Disclaimer: This site is *not* affiliated with AIPAC, Ahmed Chalabi, K Street, ClearChannel, or Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, NJ. In case you were curious. Full disclosure: I have a "long Apple position" and therefore I have an Apple bias.
Intelligence community incubated Google: A few pretty large chunks turned up with new work from Nafeez Ahmed via crowdfunding, focused on period around the time Google was developed at Stanford. One of the computer scientists involved disputes part of Ahmed's story (and prepended his PDF source at that URL w a new statement), but the overall scope of the Highlands Forum / Group, along with the CIA's In-Q-Tel venture capital development/incubator operations, reconfigures our understanding of intersecting tech and intelligence worlds.
Highlands Group Overview The Highlands Group is an international consulting network that has been interestingly termed an "intellectual capital venture firm" with extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders frame issues and consider alternatives in the achievement of their objectives. The Highlands Group is a leader in helping clients to explore the edges for new ideas and approaches, create new networks, manage creativity, and succeed. The Highlands Group provides clients with a wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets, and special events planning and assistance. The Highlands Group assists clients in identifying new technologies, ideas, and opportunities. Highlands draws on a network of subject matter experts and facilitates cross-disciplinary gatherings of creative thinkers, working with clients to build strategies for execution. We are a small and agile firm, supported by the strengths of a global network of experts, and provide our clients with personal involvement and dedication. The Highlands Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Carmel Highlands, California, and is supported by a network of companies and independent researchers. It is truly a collaborative effort with great contributions from our sponsors; our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum, Singaporean Island Forum, the St. Michaels Forum, and the Information Engagement Forum.
Highlands Forum also has Thomas Barnett who provided crucial early post-9/11 backing for "core and gap" geopolitical dichotomy and 'rule setting' military hegemony quests within Pentagon circles. I read his book ages ago Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - The Pentagon's New Map: War & Peace in the 21st C. - it is important for understanding what framework got installed - as Ahmed digs up this was a transmission belt for Barnett and many others.
This gives earlier knowledge than the more wellknown roots of Google Earth as CIA's In-Q-Tel supported Keyhole -- they bought it partially from In-Q-Tel and turned in to Google Earth Enterprise as a platform for geospatial intelligence (GEO INT).
The powers that be have a strong interest in having one big Google (and Walmart, and foreign militant groups etc) - so it's no surprise that support among key figures - along with funding and special privileges, eventually contracts - to keep the tech scene consolidated.
INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’
The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global
Bruce Schneier (computer security expert, now also with the EFF) has remarked: "It's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state. No matter what the eavesdroppers and censors say, these systems put us all at greater risk."
There are two elements of this emerging technology that prompt me to regard this as bad civic hygiene: the omnipresence of these microphones, and the increasing lack of technological constraint allowing their compromise by state and other actors.
When I say "increasing lack of technological constraint", I am referring to several things: the descriptions of actions by agencies such as NSA, GCHQ, and the FBI who are specifically targeting smartphones (e.g. Tailored Access Operations of NSA and Remote Operations Unit of FBI), the exploding grey market for zero-day vulnerabilities dominated by state actors (especially the United States), and the emerging market for contractors who are developing exploits and software tools which enable to these vulnerabilities to be efficiently utilized. (Vupen in France, Hacking Team in Italy, Endgame Systems in U.S., FinFisher in the U.K., etc.)
Zero-day vulnerabilities are essentially unintentional backdoors that are discovered in various software applications every year by hackers. There are hundreds of these things discovered every year, and they are an unavoidable by-product of the software development cycle. They are a special kind of software bug that can permit a third-party who knows about them to take over a person's device. Sort of like skeleton keys which allow entry into anyone's device that happens to use the operating system or application in which the vulnerability is discovered, and they permit various degrees of power over a person's device. Programmers create exploits known as "zero-day exploits" to make use of these vulnerabilities. A market has emerged whereby these exploits are sold to the highest bidders, which, unsurprisingly, happen to be state actors. An exploit for the iPhone's iOS was sold for $500,000 at one point to an unknown buyer -- the NSA perhaps, but every intelligence agency on the planet is willing to pay top dollar for these things. Parties are willing to pay much more if it seems the exploit is likely to go undetected for some time and if it provides a lot of power over the device (laptop, smartphone, or tablet). However, when a vulnerability is discovered "in the wild" and reported to the software company (as should be the case), the value drops to near zero very quickly as the software company develops a "patch" and sends out security updates to consumers. In any event, the result of these activities over just the past decade is that sophisticated intelligence agencies, and certainly the FBI and NSA, now possess a revolving set of skeleton keys that allow them to reach inside virtually anyone's device on the planet. They don't need a warrant to do this, and they don't need permission from the telecoms or software companies. They don't have to notify any third parties that this is happening. This is a HUGE amount of power for any state actor to have.
Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI have been clamoring for mandatory backdoors into all these new web-based technologies, but there are fundamental technical issues with integrating a CALEA-type system with the internet (CALEA = Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994). Security experts are suggesting that the feds (including domestic agencies like the FBI) develop teams of hackers to perform wiretaps in the future. They are essentially recommending that the FBI develop their own Tailored Access Operations (an NSA hacking division). Installing a CALEA-type system will fundamentally weaken the security of the internet for everyone, they claim, and it's also not very practical because new technologies develop so rapidly. It will hinder innovation. (From later note: we now know the FBI has already developed their own hacking team with the Remote Operations Unit. Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the ACLU, discovered the Remote Operations Unit through former contractors' CVs on LinkedIn and put the pieces together.)
"Going Bright: Wiretapping without Weakening Communications Infrastructure" | Steven M. Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Sandy Clark, Susan Landau | IEEE Security & Privacy 11:1, Jan/Feb 2013
My comments on the authors' analysis in this paper: OK, fine, mandatory backdoors are unacceptable. But if the feds' teams of hackers develop the power to enact wiretaps and bugs without having to ask for third-party permission, that will facilitate intelligence laundering on a wide scale. Sure, the information/evidence can't be presented in court. But they are more than happy to find other ways to use the information. Numerous examples of this have cropped up in the past year in the press (e.g. Special Operations Division -- a joint operation between DEA, FBI, and NSA -- slides were released a few months after Snowden to the press in a leak, but they were not part of the Snowden dump. Agents are specifically instructed to "recreate" the trail of an investigation to hide the original sources. They are effectively removing any poisonous taint from illegal surveillance by fabricating an independent source and never revealing the original surveillance. I believe they are generally handling narcotics cases, and the ACLU and EFF filed an Amicus brief late last year in a case in SF court as a result of the slides, because they suspected illegal surveillance might be taking place and intelligence was being laundered -- see United States of America v. Diaz-Rivera -- a very recent case, not sure what the outcome was at the suppression hearing. Google: Special Operations Division) ….
In principle, American Internet Journalism just died horribly.
Fuck it dude, let's go bowling (and keep posting without prior restraint till they drag us all away).
Unfortunately, a confused federal judge in Texas decided to disregard the Supreme Court's round rejection of prior restraint and enhanced Barrett Brown's sentence because copying and pasting a link to a zip file — a file whose contents he only had a loose notion of at the time, and was posted in the context of corporate research — is now apparently a forbidden form of speech.
We are all targets now. If we are to take the DOJ at their word, internet journalism has more or less been made impossible. Responsibility got shifted from publishers (or 'leakers') to observers, researchers and aggregators. Will corporate weasel lawyers forbid high level journalists from linking to things? The chilling effects are open-ended and basically endless, as well as impossible to ascertain without skimming the HTML source code of every page you link to and every autoloading script attached therein.
Even after reviewing the HTML, it will still become more chilling if the proposed White House CFAA revision goes in because of some weird notion about trafficking that they were able to get to stick at Barrett's sentencing.
So this speech would effectively be nuked, for example:
...could make either retweeting or clicking on the above (fictional) link illegal. The new laws make it a felony to intentionally access unauthorized information even if it's been posted to a public website. The new laws make it a felony to traffic in information like passwords, where "trafficking" includes posting a link.
Via the link above ErrataRob Graham explains that security research will be rendered impossible, thereby making it a felony to correctly develop software with any defense:
Obama proposes upgrading hacking to a “racketeering” offense, means you can be guilty of being a hacker by simply acting like a hacker (without otherwise committing a specific crime). Hanging out in an IRC chat room giving advice to people now makes you a member of a “criminal enterprise,” allowing the FBI to sweep in and confiscate all your assets without charging you with a crime.
On the upside, after the child porn argument fell apart, the government had to claim that information is the same kind of thing as drugs in order to cram the situation into a statutory conspiracy. So well done there, Barrett, you forced them to make speech into drugs. Drugs = Speech. The Supreme Court previously said that Speech = Money, so therefore Drugs = Money. Party on, robed ones.
The ruling, in Texas, brings to a close an unusual saga that had the feds initially charging Brown with 12 counts of aggravated identity theft and trafficking in stolen data for simply posting a link in a chat room. That link pointed to a file containing data stolen by members of the hacktivist group Anonymous from the intelligence firm Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasting. The data included company emails as well as credit card numbers belonging to subscribers of Stratfor’s service. The charges against Brown caused a stir when they were first revealed, because Brown hadn’t stolen the data himself, but had simply copied the hyperlink from one public chatroom and posted it to another.
I kept thinking of Snowden journalists and WikiLeaks today. The USG is coming for you next.#barrettbrown
Oh well: Living in America will literally drive you insane. Indeed it is hard to attempt to contort one's mind to whatever the government's reasoning is in Barrett's case. We live under a ruthless system with little regard for logic and nothing but fear and loathing for hyperlinks. Federal prosecutors can blatantly lie in court and face no punishment - indeed they earn merit instead.
Blah. Keep plugging on lolcats. As the radicals know it's a good idea to live as if you are already free; the "prefigurative" application of traditional (and previously protected) legal principles of speech might eventually be respected in America again, but only if masses of writers don't flee from these terrible people after losing this ugly battle on terrible grounds.
There is plenty more that could be said but I will crosspost Barrett's daring allocution statement. I would bet it got him a couple more months from that judge but at least it's honest, and certainly the appropriate spot to bring up prosecutorial misconduct.
Good afternoon, Your Honor.
The allocution I give today is going to be a bit different from the sort that usually concludes a sentencing hearing, because this is an unusual case touching upon unusual issues. It is also a very public case, not only in the sense that it has been followed closely by the public, but also in the sense that it has implications for the public, and even in the sense that the public has played a major role, because, of course, the great majority of the funds for my legal defense was donated by the public. And so now I have three duties that I must carry out. I must express my regret, but I must also express my gratitude. And I also have to take this opportunity to ensure that the public understands what has been at stake in this case, and why it has proceeded in the way that it has. Because, of course, the public didn’t simply pay for my defense through its donations, they also paid for my prosecution through its tax dollars. And the public has a right to know what it is paying for. And Your Honor has a need to know what he is ruling on.
First I will speak of regret. Like nearly all federal defendants, I hope to convince Your Honor that I sincerely regret some of the things that I have done. I don’t think anyone doubts that I regret quite a bit about my life including some of the things that brought me here today. Your Honor has the Acceptance of Responsibility document that my counsel submitted to you. Every word of it was sincere. The videos were idiotic, and although I made them in a manic state brought on by sudden withdrawal from Paxil and Suboxone, and while distraught over the threats to prosecute my mother, that’s still me in those YouTube clips talking nonsense about how the FBI would never take me alive. Likewise, I didn’t have the right to hide my files from the FBI during a lawful investigation, and I would’ve had a better chance of protecting my contacts in foreign countries if I had pursued the matter in the courts after the raid, rather than stupidly trying to hide those laptops in the kitchen cabinet as my mother and I did that morning. And with regard to the accessory after the fact charge relating to my efforts to redact sensitive emails after the Stratfor hack, I’ve explained to Your Honor that I do not want to be a hypocrite. If I criticize the government for breaking the law but then break the law myself in an effort to reveal their wrongdoing, I should expect to be punished just as I’ve called for the criminals at government-linked firms, like HBGary and Palantir, to be punished. When we start fighting crime by any means necessary, we become guilty of the same hypocrisy as law enforcement agencies throughout history that break the rules to get the villains, and so become villains themselves.
I’m going to say a few more words about my regrets in a moment, but now I’m going to get to the unusual part of the allocution. I’m going to make some criticisms of the manner in which the government has pursued this case. Normally this sort of thing is left to one’s lawyers rather than the defendant, because to do otherwise runs the risk of making the defendant seem combative rather than contrite. But I think Your Honor can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. I think Your Honor understands that one can regret the unjust things one has done, while also being concerned about the unjust things that have been done to him. And based on certain statements that Your Honor has made, as well as one particular ruling, I have cause to believe that Your Honor will understand and perhaps even sympathize with the unusual responsibility I have which makes it necessary that I point out some things very briefly.
I do so with respect to Your Honor. I also do it for selfish reasons, because I want to make absolutely certain that Your Honor is made aware that the picture the government has presented to you is a false one. But it is also my duty to make this clear as this case does not just affect me. Even aside from the several First Amendment issues that have already been widely discussed as a result of this case, there is also the matter of the dozens of people around the world who have contributed to my distributed think tank, Project PM, by writing for our public website, echelon2.org. Incredibly, the government has declared these contributors—some of them journalists—to be criminals and participants in a criminal conspiracy. As such, the government sought from this court a subpoena by which to obtain the identities of all of our contributors. Your Honor denied that motion and I am very grateful to Your Honor for having done so. Unfortunately the government thereafter went around Your Honor and sought to obtain these records by other means. So now the dozens of people who have given their time and expertise to what has been hailed by journalists and advocacy groups as a crucial journalistic enterprise are now at risk of being indicted under the same sort of spurious charges that I was facing not long ago, when the government exposed me to decades of prison time for copying and pasting a link to a publicly available file that other journalists were also linking to without being prosecuted. The fact that the government has still asked you to punish me for that link is proof, if any more were needed, that those of us who advocate against secrecy are to be pursued without regard for the rule of law, or even common decency.
Your Honor, I understand that this is my sentencing hearing and not an inquiry into the government’s conduct. This is not the place to go into the dozens of demonstrable errors and contradictions to be found in the government’s documentation and the testimony by the government. But it would be hypocritical of me to protest the government’s conduct and not provide Your Honor with an example. I will do so very briefly. At the September 13th bond hearing, held in Judge Stickney’s court the day after my arrest, Special Agent Allen Lynn took the stand and claimed under oath that in reviewing my laptops he had found discussions in which I admit having engaged in, quote, “SWATting”, unquote, which he referred to as, quote, “violent activity”, unquote. Your Honor may not be familiar with the term SWATting; as Mr. Lynn described it at the hearing it is, quote, “where they try to place a false 911 call to the residence of an individual in order to endanger that individual.” He went on at elaborate length about this, presenting it as a key reason why I should not receive bond. Your Honor will have noted that this has never come up again. This is because Mr. Lynn’s claims were entirely untrue. But that did not stop him from making that claim, any more than it stopped him from claiming that I have lived in the Middle East, a region I have never actually had the pleasure of visiting.
Your Honor, this is just one example from a single hearing. But if Your Honor can extrapolate from that, Your Honor can probably get a sense of how much value can be placed on the rest of the government’s testimony in this case. Likewise, Your Honor can probably understand the concerns I have about what my contributors might be subjected to by the government if this sort of behavior proves effective today. Naturally I hope Your Honor will keep this in mind, and I hope that other judges in this district will as well, because, again, there remains great concern that my associates will be the next to be indicted.
I’ve tried to protect my contributors, Your Honor, and I’ve also tried to protect the public’s right to link to source materials without being subject to misuse of the statutes. Last year, when the government offered me a plea bargain whereby I would plead to just one of the eleven fraud charges related to the linking, and told me it was final, I turned it down. To have accepted that plea, with a two-year sentence, would have been convenient—Your Honor will note that I actually did eventually plead to an accessory charge carrying potentially more prison time—but it would have been wrong. Even aside from the obvious fact that I did not commit fraud, and thus couldn’t sign to any such thing, to do so would have also constituted a dangerous precedent, and it would have endangered my colleagues, each of whom could now have been depicted as a former associate of a convicted fraudster. And it would have given the government, and particularly the FBI, one more tool by which to persecute journalists and activists whose views they find to be dangerous or undesirable.
Journalists are especially vulnerable right now, Your Honor, and they become more so when the FBI feels comfortable making false claims about me. And in response to our motion to dismiss the charges of obstruction of justice based on the hiding of my laptops, the government claimed that those laptops contained evidence of a plot I orchestrated to attack the Kingdom of Bahrain on the orders of Amber Lyon. Your Honor, Amber Lyon is a journalist and former CNN reporter, who I do know and respect, but I can assure Your Honor that I am not in the habit of attacking Gulf state monarchies on her behalf. But I think it’s unjust of them to use this court to throw out that sort of claim about Miss Lyon in a public filing as they did if they’re not prepared to back it up. And they’re not prepared to back it up. But that won’t stop the Kingdom of Bahrain from repeating this groundless assertion and perhaps even using it to keep Miss Lyon out of the country. Because she has indeed reported on the Bahraini monarchy’s violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in that country, and she has done so from that country. And if she ever returns to that country to continue that important work, she’ll now be subject to arrest on the grounds that the United States Department of Justice itself has explicitly accused her of orchestrating an attack on that country’s government.
Your Honor, this is extraordinary. Miss Lyon isn’t the only journalist that’s been made legally less secure by this prosecution. Every journalist in the United States is put at risk by the novel, and sometimes even radical, claims that the government has introduced in the course of the sentencing process. The government asserts that I am not a journalist and thus unable to claim the First Amendment protections guaranteed to those engaged in information-gathering activities. Your Honor, I’ve been employed as a journalist for much of my adult life, I’ve written for dozens of magazines and newspapers, and I’m the author of two published and critically-acclaimed books of expository non-fiction. Your Honor has received letters from editors who have published my journalistic work, as well as from award-winning journalists such as Glenn Greenwald, who note that they have used that work in their own articles. If I am not a journalist, then there are many, many people out there who are also not journalists, without being aware of it, and who are thus as much at risk as I am.
Your Honor, it would be one thing if the government were putting forth some sort of standard by which journalists could be defined. They have not put forth such a standard. Their assertion rests on the fact that despite having referred to myself as a journalist hundreds of times, I at one point rejected that term, much in the same way that someone running for office might reject the term “politician.” Now, if the government is introducing a new standard whereby anyone who once denies being a particular thing is no longer that thing in any legal sense, that would be at least a firm and knowable criteria. But that’s not what the government is doing in this case. Consider, for instance, that I have denied being a spokesperson for Anonymous hundreds of times, both in public and private, ever since the press began calling me that in the beginning of 2011. So on a couple of occasions when I contacted executives of contracting firms like Booz Allen Hamilton in the wake of revelations that they’d been spying on my associates and I, for reasons that we were naturally rather anxious to determine, I did indeed pretend to be such an actual official spokesman for Anonymous, because I wanted to encourage these people to talk to me. Which they did.
Of course, I have explained this many, many times, and the government itself knows this, even if they’ve since claimed otherwise. In the September 13th criminal complaint filed against me, the FBI itself acknowledges that I do not claim any official role within Anonymous. Likewise, in last month's hearing, the prosecutor accidentally slipped and referred to me as a journalist, even after having previously found it necessary to deny me that title. But, there you have it. Deny being a spokesperson for Anonymous hundreds of times, and you’re still a spokesperson for Anonymous. Deny being a journalist once or twice, and you’re not a journalist. What conclusion can one draw from this sort of reasoning other than that you are whatever the FBI finds it convenient for you to be at any given moment. This is not the rule of law, Your Honor, it is the rule of Law Enforcement, and it is very dangerous.
Your Honor, I am asking you to give me a time-served sentence of thirty months today because to do otherwise will have the effect of rewarding this sort of reckless conduct on the part of the government. I am also asking for that particular sentence because, as my lawyer Marlo Cadeddu, an acknowledged expert on the guidelines, has pointed out, that’s what the actual facts of the case would seem to warrant. And the public, to the extent that it has made its voice heard through letters and donations and even op-eds, also believes that the circumstances of this case warrant that I be released today. I would even argue that the government itself believes that the facts warrant my release today, because look at all the lies they decided they would have to tell to keep me in prison.
I thank you for your indulgence, Your Honor, and I want to conclude by thanking everyone who supported me over the last few years. I need to single out one person in particular, Kevin Gallagher, who contributed to my Project PM group, who stepped up immediately after my arrest to build up a citizens' initiative by which to raise money for my defense, and to spread the word about what was at stake in this case. For the two and a half years of my incarceration, Kevin has literally spent the bulk of his free time in working to give me my life back. He is one of the extraordinary people who have given of themselves to make possible this great and beautiful movement of ours. A movement to protect activists and journalists from secretive and extra-legal retaliation by powerful corporate actors with ties to the state. Your Honor, Kevin Gallagher is not a relative of mine, or a childhood friend. This is only the third time I’ve been in the same room with him. Nonetheless, he has dedicated two years of his life to ensure that I had the best possible lawyers on this case, and to ensure that the press understood what was at stake here. Your Honor, he set up something on Amazon.com whereby I could ask for books on a particular subject and supporters could buy them and have them sent to me. And he spoke to my mother several times a week. During that early period when I was facing over a hundred years worth of charges, and it wasn’t clear whether or not I would be coming home, he would reassure her.
A few weeks ago, he got a job at Freedom of The Press Foundation, one of the world’s most justifiably respected advocacy organizations. And, according to the government, he is also a member of a criminal organization, because, like dozens of journalists and activists across the world, he has been a contributor to Project PM, and the government has declared Project PM to be a criminal enterprise. I think that the government is wrong about Kevin, Your Honor, but that is not why I’ve brought him up. And although I am very glad for the opportunity to express my gratitude to him in a public setting, there are some gifts for which conventional gratitude is an insufficient payment. One can only respond to such gifts by working to become the sort of person that actually deserves to receive them. A thank you will not suffice, and so I am not bringing him up here merely to thank him. Instead, I am using him in my defense. Your Honor, this very noble person, this truly exemplary citizen of the republic who takes his citizenship seriously rather than taking it for granted, knows pretty much everything there is to know about me—my life, my past, my work, the things I’ve done and the things I’ve left undone, to the things I should not have done to begin with—and he has given himself over to the cause of freeing me today. He is the exact sort of person I tried to recruit for the crucial work we do at Project PM. I am so proud to have someone like him doing so much for me.
Your Honor, the last thing I will say in my own defense is that so many people like Kevin Gallagher have worked so hard on my behalf. And having now said all those things that I felt the need to say, I happily accept Your Honor’s decision.
Nothing is ever really acknowledged in America until it gets the Hollywood treatment, wrapped by a screenplay and soundtrack into that big image-stream narrative America tells itself as it reproduces its existence every day. The difficult map of intelligence agencies and the war on drugs has mostly been skirted by Hollywood, but in an overdue turn of good fortune Gary Webb’s story finally gets pinned to the Big Board pretty well.
Journalist Gary Webb used the Internet to nearly bring the war on drugs to the brink of collapse by exposing intelligence connections to leading cocaine flows in the US during Iran-Contra. In the 1990s major media forces were faced with critical new voices undermining the credibility of America's post-EO12333 drug war system. Like many before and since, Webb got the corporate media banhammer, portrayed here in incisive and indicting detail (looking at you, Walter Pincus).
"For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to an arm of the contra guerrillas of Nicaragua run by the Central Intelligence Agency, the San Jose Mercury News has found." Gary Webb circa 1996.
Leading the way with a star-studded cast in Focus Features’ Kill the Messenger, a decent set of films taking on Iran-Contra-related intelligence intrigue and the war on drugs is hitting the US this month, and a veritable wave of news stories exploring these old narratives are popping up nationwide!
I was very lucky to get into an advance screening & now trying to provide here more links for those both new and old to this sick twisted tale at the heart of the American Dream. Iran-Contra really fascinated me in 2007 & I got books, started putting videos together until l’Affair d’2008RNC pulled me away into more local concerns. "Iran-Contra Goggles” remain useful to decode the same basic corrupt systems we have today.
Kill the Messenger covers Webb’s tragic story, as he exposes the roles of CIA assets moving literally tons of cocaine into the US to create a covert money source for the Contras in Nicaragua. Freeway Ricky Ross, the key recipient of the cocaine, has a film coming out Oct 17th, “Freeway: Crack in the System” and Shadows of Liberty also features a Gary Webb-oriented segment, “Killing the Messenger".
Kill the Messenger encompasses Gary’s story, Dark Alliance, the first groundbreaking news story to really go viral over the Internet, providing readers around the world with primary source documents and more to explore. Animated gifs - a new technology at the time - showed cocaine pathways flowing into the US.
Iran-Contra aficionados and Gary’s family, who supported the film’s production, will feel a strong sense of vindication, although the latter third of the story quits expanding our view of this high-level drug underworld as the bottom of Gary’s life gradually falls out.
We get a sound foundation under the story, it seems they didn’t cut any especially bad corners that would undermine this critical shot at contextualizing Webb in American journalism.
This film doesn’t explain Southern Air Transport or Barry Seal, later extensions of similar work, or the similar sad fates of Danny Casolaro, Michael Ruppert and others.
The CIA leisure suits, aviator sunglasses and careful color palettes harken to these carefully styled 1970s paranoia thrillers, both directed by Alan J Pakula in the “Paranoia Trilogy”.
Andy Garcia as Norwin Meneses and Michael Kenneth Williams as Freeway Ricky Ross are excellent, while Oliver Platt as the rumpled, dubious editor, Michael Sheen as the bureaucrat, all of these are well-crafted roles if brief. West Wing's Richard Schiff as the Washington Post's coverup editor ringleader was just right.
Ray Liotta’s surprise covert ops "nighttime of the soul” scene is also pretty damn good.
This nice media wave is a good chance for everyone to learn more, and hear from the old journalists who also got the banhammer for daring to push the truth out there. Robert Parry has a new piece: The CIA/MSM Contra-Cocaine Cover-Up (Oct 3 2014).
“It’s like we say “Iran-Contra”. "Iran-Contra" activity continues to go on today. In some cases, it’s the very same names and faces. In other cases, it’s a newer, younger generation of names and faces. But the narcotics, weapons and fraud aspects still continue to this day.” - Al Martin p330
Freeway Ricky Ross is making his move in all this, somehow having survived everything so far. Last summer: Freeway Rick Is Dreaming - Los Angeles Magazine (May 2013) An odd story by Jesse Katz who had a unique long term relationship with him as a journalist.
Another film, Shadows of Liberty, (FB) released in 2012 & playing Midwest theaters lately, includes everything from a “Killing the Messenger” segment on Webb & Dark Alliance to a Iraq marketing section covering Iraq Intel war spoofing, Iraqi National Congress, Rendon Group psyops discussed by James Bamford. Both hit the New York Times pretty hard, as well they should, in propagandizing for Iraq & attacking Webb.
In a latter section Sibel Edmonds and Phil Giraldi look at covert agents among US nuclear secrets & Marc Grossman at the State Dept. Really a nicely rounded collection, even if I’m not a big fan of some of the film participants. Detailed notes here. New Zealand review here.
Supporting material: Panthers, Crips & Bloods:Bastards of the Party - Top Documentary Films (2005) a must see for the development of Los Angeles gang structure in the context of massive importation of drugs & sophisticated police & federal operations since the days of the Black Panthers.
Pissed off CIA honcho Duane Clarridge - “there’s never been a conspiracy in this country!” (great clip in two of these films)
EO12333: The Private Contractor angle: roughly speaking, once this executive order was created, devious operations could be wrapped in corporate fronts like “Southern Air Transport”, “Vortex”, “Evergreen International” and others even lesser known.
2.7 Contracting. Agencies within the Intelligence Community are authorized to enter into contracts or arrangements for the provision of goods or services with private companies or institutions in the United States and need not reveal the sponsorship of such contracts or arrangements for authorized intelligence purposes. Contracts or arrangements with academic institutions may be undertaken only with the consent of appropriate officials of the institution.
They also point to a gap in the public reaction to Ed Snowden’s revelations about those programs. Despite that fact that most of the NSA’s spying relies on Reagan’s directive, Executive Order 12333, the vast majority of reform efforts have concentrated on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and other legislative fixes. “Congress’s reform efforts have not addressed the executive order,” notes Alex Abdo of the ACLU, ”and the bulk of the government’s disclosures in response to the Snowden revelations have conspicuously ignored the NSA’s extensive mandate under EO 12333.”
The documents assert that mandate baldly. A legal factsheet from the NSA, dated June 2013, states that the FISA, which requires judicial oversight over spying on Americans, “only regulates a subset of the NSA’s signals intelligence activities. NSA conducts the majority of its SIGINT activities solely pursuant to the authority provided by Executive Order 12333.”
Often referred to as “twelve triple three” or EO 12333, the executive order came into being in 1981 under Reagan. Much of the post-Snowden debate, particularly with respect to the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records, has focused on the interlocking legal authorities of Section 215 of the Patriot Act and the 2008 FISA Amendments Act. But, the ACLU notes, “because the executive branch issued and now implements the executive order all on its own, the programs operating under the order are subject to essentially no oversight from Congress or the courts.” The documents describe procedures for safeguarding the rights of Americans whose information might be “incidentally” collected under 12333, but those procedures are overseen by the director of national intelligence or the attorney general.
Who? Oliver Hardy? Andy Garcia’s great line in Kill the Messenger about how it was Ollie’s idea to run drugs & guns around is a nod to Oliver North’s wonderful note: The “Honduran DC-6 which is being used for runs out of New Orleans is probably being used for drug runs into U.S."
A personal favorite :]
The 1996 Los Angeles CIA Town Hall meeting on drug trafficking was a critical moment. I would identify this meeting as the closest point to total collapse of the war on drugs edifice since Nixon, and it’s worth noting Deutch resigned shortly thereafter. This meeting cost the director of the CIA his job - and two years later they had to concede so much of Gary’s work was 100% accurate.
Another regular day - Day 28 of Iran Contra hearings Part 1, July 14 1987: They get into the weird Continuity of Government stuff in the 3rd hour.
Semi-related: alt journalist Wayne Madsen on Franklin sex trafficking scandal which had Iran-contra financing connections. The “Conspiracy of Silence” is related but goes way, way beyond all this. Wayne also suspects a similar Iran-Contra-like complex role related to 9-11 and the Pinal Air Park intel aviation field in Arizona, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how it turns out. (The late author Philip Marshall seemed to be on this tack as well before his weird death in early 2013.)
MOAR BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dark Alliance is now available in paperback and you should buy it at your local bookseller.
The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (1972) by Alfred McCoy is *critical* because it’s probably the first academic book that shows how heroin is used geopolitically by US covert forces to finance their allies through the power of chemical dependency combined with covert logistics and the monopoly granted by the force of the state. Everything subsequent follows this pattern. [PDF 1] [PDF 2]
A final note: Michael Kenneth Williams, who notably played gangsta-assassin Omar on the Wire, does a great job as Ricky Ross. He also plays an oddly related role in 2014’s “The Purge: Anarchy”, a pulpy dystopian fantasy about the government granting everyone the “right” to kill each other 12 hours a year. Williams’ character is the revolutionary who recognizes & resists how the elite surveil them and clink champagne glasses, as the lower classes kill each other mercilessly to maintain social stratification. I couldn’t think of a better parallel to the modern American war on drugs.
Keep riding with those Aviators, Gary.
RIP Truth Tellers.
Here is some horrible news. I am inquiring further since of course it's people like me that this is intended to chill and/or enable grand juries to throw in prison without charges…. I have put in inquiries with MN Sens. Klobuchar and Franken offices to determine if they believe reporters should be divided into classes, and what is the deal with grand juries here and etc.
The Senate Judiciary Committee passed legislation that would establish a federal shield law for reporters or journalists in the United States. The legislation was amended, before passing out of committee, to define who would be a “covered journalist” under the proposed shield legislation.
The proposed shield legislation, the Free of Flow of Information Act of 2013, was introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer as news of the Justice Department seizing an overly broad set of the Associated Press’ phone records for a leak investigation and of an FBI agent labeling Fox News reporter James Rosen an “aider, abettor and co-conspirator” in a leak investigation were making headlines. However, there is nothing immediately obvious in the proposed media shield that would protect the press from an agency in government committing those kind of abuses. It would not protect someone like New York Times reporter James Risen, who the administration of President Barack Obama has tried to force to testify against his source in a leak case despite protest from media organizations.[….]
To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 16, 2013
Mr. SCHUMER (for himself and Mr. GRAHAM) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary
To maintain the free flow of information to the public by providing conditions for the federally compelled disclosure of information by certain persons connected with the news media.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the ‘Free Flow of Information Act of 2013’.
SEC. 2. COMPELLED DISCLOSURE FROM COVERED PERSONS.
(a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure- In any proceeding or in connection with any issue arising under Federal law, a Federal entity may not compel a covered person to comply with a subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process seeking to compel the disclosure of protected information, unless a Federal court in the jurisdiction where the subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process has been or would be issued determines, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to such covered person--
(1) that the party seeking to compel disclosure of the protected information has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources (other than a covered person) of the protected information; and
(A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution--
(i) if the party seeking to compel disclosure is the Federal Government, based on public information or information obtained from a source other than the covered person, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has occurred;
(ii) based on public information or information obtained from a source other than the covered person, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the protected information sought is essential to the investigation or prosecution or to the defense against the prosecution;
(iii) the Attorney General certifies that the decision to request compelled disclosure was made in a manner consistent with section 50.10 of title 28, Code of Federal Regulations, if compelled disclosure is sought by a member of the Department of Justice in circumstances governed by section 50.10 of title 28, Code of Federal Regulations; and
(iv) the covered person has not established by clear and convincing evidence that disclosure of the protected information would be contrary to the public interest, taking into account both the public interest in gathering and disseminating the information or news at issue and maintaining the free flow of information and the public interest in compelling disclosure (including the extent of any harm to national security); or
(B) in a matter other than a criminal investigation or prosecution, based on public information or information obtained from a source other than the covered person--
(i) the protected information sought is essential to the resolution of the matter; and
(ii) the party seeking to compel disclosure of the protected information has established that the interest in compelling disclosure clearly outweighs the public interest in gathering and disseminating the information or news at issue and maintaining the free flow of information.
(b) Limitations on Content of Information- A subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process seeking to compel the disclosure of protected information under subsection (a) shall, to the extent possible, be narrowly tailored in purpose, subject matter, and period of time covered so as to avoid compelling disclosure of peripheral, nonessential, or speculative information.
SEC. 3. EXCEPTION RELATING TO CRIMINAL CONDUCT.
(a) In General- Section 2 shall not apply to any information, record, document, or item obtained as the result of the eyewitness observations of, or obtained during the course of, alleged criminal conduct by the covered person, including any physical evidence or visual or audio recording of the conduct.
(b) Exception- This section shall not apply, and, subject to sections 4 and 5, section 2 shall apply, if the alleged criminal conduct is the act of communicating the documents or information at issue.
SEC. 4. EXCEPTION TO PREVENT DEATH, KIDNAPPING, SUBSTANTIAL BODILY INJURY, SEX OFFENSES AGAINST MINORS, OR INCAPACITATION OR DESTRUCTION OF CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE.
Section 2 shall not apply to any protected information that is reasonably necessary to stop, prevent, or mitigate a specific case of--
(3) substantial bodily harm;
(4) conduct that constitutes a criminal offense that is a specified offense against a minor (as those terms are defined in section 111 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16911)), or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such a criminal offense; or
(5) incapacitation or destruction of critical infrastructure (as defined in section 1016(e) of the USA PATRIOT Act (42 U.S.C. 5195c(e))).
SEC. 5. EXCEPTION TO PREVENT TERRORIST ACTIVITY OR HARM TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY.
(a) In General- Section 2 shall not apply to any protected information if--
(1) the party seeking to compel disclosure is the Federal Government; and
(2)(A) in a criminal investigation or prosecution of the allegedly unlawful disclosure of properly classified information, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the protected information for which compelled disclosure is sought would materially assist the Federal Government in preventing or mitigating--
(i) an act of terrorism; or
(ii) other acts that are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security; or
(B) in any other criminal investigation or prosecution, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the protected information for which compelled disclosure is sought would materially assist the Federal Government in preventing, mitigating, or identifying the perpetrator of--
(i) an act of terrorism; or
(ii) other acts that have caused or are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security.
(b) Deference- In assessing the existence or extent of the harm described in subsection (a), a Federal court shall give appropriate deference to a specific factual showing submitted to the court by the head of any executive branch agency or department concerned.
(c) Relationship to Section 2- Subsection (a) shall not apply, and, subject to sections 3 and 4, section 2 shall apply, to any criminal investigation or prosecution of the allegedly unlawful disclosure of properly classified information other than one in which the protected information is sought by the Federal Government to prevent or mitigate the harm specified in subsection (a)(2)(A). In considering the extent of any harm to national security when applying section 2 to such cases, a Federal court shall give appropriate deference to any specific factual showing submitted to the court by the head of any executive branch agency or department concerned.
(d) Subsequent Unlawful Disclosure- The potential for a subsequent unlawful disclosure of information by the source sought to be identified shall not, by itself and without any showing of additional facts beyond such potential disclosure, be sufficient to establish that compelled disclosure of the protected information would materially assist the Federal Government in preventing or mitigating--
(1) an act of terrorism; or
(2) other acts that are reasonably likely to cause significant and articulable harm to national security.
SEC. 6. COMPELLED DISCLOSURE FROM COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDERS.
(a) Conditions for Compelled Disclosure-
(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), if any document or other information from the account of a person who is known to be, or reasonably likely to be, a covered person is sought from a communications service provider, sections 2 through 5 shall apply in the same manner that such sections apply to any document or other information sought from a covered person.
(2) EXCEPTION- If any document or other information from the account of a person who is known to be, or reasonably likely to be, a covered person is sought from a communications service provider under section 2709 of title 18, United States Code, the provisions of sections 2 through 5 governing criminal investigations and prosecutions shall apply in the same manner that such sections apply to any document or other information sought from a covered person in the course of a criminal investigation or prosecution, except that clauses (i) and (iii) of section 2(a)(2)(A) and the phrase ‘particularly with reference to directly establishing guilt or innocence’ in section 2(a)(2)(A)(ii) shall not apply.
(b) Notice and Opportunity Provided to Covered Persons- A Federal court may compel the disclosure of a document or other information described in this section only after the covered person from whose account the document or other information is sought has been given--
(1) notice from the party seeking the document or other information through a subpoena or other compulsory request, not later than the time at which such subpoena or request is issued to the communications service provider; and
(2) an opportunity to be heard before the court before compelling testimony or the disclosure of a document.
(c) Exception to Notice Requirement- Notice under subsection (b)(1) may be delayed for not more than 45 days if the Federal court involved determines by clear and convincing evidence that such notice would pose a substantial threat to the integrity of a criminal investigation, a national security investigation, or intelligence gathering, or that exigent circumstances exist. This period may be extended by the court for an additional period of not more than 45 days each time the court makes such a determination.
(d) Notice to Communications Service Provider- In all cases in which notice is required to be provided to the covered person under this section, a copy of such notice shall be provided simultaneously to the communications service provider from whom disclosure is sought. Once it has received such notice, the communications service provider shall not comply with the request for disclosure unless and until disclosure is either ordered by the court or authorized in writing by the covered person.
SEC. 7. SOURCES AND WORK PRODUCT PRODUCED WITHOUT PROMISE OR AGREEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY.
Nothing in this Act shall supersede, dilute, or preclude any law or court decision compelling or not compelling disclosure by a covered person or communications service provider of--
(1) information identifying a source who provided information without a promise or agreement of confidentiality made by the covered person as part of engaging in journalism; or
(2) records, other information, or contents of a communication obtained without a promise or agreement that such records, other information, or contents of a communication would be confidential.
SEC. 8. PROCEDURES FOR REVIEW AND APPEAL.
(a) Conditions for Ex Parte Review or Submissions Under Seal- With regard to any determination made by a Federal court under this Act, upon a showing of good cause, that Federal court may receive and consider submissions from the parties in camera or under seal, and if the court determines it is necessary, ex parte.
(b) Contempt of Court- With regard to any determination made by a Federal court under this Act, a Federal court may find a covered person to be in civil or criminal contempt if the covered person fails to comply with an order of a Federal court compelling disclosure of protected information.
(c) To Provide for Timely Determination- With regard to any determination to be made by a Federal court under this Act, that Federal court, to the extent practicable, shall make that determination not later than 30 days after the date of receiving a motion requesting the court make that determination.
(d) Expedited Appeal Process-
(1) IN GENERAL- The courts of appeal shall have jurisdiction--
(A) of appeals by a Federal entity or covered person of an interlocutory order of a Federal court under this Act; and
(B) in an appeal of a final decision of a Federal court by a Federal entity or covered person, to review any determination of a Federal court under this Act.
(2) EXPEDITION OF APPEALS- It shall be the duty of a Federal court to which an appeal is made under this subsection to advance on the docket and to expedite to the greatest possible extent the disposition of that appeal.
SEC. 9. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this Act may be construed to--
(1) preempt any law or claim relating to defamation, slander, or libel;
(2) modify the requirements of section 552a of title 5, United States Code, or Federal laws or rules relating to grand jury secrecy (except that this Act shall apply in any proceeding and in connection with any issue arising under that section or the Federal laws or rules relating to grand jury secrecy);
(3) create new obligations, or affect or modify the authorities or obligations of a Federal entity with respect to the acquisition or dissemination of information pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.); or
(4) preclude voluntary disclosure of information to a Federal entity in a situation that is not governed by this Act.
SEC. 10. AUDIT.
(a) In General- The Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall perform a comprehensive audit of the use of this Act during the period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act and ending on December 31, 2016. The audit shall include an examination of each instance in which a court failed to compel the disclosure of protected information under this Act, and whether this Act has created any procedural impediments that have had a detrimental operational impact on the activities of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
(b) Report- Not later than June 30, 2017, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall submit to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Committee on the Judiciary and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives a report containing the results of the audit conducted under subsection (a).
(c) Review- Not later than 30 days before the submission of the report under subsection (b), the Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall provide the report to the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. The Attorney General or the Director of National Intelligence may provide such comments to be included in the report submitted under subsection (b) as the Attorney General or the Director of National Intelligence may consider necessary.
(d) Form- The report submitted under subsection (b) and any comments included under subsection (c) shall be in unclassified form, but may include a classified annex.
SEC. 11. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE PROVIDER- The term ‘communications service provider’--
(A) means any person that transmits information of the customer’s choosing by electronic means; and
(B) includes a telecommunications carrier, an information service provider, an interactive computer service provider, and an information content provider (as such terms are defined in section 3 or 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153 and 230)).
(2) COVERED PERSON- The term ‘covered person’--
(A) means a person who--
(i) with the primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest, regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports or publishes on such matters by--
(I) conducting interviews;
(II) making direct observation of events; or
(III) collecting, reviewing, or analyzing original writings, statements, communications, reports, memoranda, records, transcripts, documents, photographs, recordings, tapes, materials, data, or other information whether in paper, electronic, or other form;
(ii) has such intent at the inception of the process of gathering the news or information sought; and
(iii) obtains the news or information sought in order to disseminate the news or information by means of print (including newspapers, books, wire services, news agencies, or magazines), broadcasting (including dissemination through networks, cable, satellite carriers, broadcast stations, or a channel or programming service for any such media), mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means;
(B) includes a supervisor, employer, parent company, subsidiary, or affiliate of a person described in subparagraph (A); and
(C) does not include any person who is or is reasonably likely to be--
(i) a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power, as those terms are defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801);
(ii) a member or affiliate of a foreign terrorist organization designated under section 219(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189(a));
(iii) designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the Department of the Treasury under Executive Order No. 13224 (50 U.S.C. 1701);
(iv) a specially designated terrorist, as that term is defined in section 595.311 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations (or any successor thereto);
(v) a terrorist organization, as that term is defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(II));
(vi) committing or attempting to commit the crime of terrorism, as that offense is defined in section 2331(5) or 2332b(g)(5) of title 18, United States Code;
(vii) committing or attempting the crime of providing material support, as that term is defined in section 2339A(b)(1) of title 18, United States Code, to a terrorist organization; or
(viii) aiding, abetting, or conspiring in illegal activity with a person or organization defined in clauses (i) through (vii).
(3) DOCUMENT- The term ‘document’ means writings, recordings, and photographs, as those terms are defined by rule 1001 of the Federal Rules of Evidence (28 U.S.C. App.).
(4) FEDERAL ENTITY- The term ‘Federal entity’ means an entity or employee of the judicial or executive branch or an administrative agency of the Federal Government with the power to issue a subpoena or issue other compulsory process.
(5) PROPERLY CLASSIFIED INFORMATION- The term ‘properly classified information’ means information that is classified in accordance with any applicable Executive orders, statutes, or regulations regarding classification of information.
(6) PROTECTED INFORMATION- The term ‘protected information’ means--
(A) information identifying a source who provided information under a promise or agreement of confidentiality made by a covered person as part of engaging in journalism; or
(B) any records, contents of a communication, documents, or information that a covered person obtained or created--
(i) as part of engaging in journalism; and
(ii) upon a promise or agreement that such records, contents of a communication, documents, or information would be confidential.
This is Washington-Speak for "SILENCE PEONS - CHILLING EFFECTS ARE THE NEW FREEDOM". Ughhhh terrible. More to follow.
Feinstein is catching the heat on this, the GOP is right there too but for the moment its mostly snarky Republicans pouncing on the story. She already has been clear she hates journalists with her handling of Wikileaks etc - tons of summer 2012 stories on this. But the new round is just as bad. Check it:
SEN SCHUMER: "The world has changed. We're very careful in this bill to distinguish journalists from those who shouldn't be protected, WikiLeaks and all those, and we've ensured that. But there are people who write and do real journalism, in different ways than we're used to. They should not be excluded from this bill."
For fack's sake - these days usually I do journalism for free -- in part because believe it or not the big organizations in the Twin Cities HARDLY EVER POST THE DAMN PDF FILES & PRIMARY SOURCES OF THE STUFF THEY REPORT ON. DANG IT!!
So many of the best journalists I know are anything but salaried - the radical publishers like Wikileaks and Cryptome.org, the livestreamers out there getting teargassed etc. In other words people connected to the real narratives of our time - and publishing about it. And so our responsible political figures are getting ready to nuke the whole concept of journalism because the full-timers with salary - the what, quarter of them that still exist compared to 20 years ago - are the only "real journalists." Bug off - journalism is publishing. It's research and God forbid sometimes it's also advocacy.
"Well, folks," he said, "ever since the end of the Cold War, forces have been unleashed that were tamped down for centuries by dictators, and that was complicated further by this little thing called the internet and the ability of people everywhere to communicate instantaneously and to have more information coming at them in one day than most people can process in months or a year.
"It makes it much harder to govern, makes it much harder to organize people, much harder to find the common interest," said Kerry, "and that is complicated by a rise of sectarianism and religious extremism that is prepared to employ violent means to impose on other people a way of thinking and a way of living that is completely contrary to everything the United States of America has ever stood for. So we need to keep in mind what our goals are and how complicated this world is that we’re operating in."
For the Unofficial or OutLaw Journalists - those outside the Bezos Funded Bubble/Shield Law of Feinstein: I want to add Security in a Box - this is some stuff that can include necessary security for journalists as governments increasingly turn to surveillance to whack the civil service into compliance with the whims of political hacks... About Security in-a-box | Security In A Box and Quick Guide to Alternatives
These damn Lenco Bearcats are all over the counrty and always put on display in Minneapolis now: www.lencoarmor.com
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PERPETUAL EMERGENCY! One level of bureaucratic arcana I find interesting is the long running "perpetual national emergency" of the federal government that seemingly has been going since the "deeply weird" credit reorganization and specifically March 9th 1933. Just bumped into the 1973 Congressional report about finally terminating that national emergency, which of course never happens and nowadays Pres. Obama re-issues the emergency once a year with vague references to wars and things. 1973 doc here - rarely does the third paragraph of anything from Congress speak frankly about martial law! https://www.dropbox.com/s/jp0gow6krzhdvtb/Senate-Report-93-549.pdf
Spaniards who have generated power independently for their own homes under a system known as "autoconsumo" are among the hardest hit by policies which they say punish, rather than encourage, energy efficiency.
Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria accepts the measures are painful but says they are needed to plug the energy deficit.
"I support 'autoconsumo' ... but the power system has infrastructure, grids that the rest of us Spaniards who are in the system have to pay for. And we pay for it through our electricity bill," said Soria.
That is a pretty classic example of "why civilization is doomed, or at least feels that way" amirite??
This is worth posting as it is a pivotal section of the case. I can appreciate that Lamo candidly points out Manning did *not* want to funnel this information to foreign powers, which is important to the case. Ugh snitches… Lamo is @6 on Twitter.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you he was an intelligence analyst?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He said to you, he thought he would reach out to somebody like you who would possibly understand?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: During this initial chat conversation he told
you about his life and his upbringing?
ADRIAN LAMO: In some amount of detail, yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he was being challenged due to a gender identity issue?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He also told you that he had been questioning his gender for years, but started to come to terms with that with his gender during the deployment?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you he believed he had made a huge mess?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: And he confessed that he was emotionally fractured?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He said he was talking to you as somebody that needed moral and emotional support?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: At this point he said he was trying not to end up killing himself?
ADRIAN LAMO: That is also correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he was feeling desperate and
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He described himself as a broken sole?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He said his life was falling apart and he didn't have anyone to talk to?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: And he said he was honestly scared?
ADRIAN LAMO: He also said that.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he had no one he could trust?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: And he told you he needed a lot of help?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He ended up apologizing to you on several occasions for pouring out his heart to you since you were total strangers?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: Now at one point he asked you if you had access to classified networks and so on, incredible things, awful things, things that belonged to the public domain, not on some servers dark room in Washington, D.C. What would you do? Do you recall him asking you that question?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, I did.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you he thought that the information that he had would have impact on entire world?
ADRIAN LAMO: That is also correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He said the information would disclose casualty figures in Iraq?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He believed the State Department, First World Countries exploited the Third World Countries?
ADRIAN LAMO: He made that representation, yes.
DAVID COOMBS: And he told you that the cables detailed what was criminal political fact dealings?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He believed that everywhere there was a U.S. post there was a diplomatic scandal?
ADRIAN LAMO: That he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he believed it was important that the information got out?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He thought that if the information got out, it might actually change something?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you he did not believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He only believed in a plethora of states acting in self-interest?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you he thought he was maybe too idealistic?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he was always a type of person that tried to investigate to find out the truth?
ADRIAN LAMO: Something I could appreciate, yes.
DAVID COOMBS: And based upon what he saw, he told you he could not let information just stay inside?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He said he could not separate himself from others?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He felt connected to everybody?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: Even told you it felt like we were all distant family?
ADRIAN LAMO: Engagement.
DAVID COOMBS: And he said he cared?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he thought he would keep track -- keep track of people that his job impacted?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: And he wanted to make sure that everybody was okay?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that the way he separated himself from other analysts was, he cared about people?
ADRIAN LAMO: He said that, yes.
DAVID COOMBS: PFC Manning told you he followed humanist values?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He said he had dogs tags saying "humanist" on it?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: Do you know what it means to be a humanist?
ADRIAN LAMO: From my understanding the importance of human life and human beings and has a structure of morality.
DAVID COOMBS: PFC Manning told you that at the time he was feeling (inaudible) and no one seemed to see that or care?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he was bothered that nobody seemed to care?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He said he thought apathy was far worse than active participation?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he preferred the truth (Inaudible)?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He also told you that he was maybe too traumatized to really care about the consequences to him?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he wasn't brave. He was weak?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: He said he was not so much scared of getting caught and facing consequences as he was of being misunderstood?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: At one point you asked him what his end game was, correct?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, I did.
DAVID COOMBS: And he told you, hopefully worldwide discussions, debates and reforms?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that the reaction to the (Inaudible)?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: And he said he wanted people to see the truth?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He said without information you can't make informed decision as a whole?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: And he told you to, he was hoping that people would actually change if they saw the information?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: He also told you that he recognized that he may be just young, naive and stupid?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: And at one point you asked him why he didn't just sell the information to Russia or China?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: And he told you that the information belonged in the public domain?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, he did.
DAVID COOMBS: He believed that information was in the public domain and should be for the public good?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: You asked him how long he had been helping out WikiLeaks at one point?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes, I did.
DAVID COOMBS: He told you that he essentially had been --
THE COURT: Sustained. Hearsay.
MR. COOMBS: Very well, Your Honor.
BY MR. COOMBS:
DAVID COOMBS: At one point he told you that his belief or his feelings were that he wanted to eventually go into politics?
ADRIAN LAMO: Yes.
DAVID COOMBS: And at the time he was thinking that humanity could accomplish a lot, if smart people with ideas cooperated with each other?
ADRIAN LAMO: Correct.
DAVID COOMBS: At anytime did he say he had no loyalty to America?
ADRIAN LAMO: Not in those words, no.
DAVID COOMBS: At anytime did he say the American flag didn't mean anything to him?
ADRIAN LAMO: No.
DAVID COOMBS: At anytime did he say he wanted to help the enemy?
Troublesome assumptions about security culture arrangements for closed Occupy Homes national gathering sessions starting tomorrow at the Neighborhoods Organizing for Change MN (NOC Office) around noon put participants at risk. I feel everyone involved means well, but a bunch of particularly 'toxic' situations have materialized. Since these developments reflect larger trends, they need to be fixed if possible, and certainly discussed. [See August 4th story on conflict around meeting closure at NOC Office 911 Broadway Ave on Tuesday] At issue: the desire of the organizers of the Occupy Homes national convening to close the gathering.
The Occupy Homes MN last Saturday, which ran around four hours, reached a vote of 22 in favor of the closure of sessions at the national Occupy Homes convening, 18 against, and 8 standasides. 22/18/8 fails to reach a 2/3rds level of consensus (even ignoring standasides, only 55%). Unfortunately a kind of reverse fait accompli has evidently been imposed on the consensus-based group -- the inability to prevent the meeting closure decision from having been taken earlier by the two delegates means that now the group is [purportedly] imposed upon with a 55% decision. [I have not been able to get comment about when this closure happened exactly]
//// UPDATE Aug 7th: Getting complaints not for attribution from one of the people that arranged the lockout. They say they had a vote of 23, not 22, to proceed with the session lockout. Two initial reports said 22, but even if it is 23, that fails to meet 2/3rds consensus. Let's show exactly how this works, using 23 as the affirmative number lacking 66% consensus. The third chart & data set shows the consensus actually required.
If this doesn't make it obvious there's no 66% support, I don't know what will - no matter whether you factor in the stand-asides.END UPDATE ////
@TshirtToby sent along the following writeup of the Saturday meeting. Thanks Toby - follow him!
/// This is a report about the Occupy Homes MN meeting held on Saturday April 4th.
Once other business was able to be taken care of, the meeting moved on to the contentious issue over the openness of the upcoming conference. The people involved with organizing the conference admitted that they made mistakes and move forward from here.
It was proposed that the conference should be open to everyone. Arguments for and against were made. For openness arguments were made for transparency, spirit of the Occupy movement, worries over the groups involved and their influence. Against, it was brought up with the people outside of Minnesota organizing it on a conference call and it didn't pass a vote among them; didn't want media/informants/undercover government agents at meeting; Talking about sensitive tactics and people personal homes and financials. A vote was taken and it didn't pass.
It had been agreed that it 6 "Participants" and 5 "Observers" to the various panels. This was decided fairly quickly and somewhat sloppily due to time crunch and tensions. This meeting had the second highest tensions I have ever felt during an Occupy meeting.
In my opinion the meeting went as well as it could considering the lack of time to solve an emotional debate. The problem I see is that some of the people invited to this meeting are not from Occupy affiliated groups. These groups don't abide by Occupy traditions of openness and transparency. This could hurt Occupy Homes reputation.
It is my hope that this group will be able to recover from this incident and continue to do its good work. ///
Veteran activists in Minneapolis know full well after many incidents in recent years (see 2008 Republican National Convention, 2009 Grand Jury & beyond), any large gathering can easily be surveilled, yet security culture assertions by those who have promulgated the plan to lock the sessions are simply faulty. It is totally implausible that closing the meeting sessions will spare it the effects of informants or government operatives. This is extremely dangerous -- the faith that security culture can 'work' with this many people around -- and needs to be set aside immediately.
[Protip: In the future, the dangerous power of delegation has to be carefully bounded for nonhierarchical groups, such as instructing delegates under no circumstances may they agree to close meetings to their members. You'd think it was an assumption of everyone, but unfortunately it's not.]
The Movement Resource Group, (Movementresourcegroup.org started by Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerrys, and others) provided a large grant to support this Occupy Homes gathering, grant info attached below. Simply put, if MRG provides more grants sponsoring closed "Occupy" meetings, the critical network topology of openness upon which the entire idea depends will be killed off, sprayed into oblivion by the Roundup of good intentions expressed through grants.
Additionally, as Anthony Newby discussed on the video taken last Wednesday, members from several of the groups flying in to Minneapolis have had their airfare paid by Service Employees International Union (SEIU), although Newby said he wasn't sure if it was the local or national organization.
Alongside the partially closed Occupy Homes series of events, a second specific effort is taking place, and one source said that this affair is at least partially put on by Minnesotans for a Fair Economy (MFE), an organization set up for electoral purposes by the Fight for a Fair Economy network.
At our Saturday, July 28, 2012 joint general assembly, Occupy Bernal/SF ACCE/Occupy Noe agreed to generate support for Wells Fargo Bank (WFB) foreclosure fighter Steve Boudreaux of Atlanta, GA.
He is in foreclosure, and fighting, with the support of his community, to keep his home.
Two of us are attending the first convening of thenew National Home Defenders League in Minneapolis, MN on August 7-8, 2012. Our fellow organizations from around the country are all fighting foreclosures. Let’s show them that our organizations believe in solidarity. Hopefully, after that national meeting, we will have a nationwide organization capable or fighting the banks county-wide.
One source stated that members of at least five of the groups involved in the Occupy Homes summit are also attending the MFE-supported event. It seems likely, though unconfirmed, that the MFE-supported event is the National Home Defenders League convening.
Several of the staffers involved with Home Defenders League [HDL] (also those in MN involved with MFE & SEIU in recent years) share a pretty common background: they were ACORN network staffers & relatively tight-knit. More recently, within the last few weeks, HDL has been staffing up, and HDL opened at the same address as ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), which itself opened less than two weeks after California's ACORN chapter dissolved, at that same address, with much of the same ACORN staff.
HDL was announced as early as 2010 as a descendant org of ACCE:
/// October 8, 2010 Friday - Home Edition - HOUSING; Freeze sought on U.S. home seizures;
As questions mount about how banks have handled foreclosures, consumer and civil rights groups call for a national moratorium. By Alejandro Lazo and E. Scott Reckard
SECTION: BUSINESS; Business Desk; Part B; Pg. 1
Two advocacy groups -- the Los Angeles-based Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the Greenlining Institute of Berkeley -- this week called for a foreclosure moratorium. The L.A. group said it was forming a separate organization, the Home Defenders League, to help homeowners fight foreclosures. Both groups called on Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown to support a moratorium. ///
This summer has seen an expanded relaunch of HDL in different states. June 6 2012 NY Daily News:
/// About a dozen New York Communities for Change volunteers canvassed Jamaica recently, talking to homeowners facing foreclosure and looking for abandoned homes that have become neighborhood eyesores. Members of the Queens chapter of the grassroots advocacy group knocked on about 300 doors on Saturday to mark the launch of the Home Defenders League. ///
It's really no problem for representatives of HDL-friendly & ACORN network related chapter organizations to join an Occupy Homes meeting like they will tomorrow. With large parts of the gathering put off limits to general participation (there aren't open 'political' events, only socially-oriented gatherings), that presents a major issue with power flows and openness in an ostensibly "Occupy" related gathering.
When many of those orgs are also apparently having a parallel unadvertised gathering supported by an electoral organization [though I do not have further evidence on paper of the arrangement], that looks like two networks tangled in one situation. It's much better in the long run for all of us to openly work on untangling this issue.
Having known quite a few staff working in the milieu of paid political organizations including ACORN, MFE & SEIU, by and large these are good people who have good intentions. Occupy has always supported unions, but is wary of co-option by managerial union leadership.
Many of the homeowners involved in these campaigns are gritty, very well-intentioned union members. This doesn't mean they necessarily support this kind of organizing - with quite a few I've talked to, this sort of thing strikes them as a bad move.
The troubling thing is that quite frequently, people in the paid milieu don't realize their tactical approaches are harmful to the very forces they're trying to bolster. The gradients of structural politics, grants, co-option, working in cooperation and trying to build bridges to turn large projects into movements are certainly not pretty, and makes people uneasy.
This is why the open nature of Occupy as a network has been such a sturdy foundation - it works not as a closed door cabal but rather an open network. Security culture, properly applied, involved small temporary affinity groups working on individual projects, far away from any venues with dozens of people. No more ambitious OPSEC (operational security) approach is really plausible. The closing of information and lines of contact damages the ability of the networks to maintain a 'common operating picture' and the broad, heterogeneous 'weak tie networks' needed to keep projects thriving over the long run.
Occupy Homes MN has most effectively functioned not as one organization, but as another network performing direct actions, in which activists who primarily identify with other organizations kept the projects alive.
The overall principle of openness, not informationally constricted, leaky boxes of withheld information & pseudo 'security culture', is essentially what brings these types of movements oxygen, preventing rot, political ossification, and hierarchical decision-making.
One individual reported to be an attendee at this week's meeting, Jonathan Matthew Smucker, advocated Occupy embracing "Co-Optation". I think this line of analysis runs pretty deeply with the people pushing in this direction.
It's worthy of debate, but debate in open meetings, whether this approach sacrifices goals of more radical, deeper social change for much smaller tactical victories, working with electorally oriented organizations. Without open meetings, the pros & cons of this approach will never get worked out properly.
/// ..... But angst about an over-generalized sense of co-option may be an even bigger problem. We cannot build a large-scale social movement capable of achieving big changes without the involvement of long-standing broad-based institutions. OWS should actively and strategically forge relationships with many of these institutions, while preserving the role of OWS as an "outsider" force.
.........The worst thing we could do right now is make Occupy Wall Street into a small "radicals only" space. We cannot build a large-scale social movement capable of achieving big changes without the involvement of long-standing large membership institutions, including labor unions, national advocacy organizations, community organizations, and faith communities. Radicals never have and never will have sufficient numbers to go it alone. We have to muster the courage and smarts to be able to help forge and maintain alliances that we can influence but cannot fully control. That's the nature of a broad populist alignment.
Social movement theorists have a term for the sort of co-option that Occupy Wall Street should prize: infrastructure co-option. Nascent movements become mass movements not by building their own infrastructure entirely from scratch or recruiting new volunteers one at a time, but by "co-opting" existing institutions and social infrastructure into the service of the movement and its goals. The Civil Rights movement went big when existing institutions—especially black churches and schools—came to identify strongly as part of the movement. Organizers provided opportunities for members of those pre-existing institutions to make this new identification actionable and visible. This was cultivated to such an extent that, eventually, to be a member of certain institutions implied active involvement in the Civil Rights movement. When this happens with enough institutions, the movement gets a huge boost in capacity. And capacity means power.
Over the past few months many organizations and constituencies have been watching Occupy Wall Street, trying to figure out whether and how to relate to it. These organizations—including faith communities, the NAACP, MoveOn.org, labor unions, community organizations, and many other groups—understand how they and their members are affected by the crises that Occupy Wall Street has named and confronted. Some of them are already engaging in important ways, explicitly as part of—or in support of—Occupy Wall Street. And many more have long been engaged in work that clearly aligns with the movement's core values—and probably even deserve some credit for helping to lay the long-term organizing groundwork that helped create OWS.
But there are still significant barriers standing in the way of broader constituencies conceptualizing themselves as part of a 99% movement and getting actively involved. The first and most obvious barrier is that many groups haven't really been asked to get involved. During the first couple months of OWS, if a group wanted to get involved, it was typically a matter of them taking the initiative to approach us and ask what kind of support they might provide. Usually the answer was some variety of "Come down to Zuccotti Park" or "Stand up against Bloomberg for our right to occupy the park." Often the groups that wanted to support OWS simply showed up. While this kind of involvement made perfect sense when we held the park, it's clear that we now have to come up with other ways for more people and groups to take action as part of the 99% movement.
This is a critical transition for Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement. Remember that Occupy Wall Street kicked off with a well timed call-to-action, a ripe target, some planning, and a lot of crazy luck. As a result, OWS has understandably had more of a culture of mobilizing than of organizing. It's been a little like a group of folks who don't know anything about farming who arrive at a farm at harvest time. There's delicious food everywhere, and all they have to do is pick, pluck, and gather it. And eat it! "Wow," one of them exclaims, "farming is awesome! Why would we waste our time cultivating the soil? This food is delicious! I want to eat it all the time! This is working very well. We should just keep doing this — all the time!"
Occupy Wall Street has been something of a harvest moment. It pulled thousands of people out of the woodwork who'd been waiting for something just like this to come along, and who were in a place where we could carve out time from our lives to engage it. But movements need hundreds of thousands if not millions of active participants to become mass movements. It's difficult if not impossible to activate those kinds of numbers by just taking public action with the hope that other like-minded individuals will decide to join you. We need more on-ramps and more ways to be involved — for folks who might not yet feel comfortable camping out at a public park.
.....And this is why it is now critical that we meet with folks who are movers and shakers in other social networks and institutions. That's how the 99% movement can grow at the rate we all know it needs to; byactivating whole swaths of society at a time.....
.....All of the above gets so much more complicated in an election year. Occupy Wall Street is an outsider force. It should remain an outsider force this year. If it were to endorse candidates or a particular political party, it would immediately lose all of its value and leverage. Our job is to push from the outside.
But that's not at all to say that we shouldn't have a strategy for engaging with the energy and media attention of the election season. We should. And how we do it will seriously affect our ability to continue to grow this movement, to be seen as relevant, to cultivate alliances, and to leverage power to effect real change......
.......Once someone starts running on your rhetoric, you then have more leverage over them. You are better positioned to expose them if they're just giving lip service to your ideas without any intention of delivering. And for all the horrendous limits of the two-party system, still a slate of candidates who get elected pledging to take on the big banks gives us a lot more to work with—as an outsider social movement—than a slate of candidates elected on a pledge to cut social spending. And more importantly, it keeps the momentum on our side.
Another important question has to do with how we engage allies who do endorse candidates. Many labor unions, for example, are likely at some point to endorse President Obama's reelection bid. Some already have. And some will surely endorse specific state and local candidates. We're an outsider force. We should never endorse candidates. But is it possible to ally around specific actions with organizations that also endorse candidates?
It has to be. We join up with others where we can, and we depart where we depart. If we call for an end to corporate personhood, for example, we should welcome as many co-endorsers as possible, including organizations that endorse politicians — and even politicians themselves. Welcoming politicians' endorsements of our goals doesn't mean endorsing those politicians. This is an important detail, and it requires a precise threading of the needle. As an outside force, we have to take all politicians to task, regardless of party. But the details of how we do this matter. We need to pressure politicians and candidates, and the best way to do this is to ask them hard questions and provide pressure that pulls them in our direction (or put them on the defensive). If we ask good questions that resonate with the people who hear them, then we're doing our job well. If, on the other hand, we make general statements like, "It doesn't matter who you vote for, they're all the same," then we're being needlessly belligerent to our allies and potential allies (without even putting politicians on the defensive). An organization focused primarily on reproductive rights, for example, will understandably be very concerned about whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney occupies the White House. We can take candidates from both parties to task on an array of other issues without spurning their reasons for deciding to endorse a candidate. ........
........Someone who had felt constrained within her institution before the shake-up may now see and seize openings to move the institution in a bolder direction. And this is more likely to happen if organizers from Occupy Wall Street—the visible catalyst of the earthquake—approach longstanding institutions to strategize together about how they might engage with this moment.
An earthquake moment is a time to invite people to engage. It's not a moment to keep people in boxes, or to draw rigid lines. It's a moment to hammer Wall Street, the big banks, and the political system that has been fixed to serve only the very wealthy and powerful. Our task now is to activate as many people as possible into action. And this has to include people we wouldn't necessarily choose to have as our best friends. ///
Unfortunately at the sessions Smucker is participating in in Minneapolis this week, such an open debate is not an option because of restricted access. The big question: Does that mean that the position and debate frames adopted as "Occupy approved" will shift in a less radical, more institutionalized direction?
Located from deeper areas of the internet, Home Defenders League PR structure in a press release:
/// EVENT: CONFERENCE CALL BRIEFING - THE HOME DEFENDERS LEAGUE;
LOCATION: None given -- May 31, 2012 As seen in text
SECTION: GENERAL NEWS EVENTS - LENGTH: 98 words
SUBJECT: The Home Defenders League holds a conference call briefing, beginning at noon, with an overview of the Home Defenders League campaign, a "new alliance of homeowners and renters across the country who are joining together to make their voices heard in the 2012 election and beyond."
CONTACT: Moria Herbst, 646-452-5637, 917-743-6350, email@example.com [Note: Media should RSVP to Moira Herbst at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-452-5637. Call-in, 800-434-1335; password, 995583#. A Q&A follows the news conference. Information on the launch of the alliance is embargoed until 9 a.m. May 31.] ///
Located near Wall Street at 15 Maiden Lane, Suite 1600, New York, NY, Berlin Rosen is interesting, reminiscent of other liberal communications consultancies. See http://www.berlinrosen.com/section/our-team/ for some familiar names.
In conclusion, I hope that broad networks can evolve, especially on all housing issues including fraud, homelessness, financialization, fractional reserve, and foreclosures, but that will not work out when narrow networks with bowtie chokepoints, rather than broad, open and loose networks evolve.
DISCLAIMER: I have performed videography services for MFE in the last year, contributed to videos & trained supporters in mobile video software (ustream/bambuser). Also, Movement Resource Group or one of its founders, Ben Cohen, (not sure which) provided funding for GlobalRevolution.tv (which I am a member) to supply Occupy and related movements with media gear, via GlobalRev's fiscal sponsor . We need to have good spirited disclosure of paid political organizing, in the long run this is essential. As so many people are well-intentioned, to avoid conflicts and jumbles, clear, plain information is the best goal we should share.
Memorable scenes in "J. Edgar," the unsung biopic of FBI über-cryptocrat J. Edgar Hoover directed by Clint Eastwood, highlighted Leo DiCaprio's Hoover essentially blackmailing politicians like Robert F. Kennedy & Franklin D. Roosevelt over the decades with potentially embarrassing recordings and snippets. He reminisces with his partner-for-life Colson how well it goes every time.
Now there's an entire corporate contractor sector, nicknamed the Eagle Alliance, which has taken over many core National Security Agency functions, and each one of them are in a position to pull Hoover-like shenanigans to control the political system. This system of leverage & blackmail was described in Al Martin's The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider" as the "Control Files."
"That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide."
He added that if a dictator ever took over, the NSA "could enable [him] to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back."
At the time, the agency had the ability to listen to only what people said over the telephone or wrote in an occasional telegram; they had no access to private letters. But today, with people expressing their innermost thoughts in e-mail messages, exposing their medical and financial records to the Internet, and chatting constantly on cellphones, the agency virtually has the ability to get inside a person’s mind…
"I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge," Senator Church said. "I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."
Let's hop on down the rabbit hole. The National Security Agency and its beleaguered whistleblowers are back with the Internet's Lawyers Guild - aka the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who have saved the day on countless occasions. Now they are kicking it up a notch with a lawsuit against the 'state secret' everyone knows about -- corporate contractors copying everyone's private domestic communications.
In my case, there’s no way the programs I want to talk to Congress about should be public ever, unless maybe in 200 years they want to declassify them. You should never learn about it; no one at the Times should ever learn about these things.
I’m going to provide a one paragraph summary, just to make sure that the implications of this are clear to everyone:
The U.S. Government has, almost certainly, established a database and tracking system for something like eight million Americans who have been designated as threats to national security. The system is called MAIN CORE and it is being run under the auspices of highly classified Continuity of Government (COG) operations. MAIN CORE uses a variety of intelligence sources as inputs, including your email, web activity, telephone and private financial information. In the event of a major national security crisis, it is alleged that Americans listed in the MAIN CORE database, “Could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.”
Below are some excerpts from The Last Roundup. I have provided explicit pointers to the related materials on Cryptogon:
According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, “There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.”[See:AT&T Invents Programming Language for Mass Surveillance]
He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.
Three NSA Whistleblowers Back EFF's Lawsuit Over Government's Massive Spying Program
EFF Asks Court to Reject Stale State Secret Arguments So Case Can Proceed
San Francisco - Three whistleblowers – all former employees of the National Security Agency (NSA) – have come forward to give evidence in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) lawsuit against the government's illegal mass surveillance program, Jewel v. NSA.
In a motion filed today, the three former intelligence analysts confirm that the NSA has, or is in the process of obtaining, the capability to seize and store most electronic communications passing through its U.S. intercept centers, such as the "secret room" at the AT&T facility in San Francisco first disclosed by retired AT&T technician Mark Klein in early 2006.
"For years, government lawyers have been arguing that our case is too secret for the courts to consider, despite the mounting confirmation of widespread mass illegal surveillance of ordinary people," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "Now we have three former NSA officials confirming the basic facts. Neither the Constitution nor federal law allow the government to collect massive amounts of communications and data of innocent Americans and fish around in it in case it might find something interesting. This kind of power is too easily abused. We're extremely pleased that more whistleblowers have come forward to help end this massive spying program."
The three former NSA employees with declarations in EFF's brief are William E. Binney, Thomas A. Drake, and J. Kirk Wiebe. All were targets of a federal investigation into leaks to the New York Times that sparked the initial news coverage about the warrantless wiretapping program. Binney and Wiebe were formally cleared of charges and Drake had those charges against him dropped.
Jewel v. NSA is back in district court after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it in late 2011. In the motion for partial summary judgment filed today, EFF asked the court to reject the stale state secrets arguments that the government has been using in its attempts to sidetrack this important litigation and instead apply the processes in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that require the court to determine whether electronic surveillance was conducted legally.
"The NSA warrantless surveillance programs have been the subject of widespread reporting and debate for more than six years now. They are just not a secret," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "Yet the government keeps making the same 'state secrets' claims again and again. It's time for Americans to have their day in court and for a judge to rule on the legality of this massive surveillance."
In Jewel v. NSA, EFF is suing the NSA and other government agencies on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal unconstitutional and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records.
Filed in 2008, Jewel v. NSA is aimed at ending the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it. Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA. That same evidence is central Hepting v. AT&T, a class-action lawsuit filed by EFF in 2006 to stop the telecom giant’s participation in the illegal surveillance program.
In addition to suing the government agencies involved in the domestic dragnet, Jewel v. NSAalso targets the individuals responsible for creating authorizing and implementing the illegal program including former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance.
The Obama administration moved to dismiss Jewel in 2009, claiming that litigation over the wiretapping program would require the government to disclose privileged “state secrets” and that it was immune from suit. The court instead ruled that the case should be dismissed on standing grounds.Fortunately, in December of 2011, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Jewel could proceed in district court.
There aren't that many journalists who regularly cover the National Security Agency, and it's pretty obvious this beat is a shortcut to catching major gangstalking from a whole passel of shadeballs. What better way to see who SAIC will send if you piss them off & expose their enormously profitable contracting rackets & fraud?
James Bamford first wrote The Puzzle Palace, the first book on the NSA which established a great deal for the public about how it operated. His much more recent book The Shadow Factory described a number of major developments since then, including the backbone tapping system which is a major part of Jewel v. NSA.
In a 30-page motion that prosecutors filed on Monday, they argued that the First Amendment did not give Mr. Risen the right to avoid testifying about his confidential sources in a criminal proceeding. The Justice Department argued that Mr. Risen was a witness and should be compelled to provide information to a jury “like any other citizen,” contending that there was no basis to conclude “that the reporter is being harassed in order to disrupt his relationship with confidential news sources.”
DC alternative journalist Wayne Madsen, while derided by many in the mainstream & liberal networks as a conspiracy theorist etc (and I wouldn't be surprised if certain factions try to use him to plant early disinfo & poison the well in obscure stories - as often happens with journalists on weird beats) overall Wayne has kept coming up with the goods on the NSA, clearly with a number of inside and veteran sources. Code names in this case STELLAR WIND and PINWALE first entered the public arena via Madsen's site WayneMadsenReport.com.
Madsen has covered the travails of William Binney, Thomas Drake & J. Kirk Wiebe, in particular Drake over the years. Drake's case in particular involves the interests of sketchy Israel-linked contractors in penetrating Americans' private communications using backdoors such as the Narus Verint wiretapping boxes placed on Internet backbone sites, which first surfaced because of whistleblower Mark Klein, who had installed the fiber optic splitter running domestic backbone signals en masse into the 'secret room'.
Anyway much of this is available over In-Q-Tel I mean CIA I mean Google, but the stuff on WayneMadsenReport.com is not. I asked Wayne a while ago and he basically asks for a day or two (or several) for people to refrain from reposting his material outside the paywall. I ask that you support independent journalism - I am reposting these now for general public interest because the situation has finally 'broken out' a little more.
APRIL 2012: Let's start on the late side with a April 2012 backgrounder that finally establishes a great deal of the crusade to crush Thomas Drake. It gets to, what else, Israeli contractors and extreme corruption. Plus it has tons of nice NSA program code words.
The SARC is where companies linked to Israel helped set up NSA's controversial and top secret warrantless eavesdropping program code-named Stellar Wind. SARC's chief of staff, J. Kirk Wiebe, and the center's co-founded, Bill Binney, realized that a private company with links to Israel, Technology Development Corporation (TDC), a two-man operation with an Annapolis Junction post office box run by two brothers, Randall and Paul Jacobson of Clarksville, Maryland, was running the Stellar Wind operation using software and equipment provided by two Israeli firms, Narus, later bought by Boeing, and Verint, owned by Comverse Technology, formerly Comverse Infosys. Both companies were formed by ex-Unit 8200 personnel. Unit 8200 is the Israeli counterpart of NSA. The NSA program manager for Stellar Wind was Ben Gunn, a U.S. naturalized Scotsman who once worked for Britain's NSA equivalent, the Goverfnment Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, UK.
Rather than investigate the Jacobsons, Gunn and their Israeli interlocutors, FBI agents raided the homes of Wiebe and Binney and confiscated their computer equipment as part of the failed Justice Department investigation of former NSA official Thomas Drake, the whistle blower who exposed massive contract fraud and illegal surveillance by NSA.
Paul Jacobson had his security access pulled by NSA in 1992 and he later changed his name to "Jimmy Carter" and "Alfred Olympus von Ronsdorf." Randall Jacobson continued working for NSA and when Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) was brought in to run the nascent Stellar Wind program, taking over from TDC, Randall Jacobson tipped Binney off to the illegal nature of the eavesdropping program, which included installing wiretapping rooms in some 20 telecommunications company switches around the United States, including the one exposed by former AT&T technician Mark Klein that was installed at the AT&T switch in downtown San Francisco.
Binney told Bamford that the NSA's advanced eavesdropping and data mining high-data analytical software may have been originally passed to Israel by a pro-Israeli technical director in NSA's Operations Directorate. The original software helped Narus and Comverse/Verint to improve on the work already performed by NSA and more advanced systems were then sold back to the NSA. The major compromise of NSA technology to the Israelis should have been made known to Binney, who was then the chairman of the NSA's Technology Advisory Panel, which monitored the signals intelligence capabilities of foreign nations. Rather than pass on to NSA the intelligence "take" of Unit 8200 using the NSA technology, Binney told Bamford that he believed that the Israeli government simply passed on the technology to Israeli start-up companies that used the NSA-developed know-how to spy on foreign countries, including the United States, and sell the technology back to countries like the United States.
The Israeli penetration of NSA was brought to WMR's attention by NSA personnel in June 2005. One of the firms mentioned as being involved in the compromise to Israel was CACI, part of an alliance of NSA contractors called the "Eagle Alliance." WMR reported: "CACI, called 'Colonels and Captains, Inc.' by critics who cite the revolving door from the Pentagon to its corporate office suites, counts former NSA Deputy Director Barbara McNamara as a member of its board of directors. CACI alumni include Thomas McDermott, a former NSA Deputy Director for Information Systems Security. Former NSA Director Adm. Mike McConnell is a Senior Vice President of Booz Allen. Former NSA Director General Ken Minihan is President of the Security Affairs Support Association (SASA), an intelligence business development association that includes Boeing, Booz Allen, CACI, CSC, the Eagle Alliance, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SAIC, and Windemere, all GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER contractors, among its membership. SASA's board of directors (surprise, surprise) includes CACI's Barbara McNamara. One of SASA's distinguished advisers is none other than General Hayden. Although contractors are required to have the same high level security clearances as government personnel at NSA, there are close connections between some NSA contractors and countries with hostile intelligence services. For example, CACI's president and CEO visited Israel in early 2004 and received the Albert Einstein Technology Award at ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Likud Party Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. The special ceremony honoring CACI's president was sponsored by the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva Fund. The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party's Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lupolianski, was also in attendance. According to Lebanon's Daily Star, CACI's president also met with notorious racist Israeli retired General Effie Eitam who advocates expelling Palestinians from their lands. The U.S. delegation also included a number of homeland security officials, politicians, and businessmen. CACI has also received research grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations."
What has some NSA officials worried is that with pro-Israeli neocons now engrained within the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), State Department, and National Security Council, NSA is ripe for penetration by Israeli intelligence. NSA has a troubled past with Israel. In 1967, Israeli warplanes launched a premeditated attack on the NSA surveillance ship, the USS Liberty, killing and wounding a number of U.S. sailors and NSA civilian personnel.
Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard compromised a number of NSA sensitive sources and methods when he provided a garage full of classified documents to Israel. But NSA is also aware of an incident where Israelis used a contractor, RCA, to gain access to yet additional NSA sources and methods.
In the 1980s, against the wishes of NSA, the Reagan administration forced NSA to permit RCA, one of its major contractors, to develop a tethered aerostat (balloon) signals intelligence and direction finding system for the Israeli Defense Force. According to NSA officials, the Israeli-NSA joint project, codenamed DINDI, was established at a separate facility in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and apart from the main NSA developmental center at RCA's facility in Camden, New Jersey. Although NSA and RCA set up a strict firewall between the contractor's national intelligence contract work and the separate DINDI contract, Israeli engineers, who were working for Mossad, soon broke down the security firewall with the assistance of a few American Jewish engineers assigned to the DINDI project. The security breach resulted in a number of national intelligence developmental systems being compromised to the Israelis, including those code named PIEREX, MAROON ARCHER, and MAROON SHIELD. DINDI was quickly cancelled but due to the sensitivity surrounding the American Jewish engineers, the Reagan Justice Department avoided bringing espionage charges. There were some forced retirements and transfers, but little more. But for NSA, the duplicity of the Israelis added to the enmity between Fort Meade and Israeli intelligence.
[On June 5, 2005, WMR followed-up its story of Israeli spying at NSA: "Veterans of the RCA-NSA-Israeli joint SIGINT program code named DINDI report that Israeli engineer spies used the carve out contract with NSA, through RCA, to gain access to NSA and U.S. Navy secrets. In an RCA facility in Mount Laurel, NJ, the Israeli engineers had their own secured lab, and for three years that DINDI ran, they were walking out with their briefcases loaded with equipment, including scopes. When RCA engineers finally gained access to their lab, they found the prints laid out for the Trident missile system. RCA had an ongoing contract top develop the Trident communications suite at the time of the security leak. The Israeli engineers on DINDI claimed they were from the Israeli Air Force but months later, an RCA engineer was in New York and he ran into the same Israelis, but they were wearing Israeli Navy uniforms. One ex-RCA engineer commented about the DINDI Israeli spies: 'They were all a nice bunch of guys, even when they had their hands in your pockets.'] One RCA contractor for NSA later told WMR that the RCA program manager for DINDI, a Jewish engineer who he only named as "Irv," permitted the Israelis to rummage through NSA and RCA classified information.
With outside contractors now permeating NSA and a major Israeli espionage operation being discovered inside the Pentagon, once again there is a fear within NSA that foreign intelligence services such as the Mossad could make another attempt to penetrate America's virtual 'Fort Knox' of intelligence treasures and secrets.
Thanks to some very patriotic and loyal Americans inside NSA, this author is now in possession of an internal NSA contract document from November 2002 that shows how GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER have allowed the Eagle Alliance and other contractors to gain access to and even virtual control over some of the most sensitive systems within the U.S. intelligence community. One suspect in this unchecked outsourcing is the person [then-NSA director Michael Hayden] hired from the outside to act as Special Adviser to his Executive Leadership Team, Beverly Wright, who had been the Chief Financial Officer for Legg Mason Wood Walker in Baltimore. Before that, Wright had been the Chief Financial Officer for Alex Brown, the investment firm at which George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, once served as a board member. As one senior NSA official sarcastically put it, 'She's highly qualified to work in intelligence!'
According to the document, the future of some 10,000 Windows NT and UNIX workstations and servers that handle some of NSA's most sensitive signals intelligence (SIGINT) (the Signals Intelligence Directorate workstation upgrade is code named BEANSTALK) and electronics intelligence (ELINT) applications, including databases that contain communications intercepts, are now firmly in the grasp of the Eagle Alliance. Operational workstations are being migrated to a less-than-reliable Windows/Intel or 'WINTEL' environment. The document boldly calls for the Eagle Alliance to establish a SIGINT Service Applications Office (SASO) to 'provide and maintain Information Technology services, tools, and capabilities for all [emphasis added] SIGINT mission applications at the NSA.' This is a far cry from the non-operational administrative support functions originally specified in the GROUNDBREAKER contract.
The document also calls for NSA to provide extremely sensitive information on SIGINT users to the contractors: 'Identification of target sets of users in order to successfully coordinate with the Eagle Alliance modernization program.' The Eagle Alliance is involved in a number of systems that impact on other members of the U.S. intelligence community, foreign SIGINT partners, and national command authorities. These systems include INTELINK, Common Remoted Systems, National SIGINT Requirements Process, Overhead Tasking Distribution, RSOC (Regional SIGINT Operations Center) Monitoring Tool, RSOC Modeling Tool, Speech Activity Detection, Network Analysis Tools, Network Reconstruction Tools, Advanced Speech Processing Services, Automatic Message Handling System, CRITIC Alert, Cross Agency Multimedia Database Querying, Message Format Converter, Central Strategic Processing and Reporting, Collection Knowledge Base, Language Knowledge Base and Capabilities, K2000 Advanced ELINT Signals, Speech Content Services, Speech Information Extraction, Dominant Facsimile Processing System and DEFSMAC Support, Data Delivery (TINMAN), High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) Database, Satellite database, Protocol Analysis Terminal, Global Numbering Database, Intercept Tasking Databases, DEFSMAC Space Systems Utilities, Message Server, Extended Tether Program, Language Knowledge Services, Trend Analysis in Data Streams, Signal Related Database, SANDKEY Support (SIGINT Analysis and Reporting), and the SIGINT interception database ANCHORY and the ELINT database WRANGLER. In fact, the document states that the contractors' plans foresee the inclusion of NSA's intelligence community partners (foreign and domestic) in the contractors' revamping of NSA's operational systems.
The servers include those that support mission-critical National Time Sensitive Systems (NTSS). These National Time Sensitive System servers have been assigned various cover terms:
A number of SIGINT applications are also impacted by the outsourcing mania. They are also assigned cover terms:
GALE-LITE (the primary owner of which is DIA)
SIGDASYS FILE II, III, and KL
In fact, the document indicates that literally hundreds of NSA intelligence applications are now subject to the whims of outside contractors. These systems include
VIEWEXCHANGE, VEILED DATABASE, VEILED FORTHCOMING, VENTURER II, VICTORY DAEMON, VINTAGE HARVEST, VIOLATION, VISIONARY, VISIONQUEST, VOICECAST, VOICESAIL, VOIP SEED
WARGODDESS, WARSTOCK, WATCHOUT, WAXFLOWER, WAYLAND, WEALTHYCLUSTER, WEBSPINNER, WEBSPINNER -- ACCESS TO DBS, WESTRICK, WHARFMAN II, WHITE SEA, WHIRLPOOL, WHITE SHARK, WHITE SWORD, WHITESAIL, WHITEWASH, WILDFIRE, WINDSHIELD, WINTERFEED, WIREDART, WIREWEED, WORLDWIDE, WIZARDRY, WOLFPACK, WRAPUP
ZENTOOLS, ZIGZAG, and ZIRCON
Hayden was later "rewarded" for his actions at NSA by being named the first deputy director for the Directorate of National Intelligence (DNI) and, later, director of the Central Intelligence Agency. After retiring, Hayden began working for former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who has also been alleged to have close contacts with Israeli intelligence, at Chertoff Associates.
A journalist who previously covered the Justice Department for a major wire service told WMR that FBI agents and Justice Department prosecutors are dissuaded from investigating spies for Israel since it is known to be a "career killer" at both agencies. Moreover, Justice prosecutors have two sets of guidelines when it comes to prosecuting spies. One set calls for maximum treatment, including major criminal charges and heavy prison sentences and fines, for American spies who are charged with spying for Russia, China, Cuba, or Iran, and the lightest charges and penalties for those charged with spying for Israel, especially if they are Jewish.
There is much more to the Obama administration's indictment on April 15 of former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake by the US Attorney for Maryland, Rod Rosenstein, a Bush holdover who has brought similar politically-motivated criminal charges against other NSA personnel. Drake is charged with ten criminal counts, including leaking classified information to a newspaper. WMR can confirm the paper is The Wall Street Journal and the reporter at the Journal who received Drake's information is Siobhan Gorman, who was also subject to electronic surveillance by the NSA and FBI while she was with the Journal and previously, The Baltimore Sun. Other charges brought against Drake, who continued to work for the NSA as a contractor after stepping down as an NSA executive, include obstruction of justice and making false statements to a federal law enforcement official.
Since leaving his executive position with the NSA, Drake has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of National Technologies Associates, Inc. of Alexandria, Virginia. The firm has revenues of $50 million and employs 600 people. Before NSA, Drake was an information technology and management consultant with Coastal Research & Technology, Inc. (CRTI).
While at NSA, Drake worked in the Signals Intelligence Division (SID), the group responsible for eavesdropping on foreign communications and, since the advent of warrantless domestic surveillance, domestic U.S. communications, as well.
WMR can report that as part of the Drake investigation, Gorman and the Wall Street Journal were subject to STELLAR WIND, warrantless wiretapping, as late as last year. The surveillance began when Gorman wrote a series of articles between 2006 and 2007 on NSA contracting cost overruns and mismanagement, information that was first reported by WMR in 2005.
From WMR, May 27, 2005: Up to now, little has been reported on how the Bush administration’s disastrous intelligence policies have affected the super secret National Security Agency (NSA). According to NSA insiders, the chief U.S. signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection agency has been wracked by much of the same internal feuding, senior management failures, and external political pressure that have plagued other U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Geo-spatial Intelligence Agency, and National Reconnaissance Office.Drake's prosecution by the Obama administration represents a continuation of a "witch hunt" by NSA and its Stasi-like Security unit, the "Q Group," to plug all leaks from the signals intelligence and cyber-warfare agency even if the information provided to the media concerns criminal conduct like contract fraud, sexual misconduct, illegal surveillance of American citizens, and illegal "sneak an peek" break-ins of the homes of NSA employees and contractors by NSA Q Group personnel and FBI agents.
NSA insiders lay blame for the problems at NSA’s Fort Meade, Maryland headquarters squarely on the shoulders of agency Director Air Force General Michael V. Hayden and his small coterie of close advisers, a few of whom have no substantive intelligence background. Hayden has been NSA Director since March 1999, the longest tour for any NSA Director. Not only did the White House extend Hayden’s NSA tour, but also nominated him to be the first Deputy Director of National Intelligence, where he will serve under John Negroponte.
Hayden’s reign at NSA has been marked by the emaciation of the career civilian corps through forced retirements and resignations, outsourcing of government positions to contractors, intimidation, forced psychiatric and psychological examinations for "problem" employees, increased workloads for shift personnel with no personnel augmentation, unreasonable personal searches by security personnel, and withholding salary increases for career personnel. A number of NSA employees are suffering from stress and fatigue and that is adversely affecting their job performance.
One of the most pervasive operational problems at NSA stems from the fact that when newly trained civilian and military linguists, analysts, and other operational personnel arrive at NSA for duty and are integrated into various operational work centers, they are soon quickly transferred to Iraq. This puts an inordinate workload on the career civilian NSA personnel . . .
Career NSA personnel claim that their most senior member, Deputy Director of NSA William B. Black, Jr., shows little interest in their plight. One long-time NSAer said Black often nods off at Hayden’s staff meetings. In 2000, Black, a retired NSA employee with 38 years of service, was rehired by Hayden from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) to be his deputy. Hayden’s selection of Black from outside the agency was considered a slap in the faces of those line NSA officers who would have been normally considered next in line for promotion to the much-coveted post. That slight began to severely affect agency morale a little over a year before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
After 911 and subsequent revelations that NSA had intercepted two Arabic language phone calls on September 10, 2001 ("Tomorrow is zero hour" and "The match is about to begin") that indicated an imminent attack by Al Qaeda but failed to translate and analyze them in a timely manner to be effective, Hayden was looking for scapegoats. According to NSA insiders, he found one in Maureen A. Baginski, the Director of NSA’s Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate. According to the NSA insiders, Baginski, a 27-year NSA veteran and Russian and Spanish linguist, was set up for a fall by Hayden and his team. In 2003, Baginski was named Executive Assistant Director of the FBI for Intelligence. According to NSA sources, it was Baginski who carried out Hayden's directives that farmed out many Fort Meade functions to other facilities. Another Hayden project, "Groundbreaker," the outsourcing of NSA functions to contractors, has also been used by Hayden’s advisers to assign blame for the 911 failures at NSA. According to NSA insiders, Groundbreaker has been a failure . . .
Another one of Hayden's projects that has been criticized by the NSA rank-and-file is "Trailblazer," the program to modernize NSA's SIGINT systems. For example, operators in U.S. electronic warfare aircraft rely on NSA to provide accurate electronic intelligence (ELINT) data in order to program their radar warning receivers and jamming pods. However, NSA data, provided from two databases known as EPL (Emitter Parameter List) and "Kilting." 70 percent of NSA's ELINT data is 30 years old. NSA management has forced field operators to use raw ELINT intercept data, culled from a database called "Wrangler," to program their ELINT systems. NSA operations and software engineers believe this function should be handled by NSA and not the "warfighters." Updated ELINT data is handled by ELINT Technical Reports or "ELTs." In 2003, the year the Iraq war started, there were 938 ELTs submitted on new emitter data. However, there were only 200 updates made to the ELINT databases.
The failure to update the ELINT databases may have had disastrous consequences in Iraq. For example, EPL and Kilting do not contain data on air traffic control radars and microwave communications links. Because current ELINT systems cannot differentiate between commercial signals and hostile target tracking emitters, U.S. forces in Iraq have launched attacks on non-threat targets in the belief they were hostile. NSA sources report that many of the cases of fratricide in Iraq has been due to faulty or old ELINT data. For example, the failure by NSA to update ELINT data and provide emitter parameter data to warfighting units led to the accidental shootdown by a Patriot missile of a British Royal Air Force Tornado fighter in March 2003 near the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border at the outset of the Iraq campaign. Two British crew members were killed. The ELINT data used by the Patriot misidentified the Tornado as an enemy missile and the U.S. Army blamed the British crew for the mistake, claiming they failed to switch on its Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) equipment. NSA insiders claim that allegation was false. They claim that "blue signals" (friendly) are not adequately included in the emitter data sent to field units by NSA and that claims by the Pentagon that the Tornado was shot down due to pilot error were false.
In other incidents, the radar warning receivers (RWRs) on U.S. F-16s flying over Iraq have either evaded or fired AMRAAM (Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air) missiles on microwave communications towers because the microwave signals were identified as threat emitters from hostile aircraft. U.S. jammers are also adversely affected by the failure to update ELINT data.
In fact, many of NSA's developmental ELINT systems, with cover names like Beikao, Boomvang, Canyondust, Cape Lookout, Chartvein, Eagle Reach, Galaxydust, Harpstring, Hokusai, Irish Den, Jetavator, Monocle, Needleice, Platoonwolf, Quadrunner, Radiant Spruce II, Roman Alliance, Seadiver, Shadowboxer, Sharkbite, Shiloh, Starquake, Stouthearted,and Sunbeaver are not found in the master NSA ELINT project database, which also has a cover name: Brasscoin.
Many of NSA's other SIGINT systems are in the same conundrum. Rather than simplify and modernize NSA's SIGINT development and deployment, Trailblazer has done nothing to modernize or cut acquisition costs. In a suspicious move by NSA, the Trailblazer contract was sole-sourced to SAIC, the firm from which Hayden hired his deputy director. As with Groundbreaker, Trailblazer's contractors consist of a team led by a prime contractor. Trailblazer's team overlaps with Groundbreaker -- companies like CSC and Northrop Grumman are also found on the Trailblazer team. Booz Allen Hamilton and Boeing are also on the SAIC team. According to NSA officers, one SAIC official left the firm to work for Hayden at NSA during the time the Trailblazer bidding process was underway. The individual then returned to SAIC as a senior vice president, according to NSA sources. NSA employees, upset about the control that SAIC now has over the agency, refer to NSA as "NSAIC." . . .
At his Senate Select Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for Deputy Director of National Intelligence, Hayden confirmed that Trailblazer was over budget and behind schedule. He told the committee that Trailblazer's "cost was greater than anticipated in the tune, I would say, in hundreds of millions." Hayden confirmed the report of the joint congressional committee that probed the 911 intelligence failures that Trailblazer was several years behind schedule. NSA sources claim that Trailblazer is at least five years behind schedule and $600 million over budget.
However, the career NSA operational personnel may be getting squeezed not so much for policy and management differences but because of what they know about the lies of the Bush administration. In addition to the obvious lies about Iraqi WMDs, many personnel are well aware that what occurred on the morning of 911 was not exactly what was reported by the White House. For example, President Bush spoke of the heroic actions of the passengers and crew aboard United Flight 93 over rural Pennsylvania on the morning of 911. However, NSA personnel on duty at the NSOC that morning have a very different perspective. Before Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, NSA operations personnel clearly heard on the intercom system monitoring military and civilian communications that the "fighters are engaged" with the doomed United aircraft. NSOC personnel were then quickly dismissed from the tactical area of the NSOC where the intercom system was located leaving only a few senior personnel in place. NSA personnel are well aware that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did not "misspeak" when, addressing U.S. troops in Baghdad during Christmas last year, said, "the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania." They believe the White House concocted the "passengers-bring-down-plane" story for propaganda value.
Morale at NSA has plummeted from repeated cover-ups of serious breaches of security by senior officials. While rank-and-file employees are subjected to abusive psychological and psychiatric evaluations for disagreeing with summary intelligence reports provided to outside users or "consumers" and even for more mundane matters, others are given a pass. Ironically, one of the psychiatrists used by NSA to evaluate problem or disgruntled employees was recently found by police to be growing marijuana at his home in Crofton, Maryland.
In 2008, NSA and FBI surveillance of current and former NSA and Justice Department employees who were suspected of leaking information to the press about the NSA's super-classified STELLAR WIND warrantless digital surveillance program, called the "Terrorist Surveillance Program" by the Justice Department, was stepped up.
On March 10, 2008, Gorman wrote an article for the Journal titled, "NSA's Domestic Spying Grows As Agency Sweeps Up Data." Gorman wrote:
"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 previous year, as WMR reported in May 12, 2009, former Justice Department prosecutor Thomas Tamm's home was invaded by a SWAT team of federal agents:
In 2007, Tamm's home in Potomac, Maryland was raided by zealous FBI agents who suspected him of leaking details of the so-called "Terrorist Surveillance Program" (TSP) to journalists. Tamm tried to inform Congress about the illegal program but was rebuffed by, among others, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Representative John Conyers (D-MI).
At the time of its inception after 9/11, the TSP or as NSA and the Oval Office referred to it, "Stellar Wind," was so classified that only the Attorney General and one other person in the Justice Department knew about it. The TSP totally bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants that the OIPR prepared for approval by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). U.S. Judge James Robertson was so incensed about the bypassing of the FISC, he resigned from it in protest on December 20, 2005. U.S. Judge Royce Lamberth, nominated by President Ronald Reagan and who served as Presiding Judge of the FISC until 2002, was also adamantly opposed to TSP and its systematic bypassing of his court.
WMR's report continued: Tamm was also the first person within Justice who corroborated what NSA personnel were reporting about the agency conducting illegal data mining. One of those individuals was NSA employee Russell Tice, who was also subjected to an FBI investigation and government harassment.
Although the government employees who brought attention to the high-level criminality involving the TSP/Stellar Wind were and, in some cases like that of Tamm, are still being investigated, no criminal investigations were brought against the telecommunications companies that participated in the criminal conspiracy to spy on Americans illegally. In fact, Congress gave the telecommunications firms immunity from lawsuits and prosecution as a result of a deal worked out with the Bush administration. One of those senators who voted for the immunity deal is Barack Obama.
After the FBI conducted interviews of all OIPR employees in their quest for the leaker, on August 1, 2007, 12 government vehicles pulled in front of Tamm's home in Potomac, Maryland. Eighteen armed federal agents wearing body armor stormed into Tamm's home while his wife was cooking breakfast. Tamm was removed from his home by the agents who spent seven hours going through his and his family's property. The FBI agents even asked Tamm if there were any "secret rooms" in his house. They also inquired about any weapons in the house and whether he had been visited at home by reporters from The New York Times.
The agents tore through every room, awakening Tamm's son and daughter. The agents seized all the lap top computers, including those of Tamm's children, and a 10-year old lap top. Also seized were the Tamm family's Christmas card list and a calendar with doctors appointments.
After two days, Tamm was offered a deal that he could plead guilty to a felony in return for his testifying against journalists, including the New York Times' James Risen, and their sources at the NSA. Three days later Michael Isikoff of Newsweek phoned Tamm -- someone had leaked information about the FBI raid to Isikoff. Tamm's identity as a source about the TSP was revealed by Isikoff in the December 22, 2008, issue of Newsweek.
In 2008, one of WMR's sources discovered that his home had been broken into and anything that could store digital data had been stolen: laptops, digital cameras, USB thumb drives, etc. Moreover, relatives of the individual discovered that the lock to their home had been drilled out in what was an obvious "black bag" sneak and peel operation.
That same year, this editor discovered that the lock to his apartment door at Potomac Towers in Arlington, Virginia had been drilled out by a circular saw drill bit that drilled around the lock cylinder. When the apartment maintenance man was called to check the lock, he discovered the fragments of the lock pins scattered on the floor at the base of the door. He stated at the time that he had never experienced anything like it in the past.
FBI and NSA surveillance of people affiliated with NSA continued through last week, with this editor and one of his sources being tailed in 2009 in the suburban Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC and an additional tail of a source being conducted last week in Annapolis, Maryland.
The indictment of Drake in reminiscent of the case brought against former NSA signals intelligence (SIGINT) analyst Ken Ford, Jr. in 2006. In March 2006, Ford was sentenced to six years in prison in a case replete with prosecutorial and judicial misconduct by Rosenstein, Assistant US Attorney David Salem, and US Judge Peter Messitte. On April 30, 2007, WMR reported: "Ford was set up in a clumsy Justice Department, FBI, and NSA Security Division operation to punish him for his May 2003 signals intelligence (SIGINT) analysis report that concluded, based on intercepts of Iraqi communications, there was no truth to the Bush administration’s claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Ford’s report, with his name and that of his supervisor on it, ended up on Vice President Dick Cheney’s desk. From that time on, Ford was a marked man for the neo-con cabal operating within the White House, Justice Department, Pentagon, and US Intelligence Community senior staff."
At one point during Ford's trial, Messitte called Ford to his bench and asked him if he had spoken to this editor. Ford replied that he had not, whereupon Messitte asked, "Is Mr. Madsen in the court room?" I was not present at the time but I was later told by an informed source that Messitte was prepared to call me to the stand to be asked about the sources of my stories on the case. Such a development would have required me to invoke my First Amendment rights, as the press is the only occupation identified by name in the Bill of Rights as being protected. There was a risk of a contempt ruling and possible federal prison had I been present during Messitte's "kangaroo court" proceedings.
Ford continues to serve his six year sentence at Lewisburg federal prison in Pennsylvania. Attorney General Eric Holder was sent a letter by Ford's parents on November 18, 2009, calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the case against their son. To date, Holder has not responded to the letter.
The letter follows:
November 18, 2009
SENT CERTIFIED MAIL / E-MAIL / FACSIMILE
Honorable Eric H. Holder. Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
Honorable David W. Ogden
Deputy Attorney General of the United States
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 2053 0-0001
United States v. Kenneth Wayne Ford. Jr.
Criminal Case No(s): 04-cr-l l8JKS, 05-cr-0098PJM and 05-cr-0235PJM
Messrs. Holder and Ogden:
In the interest of justice, we, the parents of Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr., ("hereafter Mr. Ford") request an immediate appointment of Special Counsel to investigate unwarranted prosecutorial misconduct, vehement malicious persecution and prosecution of Mr. Ford under the Espionage Act §793 (e) - Gathering, Transmitting or Losing Defense Information. On Wednesday, September 23,2009, President Obama mandated that DOJ establishes New State Secrets Policies and Procedures.1
President Obama's implementation of State Secrets and Policies encompasses matters in this case. Prosecutors knowingly and willfully engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation throughout this case and trial. Mr. Ford was convicted under 793(e) - Espionage and 1801 - Making A False Statement On A Government Form. Mr. Ford was sentenced to 6 years in prison for Count 1 and 3 years in prison, to be served concurrently with Count 1, for Count 2. After imprisonment, Mr.
1 “It sets out clear procedures that will provide greater accountability and ensure the state secrets privilege is invoked only when necessary and in the narrowest way possible...” Attorney General Eric Holder September 23, 2009
Ford is to be on probation for 3 years. He also was ordered to pay a $200.00 assessment. Mr. Ford began serving this unjust prison sentence on May 16. 2006. He has been in prison for over 3 years and 6 months for doing absolutely nothing, except being a patriotic American and a good person.
Not only is Mr. Ford innocent, but nothing happened. This case is totally fabricated by the FBI and all involved, specifically the prosecutors and judge know it. Mr. Ford is a victim of a hate crime, a malicious prosecution and a tragic rush to jail an innocent man. See North Carolina v. Seligmann 06-cr-4332-33 (Dismissed 4/712007), Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978) and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). These cases demonstrate that 'false' arrest can happen to anyone - as in the matter of distinguished Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars, falsely arrested in his own home.
A. Prosecutors Willfully Withheld Exculpatory Evidence From Defense
DOJ prosecutors repeatedly invoked state secret privileges, suppressed evidence as classified and deliberately withheld from Mr. Ford's defense exculpatory FBI Search Warrant Affidavits for well over 19 months. Ultimately, these search warrant affidavits were suppressed from Mr. Ford's trial. We have recently discovered that these affidavits have never been filed and are not apart of Mr. Ford's official court file.
On December 15, 2005, United States Attorney For The District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Criminal Division Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher issued a press release in Mr. Ford's case, which stated in part, that: (Though there was conflicting evidence of what Ford intended to do with the classified information - the jury's verdict demonstrates that it was satisfied that Ford had unauthorized possession of the information". With the admission of Rosenstein that there existed "conflicting evidence" in Mr. Ford's case and the fact that the judge removed the required elements of 'belief... and intent...' from the jury instructions, should have rendered the indictment defective. (See Exhibit A - Rosenstein Press Release dated 12/15/2005)
FBI Special Agents Michael L. Thompson and Frederick C. Marsh both submitted sworn search warrant affidavits to a federal judge alleging that a Tonya Tucker had contacted the NSA to report Ford's alleged espionage. (Ford had known Tucker for 9 weeks - from 11/13/2003 to 1/11/2004 - and decided that she definitely was not his type. He later realized Ms. Tucker is a FBI confidential informant and was placed into his life by Special Agent Michael L. Thompson.) Defense counsel subpoenaed cell phone records of Tonya Tucker from Sprint, which clearly listed the voice call details of Date, Time. Phone Number. Destination, etc. (Tucker's alleged cell phone calls were described in the Thompson affidavit and completely identified in the Marsh affidavit.
From this, we were able to subpoena thru our attorney, her cell phone records.) Sprint records affirmed that Tonya Tucker Did Not contact NSA on January 5.2004. January 9. 2004. January 10. 2004 and January 11, 2004 from her cell phone number 407-616-5683 listed on the Sprint telephone record print-out and on page 5 of 12 of FBI Special Agent Frederick C. Marsh's sworn search warrant affidavit, which he wrote was "in support of the sworn search warrant affidavit" submitted the previous day, to the same judge, by FBI Special Agent Michael L. Thompson.
With the introduction of the subpoenaed cell phone records, it is apparent the Thompson and March search warrant affidavits are perjured and fabricated. Both agents are therefore subject to penalties of perjury. Also. very importantly. the cell phone (It should be noted here that prosecutors told the jury that Ms. Tucker was a friend of Mr. Ford's and simply was a "tipster".) (See Exhibit B - FBI Affidavits and Tonya Tucker's Cell Phone Records)
Mr. Ford, as required by NSA regulations, earlier reported a threatening e-mail sent to him on Tuesday, November 25th2003 at his "AOL" address a month and a half before his arrest. The e-mail was sent by a "Dr. Takiya", who claimed to be a friend of Tonya Tucker. Based on newly discovered evidence on September 1.2009, it was confirmed that Ms. Tucker is the author of the e-mail. Ms. Tucker signed her name onto an internet guest book August 15, 2006 with the e-mail address of Msunique_2@yahoo.com, which is the same e-mail address of the treat letter sent to Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr. on Tuesday, November 25 .2003.
The e-mail threatened Ford that his security clearances would soon be revoked. She said she knew people at NSA who had clearances just like he did. Ford reported the e-mail the very next day to NSA Head Security Officer Anne Mennis. She ignored the email, not taking it seriously at all.. Ultimately, the admission of the e-mail as exculpatory evidence to Mr. Ford was suppressed from the trial by the judge. (See Exhibit C - Threatening E-Mail / Newly Discovered Evidence).
Newly discovered evidence of a newsletter dated March 31. 2006, states that FBI Special Agent Dave Evans was the lead FBI supervisor in the case against Mr. Ford. The defendant, Mr. Ford, was never aware that FBI Special Agent Dave Evans existed. (We, his parents, discovered this newsletter on the internet in 2008.) FBI Special Agent Evan's newsletter was titled, Maryland Man Sentenced For 'Stealing Secret Documents'. However, indictments alleged that Mr. Ford was charged with 'Unauthorized Possession of National Defense Documents" - not theft of secret documents.
FBI Special Agent Evans also said that: “As it turned out, our tipster was and didn't even make the drive to the airport." Nonetheless, the prosecutors continued to prosecute and incarcerate an innocent man.
FBI Special Agent Evans also stated that: (Our agents ultimately determined ultimately ended up in." Nonetheless, prosecutors indicted and incarcerated Mr. Ford with knowledge that 6'qonflicted evi4ence" existed in this case. (See Exhibit D – FBI Special Agent Dave Evans' Newsletter dated 3/31/2006)
Certainly, the defense has a right to depose and cross-examine the FBI Special Agent who was the lead supervisor in this case. Prosecutors withheld FBI Special Agent Evans from the defense. They also withheld Special Agent Frederick C. Marsh from the defense. The Marsh affidavit was suppressed during the suppression hearing by the judge, Judge Peter J. Messitte, before the trial began on 11/29/2005. Thus, that which brought Mr. Ford into the legal system and ultimately into a federal courtroom for prosecution, was not allowed into the trial. The jury was unaware of the affidavits. (The defense did not get them until 19 months after Mr. Ford’s arrest. Please keep in mind Mr. Ford has been totally under arrest the entire time since 1/11/2004 to the present.) To date, those affidavits have never been filed. They are not listed on the docket page of the case and they are not physically in the court file. It was represented and testified to the jury by DOJ prosecutors and FBI Special Agent Michael L. Thompson that he was the lead agent and only agent assigned to the Ford Case.
B. Even If Papers Had Been Present – The Text of §793 Is Vague And Should Not Have Been Applied In This Case
First, the statutes require that a defendant transmit information relating to the national defense. There are no allegations that Mr. Ford ever transmitted, sold, stole, secreted, purloined, paid for or otherwise obtained classified information inside or outside the government - by any illegal means. Legislative history of $793 makes plain that [Congress was concerned with spying].
The government never charged Mr. Ford with spying, injury to the United States on behalf of a foreign nation or communication to any person not entitled to receive classified information. Due process requires that a criminal statute provide a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice that his contemplated conduct is forbidden. See Thomas v. Davis, 192 F.3d 445,45514n Cir. 1999). If a law is "vague or highly debatable, a defendant - actually or imputably - lacks the requisite intent to violate it." See United States v. Mallas. 7 62 F .2d 36r , 363 14'n cir.1985). criminal prosecution for the violation of an unclear duty itself violates the clear constitutional duty of the government to warn citizens whether particular conduct is legal or illegal. See U.S. v. Rosen and Weissman 05-cr-225.
A statute cannot be construed so as to delegate to prosecutors and juries the "inherently legislative task" of determining what type of possession of national defense information are so reprehensible as to be punished as crimes. See United States v. Kozminski. U.S. 93 1,949 (1988) (rejecting construction of criminal statute that would *delegate to prosecutors and juries the inherently legislative task of determining what type of coercive activities are so morally reprehensible that they should be punished as crimes").
Second, the canon of strict construction of criminal statutes and the rule of lenity ensure fair warning by resolving ambiguity in a criminal statute as to apply it only to conduct clearly covered. Lanier, 520 U.S. at 266. Third, due process bars courts from applying a novel construction of a criminal statute to conduct that neither the statute nor any prior judicial decision has fairly disclosed to be within its scope. Each of these three elements is based on the fact that it must have been reasonably clear the time that the defendant’s conduct was criminal.”
United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod Rosenstein confirmed by his own statement that: "Though there was conflicting evidence of what Ford intended to do with the classified information – the jury’s verdict demonstrates that it was satisfied that Ford had unauthorized possession of the information.”
Therefore, one would conclude that it was apparently not 'reasonably clear' that Ford's alleged conduct was criminal. Our son was incarcerated based on “unclear conflicting evidence'. An egregious miscarriage of justice at the highest level is evident throughout this case.
Each of these three manifestations is based on the notion that it must have been "reasonably clear at the time that the defendant's conduct was criminal". Elements applied to Mr. Ford's case affirm that reasonable clarity was severely lacking. Courts have ruled that §793 (d) and (e) apply only to the transmission of tangible information. ln fact, these rulings were the basis of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's explanation as to why he did not bring charges under the Espionage Act §793 against either the government officials who leaked the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the press or the reporters who subsequently reported that name to millions of readers around the world.
The following exculpatory evidence, which would have exonerated our son, was suppressed from the trial and jury: 1) FBI Form 302 Statement by Tonya Tucker (FBI Confidential Informant), 2) Tonya Tucker's threatening e-mail to Mr. Ford and 3) Special Agents Thompson's and Marsh's Search Warrant Affidavits. Special Agent Marsh's affidavit clearly affirmed on January 11, 2004, page 6 of 12 that: “A review of criminal history records reflect that TUCKER has a number of arrests, including arrests for Driving while suspended, Criminal trespassing, Robbery, among others."
Courts have repeatedly ruled that the government may not excuse its presentation of false testimony by claiming that: (a) it did not know, (b) it did not understand what other agencies knew, or (c) it believed the testimony. It cannot use these excuses because they are not the law and the facts do not support them. See Mesarosh. et al v. United States, 352 U.S. I (1956); Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972); and United States v. Mason, et al., 293 F.3d, 826 (5th Cir.2002). Fourth Amendment violations enumerated in the matter of Franks v. Delaware were repeated violations perpetrated on Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr. by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). In the matter of Franks v. Delaware, the Court held that: "Where the defendant makes a substantial preliminary showing that a false statement that a hearing be held at the defendant's request."
Federal prosecutors in Mr. Ford's case willfully applied national security standards of the suppression of evidence and discovery. DOJ prosecutors willfully enforced national security clearances upon defense counsel with full knowledge that DOJ did not obtain mandatory FISA applications and approvals.
Prosecutors ignored strict procedural requirements in accordance to the Foreign Reform Act of 2000"). Prosecutors clearly violated Title VI §603, 605 and 607. This case should never have been prosecuted. Title VI $608 provides, in part, that: "If any provision of this title (including an amendment made by this title), or the application thereof, to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this title (including the amendments made by this title), and the application thereof. to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.”
Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr. is now 38 years old. He is the cream of the crop of young American citizens. He is an African-American and is highly educated. Mr. Ford graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland in 1990. He then went to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida and graduated from there in 1995 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management and Organization degree. Mr. Ford served 4 years in the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service, where he received two cash awards in consecutive years for outstanding service. While in the Secret Service, Mr. Ford continued his education and enrolled into Strayer University. To his credit, he graduated in 2001, summa cum laude" earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Networking degree. Later, Mr. Ford enrolled in the Masters program at Strayer University, earning in 2004, a Master of Science in Information Technology degree.
In 2001, Mr. Ford accepted employment at NSA as a Signals Intelligence Analyst. While employed at NSA, he received a cash award for outstanding service. Later, he was recognized with a large plaque - his name listed, among others, for outstanding work on a particular project. It was disclosed in the trial by a State Department officer that Mr. Ford had security clearances that less than 150 people in the entire country hold. Mr. Ford has worked extremely hard all his life, as he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, inherited wealth or privilege. He has spent over 23 years acquiring an education. He would never do anything to jeopardize his life or his accomplishments. After Mr. Ford's conviction, Mr. Lambert, the probation officer assigned to formalize his pre-sentencing report, commented to me (his mother) and included in his report that "Kenneth has not even had a traffic ticket."
D. Case Overview
On Sunday, January 11. 2004. FBI Special Agent Michael L. Thompson and NSA Security Officer Robert McCaslin arrived at Mr. Ford's home at approximately 5:50 p.m. and fabricated that they wanted to talk to him about his former position. Mr. Ford invited them in because he was led to believe they wanted to get his expertise on a work-related situation. About ½ hour later, their attitudes changed and Mr. Ford realized they were unjustly accusing him of espionage. Simultaneously, with these accusations, they began searching his home - 2-I/2 hours before the search warrant arrived. FBI Special Agent Frederick Marsh arrived with a search warrant and about 23 additional agents.
During the course of this ordeal, Mr. Ford was threatened by Special Agent Michael L. Thompson's unnecessary withdrawal of his gun. He was terrorized for 7-1/2hows as the agents rampaged his home. He was not allowed to leave his residence, contact his parents or answer his telephone. He was denied food and water. He was not allowed to use his own bathroom until Thompson took him away from his home -7-1/2 hours later. See Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113C - Torture - "an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control." (See Exhibit E -Letter by Kenneth W. Ford, Jr. Documenting Events)
E. DOJ Triple Jeopardy Indictments
The government's 1st indictment, and 2nd case number, was filed on 3/4/2005. U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte dismissed the case without prejudice on 5/162005. The 2nd indictment, and 3rd cse number, dated 5/23/2005, contained the exact charges and language as the ls indictment. The 3rd indictment, which we had no knowledge of until recently, is dated 11/28/2005. The docket indicates that there was a superseding indictment, arraignment and plea of not guilty all on the same day – 11/28/2005. It indicates Mr. Ford appeared before Judge Messitte and gave a plea of 'not guilty' to each of the two counts against him. This is untrue. Mr. Ford never appeared before Judge Messitte or any other judge on 11/28/2005. His trial started the next day, 11/29/2005. It is impossible to appear for an arraignment one day and be tried by jury the very next day.
It should be noted here that on March 30,2006, at the end of Mr. Ford's 2ndsentencing hearing, Judge Messitte dismissed the original indictment. He and Prosecutor Salem signed papers to that effect. Judge Messitte said several times during the trial, Mr. Ford was being prosecuted on the superseding indictment. (Of course, this is impossible.) Apparently, at some point, Judge Messitte and Mr. Salem realized this. Consequently, this dismissal has never been filed, is not in Mr. Ford's court file and is not on the docket. (See Exhibit F - Indictments, Docket Listings of 1//28/2005 Superseding Indictment, Arraignment and Not Guilty Plea and Transcript Page of Dismissal of Original Indictment) Also See $3434 - Presence of Defendant - (Rule) 3
Also, there appears on all three indictments: 'Aiding and Abetting (1S U.S.C. §2)'. Mr. Ford was never charged with this crime. It does not appear anywhere else in the indictment nor was it addressed in the trial to the jury. In addition to the indictments being illegal, these acts make the indictments themselves faulty.
The 1st count was cited under Federal Criminal Code 793(e) - Espionage. FBI Receipt For Property Seized / Form 597 listed all items seized from Mr. Ford's residence. Ironically, there was not one (1) document identified as 'classified papers' prosecutors falsely alleged were taken from Mr. Ford's residence.
At the trial, FBI Special Agent Bridget Bigham, Seizing Agent, testified that she was told to put a classified sticker on a Fed Ex envelope found in a suitcase which belonged to career criminal Tonya Tucker. (The envelope is listed by FBI Special Agent Bigham as #9 on the FBI Form 597.) (See Exhibit G -FBI Form 597) Special Agent 3
3 In United States v. Randall, f 71 F.3d 195,203 (4th Cir. 1999) The Supreme Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment's grand jury guarantee does not permit a defendant to be tried on charges that are not made in the indictment against him, and therefore, 'after an indictment has been returned its charges may not be broadened through amendment except by the grand jury itself. See United States v. Randall, 471 U,S. 130, 143 (1985). See United States v. Brady, 456 U.S. 152; and United States v. Young, 470 U.S. 1, 16 (1985).
Bigham testified she did not look at the papers while in Ford's home. She further testified the alleged papers seized were not photographed in Ford's home as required by procedures, but were photographed days later at an FBI facility. (See Exhibit H - Excerpt of Agent Bigham's Transcript Testimony)
DOJ prosecutors testified during the trial that it did not have any 'surveillance evidence' nor 'any eyewitness accounts' of Mr. Ford allegedly removing classified documents from NSA. Prosecutors should have dismissed all charges against Mr. Ford.
The 2nd count was Title 18 U.S.C. $ 1801 - Making A False Statement On A Government Form. Mr. Ford accepted employment with Lockheed Martin. Prosecutor David Salem had already gotten him fired from Northrop Grumman and after working for 3 weeks at Lockheed Martin, Salem was successful in getting him fired from there also. Ford truthfully provided Lockheed Martin a 1-1/2 page written account of alleged charges against him. At the trial, Judge Messitte allowed Prosecutor Salem to severely redact Ford's written statement. Salem told the judge the statement "prejudiced him". (See Exhibit I - E-Mail Dated 10129/2004 to Lockheed Martin) AUSA David I. Salem and DOJ National Security Division Trial Attorney Mariclaire D. Rourke testified that Mr. Ford backed his pick-up truck to the loading dock and loaded these papers into his truck.
In contradiction of their testimony, Mr. Ford's former NSA supervisor, Ms. Jacqueline Welch ("hereafter Jacqueline W") testified that she in fact had seen Mr. Ford on the day in question - December 19,2003 - standing in the parking lot beside his 'cream-colored 4 door sedan (car)'. Former Counsel on redirect, ascertained whether or not she knew the difference between a 'pick-up truck and a car . She affirmed that she did. Jacqueline W further testified that she never knew Mr. Ford had a pick-up truck. At that point, DOJ's over zealous prosecutors' alleged pick-up truck was referred to as a 'vehicle'. (See Exhibit J - Excerpt of Jacqueline W's Testimony)
Special Agent Michael L. Thompson admitted under oath that there were no fingerprints belonging to Mr. Ford found on any of the thousands of sheets of classified papers allegedly found in Mr. Ford's home. Once again, none of these alleged papers were listed on the FBI's official seized evidence Form 597. (See Exhibit K - Excerpt of FBI Special Agent Michael L. Thompson's Testimony)
Mr. Ford is the only American citizen in the history of the Espionage Act, to be charged, prosecuted and convicted under the statute without meeting the requirements of the statute. The United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit recently upheld the requirements that in order to charge under the Espionage Act of 1917 - §793(e) one has to have the belief that what one is doing will harm the United States and/or help a foreign entity and one must have the intent to harm the United States and/or help a foreign entity. See United States v. Rosen and Weissman,557 F.2d 192 4th Cir.2009).
Judge Peter J. Messitte, during the suppression hearings, willfully discarded the requirement that the government had to prove the “belief” 'element. Judge Messitte, while charging the jury, willfully eliminated the need for the government to prove the element of "intent.”
Under the federal sentencing guidelines, espionage (Federal Criminal Codes §793(d) and (e) cannot be sentenced unless there is the element of transmittal. So, effectively, since a transmittal is a prerequisite for sentencing under §793(e), then without it, there cannot be a charge. The government never alleged Ford transmitted anything. As a matter of fact, NSA Security Officer Robert McCaslin sent a letter to Prosecutor David Salem dated 713112004 saying Ford's electronic equipment at work and at home were analyzed by NSA and were found to be clean. The letter was not allowed into the trial.
Subsequently, the "CIPA" Intelligence Authorization Act for 2001- Title VI §607 - Coordination Requirements Relating to the Prosecution of Cases Involving Classified information was totally ignored by Assistant United States Prosecutor David I. Salem and Dept. of Justice Trial Attorney Mariclaire D. Rourke.
The National Security Procedure Statute 9-90.020, provides that DOJ prosecutors had no authority to make decisions in this case. "CIPA" $607 - $1.1 of Executive Order No. 12958, provides that a Senior Official, the President of the United States, must be notified prior to prosecution. ln this case, that President was former President George W. Bush, Jr. - another statutory mandate ignored and violated in the matter of Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr. $793(e) 'unauthorized possession' is contradictory to the National Security Act which provides that NSA employees have a life-time obligation and commitment regarding NSA classified documents.
G. Violation of Dept. of Justice Guidelines/National Security Procedures
DOJ's USAM guidelines regarding National Security Procedures §9-90.020 clearly dictates that the authority to conduct prosecutions relating to the national security lies with the Justice. USAM unequivocally states, in part that:
All prosecutions affecting, involving or relating to the national security, and the responsibility for prosecuting criminal offenses, such as conspiracy, perjury and false statements, arising out of offenses related to national security, is assigned to the Assistant Attorney General of the National Security Division or higher authority. See 28 C.F.R. S 0.61 The Counterespionage Section of the National Security Division, under the supervision of the Assistant Attorney General or higher authority, conducts, handles, and supervises prosecutions affecting, involving or relating to the national security." DOJ trial attorney Mariclaire D. Rourke and AUSA David I. Salem did not have authority to prosecute a National Security Espionage case against Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr.
We recently reviewed Mr. Ford's court file. Although there are a few orders, from 8/2005 to 1112005, appearing in the case file that indicate the Assistant Attorney General was in compliance with that particular order, it is with great concern that we ask you to investigate this. We have no proof or certification that the Assistant Attorney General's alleged involvement with this case was authentic. As in other things involving Mr. Ford's case, we suspect this too is a fabrication.
H. DOJ Violated FISA Court Statutes
FISA Court specifically prescribes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" (which may include American citizens and permanent residents suspected of being engaged in espionage and violating U.S. law on territory under United States control).
FISA allows a federal officer, authorized by the President of the United States acting through the Attorney Gener4l to obtain from a judge appointed by the FISA Court, search warrants and approval of electronic surveillance of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence information. Mandated strict FISA Court procedures were ignored by the FBI, DOJ Prosecutors and U.S. District Court of Maryland Judge Peter J. Messitte, who is not an appointed FISA Court Judge.
Specifically, FISA requires that where the target of the search or surveillance is a "United States person" - a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident alien - the judge must find that the Executive Branch's certification that a significant purpose of the search or surveillance is to obtain foreign intelligence information is not "clearly erroneous". See 50 U.S.C. §1805 and 1824. Also see Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 33 (1963); Strickler v. Greene, 119 S.T. 1936 (1999).
The elements of violations are: (1) the evidence must be favorable to the accused, either because it exculpates the defendant or because it impeaches the government; (2) the evidence must have been suppressed by the government, either willfully or inadvertently; and (3) prejudice must have been ensued. See Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978); See Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963); See USA v. Rosen & Weissman 05cr-225 (E.D.Va.)
We are not elected or high level corporate officials. We are "grass roots" people who are honest and hard working. President Obama stated at the 2009 NAACP 100th Anniversary celebration, that: "America is a place where, if you work hard, you can achieve success." A grave injustice has been done to a good American citizen (Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr.). American citizens rely upon the United States Department of Justice to follow the rule of law.
In good faith, the initiation of a formal procedural investigation and the appointment of a Special prosecutor on behalf of our son, Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr., is warranted and specifically should include an investigation of prosecutorial misconduct, violations of national security procedures, violations of FISA Court procedures, violations of issues in applying states secrets rules and the willful suppression of exculpatory affidavits and other exculpatory evidence in this case.
We are available at any time that is convenient to you to discuss this case. The elements in this letter by no means cover all the infractions against Mr. Ford. There were just too many illegal things done to put in a letter.
We seek an immediate vacation of Mr. Ford's conviction, full restoration of his revoked clearances and an immediate apology from the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Kenneth W. Ford, Sr.
Gloria D. Ford
l) Exhibit A - Rosenstein Press Release dated December 15, 2005
2) Exhibit B - Affidavits by SA Michael L. Thompson & SA Frederick C. Marsh and Tonya Tucker's Subpoenaed Cell Phone Records
3) Exhibit C - Tonya Tucker's threatening e-mail to Mr. Ford/Newly Discovered Evidence
4) Exhibit D - FBI Special Agent Dave Evans' Newsletter dated 3/31/2006
5) Exhibit E - Letter from Kenneth Wayne Ford, Jr. / Document of Events
6) Exhibit F - DOJ's Double Jeopardy Indictments; Docket of 11/28/2005
Indictment; Transcript Page of Dismissal of Original Indictment
7) Exhibit G - FBI Form 597 (Seized Items) w/ Computerized Listing Of Items
8) Exhibit H - Excerpt of Agent Bridget Bigham's Testimony
9) Exhibit I - E-Mail dated 10/29/2004 from Kenneth W. Ford, Jr. to Lockheed Martin
l0) Exhibit J - Excerpt of NSA Jacqueline Welch's Testimony
1l) Exhibit K - Excerpt of FBI Special Agent Michael L. Thompson's Testimony
President Obama, who prides himself as a constitutional scholar, having taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, is about to become the subject of a major constitutional case in the indictment of Thomas Drake. Drake was not only exposing high level contract fraud involving two NSA directors -- Generals Michael Hayden and Keith Alexander -- but also allegedly involved a constitutionally-protected entity -- the press -- in making details of the fraud known to the American taxpaying public. Not since Watergate have the American people been subject to runaway surveillance by the NSA and FBI.
Obama, who supported retroactive immunity from prosecution for telecommunications companies that swept up the digital communications of all American after proclaiming he was against it, will be the person on trial in the Drake case. And Obama may very well end up like Richard Nixon if the government does not impose restrictions on the public's right to know through imposition of the draconian Classified Information Procedures Act and the State Secrets Privilege.
As one NSA insider tersely put it: "I truly believe that NSA has some illegally wiretapped information (big-time dirt) on Mr. Obama, and NSA has been using it (via blackmail) against him ever since he flip-flopped on the vote for retroactive immunity for the telecommunication firms that insisted they did nothing illegal when they joined in with the Bush administration in comprehensive, 'sea to shining sea' warrantless wiretapping of all domestic U.S. communications."
WMR's intelligence sources report that the National Security Agency's "Q Group," the directorate responsible for overall security for NSA, is actively investigating and harassing NSA employees who have reported on senior officials at the sprawling intelligence agency, which now includes the new U.S. Cyber Command, of engaging in adulterous trysts with subordinates and possessing improper sexual material, including child pornography.
WMR has previously reported on the improper activities of the Q Group, which has become a virtual uncontrolled FBI within the NSA. Q continues to protect NSA senior officials who engage in and promote a culture of sexual exploitation of junior employees at the intelligence agency. Q Group has also misused NSA psychologists and psychiatrists to deem anyone who charges senior officials of the agency with sexual misconduct or harassment unfit to hold a security clearance for reasons of mental impairment.
On August 28, 2009, WMR reported: "NSA Security, headed up by Kemp Ensor III, and NSA medical worked in tandem to deny security access to employees determined to be mentally unfit to have access to classified information at NSA.
However, due to the attrition of highly-qualified personnel, the security-medical duo is now prescribing Prozac and Zoloft for NSA employees who refuse to fall into line. NSA is abuzz with the new requirement for employees to take what they call "happy pills."
The sexual harassment scene has also reportedly changed at Fort Meade. In the past, sexual harassment at NSA involved older male managers preying on young female employees. That has now changed in what has become an environment of 'do ask and do tell.' WMR has been informed that there is an increase in complaints about sexual harassment from new young male hires about being forced into 'kinky rendezvouses' with older male managers."
Q Group has also gone outside of its legal authority to harass the families and friends of former agency employees who have brought charges against NSA for sexual harassment and misconduct. WMR has learned of NSA personnel illegally masquerading as phone company technicians who entered the property of the family of one such ex-employee. In another case, Q Group personnel poisoned two pet dogs of the family of an ex-employee under NSA surveillance. Q Group personnel have also been used to harass the ex-spouses of senior NSA officials involved in child custody cases. WMR has also been informed that Q Group has harassed NSA employees who have married the ex-wives of NSA senior officials who have ongoing legal battles with their ex-husbands.
Q Group is able to conduct its harassment of civilians in the Fort Meade area with a "wink and a nod" from local law enforcement and other officials. NSA senior managers have dipped into NSA's substantial slush fund to lavish money on community service projects and programs in cash-strapped local municipalities and counties. The concept of the "friendly NSA that provides funds and jobs" has bought loyalty and silence from local and state of Maryland officials. In addition, WMR has learned that NSA has placed agents within the congressional offices of local members of Congress in order to interdict and retaliate against NSA whistleblower congressional complaints. The NSA "embeds," who work in concert with NSA's Office of Legislative Affairs, are found within the offices of Maryland Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin, and Maryland Representatives C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, Steny Hoyer, Elijah Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, and Paul Sarbanes, and is currently inserting an agent into the office of freshman Representative Andy Harris.
As discovered in a January 2005, Q Group Personnel Security organizational chart obtained by WMR, Q2 contains an office of counter-intelligence, which WMR has reported has been involved in illegal surveillance of individuals far beyond the NSA infrastructure.
On July 3, 2009, WMR reported: "The Obama administration, rather than lessen the pressure on the NSA personnel, has turned up the heat and is resorting to even more draconian methods to ensure silence. The word from inside NSA is that a state of fear exists and the mission of the agency, to conduct surveillance of foreign communications to provide threat indications and warnings to U.S. troops and policy makers and protect sensitive U.S. government communications from unauthorized eavesdropping is suffering as a result." Our latest information is that the Obama administration is increasing pressure on NSA personnel to deter leaks.
Obama's Justice Department is now actively retroactively pursuing U.S. intelligence community leakers from the time of the Bush administration. Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling has been arrested and indicted for revealing information to New York Times reporter James Risen concerning Iran's nuclear program. Former NSA official Thomas Drake has been indicted by the Obama administration for leaking details on NSA contract fraud to reporter Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal and formerly of theBaltimore Sun. Former State Department analyst Stephen Kim has been charged with leaking top secret information on North Korean nuclear testing to Fox News.
WMR has learned from informed sources that the indictments of Sterling and Drake are just the beginning of the Obama administration's policy to crack down on leaks. With the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack coming up this year, the U.S. Intelligence Community, working closely with Mossad, have made plans to stop any new revelations that would point to high-level U.S. and Israeli government involvement in the 9/11 attacks. The Wikileaks affair was partly concocted to draw out and identify as many potential leakers as possible, including US Army Private Bradley Manning, now imprisoned at Quantico, Virginia on suspicions that he leaked classified documents to Wikileaks.
WMR has learned from an NSA source that this editor continues to remain a top priority for NSA electronic surveillance, including phone tapping and e-mail interception. NSA is also monitoring all those who are in communications with this editor via electronic means. WMR has previously reported on this web site's sources and contacts being major targets for NSA surveillance. Just as the latest report of NSA surveillance was received, this editor experienced a second-degree burn with blistering on the right neck and shoulder, usually where my cell phone is placed during conversations. The latest warning about NSA eavesdropping was received on January 8. The burn, that began as what can be described as a bad sunburn, began on the evening of January 6. The contour of the burn mark is oddly similar to the two equal halves of my flip-top telephone, with a white stripe in the middle where the hinge is located.
Second degree burns on right shoulder and neck after latest warning of full-scale NSA surveillance.
WMR's foreign intelligence sources also report that there is an ongoing project by Israeli agents-of-influence in the United States to determine the sources of information on the 9/11 attacks. This project involves in-depth probes by the Israeli agents of retired Pentagon and FBI personnel believed to possess information about the U.S. and Israeli governments' involvement in the attacks. WMR can report that radio show host Alex Jones's information and funding sources are of particular interest to the Israeli cell.
In the trial of former National Security Agency (NSA) executive Thomas Drake, federal prosecutors have convinced an agreeable federal judge, Richard D. Bennett, to place under court seal previously-released trial documents because they have been deemed "For Official Use Only" or FOUO. Drake is accused of leaking classified materials to the media and is only the fourth person in U.S. history to be charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act.
FOUO is not a national security classification and it never has been one, although there were attempts by the Reagan, George H W Bush, and George W. Bush administrations to create a "restricted" or "sensitive but unclassified" (SBU) national security classification immediately below the current lowest national security classification, which is Confidential. Expansion of national security classification categories beyond the current three -- Top Secret, Secret, and Confidential, in addition to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) special access categories -- but these have been unsuccessful. George W. Bush's creation of a Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) category was rescinded by Executive Order 13556 on November 4, 2010.
Although President Obama rescinded Bush's CUI presidential memorandum, federal prosecutors are trying to argue that CUI continues to exist as a national security classification under the guise of FOUO. The argument demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the classification scheme used by NSA. However, in past trials, notable that of NSA analyst Kenneth Ford, Jr., jailed after a political show trial waged by DOJ neocons in league with a "shopped" federal judge. In the Ford case, the NSA wanted to cover up the cooking of signals intelligence from Iraq in order to justify the attack on and occupation of Iraq
However, NSA and Justice Department prosecutors are continuing to insist that FOUO is a security classification in the trial of Drake, however, NSA and DOJ decided to go after Drake because the documents he stands accused of passing to The Baltimore Sunpoints to massive misuse of taxpayer's money and contract fraud under the NSA directorships of retired General Michael Hayden and current director General Keith Alexander. Alexander is also the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. The fraud committed by Hayden, Alexander, and senior NSA officials amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful expenditures. In some cases, the waste on certain contractor-supplied intelligence systems were life threatening, as far as troops on the ground were concerned. The fraudulent contract expenditures were part of NSA's massive TRAILBLAZER and GROUNDBREAKER outsourced modernization and restructuring programs.
On March 18, in response to a request from federal prosecutors, Bennett sealed two documents that were previously available on the court's own website. The documents sealed describe the classified contents of several documents seized at Drake's home, however, the documents appear to be unclassified working papers that the government, after the fact, is trying to argue are classified at the levels of Secret and Top Secret.
Drake's federal public defenders have argued in one of the sealed documents that the government's argument that the documents found in Drake's home in flawed due to the fact that the documents could not be construed as classified at Secret or Top Secret merely because they contain the words "FOUO" and "COMINT." COMINT is communications intelligence and by itself does not mean that the document is classified at "Handle Via COMINT Channels Only," a special handling caveat for SCI special access categories. In fact, the National Cryptologic Museum, which is adjacent to NSA headquarters and open to the public, freely uses "COMINT" in its displays. In addition, the commercial International Spy Museum in downtown Washington, DC has held public seminars on issues dealing with, among other tradecraft, "COMINT."
From the sealed DOJ letter arguing that the documents found in Drake's home are classified, it is clear that NSA, which has played fast and loose with the truth in previous trials and administrative actions against its whistleblowing employees, has tried to re-classify previous unclassified "working papers" as being Secret and Top Secret to bolster its case against Drake.
WMR has previously obtained NSA contractor documents that were deemed by the contractor and NSA, itself, as unclassified and the Drake documents appear to fall within the same category. The unclassified documents that were re-classified as Top Secret and Secret have titles such as "Trial and Testing," "Collections Sites," "Volume is Our Friend," "What a Success," "Regular Meetings," "Shoestring Budget," "BAG," "Buy vs. Make," "TT Notes," "Terrorism Threat," "Note Card 1", "Note Card 2," and more intriguing, "9/11 Commission." WMR previously reported that NSA's security directorate, the "Q Group," has engaged in massive surveillance of employees and journalists, including this editor, to plug any leaks on NSA information on the 9/11 attacks. Bennett, in his ruling on March 18, agreed to NSA's and lead federal prosecutor William Welch II's request that previously unclassified court filings be placed under seal.
While NSA and DOJ seek to convict Drake for having unclassified For Official use Only documents in which the terms "FOUO" and "COMINT" appear, WMR has obtained a similar Unclassified For Official Use Only (FOUO) document written by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), one of the major contractors for the fraud-ridden GROUNDBREAKER program. In the document, from which WMR is providing excerpts, there are clearly many more NSA-unique systems and terms described.
Cover terms for classified NSA systems such as HIGHCASTLE, LOOKINGGLASS, MILENIUM, FAST TRACK, ROTUNDPIPER, and BRASSCOIN are listed, along with "SIGINT" or "Signals Intelligence," an NSA mission term comparable to the "COMINT" acronym found in the working papers confiscated from Drake's home.
The CSC document, maintained by CSC contractors and sub-contractors in their cars, briefcases, and homes, were never indicted by the Justice Department on grounds they violated national security. On the other hand, many at NSA feel that companies like CSC, SAIC, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and others, should have been indicted for the massive contract fraud carried out under the watches of Hayden and Alexander.
In post-9/11 America, the whistleblowers to fraud, waste, and abuse stand accused of being criminals while the criminals rake in billions of dollars in taxpayers' money and are lauded as critical components of the "intelligence team."
NSA's GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER contractors were eager to compile as many NSA systems and sub-systems as possible to cash in on the billions of dollars they could make from the NSA outsourcing work. The database that contained all the NSA systems, projects, and components ripe for outsourcing work was code-named JACKPOT. For CSC, SAIC, and certain NSA officials who spun through the revolving door after retirement and landed high-paying jobs with the contractors, it certainly was a JACKPOT and one that NSA, Q Group, the FBI, Department of Justice, and the White House earnestly want to cover-up in the trial of Thomas Drake.
During Drake's trial, which begins next month in Baltimore, FBI agents are expected to use code words to describe different aspects of the case. One code-word that will most definitely not be heard is JACKPOT, the database of NSA contracts in which contractors and NSA retirees enriched themselves -- criminality that is only met with chirping crickets from the so-called "crime fighting" Department of Justice and FBI.
CBS "60 Minutes" reported on May 22 on former National Security Agency (NSA) official Thomas Drake's charges of high-level corruption and incompetence within the eavesdropping agency.
WMR is re-publishing our report on NSA, which includes a reference to "Thinthread," the first ever report in the media on this system. There is an Israeli espionage angle to the story about Drake, NSA mathematician Bill Binney, NSA analyst J. Kirk Wiebe, NSA computer scientist Ed Loomis, House Intelligence Committee staffer Diane Roark, Justice Department prosecutor Thomas Tamm and NSA espionage against U.S. citizens. "The New Yorker" article by Jane Mayer fails to mention this important element, which may be the real reason for the prosecution of Drake and the prosecution, recently aborted, of Tamm. Because when it comes to Israeli espionage in the United States, it's "see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil."
NSA and selling the nation's prized secrets to contractors
June 1, 2005
On August 1, 2001, just five and a half weeks before the 911 attacks, NSA awarded Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) a more than $2 billion, ten-year contract known as GROUNDBREAKER. The contract was never popular with NSA's career professionals. Although GROUNDBREAKER was limited to outsourcing NSA's administrative support functions such as telephones, data networks, distributed computing, and enterprise architecture design, the contract soon expanded into the operational areas -- a sphere that had always been carefully restricted to contractors. NSA was once worried about buying commercial-off-the-shelf computer components such as semiconductors because they might contain foreign bugs. NSA manufactured its own computer chips at its own semiconductor factory at Fort Meade. Currently, NSA personnel are concerned that outsourcing mania at Fort Meade will soon involve foreign help desk technical maintenance provided from off-shore locations like India.
CSC had originally gained access to NSA through a "buy in" project called BREAKTHROUGH, a mere $20 million contract awarded in 1998 that permitted CSC to operate and maintain NSA computer systems. When General Michael V. Hayden took over as NSA Director in 1999, the floodgates for outside contractors were opened and a resulting deluge saw most of NSA's support personnel being converted to contractors working for GROUNDBREAKER's Eagle Alliance (nicknamed the "Evil Alliance" by NSA government personnel), a consortium led by CSC. NSA personnel rosters of support personnel, considered protected information, were turned over to Eagle, which then made offers of employment to the affected NSA workers. The Eagle Alliance consists of CSC, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, CACI, Omen, Inc., Keane Federal Systems, ACS Defense, BTG, Compaq, Fiber Plus, Superior Communications, TRW (Raytheon), Verizon, and Windemere.
In October 2002, Hayden, who has now been promoted by Bush to be Deputy Director of National Intelligence under John Negroponte, opened NSA up further to contractors. A Digital Network Enterprise (DNE) team led by SAIC won a $280 million, 26 month contract called TRAILBLAZER to develop a demonstration test bed for a new signals intelligence processing and analysis system. SAIC's team members included Booz Allen Hamilton, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Eagle Alliance team leader CSC. TRAILBLAZER, according to Hayden's own testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is now behind schedule and over budget to the tune of over $600 million.
But that is not the only consequence of these two mega-contracts for NSA's ability to monitor global communications for the next 911, which could be a terrorist nuclear strike on the United States.
NSA insiders report that both contract teams have melded into one and that NSA's operations are being adversely impacted. From simple tasks like phones being fixed to computers being updated with new software, the Eagle Alliance has been a disaster. The Eagle Alliance and DNE team members are rife with former NSA top officials who are reaping handsome bonuses from the contracts -- and that has many NSA career employees crying conflict of interest and contract fraud.
CACI, called "Colonels and Captains, Inc." by critics who cite the revolving door from the Pentagon to its corporate office suites, counts former NSA Deputy Director Barbara McNamara as a member of its board of directors. CACI alumni include Thomas McDermott, a former NSA Deputy Director for Information Systems Security. Former NSA Director Adm. Mike McConnell is a Senior Vice President of Booz Allen. Former NSA Director General Ken Minihan is President of the Security Affairs Support Association (SASA), an intelligence business development association that includes Boeing, Booz Allen, CACI, CSC, the Eagle Alliance, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, SAIC, and Windemere, all GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER contractors, among its membership. SASA's board of directors (surprise, surprise) includes CACI's Barbara McNamara. One of SASA's distinguished advisers is none other than General Hayden.
Although contractors are required to have the same high level security clearances as government personnel at NSA, there are close connections between some NSA contractors and countries with hostile intelligence services. For example, CACI's president and CEO visited Israel in early 2004 and received the Albert Einstein Technology Award at ceremony in Jerusalem attended by Likud Party Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. The special ceremony honoring CACI's president was sponsored by the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva Fund. The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism Party's Jerusalem Mayor, Uri Lupolianski, was also in attendance. According to Lebanon's Daily Star, CACI's president also met with notorious racist Israeli retired General Effie Eitam who advocates expelling Palestinians from their lands. The U.S. delegation also included a number of homeland security officials, politicians, and businessmen. CACI has also received research grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations. A few months after the award ceremony for CACI's president, the Taguba Report cited two CACI employees as being involved in the prison torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The U.S. military commander for the Iraqi prisons, General Janis Karpinski, reported that she witnessed Israeli interrogators working alongside those from CACI and another contractor, Titan.
When the Taguba Report was leaked, the office of Deputy Defense Secretary for Policy Douglas Feith issued an order to Pentagon employees not to download the report from the Internet. Feith is a well-known hard line supporter of Israel's Likud Party and, according to U.S. government insiders, his name has come up in FBI wiretaps of individuals involved in the proliferation of nuclear weapons material to Israel via Turkish (including Turkish Jewish) intermediaries. These wiretaps are the subject of a Federal probe of who compromised a sensitive CIA counter-proliferation global operation that used a carve out company called Brewster Jennings & Associates to penetrate nuclear weapons smuggling networks with tentacles extending from Secaucus, New Jersey to South Africa and Pakistan and Turkey to Israel.
According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, some six months before the Abu Ghraib torture scandal was first uncovered, one of Feith's assistants, Larry Franklin, met with two officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) at the Tivoli Restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. According to FBI surveillance tapes, Franklin relayed top secret information to Steve Rosen, AIPAC's then policy director, and Keith Weissman, a senior Iran analyst with AIPAC. Franklin has been indicted for passing classified information to AIPAC. In addition, three Israeli citizens have been identified as possible participants in the spy scandal. They are Naor Gilon, the political officer at the Israeli embassy in Washington; Uzi Arad, an analyst with the Institute for Policy and Strategy in Herzliya (the northern Tel Aviv suburb where the headquarters of Mossad is located); and Eran Lerman, a former Mossad official who is now with the American Jewish Committee.
What has some NSA officials worried is that with pro-Israeli neocons now engrained within the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), State Department, and National Security Council, NSA is ripe for penetration by Israeli intelligence. NSA has a troubled past with Israel. In 1967, Israeli warplanes launched a premeditated attack on the NSA surveillance ship, the USS Liberty, killing and wounding a number of U.S. sailors and NSA civilian personnel. Convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard compromised a number of NSA sensitive sources and methods when he provided a garage full of classified documents to Israel. But NSA is also aware of an incident where Israelis used a contractor, RCA, to gain access to yet additional NSA sources and methods. In the 1980s, against the wishes of NSA, the Reagan administration forced NSA to permit RCA, one of its major contractors, to develop a tethered aerostat (balloon) signals intelligence and direction finding system for the Israeli Defense Force. According to NSA officials, the Israeli-NSA joint project, codenamed DINDI, was established at a separate facility in Mount Laurel, New Jersey and apart from the main NSA developmental center at RCA's facility in Camden, New Jersey. Although NSA and RCA set up a strict firewall between the contractor's national intelligence contract work and the separate DINDI contract, Israeli engineers, who were working for Mossad, soon broke down the security firewall with the assistance of a few American Jewish engineers assigned to the DINDI project. The security breach resulted in a number of national intelligence developmental systems being compromised to the Israelis, including those code named PIEREX, MAROON ARCHER, and MAROON SHIELD. DINDI was quickly cancelled but due to the sensitivity surrounding the American Jewish engineers, the Reagan Justice Department avoided bringing espionage charges. There were some forced retirements and transfers, but little more. But for NSA, the duplicity of the Israelis added to the enmity between Fort Meade and Israeli intelligence.
With outside contractors now permeating NSA and a major Israeli espionage operation being discovered inside the Pentagon, once again there is a fear within NSA that foreign intelligence services such as the Mossad could make another attempt to penetrate America's virtual "Fort Knox" of intelligence treasures and secrets.
Thanks to some very patriotic and loyal Americans inside NSA, this author is now in possession of an internal NSA contract document from November 2002 that shows how GROUNDBREAKER and TRAILBLAZER have allowed the Eagle Alliance and other contractors to gain access to and even virtual control over some of the most sensitive systems within the U.S. intelligence community. One suspect in this unchecked outsourcing is the person Hayden hired from the outside to act as Special Adviser to his Executive Leadership Team, Beverly Wright, who had been the Chief Financial Officer for Legg Mason Wood Walker in Baltimore. Before that, Wright had been the Chief Financial Officer for Alex Brown, the investment firm at which George W. Bush's grandfather, Prescott Bush, once served as a board member. As one senior NSA official sarcastically put it, "She's highly qualified to work in intelligence!"
According to the document, the future of some 10,000 Windows NT and UNIX workstations and servers that handle some of NSA's most sensitive signals intelligence (SIGINT) (the Signals Intelligence Directorate workstation upgrade is code named BEANSTALK) and electronics intelligence (ELINT) applications, including databases that contain communications intercepts, are now firmly in the grasp of the Eagle Alliance. Operational workstations are being migrated to a less-than-reliable Windows/Intel or "WINTEL" environment. The document boldly calls for the Eagle Alliance to establish a SIGINT Service Applications Office (SASO) to "provide and maintain Information Technology services, tools, and capabilities for all [emphasis added] SIGINT mission applications at the NSA." This is a far cry from the non-operational administrative support functions originally specified in the GROUNDBREAKER contract.
The document also calls for NSA to provide extremely sensitive information on SIGINT users to the contractors: "Identification of target sets of users in order to successfully coordinate with the Eagle Alliance modernization program." The Eagle Alliance is involved in a number of systems that impact on other members of the U.S. intelligence community, foreign SIGINT partners, and national command authorities. These systems include INTELINK, Common Remoted Systems, National SIGINT Requirements Process, Overhead Tasking Distribution, RSOC (Regional SIGINT Operations Center) Monitoring Tool, RSOC Modeling Tool, Speech Activity Detection, Network Analysis Tools, Network Reconstruction Tools, Advanced Speech Processing Services, Automatic Message Handling System, CRITIC Alert, Cross Agency Multimedia Database Querying, Message Format Converter, Central Strategic Processing and Reporting, Collection Knowledge Base, Language Knowledge Base and Capabilities, K2000 Advanced ELINT Signals, Speech Content Services, Speech Information Extraction, Dominant Facsimile Processing System and DEFSMAC Support, Data Delivery (TINMAN), High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) Database, Satellite database, Protocol Analysis Terminal, Global Numbering Database, Intercept Tasking Databases, DEFSMAC Space Systems Utilities, Message Server, Extended Tether Program, Language Knowledge Services, Trend Analysis in Data Streams, Signal Related Database, SANDKEY Support (SIGINT Analysis and Reporting), and the SIGINT interception database ANCHORY and the ELINT database WRANGLER. In fact, the document states that the contractors' plans foresee the inclusion of NSA's intelligence community partners (foreign and domestic) in the contractors' revamping of NSA's operational systems.
The servers include those that support mission-critical National Time Sensitive Systems (NTSS). These National Time Sensitive System servers have been assigned various cover terms:
A number of SIGINT applications are also impacted by the outsourcing mania. They are also assigned cover terms:
GALE-LITE (the primary owner of which is DIA)
SIGDASYS FILE II, III, and KL
In fact, the document indicates that literally hundreds of NSA intelligence applications are now subject to the whims of outside contractors. These systems include
On June 15, U.S. federal judge Richard B. Bennett sharply rebuked federal prosecutors for pursuing a four-year Espionage Act violation investigation and case against former National Security Agency (NSA) official Thomas Drake. At Drake's sentencing hearing in Baltimore, Bennett called the four-year long case against Drake and the prosecutors' ultimate dropping of multiple espionage charges to a single misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of a government computer "unconscionable."
Drake had been charged with providing classified information to the Baltimore Sun in 2006 and 2007. He was specifically charged with violation of sub-paragraphs (d) and (e) of the Espionage Act, which covers "transmittal" of classified information to unauthorized parties. Charges under the 1917 Espionage Act have rarely been brought by the Justice Department. The law was used against American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) officials Steve Rosen and Kenneth Weissman for receiving highly-classified information, including Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), from a Pentagon official. Charges against Rosen and Weissman were dropped by Eric Holder's Justice Department on May 1, 2009.
However, the "classified material" cited by prosecutors was not originally classified and it pertained to NSA officials, particuarly then-NSA director General Michael Hayden, defrauding the government for well over a billion dollars. Hayden and his advisers awarded a failed program called Project TRAILBLAZER to a group of contractors led by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
The prosecutors, acting as virtual criminal racket protection agents for Hayden and his advisers, decided to retroactively classify the unclassified whistleblowing information in order to justify the Espionage Act charges against Drake. Hayden's pet project also assisted in the program to conduct warrantless wiretapping of communications of U.S. citizens, a super-classified operation known by the code name STELLAR WIND.
Drake avoided prison and Bennett ruled against federal prosecutor's wish to have a $50,000 fine imposed on Drake. In sentencing Drake to 240 hours of community service, Bennett said "There has been financial devastation wrought upon this defendant that far exceeds any fine that can be imposed by me. And I’m not going to add to that in any way.”
Drake was represented by two federal public defenders, James Wyda and Deborah Boardman. Drake's case began to fall party after it was featured on CBS "60 Minutes." Retired NSA officials, interviewed on camera, defended Drake and his whistleblowing actions. After the bad publicity for NSA and Eric Holder's Justice Department, the espionage charges against Drake were dropped.
Five years earlier, in another federal court room in Greenbelt, Maryland, and in a case even more egregious than the one involving Drake, federal judge Peter J. Messitte sentenced former NSA "Iraqi shop" signals intelligence analyst Ken Ford Jr., to six years in prison and no fine as a result of his politically-motivated conviction for allegedly removing two boxes of classified materials from NSA during broad daylight without detection. In fact, the documents were planted in Ford's Waldorf, Maryland home in retaliation for his signals intelligence analysis report casting doubt on the White House contention that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. That report, which contained Ford's name as the preparer, eventually ended up on the desk of Vice President Dick Cheney. As a result, Ford became a target of the neo-con cell operating from within Cheney's office and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), the same cabal that compromised Valerie Plame Wilson's covert identity and mission.
The team of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Salem; federal public defenders John Chamble, Andrea Callaman, and Susan Bauer; and even the private lawyer eventually retained by Ford, conspired to ensure that Messitte was successfully "judge shopped" as the trial attorney, that at least one dubious pro-NSA jury member was selected for the trial jury, and that Ford would receive anything but a fair trial. Unlike Drake, Ford served in a lower-level analyst position. However, Ford, an African-American who previously served as a uniformed U.S. Secret Service officer at the White House, was on a fast-track for an executive position at NSA.
"60 Minutes" never covered the Ford case, even though it was as, if not more, outrageous as the case brought against Drake. The Washington Post, rather than assign one of its national security correspondents to the case, handed it to a Metro desk reporter, who parroted in his articles what was given to him by the prosecution team.
Prosecutors never cited any classified document that was said to be in Ford's possession at the time of his arrest. Prosecutors relied on the testimony of a confidential informant named Tonya Tucker, who had several other aliases and a long criminal record, who said she saw a document labeled "classified" in Ford's home. Of course, "classified" is not a national security label or designator for any documents. Salem also charged that Ford was planning on meeting a foreign agent at Dulles International Airport to transmit documents. However, Salem could not identify the foreign country involved, a flight number, a rendezvous point, or any details of what amounted to a "pre-crime" allegation. In fact, Salem made up the entire Dulles story as a way to ensure a guilty verdict, especially considering that the jury was never shown any of the alleged classified documents that were said to be in Ford's possession. In the Drake case, the jury was shown copies of "retroactively" classified documents, which were originally unclassified.
Ford is now out of prison and serving three-years of restricted travel probation in Maryland. He maintains his innocence and intends to appeal his case. However, Ford's attempt to enlist the assistance of the parties who came to the defense of Drake have been unsuccessful. There is another problem with the Ford case. The Ford case files, including those maintained by the PACER system and the federal public defenders office in Washington, DC, have all disappeared. Even Ford's original birth certificate in the District of Columbia Vital Records Office has disappeared. The only information available on the Ford case from the Justice Department are the press releases issued on the case.
The federal public defenders office in Washington is clearly nervous about the double standard applied to Ford and Drake. Moreover, the supervisor of Ford's tainted public defenders in 2004 was Wyda, the same public defender who successfully argued Drake's case.
Former Justice Department prosecutor Thomas Tamm, under a long investigation for revealing the nature of NSA's warrantless wiretapping program to The New York Times, eventually saw his investigation by the FBI suspended. However, WMR has learned that the STELLAR WIND program was routinely violated by NSA employees. Hayden, who came up with the program and sold it to then-CIA director George Tenet and Vice President Cheney, essentially canceled the provisions of U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID) 18, which governed the application of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) at NSA. NSA was prohibited from eavesdropping on "U.S. persons" without a court order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Under Hayden's tenure, some NSA analysts were conducting e-mail surveillance of their current and former girl friends, prompting Hayden to cover his tracks by implementing a procedure that saw database security officers, including those with oversight over the PINWALE e-mail interception database, conducting after-the-fact audit trail analysis for internal abuse of the new NSA powers.
Ken Ford, Jr. [center], reunited with his father and mother after six years of imprisonment on trumped up neo-con political charges stemming from the search for phony Iraqi WMDs.
Ford's case, which involved pressure from the Bush-Cheney White House, has also met with indifference from the Obama White House and the Congressional Black Caucus. Groups like the Government Accountability Project (GAP), which assisted with Drake's defense, did not raise a finger in the Ford case.
During his incarceration at Lewisburg federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania, Ford received rank-and-file support from some current and former NSA employees. However, unlike Drake, not one high-level NSA official, current or retired, came to Ford's defense, even though his innocence was as provable as that of Drake. It is, indeed, a "tale of two cases," one with a relatively happy outcome, the other singed with racism.
WMR's sources at the National Security Agency (NSA) have reported more high-level fraud at the agency that now combines signals intelligence and cyber-warfare functions under one officer, Army General Keith Alexander, the NSA director and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command.
When Alexander's predecessor at NSA, Air Force General Michael Hayden, was shopping for his own replacement, Alexander was the Deputy Chief of Staff for G-2 for the U.S. Army. Alexander would only take the job, according to our sources who were embedded in the Director of NSA's office, if Dr. James Heath became the senior science adviser to Alexander at NSA.
There was only one problem. Heath had his own company, Object Sciences Corporation, a firm which was intimately involved with tracking "Al Qaeda" operatives prior to the 9/11 attacks. Object Sciences provided deep data mining services to the Army's Land Information Warfare Agency's and Defense Intelligence Agency's ABLE DANGER and its affiliated DORHAWK GALLEY data mining programs.
At the same time, Hayden had shown favoritism to Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in awarding the firm, as prime contractor, the over one billion dollar signals intelligence overhaul program known as TRAILBLAZER. Hayden hired William Black, a former NSA official who had retired and went to work for SAIC, as his Deputy Director at NSA. The issue with Heath was solved when SAIC purchased Object Sciences, providing a handsome profit to Heath prior to his taking the science adviser position under his friend Alexander. Black eventually returned to SAIC from his stint as NSA deputy director.
The following press release was issued on May 12, 2005:
"Science Applications International Corp. has completed its acquisition of Object Sciences Corp., the company announced today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed . . .
OSC's involvement in reshaping how intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance information is processed and analyzed has provided critical assistance to combat forces in specific theaters, such as Iraq and Korea, as well as the war on global terrorism in general, SAIC said."
Alexander took over as NSA director on August 1, 2005, a few months after the SAIC-OSC deal. Heath then became Alexander's chief science adviser.
Another former SAIC principal who, like Black, transitioned from SAIC to NSA and back again to SAIC was Sam Visner. After joining NSA from SAIC, Visner was the senior acquisition manager for NSA and was key to the award of the TRAILBLAZER contract to SAIC. A less expensive signals intelligence re-engineering solution code-named THIN THREAD, was rejected by NSA in favor of the TRAILBLAZER, which was later canceled after SAIC pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars.
Hayden went on to become the first deputy Director of National Intelligence and, ultimately, the CIA director. He now works with former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff at Chertoff Group. His pet project, TRAILBLAZER, was canceled due to cost overruns and failed deliveries and was replaced by another reported contractor boondoggle called TURBULENCE. A number of senior NSA, Justice Department, and congressional officials were harassed and one, Thomas Drake, prosecuted for revealing the corruption. Those coming under NSA and FBI scrutiny, all subjected to harassment and threat of prosecution, included, in addition to Drake, Justice Department prosecutor Thomas Tamm, House Intelligence Committee budget specialist Diane Roark, NSA officials William Binney, Kirk Wiebe, and Ed Loomis, and others, never mentioned in press accounts, who were interviewed by WMR.
One former NSA official who was terminated and then placed under NSA Security and FBI surveillance after reporting through proper channels fraud, waste, and abuse with TRAILBLAZER and associated contracts, told WMR, "we are not whistleblowers but witnesses to major crimes committed by NSA and contractors."
Among the spin-offs of TRAILBLAZER was the unconstitutional STELLAR WIND program that permitted NSA to engage in wholesale warrantless wiretapping of phone calls, emails, and faxes, particularly journalists and elected political leaders.
Hayden, who has become a national security adviser to Mitt Romney and would be assured a top-level job in a Romney administration, perhaps National Security Adviser, is also involved with a subscription web service called LIGNet, or "Langley Intelligence Group Network" as a "LIGNet adviser." WMR has been told by intelligence community insiders that LIGNet is an operational security (OPSEC) problem because a wealth of borderline classified information appears on the web site.
Some of the LIGNet information makes what was released in the WikiLeaks Department of State cable release pale in comparison. As for charges that Private First Class Bradley Manning was responsible for downloading over a quarter million classified cables from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), a former senior NSA official told WMR: "That is impossible. All SIPRNet drives are non-writable for CDs and as far as thumb drives are concerned, install one and security alarms are immediately set off."
As WMR has reported in past articles, the National Security Agency (NSA) has maintained a series of "mug shots" of journalists it suspects have sources inside the NSA. Often, NSA personnel throught to have been speaking to journalists are called into NSA's "Q" security group and questioned on whether they have spoken to various journalists. Along with the names of the journalists, are photographs, described by NSA insiders, as "mug shots," likely culled from the Internet.
WMR previously reported on NSA's "rogue gallery" of journalists. From WMR, July 3, 2009: "Since the revelation of the NSA journalist monitoring database, which later added communications intercepts of journalist phone calls, emails, and faxes to its database, NSA Security has, according to information received by WMR, conducted physical surveillance of journalists it deems to be threats to the operations of the agency. The top targeted journalists, who make up a virtual 'rogues' gallery' at NSA Security, complete with photographs and other personal information, are: former Baltimore Sun and current Wall Street Journal reporter Siobhan Gorman, Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz, former Baltimore Sun and current New York Times reporter Scott Shane, Baltimore Sun reporter Phil McGowan, author James Bamford, New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, and this editor, Wayne Madsen."
WMR has now learned from NSA sources that NSA and FBI counter-intelligence branches are maintaining "mug shots" of journalists. Two to three pages of journalists, along with their photographs, are known to be in the possession of FBI counter-intelligence agent Laura Pino and NSA counter-intelligence officer Ethan Andreas. Each page has two rows of photographs across with four photographs and names of journalists on each row -- a total of eight photographs and names per page. The number of journalists on the pages, therefore, could be between 16 and 24.
Three names are known to be on the pages maintained by the FBI and NSA, according to our sources: Siobhan Gorman, James Bamford, and this editor, Wayne Madsen. Gorman was believed to have been the journalist former NSA official Tom Drake was in contact with before he was criminally charges under various counts, including the the Espionage Act. Drake was a witness to high-level contract fraud and corruption within the NSA. WMR submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to NSA two years ago requesting information on the editor's photograph being used as a security warning device. After being granted expedited processing by NSA as news media for purposes of the FOIA request, NSA reversed course, denying us media status and then stonewalled responding to the request. [Related story today in WMR].
WMR has learned and has personally experienced the unprecedented assault by the Obama administration, aided and abetted by its intelligence and internal security infrastructure, on the First Amendment right of freedom of the press.
The Obama administration has indicted a total of six U.S. government employees with violating the arcane 1917 Espionage Act for allegedly communicating classified information to the press. The Obama administration, according to multi-agency U.S. government sources , has authorized the eavesdropping of journalists' e-mails, text messages, and phone calls to determine to whom they are in contact within the government, particularly in the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, the CIA, the U.S. Congress' intelligence oversight committees, and the National Security Agency (NSA). The NSA and FBI are also monitoring what websites are visited by government employees, including this one.
The six people charged under the Espionage Act with providing classified information to journalists (the "Obama Six") are:
John Kiriakou, former CIA, allegedly passed information on waterboarding torture tactics and the identity of a CIA torturer to someone identified by the government as "Journalist A." The chief government prosecutor is U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois Patrick Fitzgerald, who WMR has identified as a cover-up prosecutor for the CIA ever since the days he suppressed critical intelligence in the trial of the "Blind Sheik," Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted for plotting the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later, when he failed to bring Espionage Act charges against Dick Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in the Valerie Plame Wilson leak case. Fitzgerald also prosecuted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich to protect the CIA's one-time agent, Barack Obama, Jr., from scandal arising from Obama's political and social activities in Chicago.
Jeffrey Sterling, former CIA, charged with providing The New York Times' James Risen with classified information on Iran's nuclear program.
Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, charged with providing over a quarter million State Department classified and unclassified cables from the SIPRnet communication system to WikiLeaks.
Thomas Drake, former NSA official, charged with providing classified information to journalists, including former Baltimore Sun reporter Siobhan Gorman. The charges against Drake were later reduced.
Stephen Kim, former State Department contractor, charged with leaking classified information about North Korea to Fox News' James Rosen.
Shamai Leibowitz, former FBI Hebrew translator, convicted of leaking classified FBI wiretaps to a blogger on Israeli intelligence activities in the United States directed at stirring up war fever against Iran. As yet, Leibowitz has been the only person convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking information to the media. The government fast-tracked the Leibowitz trial in order to supress coverage of Israel's massive intelligence operations in the United States.
WMR knows of six other ex-employees of NSA and the State Department who continue to face criminal probes by the Obama administration for leaking information to the press.
Government employees face constant monitoring of their government emails, as well as their personal e-mail accounts for any contact with the press. The FBI, NSA, and other agencies are also monitoring the web sites visited by government employees. At the State Department, lists of web sites visited by employees are maintained by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). DSS also maintains lists of charities to which State Department employees donate money.
WMR learned of one case where the U.S. Navy blocked access to the web for an employee who visited WayneMadsenReport.com from a government computer. The employee was required to explain to the system security administrator why WMR was visited and cautioned that WMR is on a "banned" list for Navy employees. At NSA, employees have been ordered not to disseminate any articles from WMR on the agency's internal e-mail system or they will face disciplinary action and possible loss of security access and their jobs.
There are also increasing reports that journalists' e-mails are being monitored or completely blocked by the U.S. government agencies and cooperating Internet Service Providers (ISPs). WMR has recently experienced such a denial-of-service by America On-Line (AOL).
The increased harassment of journalist sources by the Obama administration comes at the same time that Reporters Without Borders has dropped the United States on the World Press Freedom Index to 47 from 20 on the press freedom ranking list. At 47, the United States is tied with Romania and Argentina and ranks below the Union of Comoros in the Indian Ocean; increasingly fascist-oriented Hungary; Papua New Guinea, which has experienced a military coup; Mali; Tanzania; Botswana; Suriname; Niger; and Cape Verde. In 2002, during the second year of the Bush administration, the United States was ranked at 17.
William Welch II was the chief of the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section. While the title of his former office -- public integrity -- implies that Welch is dedicated to fighting corruption in the government, in President Obama's and Attorney General Eric Holder's Orwellian world of "Newspeak," Welch is the chief inquisitor of government whistle blowers and journalists who have communicated with them.
After committing ethical and legal violations in his investigation of the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, acts that resulted in criminal charges being dropped against Stevens and a criminal contempt of court investigation being opened against Welch, along with a Justice Department ethics probe, Welch continues to investigate national security whistle blowers. Welch has become a de facto special prosecutor, a modern day Juan de Torquemada, responsible for pursuing government "leakers" and journalists. Welch's targets have included National Security Agency fraud whistle blower Thomas Drake. He also has his sights set on former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling and James Risen, the New York Times national security correspondent who Welch believes communicated with Sterling. Risen and the Times are fighting a subpoena for Risen to answer Welch's questions before a grand jury. Previously quashed by U.S. Judge for the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia Leonie Brinkema, the subpoena has been appealed by Welch and Holder to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia.
Welch and his team were also publicly berated by U.S. Judge Richard Bennett for faulty evidence against Drake who was being doggedly pursued by Welch for allegedly communicating with aBaltimoreSun reporter about billions of dollars in contract fraud committed at NSA, where Drake served in a senior executive position. Drake and veteran NSA colleagues found themselves being raided at gunpoint by FBI agents under Welch's supervision. Welch's case against Drake collapsed and in a plea agreement, all Welch could get from Drake's defense team was a guilty plea for a minor charge of misusing a government computer. Bennett rejected Welch's argument that Drake be given a $50,000 fine. Bennett said Welch put Drake through “four years of hell."
Bennett also criticized Welch for taking so long in bringing charges against Drake. Welch's case against Drake was conducted in anything but a speedy fashion. Welch's tactics included keeping potentially exculpatory evidence from Drake's defense team for months after the indictment was handed down. For over six months, Welch's team failed to produce evidence that one of the allegedly classified documents Drake was charged with improperly retaining was declassified two months after the indictment was issued.
Welch waited ten months to turn over evidence that another document that formed the basis of an Espionage Act charge against Drake had been - in the words of Drake's criminal defense team - “. . . published as 'unclassified' and had never been deemed 'classified' until after it was recovered from Mr. Drake's home.” The re-classification of previously de-classified documents is one of the tricks employed by the Holder Justice Department in pursuing leak investigations. Welch also informed Drake's criminal defense team that potentially exculpatory evidence relating to Drake's years-long cooperation with a Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) investigation had somehow been "destroyed."
Welch has had a history with "destroyed" evidence. On December 1, 1996, Welch, who was then an assistant U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts and 33 years old, was stopped by the police on Route 10 in Southampton. Welch was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol by a police officer after Welch failed four field sobriety tests. A special prosecutor was named in the case against Welch. According to the Union-News of Springfield, the prosecutor, Robert C. Bray, discovered that the police cruiser's video recorder failed to operate properly and the video tape could not be used as evidence against Welch. It also helped that Welch's father was Superior Court of Massachusetts judge William H. Welch. The senior Welch, who died in 2007, had been considered for four federal judgeships but was never nominated.
According to the Union-News, Southampton Police Lt. David Silvernail said that the video camera, which was purchased in November 1996 with federal grant money, 'went on when overhead cruiser lights were activated and was not supposed to go off until an officer shut it off.' Apparently, the camera had been shutting itself off after three minutes, but miraculously for Welch the problem was not discovered until Welch's arrest. 'The camera was sent back to its manufacturer to be fixed after the problem was found,' Silvernail
told the newspaper. The criminal case against Welch was dropped. The tape was later reused by Southampton police officers and the Welch arrest segment was erased.
William Welch blows every case to which he is assigned. Perhaps he should blow into a plastic bag.
The story of William Welch is not an isolated one among Justice Department prosecutors. In Welch's case, someone who was so drunk he could not pass four sobriety tests on a Massachusetts highway is now entrusted by the Obama administration with the power to investigate those who challenge incompetence and wrongdoing in the U.S. intelligence community.
END WAYNEMADSENREPORT.COM ITEMS >>>>
Whew.... All right. Now go read the Puzzle Palace and the Shadow Factory and everything you can find on Cryptome.org and PublicIntelligence.net about the NSA & Cryptography. GET [hash] CRACKIN!
The Obama DOJ's effort to force New York Times investigative journalist Jim Risen to testify in a whistleblower prosecution and reveal his source is really remarkable and revealing in several ways; it should be receiving much more attention than it is. On its own, the whistleblower prosecution and accompanying targeting of Risen are pernicious, but more importantly, it underscores the menacing attempt by the Obama administration -- as Risen yesterday pointed out -- to threaten and intimidate whistleblowers, journalists and activists who meaningfully challenge what the government does in secret.
The subpoena to Risen was originally issued but then abandoned by the Bush administration, and then revitalized by Obama lawyers. It is part of the prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent whom the DOJ accuses of leaking to Risen the story of a severely botched agency plot -- from 11 years ago -- to infiltrate Iran's nuclear program, a story Risen wrote about six years after the fact in his 2006 best-selling book, State of War. The DOJ wants to force Risen to testify under oath about whether Sterling was his source.
Like any good reporter would, Risen is categorically refusing to testify and, if it comes to that (meaning if the court orders him to testify), he appears prepared to go to prison in defense of press freedoms and to protect his source (just as some young WikiLeaks supporters are courageously prepared to do rather than cooperate with the Obama DOJ's repellent persecution of the whistleblowing site). Yesterday, Risen filed a Motion asking the Court to quash the government's subpoena on the ground that it violates the First Amendment's free press guarantee, and as part of the Motion, filed a lengthy Affidavit that is amazing in several respects.
During the Bush years, Risen was one of the few investigative journalists exposing the excesses and lawbreaking that was the War on Terror -- causing him to be literally hated by officials of the National Security State. Along with Eric Lichtblau, Risen most famously revealed, in 2005, that the NSA was secretly spying on Americans without warrants which -- as he put it in his Affidavit -- "in all likelihood, violated the law and the United States Constitution." In 2006, he revealed that the Bush administration had been obtaining huge amounts of financial and banking information about American citizens from the SWIFT system, all without oversight or Congressional authorization. And here's how he summarized the multiple revelations in State of War, the book for which the Obama DOJ is now seeking to force him to reveal his source upon pain of imprisonment:
State of War included explosive revelations about a series of illegal or potentially illegal actions taken by President Bush, including the domestic wiretapping program. It also disclosed how President Bush secretly pressured the CIA to use torture on detainees in secret prisons around the world; how the White House and CIA leadership ignored information before the 2003 invasion of Iraq that showed that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction; documented how, in the aftermath of the invasion, the Bush Administration punished CIA professionals who warned that the war in Iraq was going badly; showed how the Bush Administration turned a blind eye to Saudi involvement in terrorism; and revealed that the CIA's intelligence operations on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Iran and other countries were completely dysfunctional, and even reckless.
(To understand the function of the American media and American political culture: please re-read that paragraph -- describing revelations of pervasive lawbreaking and corruption at the highest levels of government from one reporter in one book -- and compare the media's indifferent and/or supportive treatment of that revealed conduct to the orgy of intense, obsessive condemnation directed at Anthony Weiner; or compare how the perpetrators of that conduct revealed by Risen are treated with great respect to the universal scorn heaped on Weiner).
Particularly because of the NSA revelation, Risen was despised by Bush officials and was the target of a right-wing hate campaign (including suggestions -- from administration officials and prominent others -- that he be prosecuted for espionage). Risen compiles ample evidence in his Affidavit to argue that the Subpoena issued to him in the Sterling case was a by-product of the administration's efforts to harm him; he writes: "the administration was embarrassed by the disclosures I made in the course of my reporting for State of War as well as in The New York Times, and eventually singled me out as a target for political harassment." Indeed, Risen argues -- persuasively -- that the investigation to unmask his source, and the prosecution of Sterling itself, is little more than a means of punishing him for his reporting and for intimidating similar disclosures in the future:
I believe that the investigation that led to this prosecution started because of my reporting on the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program. The Bush White House was furious over that story. I believe that this investigation started as part of an effort by the Bush Administration to punish me and silence me, following the publication of the NSA wiretapping story. I was told by a reliable source that Vice President Dick Cheney pressured the Justice Department to personally target me because he was unhappy with my reporting and wanted to see me in jail.
There are two aspects to Risen's Affidavit which merit particular attention. First, Risen cites a 2006 ABC News report from Brian Ross and others that claimed the Bush administration was, without warrants, spying on the communications of reporters (including Ross) in order to discover the identity of their sources. I personally never attached much credence to that story because of how unreliable I find Brian Ross to be, but in his Affidavit, Risen states (under oath) that he "has reason to believe that the story . . . is true" because he "learned from an individual who testified before a grand jury in this District that was examining my reporting about the domestic wiretapping program that the Government had shown this individual copies of telephone records relating to calls made to and from me."
The fact that Bush officials were spying on reporters is extraordinary. Instead of pursuing Cheneyite vendettas by persecuting whistleblowers who exposed newsworthy ineptitude from long-irrelevant CIA plots, the Obama DOJ ought to be investigating that allegation; that it isn't and wouldn't speaks volumes.
Second, Risen links the Obama administration's pursuit of the Sterling case and of Risen to the current President's broader (and unprecedented) war on whistleblowers and investigative journalism. He writes:
[I believe that the efforts to target me have continued under the Obama Administration, which has been aggressively investigating whistleblowers and reporters in a way that will have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press in the United States.]
What's particularly striking about this prosecution is that it involves digging deep into the ancient past (the Iran operation in question was begun under the Clinton administration): this from a President who insisted that Bush officials not be investigated for their crimes on the ground that we must "Look Forward, Not Backward." But it's not hard to see why Obama officials are so intent on doing so: few things are more effective in creating a Climate of Fear -- one that deters investigation and disclosure and stifles the exercise of basic rights -- than prosecuting prominent people for having challenged and undermined the government's agenda. As Risen documents, that -- plainly -- is what this prosecution and the Obama administration's broader anti-whistleblower war is about: chilling the exercise of basic rights and the ability to challenge government actions.
* * * * *
While there is no good faith claim that Risen's revelation six years after the fact harmed U.S. national security, Risen's story was unquestionably newsworthy because it revealed how inept and ignorant American intelligence agencies are when it comes to Iran. Indeed, Risen claims vindication for his story "given subsequent reports about the unreliability of our intelligence about Iran's nuclear capabilities and about our government's tendency to overstate the threat in a way that is not entirely consistent with the intelligence actually gathered."
That Iran is developing nuclear weapons is one of the Obama administration's most cherished orthodoxies. Anything that challenges that is attacked. Recall how cowardly Obama officials ran to Politico to anonymously malign Seymour Hersh's recent New Yorker piece arguing that there is little credible evidence of Iran's nuclear activities. As Risen says: "Whether one agrees with Mr. Hersh's article or not, it is clear that, five years after I wrote State of War, there is still a serious national debate about Iran's nuclear ambitions and about whether the current administration has incentives to exaggerate intelligence related to this topic."
What the Obama administration is doing, above all else, is bolstering the Climate of Fear that prevents any challenges to its pronouncements of this sort. I wrote about that joint White-House/Politico attack on Hersh to mock the gross hypocrisy of criticizing Hersh for his use of anonymous sources in the very same article where Politico granted anonymity to Obama officials to attack him; but the more substantive point is that of course Hersh has to use anonymous sources. In the Climate of Fear being deliberately fortified by the Obama administration, what person in their right mind would openly challenge their national security decrees on classified matters or call their veracity into question? As the Sterling/Risen case and numerous others have intentionally conveyed: imprisonment is the likely outcome for those who do that.
* * * * *
This Climate of Fear is being strengthened by more than just whistleblowing prosecutions and the targeting of journalists. So many Obama policies are devoted to its fortification.
Today in The New York Times, former NYT reporter David Shipler chronicles the multiple ways the current President, in conjunction with Congress and the Supreme Court, have intensified the decades-long assault on the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures: "The Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to allow GPS tracking of vehicles without judicial permission. The Supreme Court ruled that the police could break into a house without a search warrant if, after knocking and announcing themselves, they heard what sounded like evidence being destroyed. Then it refused to see a Fourth Amendment violation where a citizen was jailed for 16 days on the false pretext that he was being held as a material witness to a crime. Congress renewed Patriot Act provisions on enhanced surveillance powers until 2015, and the F.B.I. expanded agents' authority to comb databases, follow people and rummage through their trash even if they are not suspected of a crime." In his last paragraph, Shipler describes why this matters so much:
The Fourth Amendment is weaker than it was 50 years ago, and this should worry everyone. "Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government," Justice Robert H. Jackson, the former chief United States prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, wrote in 1949. "Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart."
Beyond the numerous actions described by Shipler, the Obama adminstration has pursued multiple actions perfectly described by that passage, certain to achieve that very outcome. It has continuously harassed numerous WikiLeaks supporters, repeatedly detaining them at airports and seizing and copying their laptops, all without warrants, and subpoeaned their social networking records. It is seeking (and is likely to obtain) dramatically expanded domestic surveillance powers, physically and over the Internet. It has seized the power to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process. It succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to declare that one can "materially support Terrorism" -- a felony -- merely by talking to, or advocating on behalf of, designated Terrorist groups. In one of the most important stories I haven't written about (but should have), it has invasively investigated and threatened with prosecution a slew of domestic peace activists and those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. And now the precedent has been bolstered that the prime circumstance that fuels and justifies all of these powers -- war -- can be unilaterally commenced by the President for any reason, for any length of time, without a pretense of democratic consent.
For someone who has no real interest in challenging government claims or undermining official actions, these policies will have no direct, perceptible effect. It's always true that those who are supportive of institutions of authority or who otherwise have no interest in challenging them are never targeted by measures of this sort; why would they be? That's why supporters of all Presidents -- Republicans during the Bush years and now Democratic loyalists under Obama -- are rarely disturbed by such developments.
Along with the apathetic, who by definition pose no threat to anyone, prominent cheerleaders for the President and his party, who labor every day to keep them in power, are the last ones who will be subjected to such programs. Obviously, nobody in the Obama administration is monitoring the phone calls at the Center for American Progress or ones placed to the large stable of columnists, bloggers and TV stars who daily spout White House talking points or devote each day to attacking the President's political opponents. That's why purported civil liberties concerns manifest only when the other party is in power, but vanish when their own is. Partisan loyalists are indifferent to their leader's ability to deter dissent; if anything, they're happy that their party's leader wields such power and can use it against political adversaries.
But for anyone who is engaged in meaningful dissent from and challenge to government officials -- the Jim Risens and other real investigative reporters, the Thomas Drakes and other whistleblowers, the WikiLeaks supporters, the Midwest peace activists -- these prosecutions and these ever-expanding surveillance, detention and even assassination powers are inevitably intimidating. Regardless of how those powers are used or even whether they are, they will, as Risen put it, have "a chilling effect" on the exercise of core freedoms. As Risen explained in his Affidavit, even if Brian Ross' story turned out to be false, the mere claim by anonymous officials that the phone records of journalists are being monitored -- combined with threats of prison for their sources and even for reporters who are subpoenaed -- means "the Government further contributed to creating an atmosphere of fear for journalists who publish stories about national security and intelligence issues."
The most odious aspect of this Climate of Fear is that it fundamentally changes how the citizenry thinks of itself and its relationship to the Government. A state can offer all the theoretical guarantees of freedom in the world, but those become meaningless if citizens are afraid to exercise them. In that climate, the Government need not even act to abridge rights; a fearful populace will voluntarily refrain on its own from exercising those rights.
Nobody wants to believe that they have been put in a state of fear, that they are intimidated, so rationalizations are often contrived: I don't perceive any violations of my rights because there's nothing I want to do that I'm not able to do. Inducing a fearful population to refrain from exercising rights -- as it convinces itself no such thing is happening -- is a far more effective, and far more pernicious, means of suppressing freedoms. That's what a Climate of Fear uniquely enables. The vast National Security and Surveillance State has for decades been compiling powers -- and eroding safeguards and checks -- devoted to the strengthening of this climate, and the past two-and-a-half years have seen as rapid and concerted intensification as any other period one can recall. Read Jim Risen's Affidavit if you doubt that.
Sweet: CIA Whistleblower & 9/11 covert ops witness sends an important essay for HongPong.com!
National Security Whistleblowers are a tough bunch. Susan Lindauer worked as a CIA asset for many years before 9-11, including issues related to Libya & the Lockerbie bombing, as well as a major backchannel contact to Saddam Hussein's government. Lindauer was one of very few Americans charged under the PATRIOT Act, accused of acting as an agent of influence for Iraq after she tried to blow the whistle on Capitol Hill.
Lindauer fought tenaciously to clear her name and assert in the US court system that she was in fact in the service of the CIA, working the Iraq embassy back into the 1990s, even as coverup specialist handlers like the corrupt Michael Mukasey tried to make sure she fell down the memory hole.
Lindauer has been touring the alternative media in the last couple months but she's pretty thoroughly blacked out of mainstream coverage. She noticed that I have posted links about her story to HongPong.com and asked me to publish the following essay. No problem and thanks for asking! :-D
She's hoping that alternative media can raise more awareness of the way the PATRIOT Act works in conjunction with secret grand juries to crush decent people inside the system, not save Amurrca From Turrurists. Additional info about the scuttled peace deal with Saddam and 9/11 CIA foreknowledge and Mossad "complicity" disclosed by her CIA handler Dr. Fuisz in particular tie right into other alternative narratives for 9/11 already out there. (My general conclusion is that several foreign/military-industrial intelligence networks were involved & this has been covered up thoroughly)
Anyhow enough preamble - let's read a first-person account of this Patriot Act crackdown against an operative who know too much and wouldn't stay on script.
The Patriot Act: When Truth Becomes Treason
By Susan Lindauer, former Asset covering Iraq & Libya and the second non-Arab American indicted on the Patriot Act
Many Americans think they understand the dangers of the Patriot Act, which Congress has vowed to extend 4 more years in a vote later this week. Trust me when I say, Americans are not nearly frightened enough.Unfortunately, Bradley Manning is also subject to some of these rules, so it's important for his supporters to understand what's ahead.
Ever wonder why the truth about 9/11 never got exposed? Why Americans don't have a clue about leadership fraud surrounding the War on Terror? Why Americans don't know if the 9/11 investigation was really successful? Why the Iraqi Peace Option draws a blank? Somebody has known the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden--- or his grave—for the past 10 years. But nobody's talking to the people.
In significant part, that's because of the Patriot Act--- a law that equates free speech with sedition. It's got a big agenda, with 7,000 pages of Machiavellian code designed to interrupt individual questioning of government policy. In this brave new world, free speech under the Bill of Rights effectively has been declared a threat to government controls for maintaining stability. And the Patriot Act has become the premiere weapon to attack whistle blowers and dissidents who challenge the comfort of political leaders hiding inconvenient truths from the public. It's all the rage on Capitol Hill, as leaders strive to score TV ratings, while demogauging their "outstanding leadership performance" on everything from national security to environmental policy.
Truth has Become Treason
But wait---Congress assures us the Patriot Act only targets foreigners, who come to our shores seeking to destroy our way of life through violent, criminal acts. Good, law abiding Americans have nothing to fear. The Patriot Act restricts its powers of "roving wiretaps" and warrantless searches to international communications among "bad guys." Congress has sworn, with hand on heart, it's only purpose is breaking down terrorist cells and hunting out "lone wolf" mad men.
That's what they told you, right? And you believed them? You trust the government. Well, that was your first mistake. With regards to the Patriot Act, it's a fatal one. Would the government lie to you? You betcha! And they have.
The Patriot Act reaches far beyond terrorism prevention. In my home state of Maryland, State Police invoked the Patriot Act to run surveillance on the Chesapeake Climate Action Network dedicated to wind power, recycling and protection of the Chesapeake Bay. They infiltrated the DC Anti War Network, suggesting the group might be a front for "white supremacists," and Amnesty International, claiming to investigate "civil rights abuses." Opponents of the death penalty also got targeted (in case they got violent).
Bottom line: truth tellers who give Americans too much insight on any number of issues are vulnerable to a vast arsenal of judicial weapons typically associated with China or Mynamar. In the Patriot Act, the government has created a powerful tool to hunt out free thinking on the left or right. It doesn't discriminate. Anyone who opposes government policy is at risk
How do I know all this? Because I was the second non-Arab American ever indicted on the Patriot Act. My arrest defied all expectations about the law. I was no terrorist plotting to explode the Washington Monument. Quite the opposite, I had worked in anti-terrorism for almost a decade, covering Iraq and Libya, Yemen, Egypt and Malaysia at the United Nations. At the instruction of my CIA handler, I had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to the private staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Office of Counter-Terrorism in August, 2001. FBI wire taps prove that I carried details of a comprehensive peace framework with Iraq up and down the hallowed corridors of Capitol Hill for months before the invasion, arguing that War was totally unnecessary.
I delivered those papers to Democrats and Republicans alike; to my own second cousin, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; and to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who lived next door to my CIA handler. Gratis of the Patriot Act, we had the manila envelope and my hand written notes to Secretary Powell, dated a week before his infamous speech at the United Nations. My papers argued that no WMDs would be found inside Iraq, and that the peace framework could achieve all U.S. objectives without firing a shot.
In short, I was an Asset who loudly opposed War with Iraq, and made every effort to correct the mistakes in assumptions on Capitol Hill.
Then I did the unthinkable. I phoned the offices of Senator Trent Lott and Senator John McCain, requesting to testify before a brand new, blue ribbon Commission investigating Pre-War Intelligence. Proud and confident of my efforts, I had no idea Congress was planning to blame "bad intelligence" for the unpopular War.
Over night I became Public Enemy Number One on Capitol Hill.
Thirty days later I awoke to hear FBI agents pounding on my door. My nightmare on the Patriot Act lasted 5 years--- Four years after my arrest, the Court granted me one morning of evidentiary testimony by two supremely credible witnesses. Parke Godfrey verified my 9/11 warnings under oath. Otherwise, I never got my day in Court.
The Patriot Act's Arsenal to Stop Free Speech
If you care about America and the traditions of freedom, whether you're progressive or conservative, you should be angry about this law.
First come the warrantless searches and FBI tracking surveillance. My work in anti-terrorism gave me no protection. I got my first warrantless search after meeting an undercover FBI agent to discuss my support for free elections in Iraq and my opposition to torture and sexual humiliation of Iraqi detainees. (Sorry guys, body wires don't lie.)
If truth tellers don't get the message to shut their mouths, the Justice Department ratchets up the pressure. Defendants face secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. Throughout five years of indictment, my attorneys and I never got to read a single FBI interview or grand jury statement. Under the Patriot Act, the whistleblower/defendant has no right to know who has accused him or her of what criminal activities, or the dates of the alleged offenses, or what laws got broken.
Of course, I was able to piece together my activities. I knew that "sometime in October, 2001" an Iraqi diplomat gave me the English translation of a book on depleted uranium, which showed how cancer rates and birth defects had spiked in Iraqi children.
And I was quite certain that on October 14, 1999, an Iraqi diplomat asked me how to channel major financial contributions to the Presidential Campaign of George Bush and Dick Cheney. The Justice Department got the date from me, since I reported my conversation immediately to my Defense Intelligence handler, Paul Hoven.
It's unlikely the grand jury knew that, since the Justice Department has the prerogative to keep a grand jury in the dark. In this brave new world, a grand jury can be compelled to consider indictments carrying 10 years or more in prison, without the right to review evidence, or otherwise determine whether an individual's actions rise to the level of criminal activity at all.
That's just the beginning. Once Congress scores an indictment against a political opponent, the Justice Department can force Defense attorneys to undergo protracted security clearances, while the whistle blower cum defendant waits in prison--- usually in solitary confinement or the SHU. After the security clearance, prosecutors have an ironclad right to bar attorneys from communicating communications from the prosecution to the defendant, on threat of disbarment, stiff fines or prison sentence.
Scared yet? Once you get to trial, the situation gets much worse. The Patriot Act declares that a prosecutor has no obligation to show evidence of criminal activity to a jury at all. And the Defense can be denied the right to argue a rebuttal to those secret charges, because it requires speculation that might mislead the jury—or might expose issues that the government considers, well, secret. After all that a Judge can instruct a jury that the prosecution regards the secret evidence as sufficient to merit conviction on the secret charges. The Jury can be barred from considering the lack of evidence in weighing whether to convict.
Think I'm exaggerating? You would be wrong. That's what happened to me. All of it—with one major glitch. All of this presumes the whistle blower's lucky enough to get a trial. I was denied mine, though I fought vigorously for my rights. Instead, citing the Patriot Act, I got thrown in prison on a Texas military base without so much as a hearing—and threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging, to boot.
Americans are not nearly afraid enough.
Neither is Congress. As of this week, members of Congress should be very afraid. Anyone who votes to extend the Patriot Act should expect to pack their bags in 2012. They will be targeted for defeat. Above all, the words "freedom" and "Constitution" will never appear in their campaigns without suffering extreme public scorn—never, ever again.
Susan Lindauer is the author of Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq, which reveals details of her CIA team's 9/11 warnings and a comprehensive peace option with Iraq.