Thread: The Government is Profiling You: William Binney (former NSA)

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  1. #1 The Government is Profiling You: William Binney (former NSA) 
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    It's all the phone companies and all Americans:

    The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

    ....The NSA has become the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever.

    Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

    But “this is more than just a data center,” says one senior intelligence official who until recently was involved with the program. The mammoth Bluffdale center will have another important and far more secret role that until now has gone unrevealed. It is also critical, he says, for breaking codes. And code-breaking is crucial, because much of the data that the center will handle—financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications—will be heavily encrypted. According to another top official also involved with the program, the NSA made an enormous breakthrough several years ago in its ability to cryptanalyze, or break, unfathomably complex encryption systems employed by not only governments around the world but also many average computer users in the US. The upshot, according to this official: “Everybody’s a target; everybody with communication is a target.”

    For the NSA, overflowing with tens of billions of dollars in post-9/11 budget awards, the cryptanalysis breakthrough came at a time of explosive growth, in size as well as in power. Established as an arm of the Department of Defense following Pearl Harbor, with the primary purpose of preventing another surprise assault, the NSA suffered a series of humiliations in the post-Cold War years. Caught offguard by an escalating series of terrorist attacks—the first World Trade Center bombing, the blowing up of US embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, and finally the devastation of 9/11—some began questioning the agency’s very reason for being. In response, the NSA has quietly been reborn. And while there is little indication that its actual effectiveness has improved—after all, despite numerous pieces of evidence and intelligence-gathering opportunities, it missed the near-disastrous attempted attacks by the underwear bomber on a flight to Detroit in 2009 and by the car bomber in Times Square in 2010—there is no doubt that it has transformed itself into the largest, most covert, and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created.

    In the process—and for the first time since Watergate and the other scandals of the Nixon administration—the NSA has turned its surveillance apparatus on the US and its citizens. It has established listening posts throughout the nation to collect and sift through billions of email messages and phone calls, whether they originate within the country or overseas. It has created a supercomputer of almost unimaginable speed to look for patterns and unscramble codes. Finally, the agency has begun building a place to store all the trillions of words and thoughts and whispers captured in its electronic net. And, of course, it’s all being done in secret. To those on the inside, the old adage that NSA stands for Never Say Anything applies more than ever....

    And

    ...“We’ve been asked not to talk about the project,” Rob Moore, president of Big-D Construction, one of the three major contractors working on the project, told a local reporter. The plans for the center show an extensive security system: an elaborate $10 million antiterrorism protection program, including a fence designed to stop a 15,000-pound vehicle traveling 50 miles per hour, closed-circuit cameras, a biometric identification system, a vehicle inspection facility, and a visitor-control center.

    Inside, the facility will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers, complete with raised floor space for cables and storage. In addition, there will be more than 900,000 square feet for technical support and administration. The entire site will be self-sustaining, with fuel tanks large enough to power the backup generators for three days in an emergency, water storage with the capability of pumping 1.7 million gallons of liquid per day, as well as a sewage system and massive air-conditioning system to keep all those servers cool. Electricity will come from the center’s own substation built by Rocky Mountain Power to satisfy the 65-megawatt power demand. Such a mammoth amount of energy comes with a mammoth price tag—about $40 million a year, according to one estimate.

    Given the facility’s scale and the fact that a terabyte of data can now be stored on a flash drive the size of a man’s pinky, the potential amount of information that could be housed in Bluffdale is truly staggering. But so is the exponential growth in the amount of intelligence data being produced every day by the eavesdropping sensors of the NSA and other intelligence agencies. As a result of this “expanding array of theater airborne and other sensor networks,” as a 2007 Department of Defense report puts it, the Pentagon is attempting to expand its worldwide communications network, known as the Global Information Grid, to handle yottabytes (1024 bytes) of data. (A yottabyte is a septillion bytes—so large that no one has yet coined a term for the next higher magnitude.)

    The data stored in Bluffdale will naturally go far beyond the world’s billions of public web pages. The NSA is more interested in the so-called invisible web, also known as the deep web or deepnet—data beyond the reach of the public. This includes password-protected data, US and foreign government communications, and noncommercial file-sharing between trusted peers. “The deep web contains government reports, databases, and other sources of information of high value to DOD and the intelligence community,” according to a 2010 Defense Science Board report. “Alternative tools are needed to find and index data in the deep web … Stealing the classified secrets of a potential adversary is where the [intelligence] community is most comfortable.” With its new Utah Data Center, the NSA will at last have the technical capability to store, and rummage through, all those stolen secrets. The question, of course, is how the agency defines who is, and who is not, “a potential adversary.”
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    NSA Chief Denies Domestic Spying But Whistleblowers Say Otherwise

    In a rare break from the NSA’s tradition of listening but not speaking, NSA chief General Keith Alexander was grilled Tuesday on the topic of eavesdropping on Americans in front of a House subcommittee.

    The questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Georgia) was prompted by Wired’s cover story this month on the NSA’s growing reach and capabilities, but leaves Americans with as many questions about the reach of spy agency’s powers as they had before Alexander spoke.

    Alexander denied, in carefully parsed words, that the NSA has the power to monitor Americans’ communications without getting a court warrant.

    But Alexander’s comments fly in the face of people who actually helped create the agency’s eavesdropping and data mining infrastructure. Few people know that system as well as William Binney, who served as the technical director for the agency’s M Group, which stood for World Geopolitical Military Analysis and Reporting, the giant 6,000-person organization responsible for eavesdropping on most of the world.

    He was also the founder and co-director of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, which helped automate that eavesdropping network. Binney decided to leave after a long career rather than be involved in the agency warrantless eavesdropping program, a program he said involves secret monitoring facilities in ten to twenty large telecom switches around the country, such as the one discovered in San Francisco’s AT&T installation a few years ago.

    Historically, the NSA’s initial response has always been to either deny or evade when confronted with issues involving eavesdropping on Americans. For decades the agency secretly hid from Congress the fact that it was copying, without a warrant, virtually every telegram traveling through the United States, a program known as Project Shamrock. Then it hid from Congress the fact that it was illegally targeting the phone calls of anti-war protesters during the Vietnam War, known as Project Minaret.

    More recently, President Bush said falsely that no American had been wiretapped without a warrant at the same time the agency was eavesdropping on thousands of Americans without a warrant as part of the later revealed Operation Stellar Wind. The Congress then passed a bill granting immunity from prosecution and law suits to the telecom companies involved in the illegal program.

    Also, in the same way that General Alexander carefully parsed his words, the agency has always maintained its own secret definition of words in a document known as United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18, a document classified above top secret.

    For example, NSA can intercept millions of domestic communications and store them in a data center like Bluffdale and still be able to say it has not “intercepted” any domestic communications. This is because of its definition of the word. “Intercept,” in NSA’s lexicon, only takes place when the communications are “processed” “into an intelligible form intended for human inspection,” not as they pass through NSA listening posts and transferred to data warehouses.


    Complicating matters is the senseless scenario made up for the questioning by Congress, which makes it difficult to make sense of his answers, especially since many seem very parsed, qualified, and surrounded in garbled syntax.

    That scenario involved NSA targeting U.S. citizens for making fun of a President Dick Cheney for shooting a fellow hunter in the face with a shotgun, and then the fun-makers being waterboarded for their impertinence. Asked whether the NSA has the capability of monitoring the communications of Americans, he never denies it – he simply says, time and again, that NSA can’t do it “in the United States.” In other words it can monitor those communications from satellites in space, undersea cables, or from one of its partner countries, such as Canada or Britain, all of which it has done in the past.

    In my article I quote from a former NSA intercept operator, Adrienne Kinne, who was posted at the NSA’s giant listening post in Georgia and who eavesdropped on many communications between Americans overseas and in the U.S., including personal calls between journalists and their families. But while she was in Georgia, satellites deep in space did the actual interception.

    “Basically all rules were thrown out the window and they would use any excuse to justify a waiver to spy on Americans,” she said. She added, “A lot of time you could tell they were calling their families, waking them up in the middle of the night because of the time difference. And so they would be talking all quiet and soft and their family member is like half asleep and incredibly intimate, personal conversations.” Kinne protested both within NSA and then in a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but neither took any action.

    Her allegations were confirmed by a second source I interviewed several years ago. David Murfee Faulk was also an intercept operator at NSA Georgia, but at a later date than Kinne, whom he never met. While there, a colleague told him about being instructed to begin warrantless targeting of Americans overseas calling the U.S. “The calls were all in English, they were all American, and the guy goes back to his supervisor, a warrant officer, and says, ‘Sir, these people are all Americans,’” according to Faulk. “He said, ‘No, just transcribe it, that’s an order, transcribe everything.’ . . . A lot of these people were having personal phone calls, calling their families back home, having all kinds of personal discussions, and everything just disappeared somewhere, someone’s got it.”

    Like Kinne, Faulk’s fellow intercept operator also complained. “After a few days he said he didn’t want to do it anymore, didn’t think it was right. And in a situation like that the officer just gets someone else to do it. So they got somebody else to do it. There is always somebody else who will do something like that. The whole agency down here, at least the way it operates in Georgia, there’s a lot of intimidation, everybody’s afraid of getting in trouble, and people just follow orders.” Like Kinne, Faulk also told his story privately to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The agency can also do the actual domestic eavesdropping from foreign countries, such as Canada, or from its greatly expanding listening post in Central England, and then just retransmit the data to the U.S. A former NSA deputy director, Louis Tordella, once referred to this technique when testifying before Congress. He noted that the NSA had asked the CIA to conduct illegal domestic eavesdropping but was turned down because the monitoring would take place “on U.S. soil.”

    He added, “I was told that if they could move a group of Cubans up to Canada it would be quite all right, but they would not do it in the United States.” And the U.S. frequently asks its very close foreign partners, Canada, the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand, to conduct eavesdropping on its behalf and vice versa. The countries call themselves, the “Five Eyes.” Prior to 9/11, says Kinne, these countries were not supposed to monitor citizens in each other’s countries, but that also changed. “We listened to Australians, Canadians, Brits. And so it wasn’t just the Americans but that whole idea that you weren’t supposed to monitor those five countries either – citizens of those five countries.” With the borderlessness of modern digital communications, where the actual eavesdropping is done becomes almost irrelevant.

    For years, public interest groups such as the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center have been trying through court suits to find out the extend of NSA’s eavesdropping on Americans, only to be rebuffed at every turn with claims of secrecy, while whistleblowers such as Adrienne Kinne, David Murfee Faulk, and William Binney have risked going to prison in order to expose NSA’s actions.

    Now that General Alexander has broached the subject in an open session of Congress, it is time for the American people to know the real truth about their communications, not heavily parsed, qualified denials about an unlikely hypothetical. Let Congress call an open panel where whistleblowers such as Kinne, Faulk, and Binney give sworn testimony, and NSA, at last, responds fully concerning its domestic involvement.
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  3. #3  
    eeeevil Sith Admin SarasotaRepub's Avatar
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    And who are we going to have in charge of this Techno-Terror???
    May the FORCE be with you!
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  4. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SarasotaRepub View Post
    And who are we going to have in charge of this Techno-Terror???
    Oliver Stone.

    It will be heavy handed, over the top, and critics will be divided.
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