MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘James Clapper’

Without encryption, we will lose all privacy. This is our new battleground

Posted by M. C. on October 16, 2019

The US, UK and Australia are taking on Facebook in a bid to undermine the only method that protects our personal information

Edward Snowden is a US surveillance whistleblower

In every country of the world, the security of computers keeps the lights on, the shelves stocked, the dams closed, and transportation running. For more than half a decade, the vulnerability of our computers and computer networks has been ranked the number one risk in the US Intelligence Community’s Worldwide Threat Assessment – that’s higher than terrorism, higher than war. Your bank balance, the local hospital’s equipment, and the 2020 US presidential election, among many, many other things, all depend on computer safety.

And yet, in the midst of the greatest computer security crisis in history, the US government, along with the governments of the UK and Australia, is attempting to undermine the only method that currently exists for reliably protecting the world’s information: encryption. Should they succeed in their quest to undermine encryption, our public infrastructure and private lives will be rendered permanently unsafe.

In the simplest terms, encryption is a method of protecting information, the primary way to keep digital communications safe. Every email you write, every keyword you type into a search box – every embarrassing thing you do online – is transmitted across an increasingly hostile internet. Earlier this month the US, alongside the UK and Australia, called on Facebook to create a “backdoor”, or fatal flaw, into its encrypted messaging apps, which would allow anyone with the key to that backdoor unlimited access to private communications. So far, Facebook has resisted this.

If internet traffic is unencrypted, any government, company, or criminal that happens to notice it can – and, in fact, does – steal a copy of it, secretly recording your information for ever. If, however, you encrypt this traffic, your information cannot be read: only those who have a special decryption key can unlock it.

I know a little about this, because for a time I operated part of the US National Security Agency’s global system of mass surveillance. In June 2013 I worked with journalists to reveal that system to a scandalised world. Without encryption I could not have written the story of how it all happened – my book Permanent Record – and got the manuscript safely across borders that I myself can’t cross. More importantly, encryption helps everyone from reporters, dissidents, activists, NGO workers and whistleblowers, to doctors, lawyers and politicians, to do their work – not just in the world’s most dangerous and repressive countries, but in every single country.

When I came forward in 2013, the US government wasn’t just passively surveilling internet traffic as it crossed the network, but had also found ways to co-opt and, at times, infiltrate the internal networks of major American tech companies. At the time, only a small fraction of web traffic was encrypted: six years later, Facebook, Google and Apple have made encryption-by-default a central part of their products, with the result that today close to 80% of web traffic is encrypted. Even the former director of US national intelligence, James Clapper, credits the revelation of mass surveillance with significantly advancing the commercial adoption of encryption. The internet is more secure as a result. Too secure, in the opinion of some governments.

Donald Trump’s attorney general, William Barr, who authorised one of the earliest mass surveillance programmes without reviewing whether it was legal, is now signalling an intention to halt – or even roll back – the progress of the last six years. WhatsApp, the messaging service owned by Facebook, already uses end-to-end encryption (E2EE): in March the company announced its intention to incorporate E2EE into its other messaging apps – Facebook Messenger and Instagram – as well. Now Barr is launching a public campaign to prevent Facebook from climbing this next rung on the ladder of digital security. This began with an open letter co-signed by Barr, UK home secretary Priti Patel, Australia’s minister for home affairs and the US secretary of homeland security, demanding Facebook abandon its encryption proposals.

If Barr’s campaign is successful, the communications of billions will remain frozen in a state of permanent insecurity: users will be vulnerable by design. And those communications will be vulnerable not only to investigators in the US, UK and Australia, but also to the intelligence agencies of China, Russia and Saudi Arabia – not to mention hackers around the world.

End-to-end encrypted communication systems are designed so that messages can be read only by the sender and their intended recipients, even if the encrypted – meaning locked – messages themselves are stored by an untrusted third party, for example, a social media company such as Facebook.

The central improvement E2EE provides over older security systems is in ensuring the keys that unlock any given message are only ever stored on the specific devices at the end-points of a communication – for example the phones of the sender or receiver of the message – rather than the middlemen who own the various internet platforms enabling it. Since E2EE keys aren’t held by these intermediary service providers, they can no longer be stolen in the event of the massive corporate data breaches that are so common today, providing an essential security benefit. In short, E2EE enables companies such as Facebook, Google or Apple to protect their users from their scrutiny: by ensuring they no longer hold the keys to our most private conversations, these corporations become less of an all-seeing eye than a blindfolded courier.

It is striking that when a company as potentially dangerous as Facebook appears to be at least publicly willing to implement technology that makes users safer by limiting its own power, it is the US government that cries foul. This is because the government would suddenly become less able to treat Facebook as a convenient trove of private lives.

To justify its opposition to encryption, the US government has, as is traditional, invoked the spectre of the web’s darkest forces. Without total access to the complete history of every person’s activity on Facebook, the government claims it would be unable to investigate terrorists, drug dealers money launderers and the perpetrators of child abuse – bad actors who, in reality, prefer not to plan their crimes on public platforms, especially not on US-based ones that employ some of the most sophisticated automatic filters and reporting methods available.

The true explanation for why the US, UK and Australian governments want to do away with end-to-end encryption is less about public safety than it is about power: E2EE gives control to individuals and the devices they use to send, receive and encrypt communications, not to the companies and carriers that route them. This, then, would require government surveillance to become more targeted and methodical, rather than indiscriminate and universal.

What this shift jeopardises is strictly nations’ ability to spy on populations at mass scale, at least in a manner that requires little more than paperwork. By limiting the amount of personal records and intensely private communications held by companies, governments are returning to classic methods of investigation that are both effective and rights-respecting, in lieu of total surveillance. In this outcome we remain not only safe, but free.

Edward Snowden is former CIA officer and whistleblower, and author of Permanent Record. He is president of the board of directors of the Freedom of the Press Foundation

Be seeing you

granny

Did Granny hear a CLICK?

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Big Government and Big Tech Are Partnering to Track Us Everywhere

Posted by M. C. on July 9, 2019

These four spying companies – are currently worth a combined $3.7 trillion.  Our nation’s entire economy – is $19.4 trillion.

Big Government and Big Tech Are Partnering to Track Us Everywhere

George Orwell was a brilliant individual.  A man of incredible insight – and foresight.

In his unfathomably predictive novel 1984, Orwell warns of Big Brother:

“(O)stensibly the leader of Oceania, a totalitarian state wherein the ruling party Ingsoc wields total power ‘for its own sake’ over the inhabitants.

“In the society that Orwell describes, every citizen is under constant surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens.…The people are constantly reminded of this by the slogan ‘Big Brother is watching you’: a maxim that is ubiquitously on display.

“In modern culture, the term ‘Big Brother’ has entered the lexicon as a synonym for abuse of government power, particularly in respect to civil liberties, often specifically related to mass surveillance.”

As brilliant as Orwell was, something continuously struck me as incorrect as I read 1984.

Orwell’s government – was extraordinarily competent in its totalitarian imposition of technological power.

In Reality – no government in the history of man has ever been even remotely close to that competent.

For Orwell’s Big Brother dystopia to become Reality – Big Government would need private sector help.

Enter private sector Big Tech.

Seton Motley | Red State | RedState.com

How Google and Amazon Are ‘Spying’ on You:

“The study found that digital assistants (Google Home and Amazon Echo) can be ‘awake’ even when users think they aren’t listening….

This is ALL insanely creepy.

Big Tech is…insanely big.

Microsoft (Market Cap: $1.1 trillion)

Amazon (Market Cap: $942 billion)

Google (Market Cap: $775 billion)

Facebook (Market Cap: $550 billion)

These four spying companies – are currently worth a combined $3.7 trillion.  Our nation’s entire economy – is $19.4 trillion.

Which mans these four companies – all by themselves – are worth 19% of the United States…

The Government Just Admitted It Will Use Smart Home Devices for Spying:

“If you want evidence that US intelligence agencies aren’t losing surveillance abilities because of the rising use of encryption by tech companies, look no further than the testimony…by the (then) director of national intelligence, James Clapper….

“Clapper made clear that the internet of things – the many devices like thermostats, cameras and other appliances that are increasingly connected to the internet – are providing ample opportunity for intelligence agencies to spy on targets, and possibly the masses. And it’s a danger that many consumers who buy these products may be wholly unaware of….

“Privacy advocates have known about the potential for government to exploit the internet of things for years. Law enforcement agencies have taken notice too, increasingly serving court orders on companies for data they keep that citizens might not even know they are transmitting. Police have already been asking Google-owned company Dropcam for footage from cameras inside people’s homes meant to keep an eye on their kids.”

Orwell got the tech right – just not Big Government’s ability to create it for totalitarian ends…

Be seeing you

nsa-spying-2

Not that funny.

 

 

 

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RAY McGOVERN: DOJ Bloodhounds on the Scent of John Brennan – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on June 14, 2019

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/13/ray-mcgovern-doj-bloodhounds-on-the-scent-of-john-brennan/

By Ray McGovern

The New York Times Thursday morning has bad news for one of its favorite anonymous sources, former CIA Director John Brennan.

The Times reports that the Justice Department plans to interview senior CIA officers to focus on the allegation that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian intelligence to intervene in the 2016 election to help Donald J. Trump. DOJ investigators will be looking for evidence to support that remarkable claim that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report failed to establish.

Despite the collusion conspiracy theory having been put to rest, many Americans, including members of Congress, right and left, continue to accept the evidence-impoverished, media-cum-“former-intelligence-officer” meme that the Kremlin interfered massively in the 2016 presidential election.

One cannot escape the analogy with the fraudulent evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As in 2002 and 2003, when the mania for the invasion of Iraq mounted, Establishment media have simply regurgitated what intelligence sources like Brennan told them about Russia-gate.

No one batted an eye when Brennan told a House committee in May 2017, “I don’t do evidence.”

Leak Not Hack

As we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have warned numerous times over the past two plus years, there is no reliable forensic evidence to support the story that Russia hacked into the DNC. Moreover, in a piece I wrote in May, “Orwellian Cloud Hovers Over Russia-gate,” I again noted that accumulating forensic evidence from metadata clearly points to an inside DNC job — a leak, not a hack, by Russia or anyone else.

So Brennan and his partners, FBI Director James Comey and National Intelligence Director James Clapper were making stuff up and feeding thin but explosive gruel to the hungry stenographers that pass today for Russiagate obsessed journalists.

Is the Jig Up?

With Justice Department investigators’ noses to the ground, it should be just a matter of time before they identify Brennan conclusively as fabricator-in-chief of the Russiagate story. Evidence, real evidence in this case, abounds, since the Brennan-Comey-Clapper gang of three were sure Hillary Clinton would become president. Consequently, they did not perform due diligence to hide their tracks…

No Holds Barred

Barr is approaching this challenge with a resoluteness and a calm candor rarely seen in Washington — particularly when it comes to challenging those who run the intelligence agencies.

The big question, once again, is whether President Donald Trump will follow his customary practice of reining in subordinates at the last minute, lest they cross the vindictive and still powerful members of the Deep State.

Happily, at least for those interested in the truth, some of the authors of the rump, misnomered “Intelligence Community Assessment” commissioned by Obama, orchestrated by Brennan-Clapper-Comey, and published on January 6, 2017 will now be interviewed. The ICA is the document still widely cited as showing that the “entire intelligence community agreed” on the Russia-gate story, but this is far from the case. As Clapper has admitted, that “assessment” was drafted by “handpicked analysts” from just three of the 17 intelligence agencies — CIA, FBI, and NSA.

U.S. Attorney Durham would do well to also check with analysts in agencies — like the Defense Intelligence Agency and State Department Intelligence, as to why they believe they were excluded. The ICA on Russian interference is as inferior an example of intelligence analysis as I have ever seen…

Be seeing you

nsa-spying-2

 

 

 

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Ron Wyden: James Clapper ‘Lying,’ Was Sent NSA Surveillance Question Before Testimony

Posted by M. C. on March 7, 2019

The Erie County PA bar association brought Clapper in for a special event. They love this guy.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/03/06/ron-wyden-james-clapper-lying-was-sent-nsa-surveillance-question-before-testimony/

by Joshua Caplan

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on Wednesday slammed former National Intelligence Director James Clapper for claiming he did not purposely lie to Congress when asked about an NSA mass surveillance program in March 2013, saying he sent the longtime intelligence official the question ahead of the hearing.

“James Clapper needs to stop making excuses for lying to the American people about mass surveillance. To be clear: I sent him the question in advance. I asked him to correct the record afterward. He chose to let the lie stand,” the Oregon Democrat responded to Clapper’s excuse in a tweet.

“When intelligence leaders mislead the public about surveillance, they fuel the cynicism and mistrust of government that lets wannabe authoritarians gain power,” the lawmaker added.

On Tuesday, Clapper denied making false statements to Congress on whether the National Security Agency (NSA) used to spy on American citizens’ phone records, claiming he bungled his answer because he did not understand the surveillance program Wyden quizzed him about.

Clapper said in an interview with CNN’s New Day host John Berman: Read the rest of this entry »

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Trump is Right: The Intelligence Community Needs to ‘Go Back to School’ | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 10, 2019

Their leadership got Iraq wrong. Now they’re making the same mistakes all over again.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-is-right-the-intelligence-community-needs-to-go-back-to-school/

By Scott Ritter

Earlier this week, the collective leadership of the United States intelligence community briefed Congress on the Worldwide Threat Assessment Report. In doing so, they provided testimony that seemed to contradict virtually every aspect of President Donald Trump’s foreign policy, including the decision to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan, the threat posed by Iran, North Korean denuclearization, and improving relations with Russia.

The president, in typical fashion, lashed out, criticizing the intelligence community’s collective analysis, which predictably elicited criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. They accused him of undermining public confidence in the pronouncements of the intelligence agencies and damaging national security.

In this case, Trump is right and his detractors are wrong.

The current crop of national intelligence chiefs are cut from the same cloth as their predecessors. They are careerists who have risen to the top not through their analytical or operational talents, but through their willingness to conform to a system that is designed not to challenge conventional thinking—especially when such thinking sustains policies that have been given the imprimatur of the entrenched establishment… Read the rest of this entry »

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Clapper: Brennan’s rhetoric is becoming an issue

Posted by M. C. on August 20, 2018

..is genuine concern about the jeopardy and threats to our institutions,” Clapper said.

Bingo! Clapper never said Brennan was wrong.

Brennan’s problem, besides lacking subtlety, is he is undermining the deep state campaign against Trump.

It tells you something about the system when the lowest form of lying scum can be CIA director.

http://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/402521-clapper-brennans-rhetoric-is-becoming-an-issue-in-and-of-itself

BY MEGAN KELLER

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday that he thinks former CIA Director John Brennan‘s rhetoric is becoming an issue “in and of itself.”

“John and his rhetoric have become an issue in and of itself,” Clapper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “John is subtle like a freight train and he’s gonna say what’s on his mind.”

Clapper’s comments came in response to an op-ed penned by Brennan in The New York Times this week, in which he wrote that President Trumpcolluded with Russia during the 2016 election.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The Case for Stripping Former Officials of their Security Clearances – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on July 27, 2018

John was hard to get along with. His superiors generally didn’t like him. He was once fired from a job at the CIA. He’s not particularly bright. And then he found a patron in former CIA director George Tenet, who saved his career.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/25/the-case-for-stripping-former-officials-of-their-security-clearances/

By John Kiriakou

Libertarian senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on Monday that in a personal meeting with President Donald Trump, he urged the president to revoke the security clearances of a half dozen former Obama-era intelligence officials, including former CIA director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice. I couldn’t agree more with Paul’s position, not specifically regarding these three people, but for any former intelligence official. No former intelligence official should keep a security clearance, especially if he or she transitions to the media or to a corporate board.

The controversy specifically over Brennan’s clearance has been bubbling along for more than a year. He has been one of Trump’s most vocal and harshest critics. Last week he went so far as to accuse Trump of having committed “treason” during his meeting in Helsinki, Finland with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Brennan said in a tweet, “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican patriots: Where are you???” The outburst was in response to Trump’s unwillingness to accept the Intelligence Community position that Putin and the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nolte: James Clapper Admits to ‘Spying’ from Inside the Trump Campaign

Posted by M. C. on May 23, 2018

Teflon Jim. Breaks the law left and right ends up smelling like a…well smelling.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/05/23/james-clapper-admits-to-spying-from-inside-the-trump-campaign/

by John Nolte

Although Clapper said he does not like the word “spying” (considering how the disclosure of this spying has blown up in the Obama administration’s face, who can blame him?), he still used the word twice — because there is no other word.

Sounding rattled and defensive, even though he was among friends, Clapper, a left-wing partisan who served as DNI during the Obama administration, attempted to spin the “spying” into something that was for Trump’s own good and the good of the country. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Clap(per)

Posted by M. C. on February 5, 2018

The key to getting a letter printed is to turn your initial thought-“What *****ng moron thought inviting this scum to Erie was a good idea”-into something insightful and elegant!

Letter to the Erie Times-News

The Erie County Bar Association has hired James Clapper, former NSA chief, as it’s featured speaker this May. If you wondered what the military/industrial/bankster/deep state complex looks like, a close up view is a mere $40.00.

I can understand Clapper’s attraction for a lawyer. He commits the ultimate crime in congress’ eyes, lying under oath (his denial of collecting every electron’s worth of personal communication of every honest US citizen). Later he admits to the crime as it has become so obvious. Then gets away without indictment nor wrist slap, let alone deserved jail time. Quite an accomplishment. It might be worth the price of admission to admirers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Former CIA Director Calls For A Coup If Trump Fires Mueller

Posted by M. C. on July 25, 2017

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-07-24/former-cia-director-calls-coup-if-trump-fires-mueller

“I think it’s the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out. I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future,” Brennan told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum, effectively calling for a coup against the president should Trump give the order to fire Mueller. Read the rest of this entry »

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