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NSA’s No. 2, its top civilian, will retire shortly – FedScoop

Richard Ledgett, deputy director of the National Security Agency, has announced he will retire this spring, the agency confirmed to CyberScoop Friday.

Ledgett, 59, has been deputy director the agencys top civilian since January 2014, when he succeeded Chris Inglis. Prior to that, according to his official biography,He led the NSA Media Leaks Task Force responsible for integrating and overseeing the totality of NSAs efforts surrounding the Ed Snowden megaleaks.

Ledgett joined the NSAin 1988 and and rose to be, during 2012-13, director of the agencysThreat Operations Center, the famed NTOC. Before that, he served a a stint 2010-12 in various posts in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, including being the the first national intelligence manager for cyber.

He is a recipient of the National Intelligence Superior Service Medal and was for a time an instructor andand course developer at the National Cryptologic School.

It has been anticipated that he would retire in 2017 and he decided the time is right this spring after nearly 40 years of service to the nation, the agency said in an emailed statement.

Last year, Ledgett presented a gloomy picture of the connected future, warning about the dangers of the Internet of Things. Hetoldthe U.S. Chamber of Commerces 5th Annual Cybersecurity Summit that theconnection to our networks of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, ofinternet-connecteddevices that come from multiple vendors and havediffering software and hardware upgrade paths without a coherent security plan means that there are vulnerabilities[created]in those networks.

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NSA's No. 2, its top civilian, will retire shortly - FedScoop

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When the NSA Thought Mind Control Would Be an Actual Military Concern – Atlas Obscura

An illustration from a government document. DIA/Public Domain

A versionof this storyoriginally appearedonMuckrock.comandGlomar Disclosure.

Last week, we looked at the early days of the CIAs foray into extrasensory espionage. Today well be following up with the veterans of the NSAs psychic wars, which they foresaw being waged well into the 90s and beyond.

The NSA document, dated from early 1981, calls for a number of steps to be taken, including identifying the potential for mind control.

Once the individuals had been identified, the Agency wanted to create cadres of talented synergized gifted people for special problem solving tests. However, the NSA was afraid that these people could be hard to control Consciousless [sic] or morbid people of talent must be strictly screened out of active programs because of the danger of severe mental illness and unscrupulous violation of security.

Beyond personnel available to the NSA, the Agency wanted to build a database of psychics around the world.

Additional NSA documents, produced by the government later in the year after MKULTRA had been shut down and all mind control programs had been disavowed, show the governments continued interest in researching mind control techniques, no matter how esoteric they seemed.

A number of predictions were made about the development of psychic warfare, including that subconscious mind control through telepathy would be possible by 1990. The report concluded grimly that there is no known countermeasure to prevent such applications.

At least one prediction came true - CREST documents show psychic trials still being performed as late as 1992.

The rest of the NSAs guidelines can be read here.

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When the NSA Thought Mind Control Would Be an Actual Military Concern - Atlas Obscura

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NSA’s No. 2, its top civilian, will retire shortly – Cyberscoop – CyberScoop

Richard Ledgett, deputy director of the National Security Agency, has announced he will retire this spring, the agency confirmed to CyberScoop Friday.

Ledgett, 59, has been deputy director the agencys top civilian since January 2014, when he succeeded Chris Inglis. Prior to that, according to his official biography,He led the NSA Media Leaks Task Force responsible for integrating and overseeing the totality of NSAs efforts surrounding the Ed Snowden megaleaks.

Ledgett joined the NSAin 1988 and and rose to be, during 2012-13, director of the agencysThreat Operations Center, the famed NTOC. Before that, he served a a stint 2010-12 in various posts in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, including being the the first national intelligence manager for cyber.

He is a recipient of the National Intelligence Superior Service Medal and was for a time an instructor andand course developer at the National Cryptologic School.

It has been anticipated that he would retire in 2017 and he decided the time is right this spring after nearly 40 years of service to the nation, the agency said in an emailed statement.

Last year, Ledgett presented a gloomy picture of the connected future, warning about the dangers of the Internet of Things. Hetoldthe U.S. Chamber of Commerces 5th Annual Cybersecurity Summit that theconnection to our networks of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, ofinternet-connecteddevices that come from multiple vendors and havediffering software and hardware upgrade paths without a coherent security plan means that there are vulnerabilities[created]in those networks.

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NSA's No. 2, its top civilian, will retire shortly - Cyberscoop - CyberScoop

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NSA Tournaments – NSA Florida Fastpitch Softball

N S A AVALANCHE OF SOFTBALLS - 2 SEED INTO A DOUBLE ELIM! 2017 CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-01-21 2017-01-22 8U - 18U NSA IRON WOMAN SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-01-21 2017-01-22 8U-18U TEST FILE POMPILI Fort White Fort White 2017-01-21 2017-01-22 8U-18U KEEP THE BEAT ALIVE-COREY JONES MEMORIAL TOUR PALM BEACH CITY PALM BEACH CITY 2017-01-28 2017-01-29 8U - 18U 2017 NSA WINTER NATIONALS CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-01-28 2017-01-29 8U-18U N S A WEST COAST WINTER LEAGUE TAMPA & FISHHAWK TAMPA & FISHHAWK 2017-01-29 2017-04-02 8U - 18U 3 N 2 ECKERD COLLEGE INVITATIONAL EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-02-04 2017-02-05 8U - 18U NSA SUPER BOWL CLASSIC IN WINTER GARDEN FOUNDATION ACADEMY WINTER GARDEN 2017-02-04 2017-02-05 8U-18U I HEART NSA SOUTH FLORIDA PALM BEACH CITY PALM BEACH CITY 2017-02-11 2017-02-12 8U - 18U N S A SWEETHEART BALL CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-02-11 2017-02-12 8U - 18U NSA SWEETHEART BALL AT THE SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-02-11 2017-02-12 8U-18U NSA SPRING TRAVEL BALL LEAGUE WEEK 1 WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-02-12 2017-02-12 8U-18U I HEART SOFTBALL FOUNDATION ACADEMY WINTER GARDEN 2017-02-18 2017-02-19 8U-18U NSA FOR THE LOVE OF SOFTBALL VICTORIA PARK JACKSONVILLE 2017-02-18 2017-02-19 8U-18U 2017 NSA BRING IN THE SPRING LAKE FAIRVIEW PARK ORLANDO 2017-02-25 2017-02-26 8U-18U NSA 2017 PBG BASH PALM BEACH CITY PALM BEACH CITY 2017-02-25 2017-02-26 8U - 18U NSA SPRING TRAVEL BALL LEAGUE WEEK 2 WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-02-26 2017-02-26 8U-18U N S A MARCH MADNESS Vaneck Park DUNEDINCLEARWATER 2017-03-04 2017-03-05 8U - 18U NSA MARCH MADNESS AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-03-04 2017-03-05 8U-18U NSA SOUTH MARCH MADNESS PALM BEACH PALM BEACH CITY PALM BEACH CITY 2017-03-11 2017-03-12 8U - 18U NSA GRIP IT AND RIP IT FOUNDATION ACADEMY WINTER GARDEN 2017-03-11 2017-03-12 8U-18U NSA MARCH MADNESS IN JACKSONVILLE VICTORIA PARK JACKSONVILLE 2017-03-11 2017-03-12 8U-18U N S A SPRING FLING CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-03-18 2017-03-19 8U - 18U NSA SPRING TRAVEL BALL LEAGUE WEEK 3 WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-03-18 2017-03-18 8U-18U NSA ST PATRICKS DAY CLASSIC EASTLAKE COMMUNITY PARK SORRENTO 2017-03-18 2017-03-19 8U-18U NSA ST PATRICKS DAY CLASSIC CECIL FIELD JACKSONVILLE 2017-03-18 2017-03-19 8U-18U NSA SPRING SOFTBALL FEVER SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-03-25 2017-03-26 8U-18U NSA SPRING TRAVEL BALL LEAGUE WEEK 4 WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-03-26 2017-03-26 8U-18U APRIL FOOLS DAY CLASSIC HANCOCK PARK CLERMONT 2017-04-01 2017-04-02 8U-18U N S A APRIL FOOL'S CLASSIC CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-04-01 2017-04-02 8U - 18U NSA APRIL FOOLS CLASSIC IN JACKSONVILLE CECIL FIELD JACKSONVILLE 2017-04-01 2017-04-02 8U-18U NSA SPRING IS HERE ! PALM BEACH CITY PALM BEACH CITY 2017-04-01 2017-04-02 8U - 18U BASH AT THE BEACH SLUGFEST MADIERA BEACH REC. R.O.C MADIERA BEACH 2017-04-08 2017-04-09 8U - 18U BASH AT THE BEACH SLUGFEST MADIERA BEACH REC. R.O.C MADIERA BEACH 2017-04-08 2017-04-09 8U - 18U NSA DOUBLE DOUBLE AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-04-08 2017-04-09 8U-18U NSA SPRING TRAVEL BALL LEAGUE WEEK 5 WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-04-09 2017-04-09 8U-18U EASTER 1 DAY SATURDAY ONLY TOURNAMENT NEW TPA COMM. PARK TAMPA 2017-04-15 2017-04-16 8U - 18U NSA TAX FOR THE GIRLS PALM BEACH CITY PALM BEACH CITY 2017-04-15 2017-04-16 8U - 18U BATTLE AT THE BEACH MADIERA BEACH REC. R.O.C MADIERA BEACH 2017-04-22 2017-04-23 8U - 18U BATTLE AT THE BEACH ORMOND BEACH SPORTS COMPLEX ORMOND BEACH 2017-04-22 2017-04-23 8U-18U NSA SPRING TRAVEL BALL LEAGUE DOUBLE ELIM TOURNAMENT WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-04-22 2017-04-23 8U-18U N S A APRIL ATTACK- 2 SEED INTO A DOUBLE ELIM EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-04-29 2017-04-30 8U - 18U NSA ULTIMATE BORDER WARS WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-04-29 2017-04-30 8U-18U NSA ULTIMATE BORDER WARS VICTORIA PARK JACKSONVILLE 2017-04-29 2017-04-30 8U-18U GRIP IT AND RIP IT- 3 SEED INTO A DOUBLE EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-05-06 2017-05-07 8U - 18U NSA CINCO DE MAYO LAKE FAIRVIEW PARK ORLANDO 2017-05-06 2017-05-07 8U-18U NSA FLOWERS FOR MOM AT THE BEACH CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-05-13 2017-05-14 8U-18U TEAM TAMPA FLOWERS FOR MOM NEW TPA COMM. PARK TAMPA 2017-05-13 2017-05-14 8U - 18U NSA ARMED FORCES DAY CLASSIC SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-05-20 2017-05-21 8U-18U NSA ARMED FORCES DAY CLASSIC VICTORIA PARK JACKSONVILLE 2017-05-20 2017-05-21 8U-18U WILSONDEMARINI SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIPS EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-05-20 2017-05-21 8U - 18U N S A MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC- PLAY FOR $299 CHRISTINA PARK LAKELAND 2017-05-27 2017-05-28 8U - 18U NSA MEMORIAL DAY CLASSIC AT THE BEACH ORMOND BEACH SPORTS COMPLEX ORMOND BEACH 2017-05-27 2017-05-28 8U-18U N S A WEST COAST REGIONALS 2 SEED INTO A DOUBLE ELIM. EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-06-03 2017-06-04 8U - 18U NSA MIZUNO SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIPS WEST ORANGE GIRLS CLUB OCOEE 2017-06-03 2017-06-04 8U-18U N S A FATHER'S DAY CLASSIC EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-06-10 2017-06-11 8U - 18U NSA LOUISVILLE SLUGGER SUMMER CHAMPIONSHIPS SEMINOLE COUNTY SOFTBALL COMPLEX ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 2017-06-10 2017-06-11 8U-18U N S A "A" STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Multiple Venues Polk County 2017-06-17 2017-06-18 8U - 18U N S A "B" STATE WARM UP NEW TPA COMM. PARK TAMPA 2017-06-17 2017-06-18 8U - 18U NSA FATHERS DAY CLASSIC CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-06-17 2017-06-18 8U-18U NSA NORTH FLORIDA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS VICTORIA AND DREW PARKS JACKSONVILLE 2017-06-17 2017-06-18 8U-18U N S A "B" STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS Multiple Venues Polk County 2017-06-24 2017-06-25 8U - 18U N S A FUN IN THE SUN ( "A" TEAMS ONLY) MADIERA BEACH REC. R.O.C MADIERA BEACH 2017-06-24 2017-06-25 8U - 18U N S A FIREWOKS FRENZY EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-07-01 2017-07-02 8U - 18U N S A WORLD SERIES WARM UP Fishhawk LITHIA 2017-07-08 2017-07-09 8U - 18U NSA WORLD SERIES WARM UP CITY CENTER PARK PORT ORANGE 2017-07-08 2017-07-09 8U-18U N S A "B" NATIONAL WORLD SERIES EDDIE C MOORE CLEARWATER 2017-07-12 2017-07-15 8U - 18U

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NSA Tournaments - NSA Florida Fastpitch Softball

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NSA Loosens Its Privacy Rules Ahead of Trump Taking Office

Slide: 1 / of 1. Caption: Jared Soares

As the privacy and civil liberty community braces for Donald Trumps impending control of US intelligence agencies like the NSA, critics have called onthe Obama administration to rein in those spying powers before a man with a reputation for vindictive grudges takes charge. Now, just in time for President-elect Trump to inherit the most powerful spying machine in the world, Obamas Justice Department has signed off on new rules to let the NSA share more of its unfiltered intelligence with its fellow agenciesincluding those with a domestic law enforcement agenda.

Over the last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Attorney General Loretta Lynch signed off onchanges to NSA rules that allow the agency to loosen the standards for what raw surveillance data it can hand off to the other 16 Americanintelligence agencies, which include not only the CIA and military intelligence branches, but also the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The new rules, which were first reported and released in a partially redacted form by the New York Times, are designed to keep those agencies from exploiting NSA intelligence for law enforcement investigations, permitting its use only in intelligence operations.

But privacy advocates are nonetheless concerned that the NSAs more fluid sharing of its collected data will lead to the NSAs powerful spying abilities blurring into the investigation and prosecution of Americans. While the NSA previously filtered out personal information the agency didnt deem relevant before sharing it, those filters wont exist under the new rules. The privacy intrusions have also arrived, experts say, just in time for Trumps new administration to exploit them.

The fact that theyre relaxing these privacy-protective rules just as Trump is taking the reins of the surveillance state is inexplicable to me, says Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The changes theyre making today are widening the aperture for abuse to happen just as abuses are becoming more likely.

Privacy advocates concerns center around loopholes in the rules that allow agencies like the FBI and DEA to search the NSAs collected data forpurposessuch as investigating an agent of a foreign power. Any evidence of illegal behavior that a searcher stumbles on can be used in a criminal prosecution. That means the rule change, according to Cardozo, introduces new possibilities for law enforcement agencies like the DEA and FBI to carry out whats known as parallel construction. That maneuver involves secretly using the NSAs intelligence to identify or track a criminal suspect, and then fabricating a plausible trail of evidence to present to a court as an after-the-fact explanation of the investigations origin. The technique was the subject of an ACLU lawsuit against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2012, and resulted inthe Justice Department admitting to repeatedly using the technique to hide the NSAs involvement in criminal investigations.

It used to be that if NSA itself saw the evidence of a crime, they could give a tip to the FBI, and the FBI would engage in parallel construction, says Cardozo. Now FBI will be able to get into the raw data themselves and do what they will with it.

The intelligence communitys lawyers and legal alums counter that the 12333 rule change was actually necessary ahead of Trump taking power. The change, says former NSA lawyer Susan Hennessey, makes it far more politically complicated for the Trump administration to rewrite the rules themselves, which might have allowed for even more liberal use of the NSAs data. This change, for instance, was years in the making; now finalized, amending them rules again could take years longer. For anyone concerned about possible abuses following transition, these procedures being finalized should be welcome news, Hennessey writes to WIRED. Id imagine finalizing these rules, and thus making future changes exponentially more difficult, was a very high priority for the outgoing administration.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligences general counsel Robert Litt also defended the changes in a blog post published early last year as the news rules were being considered. These procedures are not about law enforcement, but about improving our intelligence capabilities, Litt wrote. There will be no greater access to signals intelligence information for law enforcement purposes than there is today.

But the edge cases where agencies involved in law enforcement can legally search for Americans names and stumble across evidence of prosecutable criminal behavior arent sufficiently defined, says Julian Sanchez, a privacy-focused fellow at the Cato Institute. Some of those exceptions are even redacted from the declassified version of the document, he points out. We have no idea whether theres a huge loophole hiding behind those black bars, Sanchez says. It ought to be possible to characterize to the general public what the broad conditions under which someone can go searching for your communications. The chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

Beyond legal loopholes, sharing broaderaccess to unfiltered NSA data could lead to more flat-out illegal abuse, too, says the EFFs Cardozo. He points to cases of so-called LOVEINT, or love intelligence, the informal term for agents whohave, in a few rare cases, used their spying privilegesto surveil former lovers or spouses. Giving a whole bunch more peopleoutside NSA raw, unfiltered data that includes Americans communications is just asking for it, asking for more LOVEINTto happen, says Cardozo.

Keeping American surveillance agencies from surveilling Americans, Cardozo concedes, has always been in part a matter of trust that theywont break the law or abuse legal loopholes. But the untested Trump administration makes that trust more tenuous than ever before; Trump has, after all, demonstrated in private and on Twitter that he keeps an enemies list, publicly mused about wishing he had the power to hack his political opponents, and called for the investigation into the leak of an intelligence report to NBC News before even starting his term. All of that suggests a chief executive who willtest the edgesof US surveillancerulesat every possibility.

The defendersof the NSA have always said, yes these are powerful tools that could be abused in the wrong hands, but we trust thepeople in charge, says Cardozo. Now its hard to disagree more strongly. We dont trust the people who are about to take the reins of the NSA, the intelligence community, the Justice Department, to use these tools responsibly.

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NSA Loosens Its Privacy Rules Ahead of Trump Taking Office

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Obama moves to split cyberwarfare command from the NSA

With weeks to go in his tenure, President Obama on Friday moved to end the controversial dual-hat arrangement under which the National Security Agency and the nations cyberwarfare command are headed by the same military officer.

It is unclear whether President-elect Donald Trump will support such a move. A transition official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the next administrations plans, said only that cybersecurity has been and will be a central focus of the transition effort.

Pressure had grown on Obama to make such a move on the grounds that the two jobs are too large for one person to handle, that the two organizations have fundamentally different missions and that U.S. Cyber Command, or Cybercom, needed its own leader to become a full-fledged fighting force.

[Obama to be urged to split cyberwar command from NSA

While the dual-hat arrangement was once appropriate in order to enable a fledgling Cybercom to leverage NSAs advanced capabilities and expertise, Cybercom has since matured to the point where it needs its own leader, Obama said in a statement accompanying his signing of the 2017 defense authorization bill.

Cybercoms mission is, when ordered, to disrupt and destroy adversaries networks. It is also to defend the nation against incoming threats to critical systems and to protect the militarys computers from cyberattack.

The NSA also has a defensive mission to protect the governments classified networks but is better known for its role in conducting electronic spying on overseas targets to gather intelligence on adversaries and foreign governments.

Cybercom, established in 2009 inside the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Md., has long depended on the spy agencys capabilities. NSA and Cybercom personnel sit side by side and use the same networks that were built by the NSA.

The two organizations should have separate leaders who are able to devote themselves to each organizations respective mission and responsibilities, but should continue to leverage the shared capabilities and synergies developed under the dual-hat arrangement, Obama wrote.

Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. earlier recommended to Obama that the two organizations have separate heads.

Obama had been on the verge of ending the dual-hat leadership in late 2013 but was persuaded to hold off when senior officials, including the NSAs director at the time, Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, argued that the two agencies needed one leader to ensure that the NSA did not withhold resources from Cybercom.

Others, including a presidential review commission, recommended that each of the two groups have its own leader and that the NSA director be a civilian. Since its inception in 1952, the NSA has been led by military officers.

The bill that Obama signed bars the splitting of the leadership role until the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff jointly certify that to do so would not diminish Cybercoms effectiveness.

Obama took a swipe at Congress for imposing that requirement on him.

The Congress ... should not place unnecessary and bureaucratic administrative burdens and conditions on ending the dual-hat arrangement at a time when the speed and nature of cyber threats requires agility in making decisions about how best to organize and manage the nations cyber capabilities, he wrote.

Obama said that the Pentagon and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have planned a phased transition during which the NSA can continue to provide vital operational support to Cybercom.

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Obama moves to split cyberwarfare command from the NSA

Posted in NSA

NSA Spying on Americans Is Illegal | American Civil Liberties …

Click here for more on NSA Surveillance

What if it emerged that the President of the United States was flagrantly violating the Constitution and a law passed by the Congress to protect Americans against abuses by a super-secret spy agency? What if, instead of apologizing, he said, in essence, "I have the power to do that, because I say I can." That frightening scenario is exactly what we are now witnessing in the case of the warrantless NSA spying ordered by President Bush that was reported December 16, 2005 by the New York Times.

According to the Times, Bush signed a presidential order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to monitor without a warrant the international (and sometimes domestic) telephone calls and e-mail messages of hundreds or thousands of citizens and legal residents inside the United States. The program eventually came to include some purely internal controls - but no requirement that warrants be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and the foreign intelligence surveillance laws require.

In other words, no independent review or judicial oversight.

That kind of surveillance is illegal. Period.

The day after this shocking abuse of power became public, President Bush admitted that he had authorized it, but argued that he had the authority to do so. But the law governing government eavesdropping on American citizens is well-established and crystal clear. President Bush's claim that he is not bound by that law is simply astounding. It is a Presidential power grab that poses a challenge in the deepest sense to the integrity of the American system of government - the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, the concept of checks and balances on executive power, the notion that the president is subject to the law like everyone else, and the general respect for the "rule of law" on which our democratic system depends.

The ACLU ran the following advertisement in the December 29, 2005 edition of The New York Times:

The tensions between the need for intelligence agencies to protect the nation and the danger that they would become a domestic spy agency have been explicitly and repeatedly fought out in American history. The National Security Act of 1947 contained a specific ban on intelligence operatives from operating domestically. In the 1970s, America learned about the extensive domestic political spying carried out by the FBI, the military, the CIA, and the NSA, and Congress passed new laws to prevent a repeat of those abuses. Surveillance laws were debated and modified under presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton.

But, President Bush would sweep aside this entire body of democratically debated and painstakingly crafted restrictions on domestic surveillance by the executive branch with his extraordinary assertion that he can simply ignore this law because he is the Commander-in-Chief. In a December 17 radio address, for example, Bush asserted that the spying was "fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities." But his constitutional duty is to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" (Article II, Section 3); the law here clearly establishes well-defined procedures for eavesdropping on U.S. persons, and the fact is, Bush ordered that those procedures not be followed.

Government eavesdropping on Americans is an extremely serious matter; the ability to intrude on the private realm is a tremendous power that can be used to monitor, embarass, control, disgrace, or ruin an individual. Because it is so invasive, the technology of wiretapping has been subject to carefully crafted statutory controls almost since it was invented. Ignoring those controls and wiretapping without a court order is a crime that carries a significant prison sentence (in fact, criminal violations of the wiretap statute were among the articles of impeachment that were drafted against President Nixon shortly before his resignation).

Unfortunately, although the law in this matter is crystal clear, many Americans, faced with President Bush's bold assertions of "inherent" authority for these actions, will not know what to believe. There are only 5 points they need to understand:

The law on surveillance begins with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states clearly that Americans' privacy may not be invaded without a warrant based on probable cause.

United States Constitution Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (emphasis added)

The US Supreme Court (US v. Katz 389 US 347) has made it clear that this core privacy protection does cover government eavesdropping. As a result, all electronic surveillance by the government in the United States is illegal, unless it falls under one of a small number of precise exceptions specifically carved out in the law.

United States Code Title 50, Chapter 36, Subchapter 1 Section 1809. Criminal sanctions

(a) Prohibited activities A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally-

(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute

In other words, the NSA can only spy where it is explicitly granted permission to do so by statute. Citizens concerned about surveillance do not have to answer the question, "what law restricts the NSA's spying?" Rather, the government is required to supply an answer to the question "what law permits the NSA to spy?"

There are only three laws that authorize any exceptions to the ban on electronic eavesdropping by the government. Congress has explicitly stated that these three laws are the exclusive means by which domestic electronic surveillance can be carried out (18 USC, Section 2511(2)(f)). They are:

Title III and ECPA govern domestic criminal wiretaps and are not relevant to the NSA's spying. FISA is the law under which the NSA should have operated. It authorizes the government to conduct surveillance in certain situations without meeting all of the requirements of the Fourth Amendment that apply under criminal law, but requires that an independent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversee that surveillance to make sure that Americans who have no ties to foreign terrorist organizations or other "foreign powers" are not spied upon.

FISA was significantly loosened by the Patriot Act (which, for example, allowed it to be used for some criminal investigations), and parts of it now stand in clear violation of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment in the view of the ACLU and many others. However, even the post-Patriot Act version of FISA does not authorize the president to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents in the U.S. without an order from the FISA Court. Yet it is that very court order requirement - imposed to protect innocent Americans - that the President has ignored.

In fact, one member of the FISA Court, Judge James Roberston, has apparently resigned from the court in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of this program. And the New York Times reported that the court's chief judge complained about the program when she was (belatedly) notified of it, and refused to allow information gathered under the program to be used as the basis for FISA wiretap orders.

Congress after 9/11 approved an Authorization to Use Military Force against those responsible for the attacks in order to authorize the president to conduct foreign military operations such as the invasion of Afghanistan.

But that resolution contains no language changing, overriding or repealing any laws passed by Congress. Congress does not repeal legislation through hints and innuendos, and the Authorization to Use Military Force does not authorize the president to violate the law against surveillance without a warrant any more than it authorizes him to carry out an armed robbery or seize control of Citibank in order to pay for operations against terrorists. In fact, when President Truman tried to seize control of steel mills that were gripped by strikes in 1952, the Supreme Court decisively rejected his authority to make such a seizure, even in the face of arguments that the strike would interfere with the supply of weapons and ammunition to American troops then under fire on the battlefields of the Korean War.

U.S. Supreme Court YOUNGSTOWN CO. v. SAWYER, 343 U.S. 579 (1952)

"The order cannot properly be sustained as an exercise of the President's military power as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. . . .

"Nor can the seizure order be sustained because of the several constitutional provisions that grant executive power to the President. . . . The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the Constitution is neither silent nor equivocal about who shall make laws which the President is to execute. . . .

"The Founders of this Nation entrusted the lawmaking power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times."

The Supreme Court also rejected similar assertions of inherent executive power by Richard Nixon.

In fact, FISA contains explicit language describing the president's powers "during time of war" and provides that "the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this title to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen days following a declaration of war by the Congress." 50 U.S.C. 1811 (emphasis added). So even if we accept the argument that the use-of-force resolution places us on a war footing, warrantless surveillance would have been legal for only 15 days after the resolution was passed on September 18, 2001.

Point #5: The need for quick action does not justify an end-run around the courts The FISA law takes account of the need for emergency surveillance, and the need for quick action cannot be used as a rationale for going outside the law. FISA allows wiretapping without a court order in an emergency; the court must simply be notified within 72 hours. The government is aware of this emergency power and has used it repeatedly. In addition, the Foreign Intelligence court is physically located in the Justice Department building, and the FISA law requires that at least two of the FISA judges reside in the Washington, DC area, for precisely the reason that rapid action is sometimes needed.

If President Bush still for some reason finds these provisions to be inadequate, he must take his case to Congress and ask for the law to be changed, not simply ignore it.

President Bush's claim that he has "inherent authority" as Commander-in-Chief to use our spy agencies to eavesdrop on Americans is astonishing, and such spying is clearly illegal. It must be halted immediately, and its origins must be thoroughly investigated by Congress and by a special counsel. (See letter from the ACLU to Attorney General Gonzales calling for a special counsel).

Given the extensive (indeed, excessive) surveillance powers that the government already possesses, the Administration's blatantly illegal use of warrantless surveillance raises an important question: why? One possibility, raised by the New York Times in a Dec. 24, 2005 story ("Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report"), is that the NSA is relying on assistance from several unnamed telecommunications companies to "trace and analyze large volumes of communications" and is "much larger than the White House has acknowledged."

This, as security expert Bruce Schneier has noted, suggests the Bush Administration has developed a "a whole new surveillance paradigm" - exploiting the NSA's well known capabilities to spy on individuals not one at a time, as FISA permits, but to run communications en masse through computers in the search for suspicious individuals or patterns. This "new paradigm" may well be connected to the NSA program sometimes known as "Echelon," which carries out just that kind of mass collection of communications (see http://www.nsawatch.org). This "wholesale" surveillance, as Schneier calls it, would constitute an illegal invasion of Americans' privacy on a scale that has never before been seen. (See Schneier, "NSA and Bush's Illegal Eavesdropping," Salon.com)

According to the Times, several telecommunications companies provided the NSA with direct access to streams of communications over their networks. In other words, the NSA appears to have direct access to a large volume of Americans' communications - with not simply the assent, but the cooperation of the companies handling those communications.

We do not know from the report which companies are involved or precisely how or what the NSA can access. But this revelation raises questions about both the legal authority of the NSA to request and receive this data, and whether these companies may have violated either the Federal laws protecting these communications or their own stated privacy polices (which may, for example, provide that they will only turn over their customers' data with their consent or in response to a proper order).

Regardless of the scale of this spying, we are facing a historic moment: the President of the United States has claimed a sweeping wartime power to brush aside the clear limits on his power set by our Constitution and laws - a chilling assertion of presidential power that has not been seen since Richard Nixon.

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NSA Spying on Americans Is Illegal | American Civil Liberties ...

Posted in NSA

EXCLUSIVE NSA Architect: Agency Has ALL of Clintons …

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Speaking as an analyst, Binney raised the possibility that the hack of the Democratic National Committees server was done not by Russia but by a disgruntled U.S. intelligence worker concerned about Clintons compromise of national security secrets via her personal email use.

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Binney was an architect of the NSAs surveillance program. He became a famed whistleblower when he resigned on October 31, 2001, after spending more than 30 years with the agency.

He was speaking on this reporters Sunday radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio, broadcast on New Yorks AM 970 The Answer and Philadelphias NewsTalk 990 AM.

Binney referenced testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2011 by then-FBI Director Robert S. Mueller in which Meuller spoke of the FBIs ability to access various secretive databases to track down known and suspected terrorists.

Stated Binney: Now what he (Mueller) is talking about is going into the NSA database, which is shown of course in the (Edward) Snowden material released, which shows a direct access into the NSA database by the FBI and the CIA. Which there is no oversight of by the way. So that means that NSA and a number of agencies in the U.S. government also have those emails.

So if the FBI really wanted them they can go into that database and get them right now, he stated of Clintons emails as well as DNC emails.

Asked point blank if he believed the NSA has copies of all of Clintons emails, including the deleted correspondence, Binney replied in the affirmative.

Yes, he responded. That would be my point. They have them all and the FBI can get them right there.

Listen to the full interview here:

Binney surmised that the hack of the DNC could have been coordinated by someone inside the U.S. intelligence community angry over Clintons compromise of national security data with her email use.

And the other point is that Hillary, according to an article published by the Observer in March of this year, has a problem with NSA because she compromised Gamma material. Now that is the most sensitive material at NSA. And so there were a number of NSA officials complaining to the press or to the people who wrote the article that she did that. She lifted the material that was in her emails directly out of Gamma reporting. That is a direct compromise of the most sensitive material at the NSA. So shes got a real problem there. So there are many people who have problems with what she has done in the past. So I dont necessarily look at the Russians as the only one(s) who got into those emails.

The Observer defined the GAMMA classification:

GAMMA compartment, which is an NSA handling caveat that is applied to extraordinarily sensitive information (for instance, decrypted conversations between top foreign leadership, as this was).

Aaron Klein is Breitbarts Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, Aaron Klein Investigative Radio. Follow him onTwitter @AaronKleinShow.Follow him onFacebook.

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EXCLUSIVE NSA Architect: Agency Has ALL of Clintons ...

Posted in NSA

PRISM (surveillance program) – Wikipedia

PRISM is a clandestine[1]surveillance program under which the United States National Security Agency (NSA) collects internet communications from at least nine major US internet companies.[2][3][4] Since 2001 the United States government has increased its scope for such surveillance, and so this program was launched in 2007.

PRISM is a government code name for a data-collection effort known officially by the SIGAD US-984XN.[5][6] The PRISM program collects stored internet communications based on demands made to internet companies such as Google Inc. under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 to turn over any data that match court-approved search terms.[7] The NSA can use these PRISM requests to target communications that were encrypted when they traveled across the internet backbone, to focus on stored data that telecommunication filtering systems discarded earlier,[8][9] and to get data that is easier to handle, among other things.[10]

PRISM began in 2007 in the wake of the passage of the Protect America Act under the Bush Administration.[11][12] The program is operated under the supervision of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court, or FISC) pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[13] Its existence was leaked six years later by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who warned that the extent of mass data collection was far greater than the public knew and included what he characterized as "dangerous" and "criminal" activities.[14] The disclosures were published by The Guardian and The Washington Post on June 6, 2013. Subsequent documents have demonstrated a financial arrangement between NSA's Special Source Operations division (SSO) and PRISM partners in the millions of dollars.[15]

Documents indicate that PRISM is "the number one source of raw intelligence used for NSA analytic reports", and it accounts for 91% of the NSA's internet traffic acquired under FISA section 702 authority."[16][17] The leaked information came to light one day after the revelation that the FISA Court had been ordering a subsidiary of telecommunications company Verizon Communications to turn over to the NSA logs tracking all of its customers' telephone calls.[18][19]

U.S. government officials have disputed some aspects of the Guardian and Washington Post stories and have defended the program by asserting it cannot be used on domestic targets without a warrant, that it has helped to prevent acts of terrorism, and that it receives independent oversight from the federal government's executive, judicial and legislative branches.[20][21] On June 19, 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama, during a visit to Germany, stated that the NSA's data gathering practices constitute "a circumscribed, narrow system directed at us being able to protect our people."[22]

PRISM was publicly revealed when classified documents about the program were leaked to journalists of The Washington Post and The Guardian by Edward Snowden at the time an NSA contractor during a visit to Hong Kong.[2][3] The leaked documents included 41 PowerPoint slides, four of which were published in news articles.[2][3]

The documents identified several technology companies as participants in the PRISM program, including Microsoft in 2007, Yahoo! in 2008, Google in 2009, Facebook in 2009, Paltalk in 2009, YouTube in 2010, AOL in 2011, Skype in 2011 and Apple in 2012.[23] The speaker's notes in the briefing document reviewed by The Washington Post indicated that "98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft".[2]

The slide presentation stated that much of the world's electronic communications pass through the U.S., because electronic communications data tend to follow the least expensive route rather than the most physically direct route, and the bulk of the world's internet infrastructure is based in the United States.[16] The presentation noted that these facts provide United States intelligence analysts with opportunities for intercepting the communications of foreign targets as their electronic data pass into or through the United States.[3][16]

Snowden's subsequent disclosures included statements that government agencies such as the United Kingdom's GCHQ also undertook mass interception and tracking of internet and communications data[24] described by Germany as "nightmarish" if true[25] allegations that the NSA engaged in "dangerous" and "criminal" activity by "hacking" civilian infrastructure networks in other countries such as "universities, hospitals, and private businesses",[14] and alleged that compliance offered only very limited restrictive effect on mass data collection practices (including of Americans) since restrictions "are policy-based, not technically based, and can change at any time", adding that "Additionally, audits are cursory, incomplete, and easily fooled by fake justifications",[14] with numerous self-granted exceptions, and that NSA policies encourage staff to assume the benefit of the doubt in cases of uncertainty.[26][27][28]

Below are a number of slides released by Edward Snowden showing the operation and processes behind the PRISM program.

Slide showing that much of the world's communications flow through the U.S.

Details of information collected via PRISM

Slide listing companies and the date that PRISM collection began

Slide showing PRISM's tasking process

Slide showing the PRISM collection dataflow

Slide showing PRISM case numbers

Slide showing the REPRISMFISA Web app

Slide showing some PRISM targets.

Slide fragment mentioning "upstream collection", FAA702, EO 12333, and references yahoo.com explicitly in the text.

FAA702 Operations, and map

FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads "Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority". FAIRVIEW is in the center box.

FAA702 Operations, and map. The subheader reads "Collection only possible under FAA702 Authority". STORMBREW is in the center box.

Tasking, Points to Remember. Transcript of body: Whenever your targets meet FAA criteria, you should consider asking to FAA. Emergency tasking processes exist for [imminent /immediate ] threat to life situations and targets can be placed on [illegible] within hours (surveillance and stored comms). Get to know your Product line FAA adjudicators and FAA leads.

The French newspaper Le Monde disclosed new PRISM slides (See Page 4, 7 and 8) coming from the "PRISM/US-984XN Overview" presentation on October 21, 2013.[29] The British newspaper The Guardian disclosed new PRISM slides (see pages 3 and 6) in November 2013 which on the one hand compares PRISM with the Upstream program, and on the other hand deals with collaboration between the NSA's Threat Operations Center and the FBI.[30]

Wikimedia Commons keeps copies of the leaked PowerPoint slides, and other associated documents.

PRISM is a program from the Special Source Operations (SSO) division of the NSA, which in the tradition of NSA's intelligence alliances, cooperates with as many as 100 trusted U.S. companies since the 1970s.[2] A prior program, the Terrorist Surveillance Program,[31][32] was implemented in the wake of the September 11 attacks under the George W. Bush Administration but was widely criticized and challenged as illegal, because it did not include warrants obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[32][33][34][35][36] PRISM was authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.[16]

PRISM was enabled under President Bush by the Protect America Act of 2007 and by the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunizes private companies from legal action when they cooperate with U.S. government agencies in intelligence collection. In 2012 the act was renewed by Congress under President Obama for an additional five years, through December 2017.[3][37][38] According to The Register, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 "specifically authorizes intelligence agencies to monitor the phone, email, and other communications of U.S. citizens for up to a week without obtaining a warrant" when one of the parties is outside the U.S.[37]

The most detailed description of the PRISM program can be found in a report about NSA's collection efforts under Section 702 FAA, that was released by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) on July 2, 2014.[39]

According to this report, PRISM is only used to collect internet communications, not telephone conversations. These internet communications are not collected in bulk, but in a targeted way: only communications that are to or from specific selectors, like e-mail addresses, can be gathered. Under PRISM, there's no collection based upon keywords or names.[39]

The actual collection process is done by the Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) of the FBI, which on behalf of the NSA sends the selectors to the US internet service providers, which were previously served with a Section 702 Directive. Under this directive, the provider is legally obliged to hand over (to DITU) all communications to or from the selectors provided by the government.[39] DITU then sends these communications to NSA, where they are stored in various databases, depending on their type.

Data, both content and metadata, that already have been collected under the PRISM program, may be searched for both US and non-US person identifiers. These kinds of queries became known as "back-door searches" and are conducted by NSA, FBI and CIA.[40] Each of these agencies has slightly different protocols and safeguards to protect searches with a US person identifier.[39]

Internal NSA presentation slides included in the various media disclosures show that the NSA could unilaterally access data and perform "extensive, in-depth surveillance on live communications and stored information" with examples including email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, voice-over-IP chats (such as Skype), file transfers, and social networking details.[3] Snowden summarized that "in general, the reality is this: if an NSA, FBI, CIA, DIA, etc. analyst has access to query raw SIGINT [signals intelligence] databases, they can enter and get results for anything they want."[14]

According to The Washington Post, the intelligence analysts search PRISM data using terms intended to identify suspicious communications of targets whom the analysts suspect with at least 51 percent confidence to not be U.S. citizens, but in the process, communication data of some U.S. citizens are also collected unintentionally.[2] Training materials for analysts tell them that while they should periodically report such accidental collection of non-foreign U.S. data, "it's nothing to worry about."[2][41]

According to The Guardian, NSA had access to chats and emails on Hotmail.com, Skype, because Microsoft had "developed a surveillance capability to deal" with the interception of chats, and "for Prism collection against Microsoft email services will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption."[42][43][44]

Also according to The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald even low-level NSA analysts are allowed to search and listen to the communications of Americans and other people without court approval and supervision. Greenwald said low level Analysts can, via systems like PRISM, "listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents.[31] And it's all done with no need to go to a court, with no need to even get supervisor approval on the part of the analyst."[45]

He added that the NSA databank, with its years of collected communications, allows analysts to search that database and listen "to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you've entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future."[45] Greenwald was referring in the context of the foregoing quotes to the NSA program X-Keyscore.[46]

Unified Targeting Tool

Shortly after publication of the reports by The Guardian and The Washington Post, the United States Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, on June 7, 2013 released a statement confirming that for nearly six years the government of the United States had been using large internet services companies such as Facebook to collect information on foreigners outside the United States as a defense against national security threats.[18] The statement read in part, "The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies."[48] He went on to say, "Section 702 is a provision of FISA that is designed to facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States. It cannot be used to intentionally target any U.S. citizen, any other U.S. person, or anyone located within the United States."[48] Clapper concluded his statement by stating, "The unauthorized disclosure of information about this important and entirely legal program is reprehensible and risks important protections for the security of Americans."[48] On March 12, 2013, Clapper had told the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the NSA does "not wittingly" collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.[49] Clapper later admitted the statement he made on March 12, 2013 was a lie,[50] or in his words "I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no."[51]

On June 7, 2013 U.S. President Barack Obama, referring to the PRISM program[citation needed] and the NSA's telephone calls logging program, said, "What you've got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved them. Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout."[52] He also said, "You can't have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we're going to have to make some choices as a society."[52] In separate statements, senior Obama administration officials (not mentioned by name in source) said that Congress had been briefed 13 times on the programs since 2009.[53]

On June 8, 2013, Director of National Intelligence Clapper made an additional public statement about PRISM and released a fact sheet providing further information about the program, which he described as "an internal government computer system used to facilitate the government's statutorily authorized collection of foreign intelligence information from electronic communication service providers under court supervision, as authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) (50 U.S.C. 1881a)."[54][55] The fact sheet stated that "the surveillance activities published in The Guardian and the Washington Post are lawful and conducted under authorities widely known and discussed, and fully debated and authorized by Congress."[54] The fact sheet also stated that "the United States Government does not unilaterally obtain information from the servers of U.S. electronic communication service providers. All such information is obtained with FISA Court approval and with the knowledge of the provider based upon a written directive from the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence." It said that the Attorney General provides FISA Court rulings and semi-annual reports about PRISM activities to Congress, "provid[ing] an unprecedented degree of accountability and transparency."[54] Democratic Senators Udall and Wyden, who serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, subsequently criticized the fact sheet as being inaccurate.[clarification needed] NSA Director General Keith Alexander acknowledged the errors, stating that the fact sheet "could have more precisely described" the requirements governing the collection of e-mail and other internet content from U.S. companies. The fact sheet was withdrawn from the NSA's website around June 26.[56]

In a closed-doors Senate hearing around June 11, FBI Director Robert Mueller said that Snowden's leaks had caused "significant harm to our nation and to our safety."[57] In the same Senate NSA Director Alexander defended the program.[further explanation needed] Alexander's defense was immediately criticized by Senators Udall and Wyden, who said they saw no evidence that the NSA programs had produced "uniquely valuable intelligence." In a joint statement, they wrote, "Gen Alexander's testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA's bulk phone records collection program helped thwart 'dozens' of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods."[57][58]

On June 18, NSA Director Alexander said in an open hearing before the House Intelligence Committee of Congress that communications surveillance had helped prevent more than 50 potential terrorist attacks worldwide (at least 10 of them involving terrorism suspects or targets in the United States) between 2001 and 2013, and that the PRISM web traffic surveillance program contributed in over 90 percent of those cases.[59][60][61] According to court records, one example Alexander gave regarding a thwarted attack by al Qaeda on the New York Stock Exchange was not in fact foiled by surveillance.[62] Several senators wrote Director of National Intelligence Clapper asking him to provide other examples.[63]

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told various news outlets that by June 24 they were already seeing what they said was evidence that suspected terrorists had begun changing their communication practices in order to evade detection by the surveillance tools disclosed by Snowden.[64][65]

In contrast to their swift and forceful reactions the previous day to allegations that the government had been conducting surveillance of United States citizens' telephone records, Congressional leaders initially had little to say about the PRISM program the day after leaked information about the program was published. Several lawmakers declined to discuss PRISM, citing its top-secret classification,[66] and others said that they had not been aware of the program.[67] After statements had been released by the President and the Director of National Intelligence, some lawmakers began to comment:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), member of Senate Intelligence Committee and past member of Homeland Security Committee

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), principal sponsor of the Patriot Act

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), a Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)

Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN)

Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-IL)

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Following these statements some lawmakers from both parties warned national security officials during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have allowed for the agency's mass collection of telephone metadata.[77] "Section 215 expires at the end of 2015, and unless you realize you've got a problem, that is not going to be renewed," Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., author of the USA Patriot Act, threatened during the hearing.[77] "It's got to be changed, and you've got to change how you operate section 215. Otherwise, in two and a half years, you're not going to have it anymore."[77]

Leaks of classified documents pointed to the role of a special court in enabling the government's secret surveillance programs, but members of the court maintained they were not collaborating with the executive branch.[78]The New York Times, however, reported in July 2013 that in "more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation's surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks."[79] After Members of the U.S. Congress pressed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to release declassified versions of its secret ruling, the court dismissed those requests arguing that the decisions can't be declassified because they contain classified information.[80]Reggie Walton, the current FISA presiding judge, said in a statement: "The perception that the court is a rubber stamp is absolutely false. There is a rigorous review process of applications submitted by the executive branch, spearheaded initially by five judicial branch lawyers who are national security experts, and then by the judges, to ensure that the court's authorizations comport with what the applicable statutes authorize."[81] The accusation of being a "rubber stamp" was further rejected by Walton who wrote in a letter to Senator Patrick J. Leahy: "The annual statistics provided to Congress by the Attorney General [...]frequently cited to in press reports as a suggestion that the Court's approval rate of application is over 99%reflect only the number of final applications submitted to and acted on by the Court. These statistics do not reflect the fact that many applications are altered to prior or final submission or even withheld from final submission entirely, often after an indication that a judge would not approve them."[82]

The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[83] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[84] A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve "network hygiene" and prevent any classified material from appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.[83] Access to the Washington Post, which also published information on classified NSA surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden, had not been blocked at the time the blocking of access to The Guardian was reported.[84]

The former head of the Austrian Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism, Gert-Ren Polli, stated he knew the PRISM program under a different name and stated that surveillance activities had occurred in Austria as well. Polli had publicly stated in 2009 that he had received requests from US intelligence agencies to do things that would be in violation of Austrian law, which Polli refused to allow.[85][86]

The Australian government has said it will investigate the impact of the PRISM program and the use of the Pine Gap surveillance facility on the privacy of Australian citizens.[87] Australia's former foreign minister Bob Carr said that Australians shouldn't be concerned about PRISM but that cybersecurity is high on the government's list of concerns.[88] The Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop stated that the acts of Edward Snowden were treachery and offered a staunch defence of her nation's intelligence co-operation with America.[89]

Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, responded by cancelling a planned October 2013 state visit to the United States, demanding an official apology, which by October 20, 2013, hadn't come.[90] Also, Rousseff classified the spying as unacceptable between more harsh words in a speech before the UN General Assembly on September 24, 2013.[91] As a result, Boeing lost out on a US$4.5 billion contract for fighter jets to Sweden's Saab Group.[92]

Canada's national cryptologic agency, the Communications Security Establishment (CSEC), said that commenting on PRISM "would undermine CSE's ability to carry out its mandate." Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart lamented Canada's standards when it comes to protecting personal online privacy stating "We have fallen too far behind" in her report. "While other nations' data protection authorities have the legal power to make binding orders, levy hefty fines and take meaningful action in the event of serious data breaches, we are restricted to a 'soft' approach: persuasion, encouragement and, at the most, the potential to publish the names of transgressors in the public interest." And, "when push comes to shove," Stoddart wrote, "short of a costly and time-consuming court battle, we have no power to enforce our recommendations."[93][94]

On 20 October 2013 a committee at the European Parliament backed a measure that, if it is enacted, would require American companies to seek clearance from European officials before complying with United States warrants seeking private data. The legislation has been under consideration for two years. The vote is part of efforts in Europe to shield citizens from online surveillance in the wake of revelations about a far-reaching spying program by the U.S. National Security Agency.[95] Germany and France have also had ongoing mutual talks about how they can keep European email traffic from going across American servers.[96]

On October 21, 2013 the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, summoned the U.S. Ambassador, Charles Rivkin, to the Quai d'Orsay in Paris to protest large-scale spying on French citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). Paris prosecutors had opened preliminary inquiries into the NSA program in July, but Fabius said, " obviously we need to go further" and "we must quickly assure that these practices aren't repeated."[97]

Germany did not receive any raw PRISM data, according to a Reuters report.[98]German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "the internet is new to all of us" to explain the nature of the program; Matthew Schofield of McClatchy Washington Bureau said, "She was roundly mocked for that statement."[99] Gert-Ren Polli, a former Austrian counter-terrorism official, said in 2013 that it is "absurd and unnatural" for the German authorities to pretend not to have known anything.[85][86] The German Army was using PRISM to support its operations in Afghanistan as early as 2011.[100]

In October 2013, it was reported that the NSA monitored Merkel's cell phone.[101] The United States denied the report, but following the allegations, Merkel called President Obama and told him that spying on friends was "never acceptable, no matter in what situation."[102]

Israeli newspaper Calcalist discussed[103] the Business Insider article[104] about the possible involvement of technologies from two secretive Israeli companies in the PRISM programVerint Systems and Narus.

After finding out about the PRISM program, the Mexican Government has started constructing its own spying program to spy on its own citizens. According to Jenaro Villamil a writer from Proceso (magazine), CISEN, Mexico's intelligence agency has started to work with IBM and Hewlett Packard to develop its own data gathering software. "Facebook, Twitter, Emails and other social network sites are going to be priority."[105]

In New Zealand, University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe said that "under what was unofficially known as the Five Eyes Alliance, New Zealand and other governments, including the United States, Australia, Canada, and Britain, dealt with internal spying by saying they didn't do it. But they have all the partners doing it for them and then they share all the information."[106]

Edward Snowden, in a live streamed Google Hangout to Kim Dotcom and Julian Assange alleged that he had received intelligence from New Zealand, and the NSA has listening posts in New Zealand[107]

At a meeting of European Union leaders held the week of 21 October 2013, Mariano Rajoy, Spain's prime minister, said that "spying activities aren't proper among partner countries and allies". On 28 October 2013 the Spanish government summoned the American ambassador, James Costos, to address allegations that the U.S. had collected data on 60 million telephone calls in Spain. Separately, igo Mndez de Vigo, a Spanish secretary of state, referred to the need to maintain "a necessary balance" between security and privacy concerns, but said that the recent allegations of spying, "if proven to be true, are improper and unacceptable between partners and friendly countries".[108]

In the United Kingdom, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which also has its own surveillance program Tempora, had access to the PRISM program on or before June 2010 and wrote 197 reports with it in 2012 alone. But after 2014, the Tempora lost its access to the PRISM programme.[citation needed] The Intelligence and Security Committee of the UK Parliament reviewed the reports GCHQ produced on the basis of intelligence sought from the US. They found in each case a warrant for interception was in place in accordance with the legal safeguards contained in UK law.[109]

In August 2013, The Guardian newspaper's offices were visited by agents from GCHQ, who ordered and supervised the destruction of the hard drives containing information acquired from Snowden.[110]

The original Washington Post and Guardian articles reporting on PRISM noted that one of the leaked briefing documents said PRISM involves collection of data "directly from the servers" of several major internet services providers.[2][3]

Corporate executives of several companies identified in the leaked documents told The Guardian that they had no knowledge of the PRISM program in particular and also denied making information available to the government on the scale alleged by news reports.[3][111] Statements of several of the companies named in the leaked documents were reported by TechCrunch and The Washington Post as follows:[112][113]

In response to the technology companies' denials of the NSA being able to directly access the companies' servers, The New York Times reported that sources had stated the NSA was gathering the surveillance data from the companies using other technical means in response to court orders for specific sets of data.[18]The Washington Post suggested, "It is possible that the conflict between the PRISM slides and the company spokesmen is the result of imprecision on the part of the NSA author. In another classified report obtained by The Post, the arrangement is described as allowing 'collection managers [to send] content tasking instructions directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations,' rather than directly to company servers."[2] "[I]n context, 'direct' is more likely to mean that the NSA is receiving data sent to them deliberately by the tech companies, as opposed to intercepting communications as they're transmitted to some other destination.[113]

"If these companies received an order under the FISA amendments act, they are forbidden by law from disclosing having received the order and disclosing any information about the order at all," Mark Rumold, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told ABC News.[116]

On May 28, 2013, Google was ordered by United States District Court Judge Susan Illston to comply with a National Security Letter issued by the FBI to provide user data without a warrant.[117] Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in an interview with VentureBeat said, "I certainly appreciate that Google put out a transparency report, but it appears that the transparency didn't include this. I wouldn't be surprised if they were subject to a gag order."[118]

The New York Times reported on June 7, 2013, that "Twitter declined to make it easier for the government. But other companies were more compliant, according to people briefed on the negotiations."[119] The other companies held discussions with national security personnel on how to make data available more efficiently and securely.[119] In some cases, these companies made modifications to their systems in support of the intelligence collection effort.[119] The dialogues have continued in recent months, as General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met with executives including those at Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Intel.[119] These details on the discussions provide insight into the disparity between initial descriptions of the government program including a training slide which states, "Collection directly from the servers"[120] and the companies' denials.[119]

While providing data in response to a legitimate FISA request approved by the FISA Court is a legal requirement, modifying systems to make it easier for the government to collect the data is not. This is why Twitter could legally decline to provide an enhanced mechanism for data transmission.[119] Other than Twitter, the companies were effectively asked to construct a locked mailbox and provide the key to the government, people briefed on the negotiations said.[119] Facebook, for instance, built such a system for requesting and sharing the information.[119] Google does not provide a lockbox system, but instead transmits required data by hand delivery or ssh.[121]

In response to the publicity surrounding media reports of data-sharing, several companies requested permission to reveal more public information about the nature and scope of information provided in response to National Security requests.

On June 14, 2013, Facebook reported that the U.S. government had authorized the communication of "about these numbers in aggregate, and as a range." In a press release posted to its web site, the company reported, "For the six months ending December 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal and national security-related requests) was between 9,000 and 10,000." The company further reported that the requests impacted "between 18,000 and 19,000" user accounts, a "tiny fraction of one percent" of more than 1.1 billion active user accounts.[122]

That same day, Microsoft reported that for the same period, it received "between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, subpoenas and orders affecting between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts from U.S. governmental entities (including local, state and federal)" which impacted "a tiny fraction of Microsoft's global customer base."[123]

Google issued a statement criticizing the requirement that data be reported in aggregated form, stating that lumping national security requests with criminal request data would be "a step backwards" from its previous, more detailed practices on its website's transparency report. The company said that it would continue to seek government permission to publish the number and extent of FISA requests.[124]

Cisco Systems saw a huge drop in export sales because of fears that the National Security Agency could be using backdoors in its products.[125]

On September 12, 2014, Yahoo! reported the U.S. Government threatened the imposition of $250,000 in fines per day if Yahoo didn't hand over user data as part of the NSA's PRISM program.[126] It is not known if other companies were threatened or fined for not providing data in response to a legitimate FISA requests.

The New York Times editorial board charged that the Obama administration "has now lost all credibility on this issue,"[127] and lamented that "for years, members of Congress ignored evidence that domestic intelligence-gathering had grown beyond their control, and, even now, few seem disturbed to learn that every detail about the public's calling and texting habits now reside in a N.S.A. database."[128] It wrote with respect to the FISA-Court in context of PRISM that it is "a perversion of the American justice system" when "judicial secrecy is coupled with a one-sided presentation of the issues."[129] According to the New York Times, "the result is a court whose reach is expanding far beyond its original mandate and without any substantive check."[129]

James Robertson, a former federal district judge based in Washington who served on the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for three years between 2002 and 2005 and who ruled against the Bush administration in the landmark Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, said FISA court is independent but flawed because only the government's side is represented effectively in its deliberations. "Anyone who has been a judge will tell you a judge needs to hear both sides of a case," said James Robertson.[130] Without this judges do not benefit from adversarial debate. He suggested creating an advocate with security clearance who would argue against government filings.[131] Robertson questioned whether the secret FISA court should provide overall legal approval for the surveillance programs, saying the court "has turned into something like an administrative agency." Under the changes brought by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded the US government's authority by forcing the court to approve entire surveillance systems and not just surveillance warrants as it previously handled, "the court is now approving programmatic surveillance. I don't think that is a judicial function."[130] Robertson also said he was "frankly stunned" by the New York Times report[79] that FISA court rulings had created a new body of law broadening the ability of the NSA to use its surveillance programs to target not only terrorists but suspects in cases involving espionage, cyberattacks and weapons of mass destruction.[130]

Former CIA analyst Valerie Plame Wilson and former U.S. diplomat Joseph Wilson, writing in an op-ed article published in The Guardian, said that "Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision."[132]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an international non-profit digital-rights group based in the U.S., is hosting a tool, by which an American resident can write to their government representatives regarding their opposition to mass spying.[133]

The Obama administration's argument that NSA surveillance programs such as PRISM and Boundless Informant had been necessary to prevent acts of terrorism was challenged by several parties. Ed Pilkington and Nicholas Watt of The Guardian said of the case of Najibullah Zazi, who had planned to bomb the New York City Subway, that interviews with involved parties and U.S. and British court documents indicated that the investigation into the case had actually been initiated in response to "conventional" surveillance methods such as "old-fashioned tip-offs" of the British intelligence services, rather than to leads produced by NSA surveillance.[134] Michael Daly of The Daily Beast stated that even though Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who conducted the Boston Marathon bombing with his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had visited the Al Qaeda-affiliated Inspire magazine website, and even though Russian intelligence officials had raised concerns with U.S. intelligence officials about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, PRISM did not prevent him from carrying out the Boston attacks. Daly observed that, "The problem is not just what the National Security Agency is gathering at the risk of our privacy but what it is apparently unable to monitor at the risk of our safety."[135]

Ron Paul, a former Republican member of Congress and prominent libertarian, thanked Snowden and Greenwald and denounced the mass surveillance as unhelpful and damaging, urging instead more transparency in U.S. government actions.[136] He called Congress "derelict in giving that much power to the government," and said that had he been elected president, he would have ordered searches only when there was probable cause of a crime having been committed, which he said was not how the PRISM program was being operated.[137]

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman defended limited government surveillance programs intended to protect the American people from terrorist acts:

Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened. But I worry even more about another 9/11. ... If there were another 9/11, I fear that 99 percent of Americans would tell their members of Congress: "Do whatever you need to do to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again." That is what I fear most. That is why I'll reluctantly, very reluctantly, trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and e-mail addressesand then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congressto prevent a day where, out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime.[138]

Political commentator David Brooks similarly cautioned that government data surveillance programs are a necessary evil: "if you don't have mass data sweeps, well, then these agencies are going to want to go back to the old-fashioned eavesdropping, which is a lot more intrusive."[139]

Conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer worried less about the legality of PRISM and other NSA surveillance tools than about the potential for their abuse without more stringent oversight. "The problem here is not constitutionality. ... We need a toughening of both congressional oversight and judicial review, perhaps even some independent outside scrutiny. Plus periodic legislative revisionsay, reauthorization every couple of yearsin light of the efficacy of the safeguards and the nature of the external threat. The object is not to abolish these vital programs. It's to fix them."[140]

In a blog post, David Simon, the creator of The Wire, compared the NSA's programs, including PRISM, to a 1980s effort by the City of Baltimore to add dialed number recorders to all pay phones to know which individuals were being called by the callers;[141] the city believed that drug traffickers were using pay phones and pagers, and a municipal judge allowed the city to place the recorders. The placement of the dialers formed the basis of the show's first season. Simon argued that the media attention regarding the NSA programs is a "faux scandal."[141][142] Simon had stated that many classes of people in American society had already faced constant government surveillance.

Political theorist, and frequent critic of U.S. government policies, Noam Chomsky argued, "Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy which is their own population."[143]

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted June 11 through 13 found that 66% of Americans generally supported the program.[144][145][Notes 1] However, a Quinnipiac University poll conducted June 28 through July 8 found that 45% of registered voters think the surveillance programs have gone too far, with 40% saying they do not go far enough, compared to 25% saying they had gone too far and 63% saying not far enough in 2010.[146] Other polls have shown similar shifts in public opinion as revelations about the programs were leaked.[147][148]

In terms of economic impact, a study released in August by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation[149] found that the disclosure of PRISM could cost the U.S. economy between $21.5 and $35 billion in lost cloud computing business over three years.[150][151][152][153]

Sentiment around the world was that of general displeasure upon learning the extent of world communication data mining. Some national leaders spoke against the NSA and some spoke against their own national surveillance. One national minister had scathing comments on the National Security Agency's data-mining program, citing Benjamin Franklin: "The more a society monitors, controls, and observes its citizens, the less free it is."[154] Some question if the costs of hunting terrorists now overshadows the loss of citizen privacy.[155][156]

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Court rules NSA program illegal – CNNPolitics.com

The government has argued it has the power to carry forward with the program under a section of the Patriot Act, which expires in June. Lawmakers are locked in a debate on whether or how to renew the authority, which was first passed shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington, but has been renewed by both Presidents Bush and Obama in the intervening years.

Documents confirming the program's existence were first revealed in June of 2013 with the leaks by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

The decision by a three-judge panel that the phone record collection program, which was mostly secret for nearly a decade, is not supported by the current version of the law, will certainly enter into the brewing political debate over renewing it.

RELATED: Why the NSA decision matters

Judge Gerard E. Lynch, writing for a three judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, said the program "exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized."

Lynch wrote that the text of the Patriot Act "cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program."

The Court did not address the larger question of whether the program is constitutional and sent the case back down to a lower court for further proceedings. It noted that the section of the Patriot Act that the government said authorized the law - Section 215 - is set to expire in early June.

"In light of the asserted national security interests at stake, we deem it prudent to pause to allow an opportunity for debate in Congress that may (or may not) profoundly alter the legal landscape," Lynch wrote.

He was clearly concerned with the scope of the program. He wrote the "sheer volume of information sought is staggering."

Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican who is also running for president, defended the NSA program on the Senate floor shortly after the court decision was made public.

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Groups push to end NSA spying before June

WASHINGTON The National Security Agencys authority to collect the phone records of millions of people is scheduled to end on June 1, and a bipartisan privacy coalition of 39 organizations wants to make sure it stays that way.

The new coalition, Fight215.org, is asking Congress to end Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which requires phone carriers to hand over the call records of American citizens to the NSA.

While NSA surveillance has been in the news for nearly two years following the first disclosures from former NSA contractor Edward Snowdens document leak, a number of Congressional attempts to reform the agency have failed.

For example, Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, who promised during his announcement to run for the GOP presidential nomination to end the bulk collection program, voted no against the USA FREEDOM Act in Nov. 2014 because it would have extended the Section 215 program for another two years.

The coalition includes a range of organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press Action Fund, DownsizeDC, TechFreedom, Fight for the Future, R Street Institute, and Human Rights Watch and the Sunlight Foundation.

Berin Szoka, president of TechFreedom, said in a statement calling upon Congress to act, of course the NSA plays a valuable role in protecting Americans, but it must and can do that consistent with the Fourth Amendment, which bars indiscriminate surveillance of innocent Americans with no connection to national security threats.

Click here for more from Watchdog.org.

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The NSA wants front door access to your encrypted data

Last December, I had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands to meet with multiple European tech companies, web hosts, and other infrastructure providers. The topic of intelligence agency backdoors and US corporate involvement with such policies came up more than once, often in not-entirely-friendly ways. Its therefore refreshing to see the head of the NSA, Admiral Michael S. Rogers, state up front that the NSA isnt interested in a backdoor solution to digital surveillance. Instead, he wants a so-called front-door solution which could be even worse.

Instead of handing the NSA a unilateral window into encrypted communications taking place at Google or Apple, Rogers suggested a future in which the encryption keys to access such information would be divided between at least two groups possibly more. In the simplest example, Google would retain half the key, while the NSA held the other half. Thus, the agency wouldnt be able to unilaterally snoop inside anyones files it would need Googles support.

I dont want a back door, Rogers, the director of the nations top electronic spy agency, said during a speech at Princeton University, according to the Washington Post. I want a front door. And I want the front door to have multiple locks. Big locks.

The first problem with Rogers proposed front-door solution is that its a meaningless feel-good measure given the current regulatory structure of our national security system. Before the Snowden leaks, Google, Microsoft, and other digital providers were forbidden from disclosing that theyd received national security letters, even in aggregate. Thanks to Snowden, we now know that Yahoo went to bat for users, challenging the legality and authority of the NSA and lost, every time.

Giving half a key to Google or Yahoo would be meaningless unless the company possesses the authority to refuse to use it. In theory, the court system offers robust oversight of how such capabilities are used. In practice, the FISA court has operated more like a rubber stamp body than an organization devoted to judicial oversight. The government, as a whole, doesnt currently have a great track record of respecting suspects rights the FBI is on record as ordering local police departments to drop cases rather than disclose how secret stingray hardware may have been used in ways that fundamentally violate those suspects Fourth Amendment rights.

The other systemic problem with Rogers suggestion is that it assumes a degree of trust between corporations and government at a time when such good feelings are at an all-time low. The NSA has demonstrated no practical ability to differentiate between friend and foe. Its decision to hoover up data running across Googles transatlantic cables may have been legal, but it illustrated a total lack of respect for Google and a willingness to resort to extrajudicial methods when it was convenient.

The NSA could avoid this problem by sharing the key with government-appointed escrows rather than corporations, but this simply hides the process from public view. Thats already extremely problematic.

The technological problems with the NSAs front-door policy are formidable. The divide the key among trusted parties, approach isnt new the NSA proposed exactly this method of securing its ill-fated Clipper Chip in the early 1990s. At the time, the newly-formed EFF and other consumer advocacy agencies battled the NSAs proposed system, noting that it exposed citizens to increased surveillance while providing no assurance that the cryptographic standard, dubbed Skipjack, was actually secure.

Many of these questions would remain in any escrow system the government dreamed up today. The basic question is, is it possible to design a completely secure system to hold a master key available to the U.S. government but not adversaries, said Donna Dodson, chief cybersecurity adviser at the Commerce Departments National Institute of Standards and Technologies. Theres no way to do this where you dont have unintentional vulnerabilities.

Hackers, generally speaking, dont go after the code itself or attempt to brute-force it instead, they work to compromise the organizations that hold the keys, or find other avenues of attack. Splitting the key into parts is only an advantage if the parts cant be combined or analyzed for clues to the final key structure. In order to function properly, every escrow needs to be secure, and every one-time access key needs to be destroyed.

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