Tag Archives: NSA

Already Compromised

How things are heating up between the White House and the spooks is evidenced by a new report that the CIA has denied a security clearance to one of Flynn’s acolytes. Rob Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer selected to head up the NSC’s Africa desk, was denied a clearance to see Sensitive Compartmented Information (which is required to have access to SIGINT in particular). Why Townley’s SCI was turned down isn’t clear—it could be over personal problems or foreign ties—but the CIA’s stand has been privately denounced by the White House, which views this as a vendetta against Flynn. That the Townley SCI denial was reportedly endorsed by Mike Pompeo, the new CIA director selected by Trump himself, only adds to the pain.

There is more consequential IC pushback happening, too. Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.

In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.

What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

None of this has happened in Washington before. A White House with unsettling links to Moscow wasn’t something anybody in the Pentagon or the Intelligence Community even considered a possibility until a few months ago. Until Team Trump clarifies its strange relationship with the Kremlin, and starts working on its professional honesty, the IC will approach the administration with caution and concern.

Seriously, between the most recent disclosures concerning the OMP‘s White House, and the earliest hint of treason from the Panama Papers, this news should be sufficient reason to start impeachment hearings.

What are we waiting for – it isn’t going to get any better, folks.

Wake up.

Corruption and Incompetence

Surveillance Society

Historically it starts with the Brownshirts and then moves into the general populace, so…

A major element of the Defense Department’s new program to better detect insider threats will be up and running by next month, at least on an initial operating capability basis, a top Pentagon security official said last week.

The DoD Insider Threat Management Analysis Center (DITMAC) will be in charge of collecting and coordinating potentially “adverse” information about Defense employees and other people with access to DoD facilities including automated criminal records checks, tracking cases of possible insider threats and helping to decide whether intervention of some kind is warranted.

“It really is intended to be the central hub for the department’s insider threat programs,” said Carrie Wibben, the director for security and policy oversight within the office of the undersecretary of Defense for intelligence. “They are focused on establishing a lot of the enterprise capabilities — the things that we don’t want all 43 of our components doing on their own or duplicating. That means behavioral analysis, predictive analytics, risk rating tools and insider threat systems for centralized reporting.”

After the DITMAC is up and running and serving as a central information clearinghouse, DoD plans to shift its focus to helping the military departments and combatant commands establish their own “hubs” that will feed information of potential concern into the DITMAC.

Between Obama’s Drones Over Amerika program, the FBI’s spy planes, NSA’s illegal internet/phone data collection programs, the nation’s seemingly ubiquitous red light camera programs combined with ANPR camera systems, plus all the crap DARPA is up to…not to mention the shit we don’t know about, Amerika has become a seriously scary place.

Did you know, for example, that every cabinet level Department (EPA, Education, Interior et al) must host representatives of the DHS?

Have you heard of, for example, the government-only whisper-stream surrounding global warming contraction? It has to do with how the catastrophic effects of global warming might best be mitigated. One of the more popular strategies has to do with population attrition. The seas are already rising, storms are already stronger and more fierce than ever before, the toll in human lives rising exponentially. Drought is just as bad in other parts of the world. Super tornadoes and hurricanes. Tsunamis. The common element between these increasing disasters is they disproportionately effect the poorest, least resourceful nations of the world, countries without the inherent infrastructure or administrative ability to recover. Truthfully, nations that can barely feed, cloth and provide basic necessities for their populace.

These quiet hallway discussions revolve around the idea that it’s far too late to prevent what’s coming 1, that ship sailed well over a decade ago, so the best that can be done is to contract our resources in order to maintain and guard our critical infrastructure and essential populace, while waiting for the (literal) storms to wean the global populace such that humans realign with the world’s available resources.

Put another way, it seems the plan is to deliberately let perhaps a couple billion people die without lifting a hand.

Some of WDC’s pointy heads think this will take a century to accomplish.

And you’ll notice we said essential populace, n’est-ce pas? Truthfully, do you think you fit that description? Or is it more likely that you’ll be left to fend for yourself while our leaders and essential business folks are safely ensconced somewhere else? 2

Meanwhile if you’re a Fed, or are neighbors with a Fed, or married someone who’s sibling or parent is a Fed, or are friends with a Fed, try to stay on their good side. Above all, don’t ever act in a  “suspicious” manner. Not if you don’t want your actions to be catalogued, reported on and submitted to yet another database.

surveillance society

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Regardless of the public posturing of politicians –that, after all, is merely a sop to the morons to keep the pols in office; no one really wants to leave a do-nothing job with great perks and suddenly have to become competent enough to be hired out in the real world.
  2. Much as we really really really want DARPA’s 100 Year Starship initiative to be on the up and up, think about it for a moment: 100 years in space? NASA, nor none of the new private rocket ship enterprises, are within 50 years of launching such a craft. The closest project, if they are to be believed, is Mars One, and they don’t anticipate launching humans –assuming no major roadblocks– until 2026. No, it’s far more likely DARPA’s planning a special resort for essential personnel. Paranoid? Have you actually read the rest of this post?

H.R. 2048

Man, do the hits keep on coming or what?

Congress seems intent on reauthorizing the Patriot Act after a mere hour of discussion today. And what will this paragon of a bill actually do?

  • Extend Section 215 of the Patriot Act until 2019 while modernizing it (in order to suck up more information on the devices we use most commonly.)
  • Expand the type of information the government can access, adding VoIP,  video chats (Skype), and will also likely allow the government to access all data related to smartphone activity.
  • The current claim is the new bill will end bulk collection, BUT would allow the Feds to continue collecting data by using broader search terms to target bigger portions of the populace as well as  anyone who is “connected” to those targets.
  • Provide legal immunity to companies that violate privacy laws. To add insult to injury the Feds will also pays them to participate in handing over data to the government. That’s right, yet another scheme to give your tax dollars to the very jackanapes spying on us.
  • It will create broad “emergency” powers for the government to collect all kinds of personal data without prior court approval. Limits? We doan need no stinkin’ limits!
  • Allows the FBI to access data collected for counterterrorism investigations and use it for investigations outside of counterterrorism cases. The FBI can then set up permanent gag orders to prevent public oversight into their use of this data.
  • It will create a new public advocate at the FISA court…but then lets the government block that advocate from seeing any and all information they choose to keep secret.

In other words this bill will prevent *real* NSA reform. Yea for that, right?

It may be too late to thwart the bill, but it won’t hurt to try. You can tell Congress exactly how you feel by traveling here.

H.R. 2048

Parallel Construction

The retired William Binney, ertswhile Director of the N.S.A. (yes, that William Binney), recently gave a longish presentation –complete with slides! — that sought to explain what that infamous Snowden intelligence dump really means.

You need to read this, you really do. Right down to where he explains “parallel construction.” Yes, it’s scarier than you thought.

Yes, I know it’s longish; but that’s longish by today’s Twitter standards. 1 The whole thing should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. Plus? Did I mention Binney did his own PP slides?

Read it.

Wake up, people.
Parallel Construction

Show 1 footnote

  1. Which is itself an ironic oxymoron. Twitter standards: it is to laugh…

Israel

Last September, the Guardian revealed that the NSA “routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens.” The paper published the full top secret Memoranadum of Understanding between the two agencies governing that sharing. But the NSA/ISNU relationship extends far beyond that.

One newly disclosed top secret NSA document, dated April 13, 2013 and published today by the Intercept, recounts that the “NSA maintains a far-reaching technical and analytic relationship with the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU) sharing information on access, intercept, targeting, language, analysis and reporting.”

Specifically, “this SIGINT relationship has increasingly been the catalyst for a broader intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel.” Moreover, “NSA’s cyber partnerships expanded beyond ISNU to include Israeli Defense Intelligence’s [Special Operation Division] SOD and Mossad.”

Under this expanded cooperation, the Americans and Israelis work together to gain access to “geographic targets [that] include the countries of North Africa, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, South Asia, and the Islamic republics of the former Soviet Union.” It also includes “a dedicated communications line between NSA and ISNU [that] supports the exchange of raw material, as well as daily analytic and technical correspondence.”

The relationship has provided Israel with ample support for both intelligence and surveillance: “The Israeli side enjoys the benefits of expanded geographic access to world-class NSA cryptanalytic and SIGINT engineering expertise, and also gains controlled access to advanced U.S. technology and equipment via accommodation buys and foreign military sales.” Among Israel’s priorities for the cooperation are what the NSA calls “Palestinian terrorism.”

(via)
Sunday Afternoon Matinee

Tor

Last week, German journalists revealed that the National Security Agency has a program to collect information about people who use privacy-protecting services, including popular anonymizing software called Tor. But it’s not clear how many users have been affected.

So we did a little sleuthing, and found that the NSA’s targeting list corresponds with the list of directory servers used by Tor between December 2010 and February 2012 – including two servers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tor users connect to the directory servers when they first launch the Tor service.

That means that if you downloaded Tor during 2011, the NSA may have scooped up your computer’s IP address and flagged you for further monitoring. The Tor Project is a nonprofit that receives significant funding from the U.S. government.

We don’t mean to be alarmist, but it seems to us the present has morphed into a Kafkaesque nightmare as suffered by Orwell; who knows what the future will bring?

Well…other than you, personally, being monitored by the NSA: you just landed on a site explaining the fact the NSA is monitoring Tor users, so now you are a target. As soon will be any discrete IP(s) your PC contacts. Which in turn…

Nothing to worry about, we’re sure.

Rêves doux

No Such Agency

Earlier this month, the NSA sent out a Tweet making clear that it did not know about the recently discovered vulnerability in OpenSSL known as Heartbleed. For an agency whose acronym was once said to stand for “No Such Agency,” this step was unusual but consistent with NSA’s efforts to appropriately inform the ongoing discussion related to how it conducts its missions.

While we had no prior knowledge of the existence of Heartbleed, this case has re-ignited debate about whether the federal government should ever withhold knowledge of a computer vulnerability from the public. As with so many national security issues, the answer may seem clear to some, but the reality is much more complicated. One thing is clear: This administration takes seriously its commitment to an open and interoperable, secure and reliable Internet, and in the majority of cases, responsibly disclosing a newly discovered vulnerability is clearly in the national interest. This has been and continues to be the case. 1

– The White House blog

Rêves doux

Show 1 footnote

  1. Take all of the above — as well as the rest of the blog post — with a cow-lick of salt: no such agency has been trying to perfect the man-in-the-middle attack seemingly forever.

Au Courant

This week’s au courant links:

And finally…fashion!!!!!

WNBTv - Good TV!

Show 2 footnotes

  1. The most obvious missing ‘president’ was Camacho from Idiocracy; pretty sure there are others.
  2. There also appears to be another Farscape movie in the works; time will tell