Yesterday, two important stories ‘leaked’ via the news cycle — one was that Bradley Manning’s awful leaks “…that no instances were ever found of any individual killed by enemy forces as a result of having been named in the releases.” And two, another Ed Snowden-originated disclosure revealed NSA’s XKeyscore as the “widest reaching” program to suck up “nearly everything a typical user does on the internet.”
(Illustration found here).
All this as Congress convened another hearing on all the NSA bullshit. One real impact coming from Snowden is that any IT guy can do all the nefarious data collecting he/she wants without a warrant, or even a justification.
In the Manning situation, all those documents, videos and such didn’t bring physical harm to our side.
From the UK’s Guardian:
Brigadier general Robert Carr, a senior counter-intelligence officer who headed the Information Review Task Force that investigated the impact of WikiLeaks disclosures on behalf of the Defense Department, told a court at Fort Meade, Maryland, that they had uncovered no specific examples of anyone who had lost his or her life in reprisals that followed the publication of the disclosures on the internet.
“I don’t have a specific example,” he said.
It has been one of the main criticisms of the WikiLeaks publications that they put lives at risk, particularly in Iran and Afghanistan.
The admission by the Pentagon’s chief investigator into the fallout from WikiLeaks that no such casualties were identified marks a significant undermining of such arguments.
One version of the US government’s mainlining bullshit. Manning was convicted Monday of 20 counts, including espionage, but not the worse charge of “aiding the enemy.”
That might be the NSA’s job.
And in that new disclosure, via Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian:
The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a “selector” in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.
Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.
One document notes that this is because “strong selection [search by email address] itself gives us only a very limited capability” because “a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous.”
On the issue of whether or not any low-rank, Jack/Joe at the NSA has the ability to suck up all kinds of personal shit came this (from the same story):
The files shed light on one of Snowden’s most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.
“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden, could “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email”.
US officials vehemently denied this specific claim.
Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden’s assertion: “He’s lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do.”
But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search.
The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.
And Congress is getting a little more than pissed as the NSA head assholes have repeatedly lied or talked around all kinds of bullshit pertaining to spying on Americans. The White House declassified some NSA documents yesterday, just before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
The move was dumb-ass at best, shitty at worse and left a lot to be desired: â€œDid you just think of [declassifying the documents] yesterday?â€ said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.). â€œYou knew for weeks this hearing was coming and you released the documents just a few minute before the hearing began â€¦ that doesnâ€™t engender trust.â€
Nooo… Via Techcrunch: What it does demonstrate is that our prior idea of digital privacy not existing was correct and that a select cadre in the government is consistently falsely presenting the capabilities of this nationâ€™s digital surveillance. And thatâ€™s not very damn good.
According to the NSA (via Techcrunch again) there’s controls in place, but…
However, outspoken critic and Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden implied that the executive branch has been dishonest in its reporting.
After the White House declassified the order requiring Verizon to hand over telephone meta-data, Wyden issued this statement:
â€œThe newly declassified briefing documents released today show that the executive branch repeatedly made inaccurate statements to Congress about the value and effectiveness of the bulk email records collection program that was carried out under the USA PATRIOT Act until 2011.
These statements had the effect of misleading members of Congress about the usefulness of this program.â€
Whistle blowing in the wind — off to work undetected!