NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY IS SPYING ON AMERICANS AND MOSSAD IS SPYING ON NSA?
by Syarif Hidayat
“Every time we do something you tell me America will do this and will do that . . . I want to tell you something very clear: Don’t worry about American pressure on Israel. We, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know it.”–Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon to Shimon Peres, October 3, 2001, as reported on Kol Yisrael radio. (Certainly the FBI’s cover-up of the Israeli spy ring/phone tap scandal suggests that Mr. Sharon may not have been joking.)
“You can help us or we ‘will overthrow the world’.”Chaim Weizmann, first president of the State of Israel.
“We Jews, we are the destroyers and will remain the destroyers. Nothing you can do will meet our demands and needs. We will forever destroy because we want a world of our own.” (You Gentiles, by Jewish Author Maurice Samuels, p. 155).
NSA’s spying ‘touches almost every American household’
Jon Swainein his article datelined New York, titled: “NSA’s spying ‘touches almost every American household’” published in The Telegraph, writes Information on trillions of emails, web chats and Skype conversations carried out by Americans has been harvested along with their phone records by the National Security Agency, it has been claimed.
The NSA’s surveillance programmes, which have been exposed in a series of recent leaks, are now said to be so wide-ranging that they are reported to “touch nearly every American household in some way”.
A top-secret court order published earlier this month disclosed that for seven years, US telecommunications corporations are ordered to hand over details of all calls made on their networks.
This vast amount of “metadata”, comprising details such as call location and duration, can then be mined by US intelligence to identify associates and potential co-plotters of suspected terrorists.
This programme, code-named “Mainway”, has a sister scheme called “Marina” that vacuums up data on trillions of other communications such as emails and video calls, The Washington Post reported.
Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, claimed that the spying apparatus had thwarted “dozens” of terrorist plots, details of which he was working to declassify.
“I think Americans will come to a different conclusion than all the misleading rhetoric I’ve heard over the last few weeks,” Mr Rogers, a Michigan Republican, told CNN on Sunday.
He insisted that the system was a “lockbox” containing “only phone numbers” rather than recordings. He stressed that it was used “sparingly” and “absolutely overseen by the legislature”.
Edward Snowden, the rogue NSA contractor who leaked top secret documents to the media, claimed that even as a low-ranking official he could tap the phones of any American.
Yet intelligence chiefs insist the content of conversations can only be obtained in extraordinary circumstances and with court authority, on the basis of specific evidence of a terrorist plot.
Then, a system called Nucleon records calls, while Prism, which was exposed in documents leaked by Mr Snowden, captures emails, social network messages and other online chats.
William Binney, a former NSA technical director who helped create the agency’s eavesdropping network, estimated last week that it records the calls of up to a million people on a “target list”.
“They look through these phone numbers and they target those, and that’s what they record,” Mr Binney, who has repeatedly said that the NSA programme is out of control, told an interviewer.
It was also claimed that under former president George W. Bush, intelligence agencies at one stage got around legal requirements for “acquiring” data on Americans’ communications by saying they were simply “obtaining” it, and not “acquiring” anything until a deeper analysis was done.
Dick Cheney, the former vice president who helped construct the surveillance programme, on Sunday described the actions of Mr Snowden, who fled to Hong Kong, as traitorous.
“I’m suspicious, because he went to China,” said Mr Cheney. “That’s not a place where you would ordinarily want to go if you are interested in freedom, liberty and so forth. It raises questions whether or not he had that kind of connection before he did this.”
British, US papers identify NSA whistleblower
A British and a U.S. newspaper have identified a contract employee of the National Security Agency as the source of leaked information that revealed the spy agency is monitoring Americans’ phone calls.
Snowden, who fled the United States for Hong Kong last month, says he knows he will be made to suffer for his actions. But he said he is willing to sacrifice a “very comfortable life” to reveal the truth about what he calls a massive surveillance machine the United States is building.
He also tells the Post that he plans to ask asylum in any country he says believes in free speech and global privacy.
The Guardian reported last week that the NSA was collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans. The newspaper, along with The Washington Post, also reported that a separate program called PRISM gives the NSA and FBI access to the servers of major Internet providers.
U.S. officials do not deny the reports. They say no one listens in on anyone’s telephone calls, and that the data they gathered has stopped several terrorist plots.
The U.S. Justice Department says it has opened a criminal investigation into the leaks, but has given no other information.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague says eavesdropping by its GCHQ security agency is legal and no threat to privacy. But he refuses to confirm or deny reports it received data from the secret NSA program.
Israeli involvement in NSA spying
Stephen Lendman in his article titled: “Israeli involvement in NSA spying” published in MWC News, writes It is not surprising. On June 8, Haaretz headlined “What was the Israeli involvement in collecting US communications intel for NSA?”.
On April 3, 2012, James Bamford headlined “Shady Companies with Ties to Israel Wiretap for US for the NSA.” He said NSA chief General Keith Alexander’s “having a busy year.” He’s “cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network.”
“In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia.”
It’s for around “4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors.” Spies “R” Us defines US policy. NSA’s “mammoth 1-million-square-foot, $2 billion Utah Data Center is far more sweeping.”
It’s located at Camp Williams. It’s a Utah National Guard training facility. Once fully operational, says Bamford, it’ll “become, in effect, the NSA Cloud.”
It’ll receive data from NSA satellites, overseas listening posts, and nationwide multiple No telecom facility monitoring rooms. What’s planned is an unprecedented global spy network.
NSA operatives and hackers will harvest around 2.1 million gigabytes of data per hour. It’ll do so on the world’s most powerful computer.
It’s call Titan Supercomputer. It can handle over 20,000 trillion calculations per second or 20 petaflops. One petaflop = one quadrillion instructions per second.
Supercomputer power will be used to collect and analyze foreign and domestic communications from all possible sources.
Two Israeli companies are involved. High-tech firms Verint and Narus have longstanding US/Israeli intelligence connections. For many years, Verint was a majority-owned Comverse Technology subsidiary. Both companies have about half their employees in Israel. In August 2012, Verint acquired Comverse. It now operates independently.
It makes security software. It calls itself “a global leader in Actionable Intelligence solutions.”
Narus calls itself a cyber security company. It’s an independent Boeing subsidiary. It provides real-time network traffic and analytic software. It does so with enterprise class spyware capabilities.
In 1997, it was founded in Israel. It created NarusInsight. It’s a supercomputer system. A previous article said AT&T uses it at their secret San Francisco facility. It lets NSA spy on its customers.
Verint’s software also is used to do it. Bamford called it “especially troubling that both companies have had extensive ties to Israel, as well as links to (its) intelligence service.”
A previous article discussed Israeli spying on America. The CIA calls Israel America’s main regional spy threat. An Israeli-based CIA operative once found food in his refrigerator rearranged.
Washington knows what’s going on. Publicly it’s ignored. Pre-9/11, the FBI uncovered a massive US-based Israeli spy ring. It remains active.
It betrays America. Numerous Israeli citizens are involved. They have close ties to foreign military, criminal and intelligence sources. They reportedly breach US laws with impunity.
Israel’s featured prominently in annual FBI reports. It actively seeks proprietary/secret US information. It’s mainly on military systems and advanced computer applications.
Proprietary commercial and industrial data are stolen. Israel recruits spies. Sophisticated methods are used. Computers are hacked for information.
Washington’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Israel “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any US ally.”
The Pentagon accused Israel of “actively engag(ing) in military and industrial espionage in the United States. An Israeli citizen working in the US who has access to proprietary information is likely to be a target of such espionage.”
FBI whistle-blower John Cole said Justice Department officials ordered dozens of Israeli espionage cases dropped. At issue was political pressure.
Washington gives Israel billions of dollars in annual aid, state-of-the-art weapons and technology, and numerous other special privileges. In return, it steals US state and commercial secrets.
Despite longstanding close ties, Washington considers Israel both ally and counterintelligence threat. In terms of technical capability and human resources, it matches America’s best.
It has access to the highest US political, military and intelligence sources. Bamford said NSA-developed advanced analytical/data-mining software was lawlessly given Israel.
An Operations Directorate technical director did so secretly. Apparently Israeli companies got access. Technology they got advanced their own.
Narus once boasted about being “known for its ability to capture and collect data from the largest networks around the world.” Unexplained was that stolen software facilitates is capabilities.
Retired Israeli General Hanan Gefen ran its secret Unit 8200. It’s Israel’s NSA equivalent. He admitted Israeli ties to Comverse. At the time, it owned Verint. It owns other Israeli high-tech companies. They specialize in eavesdropping and surveillance. They operate globally.
According to Gefen, the “correlation between serving in the intelligence Unit 8200 and starting successful high-tech companies is not coincidental.”
“Many of the technologies in use around the world and developed in Israel were originally military technologies and were developed and improved by Unit veterans.”
Kobi Alexander founded Verint. He formerly served as chairman. He’s a fugitive. FBI accusations include fraud, theft, lying, bribery, money laundering and related crimes.
Two of his top Comverse associates were indicted on similar charges. Both were imprisoned. They paid millions of dollars in fines and penalties.
NSA claims it takes malfeasance and other legitimate complaints seriously. Spying technology and expertise take precedence.
Bamford says take NSA assurances cautiously. “Who’s listening to the listeners,” he asks?
Haaretz asked if Verint and Narus “collected information from the US communications network” for NSA?
Neither company responded when asked. Former senior NSA official-turned whistle-blower Thomas Drake exposed fraud, waste, abuse and other lawless agency practices.
They relate to warrantless data-mining practices. In April 2010, he was indicted under the Espionage Act. Charges included “willful retention of classified information, obstruction of justice, and making false statements.”
After a May 22, 2011 60 Minutes broadcast, all charges were dropped. In return, Drake plead guilty to a minor misdemeanor. He was sentenced to one year probation and community service. He lost his high-paying NSA job and pension.
On March 15, 2013, he spoke at the National Press Club. He focused on First Amendment rights. In part he said:
“The threats to the First Amendment by the government is bull’s eye-centered on a free unfettered press designed to suppress and repress speech and political expression in America, create fear through privilege and unilateral authority over what is fit or unfit for the First Amendment.”
“If speech becomes the instrument of crime when revealing government crime and wrongdoing, we are under arbitrary authoritarian rule and not the rule of law.”
“I can make an argument that government increasingly prefers to operate in the shadows and finds the First Amendment a constraint on its activities.”
“And yet, taking off the veil of government secrecy has more often than not turned truth-tellers and whistle-blowers into turncoats and traitors, who are then often criminally burned and blacklisted and broken by the government on the stake of national security.”
“I knew too much truth and exposed government illegalities, fraud and abuse and was turned into a criminal for doing so.”
“I was charged under the Espionage Act, faced many years in prison and became an enemy of the state.”
“It was five years of living under the boot of the Surveillance State, and yet I was saved by the First Amendment and the court of public opinion and the free press, including the strength and growing resiliency of the alternative media.”
“Do we really want the government listening in on and tracking the lives of so many others? Have our constitutional freedoms become the latest victims of 9/11?”
“Will national security replace our individual rights? Will fear take priority over freedom? Will government censorship and propaganda triumph over personal choice and disclosure, use suppression repression?”
“If we starve liberty for the increasingly myopic sake of security, what will we have left to defend?”
If truth-telling is criminalized, freedom no longer exists. Drake corroborated information AT&T whistle-blower Mark Klein and others reported. Spies “R” Us reflects US policy.
Drake verified NSA’s use of Narus technology. Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collects intelligence from major US Internet companies. They do it via Prism electronic surveillance.
Officially it’s called US-984XN. It’s used for sweeping domestic and foreign spying. It’s the main source for raw NSA intelligence. It’s top secret for good reason. Now it’s existence is publicly known.
Mossad’s longstanding ties to Verint, Narus, and other Israeli surveillance technology companies assures it access to information they collect.
It’s true wherever these companies operate. America has 16 active intelligence agencies. They operate the same way. Warrantless dragnet spying is lawless.
Freedom pays the greatest price. It’s disappearing in plain sight. It’s heading for the dustbin of history without legitimate resistance enough to stop it. Nothing less has a chance.
Caught In The PRISM
Doug Bernard in his article datelined Washington DC, titled: “The NSA’s Internet Surveillance Program And You” published in the Voice of America, writes late Wednesday, it was revealed that America’s National Security Agency, or NSA, got secret court permission to access millions of telephone records of the Verizon telecommunications company’s domestic customers.
The following day, the Washington Post and Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that nine Internet and computer service firms, including Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Skype, have been voluntarily providing the NSA with access to their data, allowing the NSA to monitor and analyze emails, photos and video chats from around the world as part of a program known as PRISM.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that “ people familiar with the NSA’s operations said the initiative also encompasses phone call data from AT&T…and Sprint Nextel records from Internet-service providers and purchase information from credit-card providers.” Sensing a good fight, the group called Anonymous has jumped in as well, posting online what appear to be 13 secret U.S. documents that suggest data gathered through PRISM is being shared with the NSA’s “intelligence partners” – meaning the security and intelligence services of other governments.
“Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?” tweeted former presidential candidate Al Gore. Judging by the outrage across social media platforms this week, the answer would be no.
Secrets Protecting Secrets
It’s no surprise the NSA has been aggressively collecting electronic data – that’s its job. For 61 years, the secretive intelligence agency – often dubbed “No Such Agency” for it’s lack of transparency – has monitored all manner of phone calls, radio signals, emails, texts and other electronic communications in the interests of national security.
However, for much of its history the NSA has been limited to collecting foreign communications only. Domestic surveillance strictly illegal. To ensure compliance, in 1978 Congress passed the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act”, which in turn created a secret FISC, or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that the NSA would have to appear before anytime it wanted a warrant to monitor domestic communications.
The idea was that the court would provide strict privacy protection for U.S. citizens. In practice — perhaps because all its actions are secret and that only the government may appear before the court, or because the very nature of Internet traffic knows no national boundaries — the FISC court has been unusually compliant with the NSA’s requests. For example, between 2010 and 2012, the FISC approved all of the NSA’s 5,180 surveillance requests.
In the Verizon matter, the FISC ruling, signed by Judge Robert Vinson, was leaked and posted online, making it one of the very few glimpses into the court’s activities seen in public. In the PRISM Internet data-mining story, journalists obtained 41 PowerPoint slides prepared by the NSA for top-secret briefings only.
Internet privacy advocates, like the non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), have warned that “there is simply too little known about the operation of the FISC today to determine whether it is effective and whether the privacy interests of Americans are adequately protected.”
For his part, U.S. National Director of Intelligence James Clapper has confirmed the existence of PRISM and decried the leaks as “reprehensible,” saying, “The unauthorized disclosure of a top-secret U.S. court document threatens potentially long-lasting and irreversible harm to our ability to identify and respond to the many threats facing our nation.” The nine Internet companies named by the Washington Post have issued either non-committal statements, or outright denied any knowledge of PRISM.
Two Degrees Of Separation
It’s likely that shortly after Alexander Graham Bell told assistant Thomas Watson, “I need you,” telephones have been tapped. With it’s hard-wired person-to-person structure, it has aided countless investigations. The Internet, however, is another matter.
By its structure, Internet data doesn’t travel in a straight line from point to point, but rather in a zig-zagging trail that can route one email through dozens of servers across the globe. Much of that traffic transits through the United States, meaning that a Skype conversation or Facebook chat between someone in Jakarta and someone else in Baku will likely end up flowing through U.S.-based servers.
This enormous amount of data can be analyzed by NSA computers to determine not only who a suspected foreign terrorist is speaking with or emailing, but the people those individuals in turn are communicating with, and what they’re talking about. Even at just two hops, the number of people caught up in one terrorist’s surveillance can quickly number well into the thousands. That’s a tremendous amount of personal information that PRISM grants the NSA.
The phone monitoring is somewhat different, and not really phone tapping. The FISC order in the Verizon matter strictly limits surveillance to “meta-data” — that is, the time, duration and recipient of a phone call, but not the actual communication itself. By sorting through these many millions of data points, intelligence analysts are looking for patterns in the noise that may provide crucial clues about the identity and location of potential terrorists.
Another easily overlooked facet to these stories is that the very firms – like Apple, PalTalk or AOL – that people are using to chat and share online are themselves mining their data stores for their own corporate gains. While some companies like Facebook and Google provide “privacy tools” that allow users to restrict personal data sharing, each firm admits to using private data to tailor services to customers, or selling it to other firms hoping to, say, better target their online advertising.
Cold Comfort and More Debate
Still, all that may be cold comfort to people like Digital First Media’s Mandy Jones, who tweeted, “I shudder to think of what the NSA is doing with those drunk photos I thought were safely hidden on Facebook.” [Ed. note: As we’ve repeatedly told you, there is nothing hidden on Facebook.] While both Republican and Democratic members on Capitol Hill have been briefed on these, and likely other, NSA programs, they were limited in what they could say or object to by the FISC’s classified nature. More congressional debate can be expected.
In the meantime, amid memories of the 2005 revelations of the Bush administration’s “warrantless wiretapping” program, and the current swirl of stories about tax agency over-reach and the Justice Department’s broad seizure of AP journalists’ phone records, worries about the NSA’s surveillance of all people – foreign and domestic – will only grow.
Until then, it’s worth remembering that there is very little that’s completely private in these digital times. (HSH)
1. VOA News