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Posts tagged ‘Chancellor of Germany’

Ex-NSA Chief Hayden: Snowden Always Intended to ‘Scrape’ Data.

Image: Ex-NSA Chief Hayden: Snowden Always Intended to 'Scrape' Data

By Bill Hoffmann

Michael Hayden, former director of both the CIA and the NSA, says that in no way can Edward Snowden be considered a whistleblower on the National Security Agency’s surveillance policies.

“I really do think he had evil intent. This is not an innocent who went to work under one set of expectations and then was just shocked and appalled by what he found at work and was driven to some sort of action,” Hayden, a retired four-star general, told “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll 

“This is somebody who sought the job he had in order to scrape information off of NSA’s systems. I’m fond of saying he was a hunter, not a gatherer. He went there with a plan and malice aforethought.”

Snowden has been baring classified information about the NSA’s spying programs since he fled the United States for Hong Kong and then Russia, where he has been given asylum.

“When you look at the totality of Snowden’s actions, certainly one hypothesis that jumps out at you, that seems to explain his ability to do all these things, is that he had help, and had help from somebody who was very competent in these matters,” Hayden said.

Hayden said he thinks President Barack Obama wants to keep the NSA’s spying programs going, despite saying last week that new restrictions were necessary to protect privacy.

“In his heart, I’m now convinced that he wants to keep it, and he’s willing to give up a few things from operational capacity, perhaps, at the margins, a little more oversight, a slower approach to it so that he’s got more checks and balances,” Hayden said.

“But, fundamentally, he wants to keep it. And that might be the cause of some of the confusion that folks who listened to the speech had.”

In a 45-minute speech at the Justice Department, Obama unveiled new guidelines and reforms for the NSA.

He placed restrictions on the agency’s access to domestic phone records, but noted that the collection of personal data from billions of people around the world, Americans and foreigners, will continue.

“We cannot prevent terrorist attacks or cyberthreats without some capability to penetrate digital communications, whether it’s to unravel a terrorist plot, to intercept malware that targets a stock exchange, to make sure air traffic control systems are not compromised or to ensure that hackers do not empty your bank accounts,” the president said.

“We are expected to protect the American people. That requires us to have capabilities in this field.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent Poll
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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

High-Ranking NSA Official Admits That America Has Become A Police State.

Last year, high-ranking NSA official Bill Binney said, “We are, like, that far from a turnkey totalitarian state.” Now, Binney says that the U.S. has already become a full-blown police state.

Binney told Washington’s Blog on Wednesday that:

“The main use of the collection from these [NSA spying] programs is for law enforcement. [See the 2 slides below].”


“These slides give the policy of the DOJ/FBI/DEA etc. on how to use the NSA data. In fact, they instruct that none of the NSA data is referred to in courts – cause it has been acquired without a warrant.”


“So, they have to do a ‘Parallel Construction’ and not tell the courts or prosecution or defense the original data used to arrest people. This I call: a ‘planned programed perjury policy’ directed by US law enforcement.”

“And, as the last line on one slide says, this also applies to ‘Foreign Counterparts.’” “This is a total corruption of the justice system not only in our country but around the world. The source of the info is at the bottom of each slide. This is a totalitarian process – means we are now in a police state.”

Binney, a 32-year veteran of the agency, was instrumental in the creation of the NSA’s surveillance program for digital information. He also served as the NSA’s senior technical director.

As a result, he’s been sought after by a multitude of media outlets, like CBSABCCNNNew York TimesUSA TodayFox News, and PBS. Concerning the collection of data by federal agencies mentioned by Binney, Washington’s Blog added that:

“By way of background, the government is spying on virtually everything we do.”

All of the information gained by the NSA through spying is then shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.”source – CNS News.

by NTEB News Desk.

US Spy Court: NSA to Keep Collecting Phone Records.

Image: US Spy Court: NSA to Keep Collecting Phone Records

A secretive U.S. spy court has ruled again that the National Security Agency can keep collecting every American’s telephone records every day, in the midst of dueling decisions in two civilian federal courts about whether the surveillance program is constitutional.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on Friday renewed the NSA phone collection program, said Shawn Turner, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Such periodic requests are somewhat formulaic but required since the program started in 2006.

The latest approval was the first since two conflicting court decisions about whether the program is lawful and since a presidential advisory panel recommended that the NSA no longer be allowed to collect and store the phone records and search them without obtaining separate court approval for each search.

In a statement, Turner said that 15 judges on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on 36 occasions over the past seven years have approved the NSA’s collection of U.S. phone records as lawful.

Also Friday, government lawyers turned to U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to block one federal judge’s decision that threatens the NSA phone records program.

The opposing lawyer who spearheaded the effort that led to the ruling said he hopes to take the issue directly to the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department filed a one-page notice of appeal asking the appeals court to overturn U.S. District Judge Richard Leon’s ruling last month that the program was likely unconstitutional. The government’s move had been expected.

Larry Klayman, who filed the class-action suit against President Barack Obama and top administration national security officials, said he intends to petition the federal appeals court next week to send the case directly to the Supreme Court. Klayman said the move was justified because the NSA case was a matter of great public importance.

“There are exigent circumstances here,” Klayman said. “We can’t allow this situation to continue. The NSA’s continuing to spy on everybody.”

Turner said U.S. intelligence agencies would be willing to modify the phone records surveillance program to provide additional privacy and civil liberties protections as long as it was still operationally beneficial. He said the Obama administration was carefully evaluating the advisory panel’s recent recommendations.

Judges sitting on the secretive spy court have repeatedly approved the program for 90-day periods. They also have repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the program — a judicial bulwark that held strong until Leon’s surprise decision last month.

Leon said the NSA’s program was “almost Orwellian,” a reference to writer George Orwell’s futuristic novel “1984,” and that there was little evidence the operation had prevented terrorist attacks. He ruled against the government but agreed to postpone shutting down the program until the government could appeal.

In a separate case involving the same NSA phone records program, a district judge in New York last month upheld the government’s data collection as lawful. The American Civil Liberties Union, which lost that case, said this week it will appeal to a federal appeals court in New York.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Finally! Obama To Be Sued Over Massively-Invasive NSA Spying Scandal.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is leading a class-action lawsuit with hundreds of thousands of Americans against President Barack Obama’s National Security Agency (NSA) over its spying on the American people, Breitbart News has learned.

Sen. Paul will be discussing the lawsuit in an exclusive appearance on Fox News with host Eric Bolling at 10 PM ET on Friday. Breitbart News has learned that Paul will file the class action lawsuit soon in the D.C. District Court and that he will be filing it as an individual, not as a U.S. Senator. For a U.S. Senator to file a such a class action lawsuit against the President of the United States would be extremely rare.



With regard to NSA spying, this is the first class action lawsuit against such activity. This allows the American people to join together in a grassroots manner against President Obama’s NSA for the first time in the legal system, as all other lawsuits have been individuals suing against the agency.

The focus of the lawsuit will be how the NSA’s actions violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The lawsuit will target the NSA’s metadata program.

Via Paul’s campaign website, more than 300,000 Americans have already indicated they will sign up for the suit when it is officially filed in D.C. District court. Americans can join the lawsuit by visiting Paul’s website.

The class action suit from Sen. Paul against the president comes on the heels of two different conflicting court rulings in individual suits against the NSA, with one court ruling that the NSA was within its bounds to spy on Americans shortly after a different court ruled the NSA’s actions were unconstitutional. The conflicting decisions all but guarantee an eventual Supreme Court-level case on the matter. source – Breitbart.

by NTEB News Desk

Boehner’s Advice: Begin Your Day With Breakfast at a Diner.

Image: Boehner's Advice: Begin Your Day With Breakfast at a Diner

House Speaker John Boehner suggests to Esquire magazine readers that they have breakfast at a diner.

The men’s magazine asked the Ohio Republican for a recommendation for its readers for January. 

Boehner doesn’t name his favorite diner in the article, but it is well known among Washington politicians as Pete’s.

“Most mornings when I’m in Washington, I have breakfast at the same place,” Boehner said. “It’s a diner.

“I get up early and go for a walk, and then stop by the diner on my way back to my apartment to read the news on my iPad and a stack of memos to prepare for the day,” Boehner said Tuesday. “It’s a comforting ritual, particularly in the dead of winter.”

The diner, the speaker said, reminds him of the bar his father owned while he was growing up in Ohio.

“I’ve been going there for years, and the staff all know me,” Boehner said. “They’re mostly immigrants from China and Vietnam. They don’t make a fuss over me — and they never talk to the reporters who come to snoop around every now and again.

“I sit at the counter in jeans and a ball cap,” he continued, adding that his usual meal is “eggs, and sometimes sausage, but never on Fridays.”

He also doesn’t order the bacon.

“My diner makes lousy bacon. I don’t know why,” he said.

“I’m always looking for new diners, and when I find one I like, I stick with it.

“It’s an anchor to my day, a way to feel like I’m home in Ohio no matter where I am,” the speaker said. “That’s why I endorse breakfast at a diner.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Peter King: Obama Should Stop Apologizing for NSA Spying.

Republican Rep. Peter King of New York says President Barack Obama should stop being defensive on American spying on its allies.

Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” King said the work of the National Security Agency has saved thousands of lives, not just in the United States, but also in France, Germany and throughout Europe.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel complained to Obama about news that the NSA had been listening in on her personal cell phone for 10 years, Obama replied he would have had them stop had he known about it.

U.S. intelligence helped uncover the Hamburg plot that led to the 9/11 attacks,  King noted.

“We’re not doing this for the fun of it,” he said. “This is to gather valuable intelligence which helps not just us, but also helps the Europeans.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Merkel Under Fire as Germans Rail Over Ties With NSA.

Image: Merkel Under Fire as Germans Rail Over Ties With NSA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s government Monday announced a probe into ties between its secret services and US agencies whose sweeping online surveillance was revealed by fugitive intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

It reacted to a report by news weekly Der Spiegel which said documents provided by Snowden showed that German services closely cooperated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) and used its Internet spy software XKeyscore.

Germany‘s domestic intelligence service BfV said it was only testing the Internet tool, which Der Spiegel said can store several days’ worth of Internet traffic data and content as well as key words from online search engines and Google Maps.

The US documents reportedly also praised the “eagerness” of foreign intelligence service BND president Gerhard Schindler to cooperate more closely with the NSA and said the German government had modified its interpretation of privacy laws to allow more flexibility in data sharing.

With elections set for September 22, the claims made by Snowden, some of them first reported by Der Spiegel, have put pressure on Merkel, who has said she only learned of the PRISM programme through media reports.

Merkel’s spokesman Georg Streiter announced a “comprehensive review” into the claims, with results to be presented between Wednesday and Friday to the parliament’s secret services oversight committee, whose meetings are closed to the media and public.

Streiter defended the fact that secret services operate out of the public eye, adding that “international terrorism can only be fought through international cooperation, and this serves to protect our citizens in Germany”.

But he also said that “German law applies on German soil, and that goes for everyone, including our intelligence services. That’s why the government takes very seriously the questions that arise from the weekend media coverage”.

“The chief of staff of the chancellery has initiated an extensive review. The outcome will shortly be reported to the Parliamentary Control Committee.”

Snowden’s claims about the NSA’s PRISM programme to capture and store email, phone and other communication data have angered many in Germany, where the notion of state surveillance triggers dark memories of snooping by the Nazis’ Gestapo and communist East Germany’s Stasi.

Under repeated media questioning, Streiter defended German intelligence ties with the United States: “I find it rather amazing that the impression is being created that we are cooperating with evil. I mean, they are our friends.

“We have closely cooperated with our friends for decades. And if there are now different views, different interpretations of the law and different laws on personal data in America and Germany, then that doesn’t mean that they are suddenly evil.”


© AFP 2013


Merkel and Pope Talk ‘Strong’ Europe.

VATICAN CITY — German Chancellor Angela Merkel, mindful of the weight of Christian voters in September elections, made a quick trip to Rome Saturday for a private meeting with Pope Francis, focusing on how Europe’s struggling economy should be at the service of the people.

Merkel spoke privately for 45 minutes with the pope at the Apostolic Palace, after exchanging cordial greetings in Germany.

Her Christian Democrat party depends heavily on support from Protestant and Catholic voters, and the chat and photo opportunity could be a welcome campaign boost for a leader largely identified by Europe’s economically suffering citizens as a champion of debt reduction even at the cost of painful austerity across much of the continent.

On Thursday, Francis blasted what he called a “cult of money” in a global financial system that ends up tyrannizing, not helping, the world’s poor.

Asked whether they had also talked about the pope’s recent criticism, Merkel said that they spoke about the regulation of the financial markets.

“The regulation of the financial markets is our central problem, our central task,” said Merkel, who met with reporters on the Vatican grounds. “We are moving ahead, but we are not yet where we want to be, where we could say that a derailment of the guard rails of social market won’t happen again.”

Merkel added: “It ought to be like this: the economy is there to serve the people. In the last few years, this hasn’t been the case at all everywhere.”

Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and especially Greece, have seen governments concentrate on debt reduction while slashing state spending. With growth stymied, unemployment, especially among young people, has soared. Businesses, many of them family-run in southern Europe, have failed as bank lending dried up.

The chancellor also said the pope had stressed that the world needs a strong and just Europe and described the overall conversation has encouraging.

Merkel is currently campaigning for re-election in September’s general elections. Half of Germany’s population is Catholic. In Bavaria especially, there is a strong conservative and Catholic tradition.

According to a Vatican statement, Francis and Merkel concentrated on topics of “common interest, including the socio-political, economic and religious situation in Europe and in the world.”

“In particular, they spoke about safeguarding human rights, about the persecutions faced by Christians, about religious freedom and of international collaboration to promote peace,” the Vatican said.

Francis, who is Argentine, has picked up on campaigns by the two previous popes, the Polish John Paul II and German Benedict XVI, to reinvigorate what the Catholic church sees as flagging religious enthusiasm on a continent with Christian roots, including dwindling number of churchgoers in much of Western Europe.

The Vatican also uses papal visits with major leaders to seek allies in its lobbying on behalf of Christians who face discrimination and in some cases physical violence in parts of the world.

Merkel told reporters she had reflected during her flight to Rome earlier in the day how both she and Francis has spent part of their lives in countries once under dictatorships — her native East Germany under Soviet-influenced communist rule, and the pope’s Argentine homeland, which had formerly been ruled by a bloody military dictatorship.

Francis and Merkel also exchanged views on Europe, which the Vatican described as a “community of values” with responsibilities in the world, “urging commitment by all secular and religious components toward favoring development based on the dignity of the human person and inspired by the principles of assistance and solidarity.”

There was no immediate indication if Francis would visit Germany, which Merkel said she invited him to visit.

She left him with gifts including a boxed set of 107 CDs of classical music directed by German maestro Wilhelm Furtwaengler. “I don’t know if you will have time to listen” to them all, Merkel told him in German. Francis also seemed pleased by the other gift, three volumes of poetry by Friedrich Hoelderlin, a poet he is known to enjoy.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cyprus turns to Russia as bailout deal stumbles.

Cyprus turned to Russia on Tuesday as President Nicos Anastasiades battled to garner support from lawmakers for a controversial eurozone bailout deal that the central bank warned was in danger of collapse.

State radio reported that a parliamentary vote due later Tuesday may be postponed while the presidency announced Anastasiades had called an emergency meeting of party leaders for Wednesday to “examine alternative plans.”

Commentators believe that if the measure is put to the vote on Tuesday it will not secure enough support as Anastasiades does not have a clear majority in the 56-seat parliament.

The president’s own Disy party has unanimously decided to abstain because “it will strengthen the bargaining position of the Republic of Cyprus,” Nicos Tornaritis told Sigma television.

The private broadcaster said that all other parties in the Cypriot parliament would also abstain from voting for the bill.

Uncertainty about the vote comes despite changes by Cyprus to the terms of the the 10-billion-euro ($13 billion) deal sealed with eurozone partners at the weekend.

The revised plan, drafted Tuesday in response to an angry backlash at home and jitters that roiled global markets, sees a one-time levy being dropped on bank savings below 20,000 euros but retained at 6.75 percent on deposits of 20,000-100,000 euros and at 9.9 percent for amounts above 100,000.

Under the original accord, Cyprus agreed to impose a levy of 6.75 percent on bank accounts up to 100,000 euros and 9.9 percent for larger deposits. The move was aimed at raising 5.8 billion euros for the government.

The changes prompted a warning by Central Bank governor Panicos Demetriades that the bailout deal could collapse as it will now no longer “yield the estimated 5.8 billion euros agreed by the Eurogroup”.

“If we secure 5.5 billion it will be considered in breach of the agreement and perhaps will not be accepted,” Demetriades told parliament’s finance committee, as cited by the Cyprus News Agency.

Fearing a run on accounts, Cyprus has shut it banks until at least Thursday, with the local stock exchange closed for the same period.

A Cyprus government spokesman said Anastasiades would have further telephonic discussions on the terms of the bailout with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later Tuesday, after a first round of talks on Monday.

With Cyprus appearing to be heading for a showdown with the European Union and International Monetary Fund over the details of the bailout package, Europe’s main stock markets slid for the most part on Tuesday.

Frankfurt’s DAX 30 shed 0.32 percent while in Paris the CAC 40 lost 0.73 percent. London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies managed a 0.11 percent gain in afternoon trading.

And as the island leaders raced to stave off bankruptcy, Finance Minister Michalis Sarris headed to Moscow to seek an extension to an existing Russian loan.

Finance ministry director Andreas Charalambous told reporters that securing an extension to the loan was “very important” as it would throw Cyprus an economic lifeline.

“The first issue is we have a large loan maturing in 2016 and if we manage to come to an understanding this will help facilitate our debt repayments and debt sustainability,” Charalambous said.

“If we manage to extend the loan the refinancing needs of the economy would be manageable. So its very important.”

“There are other options the minister is going to discuss with the Russian government and investors as our ambitions are going beyond the extension of the loan. We will see if there is potential interest for further investment,” Charalambous added without elaborating.

Moscow extended Nicosia a 2.5-billion-euro loan in 2011 at a rate of 4.5 percent.

Sarris’s goal was to lower that rate and extend the loan’s expiration date until 2020 from 2016, media reports said.

However talks were likely to be awkward given the levy demanded by the EU — Russians have billions of euros deposited in the island’s banks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed the “dangerous” move and turmoil hit stock and currency trades on Monday amid concerns that a precedent had been set for bigger debt-saddled eurozone economies such as Italy and Spain.

Estimates vary but the Moody’s rating firm estimates that Russian companies and banks keep up to $31 billion in Cyprus, which accounts for between a third and half of all Cypriot deposits.


AFPBy Charlie Charalambous | AFP 

Germany increases social spending before election.

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s ruling center-right coalition has decided to increase childcare benefits, spend more money on transportation projects and end an unpopular medical charge less than a year before a general election, officials said Monday.

The measures — costing more than €3 billion ($3.9 billion) per year — come at a time when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble are urging other European nations to rein in spending and cut back public debt.

The opposition Social Democrats decried the new measures as expensive presents to voters before next year’s poll in which Merkel will stand for a third term. “Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Schaeuble preach the Europeans to drink water, but at home they are having wine,” center-left party leader Sigmar Gabriel said.

But Economy Minister Philipp Roesler, who is also the vice chancellor, defended the decisions, saying the parties have also pledged to achieve an almost balanced budget as early as 2014. This sets a “signal of stability and solidity” amid Europe’s three-year-old debt crisis, he added.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, overcame the slump of the 2008-2009 financial crisis with two years of strong growth. The country has so far also weathered Europe’s sovereign debt crisis that has hard-hit several of the bloc’s southern nations such as Greece, Portugal or Spain.

While growth in Germany is expected to fall to around 1 percent this and next year, the government has reported record tax revenues, enabling the country to reduce new borrowing without pushing through any major budget cuts.

Coalition leaders agreed to increase spending on transportation infrastructure by €750 million ($958 million) next year. They also scrapped an unpopular €10 ($13) charge that most patients must pay in addition to their health insurance when visiting a doctor — a cut worth about €2 billion ($2.56 billion).

Furthermore, the coalition agreed to press ahead with a controversial new childcare benefit that will go to parents who stay at home with their young children instead of work. According to earlier finance ministry estimates, it will cost about €400 million next year, then about €1 billion ($1.28 billion) annually starting 2014.

Among other decisions, the coalition parties also agreed to do more to help impoverished retirees, though details on the measure’s estimated costs were not immediately clear Monday.

The coalition of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, their Bavarian sister party and the pro-business Free Democrats announced the changes early Monday after hours of late-night talks.

Under the child care benefit set to start next August, families will be entitled to monthly aid of €100 ($128) when one parent — in most cases in Germany still the mother — keeps their 2-year-old child at home rather than sending him or her to a day care center.

A year later, parents will be paid €150 ($191) for each of their 2- and 3-year-old children. Other welfare programs already exist for children under age 2.

The program pushed for by Merkel’s socially conservative Bavarian sister party has proven to be very controversial within the coalition. Several lawmakers have threatened to veto the legislation.

German media widely call the program the “Herdpraemie,” loosely translated as “kitchen bonus.”

The opposition condemns the proposal as an attempt to promote conservative family values that will hurt children’s early childhood education, saying the money should better be used to create more day care center places.

German business leaders have also spoken out against the program.

“It sets the wrong incentives for parents to pull out from their jobs,” the powerful BDA lobby group of Germany’s employers said in a statement.


Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed reporting.


Juergen Baetz can be reached on Twitter at


By JUERGEN BAETZ | Associated Press

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