[VIDEO] Bob Woodward: ‘Russian Dossier’ on Trump a ‘Garbage Document’

cia-dump

‘I think they made a mistake here. And when people make mistakes, they should apologize.’

Mark Finkelstein writes:

…not only does Pelosi implicitly accept the scurrilous allegations as true, her implication would seem to be that Trump is being blackmailed…(more)

DONALD TRUMP: A thing like that should never have been had, and it should certainly never have been released.

NANCY PELOSI: I always wondered what did Russia have on Donald Trump?

CHRIS WALLACE: Bob, what do you think, and this is something we discussed with both of our guests, of the way that the intelligence community handled the so-called Russia dossier, and overall, how do you think dossier_3of the way they’ve handled Donald Trump?

BOB WOODWARD: I think what’s underreported here is Trump’s point of view on it. And you laid it out: when those former CIA people said these things about Trump, that he was a recruited agent of the Russians —

WALLACE: — a useful fool

WOODWARD: — yeah, and a useful fool. I mean, they started this in Trump’s mind, he knows the old adage, once a CIA man, always a CIA man. And no one came out and said those people shouldn’t be saying things. So then act two is the briefing when this dossier is put out.

I’ve lived in this world for 45 years, where you get things and people make allegations. That is a garbage document. It never should have been presented as part of an intelligence briefing, as you suggested, other channels have the White House counsel give it to Trump’s incoming White House counsel. Read the rest of this entry »


Pentagon to Sideline Social Experiments in Favor of Core Mission Under Mattis

Under President Obama, the military sought to integrate transgender persons into the ranks, allow women into special operations forces and purge the nomenclature of gender-specific words, adopting what some critics say was a “politically correct” liberal agenda. That’s a contrast to the traditional U.S. military approach.

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

“It has struck this building in a big way and we need to get away from that. Our focus is defending this country, and we should not spend so much time on social engineering.”

In addition, some Navy ships have been named for civil rights activists.  And while the Obama administration has taken an inclusive approach on some issues, it has also worked to minimize expressions of Christianity in the ranks. For example, several officers have been disciplined for displaying Bibles or gospel verses in their quarters.

Veterans and military experts told FoxNews.com that, while some of Obama’s civil rights advancements may be locked in, neither Trump nor his choice for secretary of defense, Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis, are likely to make social experimentation a priority.

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“You need to be known as a good soldier or Marine and not by your sexuality, your gender or your particular faith. We need everyone to pull in the same direction and not espouse a particular personal agenda that doesn’t fit into the nation’s best long-term interest.”

“Here in [the Pentagon], we don’t say merry Christmas, and I think we have been misguided when it comes to our history and who we are as a nation, and political correctness is indicative of that,” Department of Defense contractor and retired Army Col. Robert Maginnis told FoxNews.com.

“It has struck this building in a big way and we need to get away from that. Our focus is defending this country, and we should not spend so much time on social engineering.”

Mattis, who on Thursday goes before the Senate Armed Services Committee as part of his confirmation process, will likely “bring the warrior ethos back to the Pentagon,” Maginnis said.

transsexual-soldier

That mentality was “drained by the Obama administration,” he said. “You need to be known as a good soldier or Marine and not by your sexuality, your gender or your particular faith. We need everyone to pull in the same direction and not espouse a particular personal agenda that doesn’t fit into the nation’s best long-term interest.” Read the rest of this entry »


Intelligence Leaders Confirm Russian Influence Op to Undermine Election

 writes: Russian intelligence agencies sought to influence the 2016 presidential election through coordinated cyber and propaganda activities, three U.S. intelligence leaders told a Senate hearing Thursday.

“This was a multifaceted campaign, so the hacking was only one part of it. It also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.”

—  James Clapper, to the Senate Armed Services Committee

Additionally, Senate testimony revealed that the National Security Agency, the government’s key cyber intelligence and technical spying service, confirmed the Russian intelligence service’s covert cyber and propaganda effort to influence the election campaign.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper previewed a forthcoming government report, to be released as early as Monday, on the Russian intelligence operations that included intrusions into Democratic National Committee computers and the email account of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman, John Podesta.

The Russians then orchestrated the release of hacked internal information through three propaganda conduits in a coordinated campaign.

“Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was with that statement on the 7th of October. I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a more aggressive or direct effort to interfere in our election.”

“This was a multifaceted campaign, so the hacking was only one part of it,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It also entailed classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.”

The forthcoming report will describe the full range of Russian intelligence activities during the campaign, Clapper said.

Clapper confirmed the details of the Oct. 7 statement issued jointly by his office and the Department of Homeland Security accusing Russia of interfering with the 2016 election. That statement identified three entities, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, another site called DCLeaks.com, and a hacker code-named Guccifer 2.0, as the outlets for the hacked information.

General Keith Alexander (L), director of the National Security Agency (NSA) testifies at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington October 29, 2013. Top U.S. intelligence officials appeared at a congressional hearing on Tuesday amid a public uproar that has expanded from anger over the National Security Agency collecting the phone and email records of Americans to spying on European allies. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper watches on at right. REUTERS/Jason Reed

“There’s actually more than one motive, so that’ll be described in the report.”

“Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was with that statement on the 7th of October,” Clapper said. “I don’t think we’ve ever encountered a more aggressive or direct effort to interfere in our election.”

Asked if the earlier assessments about Moscow’s disinformation program had changed, Clapper stated: “No. In fact, if anything, what we’ve since learned just reinforces that statement the 7th of October.”

NSA Director Mike Rogers told the hearing that the report was “done essentially” by the CIA, FBI, and NSA.

The inclusion of NSA in the report is the first time NSA’s role in assessing the Russian cyber attacks was mentioned.

NSA’s capability to monitor foreign cyber intelligence operations is highly advanced. Documents disclosed by renegade NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed the agency in the past has broken into foreign intelligence service networks and stolen information those services were gathering from spies—without being detected. Read the rest of this entry »


Byron York: On Russia Hacks, it’s Jump-to-Conclusions vs. Wait-and-See

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The intelligence community’s response: Fuhgeddaboudit.

Byron York writes: President-elect Trump stirred yet more controversy Saturday night when, as he entered his New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, he said he is not convinced the intelligence community is sure about allegations Russian hackers sought to influence the election.

“I just want them to be sure, because it’s a pretty serious charge,” Trump told reporters, “and I want them to be sure.”

The next morning, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, scoffed at Trump’s statement. “This is the overwhelming judgment of the intelligence community and, frankly, all of the members of the intelligence committees in Congress, Democrats and Republicans,” Schiff said on ABC Sunday. “None of us have any question about this. The only one who does apparently is Donald Trump.”

That is not the case. There are, in fact, members of the intelligence committees who do have questions about this. Yes, many Republicans believe Russian hackers tried to mess with the U.S. presidential campaign in some way, mostly because they believe Russian hackers are always trying to mess with U.S. systems and institutions. But when it comes to solid information on precisely what was done, and on evidence of motives, many Hill Republicans are mostly in the dark — because the intelligence community has kept them there.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Examiner]

Subscribe today to get intelligence and analysis on defense and national security issues in your Inbox each weekday morning from veteran journalists Jamie McIntyre and Jacqueline Klimas.

putin-don-draper-shrug

Remember that before Christmas the intelligence community refused to brief the House Intelligence Committee, telling lawmakers they can wait until intel officials finish the investigation ordered by President Obama. In response, House committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes argued that the Director of National Intelligence was “obligated to comply” with a House request, and that the committee was “deeply concerned” by the DNI’s “intransigence.”

The intelligence community’s response: Fuhgeddaboudit.

So the wait to learn more goes on. Meanwhile, a number of Democrats are arguing that the evidence is so overwhelming that Congress must establish a special investigating committee, even though there will already be multiple investigations of the Russia matter in the standing committees of Congress. Read the rest of this entry »


FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY: Faithless Electors Less Faithful to Clinton

faithless-dems

TRUMPAGEDDON 2.0: For all of the hype about electors switching their vote from reports, the majority of those electors who cast protest votes were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Salena Zito reports: Electoral College voters who were faithless on Monday were more upset with Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy than that of President-elect Trump.

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For all of the hype about electors switching their vote from reports: Trump to anyone but Trump, the majority of those electors who cast protest votes were supposed to vote for Hillary Clinton.

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Four electors in Washington state who were supposed to vote for Clinton instead voted otherwise: three for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and one for a Native American leader. In contrast, just two electors in Texas voted against Trump.

The rules vary by state. In 29 states, electors are legally bound to vote for the winner of their state. The rest are not.

Voters who fail to vote the will of their state are known as faithless electors. “That occurrence is nothing new,” said Paul Sracic, a Youngstown State University political scientist and expert in the electoral college. “There have been approximately 157 electors have done just that in the past 200 plus years.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] James Comey Explains Cheryl Mills’ Immnuity, Why She Was Able to Sit in on Hillary Clinton’s Interview 

On Capitol Hill, Directors James Comey of the F.B.I., John O. Brennan of the C.I.A. and James R. Clapper Jr. of national intelligence. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Capitol Hill, Directors James Comey of the F.B.I., John O. Brennan of the C.I.A. and James R. Clapper Jr. of national intelligence. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images

 

 


‘Trust Us With More Data,’ Say Government Agencies Hacked By A 16-Year-Old 

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Tim Cushing writes: We live in a world where a 16-year-old who goes by the handle of “penis” on Twitter can dive into the servers of two of America’s most secure federal agencies and fish out their internal files.

This 16-year-old is allegedly part of the same crew that socially engineered their way into the inboxes of CIA director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and the administration’s senior advisor on science and technology, John Holdren.

We also — somehow — live in a world where these same agencies are arguing they should be entrusted with massive amounts of data — not just on their own employees, but on thousands of US citizens.

The DHS, FBI and NSA all want more data to flow to them — and through them. The cybersecurity bill that legislators snuck past the public by attaching it as a rider to a “must pass” appropriations bill contains language that would allow each of these affected agencies to partake in “data sharing” with private companies. This would be in addition to the data these agencies already gather on American citizens as part of their day-to-day work.

US-SECURITY-INTELLIGENCE-OBAMA-PROTEST

The DHS — one of the more recent hacking victims — is the only agency that expressed a reluctance to partake in the new data haul. This isn’t because it wouldn’t like to have access to the data, but because it would be the agency responsible for “scrubbing” the data before passing it on to other agencies. DHS officials likely took a look at this requirement and saw it for what it was: a scapegoat provision. Should any legal action or public outcry have resulted from the new “sharing” demands, the DHS would have been the agency offered up to appease the masses.

[Read the full story here, at Techdirt]

Fortunately for the DHS — but less fortunately for anyone concerned about expanding domestic surveillance efforts — this requirement has been altered. A bit. The Attorney General will now examine the DHS’s “scrubbing” efforts and determine whether or not they’re Constitutionally adequate. Of course, the Attorney General is more likely to side with whatever level of scrubbing provides the maximum flow of data to underling agencies like the FBI, so that’s not all that reassuring. On the other hand, it puts the AG in the crosshairs should something backfire.

This is the government that feels it can protect the nation from hackers: the government that can’t protect itself from hackers. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Syrian Refugee Vetting Will Be Indisputably Fallible 

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October 16, 2015, Dan Cadman writes: My colleague Nayla Rush has written a posting about the recent testimony of government witnesses at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the administration’s intent to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the dissolution of their country.

What is happening in Syria is heart-rending, but the key question posed at the hearing was: How safe can Americans feel about the vetting processes in place to screen applicants? The question is sobering, given the Islamist extremism that predominates in Syria, where the United States futilely spent half of a billion dollars trying to find enough “moderate” fighters to combat the Assad regime, only to give up in disgust when the last batch surrendered their weapons, munitions, and equipment to the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in order to buy their way out of a jam.

The government witnesses (more like sacrificial lambs; none of them sit at the highest levels of agency or cabinet departments involved) did their best, obliged as they were to toe the White House party line on the issue, but frankly were unpersuasive and the assurances they gave rang hollow, as Rush has pointed out.

There are three critical ways in which our vetting procedures make us vulnerable:

“Flying under the radar”. As I have noted before, our vetting is heavily oriented toward electronic systems — databases with biographical information about known or suspected terrorists, sometimes with biometrics (fingerprints or photos). But what do you do if they aren’t known and have no fingerprints of record in any U.S. system? Why, then you look at the documents they present to you for clues.

[Read the full text here, at Center for Immigration Studies]

What happens if they don’t have any documents to present? Media stories about the “migrant flood” are replete with articles about the hundreds of identity and travel documents discarded on the pathways these aliens are using in their trek toward Europe. The answer is that they will assume whatever identity and nationality they choose to provide to the refugee resettlement agencies responsible for developing, under UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) supervision, the queues of applicants our officers will be asked to vet.

Using bogus documents is easy and no disqualifier. Then there is the ease with which fraudulent documents are being procured throughout the migrant pathways into the heart of Europe right now — some of them legitimate, but altered to accommodate the new bearers; others excellent counterfeits. According to BBC News, they are being used with remarkable success to pass through border and airport checkpoints and are readily available, as one of their own undercover investigations revealed.

Although there is certainly some chance that such documents would be discovered by U.S. officers who have available to them an outstanding Forensic Document Laboratory (FDL), it may surprise readers that use of phony documents doesn’t make you ineligible for refugee or asylum status. This is something government officials don’t like to discuss in public forums such as the Judiciary Committee hearing, where they would have us think of the screening process as an impenetrable iron wall to national security threats.

The principle behind overlooking use of fake documents is firmly embedded in both international and domestic law, for the most noble of reasons. Think of Raoul Wallenberg, who saved many Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe by providing them Swedish passports without regard to their real nationality. Even so, the stakes for the American people are extraordinarily high if the individuals using those fake documents aren’t in fact refugees in distress, particularly since, according to the UNHCR, 68 percent of the nearly 600,000 who’ve made the journey as of October 2015 are adult males. Read the rest of this entry »


Out of Touch: Obama Stubbornly Opposing American National Security Interests; House Passes Refugee Bill in Defiance of Veto Threat

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Jack Martinez reports: “National security and public safety are not simply factors to be considered,” in policy decisions said Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina representative who heads the House Special Committee on Benghazi, during debate over a refugee bill in the House of Representatives. Instead, he argued, they are the main issues, the most important issues that should be considered in making every decision.

That appears to the be the rationale behind HR 4038, a bill authored by Republican Michael McCaul of Texas and backed by Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House. Debate raged on for hours over the bill, which ultimately passed with votes from all but three Republican representatives, and 48 Democrats.

Speaker+Pelosi+Swears+Members+111th+Congress+1ub7AYCflDAl

The bill, if signed into law, would introduce new checks on refugee admission into the United States. Under current policy, defined mostly by the Refugee Act of 1980,the State Department has broad discretion to determine refugee admission and resettlement, in consultation with the FBI. Congressional Republicans want the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security to play a greater role; the law would require all three entities to approve each individual refugee admitted to the United States after conducting background checks.

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses during news conference in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington

The bill does not contain any specific provisions for what the new vetting would look like, nor how it would differ from current vetting, but it does emphasize that the new measures would apply to refugees from Syria and Iraq. One house Democrat characterized the vote as purely symbolic, a way of “patting ourselves on the back” without making any policy changes to ensure the safety of the American public. Others expressed concern about a growing anti-refugee sentiment on Capitol Hill, and the likelihood that the bill would effectively pause resettlement efforts, or otherwise severely hamper them. Read the rest of this entry »


IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Teen Stoner Says He Hacked CIA Director’s AOL Account 

CIA Director John Brennan’s private account held sensitive files — including his 47-page application for top-secret security clearance — until he recently learned that it had been infiltrated, the hacker told The Post.panic-betty

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future.”

Other emails stored in Brennan’s non-government account contained the Social Security numbers and personal information of more than a dozen top American intelligence officials, as well as a government letter about the use of “harsh interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, according to the hacker.

The FBI and other federal agencies are now investigating the hacker, with one source saying criminal charges are possible, law enforcement sources said.

“I think they’ll want to make an example out of him to deter people from doing this in the future,” said a source who described the situation as “just wild” and “crazy.”

“I can’t believe he did this to the head of the CIA,’’ the source added. “[The] problem with these older-generation guys is that they don’t know anything about cybersecurity, and as you can see, it can be problematic.” Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign Policy: Nine Former Gitmo Detainees Return to Battle in Last Six Months

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The nine individuals who most recently returned to the battlefield were all released during the George W. Bush administration. During the Bush administration, Guantánamo had a recidivism rate of 20.7 percent, with 110 of 532 individuals released returning to battle

Elias Groll Between July and January, nine former inmates of the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, returned to the battlefield to carry out terror attacks or join insurgencies around the world, according to a new report by the U.S. intelligence community.

“The new study was compiled by the Director of National Intelligence, in collaboration with the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency…”

The report, an assessment of recidivism rates at the prison that was first reported by Vice, presents a macro view of the rate at which detainees at the controversial detention facility  have returned to battle after their release. In total, 100 of the 603 individuals released from Guantánamo are confirmed to have once more picked up arms to engage in either insurgent or terrorist activity, amounting to a recidivism rate of 17.9 percent. Of those 100, 17 are dead, 27 are in custody, and 56 remain free. Another 74 individuals are suspected but not confirmed to have returned to the fight.

Image: U.S Continues To Hold Detainees At Guantanamo

“…Its release comes amid a continuing debate about whether to close the prison. Large segments of the American population oppose doing so, even though it’s continued operation has been used as a recruitment tool by terrorist organizations and widely condemned by U.S. allies and human rights group alike.”

The new study was compiled by the Director of National Intelligence, in collaboration with the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency. It defines “terrorist” or “insurgent” activity as “planning terrorist operations, conducting a terrorist or insurgent attack against coalition or host-nation forces or civilians, conducting a suicide bombing, financing terrorist operations, recruiting others for terrorist operations, arranging for movement of individuals involved in terrorist operations, etc.”

Mullah Abdul Rauf

“Last month, U.S. forces in Afghanistan killed a former Guantánamo detainee and former Taliban commander who had been operating as a war lord in southern Afghanistan and had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. The militant, Mullah Abdul Rauf, was released from Guantánamo in 2007.”

Its release comes amid a continuing debate about whether to close the prison. Large segments of the American population oppose doing so, even though it’s continued operation has been used as a recruitment tool by terrorist organizations and widely condemned by U.S. allies and human rights group alike. The prospect that a released prisoner might once more pick up arms against the United States now hangs over the effort to shut the facility. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Extends Bulk Phone Data Collection Program To September

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For National Review OnlineJoel Gehrke reports: President Obama extended the National Security Agency program until September by convincing a judge to reauthorize the existing program as his administration promises to work with Congress to pass legislation that would circumscribe the bulk collection of American phone records.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

“We’re doing something unnecessary and unpredictable here, which might make the public feel better, but would not be good for national security, which is what our job is.”

— Senator Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.), a former Intelligence Committee chairman

The request that the program be reauthorized was approved Thursday. “[G]iven the importance of maintaining the capabilities of the Section 215 telephony metadata program, the government has sought a 90-day reauthorization of the existing program, as modified by the changes the president announced earlier this year,” a statement released by the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence revealed late Friday.   Read the rest of this entry »


Warrantless Searches of Americans: Confirmed

Photo: Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)

Photo: Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans’ communications as part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations that target foreigners located outside of the U.S., the administration’s top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress disclosed Tuesday.

These searches were authorized by a secret surveillance court in 2011, but it was unclear until Tuesday whether any such searches on Americans had been conducted.

The recent acknowledgement of warrantless searches on Americans offers more insight into U.S. government surveillance operations put in place after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The government has broadly interpreted these laws to allow for the collection of communications of innocent Americans, practices the Obama administration maintains are legal. But President Obama has promised to review some of these programs to determine whether the government should be conducting this type of surveillance at all.

Read the rest of this entry »


CHILL: CIA Spied on Staff Members of Senate Committee Investigating the CIA

On Capitol Hill, Directors James Comey of the F.B.I., John O. Brennan of the C.I.A. and James R. Clapper Jr. of national intelligence. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Capitol Hill, Directors James Comey of the F.B.I., John O. Brennan of the C.I.A. and James R. Clapper Jr. of national intelligence. Credit Alex Wong/Getty Images

Mark Mazzetti reports:  The Central Intelligence Agency’s attempt to keep secret the details of a defunct detention and interrogation program has escalated a battle between the agency and members of Congress and led to an investigation by the C.I.A.’s internal watchdog into the conduct of agency employees.

“As you are aware, the C.I.A. has recently taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal C.I.A. review, and I find these actions to be incredibly troubling for the committee’s oversight responsibilities and for our democracy…”

— Senator Mark Udall

The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

trio-intel-horizThe committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.

The events have elevated the protracted battle — which began as a fight over who writes the history of the program, perhaps the most controversial aspect of the American government’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks — into a bitter standoff that in essence is a dispute over the separation of powers and congressional oversight of spy agencies.

The specifics of the inspector general’s investigation are unclear. But several officials interviewed in recent days — all of whom insisted on anonymity, citing a continuing inquiry — said it began after the C.I.A. took what Senator Mark Udall, Democrat of Colorado, on Tuesday called an “unprecedented action” against the committee. Read the rest of this entry »


‘We Should’ve Told You We Track Your Calls’

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty

Now the Director of National Intelligence admits it would have been better if Washington had acknowledged the surveillance in the first place…

Even the head of the U.S. intelligence community now believes that its collection and storage of millions of call records was kept too secret for too long.

“I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will. Had we been transparent about this from the outset, we wouldn’t have had the problem we had.”

The American public and most members of Congress were kept in the dark for years about a secret U.S. program to collect and store such records of American citizens on a massive scale.The government’s legal interpretation of section 215 of the Patriot Act that granted the authority for this dragnet collection was itself a state secret.

Read the rest of this entry »


Break Out The Champagne: Iran Can Now Build and Deliver Nukes

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Tehran has capacity to break out to bomb if it wishes, intelligence chief James Clapper tells Senate, but would be detected if it tried to do so

Marissa Newman  reports:  Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.

Obama-tuxedo-Getty-Images

In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.

“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Obamacare May Not Work, But the NSA Sure Does

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When it comes to Healthcare.gov, President Obama and his minions look like the gang that couldn’t code straight.

But don’t fear for American ingenuity: Other parts of the federal government remain capable of tremendous technological feats.

In one month in late 2012, for instance, the National Security Agency quietly sucked up data on some 60 million phone calls in Spain, and the agency has had a tap on German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone for years now — all without alerting Obama. Read the rest of this entry »


The NSA Review Panel Is An Even Bigger Joke Than We Previously Thought

screen-shot-2013-09-22-at-4-44-23-pmAlex Wilhelm writes: Today the AP reported that President Barack Obama’s promised NSA review panel is channeling the entity that it is supposed to inspect, hiding behind layers of government bureaucracy and obfuscating its work.

The AP states that the review panel is lodged in offices provided by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). Even more, the DNI is running its media strategy, vetting requests through its own press office. Any whiff of independence that the group might have hoped to engender is now certainly gone. Read the rest of this entry »


The NSA machine: Too big for anyone to understand

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The surveillance machine grew too big for anyone to understand.

The National Security Agency set it in motion in 2006 and the vast network of supercomputers, switches and wiretaps began gathering Americans’ phone and Internet records by the millions, looking for signs of terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »


NSA Illegally Gorged on U.S. Phone Records for Three Years

What happens when a secret U.S. court allows the National Security Agency access to a massive pipeline of U.S. phone call metadata, along with strict rules on how the spy agency can use the information?

The NSA promptly violated those rules — “since the earliest days” of the program’s 2006 inception — carrying out thousands of inquiries on phone numbers without any of the court-ordered screening designed to protect Americans from illegal government surveillance. Read the rest of this entry »


Watch Clapper lie.

He’s got a tell:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Good News! You’re Not Paranoid – NSA Oversight
www.thedailyshow.com
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“No spy should have that big a tell.”

via Althouse:


Silicon Valley Doesnt Just Help the Surveillance State—It Built It

By Michael Hirsh

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Sarah Conard/Reuters

Some of America’s biggest social media and tech companies have been denying in recent days that they were aware of the National Security Agency’s recently-exposed “PRISM” and telephone monitoring programs. But these denials obscure a larger truth: The government’s massive data collection and surveillance system was largely built not by professional spies or Washington bureaucrats but by Silicon Valley and private defense contractors.

So says Michael V. Hayden, the retired Air Force general who as director of the NSA from 1999 to 2006 was a primary mover behind the agency’s rebirth from Cold War dinosaur into a post-9/11 terror-detection leviathan with sometimes frightening technical and legal powers.

After many false starts, that transformation was achieved largely by drafting private-sector companies that had far more technical know-how than did the NSA, and contracting with them to set up and administer the technical aspects of these surveillance programs, Hayden told National Journalin an interview Sunday.

“There isn’t a phone or computer at Fort Meade [NSA headquarters] that the government owns” today, he says.

That doesn’t quite square with the popular image of the NSA as a shadowy confection of Big Brother and Big Government. Nor with the description of PRISM as merely “an internal government computer system,” as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called it over the weekend.

Among these contributing companies reportedly is Palantir Technologies, the Palo Alto, Calif., company that several news outlets have identified as a close associate of the NSA’s. Another is Eagle Alliance, a joint venture of Computer Sciences Corp. and Northrup Grumman that runs the NSA’s IT program and describes itself on its website as “the Intelligence Community’s premier Information Technology Managed Services provider.” (“We made them part of the team,” says Hayden.) Another is Booz Allen Hamilton, the international consultancy for which the reported whistleblower in the NSA stories, contractor Edward Snowden, began working three months ago. In 2002, Booz Allen Hamilton won a $63 million contract for an early and controversial version of the current data-mining program, called Total Information Awareness, which was later cancelled after congressional Democrats raised questions about invasion of privacy in the early 2000s. The firm’s current vice-chairman, Mike McConnell, was DNI in the George W. Bush administration and, before that, director of the NSA. Clapper is also a former Booz Allen executive.

In its outreach to private industry, the NSA occasionally overreached. The most notorious example was the $1.2 billion “Trailblazer” program developed in the early-to-mid-2000s by SAIC and other companies, which led to the notorious attempted prosecution of another whistleblower, an NSA career employee, who sought to expose the program as a wasteful failure. “One of the things we tried to do with Trailblazer was to hire out a solution to our problems,” Hayden says. “It was kind of a moonshot.”

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