NSA Whistleblower: Spy Agencies Eavesdrop Without Warrants … – Daily Caller


NSA surveillance program architect and later whistleblower Bill Binney told Sean Hannity on his radio program Monday that the intelligence community routinely listens in on Americans conversations without court ordered FISA warrants.

President Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama on Twitter Saturday of wiretapping Trump Tower during the election.

Under executive order one two triple three, they do surveillance of everybody in the United States without warrants and thats done through various upstream programs Fairview, Stormbrew, Blarney and also in cooperation with other countries in terms of collection worldwide, said Binney.

So its all done without warrants and that was testified to by Adrian Kinney and David Murfee Faulk, who were transcribing at Fort Gordon George. They were transcribing conversations between U.S. citizens with no warrant at all.

ABC News reported in in early October 2009, Murfee Faulk, a Navay Arab linguist, said he and other NSA intercept operators in Baghdads Green Zone from late 2003 to November 2007 listened to hundreds of Americans private phone conversations.

Calling home to the United States, talking to their spouses, sometimes their girlfriends, sometimes one phone call following another, said Faulk.

Hey, check this out, Faulk says he would be told, theres good phone sex or theres some pillow talk, pull up this call, its really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, Wow, this was crazy.

Binney, who resigned from the NSA in 2001 out of disgust wit how the program was being abused, told Hannity, I will put it this way. The IC is becoming more like the Praetorian Guard. You know, where theyre trying to determine who the emperor is and also influence what the emperor does, so I just think that this is getting out of hand.

He added, And I think, you know, President Trump is absolutely right. The intelligence community needs to be revamped.

Are you say that every American can be wiretapped against their will without any warning at any point? Hannity asked.

No. Im saying they are, Binney replied.

Hannity later asked, And by wiretapping that means what? Recording my phone conversations, taking my emails, my texts?

Binney responded, Thats correct and also storing it for mining, noting that the storage was also under the executive order 12333 section 2 -2.3C. The executive order, Binney explained, is the one President Obama opened it up to all the other agencies in the intelligence community. Originally it was just restricted. The only ones that had access were NSA CIA and FBI.

So was Donald Trump being surveilled even without the FISA court? Hannity asked.

Thats correct. And actuallyhes being targeted now. Theyre going into the database looking for data on him, said Binney.

A spokesman for Obama said neither the former president nor any White House official ordered any surveillance on Trump when he was still in the White House. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told NBCs Chuck Todd on Sunday that he was not aware of a FISA court order to monitor Trump Tower.

Not to my knowledge, Clapper said. I cant speak for other authorized entities in the government or a state or local entity.

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NSA Whistleblower: Spy Agencies Eavesdrop Without Warrants ... - Daily Caller

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Ex-NSA analyst: Intel community thinks Trump’s wiretapping paranoia about Obama is a ‘kooky fantasy’ – Raw Story

A former NSA intelligence analyst poured cold water on President Donald Trumps statements that former President Barack Obama has his phone lined taped, saying the intelligence community considers Trumps charges to be a kooky fantasy.

Writing for the Observer, ex-analyst John Schindler said that there are already enough questions about the Trump administrations ties to the Russians to warrant a full investigation, but that the presidents foray into a massive conspiracy involving Obama and the highest levels of the intel community is absurd.

Calling Trumps allegations against Obama on Twitter, the most bizarre public statements from any American president, Schindler took up what little specifics Trump provided and spoke with his contacts at the NSA who unanimously dismissed them as a presidential fantasy.

Lets be perfectly clear here: The scenario painted by President Trump of his predecessor tasking the IC with wiretapping Trump Tower simply could not have happened without a far-reaching and highly illegal conspiracy involving the White House and several of our spy agencies, above all the National Security Agency, Schindler wrote. My friends still at NSA, where I served as the technical director of the Agencys biggest operational division, have told me without exception that Trumps accusation is wholly false, a kooky fantasy.

Schindler, who has an extensive background in domestic surveillance, explained how improbable Trumps allegations were.

In the first place, the White House doesnt ask for such wiretaps, ever; such requests come directly from NSA, the FBI, or the Justice Department. Involvement of any White House in such highly classified requests would immediately set off enormous red flags in the IC and DoJ due to their glaringly politicaland therefore illegalaim, he explained.

Having worked with a lot of FISA collection during my time in the spy business, I can state without reservation that President Trumps accusations are so inherently implausible as to render them an absurdity Schindler continued. He needs to offer hard evidence for such incendiary claims or back down publicly, preferably with an apology to his predecessor, whom he has maligned without cause.

The former analyst did leave the door open to the notion that there might be wiretaps at Trump Tower just not ones aimed specifically at Trump and none involving Obama.

Its very plausible that NSA and other spy agencies intercepted Kremlin communications which might have incidentally involved associates of our current president, he explained. But neither Donald Trump nor his surrogates were being spied on as themselves. If they didnt realize their shady Russian friends might be considered foreign intelligence targets by NSA and other Western intelligence services, thats on them.

According to Schindler, if Trump hoped that his wild allegations about Obama will make the Russian contact with administration officials scandal go away, he couldnt have been more wrong.

Whats certain is that KremlinGate isnt going away, and the presidents bizarre efforts to make his links to Moscow a non-story have only made it a bigger one he concluded. Now the media is more curious than ever about Trumps Russian connections, and no amount of chanting fake news will alter that. Neither will Team Trumps obsession with the alleged deep state save them from awkward questions.

You can read the whole piece here at the Observer.

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Ex-NSA analyst: Intel community thinks Trump's wiretapping paranoia about Obama is a 'kooky fantasy' - Raw Story

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CIA, DOJ sued over leaks of classified info about former NSA Flynn – Fox News

The CIA and Departments of Justice and Treasury are being sued by a prominent legal organization for their role in leaking highly classified material as part of an effort to undermine the credibility of former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to an announcement.

Judicial Watch, known for its role in exposing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, announced on Monday that it has sued several federal agencies for information related to Flynn's discussions with Russian officials before he officially entered the White House.

Flynn was forced to resign from the White House for apparently misleading President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence about the substance of these conversations.

However, theWashington Free Beaconand multiple other news outlets havereportedon a campaign by former Obama administration officials and loyalists to spread highly classified information in a bid to handicap the Trump administration.

In addition to Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House adviser SebastianGorkahave been the subject of multiple leaks aimed at jeopardizing their positions in the administration.

Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon.

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CIA, DOJ sued over leaks of classified info about former NSA Flynn - Fox News

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US spies have ‘considerable intelligence’ on high-level Trump-Russia talks, claims ex-NSA analyst – The Independent

A member of the Tinstix of Dynamite aerobatics team flies in front of a wall of fire during the Australian International Airshow in Melbourne

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Participants jump into water during the annual two-mile sea swimming competition in Colombo, Sri Lanka


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A participant presents hisr vintage vehicle during the 59th International Vintage Car Rally Barcelona-Sitges, at plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona, Spain. Some 50 vintage vehicles take part in the two-day long event, through the coastal line of Mediterranean Sea from Barcelona to Sitges


Participants present their vintage cars during the 59th International Vintage Car Rally Barcelona-Sitges, at plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona, Spain


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A picture taken in the Iraqi capital Bahgdad shows rocket launchers on display indoors at the International Defence Exhibition in Iraq (IQDEX) 2017

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People with portraits of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin gather outside his museum in his native town of Gori, some 80 kms outside Tbilisi, on the 64th anniversary of Stalin's death. While historians blame Stalin for the deaths of millions in purges, prison camps and forced collectivization, many in Russia still praise him for leading the Soviet Union to victory over Nazi Germany in World War I

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Flag bearer Jesslyn Swirka rides her horse down Harrison Avenue in Leadville, Colorado at the start of the 68th annual Leadville Ski Joring weekend competition in Leadville, Colorado. Skijoring, which has its origins as a competitive sport in Scandinavia, has been adapted over the years to include a team made up of a rider and skier who must navigate jumps, slalom gates, and the spearing of rings for points. Leadville, with an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m), the highest incorporated city in North America, has been hosting skijoring competitions since 1949

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A rider races down Harrison Avenue while a skier navigates the course during the 68th annual Leadville Ski Joring weekend competition in Leadville, Colorado

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Women take part in a performance to protest against the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa College Raul Isidro Burgos in Guerrero, in Mexico City, Mexico


A woman looks on as she takes part in a performance to protest against the disappearance of the 43 students of Ayotzinapa College Raul Isidro Burgos in Guerrero, in Mexico City, Mexico


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US spies have 'considerable intelligence' on high-level Trump-Russia talks, claims ex-NSA analyst - The Independent

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Trump Wants NSA Program Reauthorized But Won’t Tell Congress How Many Americans It Spies On – The Intercept

The White House wants Congress to reauthorize two of the NSAs largest surveillance programs before they expire at the end of the year.

One of them scans the traffic that passes through the massive internet cables going in and out of the U.S. and ends upcatching a vast number of American communications in its dragnet.

But how many? Lawmakers have been asking for years, and the intelligence community has consistently refused provide even a ballpark figure.

At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, several members expressed frustration that intelligence chiefs first under Obama, and now under Trump have failed to provide any kind of estimate, even in classified briefings.

The members of this committee and the public at large require that estimate to engage in a meaningful debate, said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the leading Democrat on the committee. We will not simply take the governments word on the size of the so-called incidental collection.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which lapses at the end of the year, allows the NSA to collect vast amounts of domestic internet traffic as long as it maintains it is only targeting foreigners.Documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden described two huge surveillance programs that operate under that authority. One program, PRISM, allows the NSA to collect data in bulk from tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple. The other program Upstream allows the NSA to tap the massive internet cables that carry information in and out of the U.S. and search for communications involving certain foreign targets or selectors.

As the NSA scans the cables for information on its targets, it also collects information on the Americans those targets are communicating with, as well as entirely unrelated information, such as communications from people who happened to be in the same chat room as a target. Furthermore, the targets can be selected for anyforeign intelligence purpose not just counterterrorism.

As a result,the NSA ends up collecting information on a huge number of U.S. persons without getting a warrant collection they describe as incidental, but which is really inevitable. And using what critics call the backdoor loophole, law enforcement officials then search through that material for information on Americans.

That collection on Americans is part of how thelaw was designed, according to Elizabeth Goitein, a lawyer for the Brennan Center for Justice. Incidentally, is the terminology used by the government, Goitein testified at Wednesdays hearing. But it is part of the design of the program to acquire communications of foreign targets with Americans.

The issue of incidental collection has come into the spotlight in the weeks since Trumps inauguration. Last month, anonymous members of the intelligence community leaked information about phone calls between the Russian ambassador who was understandably targeted for surveillance and Trumps former national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

Flynns resignation spooked some Republicanswho worried about that ability being used improperly.Whatever your political persuasion is, for me it had a chilling effect, said Rep. Ral Labrador, R-Idaho. My political opponents could use my personal information, that they maybe gathered in some private information, against me in the future. That should be quite terrifying to anybody, whether youre a Republican or Democrat.

Conyers, along with a bipartisan group of 14 Democrats and Republicans, sent a letter to the director of national intelligence in April last year, asking simply for a rough estimate of how many Americans had their communications collected.

Conyers sent a follow-up letter in December. The intelligence community has not so much as responded to our December letter, Conyers said Wednesday. I had hoped for better.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., first requested an estimate in2011 even before the Snowden disclosures demonstrated the reach of the surveillance programs. The federal Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight board recommended in 2014 that the NSA start keeping track of the number. In 2015, more than 30 civil liberties organizations wrote a letter to the Intelligence Communitys Civil Liberties Protection Office, demanding the same thing, and got an unresponsive reply.

The intelligence community insists that it doesnt keep track, in part because doing so would require it to identify which phone numbers and computer IP addresses belong to American citizens.April Doss, a former NSA lawyer, told the committee that it would require the NSA to de-anonymize everyone in their communications. In my view, the collection and maintenance of that reference information would itself pose significant impacts to privacy, she said.

But Goitein noted that the NSA already uses computer IP addresses to approximate who is a U.S. citizen for other purposes, so it would be easy for them to estimate how many Americans communications they collect.

The NSA has determined that the IP address is an accurate enough indicator of a persons status to use it to filter out the wholly domestic communications that the NSA is prohibited from acquiring, she testified. If its accurate enough to enable the NSA to comply with that constitutional obligation, then its certainly accurate enough for the estimate.

Top photo: A man looks at his cellphone as he walks on the street in Madrid in 2013.


Trump Wants NSA Program Reauthorized But Won't Tell Congress How Many Americans It Spies On - The Intercept

Posted in NSA

NSA lawyer advocates for one agency to handle cyber – The Hill

The National Security Agencys (NSA) lead lawyer in a recent speech made the case for creating one federal agency to spearhead the governments cybersecurity efforts.

Glenn Gerstell, the NSAs general counsel, proposed that federal cybersecurity activities be unified under one roof instead of dispersed across the departments of Defense, Homeland Security and other agencies duringremarksat Duke Law School over the weekend that were released by the NSA on Thursday.

While Gerstell acknowledged progress made on cybersecurity by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, he said that glaring gaps remain in our nation's cybersecurity posture.

He noted that the agency could be modeled after Britains National Cyber Security Centre, which has been operational for months but only officially opened in February.

Gerstells argument echoed statements made by retired Gen. Keith Alexander, a former NSA director, before a Senate panel on Thursday. Alexandertoldlawmakers that government agencies focusing on cybersecurity are too stove-piped to effectively defend the nation from cyber threats.

What you have is people acting independently, and with those seams, we will never defend this country, Alexander told the Senate Armed Services Committee, suggesting that the agencies responsible for cybersecurity be brought together under one framework.

During his speech, Gerstell explored potential drawbacks to consolidating cyber activities under one roof, saying that it misses an opportunity to marry cyber expertise with the unique insights and understanding of requirements possessed by each agency in their own fields.

He also said that key questions would need to be answered in the overhaul, such as how the new agency would be afforded the power to protect computer networks across the federal government.

There has been lively debate on Capitol Hill about how to reform the governments cybersecurity efforts, especially in the wake of the Office of Personnel Management data breach and the more recent Russian cyberattacks related to the presidential election.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, has pushed to reform the Department of Homeland Security by codifying its cyber activities under one component department.


NSA lawyer advocates for one agency to handle cyber - The Hill

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Former NSA director: It’s time to trash the federal cybersecurity … – CyberScoop

Former NSA Director Keith Alexander told senators Thursday that the government should undertake a massive reorganization effort that would consolidate some current cybersecurity responsibilities split between the FBI, Homeland Security Department, Defense Department and intelligence community, into a single entity.

When we talk to the agencies they dont understand their roles and responsibilities, said Alexander, who helped author the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity report which was provided to the Trump administration. Yes, I do think it should be brought together I believe there is a way to get around this lack of a strategy by setting up a [new] framework.

Alexander, who now runs a private cybersecurity firm based in Fulton, Maryland, spoke before the Senate Armed Service Committee with other prominent experts about cyber-operations strategy and policy.

Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., previously criticized the Obama administration for how it responded last year to an expansive Russian hacking campaign aimed at the U.S. presidential election. McCains evaluation, at least in part, revolves around how the government has handled these incidents from an organizational standpoint.

Panel member James Inhofe, R-Okla., in agreement with McCain, described that the federal government is facing a stovepipe scenario in which each of these respective agencies are not collaborating in a manner sufficient to protect the nation from and react to cyberattacks.

Its not working, Alexandersaid. There are four stovepipes and it doesnt make sense. If we were running this like a business we would put them together. The issue now gets to you now have all these different committees in Congress looking at these [cybersecurity issues] and its messed up.

The Obama administration in July attempted to clarify who is responsible for what by publishing a White House directive known as Presidential Policy Directive 41, or PPD-41. In short, the directive was designed to draw jurisdictional lines by assigning roles in the case of a cyberattack for coordination, risk mitigation and communications purposes.

What you have is people acting independently and with these seams we will never defend this country. And more importantly, when private industry looks at our government they are, quite frankly, dismayed. We are all over the map, Alexander said. No one can answer who is responsible.

Alexander said that he and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates had previously spoken about combining DHS and law enforcements cybersecurity responsibilities with that of the Defense Department and intelligence community; all under a single framework.

Others who testified Thursday, however, pushed back on the idea of completely tearing down the existing structure.

The situation is a little more complicated, responded Craig Fields, the chairman of the Defense Science Board. I dont see duplication in efforts, I see gaps, because we do not have an orchestra conductor unless we have the policy, orchestra conductor and strategy we can never go where you want to go.

This role of orchestra conductor, according to Fields and former Undersecretary of Defense For Policy James Miller, should exist outside the scope of the National Security Council.

During the Obama administration, White House cybersecurity adviser Michael Daniel seemingly played this so-called orchestra conductor role. Daniels job often involved managing the vast bureaucracy of government to further both defense and offensive missions.

McCain subsequently asked the panel of speakers to submit a list of recommended individuals for this position. It remains unclear if or when the Trump administration will fill Daniels vacant post, since he left the White House in January.

I am not convinced a mass reorganization is appropriate, certainly at this point in time. I look toward an integrating body, Miller explained.

He added, One option which I believe should be considered is to build out from the so-called CTIIC, or Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center [we should] look to build towards the National Counterterrorism Center model if not to the joint interagency task force model.

Founded in 2003 as part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the McLean, Virginia-based National Counterterrorism Terrorism Center brings together specialists from several federal agencies, including the CIA, the FBI, and the Defense Department, to focus and synchronize interagency investigations into suspected terrorists.

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Former NSA director: It's time to trash the federal cybersecurity ... - CyberScoop

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Ex-NSA head: Cybersecurity agencies don’t share enough … – The Hill – The Hill

A former leader of the National Security Agency (NSA) told lawmakers Thursday that government agencies working on cybersecurity are too stovepiped to safeguard the nation from digital threats.

Retired Gen. Keith Alexander said that the four groups handling cyber issues the Homeland Security and Defense departments, the FBI, and the intelligence community are too stovepiped, meaning they bottle up information instead of sharing it with one another and across the government.

Its not working, Alexander said of the governments organization on cybersecurity. There are four stovepipes and it doesnt make sense. If we were running this like a business, we would put them together.

Alexander suggested that all four groups be brought together under one cybersecurity framework in order to defend the countrys networks and critical infrastructure and respond to cyberattacks.

Before that, he argued, the agencies should participate in exercises with Congress, the Trump administration and the private sector to develop a policy and strategy on cybersecurity.

What you have is people acting independently, and with those seams, we will never defend this country, said Alexander, who now leads a private cybersecurity firm. He added that industry leaders are dismayed about how the government handles cybersecurity.

The senators also heard testimony from two members of the Defense Science Board, a group of roughly 50 retired armed service members, government and industry leaders who give the Pentagon advice on how to solve cybersecurity and technology problems.

Craig Fields, a former Pentagon technology chief, and James Miller, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, pushed back on the notion that the way that the government handles cybersecurity needs to undergo massive reorganization but agreed with Alexander on the need for more integration.

Im not convinced that a massive reorganization is appropriate, Miller said. Id be looking toward an integrating body.

When we talk to the individual agencies, they dont understand their responsibilities, he later observed.

Rewiring is not the solution, Fields, who chairs the Defense Science Board, explained. [That would be] too disruptive, but fundamental change in how it works, absolutely.

Alexander led the NSA and Cyber Command before his resignation in March 2014 amid controversy over Edward Snowden's leaks about the NSA's domestic spying. Current Director Mike Rogers succeeded him.

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Ex-NSA head: Cybersecurity agencies don't share enough ... - The Hill - The Hill

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National Storage Affiliates Trust’s (NSA) CEO Arlen Nordhagen on Q4 2016 Results – Earnings Call Transcript – Seeking Alpha

National Storage Affiliates Trust (NYSE:NSA)

Q4 2016 Earnings Conference Call

February 28, 2017 1:00 PM ET


Marti Dowling Director-Investor Relations

Arlen Nordhagen Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Tamara Fischer Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President


Vikram Malhotra Morgan Stanley

RJ Milligan Robert W. Baird

Todd Thomas KeyBanc

David Corak FBR

Ki Bin Kim SunTrust

Barry Oxford DA Davidson


Greetings and welcome to the National Storage Affiliates Fourth Quarter and Year End 2016 Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Marti Dowling, Director of Investor Relations for National Storage Affiliates. Thank you. Miss Dowling, you may now begin.

Marti Dowling

Hello, everyone, we would like to thank you for joining us today for the fourth quarter and full year 2016 earnings conference call of National Storage Affiliates Trust. In addition to the press release distributed yesterday after market close, we have filed an 8-K with the SEC containing our supplemental package with additional details on our results, which may also be found in the Investor Relations section on our website at nationalstorageaffiliates.com.

On today's call management's prepared remarks and answers to your questions may contain forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. The Company cautions that actual results may differ materially from those projected in any forward-looking statement. For additional detail concerning our forward-looking statements, please refer to our public filings with the SEC.

We encourage listeners to review the definitions and reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures such as FFO, core FFO and net operating income contained in the supplemental information package available in the Investor Relations section on the companys website and in filings made with the SEC.

Today's conference call is hosted by National Storage Affiliates' Chief Executive Officer, Arlen Nordhagen; Chief Financial Officer, Tamara Fischer; and Senior Vice President of Operations, Steve Treadwell. Following prepared remarks management will accept questions from registered financial analysts. I will now turn the call over to Arlen.

Arlen Nordhagen

Thanks, Marti, and welcome, everyone, to our year-end 2016 earnings conference call. To begin 2016 was a very strong year for NSA on all fronts. We realized robust growth across virtually our entire portfolio driving strong increases in all our operating metrics. We grew same store portfolio average occupancy by 210 basis points, increasing average occupancy to 90% for the year.

Our average rent per square foot increased by 5.3% resulting in same store revenue and NOI increases of 7.7% and 10.2% respectively. It was another year of very strong acquisition growth further demonstrating the depth and quality of our pipeline and our unique ability to source and close accretive acquisitions through our PRO relationships.

During 2016, we acquired and invested in a total of 173 high quality assets primarily in our core growth markets representing total investment of over $1.3 billion including the addition of our seventh PRO hideaway in April and the acquisition of our 66th property, iStorage portfolio through a joint venture with the major state pension fund. As a result, we ended the year with a portfolio of 448 self storage properties located in 23 states.

In total, we have about 28 million rentable square feet, an increase of 75% from one year earlier and over 100% since our initial public offering. In 2016, we materially expanded and improved our balance sheet. We upsized our creditor facility to $725 million, closed on an additional $100 million term loan and issued over $500 million in new equity.

Our equity base grew through two well received common equity offerings issuances under our ATM program and through substantial issuance of new OP and SP equity for property acquisitions. The combination of these transactions maintains the capacity and flexibility we need to fund future growth opportunities.

As a result at the bottom line, we achieved core FFO of $1.12 per share for 2016, up 21.7% from 2015, which meaningfully exceeded our own guidance. In December, our Board announced a 9% increase in our quarterly common dividend to $0.24 per share. This was on top of the 10% increase we announced in May. And we continue to maintain significant AFFO coverage of our dividend payout.

And finally, I'm very pleased to announce that we have recently signed Marc Smith of Personal Mini storage in Orlando, Florida to become our 8th PRO. Through this transaction, Personal Mini is co-investing the SP equity to assume management of four of our recent third-party acquisitions in this market. And we will be having a 5th property to our portfolio very soon.

Beyond that Personal Mini operates a portfolio of over 30 properties, which we will look to acquire over the next several years in addition to other third-party acquisitions. Further Marc is very well known and respected as a major thought leader within the industry and has served on the board of directors of the National Self Storage Association for the last six years including as Chairman in 2016.

His reputation and relationships are a huge plus for us as we continue to recruit additional PROs to join our platform. It was truly an exceptional year for NSA and I'm enormously proud of the hard work, spirit and dedication of the entire NSA and PRO teams. Thank you to all.

Fundamentals in the self storage sector remain good and we remain optimistic about more normalized, but continued growth through 2017. We continue to experience stable demand across our portfolio, driven by positive economic fundamentals in nearly all our core markets including high employment rates and growing consumer spending. Although new supply is certainly creating some pressures in a few markets, such as Oklahoma, we believe this risk is generally concentrated and market specific and we still don't see new supply risk being elevated for NSA's portfolio on a national basis. There continues to be a lot of market chatter about starts but as for now we're not seeing plans translating into supply exceeding demand in a significant way in most of our primary markets.

I'd like to take a moment to update you on our key initiatives. Our portfolio is now operating near what we believe to be our optimum stabilized occupancy levels. So our initiatives to capture revenue upside from rent increases and other sources are vitally important. Our revenue management system is constantly evolving and is more active on our platform than ever.

At this time, virtually all of our properties are configured on the revenue management system. We're now evaluating implementation of new modules to enhance the current system and more effectively drive additional revenue.

In addition, we continue to make upgrades and improvements to our management information systems, our internet marketing platform and our call center operations to allow us to make better decisions and improve the results of our marketing spend.

Turning to the transaction front in the fourth quarter alone we acquired 31 wholly owned self-storage properties for a total investment of approximately 228 million dollars. These fourth quarter acquisitions encompass about 2.1 million rentable square feet with more than 16,600 storage units.

In addition the 66 iStorage joint venture properties added over 4.5 million rentable square feet and over 35,000 storage units to NSA's platform. Our pro network is a key element to our continued ability to grow. First through, our captive pipeline, which includes properties that are PROs manage but NSA does not yet own. Today with the addition of Personal Mini, The captive pipeline consists of over 120 properties and over 8 million square feet, valued at nearly a billion dollars.

Our second channel is third party acquisitions where our PROs act as our boots on the ground. They are market focused and have local knowledge and relationships, which lead to substantial third party off market acquisitions. In total over the last two years through our captive and third party pipelines and our joint venture, we've acquired over 230 properties adding over 15 million rentable square feet.

Equally important this growth has both expanded our geographic reach and deepened our presence within our existing markets providing enhanced local marketing and efficiency gains. Our third channel of growth is adding new PROs and we're always in discussions with a number of high quality operators.

As I mentioned, we're extremely pleased that we've added our eighth PRO Personal Mini Storage to join NSA this month. We are clearly-off to a great start in 2017 and we look forward to working with Marc Smith and his team to continue to grow NSA. We are very proud of NSAs accomplishments to-date, which demonstrate our unique opportunities for continued growth both internally and externally, as well as our ability to deliver strong value for our shareholders.

With our joint venture acquisition, the addition of our eighth PRO, balance sheet flexibility and a healthy pipeline we're excited to continue executing on our stated growth initiatives in 2017. I'll now turn the call over to Tammy.

Tamara Fischer

Thank you Arlen, in my comments today, Ill review our fourth quarter and full-year 2016 results, update you on our balance sheet and liquidity and finally discuss our outlook for 2017, which was provided in detail in our earnings release issued yesterday.

Beginning with our financial results for the fourth quarter 2016, we reported net income of $6.1 million, compared to $5.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. And core FFO of $20 million or $0.30 per share an increase of 25% on a per share basis compared to Q4 2015.

For the full-year 2016 our net income was $24.9 million compared to $4.8 million in 2015 and our core FFO was $65.5 million or $1.12 per share, an increase of 21.7% compared to $0.92 per share reported in 2015. The increase in core FFO for both the quarter and the year was due to strong growth within the same store portfolio. As well as our robust acquisition activity in 2016 partially offset by higher financing costs, G&A and an increase of the fully diluted share count.

Turning to our operations for the fourth quarter 2016, we reported a 9.2% increase in same-store NOI compared to Q4 2015. Same store revenue was up 6.3% driven by a 6.7% increase in average rent per square foot, slightly offset by a 30 basis point decrease in average occupancy to 89.1%.

One impact we are seeing of our new revenue management system is that it results in pushing rental rates further. Even if that results in slight occupancy decreases property operating expense increased only a 0.5% compared to the prior year, which was in line with our expectations.

For the full-year 2016 our same-store NOI increased 10.2% compared to 2015. Same-store revenue was up 7.7% driven by a 5.3% increase in average rent per square foot and a 210 basis point increase in average occupancy to 90%. Property operating expenses increased 2.9% year-over-year, again in line with our expectations.

We continue to benefit from our geographically diverse portfolio that is concentrated in states with the above average population and job growth.

Our stores located in Oregon, California, Georgia and Arizona, which represent more than half of our 2016 same-store NOI, continued to outperform, each delivering double-digit same-store NOI growth in 2016. We continued to see softness in the fourth quarter in Oklahoma and West Texas, which has been impacted by both the energy sector and new supply coming online. And our stores in Washington State were impacted in the fourth quarter, by higher property taxes, timing of repair and maintenance projects and increased advertising spend. While we have selectively used increased discounting in promotions to support occupancy gains in some markets, we continue to benefit from a roll up in rental rates for move in versus move out, driven in part by our revenue management system.

We also delivered double-digit growth in tenant insurance revenues during 2016 as our penetration rates continue to grow through high rates of adoption among our new customers, ending the year at over 55% penetration across our portfolio. As we discussed, in October we formed a joint venture with the major state pension fund to acquire the iStorage portfolio. And as they invested roughly $80 million for a 25% ownership stake and the joint venture put in place $320 million of mortgage financing. The investment was immediately accretive to core FFO per share and we expect to generate approximately $7 million to $8 million per year in gross fee income before incremental G&A expense of approximately $3.5 million, allowing us to leverage our total G&A spend.

Our balance sheet remains a strong point for NSA. During 2016 and into the first quarter 2017 we actively worked to expand our capacity and retain financial liquidity and flexibility. During the fourth quarter, we completed our second follow-on equity offering issuing nearly 5.2 million common shares and raising net proceeds of $105 million. We use the proceeds of the offering to pay down our revolving line of credit.

Also in the fourth quarter, we launched an ATM program adding yet another source of capital to enhance our balance sheet and fund growth. During the fourth quarter, we issued approximately 1.7 million shares under the ATM, raising net proceeds of about $34 million and leaving about $165 million of liquidity under the program. In addition we issued over $16 million of OP and SP equity in the fourth quarter to fund acquisitions completed during the quarter.

At year end, our total consolidated debt outstanding was about $873 million of which about 72% was fixed-rate mortgage financing or fixed with swaps. Our weighted average effective interest rate was about 3% and our weighted average maturity was 5.2 years. We have almost no debt maturing before 2020.

Subsequent to year end we completed an expansion of our credit facility, which increased our borrowing capacity by yet another $170 million, resulting in total capacity under our credit facility today of $895 million. As part of this expansion we increased our five-year term loan by $10 million dollars, our six-year term loan by $55 million and added a $105 million seven-year term loan tranche.

We expanded capacity on our revolver from $350 million to $400 million last December. As we have consistently demonstrated, we remain disciplined on the capital front, ensuring a strong and flexible balance sheet to support our growth strategy.

Turning to our guidance, we recognize that 2017 may be a year of transition for the industry with more new supply coming on line, making it a bit more challenging to forecast. While we have not yet seen a material slowdown in our property performance, we are cognizant of the fact that new supply may impact NSA more significantly later in the year. For that reason, we have built into our guidance somewhat lower growth expectations, compared to 2016.

As we announced last evening, we expect 2017 core FFO to be in the range of $1.22 zero to a $1.29 nine per share. Our guidance is based on several factors, including anticipated same-store NOI growth of 6% to 8%, driven by expected revenue growth of 5% to 7% and expense growth of 3% to 4%. As a note, our same-store portfolio in 2017 will include 277 properties. Expected acquisitions in a range of $200 million to $500 million, full-year corporate G&A cash expense including all iStorage G&A is expected to be in the range of 9.5% to 10.5% of revenue, excluding the iStorage property revenue. Plus another 1% to 1.5% in non-cash comp expense.

To put these numbers in context if we included the iStorage property revenue in the total revenue denominator, our total cash plus non-cash G&A and would be 9% to 10% of total revenues as we continue to leverage our G&A capacity.

This concludes our prepared remarks. With that we will now take your questions. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session


Thank you we will not be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Vikram Malhotra with Morgan Stanley, please go ahead with your questions.

Vikram Malhotra

Thank you. Two quick questions, so one, can you maybe just give us a little bit more color on when you talk about supply and not really seeing impacts but you're baking in some impact towards a second half. How are you the sort of the new supply coming online, whats your expectation in terms of how it will impact occupancy, rent growth and how are you factoring that into the guidance?

Arlen Nordhagen

Hi Vikram, this is Arlen. So yes we monitor of course all of our properties on a regular basis to look at where do we see new supply potentially coming in online over the next 12 to 18 months. And particularly as it relates to properties that have some exposure to new supply this year about 12% of our portfolio has the potential that by the end of the year some new supply will be within their trade area.

And so our forecast in our budgeting for this year reflects the fact that we expect those new stores to come online, which will obviously create some additional pressure on discounting some impact on occupancy and therefore slower revenue growth in the few cases even revenue being flat. But generally we reflect that based upon those forecasted openings as the time that they're expected to come into the market.

Vikram Malhotra

Okay, that's helpful. And just to clarify the revenue growth expectation for 2017, the five to seven, can you break that, Arlen between occupancy and rate growth?

Arlen Nordhagen

Yes, we are pretty close to what we would consider optimal occupancy based on the way the revenue management program is directing us to push harder on rate, we might gain another 50 basis points for average occupancy for this year or something like that but we're really forecasting almost all of that to be rate growth.

Vikram Malhotra

All of that to be rate, okay and then just last one to clarify on the supply comment. Just based on what you're seeing and talking to other PROs. Will we peak supply is 2017 sort of the year where we see peak supply your comments around the second half. And just maybe how much lead time are sort of what you need to see to get a sense of how supply would could potentially look like in 2018?

Arlen Nordhagen

Yes. It looks like late 2017 will probably be the peak additions of new supply. Now we do have some visibility into supply coming into 2018 obviously. But we're also starting to see some of the developers canceling projects as they reevaluate the market and they recognize wait a minute, there's too much supply here already on the pipeline. So we are actually starting to see some of that. So I do think late 2017 maybe early 2018 will probably be the peak of when supply additions peak in the overall total National market.

Vikram Malhotra

Okay. Thank you very much.

Arlen Nordhagen

Thanks, Vikram.


Thank you. Our next question is come from the line of RJ Milligan with Robert W. Baird. Please go ahead with your question.

RJ Milligan

Hey, good afternoon guys. Arlen, I was wondering if you could give some guidance in terms of your expected external growth this year $350 million at the midpoint, can you give us an idea of what buckets those are coming from whether itd be another PRO, within your captive pipeline or just one-off growth?

Arlen Nordhagen

Yes, thanks RJ. We have as I mentioned we have our captive pipeline now is almost $1 billion. And as we look at that of what's maturing in 2017 for debt maturities about 20% of that will be maturing in 2017, now we never project that well get all of that because obviously the decision makers on that are not always are PROs and such. But we know sizable portion of that growth will come through the captive pipeline this year. We also do expect a sizable number of third-party acquisitions, we already have closed on some this year. And we have a number of ongoing discussions underway as well. We as you know we added Marc Smith in Personal Mini as our new PRO, we dont anticipate very much new properties coming from the Personal Mini this year.

But we will have at least one or two acquisitions on that area as well. And then if we ended with another new PRO in late this year that would be more to put as toward the high end of the guidance. But otherwise it's primarily just what we know right now plus the captive pipeline in the third-party acquisitions.

RJ Milligan

Okay. And then Tammy, I wanted to talk about the same-store definition. So does same-store for 2017 include everything that was acquired in 2015?

Tamara Fischer

Its all the stores that we owned for all of 2016.

RJ Milligan

Is it fair to assume, given that you guys have acquired a significant amount in 2016. I think $1.3 billion as you bring those on to your platform and continue to lease those up or maximize revenue in those properties. Could we expect in I guess an added benefit in 2018 same-stores NOIs those properties are brought into the system in the same-store pool?

Arlen Nordhagen

Yes, RJ. This is Arlen. I would say that weve definitely seen that. Particularly as we acquire new properties the first two years of that we see outsized growth. So 2017 obviously, we don't they're not in our 2017 pool but in 2018 we'll see some continuation on that. To be honest, wed like to be able to continue to accelerate the platform adoption programs to try and get those benefits as quickly as possible. But historically, we've seen substantial gains in both year one and year two.

RJ Milligan

So on average the acquisitions in 2015 will be a greater contributor to same-store NOI growth in 2017 versus the legacy portfolio?

Arlen Nordhagen

Yes, that's true. It's probably about a percent or so higher than the legacy portfolio.

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National Storage Affiliates Trust's (NSA) CEO Arlen Nordhagen on Q4 2016 Results - Earnings Call Transcript - Seeking Alpha

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Trump’s attacks on the NSA are actively harming morale, report … – BGR

Trump's attacks on the NSA are actively harming morale, report ...
The intelligence community has come under fire from newly sworn-in President Donald Trump for what he perceives to be attacks on his own credibility. Now ...
US Spy Agency Risks Talent Exodus Amid Morale Slump and Trump ...Jakarta Globe

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Trump's attacks on the NSA are actively harming morale, report ... - BGR

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US Congress to NSA: How many Americans do you illegally spy on? – The Register

If there is one piece of information that would fatally undermine the NSA's argument that it doesn't abuse Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), it would be the number of American citizens whose personal information it has "incidentally" hoovered up.

And that is why it refuses to provide the figure.

There were two House Judiciary Committee meetings in Congress yesterday over the reauthorization of Section 702 in December. The first was held in secret with members of the security services; the second in public with panelists.

We don't know what happened in the first but in the second, a number of Congressmen made it plain that the NSA had failed to provide an estimate for the number of American citizens it has data on despite the committee asking for it 11 months ago in a formal letter.

John Conyers (D-MI), the lead Democrat on the committee, noted that the lawmakers had repeatedly asked for the estimate but "the intelligence community has not so much as responded to our December letter" a letter that asked for no more than an update on how long it would take to arrive at an estimate.

The intelligence community continues to argue it is difficult to tell the nationality of someone making a call or sending an email without a huge amount of effort or without violating their privacy.

That claim "seems like baloney to me," said Jim Jordan (R-OH), adding: "It's the greatest intelligence service on the planet. You'd think they'd be able to know that."

The truth is that the NSA cannot disclose the true figure if it wishes to retain its extraordinarily broad surveillance powers powers that it has interpreted to include tapping the internet's backbone and big tech companies' server farms.

Section 702 repeatedly and explicitly notes that it only provides authority to gather information on non-US citizens and events occurring outside of the United States. And yet, incredibly, the security services have layered misinterpretation of the law on top of misinterpretation in order to authorize themselves to tap into US companies' systems based in the US.

The moment the scale of the domestic spying this has enabled is laid bare, the NSA's obtuse claim of "incidental" and "accidental" gathering of data on US citizens will be shown to be the faade it is. Which is why it won't release the figure.

In a political climate where up is down and down is up, where the attorney general can answer an explicit question with a No and then claim he was asked a different question when that turns out not to be true, it is perhaps not surprising that some of the other answers asked at the hearing stretched reality to the breaking point.

One of the panelists, assistant professor at the US Naval Academy Jeff Kosseff, argued that the Fourth Amendment (no unreasonable search without a warrant) did not apply to Section 702 because it covered "foreign intelligence."

That is despite the fact that the Snowden documents showed particularly through the PRISM system that the security services were spying on domestic telecommunications.

Equally mind-boggling was the claim by former NSA attorney April Doss, now a partner at Saul Ewing LLP, that Section 702 was only used for "targeted surveillance." While that is certainly the intent of the law, the reality is the opposite we know, again from the Snowden documents, that vast quantities of data are pulled into government databases, retained, and then searched.

Doss also repeated the NSA argument that trying to estimate how many Americans had been included in the broad sweep of communications would lead to a greater intrusion into their privacy.

You suspect that the argument that Congressmen shouldn't consider anything in the Snowden documents because they were leaked illegally is rolling around the back of their heads just waiting to slip out.

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US Congress to NSA: How many Americans do you illegally spy on? - The Register

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Fmr. NSA Director: Trump’s Military Spending Increase is Needed … – Fox Business

During an interview with Neil Cavuto on the FOX Business Network, former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander addressed the recent controversy involving Attorney General Jeff Sessions and allegations he communicated with Russian diplomats during the presidential election, despite stating that he didnt during his confirmation hearing before Congress.

Well, I think the facts are what we need and I think jumping to the conclusion that the Attorney General did something wrong is a big jump, General Alexander said.

He went on to add that he doesnt believe Sessions intended to mislead or do anything wrong.

In a statement to Fox News, the Attorney General denied the accusations, I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false," he wrote.

Alexander also noted that the presidents promise to rebuild the military and to increase defense spending by $54 billion is a good thing.

I have tremendous confidence in Secretary Mattis. He is a good person. He will take the money needed; he will come back with a great plan and help get us the military that we need.

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Alexander went on to add that taking care of those who would give their life for this nation is the right thing to do.

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Fmr. NSA Director: Trump's Military Spending Increase is Needed ... - Fox Business

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Congress Asks NSA for Estimate of American Surveillance Before Reauthorization – InsideSources

National Security Agency building at Fort Meade, Md. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, file)

Congress is still waiting for an intelligence community estimate of the number of American communications swept up in widespread surveillance programs authorized by law due to expire this year.

Lawmakers blasted the intelligence community Wednesday after a classified briefing from members of the National Security Agency, FBI, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and others. Representatives again failed to respond to a year-old request for an estimate of the number of American communications caught up in electronic surveillance programs.

Representatives have asked repeatedly for the information ahead of Congress reauthorization of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act Section 702. The law legalizes broad electronic surveillance programs like Prism, revealed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden in 2013. Section 702 expires Dec. 31.

Michigan Democrat Rep. John Conyers said the intelligence community has not so much as responded to another December request for the estimate. He added lawmakers will not simply take the governments word on the size of the so-called incidental collection.

Section 702 authorizes NSAs upstream surveillance programs when the signals intelligence agency taps the physical infrastructure of the internet, such as undersea fiber cables, to surveil the content of foreign communications including emails, instant messages, etc. as they exit and enter the U.S.

It also allows the agency to submit selectors to U.S.-based communications providers, like e-mail addresses, who then provide the agency with any communications relevant to those selectors.

The programs essentially allow NSA to incidentally sweep up unrelated data belonging to Americans in communication with foreigners. Privacy advocates likeElizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at NYU Laws Brennan Center for Justice, say such incidental collection likely amounts to millions or tens of millions of warrantless interceptions.

I dont mean to imply that this trust was misplaced, Goitein told the House Judiciary Committee during the unclassified half of Wednesdays briefing. In fact, weve seen essentially no evidence of intentional misuse. But what we have seen is mission creep, so that a law designed to protect against foreign threats to the United States has become a major source of warrantless access to Americans data and a tool for ordinary, domestic law enforcement.

NSA can share raw data it collects absent a warrant with CIA and FBI. All three can hold onto data for five years, but encrypted communications, those reasonably believed to contain secret meaning, and any U.S. person information that has foreign intelligence value or is evidence of a crime, can be kept indefinitely. None estimate how many Americans are swept up annually in what privacy advocates have dubbed back door searches.

Goitein said that data can be used to prosecute Americans for crimes unrelated to the original search. Legal requirements for secrecy and national security allow prosecutors in some instances not to reveal how such information was gathered, making it difficult to surmise if its happened already.

She and others at Wednesdays hearing including California Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu say thats a clear Fourth Amendment violation, and Congress should rewrite the law with reforms instead of a blanket reauthorization. Jeff Kosseff, a professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, argued national security gives the intelligence community exception to the Fourth Amendments warrant requirement.

An anonymous White House official told Reuters Wednesday the Trump administration supports renewal without reforms.

We support the clean reauthorization and the administration believes its necessary to protect the security of the nation, the official said.

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Congress Asks NSA for Estimate of American Surveillance Before Reauthorization - InsideSources

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Jaishankar meets US NSA, Speaker – The Hindu

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Jaishankar meets US NSA, Speaker
The Hindu
On his third trip to the United States since the election of Donald Trump, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar met U.S. National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon on Wednesday.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar meets US NSA, discuss bilateral tiesEconomic Times
S Jaishankar holds talks with US Speaker Paul Ryan and NSA McMaster; safety of Indians, counter terrorism ops ...India.com
S. Jaishankar meets US NSA Lt. Gen. HR McMasterBusiness Standard
India Today
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Personal Mini Storage has become NSA’s eighth Participating Regional Operator – Yahoo Finance

ORLANDO, Fla., March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Personal Mini Storage ("Personal Mini"), Central Florida's largest family owned storage operator is pleased to announce they have entered into definitive agreements with National Storage Affiliates Trust ("NSA"). Personal Mini, headed by Marc and Laurie Smith, has become NSA's eighth Participating Regional Operator ("PRO").

"We will continue to retain our management team and operate our management company as a family owned business while at the same time gaining all the benefits of being part of a large public company," said Marc Smith, President of Personal Mini, "Joining NSA as its newest PRO is the best way to accelerate our growth through NSA's attractive capital structure, and at the same time strengthen our operational tools by integrating them into NSA's 'best practices' platform. We expect to see significant growth, both personally and professionally, for our entire team as a result of our affiliation with NSA."

Marc Smith has more than 20 years of first-hand experience in owning and operating self-storage facilities. He is currently completing his term as Chairman of the national Self Storage Association ("SSA"). A licensed real estate broker, building contractor and Orlando philanthropist, Marc previously served as past president and national board member of the Southeast Region of the SSA. Marc specializes in all aspects of the self storage business, including acquisitions, site selection, start-ups, construction management, design, systems analysis and more. The Personal Mini brand continues to grow with the addition of 4 self storage properties on March 1, 2017, bringing the total number under management to forty (40) across mid-Florida.

Arlen D. Nordhagen, NSA's Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are extremely pleased to introduce Personal Mini, a long-time industry leader, as our eighth PRO. Our new partnership with Personal Mini will significantly strengthen NSA's presence in the Florida market. We look forward to working with the entire Personal Mini team and welcome them to NSA."

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. NSA currently holds ownership in and operates 453 self storage properties located in 23 states with approximately 28 million rentable square feet, and is one of the largest operators of self storage properties among public and private companies in the U.S. For more information, please visit the Company's website at http://www.nationalstorageaffiliates.com. NSA is included in the MSCI US REIT Index (RMS/RMZ) and the Russell 2000 Index of Companies.

About Personal Mini Storage

Personal Mini Storage is operated by Laurie & Marc Smith and is Central Florida's largest family owned storage operator. As of March 1, 2017, Personal Mini manages 40 properties with approximately 2.7 million rentable square feet in mid-Florida. To find out more about Personal Mini Storage or to find the storage location nearest to you, visitwww.personalministorage.com.

Media Contact: Cheryl Lewis, Personal Mini Storage, 407-297-3683, cl@personalministorage.com

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Personal Mini Storage has become NSA's eighth Participating Regional Operator - Yahoo Finance

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Michael Samukai Implicates NSA in ‘Gun Ownership’ – Liberian Daily Observer

Michael Samukai, the son of Defense Minister Brownie Samukai, who is being tried for allegedly shooting Zardee Andrews in the back of his neck, told Criminal Court A yesterday that the gun used during the incident was issued to him by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The agency is expected to appear before the court on Thursday, March 2.

Defendant Samukai, who is on the witness stand, was said to have shot Andrews on September 13, 2016, during a fist fight about the victims extra marital relations with his wife. The incident occurred at the Tropicana Beach on the Robertfiled Highway.

Although, defendant Samukai testified that it was the NSA that issued him the gun, police investigation established that he acquired the weapon illegally. He, however, said the permit for the weapon is still in the possession of the NSA.

Samukai claimed that he is an employee of the NSA with a rank of deputy chief of security assigned at the National Port Authority (NPA). Despite the shooting incident, he still maintains his post.

His explanation came immediately after the prosecution asked him to produce every legitimate document in his possession that authorizes him to carry the arm.

It was due to that information that his lawyer asked the court for the agency to appear before it and to prove whether or not the defendants was authorized by the NSA to carry a firearm.

Further to his testimony, defendant Samukai alleged that he was issued the gun, after he had complained to his bosses that he had been attacked on many occasions, by unidentified persons while performing his duty at the port.

After I was physically attacked on many occasions as deputy chief of security at the port, it was when I thought that I needed protection and it was how the NSA gave me the weapon for protection, the defendant alleged.

He added that the NSA did not give him the permit for the weapon.

Explaining about the shooting incident, Samukai denied any knowledge as to who actually carried out the act.

The gun was in my jacket and while we were fighting, he spotted it and we together took it out of my clothes (jacket) and it went off, so, I do not know how he was shot, Samukai alleged.

He claimed that after the incident he immediately reported the weapon to the headquarters of the LNP, where the Police Inspector General, Gregory Coleman, advised him to leave it there because nothing was going to happen to me.

He is charged with multiple crimes, including aggravated assault, criminal attempt to commit murder and illegal possession of firearm.

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Michael Samukai Implicates NSA in 'Gun Ownership' - Liberian Daily Observer

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Congress can reform the NSA to protect our rights without putting us in danger – Washington Examiner

Say you're a senior national security adviser on a campaign and part of your job is to speak to foreign ambassadors. You know the United States government often has such foreign officials under electronic surveillance, but you also know that, as an American citizen, you're still protected by the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately for you, the FBI can collect your communications emails, texts, chats, or calls with those foreign officials and look at them without a warrant.

How is that possible? Nearly 10 years ago, Congress gave the NSA broad authority to intercept Internet communications, as long as it was for foreign intelligence purposes. That authority, known as Section 702, has played a valuable role in disrupting terrorist plots and gathering foreign intelligence, but it has always had two serious flaws.

First, its drafters did not carefully consider what protections should exist for U.S. persons whose communications would be reviewed by law enforcement. Second, the drafters did not foresee what having a statute that allowed for broad collection against foreigners would mean for U.S. companies operating overseas. But now, Congress has an opportunity to fix these two flaws before this statute expires at the end of the year.

According to government officials, Section 702 has played a crucial role in disrupting terrorist plots. A group commissioned by President Barack Obama to review the statute concluded that information obtained through it had "contributed in some degree" to the success of 53 terrorism investigations. In particular, intelligence agencies have highlighted that Section 702 helped disrupt a plot to bomb the New York subway system and a terrorism financing scheme operating out of Missouri. Successes like these have led intelligence officials to describe it as their "most significant tool" for the "detection, identification, and disruption of terrorist threats."

But while Section 702 is a powerful tool in the fight against terror, it raises serious concerns in the law enforcement context.

Section 702 allows the NSA to collect the communications of foreign persons from U.S. tech companies like Microsoft and Google and from U.S. telecom firms' networks. This collection, though targeted at potentially dangerous foreigners, inevitably sweeps up the communications of innocent Americans and non-Americans. These communications can be accessed by the FBI when investigating not only national security matters, but any crime. Because Section 702 information is not obtained pursuant to a warrant, this allows the FBI to evade the requirements of the Fourth Amendment and unconstitutionally invade the privacy of Americans.

American tech companies are also affected by Section 702. After particulars of 702 surveillance were leaked to the press, foreign governments, anxious about being surveilled by the NSA, denied contracts to U.S. tech firms like Microsoft and Verizon. More destructive was a 2015 ruling by the European Court of Justice which cited concerns about Section 702 when striking down a framework known as the Safe Harbor, which protected American tech companies from certain European data regulations.

Without Safe Harbor, U.S. companies could have been required to locate Europeans' data on servers in the European Union, with this seriously increasing companies' costs and proving especially prohibitive for start-ups. Although EU and U.S. authorities quickly implemented a replacement for Safe Harbor known as Privacy Shield, that agreement is already being challenged in EU courts. If it is struck down, the commerce-killing requirements that were predicted in the aftermath of Safe Harbor could become a reality, bringing transatlantic data flows and trade to a screeching halt.

Congress should reauthorize Section 702, but it should also amend it to protect Americans' rights and empower U.S. companies to push back against government surveillance that hurts their bottom lines. As lawmakers do this, they can ensure that Americans are safe, their rights are respected, and our companies continue to compete in the global marketplace.

Also from the Washington Examiner

The quieter and more removed from my life the commander in chief is, the better.

03/01/17 12:26 AM

Mieke Eoyang (@MiekeEoyang) is the vice president for the National Security Program at Third Way and previously served as a subcommittee staff director on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Gary Ashcroft (@ashcroftgm) is a national security fellow at Third Way.

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Congress can reform the NSA to protect our rights without putting us in danger - Washington Examiner

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NSA, Cyber Command structure should remain the same – The Hill (blog)

As if not troubled enough by President Trumps attacks, a new debate is heighteningtensions in the intelligence community. The Pentagon has started to assess whether it is time todivide the leadershipof the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.Such a move is dubious: Is change necessary? Can the IC tolerate another shock?

A look overseas to the Israeli case could provide some insight.

According to that plan, the new directorate would absorb responsibilities and resources from both Unit8200(the IDFs signals intelligence or SIGINT unit, equivalent to the NSA), as well as the Computer Service Directorate (equivalent to the Joint Staff J6). A fierce internal debate has emerged, with several (including the head of AMAN, the Intelligence Directorate) arguing that all cyber activities should remain under AMANs responsibility, while others insist that there is an acute need for a dedicated cyber directorate.

In early 2017, Lt. Gen. Eizenkot announced that the establishment of the Cyber Directorate would be postponed until further notice, and declared that AMAN would handle offensive and information collection elements in cyber space, while the Cyber Administration would come under the Computer Service Directorate, focusing mainly on defensive activities.

The reasons that led Lt. Gen. Eizenkot, who is considered a level-headed officer, to reverse his 2015 decision are highly relevant to the American case.

From a strategic standpoint, the implications of the cyber domain on present and future battlefields are still ambiguous and constantly changing; so too are their effects on traditional kinetic challenges. The inter-relations between the physical and virtual domains are still in flux, with grave ramifications on the nature of threats, and the measures needed to cope with them.

These changes are highly relevant to the way the IC reacts and adapts. The vast majority of the NSAs current collection activities are most likely executed through and with the cyber domain. Though traditional methods (such as phone tapping) are not dead, it is safe to assume that cyber is more dominant than ever, and will only continue to grow over more traditional domains and methods. Furthermore, given the specific characteristics of the cyber domain, it is difficult to distinguish between types of cyber activities (e.g., collection vs. attack). Separating those in charge of SIGINT and those in charge of cyber doesnt make sense.

as the last few years have taught us, the Wests adversaries have themselves transitioned to the cyber domain. With Russias (alleged)interventionin the U.S. elections, theSnowden affair, HAMAS and Irans extensive use ofcyber-related techniques, Chinesetheftof F-35 plans, and ISISssophisticated useof the virtual domain, this may not be the right time for radical changes.

Separating the NSA and the Cyber Command would inevitably create a long transition period, during which U.S. cyber capabilities would be negatively affected. Disputes over missions and responsibilities, coordination issues, transition of manpower, and lack of sufficient resources in one or both entities would jeopardize U.S. cyber resilience in the short term at the very least.

Finally, with Trump trying to aggressivelyredefinerelations between the IC and the executive branch, the last thing the community needs at this moment is another shock. A decision to separate the NSA and Cyber Command would create an all-out war within the IC and the Department of Defense, since no sane commander would agree to surrender responsibilities and resources to another organization.

The NSA itself would lose not only prestige but also relevancy, and presumably try to torpedo the move. If any change is needed at all, it would require a different approach: the cyber component should gain supremacy over any other type of SIGINT activity, as this will be the not-too-distant future reality. Until then, NSA-Cyber Command relations should remain untouched.

Shay Hershkovitz, Ph.D., is chief strategy officer at Wikistrat, Inc. and a political science professor at Tel Aviv University specializing in intelligence studies. He is also a former IDF intelligence officer whose book, "Aman Comes To Light," deals with the history of the Israeli intelligence community.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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NSA, Cyber Command structure should remain the same - The Hill (blog)

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Product Support – SonicWALL NSA Series

Customizations policy for SonicWall Software products

A customization indicates functionality and configurations added to a product that are not provided as part of the core product release and, as such, would be outside the scope of normal support and maintenance. Customizations may take the form of new or modified scripts used within or alongside our products, as well as additional functionality such as custom reports, dashboards, rules, automated actions, etc. developed by you, your partners, or our Professional Services Organization.

Support and Customizations

We do not perform or maintain customizations. The design and development of customizations to our products is your responsibility. Assistance from Support will be limited to helping ensure that the product's functionality which enables the addition of customizations is functioning as expected. Alternatively, you may obtain guidance through product specific community sites or the Support Knowledge Base.

Advanced Assistance

If more thorough and detailed assistance is needed to design and develop customizations, we recommend that you engage our Professional Services Organization or fully certified partners to assist. Their expertise in designing customized solutions will ensure customers receive maximum value and product adoption. In addition to providing post-implementation expert services, Professional Services also offers a variety of pre-packaged customizations for some products which may meet your specific requirements.

Training & Certification

We recommend that you obtain the appropriate product training before attempting to design, develop, and implement any customization to our products. Our training courses will equip you with the necessary knowledge and ability to design and implement effective changes to our products. For more detail on the training services available, please refer to Training & Certification Services .

Maintaining Customizations

Careful consideration should be given to all customizations during future migration or upgrade exercises to new product and platform versions. Customizations could inhibit the upgrade itself and may require a level of re-work to continue functioning properly. Support does not take ownership for any customizations. We strongly encourage you to document and maintain records on any implemented customization work. These records can be useful in isolating problems that may be attributable to the customization or a defect in the core product.

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Product Support - SonicWALL NSA Series

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