There is no record of US mass surveillance ever preventing a large terror attack


CIA Director John Brennan wants you to think the Paris attacks were Snowden's fault -- the "hand wringing" over mass surveillance has ended his agency's ability to "thwart" terrorists attacks "before they're carried out." There's only one problem with that: there's no evidence that the US's mass surveillance programs have ever prevented a major terrorist attack. Read the rest

Big Data refusal: the nuclear disarmament movement of the 21st century


James Bridle's new essay (adapted from a speech at the Through Post-Atomic Eyes event in Toronto last month) draws a connection between the terror of life in the nuclear shadow and the days we live in now, when we know that huge privacy disasters are looming, but are seemingly powerless to stop the proliferation of surveillance. Read the rest

Wikileaks hosting files from CIA director John Brennan's AOL account


Wikileaks has posted a collection of documents ganked from CIA director John Brennan's email account, which was reportedly hacked by a "teen stoner" earlier this week. Read the rest

That "CIA veteran" who was always on Fox News? Arrested for lying about being in the CIA


Despite his grandiose claims to having served as "an outside paramilitary special operations officer" for the CIA from 1973 to 2000, Wayne Simmons was really a shlub who'd once done a brief military intelligence stint. Read the rest

Snowden for drones: The Intercept's expose on US drone attacks, revealed by a new leaker

The Drone Papers is The Intercept's collection of eight blockbuster articles analyzing a leaked 2013 Pentagon study that evaluated the US drone assassination campaigns in Yemen and Somalia. The documents come from a US intelligence source who said, "This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong."

Anti-surveillance activists send a drone to pamphlet-bomb an NSA complex in Germany


Intelexit is an activist group whose mission is to get spies to quit their jobs; they've recently installed billboards around spy complexes in the US and UK. Read the rest

Snowden broke a nondisclosure EULA in order to uphold his Constitutional oath


The crooks that Edward Snowden outed (and their complicit overseers in government) like to talk about how Snowden violated an oath when he gave journalists documents that established that security services in at least five countries were breaking their own laws in order to pursue unimaginably aggressive mass surveillance. Read the rest

After OPM hack, CIA pulls agents from Beijing for their safety


22 million Americans' most compromising data (from fingerprints to criminal records to identities of family and lovers) was breached in the Office of Personnel Management hack, presumably by hackers working for the Chinese government. Read the rest

The FBI has no trouble spying on encrypted communications


Every time the Bureau wants to spy on someone whose communications are encrypted, they just hack them. Read the rest

Carly Fiorina boasts: I sold the NSA its mass-surveillance servers


When National Security Agency director Michael Hayden told then-CEO-of-HP/now-Republican-presidential-hopeful Carly Fiorina he needed servers to put the entire USA under unconstitutional surveillance, she leapt into action to supply him with the materiel he needed. Read the rest

KARMA POLICE: GCHQ's plan to track every Web user in the world


The KARMA POLICE program is detailed in newly released Snowden docs published on The Intercept; it began as a project to identify every listener to every Internet radio station (to find people listening to jihadi radio) and grew into an ambitious plan to identify every Web user and catalog their activities from porn habits to Skype contacts. Read the rest

Walt Disney's plan for the FBI of tomorrow


Michael from Muckrock: "Union-busting Walt Disney became cozy with J. Edgar Hoover, the iconic animator's FBI files show, helping shut down dissident workers while infusing Disney programming with fond portrayals of federal enforcement. Disney even wanted to dedicate a special section of Tomorrowland to highlighting the Bureau of tomorrow -- which ended up being a step too far for America's head investigative agency." Read the rest

David Cameron now all alone in demanding crypto backdoors, doubles down on antibiotic resistant superterrorists


The US government has given up on demanding backdoors in cryptography for now (advocates have announced that they'll wait until a terrorist attack and then use that as the excuse for fresh demands), leaving the UK government as the last man standing in the race to compromise the security of the technologies with the power of life and death over us. Read the rest

FBI agent faces discipline for alleged polygraph countermeasures


The unnamed career FBI agent could lose their job for allegedly gaming the widely discredited, unscientific polygraph tests that are the US government's equivalent to witch-ducking stools. Read the rest

America's spooks abandon crypto-backdoors, plan shock-doctrine revival


They have decided that there's no political will to ban crypto today, but have vowed to bring it back after some unspecific future terrorist atrocity. Read the rest

For the first time ever, a judge has invalidated a secret Patriot Act warrant


Calyx is a privacy-oriented ISP. In 2004, the FBI brought its owner, Nicholas Merrill, a National Security Letter -- one of the USA Patriot Act's secret search warrants, which comes with a gag order prohibiting the recipient from ever disclosing its existence.

Merrill has fought the gag order for 11 years, refusing to give up despite government attempts to get the case booted and to run up the court costs beyond Merrill's ability to pay.

He had a partial victory in 2010, when he and the ACLU won a court victory that allowed him to disclose some elements of the NSL, but left important details -- including the categories of information the FBI believes it can request under an NSL -- still secret. This latest victory overturns that restriction.

The judge in this case, Judge Victor Marrero, also presided over a 2007 case that overturned part of the Patriot Act, requiring investigators to go through the courts in order to get NSLs. In his Calyx decision, he condemned the government's secrecy as "extreme and overly broad."

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero’s decision invalidated the gag order in full, finding no “good reason” to prevent Merrill from speaking about any aspect of the NSL, particularly an attachment to the NSL that lists the specific types of “electronic communication transactional records” (“ECTR”) that the FBI believed it was authorized to demand. The FBI has long refused to clarify what kinds of information it sweeps up under the rubric of ECTR, a phrase that appears in the NSL statute but is not publicly defined anywhere.

Read the rest

NSA whistleblower James Bamford profiles Edward Snowden

Bamford was the first-ever NSA whistleblower, whose bravery led to the Church Commission and the unprecedented curbs on the agency's spying powers -- his long, sympathetic Wired profile of Snowden is full of insight and wisdom. Read the rest

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