Redux

19 Jun , 2013 Uncategorized

Infect Teh Interwebs

Originally from reddit:

Pretext: A lot of people are analyzing this recent PRISM surveillance thing and speculating on what’s going on. It’s not a mystery. A lot of people are construing this to be explicitly a privacy issue. While I agree that privacy is a fundamental part of a democracy, I am inclined to disagree that this is the main issue when talking about the holistic state of our surveillance and intelligence apparatus; as I will discuss, it is not the just the NSA you should worry about, and it is not the NSA you need to worry about when it comes to privacy, that’s the FBI. To me, this is an ethics, monetary, and constitutional issue. It’s not just a matter of principle or emotion, it’s a matter of integrity of state. I will be analyzing the holistic state of affairs from a rather different perspective from most of the media (e.g privacy only)…Thank you all for reading

Part 1: What is NSA? History

Part 2: Modern Privacy // Myths & Reality

Part 3: The laws and legal understanding BASICS.

Part 4: The Players & Modern Tech

Part 5: The Future & Today

Part 6: There is no 6, only Zuul!

Part 7: How do we fix this?

_____

[[Part 1: What is NSA?]]

Old agency jokes say that NSA means No Such Agency or Never Say Anything. Until recently, very few people have even heard of the NSA, even though today they are magnitudes larger than the CIA; with a classified budget estimated to be well over 10+ billion every year, probably far more. Today, NSA employs about 30,000 Americans and holds hundreds of classified contracts with various different security contractors and private enterprise companies. For all intents and purposes, they (DoD + NSA) can play god should they choose to smite you. They have the resources, the technical abilities, the funding and support of the entire United States government (even if many insiders don’t like it). Today, NSA has become arguably one of the most powerful collective entities on the planet…

But how did we get here?

On November 4, 1952, the National Security Agency formed. Their HQ in Fort Meade, Maryland, is still today one of the most secretive buildings in the entire country, possibly the world. Directly from wikipedia: NSA is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defense responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications and foreign signals intelligence, as well as protecting U.S. government communications and information systems, which involves information security and cryptanalysis/cryptography. To put it rather bluntly, they are an electronic spy agency.

So what’s the problem if not privacy? While privacy is an issue, it’s about policy and oversight. It’s about democracy or the lack there of.

For the long version on this you can read Jewel v NSA (Filed by the EFF in 2012).

2001-2002 “The President’s Surveillance Program”

“Shortly after September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, President George Bush Jr. authorized NSA to conduct a variety of surveillance activities, including the warrantless surveillance of telephone and Internet communications of persons within the United States.” — U.S v Jewel brief.

October 1st, 2001 the President gave a secret order to conduct electronic surveillance within the United States, without an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC — Discussed later). The Program would need to be renewed approximately every 45 days. George Bush Jr. renewed the Program Order at least 30 times. This program “Stellarwind” is still around today under the Obama administration, renamed Ragtime-P (more later on that). That same year, USAPATRIOT was freighttrained through Congress, with section 215 intact. This will be discussed or at least mentioned later, along with National Security Letters and their abuse potential and history. This type of mind set and culture of “F*** WE’LL DO IT LIVE!” is the real problem with the government today, and I don’t just mean NSA

Watch Thomas Drake’s speech



March 13, 2013. if you have the time (23 minutes) @Thomas_Drake1 on twitter

“The secrecy system, and I’m going to be very very clear here, is not to be used to cover government illegality, wrong doing, HIDING administrative efficiency and effectiveness…or where the government is actually threatening public safety…fraud, waste and abuse. In my opinion, the secrecy system has become so corrupted, that is now being used ROUTINELY to do precisely that, under the cover and color of law….and when the color and cover of law is no longer sufficient, then “we’ll just make up the rules” — Thomas A. Drake’s March 15, 2013 Speech at the National Press Club.

The 2002 Trailblazer Project gives us a great insight into the political, economic, and pathological environment of the intelligence community, closely following 9/11 attacks. Under the guise of “national security” a paradigm shift occurred. The scars of paranoia and rapid power and budget expansion still resonate through the system today. This was no mistake. There was blood in the water, and private security contractors and government agencies pooled around it like sharks. In a FRONTLINE report interview involving projects like Stellarwind, many of the people directly involved said the same or similar things. “In those days, Congress would give money to anyone who asked.” And they did and today still continue to do just that.

What was Trailblazer? Well, in 2002 SAIC a private contracting company similar to Lockheed or Northrop, completely failed to provide what they were being contracted to do by the NSA (Create Trailblazer, a surveillance apparatus). Of the $280 million budget, over $1.8billion (yes that’s over budget…) was wasted on the failed Trailblazer project. Several senior NSA members blew the whistle through proper internal channels by going to the Department of Defense’s Inspector General in regards to their concerns about about waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, and the fact that a successful operating prototype existed, but was ignored when the Trailblazer program was launched. This type of waste is a matter of culture, as discussed by one of the whistle blowers, William Binney, in a later section. You should take the time to read his interview, if you have not done so already.

“There is very little oversight, and when there is it’s often just talk” — Thomas A Drake (NSA Whistleblower). 

“The NSA is prohibited from spying on Americans or anyone inside the United States. That’s the FBI’s job and it requires a warrant. Despite that prohibition, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush secretly authorized the NSA to plug into the fiber optic cables that enter and leave the United States, knowing it would give the government unprecedented, warrantless access to Americans’ private conversations.” — Bigstory AP

In 2003 the now infamous Room 641A was created. This shows us just how deep the rabbit hole between private enterprise and state security’s marriage goes. Telecommunication companies are complicit at the highest level with this type of actives. Room 641A is a telecommunication interception facility operated by AT&T for the U.S. National Security Agency that commenced operations in 2003 and was exposed in 2006.

In March 2004, the Justice Department under Ashcroft ruled that the Stellar Wind domestic intelligence program was illegal. The day after the ruling, Ashcroft became critically ill with acute pancreatitis. President Bush sent his White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew Card Jr. to Ashcroft’s hospital bed. They wanted him to sign a document reversing the Justice Department’s ruling. But the semi-conscious Ashcroft refused to sign. Subsequently, Bush reauthorized the operation by executive decision, over formal Justice Department objections. On November 9, 2004, following George W. Bush’s re-election, Ashcroft announced his resignation

On July 20, 2006, a federal judge denied the government’s and AT&T’s motions to dismiss the case, chiefly on the ground of the States Secrets Privilege, allowing the lawsuit to go forward. On August 15, 2007, the case was heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was dismissed on December 29, 2011 based on a retroactive grant of immunity by Congress for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the government. This will be discussed in “Laws” (FISA Amendment Act of 2008 sec 702).

With the second election of President George Bush, and to the horror of many folks like me, the election of President Obama, the surveillance state expanded at a disturbingly explosive rate. The current budget is not only classified, but is presumed by experts to be one of the biggest government expenditures, and objectively one of the most redundant spending complexes in modern times.  In 2006, the development of the super malware Stuxnet was started under George Bush’s administration and directive.

The Stuxnet virus, discovered in 2010, was created under the code name “Operation Olympic Games”. This shows us just how serious the growing use of surveillance and cyber weapons are today, but more importantly it shows us just how highly capable these people are and the extents of secrecy they will go to hide their actions. I will not give my opinion on Stuxnet’s deployment here, except to say ‘it confirms the real world deployment of the first (known) cyberweapons’ and shows us the sophistication that *could* be used for even more sinister and illicit projects under the current and every subsequent administration to come.

In 2012 the codename Ragtime-P was leaked. This was a continuation of the domestic spying program originally Stellarwind.

In 2013 a few things happened. A judge shoots down NSLs (largely abused by the FBI) and a man named Edward Snowden provided the press and public with documents detailing what many already knew and had concluded existed without the hard proof. The presence of an illicit marriage between the U.S DoD and private enterprise. This caused many people to freak the hell out. Many in an alarmist fashion. Today, contrary to common belief, and media portrayal, the NSA and other governing bodies DO have strict POLICY oversight. It is not a rogue agency, and is not spying on every citizen in the United States the way it is being asserted.

However, from a capability stand point, the NSA does have nearly unlimited power (should they choose to exercise it, without oversight illegally). The NSA is arguably involved with some flagrantly unconstitutional behavior, and involved in some egregious violations in matters of national security, such as withholding information from the public and from Congress.  All of this will be discussed further in different sections.

All of this said, one has to ask, to what ends is this all being orchestrated?

“Total Informational Awareness” is the first answer. The second is simply “Because they’ll cut our budget next year if don’t keep spending”.  The private enterprise leeches the massive budget, and will continue to do so until the marriage is broken, or more light is cast into this “shadow government”. This is not conspirators terminology. For every government entity, these is at least twice as many “shadow” entities doing the exact same job, for the same or greater cost.

So what about privacy?

[[Part 2: Modern Privacy // Myths & Reality]]

Today, Privacy in our modern era has largely become a thing of the past; this is the sad truth of affairs. There are three sides to this story: the reality, the paranoia and hype (i.e sensationalism), and those taking extremist measures {(such as TAILs or TOR for everything)} assuming hiding will solve the problem. I assure you, it will not.

Privacy is a concept that was fundamental to the Framers of the United State’s Constitution. If you don’t already know what the 4th amendment is, I suggest you check out /r/Assert_Your_Rights. Project Shamrock (1945)is the first time we see NSA doing, well, exactly what they’re still doing today under arguably the same project, revamped and re-conceptualized for a digital age; analyzing data of domestic messages by intercepting them without our knowledge or approval. During Shamrock, NSA would read and analyze the outgoing telegraphs of domestic civilians without their knowledge or consent. How did they get the telegraphs, you may ask? The same way they gather our information today, through projects like PRISM. They just ask the intermediary companies, the post offices and service providers respectively.

Project Shamrock continued for 30 years, all the way until 1975. The project was only shut down after public and Congressional scrutiny put an end to it by casting light onto the flagrantly unconstitutional behavior, the same way today we are casting light onto PRISM and other similar programs, like Boundless Information.

So where does that leave us?

Well, for starters you can cast out the image of the NSA having thousands of people behind screens laughing at your private emails, or seeing your face on a webcam because you googled the word “bomb” or “Ricin” and desperately trying to learn everything about you and your past. Even if an analyst was listening to your phonecalls or reading your emails, they wouldn’t have any idea who you were. This is no excuse for the behavior, but the so called “deep-packet inspection” being conducted on our communications is largely autonomous. There are machines like the Narus-STA6400 that are set to collect every byte of data that travels through the U.S telecommunication lines, collecting domestic communications at “the highest allowable aperture” and are sorted by programs like xkeyscore into databases.

 We need to recontextualize what is actually happening in this digital era. We are speaking assuming that they (the government and those with the power to do so) are following the rules. The problem is, these rules are weak and based on policy, which in the words of Ed. Snowden “will only ratchet open”. Today, at least in theory, there is an extremely strict process by which the NSA can actually look at content data; however, this often doesn’t mesh with the reality.

* People tend to think about all of this as if they’re being spied on RIGHT NOW.

No. you’re not. They’re NOT watching YOU DIRECTLY, at least not the way you might imagine. Putting tape over your webcam isn’t going to protect you from the types of surveillance they’re conducting, unless maybe you own an Xbox One. Even if the NSA is passively collecting some obscure meta-data and sorting it, it’s not “yours” the way a social-security number is. They don’t link it to your phone, your photo, etc. Or so they assert.

From an LATIMES interview June 10th, 2013 A former operator said, he had go through an arduous process to obtain FISA court permission to gather Internet data on a foreign nuclear weapons proliferator living abroad because some of the data was passing through U.S. wires. “When he’s saying he could just put any phone number in and look at phone calls, it just doesn’t work that way,” he said. “It’s absurd. There are technical limits, and then there are people who review these sorts of queries.”

I think this is bullshit.

Even so, there are (probably) no lists with your NAME on it, and certainly no dossiers tying together all of your anonymous data from various sources like reddit, facebook, SMS-texting, Skype, etc. All of these are compartmentalized and nearly impossible to tie together without a human analyst spending a great deal of time sorting the information. This however is the root of the privacy issue. This is why they want to STORE EVERYTHING. But again, I don’t want to get into the Privacy issues that Snowden talks about in his Hong Kong interview, or things like possible retro-active false light labels, and other “what if” hypotheticals.

However, just because I’m not talking about it doesn’t mean it’s not a huge issue that we should just disregard. On the contrary, we need to worry about this stuff NOW, because the FBI and the NYPD are doing that NOW. Just look at what a few journalists, without access to *everything* pulled up on Edward Snowden’s past dating back over a full decade! This is the type of stuff we need to worry about now in terms of privacy, but not so much in terms of the NSA…Nevertheless, if we look at what they’re creating, (a surveillance state the likes of which the Stasi or George Orwell could have only dreamed of) we could be that close from so called “Turnkey Tyranny”, even if the sky isn’t falling and that buzz word is a bit sensationalist.

Another issue with the way the privacy issue is being perceived is that anyone involved in the intelligence world (which is mostly private sector) actually cares about our PERSONAL information, like who we’re sleeping with, what we like to drink after work, what you had for breakfast, or what porn you favor…They don’t. Get adblock plus and 50% of the problem is solved for the folks who care about that stuff, e.g marketing firms.

* They (Agencies like DIA and NSA and to a lesser extent FBI or DHS) want the big pictureSee Boundless Informant

Your girlfriend’s naughty pictures aren’t their concern, neither is hacking your webcam to spy on you directly. That’s where the privacy issues of the FBI come into play.

* They (The contractors and agencies like and including NSA and DIA) want a bigger $$ contract(by proxy a cut of the defense department’s budget, and ultimately a cut of American citizen’s paychecks)

So what does that mean?

Unless they have a really good reason or a ton of really really “high-value” intelligence spilling out of “you” (you know, like this post) I doubt anyone even knows, or cares you exist. I understand this does raise concerns about “Total Informational Awareness” and being able to retroactively data-mine you maliciously, but that’s not what I’m here to show.  They’d just query faceStasibook. But that’s not going to be the NSA or CIA. That’s the popo and the feds, more specifically DHS. They can, have, and will continue to abuse this stuff. {Sup’ Feds!}

Okay, it’s important to not to let this stuff paralyze you…it’s one thing to know it’s happening, and it’s one thing, and it’s another to pretend that the solution is to become a Luddite” — Jabob Applebaum Digital Repression Workshop 2012

If you want more on the privacy concerns (they are extremely valid, but I’m looking at this on a bigger scale, not a law enforcement scale or ‘privacy concern’ perspective) check out Jacob Applebaum’s (TOR project guy) 2 hour talk on digital repression.

This guy is brilliant, but he’s not talking about the same thing I am here today. The privacy issue attached with PRISM “scandal” PRISM/NSA-Gate, is just a catalyst to garner attention. Edward Snowden is largely a martyr in my opinion, and a hero.

[[Part 3: The Laws]]

USAPATRIOT Sec. 215 — Please refer to this resource from the ALCU as well as the [reidreport blog analysis]

Protect America Act (2007) — The bill allowed the monitoring of all electronic communications of “Americans communicating with foreigners who are the targets of a U.S. terrorism investigation” without a court’s order or oversight, so long as it is not targeted at one particular person “reasonably believed to be” inside the country. FISA later utilized and expanded on this weak 51% standard.

NSLs — As mentioned previously, NSLs or National Security Letters, are basically, or soon will be, in the past, since a judge in California ruled them unconstitutional on account of their “gag orders” in early 2013.

Under USAPATRIOT these administrative subpoenas were given vastly expanded access to things like “databases” as opposed to the limited scope non-content data previously. Although they still explicitly stipulate non-content data, data in aggregate (like a database) IS content. NSLs were used in record number (aprx 50,000) in 2006 to gather data like who called who and where emails went or came from this is referred to as ‘meta-data’. These NSL demands allowed the government (mostly the FBI) to completely subvert the process of obtaining a warrant. However, that’s a whole other scandal with AT&T employees being placed inside FBI HQ’s that you can read about on your own. Basically, NSLs came with a gag order. This meant that the recipient couldn’t tell anyone about it, not even that you had received it, nor consult a lawyer. Worse yet, there was no way to know if an NSL had been served to (say from your ISP) gain data on you.
 The FBI sent out as many as 50,000 of these per years to various different persons and companies.

PRISM (NSA’s newly revealed program) saw fit to simply cut out even the NSL process and go directly to the providers for all the data they could ever need or want on domestic citizens, to the ends of “Total Informational Awareness” and “Threat Projection”. You can read more, but I will summarize by saying they’re abusive, subversive, pseudo-warrants that the government (mostly FBI) used, and perhaps still use, even after they were ruled unconstitutional.

The Espionage Act — Laws punishing and prevent spying… this law has been used on 7 Americans for NON spy activities. Thomas Drake talks about this at the press club.

SCA and the “Third Party Doctrine” and Stored Communications Act — The Stored Communications act opens a loophole called the Third Party Doctrine. If you share information with a third party, with very little exception (besides where protected by laws, like HIPAA) they can share it. This matters! This is one of many reasons why PRISM (for example) is technically “legal”. Anything that is stored on a database is the property of the database owner. Your emails? Theirs. Pictures? Theirs. Now, that doesn’t give them the right to reproduce it or snoop through it, due to copywrite laws and proper ethics, but there is no LAW preventing them from snooping, even if policy prevents them from doing so, as is the case with almost every major ISP, and server providers like Google or Microsoft. They can however, simply hand over your data to intelligence agencies at their leisure…and what we’re finding out recently is that they’re doing just that. However, SCA far from the only problem or loophole.

US v Duffey — This 2012 case set precedent for “cell tower dumps” being used (mostly and FBI) to gather lots of aggregate data to plot the position of a cell phone user. Again, this is “legal” because of the “Third party doctrine” discussed above. What the FBI didn’t tell the courts was how many innocent people are also tracked based on these “cell dumps” which is more or less pseudo-GPS tracking, ruled as a search under US V Jones.

Hepting V AT&T — Discussed previously, the 641a room lawsuit filed by the EFF.

Jewel V NSA — Basically part 2 of Hepting after the Hepting case was dismissed.

People V Diaz  — Cell phones don’t need warrants after an arrest. Not related to the NSA, but people should still be aware of this fact and always encrypt their stuff! Check out /r/Assert_Your_Rights and /r/Privacy for more information, or the XDA android forums to ask the experts.

[USSID-18] Regulations and boundaries set up circa 2005 (thanks to reddit’s /u/postmodern for this resource)

[CALEA] — Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed in 1994 to make it easier for law enforcement to wiretap digital telephone networks. CALEA forced telephone companies to redesign their network architectures to make wiretapping easier. It expressly did not regulate data traveling over the Internet.

FISC – [Foreign Surveillance Court](Created under FISA) — This is basically the “court” designed to oversee foreign communications surveillance and one of the several bodies that need to give approval before the NSA can (with a person) look into data legally. Remember, the NSA can “legally” store your information, as long as they don’t read it or analyze it (that’s scary…and many people assert to be illegal).

[2008 FISA Amendment Act  (FAA)- Section 702].
Directly from the bill itself:

> “Activities under Section 702 are governed by [REDACTED]executed jointly by the Attorney  General and the Director of National Intelligence that detail targeting and minimization procedures under which the government will obtain foreign intelligence data. —

“Acquisition under Section 702 is governed by targeting procedures and minimization procedures for Section 702 filed with the FISC stipulating, among other things, that  The target is reasonably believe to be a NON-USPER outside the U.S. The problem is there is no unclassified standard for this. – Noted by A.R.R. A significant purpose of the acquisition” is to acquire foreign intelligence.  Minimization procedures are in place for USPER information.  Targeting and minimization procedures are consistent with the Fourth Amendment to the U.S.”

By order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata acquired under the program. All information that is acquired under this program is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling. The court only allows the data to be queried when there is a reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that the particular basis for the query is associated with a foreign terrorist organization. Only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the Court-approved procedures may even access the records. — Volokh

[[ THE PROBLEM ]]

In 2013, in no uncertain terms, the court illegally gagged and DEMANDED / ordered Verzion to hand over ALL the meta-data from phone calls

(i)between the United States and abroad; or (i) between the United States and abroad; or  >[“(ii) wholly within the United States, including local telephone calls

This court document was leaked by Edward Snowden and published on June 6th, 2013 by the Guardian.

As discussed by Bill Binney in an interview with USA Today, this is the 80th Top Secret gagged order sent this year alone. This not okay, and further highlights the broken system outside of the context of privacy.

[[Part 4: The Players & Tech]]

Due to character and space restrictions, this is a very short list of “spook” words to Google to learn more about the technology behind this stuff: Narus-Insight, Xkeyscore, DCS5000, GIG, Boundless Informant, ECHELON, Carnivore, Pinwail, IMSI catchers, Tempest (attacks), stylometry, RSA Encryption history, Cell Dumps, MQ-R (drones), STA 6400 (room 641a), Menwith hill. (You can find out a ton more just looking into stuff like this. Note: none of it classified)

— Who is involved —

Edward Snowden  — NSA Whistleblower
I hope you’ve watched [Ed. Snowden talk](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yB3n9fu-rM) you’ve heard him say quite a bit about this stuff. He’s talking about Privacy issues, or so it would seem…really, he’s talking about RESTORING DEMOCRACY AND OVERSIGHT, not subjective privacy concerns about your silly skype convos. I’m not giving this guy’s life story here. /r/Snowden

William/Bill Binney — If you’ve not  heard the story of [Bill Binney](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaTv5MODnBk) click that link right now. Really. Bill Binney was one of NSAs top executives, who left the NSA after blowing the whistle on the stuff I’m trying to raise awareness about right now.

Thomas Andrew Drake — NSA Whistleblower and one of my heros.
Of all the resources I’ve linked here, this is the most important.
http://www.washingtonspectator.org/index.php/A-Spook-Speaks/intelligence-contractors-complex.html

Bryan Krebs — This guy is one of the leading experts on cyber security trends. Former journalist turned security expert. Check out his webpage www.krebsonsecurity.com 

John Ashcroft — As discussed previous, he was the Attorney General under Bush for the first term. Read his Wikipedia on his term as AG and watch “Cheney’s Law” – The FRONTLINE Documentary, available for free online.

Eric Holder — Acting Attorney General  under Obama as of today (Jun, 13. 2013). He has been called a complacent AG, and in the opinion of many should have been fired after the “gunwalking” he allowed into Mexico in the “fast and furious” scandal.

[James Clapper] — Director of National Lies And Intelligence

General Keith Alexander — Director of NSA

In the words of Jacob Applebaum “This man is a fucking liar.”
Also see brilliant author and expert James Bamford’s analysis

“Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy” — James Bamford

Personally, I would loooveee to see that (probably redacted) report the NSA talked about during the Congressional hearing on June 12th, 2013. Detailing the so called “dozens” of plots foiled. My ass.

Jacob Applebaum – Computer Security Researcher and TOR project.  This guy is my hero. This guy is a legend.

[[[Part 5: Today & The Future]]]

Today, the sky is not falling. At least not in terms of your personal conversations being read by some shady spook type at the NSA head-quaters (well maybe this post…) That’s the FBI’s job…you should worry about them, and the police state NYC has become, but that too is apples and oranges. What people like myself, and many others are worried about is what could happen if we keep stretching, keep over-reaching and expanding…where does it end? Do we fall into tyranny? What happens to democracy when everything is a secret? Does anything still function?

Today, the we see the complex. The government willingly relinquishing control, over to the private sector. Groups like booz allen, raytheon, lockheed, northrop grummun, boeing etc etc etc. It’s all about PROFIT.

What better way to turn a profit than to make the NSA (the pay-check suppliers by proxy) and U.S DoD shoulder your burdern and deliver broken promises in return, as discussed previously with the Trailblazer / SAIC fiasco. The issue is that this country doesn’t even know what it’s doing anymore. The index finger is totally unaware of the middle finger. We’ve tossed money haphazardly to companies like Booz Allen, SAIC, and BlueCo with little to no oversight.

* We asked for, and they’ve built us a damn near functioning ‘Total Awareness Matrix’

But at the end of the day, no one is aware of shit. Including and especially the classified budget, or the intel they’ve gathered. Thomas Drake discusses this in relation to the congressional investigation into 9/11 and the massive troves of information that NSA still holds onto. It is his opinion (though not a conspiracy) that NSA could have possibly prevented 9/11, if they had shared that information openly.

— Interviewer: “…But wouldn’t NSA want to prevent a 9/11 or track Al Qaeda?”

— Thomas Drake: “That’s logical thinking. You have to remember, NSA is an institution, and it preserves its integrity before anything else. Rule number one. It’s pathological.”

If we put this much power from spying into humanitarian efforts, like solving sex trafficking, or stopping drug imports (assuming we don’t allow it), or stopping cyber criminals, the world would be a better place. However, we live in a world where it’s all about the bottom line and squeezing the fruit out of the rest of the world….and more importantly, maintaining that power at all costs. To those ends, we’ve created a literal second industrial military complex, this time being fed into the “intelligence” and other private enterprises involved with similar or related functions. And It sucks. If we aren’t careful, this will never stop and we’ll end up in a true Orwellian state.

The worst case scenario is that CIA and NSA and all the other alphabet agencies we see in movies turn the tyranny key and we become a true state under secret police where dissidence like this is illegal, and we kill our own citizens without trial as was the case with Anwar Al-Awalki and his 16 year old son in a separate drone strike two weeks later. I personally don’t see this happening, at least not to this extreme. However, it is past time for change. We all know it.

[[Part  7: How do we fix this?]]

Again, it depends what we’re talking about. Today, I’m not here to talk about the “privacy” issue, as fully every other media outlet seems to be chewing away at like buzzards. To me, this is an ethics and constitutional issue, a monetary issue, a matter of principle, and above all this is a matter of integrity of state.

By now, I hope you’ve all watched the interview with Ed. Snowden that made this post possible by giving people like me an audience. In his interview he states some some really fantastic points. One of which is this quote

“All they care about is POLICY” and that the only way to change things is through POLICY.”

Coordinating actions that reform their policies, which as stated by Snowden are vital, through things like
Judges ruling NSLs unconstitutional are the way to stop things from spiraling any further out of control.


In their world, if it’s not legal, they make it legal. This is the cultural change I talked about previously. it is our job to help pressure those in power to do so, to make them function in a constitutional capacity again.

Changing laws like the [FAA 2008 Sec. 702] called the “The Barn Door” — by Thomas A. Drake)

Is really the best way to stop this type of unchecked power and activity, and to that end balance oversight and RESTORE DEMOCRACY.

The issue isn’t that they, our government, is directly spying on everything we do or say in a personal capacity; it’s that we allow it, or they have hidden themselves away so well we don’t even know it’s happening. Both of these issues are problems. It’s also a huge problem that someday, someone could retroactively go back in time and make you into a criminal, even in a false-light, based on something you did or said in the past. Jacob Applebaum, and Snowden both touch on this explicitly in their interviews and speeches respectively.

The best chance we have for starting a true cultural power-shift is stay vigilant and not give up. We cannot allow ourselves to accept blatantly unconstitutional activity in any capacity, nor can we simply forget about these events in a few weeks when the new episodes of Breaking Bad start. It is long past due that we, the American People, pressure our Congress into doing their jobs. That means holding more hearings, digging deeper, becoming involved, and to START WORKING AGAIN FOR THE PEOPLE THAT ELECTED THEM. By pressuring, and I mean REALLY PRESSURING Congress, we can hopefully change their mind on issues like for funding and policy

If you’ve seen any of the interviews with the NSA and FBI speaking to Congress, you’ve heard them lie through their teeth or dance around answers with stock question-dodger quotes like “Not under this program” when asked  directly if the NSA spies on Americans under programs like Stellarwind & Trailblazer. We need to keep them (our government and those with power) under the public microscope. That is how democracy works. Not through secrets and secret interpretations of classified laws. Without oversight, they (the government collective and those in power) are free to do what they want, unchecked.  We especially need to worry if the FISA Court isn’t going to do so, and Congress is either too submissive, apathetic, or powerless to do so themselves. I urge you all to watch Thomas Drake’s speech at the National Press Club on Youtube from March of 2013.

There are today a quite a few individuals involved with the EFF.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the group behind  lawsuits like Hepting V AT&T and Jewel V NSA (which still active today as of 6/15/2013)

The EFF also targets through litigation people “on a personal capacity” such as such as David Addington (Cheney’s Lawyer) and George W. Bush himself, as well as people like General Keith Alexander. This is probably not the best way to stop the problem holistically, but giving negative media attention to the questioned parties sure helps! And, if groups like the EFF do happen to pull off a victory, like google did with the NSL’s being unconstitutional, I think we should show them our support, so that someday very soon we can hopefully repeal, or amend many of the laws discussed previously.

Looking forward, I see a bright future. One where the light of democracy cuts through shadows of secrecy. Where voices like Edward Snowden’s speak loud enough to break through the fog of apathy. Where We The People reclaim democracy.

To sum it up, we’ve created, or allowed those with power to take it, and subsequently create the Industrial Military Complex 2.0.

The “Intelligence Private-Contractor Complex” We aren’t helpless, but it’s time for change. It is time to restore democracy.

Total informational awareness? My ass.

~~ Welcome to the Disposition Matrix Angry Ranting Realist. Prepare for extraordinary rendition!

Seriously, thanks for reading! God Bless The United Surveillance State in America!

You can read more of this authors opinions on his neat personal blog or something… or email him at idonthavearealnamelol@gmail.com


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