, nations will look inwards; India should look at neighbourhood: Ex-NSA - Observer Research Foundation

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