Tag Archive: Dianne Feinstein


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US President Barack Obama (R) listens to Russian President Vladimir Putin

US Politicians Increasingly Realize Need for Coalition With Russia

© AFP 2015/ Jewel Samad

US

21:59 10.11.2015(updated 22:00 10.11.2015)

Russia and the US should work together to fight ISIL, head of the US State Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Dianne Feinstein said. According to political analyst Vladimir Shapovalov, US politicians are starting to realize that the problem of terrorism cannot be resolved without Russia.

Russia and the US should join their efforts to fight the terrorist group Islamic State, Feinstein told NBC News.

According to the US politician, the current situation would be convenient for the start of such cooperation as the United States started sharing intelligence data with Russia, something which  had not happened previously.

“I think the time has come for us also to begin to develop a joint strategy with Russia,” Feinstein said during the broadcast.

Russian political scientist Vladimir Shapovalov believes that such statements are a signal symbolizing the reestablishment of constructive relations between the two countries.

 

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The Pentagon has stationed a new fleet of fighter jets in Turkey.

US Fighter Jets Sent to Turkey to Guard Against ‘Russian Aggression’

© Flickr/ darinm16

Middle East

03:29 11.11.2015(updated 03:32 11.11.2015) 

The Pentagon has stationed a new fleet of fighter jets in Turkey. While ostensibly aimed at protecting US bombers targeting the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, top defense officials also say the jets are meant to deter “Russian aggression.”

The US-led bombing campaign in Syria has been conducting airstrikes against IS targets for over one year, now. These strikes have been carried out by B-1 bombers, A-10 and AC-130 attack planes, and while they haven’t been terribly successful, these bombers have never faced any real danger in the field.

Yet, the Pentagon has suddenly decided that these planes need to be escorted by a fleet of six F-15Cs.

“At the request of the government of Turkey, the US Air Force F-15Cs that arrived last week will conduct combat air patrols to assist in defense of the Turkish airspace,” Pentagon spokeswoman Laura Seal said in a statement.

But according to a defense official speaking to USA Today on condition of anonymity, the F-16Cs are largely present to defend against hypothetical attacks from Russian and Syrian fighters.

While both the Russian and Syrian military campaigns are focused on combating IS, the Pentagon has cited month-old claims of Russian jets violating Turkish airspace as justification.

“Turkey faces increased instability along its border with Syria and Iraq and irresponsible behavior from actions in the region,” Seal said. “This includes the incursions Russia made into Turkey’s – and thereby NATO’s – airspace in October.”

“Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name”: NSA-Backing Senate Intel Chair Blasts CIA for Spying on Torture Probe

democracynow democracynow

Published on Mar 12, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org- The spat between the CIA and its Congressional overseers has intensified after Senator Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to directly accuse the CIA of spying in an effort to undermine a probe of the agency’s torture and rendition program. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report has yet to be released but reportedly documents extensive abuses and a cover-up by CIA officials. Feinstein says the CIA broke the law in secretly removing more than 900 documents from computers used by panel investigators. She also accused the CIA of intimidation in requesting an FBI inquiry of the panel’s conduct. CIA Director John Brennan has rejected Feinstein’s allegations. Meanwhile, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has weighed in by accusing Feinstein of hypocrisy for criticizing alleged CIA spying on U.S. senators while condoning government surveillance of private citizens. We host a roundtable discussion with three guests: former FBI agent Mike German, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, and Pulitzer-winning journalist Julia Angwin, author of the new book, “Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance.”

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President Barack Obama, left, speaks during a roundtable with community leaders including California Gov. Jerry Brown, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., at San Luis Water Facility in Firebaugh, Calif., Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, regarding the ongoing drought. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP / AP

President Barack Obama, left, speaks during a roundtable with community leaders including California Gov. Jerry Brown, and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., at San Luis Water Facility in Firebaugh, Calif., Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, regarding the ongoing drought. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP
SFGate

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Obama Uses Backdrop of California Drought to Pitch $1 Billion Climate-Change Fund

Rep. Nunes calls it “ludicrous,” considering the state’s drought-resistant irrigation system is neutered by “excessive regulations and lawsuits by environmental extremists.”

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

“The changing climate means drought, fire, storms, and floods will be costlier and harsher,” Obama said while surveying a farm in Los Banos, accompanied by Gov. Jerry Brown, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, and Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.).

The administration announced a series of actions anchored in the departments of Agriculture and Interior intended to combat the longstanding economic effects of the drought in the nation’s breadbasket, including $5 million in additional assistance to California through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program that “helps farmers and ranchers implement conservation practices that conserve scarce water resources, reduce wind erosion on drought-impacted fields and improve livestock access to water” and $5 million in targeted Emergency Watershed Protection Program assistance to the most drought-impacted areas of California “to protect vulnerable soils.”

The White House also announced that $60 million has been made available through the USDA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program to food banks in California and 600 summer meal sites would be established in drought stricken areas. The USDA is “making $3 million in grants available to help rural communities that are experiencing a significant decline in the quality or quantity of drinking water due to the drought obtain or maintain water sources of sufficient quantity and quality.”

 

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Obama to Announce Aid for Drought-Stricken California

FRESNO, Calif. — President Obama arrived in the heart of California’s parched farmland on Friday afternoon to offer tens of millions of dollars in federal assistance to the state, where the lack of rain and snow this winter has left it grappling with the severest drought in its modern history.

Meeting with farmers and ranchers here in Fresno — where electronic signs along highways flash entreatingly to drivers, “Serious drought. Help save water” — Mr. Obama was expected to pledge $183 million from existing federal funds into drought relief programs for California. Though the announcement, made earlier in the day by the White House, won cautious support in this region, Mr. Obama also pressed ahead with the more difficult task of enlisting rural America in his campaign on climate change by linking it to the drought.

The president was accompanied on his tour by the state’s top Democrats, a show of solidarity that underscored the emerging partisan battle over the management of the drought in the nation’s most populous state and the source of half of the country’s fruits and vegetables.

Seated at the center of a horseshoe table at a water district building where he met with community leaders, Mr. Obama spoke of the difficulties of dealing with the drought in the face of California’s intricate water politics, which has traditionally cleaved along regional lines and which has often become mired in epic court battles.

“Water has been seen as a zero sum game: agriculture against urban, north against south,” he said. “We’re going to have to figure out how to play a different game.”

“We can’t afford years of litigation and no real action,” he added.

Mr. Obama also spoke of climate change, drawing links to the drought as well as hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. Mr. Obama was expected to announce that he intends to ask Congress for $1 billion in new funding for a “climate resiliency” program to help communities invest in research, development and new infrastructure to prepare for climate disasters.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency a month ago. But many communities had already imposed water restrictions, and more than a dozen remain at risk of running out of water within a couple of months. For the first time in its 54-year history, the State Water Project, the main municipal water distribution system, said it is unable to provide water to local agencies, including farmers.

Water scarcity has forced cattle ranchers to sell portions of their herds. Farmers have left hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural land go fallow.

Democrats and Republicans have been dueling with separate drought bills. Much of that rivalry has focused on the Central Valley — not only because it is California’s breadbasket, but it also represents, in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, a rare battleground between Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau and a Fresno Irrigation District board member, said that Mr. Obama’s announcement was “a great start, though it won’t fix long-term issues.” The Central Valley, he said, needs major upgrades in water infrastructure and needs the federal authorities to release more water from the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, north of here.

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KTVB.COM

Farmers: Obama’s drought relief efforts lacking

Associated Press

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Updated today at 7:06 PM

 

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Farmers in California’s drought-stricken Central Valley said the financial assistance President Barack Obama delivered on his visit Friday does not get to the heart of California’s long-term water problems.

Amid one of the driest years in the state’s recorded history, Obama came to the Fresno area to announce $100 million in livestock-disaster aid, $60 million to support food banks and another $13 million toward things such as conservation and helping rural communities that could soon run out of drinking water.

Obama told reporters in the rural town of Firebaugh, where he met with community leaders, that he wasn’t about to wade into California water politics. Yet the president gently warned California’s leaders to find common ground rather than thinking of water as a “zero-sum game.”

“We’re going to have to figure out how to play a different game,” Obama said. “If the politics are structured in such a way where everybody is fighting each other and trying to get as much as they can, my suspicion is that we’re not going to make much progress.”

In his three-hour visit to the Central Valley, Obama also toured a farm in Los Banos to see the drought’s impact firsthand.

Another farmer, Sarah Woolf, a partner with Clark Brothers Farming, said anything will help, but the federal government needs to better manage the state’s water supplies so farmers have enough during future droughts like the current one.

“Throwing money at it is not going to solve the problem long-term,” she said.

The Central Valley produces nearly one-third of the nation’s fruits and vegetables, and Fresno County leads the nation in agriculture. Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau, estimated that 25 percent of the county’s irrigated land will go unplanted this year.

The drought has caused Democrats and Republicans in Congress to propose dueling emergency bills. Led by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the House passed one that would free up water for farmers by rolling back environmental protections and stop the restoration of a dried-up stretch of the San Joaquin River that once had salmon runs.

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer proposed their own version that pours $300 million into drought-relief projects without changing environmental laws. The bill would allow more flexibility to move water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to farms in the south and speed up environmental reviews of water projects.

 

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Hmmmm, Feinstein is opposed to  NSA  surveillance of US  allies but  she is quite comfortable with them spying on  American  Citizens and violating their civil rights in the name of National Security?  

Not to mention  trashing the  Constitution in the process.  Did the  US Allies have  anything to do with  Feinstein’s  arrival in Washington?  

Or  is she , like many  other politicians forgetting who she is suppose  to  represent and just  who she  answers to?

 

Very interesting

 

~Desert Rose~

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Senate intelligence committee chair, who has been a loyal defender of the NSA, demands a ‘total’ surveillance review

Dianne Feinstein

‘It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary,’ Feinstein said. Photo: J Scott Applewhite /AP

The chair of the Senate intelligence committee, who has been a loyal defender of the National Security Agency, dramatically broke ranks on Monday, saying she was “totally opposed” to the US spying on allies and demanding a total review of all surveillance programs.

California Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein strongly criticised the NSA‘s monitoring of the calls of friendly world leaders such as German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Feinstein, who has steadfastly defended the NSA‘s mass surveillance programs, added that both Barack Obama and members of her committee, which is supposed to received classified briefings, had been kept in the dark about operations to target foreign leaders.

“It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully informed as to what is actually being carried out by the intelligence community,” Feinstein said in a statement to reporters.

“Unlike NSA‘s collection of phone records under a court order, it is clear to me that certain surveillance activities have been in effect for more than a decade and that the Senate Intelligence Committee was not satisfactorily informed.

She added:

With respect to NSA collection of intelligence on leaders of US allies – including France, Spain, Mexico and Germany – let me state unequivocally: I am totally opposed.

The senator also provided the first official confirmation of a German report that indicated Merkel’s phone had been monitored for more than a decade. “It is my understanding that President Obama was not aware Chancellor Merkel’s communications were being collected since 2002,” Feinstein said. “That is a big problem.”

The senator’s dramatic intervention comes as the White House struggles to contain the diplomatic fallout from a series of revelations about the NSA‘s spy operations abroad. They include a report in the Guardian, based on documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that at least 35 world leaders have been monitored by the agency.

“Unless the United States is engaged in hostilities against a country or there is an emergency need for this type of surveillance, I do not believe the United States should be collecting phone calls or emails of friendly presidents and prime ministers. The president should be required to approve any collection of this sort,” Feinstein added.

The White House has informed me that collection on our allies will not continue, which I support. But as far as I’m concerned, Congress needs to know exactly what our intelligence community is doing. To that end, the committee will initiate a major review into all intelligence collection programs.”

Feinstein’s statement also comes at a crucial time for the NSA, one the eve of legislation that will curtail the agency’s powers – and amid the first signs the White House may be starting to distance itself from security chiefs in recent days. On Monday, the White House’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, said the administration “acknowledged the tensions” caused by Snowden’s disclosures.

“The president clearly feels strongly about making sure we are not just collecting information because we can, but because we should,” Carney said. “We recognize there needs to be additional constraints on how we gather and use intelligence.”

Obama told ABC news on Monday evening that he would not discuss classified information but accepted that security operations were being reassessed to ensure proper oversight of the NSA‘s technical abilities.

 

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It  seems that  Diane Feinstein has no concerns with the ever growing invasion of privacy  and  breach of civil liberties  at the hands of the  NSA.  In fact the excuses used are  the typical terrorist  boogieman answers and excuses  used since George Bush called for the enactment of t he  Patriot Act.    In fact there  was a press conference that  took  place  in  June which  stated  similar  answers and  statistics according to Feinstein and  Chambliss.  Below I  have included an excerpt of that  interview for your  perusal.

Ms Feistein needs  to be reminded of  the words of  Benjamin Franklin when  he   wrote :

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

and

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.

Thomas Jefferson’s wise words must also be considered :

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

Sound  familiar ?

She  and her  political  cohorts  would do well to  take those words  to  heart lest they  be  reminded by a People sick and tired of being put  upon  by an oppressive  and out of control government!!!

 

~Desert Rose~

 

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Gawker

 

Dianne Feinstein Can’t Come Up With One Good Defense of the NSA

 

[Photo: AP]

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Today, she takes a crack at defending the NSA’s domestic phone record spying program. She can’t come up with one decent justification.

Which is worrisome, considering the fact that almost no one outside of the NSA is in a better position to know the alleged benefits of the massive, unaccountable domestic spying program than Dianne Feinstein. It makes sense that even moderate US citizens might be skeptical of a top secret government agency’s plan to put the metadata from every phone call into America “into a lockbox that we can search when the nation needs it,” as the NSA director put it. Dianne Feinstein is a Democrat, and a high ranking member of the Intelligence committee. People concerned about civil liberties will naturally turn to her for a defense of this gruesome-sounding plan. What does she have for us?

She has, in her Wall Street Journal op-ed today, nothing but a mishmash of vagaries and downright illogical factoids. Let’s take them one at a time.

1) The NSA program could have stopped 9/11. It’s right there in the story’s subhed: “If today’s call-records program had been in place in before 9/11, the terrorist attacks likely would have been prevented.” Odd, since Feinstein includes this paragraph right up front:

In the summer of 2001, the CIA’s then-director, George Tenet, painted a dire picture for members of the Senate Intelligence Committee when he testified about the terrorist threat posed by al Qaeda. As Mr. Tenet later told the 9/11 Commission, “the system was blinking red” and by late July of that year, it could not “get any worse.”

Huh. So… the CIA did issue dire warnings prior to 9/11, although the NSA’s program was not in place at that time. This directly contradicts Feinstein’s point about the necessity of the NSA’s phone spying. Paging the editing department.

Read More Here

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Transcript: Dianne Feinstein, Saxby Chambliss explain, defend NSA phone records program

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Yuri Gripas/REUTERS)

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), who lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, spoke with reporters Thursday morning at a hastily arranged news conference to explain and defend the National Security Agency’s collection of Verizon telephone records.

An unofficial transcript of the exchange appears below:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: I just had an opportunity to review the Guardian article and I’d like to make the following points.

As far as I know, this is the exact three month renewal of what has been the case for the past seven years. This renewal is carried out by the FISA Court under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore, it is lawful.

It has been briefed to Congress and the letters that we have distributed — and you’ll note on the dates, this is prior to the Patriot Act amendments coming before the body, each of those. As you know, this is just metadata. There is no content involved. In other words, no content of a communication. That can only be, these records, I’m not talking about content, the records can only be accessed under heightened standards. The information goes into a database, the metadata, but cannot be accessed without what’s called, and I quote, “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the records are relevant and related to terrorist activity.

As you know, and I’ve pointed out many times, there have been approximately 100 plots and also arrests made since 2009 by the FBI. I do not know to what extent metadata was used or if it was used, but I do know this: That terrorists will come after us if they can and the only thing we have to deter this is good intelligence. To understand that a plot is being hatched and to get there before they get to us.

As you read those letters, you will see that they were sent at specific dates that were prior to each renewal of the particular business records section asking that members come and review in a classified session the data. That completes my statement.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss: Let me just emphasize, this is nothing particularly new. This has been going on for seven years under the auspices of the FISA authority and every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this.

To my knowledge, we have not had any citizen who has registered a complaint relative to the gathering of this information. It is simply what we call metadata that is never utilized by any governmental agency unless they go back to the FISA court and show that there’s real cause as to why something within the metadata should be looked at.

That’s been very clear all along through the years of this program. It is proved meritorious, because we have gathered significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years.

Question: Do you know how many of your Senate colleagues have actually looked at the classified information?

Feinstein: I do not. Certainly the Intelligence Committee should have. We’ve had long discussions. This has been argued on the floor. Mentioned in the article are two senators who’ve had concerns about it. Obviously when the second amendment came up there was considerable argument on the floor about this. The vote was taken and the measure passed and was continued. That’s the business records section.

Question: To be clear: This isn’t just Verizon, this is records generally with large phone records, right?

Feinstein: I can’t specifically answer that, maybe David [Graniss, staff director of Senate Intelligence Committee]. Graniss, do you know?

David Graniss: We can’t answer that question.

Feinstein: We cannot answer that. Fortunately, I don’t know.

Question: One thing that has changed a lot since these letters is there’s a climate that you feel more concerned about civil liberties, the IRS, drone strikes. Is it time to revisit some of the rules and measures you’ve put in place?

Feinstein: Let me put it from my point of view, and then the vice chairman will speak. I read intelligence carefully, and I know that people are trying to get to us. This is the reason why we keep TSA doing what it’s doing. This is the reason why the FBI now has 10,000 people doing intelligence on counterterrorism. This is the reason for the National Counterterrorism Center that’s been set up in the time we’ve been active. It’s to ferret this out before it happens. It’s called protecting America.

 

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Honor  amongst   Thieves!!

Perhaps  we  should   hold   Congress accountable  for  treason having  violated  the  Constitution that  they  swore to  protect?  

Or  perhaps for putting  self interest  and  politics,  not to  mention  profits  before  the  will of the  people  who  they  have  sworn to  represent? 

How is  it  that everything  that has  to  do  with  covering  up  the crimes of the  government  are  a matter  of   National  Security? 

When exactly will it  be in  the  interest of   the  People’s  security? 

It would be  nice  to  see the  people protected  with the  same   fervor  as  the   cover up of their  crimes?

~Desert Rose~

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BreakingNewsTodayy BreakingNewsTodayy

Published on Jun 11, 2013

Members of Congress seem to be playing a game of one-upsmanship in their increasingly hawkish reactions to the NSA leaks. Democrat Dianne Feinstein said whistleblower Edward Snowden committed an act of treason, and now Republican Peter King has decided that any journalists who reported the information leaked by Snowden should face criminal prosecution.

Anderson Cooper asked King if he thinks journalists revealing this information should be targeted. “Do you believe they should be punished as well? King said that they unequivocally should, and though he didn’t mention any specific names, he was mainly referring to Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who printed exclusive after exclusive with more information on government surveillance programs.

Here is King’s comment in its entirety: “Actually, if they–if they knew that this was classified information–I think action should be taken, especially on something of this magnitude. I know that the whole issue of leaks has been gone into over the last month. I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation, both moral but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security. As a practical matter, I–I guess it happened in the past several years, a number of reporters who have been prosecuted under us, so the answer is yes to your question.”

On Monday, King declared Snowden to be not just a threat to national security, but “dangerous to the country” and a “defector.”

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CNN’s John King Blasts GOP Rep. Peter King For Saying Reporters Should Be Charged [6-12-2013]

Rashad Evans

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Time to Expose Them: Whistleblowers Can Take Down the System

susanne_posel_news_ JBstuff 022Susanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
June 13, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency (NSA) is expected to appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee (SAC) to answer for PRISM.

Senator Ron Wyden wants hearings to be scheduled for Alexander and others to answer Congressional questions to explain once and for all he details about the government’s surveillance program.

House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Dianne Feinstein are adamant that Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower, is a traitor and should be dealt with accordingly.

Closed meetings between federal intelligence heads and Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) officials have taken place to discuss how to deal with the NSA leak.

With PRISM becoming a household name, those surveillance organizations working for the Obama administration are concerned about those programs that have yet to be exposed.

Chuck Hagel, Defense Secretary, has demanded that the Department of Defense (DoD) make sure that private sector contractors are clear that whistleblowing will not be tolerated.

The need for relationships of trust between those corporations and the federal government is necessary for the surveillance programs to continue.

In essence, it is the whistleblower that could take down the system.

Mainstream media (MSM) would have the populace believe that government surveillance is perfectly fine – as long as the citizens are told that they are being watched.

Under the PRISM program data collecting on citizens includes knowing:

• Websites visited
• IP addresses
• Type of device used
• Search terms used
• Passwords and logins

Alan F Westin, professor of public law and government at Columbia University, explained in an op-ed piece that: “American society is in the midst of a great debate over privacy, precipitated by the development and use of new surveillance devices and processes by both public and private authorities.”

Westin points out that the concern of the masses is that “these new means of augmented surveillance over individuals and groups now spans the ideological spectrum from extreme left to hard right. Worried protests against ‘Big Brother’ tendencies have become a staple item in the press, government proceedings, law reviews, and social science journals.”

The Signals Intelligence Service (SIS), begun after World War II and the pre-cursor for the NSA, dealt with telegraph corporations, much as the NSA collaborates with internet service providers (ISPs).

Under Project Shamrock , agents would be given telegraph intelligence under the cover of night through literal back-door deals.

For 30 years, Project Shamrock provided intelligence and was only exposed by Senator Frank Church during a Congressional investigation.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was passed to prevent another Project Shamrock from being implemented in secret by intelligence agencies within the federal government.

Since the George W. Bush Administration FISA has been twisted and broken with the advent of warrantless wiretapping. The Obama administration has taken FISA a step further and sought to manipulate it for their purposes to make illegal activity legal.

In a propaganda piece meant to discredit Snowden, USA Today and Verizon Wireless released a short broadcast that exposes the whistleblower.

• Snowden being in Hong Kong is fortuitous because of it’s connections to major cities across the globe through airports.
• Lindsey Mills, Snowden’s girlfriend is missing.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is preparing a criminal case against Snowden, at the behest of the Obama administration. The FBI has been sent to interview Snowden’s friends and family.

Snowden has released documents that show the National Security Agency (NSA) has been involved in hacking attacks on officials in China, the Hong Kong University and students.

Snowden says that the NSA is conducting more than 61,000 cyber attacks globally.

He said: “We hack network backbones — like huge internet routers, basically — that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one. Last week the American government happily operated in the shadows with no respect for the consent of the governed, but no longer.”

Snowden explained: “People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality… My intention is to ask the courts and people of Hong Kong to decide my fate.”

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, former chief security officer for Hong Kong said that it was in Snowden’s “best interest to leave Hong Kong.”

House Representative Peter King adamantly declared that Snowden is “either a defector or traitor. “I think what he’s done has done incredible damage to our country. It’s going to put American lives at risk.”

King said that journalists should be punished for doing their job of exposing corruption “if they willingly knew that this was classified information, I think actions should be taken, especially something of this magnitude. I think something on this magnitude there is an obligation both moral but also legal I believe against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.”

King claims that whistleblowers are aiding al-Qaeda by exposing the details on how the US government conducts surveillance operations.

He said: “By giving [al-Qaeda] such detail about what we are doing that enables them to adjust their tactics.”

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Information chiefs worldwide sound alarm while US senator Dianne Feinstein orders NSA to review monitoring program

Barack Obama nsa

Officials in European capitals denounced the practice of secretly gathering digital information on Europeans as unacceptable. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Barack Obama was facing a mounting domestic and international backlash against US surveillance operations on Monday as his administration struggled to contain one of the most explosive national security leaks in US history.

Political opinion in the US was split with some members of Congress calling for the immediate extradition from Hong Kong of the whistleblower, Edward Snowden. But other senior politicians in both main parties questioned whether US surveillance practices had gone too far.

Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the national intelligence committee, has ordered the NSA to review how it limits the exposure of Americans to government surveillance. But she made clear her disapproval of Snowden. “What he did was an act of treason,” she said.

Officials in European capitals demanded immediate answers from their US counterparts and denounced the practice of secretly gathering digital information on Europeans as unacceptable, illegal and a serious violation of basic rights. The NSA, meanwhile, asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation and said that it was assessing the damage caused by the disclosures.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who revealed secrets of the Vietnam war through the Pentagon Papers in 1971, described Snowden’s leak as even more important and perhaps the most significant leak in American history.

Snowden disclosed his identity in an explosive interview with the Guardian, published on Sunday, which revealed he was a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden worked at the National Security Agency for the past four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

In his interview, Snowden revealed himself as the source for a series of articles in the Guardian last week, which included disclosures of a wide-ranging secret court order that demanded Verizon pass to the NSA the details of phone calls related to millions of customers, and a huge NSA intelligence system called Prism, which collects data on intelligence targets from the systems of some of the biggest tech companies.

Snowden said he had become disillusioned with the overarching nature of government surveillance in the US. “The government has granted itself power it is not entitled to. There is no public oversight. The result is people like myself have the latitude to go further than they are allowed to,” he said.

“My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

As media interest intensified on Monday, Snowden checked out of the Hong Kong hotel where he had been staying, and moved to an undisclosed location.

Reacting to Snowden’s revelations, Paul Ryan, the former Republican vice-presidential nominee, raised questions about whether privacy was being unduly threatened. “I’m sure somebody can come up with a great computer program that says: ‘We can do X, Y, and Z,’ but that doesn’t mean that it’s right,” he told a radio station in Wisconsin. “I want to learn a lot more about it on behalf of the people I represent,” he added.

Pressure was growing on the White House to explain whether there was effective congressional oversight of the programmes revealed by Snowden. The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said in an NBC interview that he had responded in the “least untruthful manner” possible when he denied in congressional hearings last year that the NSA collected data on millions of Americans.

Clapper also confirmed that Feinstein had asked for a review to “refine these NSA processes and limit the exposure to Americans’ private communications” and report back “in about a month”.

In Europe, the German chancellor Angela Merkel indicated she would press Obama on the revelations at a Berlin summit next week, while deputy European Commission chief Viviane Reding said she would press US officials in Dublin on Friday, adding that “a clear legal framework for the protection of personal data is not a luxury or constraint but a fundamental right”.

Peter Schaar, Germany’s federal data protection commissioner told the Guardian that it was unacceptable that US authorities have access to the data of European citizens “and the level of protection is lower than what is guaranteed for US citizens.” His Italian counterpart, Antonello Soro, said that the data dragnet “would not be legal in Italy” and would be “contrary to the principles of our legislation and would represent a very serious violation”.

Read Full Article Here

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MSNBC

Most in Congress direct anger at leaks, not NSA surveillance

, @zackroth

1:44 PM on 06/10/2013

Image: U.S. House Majority Leader Cantor takes part in a panel discussion titled "The Awesome Responsibility of Leadership" at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California
(U.S. Congressman and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (REUTERS/Gus Ruelas))

As Congress begins probing the release of documents that revealed details of a government surveillance program Monday, most lawmakers are condemning the disclosures as a threat to national security. But some in both parties are instead portraying the program as an example of dangerous government overreach.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday morning that a “very serious” congressional probe of the leak would start today, when Obama administration officials will brief lawmakers on how the information became public. Cantor, a Virginia Republican, added that a broader briefing on the National Security Agency (NSA) program would occur Tuesday.

The U.S. Justice Department confirmed Sunday it had opened a criminal probe into the disclosures. Edward Snowden, a contractor working with the NSA, revealed himself as the source of the leaks, The Guardian reported Sunday.

Related: Watch Guardian’s Greenwald defends leaks as vital to democracy

Republicans have been relatively united in denouncing the leak.

“If Edward Snowden did in fact leak the NSA data as he claims, the United States government must prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law and begin extradition proceedings at the earliest date,” Rep. Peter King, who chairs the subcommittee on Counterterrorism & Intelligence, said in a statement.

 

Read Full Article Here

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The Huffington Post Canada

NSA Spying On Canadians, CSEC Capable Of Similar Surveillance: Experts

The Huffington Post Canada  |  By Posted: 06/08/2013 2:50 pm EDT

Nsa Spying Canada

Canadians’ private digital information is inevitably being caught up in the U.S.’s massive surveillance dragnet, and Canada’s government has both the capability and the legal loopholes needed to spy on its own citizens as well, experts say.

The Obama administration was rocked this week by revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency collects millions of phone records from Verizon daily, and another report that a secret program called PRISM monitors users’ communications on the networks of numerous tech giants, including Apple, Facebook and Google.

The NSA has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants … which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats,” the Guardian reported.

That has raised concerns among privacy rights advocates that Canadians’ personal information may be getting caught up in the U.S.’s programs. Many experts say there is no “if” here; because of the integrated, international nature of online communication, it’s inevitable Canadians’ communications are being collected as part of the U.S. programs.

“There is no border,” Ronald Deibert, head of the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, told the Toronto Star. “The way telecommunication traffic is routed in North America, the fact of the matter is about 90 per cent of Canadian traffic — no one really knows the exact number — is routed through the United States.”

That data passes through “filters and checkpoints” and is “shared with third parties, with law enforcement and of course intelligence agencies that operate in the shadows,” he said.

But Canada may be carrying out its own versions of mass, warrantless surveillance; at the very least, experts say, treaties Canada has signed and clauses in national security laws give Canada’s government the legal leeway to do so.

Unbeknownst to most Canadians, Canada has laws on the books enabling monitoring that are very similar to the controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

Michael Geist, a leading tech law expert, points out in a recent blog posting that section 21 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Act is “arguably similar” to a section of the Patriot Act.

Both do not require probable cause and both can be used to obtain any type of records or any other tangible thing. Moreover, the target of both warrants need not be the target of the national security investigation,” Geist wrote

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the court order for telephone records was part of a three-month renewal of an ongoing practice, the Associated Press reported.

“It’s called protecting America,” Feinstein said at a Capitol Hill news conference.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said in a statement:

“This type of secret bulk data collection is an outrageous breach of Americans’ privacy.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he was “glad” the NSA was collecting phone records.“I don’t mind Verizon turning over records to the government if the government is going to make sure that they try to match up a known terrorist phone with somebody in the United States, Graham said in an interview on “Fox and Friends.”

Read Full Article and  See  Additional Photos Here.

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GCHQ is to give MPs full details of its links to controversial US internet spying programme

  • NSA’s Prism program launched in 2007 to mine personal data from 9 firms
  • Includes Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, YouTube, Skype, AOL
  • GCHQ has secret deal with America’s NSA to share intelligence
  • Piles pressure on David Cameron as he attends top-secret Bilderberg meet
  • Anonymous leak US government documents, including various from Prism
  • Details of data collection were outlined in classified 41-slide PowerPoint presentation that was leaked by intelligence officer
  • GCHQ will provide a parliamentary committee full details of links with Prism
  • MPs from an intelligence watchdog will seek reassurances from Washington on a visit next week

By Jack Doyle and Steve Nolan

|

The Government’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ is to give a parliamentary committee full details of its links to a controversial US internet monitoring programme, it has been revealed.

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) will receive a report on claims that it received material through the secret Prism scheme ‘very shortly’, according to chairman Sir Malcolm Rifkind.

He said: ‘The ISC is aware of the allegations surrounding data obtained by GCHQ via the US Prism programme.

‘The ISC will be receiving a full report from GCHQ very shortly and will decide what further action needs to be taken as soon as it receives that information.’

MPs from the ISC will also seek reassurances from Washington that US spies are not snooping on the emails of British webs users on a trip to the US next week.

Sinister powers: Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, based in Cheltenham, Gloucs., is largely responsible for monitoring the phone calls and emails of terror suspects

Sinister powers: Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters, based in Cheltenham, Gloucs., is largely responsible for monitoring the phone calls and emails of terror suspects

The ISC is going on a week long tour of the US and will meet senior figures from US intelligence agencies.

The development comes after it was claimed yesterday that British spies had access to the Prism system.

Secret documents published yesterday suggest the US National Security Agency (NSA) has direct access to data held by internet giants including Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, Skype and Apple.

The documents – which appear to be slides from a 41-page training presentation for intelligence agents – suggest the agency can access email, photographs, social network information, chat records and other ‘stored data’ held by the companies, as part of its ‘Prism’ project.

They also suggest the British government’s listening centre, GCHQ, has had access to the system since at least June 2010.

The project generated nearly 200 intelligence reports in the 12 months to May 2012, a 137 per cent increase on the previous year.

It is unclear whether other agencies, such as MI5 and MI6, were also involved, meaning the true extent of the snooping could be higher.

A GCHQ spokesman said ‘we do not comment on intelligence matters’, but added: ‘Our work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework.’

Privacy campaigners warned that the revelations suggested the creation of a ‘Snooper’s Charter by the back door’.

They come after a proposed plan to pay internet companies to collate user data from UK computers was dropped only last month in the face of opposition from Tory backbenchers and Liberal Democrats.

Pressure: The disclosure will pile pressure on David Cameron to explain how much he knew about the intrusion

Pressure: The disclosure will pile pressure on David Cameron to explain how much he knew about the intrusion as he prepares to attend the secretive Bilderberg conference today, a closed-door meeting that conspiracy theorists already believe is where leaders plot world domination

I know what you're doing this summer: The Obama administration defended the order on Thursday, calling it 'a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats'

I know what you’re doing this summer: The Obama administration defended the order on Thursday, calling it ‘a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats’

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned of the serious security repercussions that the leak could have going forward

‘Reprehensible’: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper branded the program ‘reprehensible’ and said it risks Americans’ security

Last night Labour called on David Cameron to come clean to MPs on the extent of Britain’s role.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘It is important for the UK intelligence community to be able to gather information from abroad including from the United States, particularly in the vital counter-terror work they do.

‘However, there also have to be legal safeguards in place, including proper protection for British citizens’ privacy, proper oversight and checks and balances to make sure intelligence powers are not misused.

‘And the public need confidence that their privacy is being properly respected and protected.

‘That is why the Prime Minister, Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary, and all the intelligence agencies should provide full information to the Intelligence and Security Committee as swiftly as possible, and the ISC should have full support to pursue this and report.’

The Guardian said it obtained the slides from a whistleblowing intelligence officer worried about invasions of privacy.

According to the newspaper, the Prism programme appeared to allow GCHQ to circumvent the formal legal process required to obtain personal material, such as emails, photographs and videos, from internet companies based outside the UK.

Reports by the paper and The Washington Post suggested the FBI and the NSA can tap directly into the central servers of nine leading internet companies.

But a number of them, including Google, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook denied the government had ‘direct access’ to their servers.

Microsoft said it does not voluntarily participate in any government data collection and only complies ‘with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers’.

Yet one slide appears to be a timeline of when the companies began to participate in Prism, starting with Microsoft in September 2007 and ending with Apple in October 2012.

According to the reports, Prism was established under President Bush in 2007 and has grown ‘exponentially’ under President Obama.

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Facebook and Google insist they did not know of Prism surveillance program

Larry Page and Mark Zuckerberg sharply deny knowledge of Prism until Thursday even as Obama confirms program’s existence

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg called the press reports about the existence of Prism ‘outrageous’. Photograph: Robert Galbraith/Reuters

America’s tech giants continued to deny any knowledge of a giant government surveillance programme called Prism, even as president Barack Obama confirmed the scheme’s existence Friday.

With their credibility about privacy issues in sharp focus, all the technology companies said to be involved in the program issued remarkably similar statements.

All said they did not allow the government “direct access” to their systems, all said they had never heard of the Prism program, and all called for greater transparency.

In a blogpost titled ‘What the…?’ Google co-founder Larry Page and chief legal officer David Drummond said the “level of secrecy” around US surveillance procedures was undermining “freedoms we all cherish.”

“First, we have not joined any program that would give the US government – or any other government – direct access to our servers. Indeed, the US government does not have direct access or a ‘back door’ to the information stored in our data centers. We had not heard of a program called Prism until yesterday,” they wrote.

“Second, we provide user data to governments only in accordance with the law. Our legal team reviews each and every request, and frequently pushes back when requests are overly broad or don’t follow the correct process.”

The Google executives said they were also “very surprised” to learn of the government order made to obtain data from Verizon, first disclosed by the Guardian. “Any suggestion that Google is disclosing information about our users’ internet activity on such a scale is completely false,” they wrote.

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, described the press reports about Prism as “outrageous”. He insisted that the Facebook was not part of any program to give the US government direct access to its servers.

He said: “Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. And if we did, we would fight it aggressively. We hadn’t even heard of Prism before yesterday.”

Read Full Article Here

A  refresher for those who did  not  see the

Dianne Feinstein gets schooled on her own assault weapons Bill S150 at Judiciary Committee SH-216 Video

And  yet  the  Administration  continues  to  claim that   this  gun  control law is  solely  for the  protection of  our  children.  Yet  not once  have  they taken to  heart  the research and data presented  by members  of the  Judiciary   committee.  Simply  another  example  of  never  letting a  good  crisis  go to  waste……

~Desert Rose~
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White House Freaks Out Over Online Petition To Charge Sen. Feinstein With Treason Reaching 50,000 Votes

Saturday, June 1, 2013 18:16

(Before It’s News)

One of the somewhat silly things that team Obama did when it came to office was to set up a website where Americans could float petitions filled with ideas and issues that they want Obama to address. Now, in theory this idea sounds great. But in practice, Obama just ignores all these things. But they do offer an interesting story from time to time.

A recent petition offers one of those stories. It is the petition to charge California Senator Dianne Feinstein with treason for her constant attacks on the U.S. Constitution, the Second Amendment in particular.

The strength of the petition has caused Obama to come to Feinstein’s defense. Ah, schadenfreude.

The anti-DiFi petition was created in December of last year and only five months later it had gained nearly 50,000 signatures. The fifty thousand mark is where Obama’s perpetual political campaign/White House staff have said that they will publicly address an issue directly.

The Petition

Here is the text of the petition:

Try Senator Dianne Feinstein in a Federal Court For Treason To The Constitution
The Constitution was written to restrain the government. No amendment is more important for this purpose than the 2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment was written so the power could be kept with the citizenry in the face of a tyrannical government. It was well understood the Constitution acknowledged certain rights that could not be limited by government.

Senator Dianne Feinstein has made it clear she does not believe in the Constitution or the inalienable rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. She is actively working to destroy the 2nd amendment with her 2013 assault weapons ban. For this reason we the people of the united States petition for her to be tried in Federal Court for treason to the Constitution.

By the end of May the petition had 41,162 signatures. If you want to sign, see the petition HERE.
Read Full Article and  Watch  Video  here

Permission = Freedom?

Eric Blair

Activist Post

“The secret in propaganda is that when you demonize, you dehumanize,” says James Forsher, a film historian. “When you dehumanize, it allows you to kill your enemy and no longer feel guilty about it.”

Apparently illegal immigrants have been sufficiently dehumanized to force them into biometric tracking. There’s no way the government would use biometrics to track the superior law-abiding natives, right?  More on this later.

Illegal immigration is a hot-button issue that genuinely affects many communities and the motivation to do something about it is understandable.  However, anti-immigration supporters may be playing right into Big Brother’s hands by being tricked into supporting the hi-tech enslavement of themselves.

Some have referred to the sweeping immigration reform bill in Congress as a “Trojan Horse for Biometrics.”  These systems are a clear indication that illegal immigration is being used to put the final touches on the full-spectrum surveillance grid in America.

And, shockingly, politicians are making the immigration reform bill more stringent instead of less, apparently fueled by anti-immigration zealots.

According to NBC News, the senate hopes to finalize a bill for a vote by the end of the week. The Senate Judiciary Committee has been debating many biometric identification mandates and have now approved a more stringent biometric “test system” for U.S. airports.
Carrie Dann of NBC News writes:

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a Republican considered to be a swing vote on the 18 member committee. That amendment, a less stringent version of a biometric proposal that failed last week, would require the Department of Homeland Security to establish a fingerprinting system at the 10 U.S. airports with the highest international traffic within two years. After six years, that system would have to be in place at the nation’s 30 biggest airports.

One of the key authors of the legislation, Marco Rubio (R-FL), said “The amendment adopted today is a good start and I will continue to fight to make the tracking of entries and exits include biometrics.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called it “a start” as well.

 

Read Full Article Here