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Posts tagged ‘U.S. government’

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.

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Putin Shrugs Off Pusillanimous Obama Warning By Moving Troops Into Ukraine.


 

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Russian troops moved into Crimea Friday, U.S. officials told Fox News, prompting Ukraine to accuse Russia of an “armed invasion.”

At the White House, President Obama said the U.S. government is “deeply concerned” by reports of Russian “military movements” and warned any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty would be “deeply destabilizing.”

“There will be costs” for any military intervention, he said, without specifying what those costs might be.

U.S. officials told Fox News they see “evidence of air and maritime movement into and out of Crimea by Russian forces” although the Pentagon declined to officially “characterize” the movement.

Agence France Press quoted a top Ukranian official as saying Russian aircraft carrying nearly 2,000 suspected troops have landed at a military air base near the regional capital of the restive Crimean peninsula.

“Thirteen Russian aircraft landed at the airport of Gvardeyskoye (near Simferopol) with 150 people in each one,” Sergiy Kunitsyn, the Ukrainian president’s special representative in Crimea, told the local ATR television channel, according to AFP. source – Fox News

by NTEB News Desk

Journalist Greenwald Denies He’s ‘Fencing’ Stolen NSA Secrets.


Image: Journalist Greenwald Denies He's 'Fencing' Stolen NSA Secrets

By Drew MacKenzie

Freelance journalist Glenn Greenwald has flatly denied the allegations of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers that he’s selling U.S. surveillance secrets stolen by fugitive Edward Snowden.

The Michigan Republican claimed on Tuesday during a committee hearing that Greenwald is receiving payments from news organizations worldwide for the intelligence secrets that Snowden had illegally taken while working for the National Security Agency.

“A thief selling stolen material is a thief,” said Rogers. “For personal gain, he’s now selling his access to information.”

But Greenwald, who once worked for The Guardian in Britain, said that he’s giving hisservices to foreign news agencies as a journalist and that he’s not, as Rogers suggested, “fencing stolen material.”

He said in an interview, “I’m never selling documents. I don’t get money and give them documents, like, ‘Hey, nice doing business with you.’

“We do the reporting first I vet the stories. We come with the story already formed. We work on drafts of the story. We always edit the story. We have approval rights.”

Greenwald, who works with the help of other freelancers, said that he is careful to make sure that he has signed freelance contracts with various agencies before filing his Snowden stories to ensure that he’s seen as a journalist rather than a source.

“If I went around and reported on this without a freelance contract or a freelance fee paid, the government would say I’m acting as a source and not a distributor of the documents,” Greenwald said. “I never work with any foreign media outlet without any kind of agreement. I have to do it that way. If I don’t, they would make other accusations.”

Politico noted that in the past sources have been prosecuted for revealing secret data while the U.S government has been reluctant to go after journalists or publishers.

Rogers had attempted during the committee hearing to make a connection between journalism and criminality while being briefed by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey.

“I I’m a newspaper reporter…and I sell stolen material, is that legal because I’m a newspaper reporter?” Rogers asked. “If I’m hawking stolen, classified material that I’m not legally in possession of for personal gain and profit, is that not a crime?”

But Comey said that if a reporter was “hawking stolen jewelry” it would be a crime, but added that reporting on classified documents was harder to quantify because “it involves a news-gathering function” and “could have First Amendment implications.”

Greenwald pointed out that Roger’s accusations, if they stood up in a court of law, could criminalize the profession of journalism, and in essence the rights of free speech.

The writer, who is also an attorney and civil rights activist, claimed that his contracts are for a “trivial amount.”

He added, “Any journalist who reports on top-secret documents is necessarily getting paid. If you’re going to characterize that as selling documents, you’re necessarily selling documents.”

Greenwald also pointed out that journalist Bart Gellman had written stories for the Washington Post as a freelancer using Snowden’s documents, but Rogers had not accused him of fencing stolen goods.

“How is that any different than what Bart Gellman does?” Greenwald asked. “He’s freelance for the Washington Post and he gets paid per story.”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Dish: Sprint Deal Approval Threatens US Security.


Image: Dish: Sprint Deal Approval Threatens US Security

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of Softbank Corp., speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on April 30.

By Jim Meyers

Dish Network has issued a response to the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States’ (CFIUS) conditional approval of SoftBank Corp.‘s acquisition of Sprint Nextel Corp., saying the agreement “fails to adequately address the significant national security risk involved in the sale.”

As Newsmax reported earlier, the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Corp. announced in October that it was seeking approval from the United States for a $20 billion purchase of a 70 percent stake in Sprint, America’s third-largest cellphone provider.

SoftBank’s offer raised concerns due to the company’s links to the Chinese telecom firm Huawei.

In April, Dish Network, an Englewood, Colo.-based satellite television company, challenged SoftBank’s bid for Sprint, offering $25.5 billion for the entire company.

In October 2012, the House Intelligence Committee, after an 11-month investigation, concluded that U.S. firms should not do business with Huawei because of its extensive ties to the Chinese government.

The committee also found that it posed a major cyber-security threat to U.S. intellectual property.

Dish stated: “We believe the U.S. government should proceed with deliberation and caution in allowing assets of national strategic importance — such as the Sprint fiber backbone and wireless networks — to be owned and operated by a foreign company with significant ties to China.

“Oversight and accountability for these assets are critical at a time when offshore cyberattacks, including the hacking of weapons systems designs, continue to rise. Congress should take a close look at the CFIUS review process in this instance.”

DISH provided responses to the specific conditions of the National Security Agreement as reported by SoftBank, one of which disclosed: “SoftBank and Sprint must appoint an independent member to the New Sprint board of directors to serve as the Security Director.

The Security Director will be approved by the [U.S. Government] USG Parties, oversee Sprint’s compliance with the National Security Agreement and serve as a contact for the USG Parties on all security-related matters. In addition, the Security Director is required to have expertise and experience with national security matters, be a U.S. resident citizen, and hold appropriate security clearances.”

Dish responded: “While the requirement to have an appropriately credentialed security director approved by the U.S. government is very common to CFIUS agreements, it does little to address the practical risks of national security breaches, including cyberattacks, because hacking on the ground is not often detected in the boardroom.”

Another condition of the agreement: “The USG Parties will have the right to review and approve certain network equipment vendors and managed services providers of Sprint, as well as of Clearwire once Sprint completes its proposed acquisition of Clearwire.”

Dish’s response: “The U.S. government itself has been the victim of numerous cyberattacks. As a result, its ‘review and approval’ of equipment vendors and service providers cannot insure against national security breaches. Just this week, there have been reports that many critical U.S. defense systems have been hacked by Chinese attackers.”

Dish pointed out that Sprint has numerous contracts with the U.S. government — including the Department of Defense — transmitting confidential and possibly classified information, and added that “foreign ownership of the network and facilities transmitting this data creates serious national security concerns for the federal government.”

Dish concluded: “At a time when the president plans to press the issue of weapons hacking with the Chinese leadership, it seems ill-advised to hand over a key piece of our national infrastructure – the piece that enables hacking – to a foreign company with numerous ties to China.”

A number of prominent Americans have voiced deep concerns about SoftBank obtaining control of Sprint.

“The pending SoftBank takeover of Sprint could make America dependent on foreign controlled, owned, and critical infrastructure, an unacceptable outcome to maintaining our national security,” said Bradley A. Blakeman, former Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told Newsmax: “We cannot afford to allow something as significant as our communications networks to be in the hands of a country that has proven not to be trustworthy when it comes to information and of that information being handled responsibly and honorably.”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah told Newsmax he is also “concerned” about the SoftBank bid.

And Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Newsmax the administration should exercise “extreme caution” in evaluating the sale of Sprint in light of the cyber-warfare threat.

“This is a new form of warfare,” he said. “We have to accept that it’s there and then go after it.

“We cannot allow corporate profits to come first. We have to make sure our national security, our homeland security is there and we have to do all we can to make sure that we are protecting our people against this type of cyber invasion.”
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

One secret reason Petraeus had to resign.


He was in the nuclear chain of command

When he admitted having an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, CIA Director David Petraeus, as a senior civilian in the presidential chain of command should something go catastrophically wrong in Washington, violated special behavior codes for  officials who might one day be forced to execute nuclear strikes.

In classified presidential emergency action documents, the CIA director is among the dozens, if not hundreds of officials who are listed as National Command Authority successors in the event that higher ranking officials are no longer able to do their jobs.

Because under certain circumstances he’d have ready access to the nuclear satchel, Petraeus was indoctrinated into the Personnel Reliability Program, which evaluates and monitors the lifestyle and behavior of Americans with access to nuclear command and control mechanisms.  Adultery is not a minor sin under the PRP rules.

The details of so-called “nuclear pre-delegation” is one of the most tightly held secrets in the U.S. Government.  The first 18 presidential successors are spelled out by law. But it is not clear whether the pre-delegation lists follow the Constitutional chain of command.

After retiring as a general, Petraeus was confirmed by the Senate as a civilian, and was probably given emergency action training by the White House Military Office, which runs the Continuity of Government program. In that role, he could serve as one of the two people needed to confirm codes that would key Permissive Action Links (PALs) and  activate launch sequences, adhering to the U.S. Strategic Command‘s two-person rule for nuclear weapons. Precisely what would need to happen for an official like Petraeus to be in the catbird seat is classified, the result of decades of highly secret rules and provisions that are kept locked in safes.

And so seriously does the U.S. government take the PRP that if a missile wing commander is scheduled to get a wisdom tooth extraction, he or she must notify the squadron’s PRP officer, who will transfer power to the deputy commander until the commander’s doctor certifies in writing that he or she is able to function normally again.

When Petraeus conceded having an affair to DNI James Clapper, Clapper had several reasons to insist on his resignation, one of which was the director’s exalted position in COG programs.  Another was simply that the CIA director is held to a higher standard of trust and rectitude by foreign officials, who might take strategic advantage of his public embarrassment.

The current nuclear war plan for the United States is numbered “OPLAN 8010-08” and entitled “Strategic Deference and Global Strike.”

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week

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