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Posts Tagged ‘James Clapper’

Welcome to #Obamagate, Everybody! | The American Spectator

Posted by M. C. on May 15, 2020

Michael Flynn was to be Trump’s national security adviser, and Jeff Sessions was to be his attorney general. Flynn and Sessions would be in a position to examine the abuse of the intelligence community and Justice Department, respectively, and they had to be taken out before they could.

https://spectator.org/welcome-to-obamagate-everybody/

The hottest hashtag on Twitter is 12 years in the making, and frankly that’s far too late.

But hey, better late than never, right?

Last week’s cascade of revelations that the entire Trump–Russia narrative and Mike Flynn case, among other shenanigans falling out of Washington, D.C., over the past four years, weren’t just garbage but garbage cooked up and spread by the top levels of the Obama administration, to be summed up in one catchy hashtag, has the potential to change American politics in fundamental ways.

We know that prosecutions are afoot, and we know indictments are coming. We know that some of those indictments will be handed down to people with famous names.

We know already that #Obamagate is the correct name for the mess unfolding before us, thanks to the summary of a meeting held on Jan. 5, 2017, provided by the former president’s National Security Adviser Susan Rice. The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland follows that story:

Then came the January 5, 2017, meeting in the Oval Office where Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper briefed President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Russia-related issues.

Rice later wrote an email to herself on January 20, 2017 — Trump’s inauguration day and her last day in the White House — purporting to summarize that meeting. “On January 5, following a briefing by IC leadership on Russian hacking during the 2016 Presidential election,” Rice wrote, “President Obama had a brief follow-on conversation with FBI Director Jim Comey and Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in the Oval Office. Vice President Biden and I were also present.”

According to Rice, “President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.’ ” But then she added a significant caveat to that “commitment”: “From a national security perspective, however, President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia.”

The next portion of the email is classified, but Rice then noted that “the President asked Comey to inform him if anything changes in the next few weeks that should affect how we share classified information with the incoming team. Comey said he would.”

At the time Obama suggested to Yates and Comey — who were to keep their posts under the Trump administration — that the hold-overs consider withholding information from the incoming administration, Obama knew that President Trump had named Flynn to serve as national security advisor. Obama also knew there was an ongoing FBI investigation into Flynn premised on Flynn being a Russian agent.

Yet, rather than direct his team to provide the president-elect a briefing on the Russia investigation as it related to Flynn, Obama suggested it would be appropriate to withhold such information from the Trump administration.

That is just what Comey did. The following day, Comey provided “an ostensibly similar briefing about Russian interference efforts during the 2016 campaign,” and then “[a]fter that briefing, Comey privately briefed Trump on the most salacious and absurd ‘pee tape’ allegation in the Christopher Steele dossier.”

Rice’s memo puts to bed the question about what Obama knew and when he knew it. The answers are, obviously, everything and all along.

Why do you think Comey, who admittedly might well flunk a psychological examination conducted to ascertain his competence to stand trial should he end up in John Durham’s investigative net, has been so inexplicably smug since the Robert Mueller investigation crashed and burned, leaving his own credibility in tatters?

The answer is obvious: because Comey knew all along that everything he had done was at Obama’s behest.

This isn’t different from Obama’s IRS scandal or the scandal over Hillary Clinton’s emails. All the principals involved in those scandals acted with such alacrity because they knew that Obama was every bit as dirty and was even more involved in their malfeasance than they were. Comey acted on Obama’s orders, and somehow Comey thinks that makes him untouchable because to prosecute him means prosecuting America’s first black president — and that would never happen.

Which is perhaps true. It’s clear that virtually everything about Obama’s eight years in office consisted of lies to cover up corruption and abuse — Fast and Furious, the Arab Spring, Benghazi, ISIS, the Iran deal, the IRS scandal, Hillary’s emails, Uranium One, Crossfire Hurricane. Obama, and his people, had every expectation they would turn the White House over to Hillary Clinton and the lid on their foul dealings would remain closed.

But in the event that that expectation were to somehow fail to materialize, there was, in the words of the corrupt FBI operative Peter Strzok, an “insurance policy.” We now know what that was.

In another must-read post at the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway properly casts the coverup as targeted at the two people who would be in the best position to uncover the web of lies and abuse that was Crossfire Hurricane. Michael Flynn was to be Trump’s national security adviser, and Jeff Sessions was to be his attorney general. Flynn and Sessions would be in a position to examine the abuse of the intelligence community and Justice Department, respectively, and they had to be taken out before they could. So Flynn was framed up by the FBI, and Sessions was pressured into recusing himself from any aspect of investigating matters involving Russia, and with them discredited and out of the way Trump would spend two years partially paralyzed by false accusations given life by Mueller’s partisan hack fauxvestigation — in which everyone involved knew there was no underlying crime.

It’s the greatest political scandal in American history. And it’s just getting started.

In this space we haven’t really talked about the idea of the Fourth Turning, or the Strauss–Howe generational theory of American politics, which holds that every 80 or 90 years in our history have been marked by a definable cycle which includes a crisis that leads to a redefining of what it means to live in this country. Many, including Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon, see the current period we’re living in as that crisis, or fourth turning within the Strauss–Howe cycle.

Obamagate isn’t the crisis, per se, but coupled with the Wuhan coronavirus and its economic dislocation, the related coming reorganization of the American supply chain out of China, and the collapse in American intellectual institutions from education to the news media and popular culture, the crisis is here whether you believe in the Fourth Turning or not.

And the abuses Obamagate encompasses put everything about our national politics on the table. With Obamagate, there is no longer the reasonable expectation that the Deep State, or Washington elite Americans have left largely to their own devices to regulate, legislate, and deficit-finance our lives since the Great Depression, will continue as they have. The public is now acutely aware of a two-tiered justice system that allows the political class to ignore the laws it inflicts on regular people. And the market, thanks to the virus, has been shaken out of its status quo — talk to any small or medium-sized business entrepreneur, and they’ll tell you they’re reexamining everything they’re doing in recognition their prosperity is no longer assured.

The crisis has come. It will sweep away the weak and the corrupt, and nothing will be the same once it fully washes through Washington.

And not a moment too soon. Welcome to Obamagate, and a hearty welcome it is.

Be seeing you

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Russiagate II: Return of the Low Intelligence Zombies | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on February 26, 2020

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-intelligence-community-is-the-real-election-meddling-threat/

Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside, the bad guys are already inside the house.

Former CIA director John Brennan (2nd L) and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper (R) arrive at a closed hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee May 16, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Russians are back, alongside the American intelligence agencies playing deep inside our elections. Who should we fear more? Hint: not the Russians.

On February 13, the election security czar in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) briefed the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were meddling again and that they favored Donald Trump. A few weeks earlier, the ODNI briefed Bernie Sanders that the Russians were also meddling in the Democratic primaries, this time in his favor. Both briefings remained secret until this past week, when the former was leaked to the New York Times in time to smear Trump for replacing his DNI, and the latter leaked to the Washington Post ahead of the Nevada caucuses to try and damage Sanders.

Russiagate is back, baby. Everyone welcome Russiagate II.

You didn’t think after 2016 the bad boys of the intel “community” (which makes it sound like they all live together down in Florida somewhere) weren’t going to play their games again, and that they wouldn’t learn from their mistakes? Those errors were in retrospect amateurish. A salacious dossier built around a pee tape? Nefarious academics befriending minor Trump campaign staffers who would tell all to an Aussie ambassador trolling London’s pubs looking for young, fit Americans? Falsified FISA applications when it was all too obvious even Trumpkin greenhorns weren’t dumb enough to sleep with FBI honeypots? You’d think after influencing 85 elections across the globe since World War II, they’d be better at it. But you also knew that after failing to whomp a bumpkin like Trump once, they would keep trying.

Like any good intel op, you start with a tickle, make it seem like the targets are figuring it out for themselves. Get it out there that Trump offered Wikileaks’ Julian Assange a pardon if he would state publicly that Russia wasn’t involved in the 2016 DNC leaks. The story was all garbage, not the least of which because Assange has been clear for years that it wasn’t the Russians. And there was no offer of a pardon from the White House. And conveniently Assange is locked in a foreign prison and can’t comment.

Whatever. Just make sure you time the Assange story to hit the day after Trump pardoned numerous high-profile, white-collar criminals, so even the casual reader had Trump = bad, with a side of Russian conspiracy, on their minds. You could almost imagine an announcer’s voice: “Previously, on Russiagate I…”

Then, only a day after the Assange story (why be subtle?), the sequel hit the theaters with timed leaks to the NYT and WaPo. The mainstream media went Code Red (the CIA has a long history of working with the media to influence elections).

CNN concluded that “America’s Russia nightmare is back.” Maddow was ecstatic, bleating “Here we go again,” recycling her failed conspiracy theories whole. Everybody quoted Adam Schiff firing off that Trump was “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.” Tying it all to the failed impeachment efforts, another writer said, “’Let the Voters Decide’ doesn’t work if Trump fires his national security staff so Russia can help him again.” The NYT fretted, “Trump is intensifying his efforts to undermine the nation’s intelligence agencies.” John Brennan (after leaking for a while, most boils dry up and go away) said, “we are now in a full-blown national security crisis.” The undead Hillary Clinton tweeted, “Putin’s Puppet is at it again.”

It is clear we’ll be hearing breaking and developing reports about this from sources believed to be close to others through November. Despite the sense of desperation in the recycled memes and the way the media rose on command to the bait, it’s intel community 1, Trump 0.

But it’s still a miss on Bernie. He did well in Nevada despite the leaks, though Russiagate II has a long way to go. Bernie himself assured us of that. Instead of pooh-poohing the idea that the Russians might be working for him, he instead gave it cred, saying, “Some of the ugly stuff on the internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters.”

Sanders handed Russiagate II legs, signaling that he’ll use it as cover for the Bros’ online shenanigans, which were called out at the last debate. That’s playing with fire: it’ll be too easy later on to invoke all this with “Komrade Bernie” memes in the already wary purple states. “Putin and Trump are picking their opponent,” opined Rahm Emanuel to get that ball rolling.

Summary to date: everyone is certain the Russians are working to influence the election…(adopts cartoon Russian accent) but who is the cat and who is the mouse?

Is Putin helping Trump get re-elected to remain his asset in place? Or is Putin helping Bernie “I Honeymooned in the Soviet Union” Sanders to make him look like an asset to help Trump? Or are the Russkies really all in because Bernie is a True Socialist sleeper agent, the Emma Goldman of his time (Bernie’s old enough to have taken Emma to high school prom)? Or is it not the Russians but the American intel community helping Bernie to make it look like Putin is helping Bernie to help Trump? Or is it the Deep State saying the Reds are helping Bernie to hurt Bernie to help their man Bloomberg? Are Russian spies tripping over American spies in caucus hallways trying to get to the front of the room? Who can tell what is really afoot?

See, the devil is in the details, which is why we don’t have any.

The world’s greatest intelligence team can’t seem to come up with anything more specific than “interfering” and “meddling,” as if pesky Aunt Vladimir is gossiping at the general store again. CBS reports that House members pressed the ODNI for evidence, such as phone intercepts, to back up claims that Russia is trying to help Trump, but briefers had none to offer. Even Jake Tapper, a Deep State loyalty card holder, raised some doubts. WaPo, which hosted one of the leaks, had to admit “It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken.”

Yes, yes, they have to protect sources and methods, but of course the quickest way to stop Russian influence is to expose it. Instead the ODNI dropped the turd in the punchbowl and walked away. Why not tell the public what media is being bought, which outlets are working, willingly or not, with Putin? Did the Reds implant a radio chip in Biden’s skull? Will we be left hanging with the info-free claim “something something social media” again?

If you’re going to scream that communist zombies with MAGA hats are inside the house, you’re obligated to provide a little bit more information. Why is it when specifics are required, the response is always something like “Well, the Russians are sowing distrust and turning Americans against themselves in a way that weakens national unity” as if we’re all not eating enough green vegetables? Why leave us exposed to Russian influence for even a second when it could all be shut down in an instant?

Because the intel community learned its lesson in Russiagate I. Details can be investigated. That’s where the old story fell apart. The dossier wasn’t true. Michael Cohen never met the Russians in Prague. The a-ha discovery was that voters don’t read much anyway, so just make claims. You’ll never really prosecute or impeach anyone, so why bother with evidence (see everything Ukraine)? Just throw out accusations and let the media fill it all in for you. After all, they managed to convince a large number of Americans Trump’s primary purpose in running for president was to fill vacant hotel rooms at his properties. Let the nature of the source—the brave lads of the intelligence agencies—legitimize the accusations this time, not facts.

It will take a while to figure out who is playing whom. Is the goal to help Trump, help Bernie, or defeat both of them to support Bloomberg? But don’t let the challenge of seeing the whole picture obscure the obvious: the American intelligence agencies are once again inside our election.

The intel community crossed a line in 2016, albeit clumsily (what was all that with Comey and Hillary?), to play an overt role in the electoral process. When that didn’t work out and Trump was elected, they pivoted and drove us to the brink of all hell breaking loose with Russiagate I. The media welcomed and supported them. The Dems welcomed and supported them. Far too many Americans welcomed and supported them in some elaborate version of the ends justifying the means.

The good news from 2016 was that the Deep State turned out to be less competent than we originally feared. But they have learned much from those mistakes, particularly how deft a tool a compliant MSM is. This election will be a historian’s marker for how a decent nation, fully warned in 2016, fooled itself in 2020 into self-harm. Forget about foreigners influencing our elections from the outside; the zombies are already inside the house.

Be seeing you

Daily Grindhouse | [BRUNO MATTEI DOUBLE-FEATURE] ISLAND OF ...

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RAY McGOVERN: The Pitfalls of a Pit Bull Russophobe – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on November 25, 2019

Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

https://consortiumnews.com/2019/11/22/ray-mcgovern-the-pitfalls-of-a-pit-bull-russophobe/

By Ray McGovern
Special to Consortium News

Fiona Hill’s “Russian-expert” testimony Thursday and her deposition on Oct. 14 to the impeachment inquiry showed that her antennae are acutely tuned to what Russian intelligence services may be up to but, sadly, also displayed a striking naiveté about the machinations of U.S. intelligence.

Hill’s education on Russia came at the knee of the late Professor Richard Pipes, her Harvard mentor and archdeacon of Russophobia. I do not dispute her sincerity in attributing all manner of evil to what President Ronald Reagan called the “Evil Empire.”  But, like so many other glib “Russia experts” with access to Establishment media, she seems three decades out of date.

I have been studying the U.S.S.R. and Russia for twice as long as Hill, was chief of CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch during the 1970s, and watched the “Evil Empire” fall apart.  She seems to have missed the falling apart part.

Selective Suspicion

Are the Russian intelligence services still very active? Of course. But there is no evidence — other than Hill’s bias — for her extraordinary claim that they were behind the infamous “Steele Dossier,” for example, or that they were the prime mover of Ukraine-gate in an attempt to shift the blame for Russian “meddling” in the 2016 U.S. election onto Ukraine. In recent weeks U.S. intelligence officials were spreading this same tale, lapped up  and faithfully reported Friday by The New York Times.

Hill has been conditioned to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin and especially his security services are capable of anything, and thus sees a Russian under every rock — as we used to say of smart know-nothings like former CIA Director William Casey and the malleable “Soviet experts” who bubbled up to the top during his reign (1981 – 1987).  Recall that at the very first meeting of Reagan’s cabinet, Casey openly told the president and other cabinet officials: “We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”  Were Casey still alive, he would be very pleased and proud of Hill’s performance.

Beyond Dispute?

On Thursday Hill testified:

“The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions in 2016. This is the public conclusion of our intelligence agencies, confirmed in bipartisan Congressional reports. It is beyond dispute, even if some of the underlying details must remain classified.” [Emphasis added.]

Ah, yes.  “The public conclusion of our intelligence agencies”: the same ones who reported that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union would never surrender power peaceably; the same ones who told Secretary of State Colin Powell he could assure the UN Security Council that the WMD evidence given him by our intelligence agencies was “irrefutable and undeniable.”  Only Richard-Pipeline-type Russophobia can account for the blinders on someone as smart as Hill and prompt her to take as gospel “the public conclusions of our intelligence agencies.”

A modicum of intellectual curiosity and rudimentary due diligence would have prompted her to look into who was in charge of preparing the (misnomered) “Intelligence Community Assessment” published on Jan. 6, 2017, which provided the lusted-after fodder for the “mainstream” media and others wanting to blame Hillary Clinton’s defeat on the Russians.

Jim, Do a Job on the Russians

President Barack Obama gave the task to his National Intelligence Director James Clapper, whom he had allowed to stay in that job for three and a half years after he had to apologize to Congress for what he later admitted was a “clearly erroneous” response, under oath, to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) on NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. And when Clapper published his memoir last year, Hill would have learned that, as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s handpicked appointee to run satellite imagery analysis, Clapper places the blame for the consequential “failure” to find the (non-existent) WMD “where it belongs — squarely on the shoulders of the administration members who were pushing a narrative of a rogue WMD program in Iraq and on the intelligence officers, including me, who were so eager to help that we found what wasn’t really there.” [Emphasis added.]

But for Hill, Clapper was a kindred soul: Just eight weeks after she joined the National Security Council staff, Clapper, during an NBC interview on May 28, 2017, recalled “the historical practices of the Russians, who typically, are almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique.” Later he added, “It’s in their DNA.” Clapper has claimed that “what the Russians did had a profound impact on the outcome of the election.”

As for the “Intelligence Community Assessment,” the banner headline atop The New York Times on Jan. 7, 2017 set the tone for the next couple of years: “Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says.” During my career as a CIA analyst, as deputy national intelligence officer chairing National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), and working on the Intelligence Production Review Board, I had not seen so shabby a piece of faux analysis as the ICA. The writers themselves seemed to be holding their noses.  They saw fit to embed in the ICA itself this derriere-covering note: “High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or a certainty; such judgments might be wrong.”

Not a Problem

With the help of the Establishment media, Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan,  were able to pretend that the ICA had been approved by “all 17 intelligence agencies” (as first claimed by Clinton, with Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT, repeating that canard Thursday, alas “without objection).”  Himes, too should do his homework.  The bogus “all 17 intelligence agencies” claim lasted only a few months before Clapper decided to fess up. With striking naiveté, Clapper asserted that ICA preparers were “handpicked analysts” from only the FBI, CIA and NSA. The criteria Clapper et al. used are not hard to divine. In government as in industry, when you can handpick the analysts, you can handpick the conclusions.

Maybe a Problem After All

“According to several current and former intelligence officers who must remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue,” as the Times says when it prints made-up stuff, there were only two “handpicked analysts.”  Clapper picked Brennan; and Brennan picked Clapper.  That would help explain the grossly subpar quality of the ICA.

If U.S. Attorney John Durham is allowed to do his job probing the origins of Russiagate, and succeeds in getting access to the “handpicked analysts” — whether there were just two, or more — Hill’s faith in “our intelligence agencies,” may well be dented if not altogether shattered.

Be seeing you

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There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity…You can smell it. It smells like death.

 

 

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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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