September 30, 2013
The National Security Agency (NSA), according to whistleblower Edward Snowden, has been analyzing social media sites to connect Americans to other persons through friends in their networks.
This “policy” was devised to “’discover and track’ connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States.”
A memorandum provided by Snowden reveals that they conducted “’large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness’ of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier.”
• Public data
• Retail behaviors
• Banking transactions
• Insurance information
• Facebook profile(s)
• Travel manifests
• Voter registration
• GPS location data
• Property records
• Tax information from IRS
The NSA did not indicate that all persons being tracked were identified as having been involved in illegal activity. In the documents, it is clear that the “contact chain” created by the NSA through profiling data was aimed at tying any person to any organization through separation degrees or by direct contact.
An anonymous spokesperson for the NSA commented : “All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period. All of NSA’s work has a foreign intelligence purpose. Our activities are centered on counterterrorism, counterproliferation and cybersecurity.”
Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, spoke at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, saying that he thinks “the government blew it” when it comes to revelations that the NSA has been spying on American communications in direct violation of the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.
Zuckerberg was shedding light on the fact that: “The US government is not striking the right balance between protecting its citizens from terrorism and protecting their civil liberties. They blew it on communicating the balance of what they were going for with this.”
Newly declassified documents from the NSA reveal that the spy network was tapping phone calls of critics of the Vietnam War. This included Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker that served in the same time frame.
Under the NSA Minaret program launched in the late 1960s to conduct surveillance on those who caused then President Lyndon Johnson to believe that they were involved with foreign governments.
An estimated 1,600 people were on the NSA “watch list” and monitored under Minaret.
According to the document: “The watch list eventually contained over 1,600 names and included such personages as [Washington Post] columnist Art Buchwald, [New York Times] journalist Tom Wicker, civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young, the boxer Muhammad Ali, and even politicians such as Frank Church and Howard Baker. Virtually all the names were provided by government organizations. However, NSA did add thirteen names, all but two of them Agency employees who were acknowledged spies . . .”
In 1973 the program was shut down and called “disreputable if not outright illegal” by those that worked on the project.
President Obama created a panel of advisers that were supposed to be “independent experts” who could lend expertise to NSA surveillance programs such as PRISM to ensure that “civil liberties” were not being infringed, while instilling trust in the government into the American social consciousness.
To control information flow, interview requests and press releases are monitored and reviewed by the panel called the Director of National Intelligence Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies (RGICT).
The RGICT will be submitting a report to Obama that will then be made public – only after it is reviewed by the president.
Private meetings have been held with tech giants and private interest groups hiding in plain sight; despite not having classified information to protect.
The NSA PRISM program and other surveillance operations were mentioned at recent meetings which prompted the necessity for “separate classified meetings” to be scheduled for the near future with tech executives in attendance.
Spending $250 million annually, the NSA collects “vast amounts” of “exploitable” data.
The NSA paid certain corporations “compliance costs” for handing over private customer information to the PRISM program.
This information confirms that there is “a financial relationship between the tech companies and the NSA.”
Participants in the bribe-scheme called special source operations (SSO) are:
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) Judge Dennis Saylor wrote an opinion stating that the “Court should in fact make more of its rulings public in response to the public’s demand for greater transparency around foreign and domestic surveillance following the Snowden leaks.”
Saylor wrote: “[Further] publication of FISC opinions relating to this provision would contribute to an informed debate…Publication would also assure citizens of the integrity of this Court’s proceedings.”