I don’t normally post single-sourced “news items” totally lacking in corroboration, but in this case a Facebook correspondent claims that more information on all this is coming tomorrow, so I decided to link the video. We’ll see.
The U.S. National Security Agency has figured out how to hide spying software deep within hard drives made by Western Digital, Seagate, Toshiba and other top manufacturers, giving the agency the means to eavesdrop on the majority of the world’s computers, according to cyber researchers and former operatives.
That long-sought and closely guarded ability was part of a cluster of spying programs discovered by Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based security software maker that has exposed a series of Western cyberespionage operations.
Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs, with the most infections seen in Iran, followed by Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria. The targets included government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. (reut.rs/1L5knm0)
The firm declined to publicly name the country behind the spying campaign, but said it was closely linked to Stuxnet, the NSA-led cyberweapon that was used to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment facility. The NSA is the agency responsible for gathering electronic intelligence on behalf of the United States.
A former NSA employee told Reuters that Kaspersky’s analysis was correct, and that people still in the intelligence agency valued these spying programs as highly as Stuxnet. Another former intelligence operative confirmed that the NSA had developed the prized technique of concealing spyware in hard drives, but said he did not know which spy efforts relied on it.
The incredibly prolix, but always rewarding Moldbug is back with a terrific rant savaging Roger Baldwin and the ACLU, which dismisses with Olympian contempt all the faux libertarian dramatics about automated data-mining surveillance.
We live in a country in which being supposed to have the wrong opinions on equality will lose you your career (Paula Deen) and cause you to be cast right out of respectable society, and in which the heroic struggle for freedom and personal autonomy consists of defending your electronic communications from automated searches for phrases like “Durka, Durka, Mohammed Jihad” and connections with known conspirators.
[T]he American system of government [is] communism, ie, rule by the party of civil service. As Americans, we can at least be thankful that communism has done less damage here than elsewhere. It’s great to be an exporter, especially when your product is dioxin. It gives you the comforts you need to worry that someone is grepping your emails.
Thus, while I am not really one for purges, I’d be dismayed to see anyone who calls himself a real reactionary worrying at all that Obama is reading his email. Or whatever.
First of all, a reactionary is a gentleman (or a lady). A gentleman (or a lady) doesn’t whine. If he finds himself whining, it will be because his leg has been crushed by a truck and he’s in enormous fucking pain. It won’t be because some meanie is denying him his universal human right to rule the country, or his 1/10^8 share in that right, or whatever.
My son actually thinks he has human rights. It’s because he’s 2. This morning he asserted his right not to take his amoxicillin – with some success, but not much. I expect the critics of the NSA to have about the same luck. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.
For a man or for a community of men, the right to rule is a function of the might to rule. If the sound competent Midwest can get itself euchred out of its democratic right to rule by a bunch of slick Harvard men, the sound competent Midwest cannot maintain its authority and will get euchred by someone someday. If it’s not Harvard today it’ll be Yale tomorrow.
As for your right to “privacy,” as if having your emails grepped affected you in any way, it is by accident. Forget about the opponents of the government being persecuted. If they are persecuted, which is not their decision of course, (a) it will not be by means of grep, and (b) they’ll have to learn to deal with it, like men, rather than whining like little girls.
Obviously, almost all of those complaining are complaining because they are better communists than the Obama administration. A remarkable achievement, though it owes more to the complainees. Power does season a man – maybe only Nixon could go to China, but only Eric Holder could crack down on the Associated Press. (Hey guys – I know you’re big fans – don’t you like the way that red lightsaber feels in your hand? Swing it around a little. Well-balanced, isn’t it? Nice test cut you’ve taken – maybe it’s time for some real rail-splitting? Take it home, use it for a week, bring it back if you don’t like it? You’ll really enjoy working out with this little baby, I can tell you.)
But unfortunately, America is a communist country and Americans are not persecuted for being too communist. Au contraire – they are petted and lionized. They appear daring while taking no risks. It’s perfect. It’s true that there were a couple of periods where as many as ten or twelve communists suffered mild professional consequences for cavorting too openly with the Soviet mass-murder cult. Surely ten Americans a day are fired for racism. Hitler has been dead for 70 years, and the Brown Scare rolls on – at a thousand times the maximum intensity of “McCarthyism” or the Palmer Raids.
So if you’re a good communist, you have only symbolic worries about your privacy. These worries are simply a projection of your political penis envy. You react the same way to having your emails grepped as if someone said you weren’t allowed to vote in 2016. In reality, this loss would not affect you at all. Symbolically, however, it would represent a profound Freudian castration. In fact, if you fail to express your symbolic political masculinity, preferably through a Facebook update, you will feel castrated by default. But gross public outrage restores your hypothetical testosterone.
When representatives of the homosexual underworld rise from their knees on the mens’ room floor to ascend portable pulpits from which they begin grandiloquently moralizing, I always contend that the most extreme skepticism is in order.
Glenn Greenwald has also risen professionally recently from traditionally being described as the “Left’s most dishonest blogger,” renowned for shameless self-promotion and for sock-puppetry, i.e., praising and defending his own postings using false identities. Suddenly, almost overnight, today he has become an internationally-admired crusading journalist, the champion of individual privacy, protector of whistle-blowers, and critic of the tyranny of Barack Obama publishing from a lofty establishment perch, in the Guardian no less.
In evaluating the justice of Eric Snowden’s cause and the bona fides of the muculent Mr. Greenwald, I suggest noting this GifWatch article, which points out that Greenwald is a regular speaker at the annual get-together of the “International Socialist Organization (ISO)… one of Americaâ€™s main Marxist â€˜revolutionaryâ€™ parties… represent[ing] the ‘Marxist tradition, founded by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, and continued by V.I. Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Leon Trotsky.’â€
In 2011, Glenn Greenwald addressed his fellow revolutionary socialists, discussing Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki was an American naturalized Yemeni militant, an al-Qaeda regional commander and senior â€˜talent recruiterâ€™ and a terrorism planner who, prior to the attack, was corresponding with the Fort Hood shooter and who helped plan the attempted attack by the â€˜Underwear Bomberâ€˜.
Greenwald describes al-Awlaki as someone whose only crimes were â€speak[ing] effectively to the Muslim world about violence that the U.S. commits in [Yemen] and the responsibility of Muslims to stand up to this violence.â€
In the same speech, Grrenwald expresses his hope for a weakening of the United States and its malign â€œimperialismâ€, and characterizes the 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda as very â€œminimal in scopeâ€.
So, when you read Glenn Greenwald offering his own evaluation of the nature, scope, significance, and legal status of NSA surveillance activities and of the motives and perspective of Mr. Snowden, I suggest that you consider the record and the character of the source.
We don’t know exactly what information the National Security Agency has ceased collecting , and we don’t know what legal issue persuaded which judge that collecting it was a problem. But the Washington Post tells us that there will be a hiatus for some time in the surveillance of terrorist communications. If it should happen that they are able to exploit this particular security gap, we will probably one day learn just who was responsible.
A special federal court that oversees domestic surveillance has raised concerns about the National Security Agency’s collection of certain types of electronic data, prompting the agency to suspend collecting it, U.S. officials said.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which grants orders to U.S. spy agencies to monitor U.S. citizens and residents in terrorism and espionage cases, recently “got a little bit more of an understanding” about the NSA’s collection of the data, said one official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because such matters are classified.
The data under discussion are records associated with various kinds of communication, but not their content. Examples of this “metadata” include the origin, destination and path of an e-mail; the phone numbers called from a particular telephone; and the Internet address of someone making an Internet phone call. It was not clear what kind of data had provoked the court’s concern.
Some House Republicans have argued that the suspension of collection creates an intelligence gap that undermines the government’s ability to track and identify terrorist networks, according to officials familiar with the matter. Frustrated about waiting for a remedy, these Republicans say the gap can be closed with a technical fix to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the officials said.
“This is a basic tool we used to have, and it’s now gone,” said one intelligence official familiar with the impasse. “Every day, every week that goes by, there’s just one more week of information that we’re not collecting. You sit there and say, ‘This is unbelievable that we have this gap.’ ”
The data could be used to help analysts learn whom a suspect was working and communicating with, and to “detect and anticipate” a plot, the official said. “It’s not a concern over what was being collected,” he said. “It’s just a question about whether the law was written in a way that allowed the information to be collected in a way that they were collecting it.” …
The NSA voluntarily stopped gathering the data in December or January rather than wait to be told to do so, the officials said. The agency had been collecting it with court permission for several years, officials said.
The New York Times reports that, lo, a mere three or four years later, one of what must have been a number of Intelligence Community officials who leaked very significant and highly classified national security information is actually about to be prosecuted.
In a rare legal action against a government employee accused of leaking secrets, a grand jury has indicted a former senior National Security Agency official on charges of providing classified information to a newspaper reporter in hundreds of e-mail messages in 2006 and 2007.
The official, Thomas A. Drake, 52, was also accused of obstructing justice by shredding documents, deleting computer records and lying to investigators who were looking into the reporterâ€™s sources.
â€œOur national security demands that the sort of conduct alleged here â€” violating the governmentâ€™s trust by illegally retaining and disclosing classified information â€” be prosecuted and prosecuted vigorously,â€ Lanny A. Breuer, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Departmentâ€™s criminal division, said in a statement.
The indictment, approved Wednesday by a grand jury in Baltimore and made public on Thursday, does not name either the reporter or the newspaper that received the information.
But the description applies to articles written by Siobhan Gorman, then a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, that examined in detail the failings of several major N.S.A. programs, costing billions of dollars, using computers to collect and sort electronic intelligence. The efforts were plagued with technical flaws and cost overruns. …
Mr. Drake, who began working as an N.S.A. contractor in 1991 and was a high-ranking agency employee from 2001 to 2008, is charged with 10 counts, including retention of classified information, obstruction of justice and making false statements. The retention counts each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Times remarks defensively that “[t]he indictment suggests the Obama administration may be no less aggressive than the Bush administration in pursuing whistleblowers and reportersâ€™ sources who disclose government secrets.”
Frankly, I think they may be being more aggressive.
Siobhan Gorman (naturally) in 2006 received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her NSA coverage.
The Baltimore Sun web-site does not seem to be linking many of Siobhan Gorman’s NSA stories, but here’s an example, NSA Killed System That Sifted Phone Data Legally, published in the Sun, May 18, 2006, quoted by the leftwing Common Dreams. Possibly being deliberately misleading, Gorman claims to have four anonymous informants.
Here is Siobhan Gorman talking about Homeland Security use of satellite surveillance on C-Span, November 3, 2007, 8:02 video.