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Posts tagged ‘NSA’

Bill Gates: Edward Snowden Is Not a Hero.


National Security Agency secrets-leaker Edward Snowden is no hero, according to Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

“I think he broke the law,” Gates told Rolling Stone in an interview published in its latest issue.

“I certainly wouldn’t characterize him as a hero. If he wanted to raise the issues and stay in the country and engage in civil disobedience or something of that kind, or if he had been careful in terms of what he had released, then it would fit more of the model of ‘OK, I’m really trying to improve things.’

“You won’t find much admiration from me.”

Gates said “there has to be a debate” about government surveillance,“but the specific techniques they use become unavailable if they’re discussed in detail.”

“So the debate needs to be about the general notion of under what circumstances should they be allowed to do things,” he said, adding:

“Should surveillance be usable for petty crimes like jay walking or minor drug possession?

Or is there a higher threshold for certain information? Those aren’t easy questions.”

Gates conceded issues of personal privacy are complicated, but that in some cases, “cameras everywhere” can be a good thing.

“My personal view is having cameras in inner cities is a very good thing,” he said, saying petty crime in London has gone down,and asserting “They catch terrorists because of it.”

“And if something really bad happens, most of the time you can figure out who did it,” he said. “There’s a general view there that it’s not used to invade privacy in some way. Yet in an American city, in order to take advantage of that in the same way, you have to trust what this information is going to be used for.”

He also said it’s no secret there’s no secrets.

“Every phone number you dial, every credit-card charge you make –it’s long since passed that a typical person doesn’t leave footprints,” he said. “But we need explicit rules… society does have an overriding interest in some activities, like, ‘Am I gathering nuclear-weapons plans, and am I going to kill millions of people?’ If we think there’s an increasing chance of that, who do you trust? I actually wish we were having more intense debates about these things.”

Last July, the Guardian reported Microsoft had aided the NSA and FBI in accessing user data, including providing video and audio conversations from Skype, Microsoft’s video chat service.

Der Spiegel report in December also found that the NSA would use fake Windows error messages to spy on people.

Last year, Microsoft executives reportedly had meetings to discuss how to better encrypt user data and pledged in court they would fight any government requests for data of foreign customers.

Reuters contributed to this report

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Cathy Burke

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg Calls Obama to Vent About NSA Spying.


Image: Facebook's Zuckerberg Calls Obama to Vent About NSA Spying

By Jason Devaney

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called President Barack Obama on the phone Wednesday night and vented his frustrations with reports the NSA is spying on Americans.

A report on The Intercept this week explained how the NSA is able to hack into people’s computers to steal data, sometimes disguising itself as a phony Facebook server. It also uses spam emails that contain software to peer into the lives of users, according to the report.

Urgent: Should the NSA Spy on Americans? Vote Here Now 

“The U.S. government should be the champion for the Internet, not a threat,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page. “They need to be much more transparent about what they’re doing, or otherwise people will believe the worst.

“I’ve called President Obama to express my frustration over the damage the government is creating for all of our future. Unfortunately, it seems like it will take a very long time for true full reform.”

The Intercept report cited documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor now living in Russia on temporary asylum. He is wanted by the U.S. government for stealing classified material.

“To keep the Internet strong, we need to keep it secure,” Zuckerberg wrote. “That’s why at Facebook we spend a lot of our energy making our services and the whole Internet safer and more secure. We encrypt communications, we use secure protocols for traffic, we encourage people to use multiple factors for authentication and we go out of our way to help fix issues we find in other people’s services.

“The internet works because most people and companies do the same. We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world.”

It seemed to ruffle Zuckerberg’s feathers the most that Facebook, a secure platform on which users can socialize, is reportedly being used in a ruse to gather data from unsuspected Internet users.

The White House confirmed the phone conversation between Zuckerberg and Obama, CNN reported, but would not provide details. The administration denied reports that the NSA uses a Facebook-like server to steal data, referring to an NSA statement.

“Recent media reports that allege NSA has infected millions of computers around the world with malware, and that NSA is impersonating U.S. social media or other websites, are inaccurate,” the statement reads. “NSA uses its technical capabilities only to support lawful and appropriate foreign intelligence operations, all of which must be carried out in strict accordance with its authorities.

“NSA does not use its technical capabilities to impersonate U.S. company websites. Nor does NSA target any user of global Internet services without appropriate legal authority. Reports of indiscriminate computer exploitation operations are simply false.”

Zuckerberg said he is “confused and frustrated” with the allegations leveled on the nation’s domestic spy agency.

“When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government,” he wrote.

Urgent: Should the NSA Spy on Americans? Vote Here Now 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Anarchy: Has Jonathan Lost Control Of Nigeria? By Peregrino Brimah.


By Peregrino Brimah

Bama, Izghe, Bama, Yobe, Mafa, Jakana; Boko Haram is unleashing mayhem in the northeastern villages and towns of Nigeria. Burning them to ashes and massacring the citizens with impunity. ‘Impunity,’ the most commonly used vocab in conversations about this regime.

Since the new service chiefs were sworn in and since the suspect thrice failed NSA and dictatorial regime, Gusau was approved to return to our security department, Boko Haram or whatever it is, has successfully enjoyed ravaging Nigerian cities for hours on-end with the army appearing to have been given a stand-down order. The Armageddon has begun, without question, for many of our countrymen.

The United States has categorized Boko Haram as the world’s second worst terrorist organisation, killings only of less numbers than al Qaeda Taliban central. But with the new rate of successful killing and destruction, Boko Haram 2014 is currently the world’s top terrorist organisation.

Under this administration, Boko Haram which was pretty much destroyed by ex-President Yar’Adua is now back and in better form than ever; getting stronger and more brazen by the day. In the five years, the administration has been unable to restore security to the north and the economy continues in its deadly plunge. As the crisis entrenches itself, the people have lost all confidence and hope.

BUNKERING, PIRACY AND KIDNAPPING

While the northeast grapples with a new reality of life with terror, under this new era of impunity, MEND has reformed into the world’s top high-sea pirates, achieving the most dangerous, high value boat captures and robberies in the entire world for 2013. In fact the first oil tanker kidnap in Nigeria’s history, the hijack of MT Velle di Cordoba, happened in December of 2010 under Jonathan’s government.  Situations appear to be getting out of hand and restoration of modest security appears completely illusive.

According to estimates from a former senior World Bank employee, over $400 billion dollars worth of oil revenue has been stolen from the Niger Delta by thieves, bunkerers and pirates since independence. Today the stealing, bunkering and spilling oil from illegal activities is at an all time high. The creeks are flowing with poisonous oil. In fact the thieves are so confident and feel so legitimate, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council announced publicly that illegal ‘bush’ refining should be legalized. 400,000 barrels of oil are looted every day with a staggering income diversion by the Niger Delta bandits of $4 million every day! And this is getting worse. Unhindered looting of this capacity is a serious enduring threat to national security and prosperity. Illegally amassed wealth is the chief source of cash for the mechanisms of terror. The coastal terrorists continue to secure their status politically and militarily and if not checked early, this poses an irreversible threat to the commoner, the region, the nation and sub-continent as a whole. As these barons achieve stupendous wealth, their sophistication surpasses that of Nigeria’s security services, they are able to bribe and buy off any government threats and their daring reach expands outside Nigeria’s shores, with activities of Nigerian pirates extending as far east as Gabon and west to Ivory Coast.

LARGE-SCALE CORRUPTION AND ECONOMIC TERRORISM
Nigeria loses $8bn a year in NNPC oil-product swaps. $4.3 million a day is stolen from the poor masses in the NNPC kerosene subsidy scam, which by the way, contrary to recent statements by the oil minister and President, Nigerians never protested about; the January 2012 protests were only in relation to petrol and not kerosene subsidies. The nation’s economy appears strong in only one thing—missing billions of dollars. Investor confidence is tanking rapidly as the corruption and recklessness of the current regime continues to be exposed. Jonathan appears to have willingly or accidentally lost total control. Of late, the President has fired many of his ministers and even the CBN governor after he exposed gargantuan misappropriations and frank looting of up to and over $100 billion by the administration. As Nigeria’s fortunes get worse, a handful of cabal continue to get stupendously rich while the numbers of destitute have doubled in the last 10 years.

This is serious. This is a deep mess. I’m not an alarmist. When we raised the alarm about the nation being broke; billions looted, we were not unduly frantic, we were simply reading the signs and feeling the pinch that has been substantiated with the expose of the kerosene subsidy scam and the now known $20-127 billion looted as exposed by the Central bank. Trends in terror finance, the sudden inclusion of Nigerians to the list of the world’s top billionaires and poverty in the nation, signified one thing- rapid transfer of oil funds and masses wealth to greedy cabal. The dry-looting of the nation.

Such a situation where the masses are robbed dry to satisfy a few is not sustainable. Anarchy is the predictable outcome of the current state of the nation under administrative economic terrorism. Nigeria hangs precariously at the balance and political aspirations and desperation does not allow those in power realize the impending doom and chaos. For the dead, RIP, the doom has already happened.

ARMS PROLIFERATION

Boko Haram terrorism of the northeast and MEND southern terrorism were both the results of the proliferation of weapons among thugs of psychopathic politicians. After the candidates secured their victories, these armed youth political thugs lost their relevance and resorted to terror. If the events of the past elections are anything to go by, Nigeria is in a bigger mess today. The importation and proliferation of arms is at an all time high under the current regime. No region is being spared as politicians take advantage of the impunity that avails to create and arm new thug militia who will become the havoc wrecking terrorist groups of tomorrow. Nigerian Customs reported seven times as high seizures of arms in 2013 as there were in 2012.

The Punch of Feb 20 revealed that over 8,741 arms and 7,014 pieces of ammunition were recovered from various criminal hideouts in Anambra, Edo and Rivers states. According to another February article in the same paper, the State Security Service operatives intercepted high-calibre ammunition in a 20-foot container at the sea port in Rivers State in a MV Iron Trader vessel which was carrying 2,700 anti-aircraft and anti-tank bombs. The police, according to the report also alerted of an increased number of arms in circulation. Considering the continuous violent killings in the Middle Belt, and the entire national rate of violent armed crime and terror, it does not take much to appreciate the danger Nigerians are in as everyone who desires to possess a gun or even an anti-tank weapon, has one and is able to use it without risk of being locked up. In Nigeria today, when one person discretely shoots, he is a criminal, but once a gang of two make loud noise and beat and kill in a form of mob action, they are spared of any wrong doing. This impunity for mob and communal terror has cemented the foundation for insecurity and societal anarchy.

IMPUNITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF TERRORISTS

It is no news that the corrupt and the sponsors of terror are not only protected today, but are even rewarded and granted greater rights and privileges. In the current political dispensation, once you have amassed enough wealth and power to appear to be able to contribute a certain voter block, the government will patronize you. This grand impunity has discredited any attempt at appearing to be tackling corruption and terror in Nigeria. As long as sponsors of terror are protected by the government, support and cash flow to terrorists is guaranteed.

Government officials caught with bags of money and hand in pot are retained within the government and even if finally they retire, they never face repudiation for their crimes. Imprisoned terrorists, killers and looters are granted pardon or brought out of jail some other way and even the worst murderous dictators and looters of the nation’s history have been awarded national honors. The short term and long term impacts of this ‘canonization of terror’ as Noble Laureate Wole Soyinka phrased it and legalizing of corruption and criminality can only be dreaded. This is a nation under terror. The leaders are proud of their embrace of corruption and terror and wish to share this with the masses and teach all, old and young that corruption and violent and economic terror is a thing to be embraced and regarded. This dangerous situation of absurd impunity threatens the nation more than any other problem the nation has. Where there is no law and no justice there can never be peace. Without ensuring security, there can never be meaningful development. A radical leadership intervention is exigent at this time in Nigeria’s history to stem the tide of praise and patronage of terror, corruption and illegality.

CONCLUSION

The government is afraid of the masses. It knows the people are very different from it. The Civilian JTF in the northeast has increasingly come at odds with the state. These brave youth have gone after sponsors of terror, only to be fenced by the government that quickly comes to the rescue of the cabal, eight hours faster than they ever come to the rescue of the poor and elderly in villages attacked by Boko Haram. This administration is afraid of a true SNC. It is afraid of state police, regional power and restoring regionalism. The Status quo maintains arbitrary ethnic divides and frustrations that allow the government and cabal divert the attention of the masses from their atrocities to ridiculous religious and ethnic quarrels. One must admit that the government and their coterie of plunderers have thus far been a step ahead of the masses. If things remain as is, Nigeria is on a path to sure and certain calamity.

At this critical point, to protect life and restore hope, either a people or other event of force rids the nation of the current administration; or the people must work with this government and help it and force its hand to limit its misadventures till its tenure ends mid next year. These problems are serious; there will forever be scars from what has transpired not only in these last five years but from most of the years since independence. The global dependence on oil is changing; much of the ‘developed’ world has abandoned Nigeria. One notices European players are limiting their dependence on our oil and easing out their oil companies from Nigeria and allowing the Chinese take over. This is not by accident. This is because of their projections on what we have and are doing to ourselves. They view us as on a course of irredeemable decay and a long-term investment risk. Are we going to prove them right? Are we going to secure a future for our children, or leave them a ‘Darfur?’

Dr. Peregrino Brimah
http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Booz Allen: Snowden Targeted Our Firm to Get at NSA Secrets.


Image: Booz Allen: Snowden Targeted Our Firm to Get at NSA Secrets Booz Allen Hamilton vice chairman Mike McConnell

By Elliot Jager

Edward Snowden went to work at Booz Allen Hamilton, the federal contractor, because he wanted access to high-level national security secrets, Mike McConnell, a Booz Allen vice chairman and ex-NSA director told  The Wall Street Journal.

In McConnell’s telling, Snowden began his national security career as a NSA security guard. He then entered the CIA’s information-technology section and was sent overseas. He had disciplinary problems, left for the private sector, and was posted in Japan.

He then decided he wanted to rejoin the NSA at the highest level of operations. Snowden broke into the agency’s computer system “administratively,” gained access to the answers to the admittance exam, then “aced” the test, McConnell told the Journal.

“He walked in and said you should hire me because I scored high on the test,” McConnell said.

But Snowden was dissatisfied with the level of the job that the NSA offered him.

“That’s when he turned,” said McConnell.

He said the “narcissistic” Snowden decided to work for Booz Allen because he wanted higher level security access than would have been available to him at the NSA.

“He targeted my company because we enjoy more access than other companies. Because of the nature of the work we do…he targeted us for that purpose,” said McConnell.

Booz Allen hired Snowden in 2013. The government had already vetted him— contractors do not provide security clearances, only the government does that, said McConnell. The company confirmed that his resume was accurate, though in hindsight, McConnell acknowledged, there were gaps in his history.

Snowden worked for the company only three months. He never entered a Booz Allen facility.

“The government invited him into its space for training. That’s when he did his download,” said McConnell.

Snowden transferred data he wanted to a storage disk, went back to Hawaii, and then left for Hong Kong.

As damaging as Snowden’s access turned out to be, he chiefly penetrated only the first two of four information levels. At the first level, though, he gained information to the FISA court order authorizing NSA eavesdropping.

At the second level Snowden was able to access intelligence reports from around the world— though how the information was collected was basically shielded. McConnell said Snowden had very little access to the third tier, and almost none at all to the top level.

With all that, said McConnell, Snowden compromised more intelligence capability than any previous spy.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper previously described Snowden’s disclosures as the “most damaging theft of intelligence information in our history,” according to the Journal.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

German TV Claims NSA Spied on Merkel’s Predecessor Too.


U.S. intelligence spied on former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder from 2002, NDR television reported Tuesday, adding fuel to the flames of a row over spying on incumbent Angela Merkel.

Schroeder, the Social Democrat chancellor who served from 1998 to 2005, appears on a list of names of people and institutions put under surveillance by the US National Security Agency from 2002, at the start of his second mandate as German head of state.

At the time Germany was opposing intervention in Iraq.

The NSA has been at the heart of a spying scandal which erupted last year.

US-German ties soured amid revelations leaked by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden that US intelligence agencies had eavesdropped on Merkel and collected vast amounts of online data and telephone records from average citizens.

The dispute has threatened to derail negotiations on a sweeping transatlantic free trade agreement known as TTIP.

Schroeder said he was unsurprised by the latest spying report.

“At the time the idea would never have occurred to me, but now it doesn’t surprise me,” he told NDR and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily.

US President Barack Obama in a recent interview assured that Merkel was no longer under surveillance.

Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged Friday that relations with Germany had gone through a “rough period” over the NSA snooping but said that shared interests would help put ties back on track.

Kerry, speaking in Berlin, said then that the United States took Germany’s anger over revelations that US intelligence monitored Merkel’s mobile phone seriously.

Asked whether the US administration would sign a no-spying agreement that Germany has demanded in the wake of the scandal, Kerry said only that Merkel and Obama were in “consultations” on the issue.

 

© AFP 2014
Source: Newsmax.com

Cruz: Obama Snubbed Americans Who have Lost Healthcare Coverage.


Sen. Ted Cruz took President Barack Obama to task Tuesday night for failing to mention the millions of Americans who he says have lost their health coverage because of Obamacare.

The Texas Republican also told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly shortly after the State of the Union speech that the administration’s economic policies were “killing off” off jobs and small businesses.

“It’s interesting, because there’s very little ‘action’ there that was actually responsive to what the American people are feeling and what they’re experiencing,” the tea party favorite said.

Story continues below video.

“If you listen to what he said tonight, he didn’t say a single word that acknowledged that the Obama economic policies have resulted in the lowest labor force participation since 1978. Millions of Americans have lost [their] jobs because of the Obama economic policies.”

“You know what was striking . . . tonight throughout an hour-plus speech?” he continued. “The president didn’t say a single word to the over five million Americans who’ve had their health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare. He left them in the cold.

‘If he thinks Americans want action, what they’d like is for the federal government to stop taking away their health insurance, taking away their jobs, forcing them into part-time work. And sadly, he provided no relief whatsoever on those grounds,” Cruz added.

Cruz, whose battle to defund Obamacare resulted in a government shutdown last October, also took the administration to task for spying on millions of Americans.

“We’ve had an awful lot of government focused on the lives of the American people,” he said. “Spying on our cell phones, on our emails — whether it’s the NSA or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or HHS or the IRS. And you’re right, a lot of Americans would like the government to butt out,” he said.

“But even more importantly, people would like the government to stop putting massive regulations, massive taxes, that are killing small businesses and are killing jobs. Obamacare is the biggest job killer in the country.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Drew MacKenzie

Snowden Requesting Russian Protection After Threats.


Image: Snowden Requesting Russian Protection After ThreatsEdward Snowden’s refugee documents granted by Russia.

By Newsmax Wires

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. contractor residing in Russia under temporary asylum, is appealing to the local government for protection after receiving threats against his life, his lawyer in Moscow said.

“He has no other option but to seek protection and ask for the situation to be cleared up,” Anatoly Kucherena said by phone today. “There are worries and alarm about statements and actions on the part of some officials.”

Latest: Is Snowden a Hero or Traitor – Vote in Urgent PollKucherena, who has represented Snowden’s interests in Russia since he sought refuge last July after leaking classified National Security Agency documents, pointed to reports on Buzzfeed this month that contained threats made by unidentified U.S. officials. Two days ago, Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, described the 30-year-old American as “a thief” who had possible Russian assistance and has “incredibly harmed” the U.S. military.

Snowden received a year’s sanctuary in Russia in August after a month-long confinement in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. After months of debate instigated by Snowden’s leaks, President Barack Obama responded Jan. 17 by endorsing action to ensure American citizens and allies that their privacy is protected while committing to few specifics.

Obama canceled a September meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the decision to grant Snowden temporary asylum.

Life, Safety

“Edward really believes his life and safety are at risk,” Kucherena said, adding that his client currently has private protection. “Since he’s a temporary refugee, he has the same rights and responsibilities as any Russian citizen.”

Snowden hasn’t received notice from the U.S. that he’s being held accountable for any crime, according to Kucherena.

Rogers, the U.S. lawmaker, has offered the only public characterization of a classified Defense Department report on Snowden, saying it concluded that he downloaded about 1.7 million intelligence files while working for the McLean, Virginia-based Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp.

Dianne Feinstein, who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a joint appearance with Rogers that Snowden “may well have” had assistance. Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who’s chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the same day on ABC’s “This Week” that he thought Snowden had help.

No Asset

Russia isn’t controlling Snowden as an intelligence asset or offering him aid beyond a safe haven, Putin said Dec. 19. Snowden hasn’t been questioned about U.S. intelligence activities regarding Russia, according to Putin.

“I’ll tell you in semiprofessional language: we aren’t working with him and haven’t worked with him in investigative terms,” he said.

The U.S. has accused Snowden of theft and espionage for leaking documents to the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper and the Washington Post last year that unveiled the breadth of the NSA’s collection of Internet and telephone records.

Snowden, who first went to Hong Kong after leaking the documents, has said his goal was to call the public’s attention to programs he believed had expanded with little meaningful oversight.

“There’s a reason he ended up in the hands, the loving arms, of an FSB agent in Moscow,” Rogers said, referring to Russia’s security agency. “There’s questions to be answered there. I don’t think it was a gee-whiz luck event that he ended up in Moscow under the handling of the FSB.”

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

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