Three examples of American political culture in 2008.
First, the latest efforts of the NSA to read my email and discover its exciting secrets. (Hayden's Haystacks: Chilling Effects and Fluffy Data Goodness...)
Well well, we got a couple funny things which are probably Too Hot To link to - or something. I don't get it...
This is pretty funny, but first I need to take note of their latest plans to spy on everybody... Wait... first, let's go back a couple years... These guys have such a great sense of humor.
I think this latest prank tops that Total Information Awareness logo in complete Maximum Conspiracy Irony. Back in the day...
2002: 'Mythical Evil Conspiracy Irony from the Establishment': We never thought anything would top the 'all seeing pyramid staring at Mideast.' But this is the Federal Government! They are Creative!
Fortunately the big pyramid is still up-n-beamin' around with it's Data Mining Sunshine and, yes, they are chucking all your emails and credit card transactions into the big Vortex. What were you expecting, punk?
The Wall Street Journal puts on their tinfoil hat to give us some nice radio waves: Via Cryptogon: NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data:
Wall Street Journal: NSA’s Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data; Terror Fight Blurs Line Over Domain;Tracking Email By SIOBHAN GORMAN; March 10, 2008; Page A1
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Five years ago, Congress killed an experimental Pentagon antiterrorism program meant to vacuum up electronic data about people in the U.S. to search for suspicious patterns. Opponents called it too broad an intrusion on Americans’ privacy, even after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But the data-sifting effort didn’t disappear. The National Security Agency, once confined to foreign surveillance, has been building essentially the same system. The central role the NSA has come to occupy in domestic intelligence gathering has never been publicly disclosed. But an inquiry reveals that its efforts have evolved to reach more broadly into data about people’s communications, travel and finances in the U.S. than the domestic surveillance programs brought to light since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Largely missing from the public discussion is the role of the highly secretive NSA in analyzing that data, collected through little-known arrangements that can blur the lines between domestic and foreign intelligence gathering. Supporters say the NSA is serving as a key bulwark against foreign terrorists and that it would be reckless to constrain the agency’s mission. The NSA says it is scrupulously following all applicable laws and that it keeps Congress fully informed of its activities.
According to current and former intelligence officials, the spy agency now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic emails and Internet searches as well as bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel and telephone records. The NSA receives this so-called “transactional” data from other agencies or private companies, and its sophisticated software programs analyze the various transactions for suspicious patterns. Then they spit out leads to be explored by counterterrorism programs across the U.S. government, such as the NSA’s own Terrorist Surveillance Program, formed to intercept phone calls and emails between the U.S. and overseas without a judge’s approval when a link to al Qaeda is suspected.
The NSA’s enterprise involves a cluster of powerful intelligence-gathering programs, all of which sparked civil-liberties complaints when they came to light. They include a Federal Bureau of Investigation program to track telecommunications data once known as Carnivore, now called the Digital Collection System, and a U.S. arrangement with the world’s main international banking clearinghouse to track money movements.
The effort also ties into data from an ad-hoc collection of so-called “black programs” whose existence is undisclosed, the current and former officials say. Many of the programs in various agencies began years before the 9/11 attacks but have since been given greater reach. Among them, current and former intelligence officials say, is a longstanding Treasury Department program to collect individual financial data including wire transfers and credit-card transactions.
It isn’t clear how many of the different kinds of data are combined and analyzed together in one database by the NSA. An intelligence official said the agency’s work links to about a dozen antiterror programs in all....
But wait! Folks, it gets better. All they gotta do is Wire in your phone number to all the others!
The NSA uses its own high-powered version of social-network analysis to search for possible new patterns and links to terrorism. The Pentagon’s experimental Total Information Awareness program, later renamed Terrorism Information Awareness, was an early research effort on the same concept, designed to bring together and analyze as much and as many varied kinds of data as possible. Congress eliminated funding for the program in 2003 before it began operating. But it permitted some of the research to continue and TIA technology to be used for foreign surveillance.
Some of it was shifted to the NSA — which also is funded by the Pentagon — and put in the so-called black budget, where it would receive less scrutiny and bolster other data-sifting efforts, current and former intelligence officials said. “When it got taken apart, it didn’t get thrown away,” says a former top government official familiar with the TIA program.
Two current officials also said the NSA’s current combination of programs now largely mirrors the former TIA project. But the NSA offers less privacy protection. TIA developers researched ways to limit the use of the system for broad searches of individuals’ data, such as requiring intelligence officers to get leads from other sources first. The NSA effort lacks those controls, as well as controls that it developed in the 1990s for an earlier data-sweeping attempt.
Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who led the charge to kill TIA, says “the administration is trying to bring as much of the philosophy of operation Total Information Awareness as it can into the programs they’re using today.” The issue has been overshadowed by the fight over telecoms’ immunity, he said. “There’s not been as much discussion in the Congress as there ought to be.”...
Oh yeh let's put in another tasty WSJ nibble about how the Posse Comitatus Act never covered how the Military would build the SuperOrwell HAL FBI Fishing Expedition Big Brother 2008 model...
The NSA quietly redefined its role. Joint FBI-NSA projects “expanded exponentially,” said Jack Cloonan, a longtime FBI veteran who investigated al Qaeda. He pointed to national-security letter requests: They rose from 8,500 in 2000 to 47,000 in 2005, according to a Justice Department inspector general’s report last year. It also said the letters permitted the potentially illegal collection of thousands of records of people in the U.S. from 2003-05. Last Wednesday, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the bureau had found additional instances in 2006.....
Alright, so these guys are tracking all transactions, yet they can't find where the drug money goes. It just gets away every fucking time!
And just to drive the point home, the guys that specialized in the drug trafficking networks back in the 1980s get honored in a whole new way, somewhere deep in the Data System....
Now, for something completely different. But also not. Our second awesome story...
According to the spy-exposure-weird-shit site Cryptome.org, a ton of 'telephone pseudonyms and true names' were listed at 411.com for a secret CIA phone number. That is, a ton of joke and real entries all assigned to (703) 482-1100, a CIA number in McLean Virginia.
Somehow 10,000+ records got assigned many-to-one to one phone number. Just for the CIA.
And better yet, a huge swath of the names are fucking pranks. Pranks about favorite names in the Conspiracy.
2008: 'Yes, the CIA put in all the best conspiracy names onto their own damn 411 reverse phone number lookup, just to piss me off!!!'
THIS IS TOO MUCH!!! OMG!!!! There are another 9980 fake names drawn from the great fabric of American spy conspiracy lore. Barry Seal has his place (or several). As we posted 11 months ago:
"William Buckley" has three listed CIA phone numbers @ (703) 482-1100. Don't these guys have something better to do? God damn, 'Ahmad Chelebi' is also listed @ (703) 482-1100. And 'Libby Plame.' and 'Laiffaire Plame'. And 'Judith Plame.' And Richard Secord. and Jose Rodriguez. And felix rodriguez. And Barry Seal. And Adler Seal. Covert Ops, the Skull & Bones days, all kinds of stuff. Maybe 'real names' of current people too? Put out onto the Web's 411 system? Really?
White House Telephone Nyms and Names
10,751 CIA Telephone Nyms and Names
4,151 NSA Telephone Nyms and Names. More aboot that last one: NSA Telephone Pseudonyms and Names: About 4,151 NSA telephone pseudonyms and true names are available via http://switchboard.intelius.com through a reverse telephone number look-up for (301) 688-0400. Some names are humorous ("Lawrence Waterhousespy," "Bin Laden") or ironic ("Hayden Lied," "Odom Warns"); others are spoofs: "Justin Rood" is the name of a national security journalist for CQ.com......
A2 provides a full index of the 10,751 CIA nyms and names, linked to Google Search for each name:
All right kids, now that we are really on a roll...
Rumors of Denver Democratic National Convention deadlock to Hillary => Really pissed off Hordes vs. the Hacks? What would happen if the Hillary people went all the way to the convention and somehow ganked the nomination? Rick Perlstein passed along some emails from people comparing it to Chicago '68.
However, this kind of fucked up violent incident isn't going to happen at the Democratic National Convention, but its pretty likely to expect a lot more of Raving Loonies in Emails getting treated as proof that the end is near. Chaos looms etc. Doom memes are self reproducing!
I think it's a good example of... political science fiction, showing how people's fantasies play out in an imagined reality. Stuff like this generates an atmosphere of tension and can be used to basically troll. It's just like everything else on the Internet. combine Obama + Battle in Seattle fantasies... Huffington Post: Some Apocalyptic Observations on the Democratic Nomination Fight from Here on Out:
A young friend who lives in a small town in a rural state sent me the following observation today:
If the Clintons push for the win in Denver, they're going to split the goddamn party down the middle. I read your chapter on 1968 Chicago, obviously. I'm of the generation who supports Obama. I know what we're like. Shit, I know what I'm like.
Rick, if the Machine tries to give the Clintons the victory at the convention, I swear to God, Chicago's going to look like a Sadie Hawkins dance. People my age are going to be throwing stones. We all have transportation -- cell phones -- disposable income -- the Internet -- free time -- and Seattle as our example. Part of me is scared of a riot. Part of me isn't. The nomination belongs to Obama. Do you think we're going to let the Democratic Leadership Council take it? "God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, fire next time."
and then the ominous Iraq vet reference... A different guy who works inside the Democratic Party somewhere told Rick Perlstein:
Not to mention that there's going to be a significant Iraq veteran contingent at the convention, ready to rock 'n' roll. We've already had planning meetings about it -- we're going about it the same way that we would plan any decent military operation.... I can't emphasize enough how potentially scary things could get -- we've got folks working on the inside of the convention, and it's all done on a cell basis, so that folks only know what they need to know.
I feel like you'd get too many hits from the Man over this kind of material. On a day like today, why not?********Well, I would say that these three elements - building the Big Brother Machine, the CIA's own prank phone index, and the fantasies of militant anti-Hillaryites, it reminds me of why American political culture has that certain outrageous, cowboy, bravado thing. Read all the emails! Why not?! Are ya... yellow?!
The British are way too half-assed to have a country where such utter bullshit holds forth. That's America!