“Sen. Ron Wyden: NSA ‘repeatedly deceived the American people'”

Greenwald: 811 words. Here: 199.

Congressional oversight of the NSA is a farce, as evidenced by yesterday’s hearing to which NSA loyalist (and oversight committee chair) Diane Feinstein invited several NSA apologists but no critics.

With the exceptions of Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, the committee members do not take oversight seriously. Even Wyden and Udall only hinted at the surveillance abuses, squandering their absolute immunity as Senators to reveal classified information on the Senate floor. Instead, that duty fell to Edward Snowden.

In the above six minute clip from the hearing, Wyden says, “the leadership of NSA built an intelligence collection system that repeatedly deceived the American people.”

Greenwald says “the single most revealing aspect of this entire NSA scandal” is:

that James Clapper lied to the faces of the Senate Intelligence Committee about core NSA matters, and not only was he not prosecuted for that felony, but he did not even lose his job, and continues to be treated with great reverence by the very Committee which he deliberately deceived.


NSA chief Keith Alexander invokes the Nairobi massacre in the newest episode of fear-mongering for surveillance.

Seymour Hirsch on government lies and the pathetic American media.

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“UK detention of Reprieve activist consistent with NSA’s view of drone opponents as ‘threats’ and ‘adversaries'”

Greenwald: 1531 words. Here: 290.

Baraa Shiban of the London-based legal charity Reprieve was detained and questioned at a British airport yesterday. His reluctance to discuss his human rights work and anti-drone political views earned him the threat of detainment for the maximum nine hours allowed under the British anti-terror statute, which is how long Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was held last month. Like Miranda, Shiban was far from a threat. “He visited the UK without incident earlier this summer and testified in May to a US congressional hearing on the impact of the covert drone programme in Yemen.”

America treating drone opponents as security threats not only has precedent, it is also official NSA policy, according to documents leaked by Snowden. “Drone strike” is described as a “loaded term” of “propaganda.” Examples of “adversary propaganda themes” included “that the threat of terrorism is small when compared to other threats, that drone strikes intensify rather than curb the risk of terrorism by fueling anti-American animus, and that drones kill too many civilians.” Also deemed “propaganda” is the criticism, made by the ACLU, CCR and others, that “lethal action against [Americans and European extremists] deprives them of due process.”

This mindset is consistent with the 2011 smearing, by anonymous US Officials, of investigative journalists reporting on civilian deaths by drone strikes

Outside the US, strong opposition to drone strikes is the norm.


Libyan-American rapper Khaled Ahmed, formerly lauded for his criticism of Ghadaffi, now is regularly harassed by US authorities when he travels.

Listen to Sarah Abdurrahman, an American Muslim and producer of the NPR program “On the Media,” describe her six hour detainment along with her all-American family and friends, upon crossing Canadian border into the US (20 minutes).

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“Various items: NSA stories around the world”

Greenwald’s original: 1394 words. Here: 176.

The NSA stories and an upcoming book will make non-NSA-postings difficult for a couple weeks.

The impact of the NSA stories outside the US has been overlooked:

(1) Using Snowden leaks, der Spiegel reports that GCHQ was behind the hacking of a Belgian telecom. The NSA had been suspected previously. The aggressive tactics of these two agencies is notable in light of their counties’ strong denunciations of such tactics.

(2) Greenwald for The Hindu: India is fifth most targeted by NSA.

(3) GCHQ or NSA seem to impersonate Google servers.

(4) NYTimes editorial calls for limits on NSA.

(5) “Does anyone … [think] things were better pre-Snowden when the DOJ could successfully block legal challenges to the US government’s spying activities by invoking secrecy and standing claims?”

(6) Haaretz interview with Greenwald.

(7) Guardian Reader’s Editor on the NSA reporting.

(8) “Stop Watching Uscoalition will hold an anti-surveillance rally in Washington DC on October 26.

Update: AP reports that the Obama-appointed “independent” NSA review panel is composed of Obama loyalists.

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“The war on whistleblowers and journalism”

Greenwald original: 191. Here: 50.

A 98 minute video of a discussion on whistleblowers and journalism with Greenwald, Julian Assange, Alexa O’Brien, David Coombs, and Robert Manne.

John Cusack’s Guardian Op-Ed.

Mark Weisbrot on the Brazilian president’s cancellation of her appearance at a White House State Dinner. McClatchy with background.

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“Inside the mind of NSA chief Gen Keith Alexander”


Greenwald’s original: 764 words. Here: 161.

A disturbing Foreign Policy article says that colleagues of NSA chief General Keith “Collect it All” Alexander see him as a “‘cowboy’ willing to play fast and loose with legal limits in order to construct a system of ubiquitous surveillance.”

Perhaps more disturbing is the labyrinthine, 10,740 square foot headquarters that Alexander used to impress his Congressional overseers. It includes a war room that is a recreation of the bridge from the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

With his “warped imperial hubris” on full display, the irrationality of granting “vast surveillance power with little accountability or transparency” has never been so evident.

Related Opinions

Harvard Law Professor argues NSA must be entirely restructured without insider input.

That Snowden’s leaks “needed to happen” implies that their classification should be reconsidered.

Comedian Russell Brand on how elite institutions maintain their control of public discourse.

Former NSA and CIA chief Michael Hayden’s megalomaniacal opinion of the internet.

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“NSA shares raw intelligence including Americans’ data with Israel”


Greenwald’s original: 1478 words. Here: 204.

Using documents provided by Edward Snowden, Greenwald reveals, along with Laura Poitras and Ewan MacAskill, that the NSA shares its Signals Intelligence (Sigint) with Isreal, with a few stipulations. For data pertaining to American citizens, the NSA requests that Israel keep the files for only a year, and not retain any information revealing the identity of the American citizen. If there is evidence the American is “an official of the US government,” Isreal is to “destroy upon recognition.” However:

“This agreement is not intended to create any legally enforceable rights and shall not be construed to be either an international agreement or a legally binding instrument according to international law,” the document says.

The NSA declined to comment on whether the FISA court signed off on this program, whether Americas partners the “Five Eyes” of surveillance (Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Britain had similar agreements with Isreal, or how many times US data had been found int the intelligence provided to Israel. However, NSA insists they comply with all legal restrictions.


In comments on the OhTarzie blog, Greenwald testily defends his journalism against those who think he should release all or nearly all documents to the public ASAP. “recommend more alacrity in releasing the info to foreign news markets and to technical people.” (Correction from comments.)

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“NSA encryption story, Latin American fallout and US/UK attacks on press freedoms”

Greenwald’s original: 574 words. Here: 103 words.

Greenwald will break a story Sunday night in Brazil belying the NSA’s claim that, in contrast to the Chinese, the NSA “does ***not*** engage in any economic espionage.”

Commentary on recent NSA encryption story:

LATimes calls it the “most frightening” revelation yet.

NYTimes on Obama’s weak attempts at placating Mexico and Brazil.

A Bloomberg editorial arguing that NSA has “blown it.”

Guardian on how to (laboriously) circumvent NSA’s efforts to read your emails.

Greenwald on Democracy Now talking about the latest NSA revelations (30 mins).

Al Jazeera with an interactive timeline of all the Snowden revelations.

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