‘ NSA and FBI Covertly Monitored Emails of Prominent Muslim-Americans ‘


#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – July 18  – The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies.

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According to documents provided by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden, the list of Americans monitored by their own government includes:

Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;

• Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;

• Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;

Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;

Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country.

The individuals appear on an NSA spreadsheet in the Snowden archives called “FISA recap”—short for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under that law, the Justice Department must convince a judge with the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that there is probable cause to believe that American targets are not only agents of an international terrorist organization or other foreign power, but also “are or may be” engaged in or abetting espionage, sabotage, or terrorism. The authorizations must be renewed by the court, usually every 90 days for U.S. citizens.

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The spreadsheet shows 7,485 email addresses listed as monitored between 2002 and 2008. Many of the email addresses on the list appear to belong to foreigners whom the government believes are linked to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Among the Americans on the list are individuals long accused of terrorist activity, including Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, who were killed in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

But a three-month investigation by The Intercept—including interviews with more than a dozen current and former federal law enforcement officials involved in the FISA process—reveals that in practice, the system for authorizing NSA surveillance affords the government wide latitude in spying on U.S. citizens.

The five Americans whose email accounts were monitored by the NSA and FBI have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives. All five vehemently deny any involvement in terrorism or espionage, and none advocates violent jihad or is known to have been implicated in any crime, despite years of intense scrutiny by the government and the press. Some have even climbed the ranks of the U.S. national security and foreign policy establishments.

“I just don’t know why,” says Gill, whose AOL and Yahoo! email accounts were monitored while he was a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates. “I’ve done everything in my life to be patriotic. I served in the Navy, served in the government, was active in my community—I’ve done everything that a good citizen, in my opinion, should do.”

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(An Intercept video interview with Gill and Ghafoor and Awad on this link) 

They were directed by Nadia Hallgren and Intercept co-founder Laura Poitras.) 

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‘ Irish Judge Refuses Investigation into Facebook’s Alleged Sharing of Data from EU Users with NSA Timeline of Events ‘


#AceNewsServices – DUBLIN – June 18 – An Irish judge on Wednesday rejected an attempt by campaigners to force an investigation into Facebook’s alleged sharing of data from EU users with the U.S. National Security Agency.

High Court Justice Gerard Hogan, who has jurisdiction because Facebook’s European headquarters are based in Dublin, upheld an earlier decision by the country’s data protection commissioner to refuse to investigate.


​(EU Data not Compliant under Safe Harbour)

Ahead of the hearing, the campaign group europe-v-facebook indicated it planned to appeal any such decision.


​(Max Schrems, an Austrian Law Student)

(IrishExaminer) 30 April 2014 – The data protection commissioner was wrong to refuse to investigate a complaint that the Irish arm of Facebook could not permit the mass transfer of personal data to US intelligence services, it has been claimed.

Max Schrems, an Austrian law student behind a data privacy campaign group called Europe v Facebook, has brought a High Court challenge claiming Billy Hawkes wrongly interpreted and applied the law governing the mass transfer of personal data of Facebook users to the US National Security Agency when he rejected his complaint.


​He is asking Mr Justice Gerard Hogan to quash that decision and refer it back to Mr Hawkes for reconsideration. He says the commissioner’s decision was irrational and wants a preliminary reference on the matter to be made to the European Court of Justice.


​The commissioner, who found Facebook had acted within the terms of the EU-US data-sharing agreement called Safe Harbour, is opposing his action.


(Avoiding the Truth About Your EU Data)

According to Safe Harbour

The European Commission’s Directive on Data Protection went into effect in October of 1998, and would prohibit the transfer of personal data to non-European Union countries that do not meet the European Union (EU) “adequacy” standard for privacy protection. While the United States and the EU share the goal of enhancing privacy protection for their citizens, the United States takes a different approach to privacy from that taken by the EU.

In order to bridge these differences in approach and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with the Directive, the U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the European Commission developed a “Safe Harbor” framework and this website to provide the information an organization would need to evaluate – and then join – the U.S.-EU Safe Harbor program.

The U.S. Department of Commerce in consultation with the Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner of Switzerland developed a separate “Safe Harbor” framework to bridge the differences between the two countries’ approaches to privacy and provide a streamlined means for U.S. organizations to comply with Swiss data protection law.

This website also provides the information an organization would need to evaluate – and then join – the U.S.-Swiss Safe Harbor program.

(Guardian) 30 September 2011 – Facebook is to be investigated by the Irish privacy regulator into how it handles users’ data across Europe.

In the next fortnight the Irish data protection commissioner will launch a wide-ranging privacy audit of the social network after complaints about how Facebook tracks its users on-line.

The Irish regulator will conduct the audit on behalf of authorities in 27 European states, including the UK.

The commissioner expects to complete the report before the end of the year, a spokeswoman for the regulator said.

Data Protection Information

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NSA releases single Snowden e-mail as Kerry tells him ‘MAN UP’ before interview with US media


The National Security Agency said Thursday that Edward Snowden sent supervisors only one e-mail when he worked there, and it did not protest the nature of NSA surveillance programs. In the e-mail to the Office of General Counsel, Snowden posed a legal question about a training program. “There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations,” the NSA said in a statement. “We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims.”

In an interview with NBC News, Snowden said he told the NSA about his concerns about its widespread methods of intelligence gathering.

“I actually did go through channels, and that is documented,” Snowden said. “The NSA has records, they have copies of emails right now to their Office of General Counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks, from me raising concerns about the NSA’s interpretations of its legal authorities. … The response more or less, in bureaucratic language, was, ‘You should stop asking questions.'”

Snowden — who remains in Russia, which has granted him temporary asylum — faces espionage charges in the United States.

Email:

This comes on the day John Kerry 68th United States Secretary of State said “‘Man Up And Come Home'”

US Secretary of State John Kerry has challenged Edward Snowden to “man up and come back to the United States”, after the whistleblower admitted he wanted to return home. Mr Kerry’s comments follow the former National Security Agency contractor’s interview with NBC, his first for US media since he fled the country after leaking a huge volume of classified documents. Now living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum, Mr Snowden told the network he took action in the belief that he was serving his country in exposing the surveillance programs of the NSA. “I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden said in a segment of the interview. “Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.” And Mr Kerry, speaking before NBC aired that portion of the interview, said: “If Mr Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we’ll have him on a flight today. A patriot would not run away.

Susan Rice has denied Mr Snowden’s recent claims

“He should man up and come back to the United States. If he has a complaint about what’s the matter with American surveillance, (he should) come back here and stand in our system of justice and make his case. “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.” Mr Snowden had also said in an earlier part of his interview that he worked undercover and overseas for the CIA and the NSA. He claimed he had a far more important role in US intelligence than the government has acknowledged. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas,” he said. National security adviser Susan Rice insisted in a CNN interview that Mr Snowden never worked undercover. Mr Snowden said he never intended to end up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to “revoke my passport.” In response, Mr Kerry said: “Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, after all. “I think he’s confused. I think it’s very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country.”

All this after:
Edward Snowden: ‘I Worked As A Spy Overseas’

Snowden has received support during demonstrations in the US

Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has said he “trained as a spy” and worked “undercover overseas” for intelligence agencies. In his first interview in American media, he rejected claims he was merely a junior contractor, saying he worked “at all levels from the bottom on the ground, all the way to the top”. The 30-year-old, who has been charged in the US with espionage, was granted asylum by Russia in August, 2013, after instigating a series of leaks on mass surveillance in America and around the world. In the NBC News interview, due to air in full on Wednesday, Snowden defended himself against claims he had minimal intelligence experience before he released classified documents revealing the National Security Agency’s programme of phone and internet surveillance. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas – pretending to work in a job that I’m not – and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” he said. He said he had worked covertly as “a technical expert” for the Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA, and as a trainer for the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“I don’t work with people,” he said. “I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels from, from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top. “So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.” After the leaks, Snowden travelled to Hong Kong, then headed to Moscow, where he was holed up in the Sheremetyevo Airport for days before he was eventually granted asylum. Secretary of State John Kerry, reacting to the interview, called Snowden a “man who has done great damage to his country”. “A patriot would not run away and look for refuge in Russia,” Mr Kerry told NBC’s Today. “He can come home but he’s a fugitive from justice.” Snowden is wanted in the US on charges including espionage.

` United States House of Representatives Approve Surveillance Reform Bill 303 – 121 in Favour of USA Freedom Act ‘


#AceBreakingNews – WASHINGTON – May 22 – The United States House of Representatives approved a surveillance reform bill early Thursday that aims to address controversial National Security Agency programs but falls well short of doing so, according to privacy advocates.

In Washington, DC, the House voted 303-to-121 on Thursday morning in favour of the USA Freedom Act, which includes a provision that the bill’s authors say will halt the US government’s bulk collection of telephone metadata.

One day earlier, the White House endorsed the bill and said in a statement that its “significant reforms would provide the public greater confidence in our programs and the checks and balances in the system.”

“It ends collection of all bulk metadata by the government,” Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) a supporter of the bill, told his colleagues on the floor of Congress before Thursday’s vote.

According to an outline provided by the bill’s authors, if approved the act would “rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.”

In its current form, however, critics say it lacks the sufficient provisions to truly put a dent in the NSA’s spy programs. The Electronic Frontier Foundation this week accused the latest version of the act to have been “gutted” of its most crucial parts and “doesn’t achieve the goal of ending mass spying.”

Although the USA Freedom Act originally contained provisions that would allow companies to more fully discuss requests for data they receive from the government and install a civil liberties advocate to audit the FISA Court’s operations, those were removed ahead of Thursday’s vote.

“We are glad that the House added a clause to the bill clarifying the content of communications cannot be obtained with Section 215,” the EFF said in a statement on Tuesday, referring to the Patriot Act provision that opened the door for the NSA’s current operations. “Unfortunately, the bill’s changed definitions, the lack of substantial reform to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act and the inability to introduce a special advocate in the FISA Court severely weakens the bill.”

“This legislation was designed to prohibit bulk collection, but has been made so weak that it fails to adequately protect against mass, un-targeted collection of Americans’ private information,” added Nuala O’Connor, the president and CEO of the Centre for Democracy and Technology.

Ace Related News:
1. RT – 22/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/pq92v4y
2. EFF – 22/05/2104 – https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/05/eff-dismayed-houses-gutted-usa-freedom-act
3. Sense Brenner House 22/05 /2014 – http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/legislation/theusafreedomact.htm

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` US Department of Justice Charges Five Chinese Military Officers for Hacking American Companies ‘


#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – May 21 – The US Department of Justice is charging five Chinese military officers for hacking American entities.

Companies and organizations ranging from Alcoa to the nuclear giant Westinghouse were the targets of economic espionage, according Attorney General Eric Holder.

The federal charges come one week after new evidence revealed the scope of a program in which the National Security Agency intercepts and bugs hardware destined for foreign targets.

Discussing the charges with RT’s Lindsay France is Arik Hesseldahl, the senior editor of Re/code.

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` US House of Representatives Approves Legislation to Prevent Bulk Collection of Data ‘


#AceSecurityNews – UNITED STATES – WASHINGTON – NSA – May 08 –  A US House of Representatives committee approved legislation on Wednesday that would limit the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata. By a vote of 32 to 0, the House Judiciary Committee advanced the USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s wholesale gathering and storage of American phone data, leaving telecommunications companies responsible for retaining the records.

The bill would still allow the NSA to collect a person’s phone records, and those of people two “hops” or contacts away, if a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, which has been very generous to NSA spying requests in recent years, signs off on the request based on reasonable suspicion of so-called terrorism involvement.

A reform bill deemed as the toughest clampdown yet on the NSA’s collection of phone metadata is expected to move through a key US House committee this week, setting up a showdown between the bill and less stringent legislation supported by House leaders.

House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) will reportedly act on the USA Freedom Act on Wednesday after the bill sat dormant since its introduction in October by former judiciary committee chair and US Patriot Act author Jim Sensenbrenner (R-OH).

The bill is the favored legislative vehicle for privacy advocates that want to see reform of the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone call data. Congressional aides believe the bill will pass through the committee with bipartisan support, the Guardian reported. Privacy advocates believe the bill has real potential to pass in a general House vote should it get the chance.

The House Judiciary Committee’s USA Freedom Act was left for dead by House Republican leadership after a competing NSA reform bill was offered in March by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. The intel committee’s proposal would allow the NSA to continue gathering domestic call data without a prior judicial order.

Hours after the Judiciary Committee announced it would markup its NSA bill on Wednesday, the Intelligence Committee said it would do the same with its own reform bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act, on Thursday. FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, dictates US surveillance of “foreign intelligence information” that can include American citizens or permanent residents suspected of terrorism.

Goodlatte’s support for the USA Freedom Act was reportedly in doubt before House Republican leaders decided to bypass his committee effort to reform the NSA in favor of the Intelligence Committee’s more lukewarm legislation.

The Intelligence Committee’s Rogers has criticized the USA Freedom Act for going too far in curbing bulk collection capabilities that, he says, are vital for national security reasons.

Sensenbrenner’s USA Freedom Act was initially more strict in limiting NSA collection abilities, positing that it would “end bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, in light of the massive intrusion on Americans’ privacy and the lack of evidence of its effectiveness.”

Ace Related News:

1. FOIA – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr3361ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr3361ih.pdf

2. FISA – http://judiciary.house.gov/_cache/files/d4c6f7fd-4768-4b30-813d-47109cac271a/fisa-anos-001-xml.pdf

RT – March 27

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NSA: ` Complex Analysis of Electronic Surveillance used to Target Lethal Drone Attacks ‘


#AceSecurityNews – Guest Post – May 06 – The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people.

According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.

The drone operator, who agreed to discuss the top-secret programs on the condition of anonymity, was a member of JSOC’s High Value Targeting task force, which is charged with identifying, capturing or killing terrorist suspects in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

His account is bolstered by top-secret NSA documents previously provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is also supported by a former drone sensor operator with the U.S. Air Force, Brandon Bryant, who has become an outspoken critic of the lethal operations in which he was directly involved in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

In one tactic, the NSA “geolocates” the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist’s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device.

The former JSOC drone operator is adamant that the technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have “absolutely” been killed as a result of the NSA’s increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic.

One problem, he explains, is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA’s reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system. Others, unaware that their mobile phone is being targeted, lend their phone, with the SIM card in it, to friends, children, spouses and family members.

Some top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA’s targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. “They would do things like go to meetings, take all their SIM cards out, put them in a bag, mix them up, and everybody gets a different SIM card when they leave,” the former drone operator says. “That’s how they confuse us.”

Courtesy of By  and  10 Feb 2014, 12:03 AM EDT

Ace Related News:

  1. First Look

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