Friday, January 17, 2014

EXPOSED: High-Level NSA Official Says Metadata Illegally Used To Prosecute Average Citizens For Everything From Drug Dealing To Tax Evasion

Former Top NSA Official: “We Are Now In A Police State”





32-year NSA Veteran Who Created Mass Surveillance System Says Government Use of Data Gathered Through Spying “Is a Totalitarian Process”

EXPOSED: High-Level NSA Official Says Metadata Illegally Used To Prosecute Average Citizens For Everything From Drug Dealing To Tax Evasion

Bill Binney is the high-level NSA executive who created the agency’s mass surveillance program for digital information. A 32-year NSA veteran widely regarded as a “legend” within the agency, Binney was the senior technical director within the agency and managed thousands of NSA employees.
Binney has been interviewed by virtually all of the mainstream media, including CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, USA Today, Fox News, PBS and many others.
Last year, Binney held his thumb and forefinger close together, and said:
We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.
But today, Binney told Washington’s Blog that the U.S. has already become a police state.
By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.
All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.
This is a bigger deal than you may realize, as legal experts say that there are so many federal and state laws in the United States, that no one can keep track of them all … and everyone violates laws every day without even knowing it.
The NSA also ships Americans’ most confidential, sensitive information to foreign countries like Israel (and here), the UK and other countries … so they can “unmask” the information and give it back to the NSA … or use it for their own purposes.
Binney told us today:
The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs [is] for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].
These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.
So, they have to do a “Parallel Construction” and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a “planned programed perjury policy” directed by US law enforcement.
And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to “Foreign Counterparts.”
This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.
Here are the two slides which Binney pointed us to:
A slide from a presentation about a secretive information-sharing program run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division (SOD) is seen in this undated photo (Reuters / John Shiffman)
A slide from a presentation about a secretive information-sharing program run by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division (SOD) is seen in this undated photo (Reuters / John Shiffman)
(Source: Reuters via RT; SOD stands for “Special Operations Division,” a branch of a federal government agency.)
We asked Binney a follow-up question:
You say “this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’” Does that mean that foreign agencies can also “launder” the info gained from NSA spying? Or that data gained through foreign agencies’ spying can be “laundered” and used by U.S. agencies?
Binney responded:
For countries like the five eyes (US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand) and probably some others it probably works both ways. But for others that have relationships with FBI or DEA etc., they probably are given the data to used to arrest people but are not told the source or given copies of the data.

The Benghazi Transcripts: Top Defense officials briefed Obama on ‘attack,’ not video or protest


Minutes after the American consulate in Benghazi came under assault on Sept. 11, 2012, the nation's top civilian and uniformed defense officials -- headed for a previously scheduled Oval Office session with President Obama -- were informed that the event was a "terrorist attack," declassified documents show. The new evidence raises the question of why the top military men, one of whom was a member of the president's Cabinet, allowed him and other senior Obama administration officials to press a false narrative of the Benghazi attacks for two weeks afterward. 

Gen. Carter Ham, who at the time was head of AFRICOM, the Defense Department combatant command with jurisdiction over Libya, told the House in classified testimony last year that it was him who broke the news about the unfolding situation in Benghazi to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The tense briefing -- in which it was already known that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens had been targeted and had gone missing -- occurred just before the two senior officials departed the Pentagon for their session with the commander in chief. 
According to declassified testimony obtained by Fox News, Ham -- who was working out of his Pentagon office on the afternoon of Sept. 11 -- said he learned about the assault on the consulate compound within 15 minutes of its commencement, at 9:42 p.m. Libya time, through a call he received from the AFRICOM Command Center. 
"My first call was to General Dempsey, General Dempsey's office, to say, 'Hey, I am headed down the hall. I need to see him right away,'" Ham told lawmakers on the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation on June 26 of last year. "I told him what I knew. We immediately walked upstairs to meet with Secretary Panetta."
Ham's account of that fateful day was included in some 450 pages of testimony given by senior Pentagon officials in classified, closed-door hearings conducted last year by the Armed Services subcommittee. The testimony, given under "Top Secret" clearance and only declassified this month, presents a rare glimpse into how information during a crisis travels at the top echelons of America's national security apparatus, all the way up to the president. 
Also among those whose secret testimony was declassified was Dempsey, the first person Ham briefed about Benghazi. Ham told lawmakers he considered it a fortuitous "happenstance" that he was able to rope Dempsey and Panetta into one meeting, so that, as Ham put it, "they had the basic information as they headed across for the meeting at the White House." Ham also told lawmakers he met with Panetta and Dempsey when they returned from their 30-minute session with President Obama on Sept. 11.
Armed Services Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., sitting in on the subcommittee's hearing with Ham last June, reserved for himself an especially sensitive line of questioning: namely, whether senior Obama administration officials, in the very earliest stages of their knowledge of Benghazi, had any reason to believe that the assault grew spontaneously out of a demonstration over an anti-Islam video produced in America.
Numerous aides to the president and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly told the public in the weeks following the murder of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans that night -- as Obama's hotly contested bid for re-election was entering its final stretch -- that there was no evidence the killings were the result of a premeditated terrorist attack, but rather were the result of a protest gone awry. Subsequent disclosures exposed the falsity of that narrative, and the Obama administration ultimately acknowledged that its early statements on Benghazi were untrue. 
"In your discussions with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta," McKeon asked, "was there any mention of a demonstration or was all discussion about an attack?" Ham initially testified that there was some "peripheral" discussion of this subject, but added "at that initial meeting, we knew that a U.S. facility had been attacked and was under attack, and we knew at that point that we had two individuals, Ambassador Stevens and Mr. [Sean] Smith, unaccounted for."
Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a first-term lawmaker with experience as an Iraq war veteran and Army reserve officer, pressed Ham further on the point, prodding the 29-year Army veteran to admit that "the nature of the conversation" he had with Panetta and Dempsey was that "this was a terrorist attack." 
The transcript reads as follows: 
WENSTRUP: "As a military person, I am concerned that someone in the military would be advising that this was a demonstration. I would hope that our military leadership would be advising that this was a terrorist attack." 
HAM: "Again, sir, I think, you know, there was some preliminary discussion about, you know, maybe there was a demonstration. But I think at the command, I personally and I think the command very quickly got to the point that this was not a demonstration, this was a terrorist attack." 
WENSTRUP: "And you would have advised as such if asked. Would that be correct?" 
HAM: "Well, and with General Dempsey and Secretary Panetta, that is the nature of the conversation we had, yes, sir." 
Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of last year that it was him who informed the president that "there was an apparent attack going on in Benghazi." "Secretary Panetta, do you believe that unequivocally at that time we knew that this was a terrorist attack?" asked Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla. "There was no question in my mind that this was a terrorist attack," Panetta replied.
Senior State Department officials who were in direct, real-time contact with the Americans under assault in Benghazi have also made clear they, too, knew immediately -- from surveillance video and eyewitness accounts -- that the incident was a terrorist attack. After providing the first substantive "tick-tock" of the events in Benghazi, during a background briefing conducted on the evening of Oct. 9, 2012, a reporter asked two top aides to then-Secretary Clinton: "What in all of these events that you've described led officials to believe for the first several days that this was prompted by protests against the video?" 
"That is a question that you would have to ask others," replied one of the senior officials. "That was not our conclusion."
Ham's declassified testimony further underscores that Obama's earliest briefing on Benghazi was solely to the effect that the incident was a terrorist attack, and raises once again the question of how the narrative about the offensive video, and a demonstration that never occurred, took root within the White House as the explanation for Benghazi. 
The day after the attacks, which marked the first killing of an American ambassador in the line of duty since 1979, Obama strode to the Rose Garden to comment on the loss, taking pains in his statement to say: "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others." As late as Sept. 24, during an appearance on the talk show "The View," when asked directly by co-host Joy Behar if Benghazi had been "an act of terrorism," the president hedged, saying: "Well, we're still doing an investigation." 
The declassified transcripts show that beyond Ham, Panetta and Dempsey, other key officers and channels throughout the Pentagon and its combatant commands were similarly quick to label the incident a terrorist attack. In a classified session on July 31 of last year, Westrup raised the question with Marine Corps Col. George Bristol, commander of AFRICOM's Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Trans Sahara region. 
Bristol, who was traveling in Dakar, Senegal when the attack occurred, said he received a call from the Joint Operations Center alerting him to "a considerable event unfolding in Libya." Bristol's next call was to Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson, an Army commander stationed in Tripoli. Gibson informed Bristol that Stevens was missing, and that "there was a fight going on" at the consulate compound.
WESTRUP: "So no one from the military was ever advising, that you are aware of, that this was a demonstration gone out of control, it was always considered an attack -" 
BRISTOL: "Yes, sir." 
WENSTRUP: "-- on the United States?" 
BRISTOL: "Yes, sir. ... We referred to it as the attack."
Staffers on the Armed Services subcommittee conducted nine classified sessions on the Benghazi attacks, and are close to issuing what they call an "interim" report on the affair. Fox News reported in October their preliminary conclusion that U.S. forces on the night of the Benghazi attacks were postured in such a way as to make military rescue or intervention impossible -- a finding that buttresses the claims of Dempsey and other senior Pentagon officials.
While their investigation continues, staffers say they still want to question Panetta directly. But the former defense secretary, now retired, has resisted such calls for additional testimony. 
"He is in the president's Cabinet," said Rep. Martha Roby R-Ala., chair of the panel that collected the testimony, of Panetta. "The American people deserve the truth. They deserve to know what's going on, and I honestly think that that's why you have seen -- beyond the tragedy that there was a loss of four Americans' lives -- is that  the American people feel misled." 
"Leon Panetta should have spoken up," agreed Kim R. Holmes, a former assistant secretary of state under President George W. Bush and now a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation. "The people at the Pentagon and frankly, the people at the CIA stood back while all of this was unfolding and allowed this narrative to go on longer than they should have." 
Neither Panetta's office nor the White House responded to Fox News' requests for comment.
James Rosen joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 1999. He currently serves as the chief Washington correspondent and hosts the online show "The Foxhole."

The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency has implanted software in nearly 100,000 computers around the world that allows the United States to conduct surveillance on those machines and can also create a digital highway for launching cyberattacks.

While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.
The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.

The radio frequency technology has helped solve one of the biggest problems facing American intelligence agencies for years: getting into computers that adversaries, and some American partners, have tried to make impervious to spying or cyberattack. In most cases, the radio frequency hardware must be physically inserted by a spy, a manufacturer or an unwitting user.
The N.S.A. calls its efforts more an act of “active defense” against foreign cyberattacks than a tool to go on the offensive. But when Chinese attackers place similar software on the computer systems of American companies or government agencies, American officials have protested, often at the presidential level.
Among the most frequent targets of the N.S.A. and its Pentagon partner, United States Cyber Command, have been units of the Chinese Army, which the United States has accused of launching regular digital probes and attacks on American industrial and military targets, usually to steal secrets or intellectual property. But the program, code-named Quantum, has also been successful in inserting software into Russian military networks and systems used by the Mexican police and drug cartels, trade institutions inside the European Union, and sometime partners against terrorism like Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, according to officials and an N.S.A. map that indicates sites of what the agency calls “computer network exploitation.”
“What’s new here is the scale and the sophistication of the intelligence agency’s ability to get into computers and networks to which no one has ever had access before,” said James Andrew Lewis, the cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “Some of these capabilities have been around for a while, but the combination of learning how to penetrate systems to insert software and learning how to do that using radio frequencies has given the U.S. a window it’s never had before.”

How the N.S.A. Uses Radio Frequencies to Penetrate Computers

The N.S.A. and the Pentagon’s Cyber Command have implanted nearly 100,000 “computer network exploits” around the world, but the hardest problem is getting inside machines isolated from outside communications.

Transmission distance of up to eight miles
Data and malware are transmitted
over a covert radio frequency
1. Tiny transceivers are built into USB plugs and inserted into target computers. Small circuit boards may be placed in the computers themselves.
2. The transceivers communicate with a briefcase- size N.S.A. field station, or hidden relay station, up to eight miles away.

3. The field station communicates back to the N.S.A.’s Remote Operations Center.
4. It can also transmit malware, including the kind used in attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

No Domestic Use Seen  ( RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )
There is no evidence that the N.S.A. has implanted its software or used its radio frequency technology inside the United States. While refusing to comment on the scope of the Quantum program, the N.S.A. said its actions were not comparable to China’s.
“N.S.A.'s activities are focused and specifically deployed against — and only against — valid foreign intelligence targets in response to intelligence requirements,” Vanee Vines, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement. “We do not use foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to — U.S. companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line.”
Over the past two months, parts of the program have been disclosed in documents from the trove leaked by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. A Dutch newspaper published the map of areas where the United States has inserted spy software, sometimes in cooperation with local authorities, often covertly. Der Spiegel, a German newsmagazine, published the N.S.A.'s catalog of hardware products that can secretly transmit and receive digital signals from computers, a program called ANT. The New York Times withheld some of those details, at the request of American intelligence officials, when it reported, in the summer of 2012, on American cyberattacks on Iran.
President Obama is scheduled to announce on Friday what recommendations he is accepting from an advisory panel on changing N.S.A. practices. The panel agreed with Silicon Valley executives that some of the techniques developed by the agency to find flaws in computer systems undermine global confidence in a range of American-made information products like laptop computers and cloud services.
Embracing Silicon Valley’s critique of the N.S.A., the panel has recommended banning, except in extreme cases, the N.S.A. practice of exploiting flaws in common software to aid in American surveillance and cyberattacks. It also called for an end to government efforts to weaken publicly available encryption systems, and said the government should never develop secret ways into computer systems to exploit them, which sometimes include software implants.
Richard A. Clarke, an official in the Clinton and Bush administrations who served as one of the five members of the advisory panel, explained the group’s reasoning in an email last week, saying that “it is more important that we defend ourselves than that we attack others.”