Government Corruption Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Government Corruption Media Articles from Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important government corruption articles reported in the mainstream media suggesting a cover-up.
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For an index to revealing excerpts of media articles on several dozen engaging topics, click here
The F.B.I. Deemed Agents Faultless in 150 Shootings
2013-06-19, New York Times
After contradictory stories emerged about an F.B.I. agent’s killing last month of a Chechen man in Orlando, Fla., who was being questioned over ties to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the bureau reassured the public that it would clear up the murky episode. But if such internal investigations are time-tested, their outcomes are also predictable: from 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 “subjects” and wounded about 80 others — and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, according to interviews and internal F.B.I. records. The last two years have followed the same pattern: an F.B.I. spokesman said that since 2011, there had been no findings of improper intentional shootings. In most of the shootings, the F.B.I.’s internal investigation was the only official inquiry. In the Orlando case, for example, there have been conflicting accounts about basic facts like whether the Chechen man, Ibragim Todashev, attacked an agent with a knife, was unarmed or was brandishing a metal pole. But Orlando homicide detectives are not independently investigating what happened. Occasionally, the F.B.I. does discipline an agent. A typical punishment involved adding letters of censure to agents’ files. Critics say the fact that for at least two decades no agent has been disciplined for any instance of deliberately shooting someone raises questions about the credibility of the bureau’s internal investigations.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the hidden realities of intelligence agencies, click here.
The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis
2013-06-19, Rolling Stone
It's long been suspected that ratings agencies like Moody's and Standard & Poor's helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it. Everybody else got plenty of blame: the greed-fattened banks, the sleeping regulators, the unscrupulous mortgage hucksters. But what about the ratings agencies? Thanks to a mountain of evidence gathered for a pair of major lawsuits by the San Diego-based law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, ... we now know that the nation's two top ratings companies, Moody's and S&P, have for many years been shameless tools for the banks, willing to give just about anything a high rating in exchange for cash. In incriminating e-mail after incriminating e-mail, executives and analysts from these companies are caught admitting their entire business model is crooked. Ratings agencies are the glue that ostensibly holds the entire financial industry together. Their primary function is to help define what's safe to buy, and what isn't. But the financial crisis happened because AAA ratings stopped being something that had to be earned and turned into something that could be paid for. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission published a case study in 2011 of Moody's in particular and discovered that between 2000 and 2007, the agency gave nearly 45,000 mortgage-backed securities AAA ratings. One year Moody's doled out AAA ratings to 30 mortgage-backed securities every day, 83 percent of which were ultimately downgraded. "This crisis could not have happened without the rating agencies," the commission concluded.
Note: This is another great, well researched article by Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi. Why isn't the major media coming up with anything near the quality of this man's work? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
Wearing a mask at a riot is now a crime
2013-06-19, CBC (Canada's Public Broadcasting System)
A bill that bans the wearing of masks during a riot or unlawful assembly and carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence ... became law today. The bill is meant to give police an added tool to prevent lawful protests from becoming violent riots, and that it will help police identify people who engage in vandalism or other illegal acts. The bill originally proposed a penalty of up to five years, but the House of Commons justice committee amended it and doubled the penalty to up to 10 years in prison for committing the offence. The bill didn't have unanimous support, and was opposed by some who are concerned about its effect on freedom of expression and privacy. Civil liberties advocates argued the measures could create a chilling effect on free speech and that peaceful protesters can unintentionally find themselves involved in an unlawful assembly. They also noted that there are legitimate reasons for wearing masks at protests; some may be worried about reprisals at work, for example, if sighted at a political protest. "Any law that infringes upon civil liberties needs to be held to a test of absolute necessity, and I don't think that test has been met in this instance," said Michael Byers, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia.
Note: Police seem to be specifically targeting the now popular Guy Falkes masks representing opposition to oppressive authority. For more on the erosion of civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Former TWA Flight 800 Investigators Urge New Look at Crash
2013-06-19, US News & World Report
Former investigators of the 1996 TWA Flight 800 crash are urging the National Transportation Safety Board to reopen its review of the nearly 17-year-old case. In a new documentary about the crash that is scheduled to air next month, several former investigators on the case suggest that missiles brought down the New York-to-Paris plane, killing 230 people when it exploded near Long Island just minutes after it took off. This new evidence could resurrect conspiracy theories that began circulating within days of the crash. However, the NTSB concluded after four years investigating the crash that the plane's center fuel tank exploded "most likely" from a short circuit, ruling out the possibility of a missile, according to the board's report. But the retired investigators claim that those findings were "falsified." "Early on in the investigation there was indication that the evidence was being tampered with," said Hank Hughes, a former senior accident investigator with NTSB, during a conference call with reporters. Hughes and others cited possible missing parts of the plane, possible explosive material and other findings that could corroborate their theory that a missile came from the north. The documentary's co-producer Tom Stalcup told CNN that the film offers "solid proof that there was an external detonation," and that a number of people have come forward confirming these claims.
Note: For powerful evidence from an Emmy-award winning journalist that this investigation was manipulated, click here. To watch the powerful documentary Shadows of Liberty on major media manipulation, including that of TWA flight 800 (minute 14) at this link.
U.K. Bankers Face Decade Bonus Delay and Criminal Sanctions
2013-06-19, Bloomberg/Washington Post
Senior employees at U.K. banks may face a 10-year wait for bonuses under proposals put forward by a committee investigating the failures of the industry, which also recommended making “reckless” management of lenders a crime. The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards' ... proposal to introduce a criminal offence for mismanagement, which could see executives of failed firms facing jail time, was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron. “The potential rewards for fleeting short-term success have sometimes been huge, but the penalties for failure, often manifest only later, have been much smaller or negligible,” the authors of the report said. "Performance should be assessed using a range of measures rather than just return on equity, which creates “perverse incentives,” the committee said. "Taxpayers have bailed out the banks. The public have the sense that advantage has been taken of them, that bankers have received huge rewards, that some of those rewards have not been properly earned, and in some cases have been obtained through dishonesty, and that these huge rewards are excessive, bearing little or no relationship to the value of the work done.” The committee recommended introducing an offence for “reckless misconduct” and potential prison time for bankers found responsible for the worst mismanagement, the first such sanctions."
Note: For a related article in the London Review of Books, which starts "the blame in Spain falls mainly on the banks – as it does in Ireland, in Greece, in the US, and pretty much everywhere else too," click here. For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Tech firms push back on digital spying
2013-06-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower shining spotlights on federal surveillance practices, made a rhetorical - and volatile - point during an online question-and-answer session Monday. "If Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple refused to provide this cooperation with the intelligence community, what do you think the government would do? Shut them down?" he asked. Snowden's point implies that tech companies should push back on all government requests for data on their users. Prosecuting these much-used companies for noncompliance would only shed light on the extent of the programs they aimed to keep secret in the first place.
Whether a tech company dares go that far remains to be seen. But in the past week a number of household names in Silicon Valley have at least started demanding more freedom to disclose what the government wants to know about their users. As the tech companies associated with Snowden's leaked materials scramble to comply with government requests, they're also scrambling to save face with customers. It's still not clear what exact technical mechanism the government used to acquire information about users of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple, among others. But it is clear that some Internet users have come to view these tech giants as proxy spies as a result of their assumed compliance. The companies say they would like nothing better than to clear their names, but they simply aren't allowed to release details about government requests.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.
Google challenges U.S. gag order, citing First Amendment
2013-06-18, Washington Post
Google asked the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court on [June 18] to ease long-standing gag orders over data requests the court makes, arguing that the company has a constitutional right to speak about information it is forced to give the government. The legal filing, which invokes the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech, is the latest move by the California-based tech giant to protect its reputation in the aftermath of news reports about broad National Security Agency surveillance of Internet traffic. Revelations about the program, called PRISM, have opened fissures between U.S. officials and the involved companies, which have scrambled to reassure their users without violating strict rules against disclosing information that the government has classified as top secret. A high-profile legal showdown might help Google’s efforts to portray itself as aggressively resisting government surveillance, and a victory could bolster the company’s campaign to portray government surveillance requests as targeted narrowly and affecting only a small number of users. [The] unusual legal move came after days of intense talks between federal officials and several of the technology companies, including Google, over what details can be released. It also comes as the firms increasingly show signs of wanting to outdo each other in demonstrating their commitment to protecting user privacy. Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo in recent days have won federal government permission to include requests from the court as part of the overall number of data requests they receive from federal, state and local officials.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.
GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians' communications at G20 summits
2013-06-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic. The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ [Government Communications Headquarters] and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency [NSA], whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian. They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations. This included: • Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates' use of computers; • Penetrating the security on delegates' BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls; • Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the hidden realities of intelligence agencies, click here
Rigged-Benchmark Probes Proliferate From Singapore to UK
2013-06-16, Bloomberg Businessweek
The probe of Libor manipulation is proving to be the tip of the iceberg as inquiries into assets from derivatives to foreign exchange show that if there’s a chance to rig benchmark rates in world markets, someone is usually willing to try.
Singapore’s monetary authority last week censured 20 banks for attempting to fix interest rate levels in the island state and ordered them to set aside as much as $9.6 billion. Britain’s markets regulator is looking into the $4.7 trillion-a-day currency market after Bloomberg News reported that traders have manipulated key rates for more than a decade, citing five dealers. “It’s happened time and again: all of these markets have been influenced by major market-makers, which is a polite way of saying they’ve been rigged,” Charles Geisst, a finance professor at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York, said. While the indexes under scrutiny are little known to the public, their influence extends to trillions of dollars in securities and derivatives. Barclays, UBS and Royal Bank of Scotland have been fined about $2.5 billion in the past year for distorting the London interbank offered rate, which is tied to $300 trillion worth of securities. Regulators are also probing ISDAfix, a measure used in the $370 trillion interest-rate swaps market, as well as how some oil products prices are set. Inquiries are broadening into the transparency of benchmarks whose levels can be determined by the same people whose income they affect. In the case of Libor, traders who stood to profit worked with bank employees responsible for submissions for the benchmark to rig the price.
Note: To read highly revealing major media articles showing just how crazy and unregulated the derivatives market is, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
3 NSA veterans speak out on whistle-blower: We told you so
2013-06-16, USA Today
When a National Security Agency contractor revealed top-secret details this month on the government's collection of Americans' phone and Internet records, one select group of intelligence veterans breathed a sigh of relief. Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe belong to a select fraternity: the NSA officials who paved the way. For years, the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from U.S. citizens. They had spent decades in the top ranks of the agency, designing and managing the very data-collection systems they say have been turned against Americans. When they became convinced that fundamental constitutional rights were being violated, they complained first to their superiors, then to federal investigators, congressional oversight committees and, finally, to the news media. They have been investigated as criminals and forced to give up careers, reputations and friendships built over a lifetime. Today, they feel vindicated. They say the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old former NSA contractor who worked as a systems administrator, proves their claims of sweeping government surveillance of millions of Americans not suspected of any wrongdoing. They say those revelations only hint at the programs' reach. On [June 15], USA TODAY brought Drake, Binney and Wiebe together for the first time since the story broke to discuss the NSA revelations. With their lawyer, Jesselyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, they weighed their implications and their repercussions.
Note: See the link above for a great interview of these courageous whistleblowers. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the hidden realities of intelligence agencies, click here
State photo-ID databases become troves for police
2013-06-16, Washington Post
The faces of more than 120 million people are in searchable photo databases that state officials assembled to prevent driver’s-license fraud but that increasingly are used by police to identify suspects, accomplices and even innocent bystanders in a wide range of criminal investigations. The facial databases have grown rapidly in recent years and generally operate with few legal safeguards beyond the requirement that searches are conducted for “law enforcement purposes.” The most widely used systems were honed on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq as soldiers sought to identify insurgents. The increasingly widespread deployment of the technology in the United States has helped police [identify people who] leave behind images on surveillance videos or social-media sites that can be compared against official photo databases. But law enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. Though not yet as reliable as fingerprints, these technologies can help determine identity through individual variations in irises, skin textures, vein patterns, palm prints and a person’s gait while walking. Facial-recognition systems ... can be deployed remotely, without subjects knowing that their faces have been captured.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.
Guatemalan syphilis victims lose hope in legal battle against US
2013-06-14, Christian Science Monitor
Thousands of Guatemalans were intentionally infected with [sexually-transmitted diseases] in the 1940s by US public health researchers. An appeal on their case against the US government was dismissed this week. Thousands of Guatemalans ... were unwittingly subjected to secret human experiments led by US doctors. Nearly three years after beginning the legal battle in US courts, attorneys representing an estimated 5,000 Guatemalan victims used as guinea pigs and infected with sexually transmitted diseases in the 1940s by US public health researchers withdrew their appeal earlier this week. The alleged victims include soldiers, inmates, sex workers, mental health patients, and schoolchildren. Dr. John Cutler ... led the experiments in Guatemala from 1946 to 1948. Under a grant by the National Institute of Health, Dr. Cutler and US researchers gave antibiotic penicillin to test its ability to cure and prevent syphilis. But, his team also infected test subjects without their consent. Some 1,300 were deliberately infected with syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases. Researchers would expose inmates to infected prostitutes brought into jails. In other cases, they would first infect patients in mental hospitals before testing the effects of the medication. The American team studied and performed experiments on more than 5,000 subjects – including orphans as young as 6 years old.
Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Secret tax-haven names released to public
2013-06-14, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting network)
An enormous trove of leaked records about secret companies and accounts is being opened to the public in hope it will shed light on the murky world of offshore finance. The information, contained in a new online database released [on June 14], has the names of more than 100,000 offshore entities — mainly companies and trusts set up in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and Cook Islands — and the people associated with them. Media outlets worldwide have been reporting on the information leak since it came to light in early April, with far-reaching global repercussions. The online names database was released ... by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and contains a basic subset of the 260 gigabytes of leaked tax-haven files that the Washington-based group obtained and shared with global news organizations. "What we're doing for the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and other offshore havens is what's routinely done in many countries around the world — making the control and ownership of companies a matter of public record," said Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the journalism consortium. The newly released database shows the names and, where available, the shareholders and directors of offshore companies, and visually maps out links between them. [ICIJ] said it hopes people will browse the names and tip off reporters to new revelations about people and companies doing business offshore.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
The Real War on Reality
2013-06-14, New York Times
The modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived. The revelations about the National Security Agency’s PRISM data collection program have raised awareness ... about the reach and power of secret intelligence gatherers operating behind the facades of government and business. But those revelations ... have been partial — they primarily focus on one government agency and on the surveillance end of intelligence work, purportedly done in the interest of national security. What has received less attention is the fact that most intelligence work today is not carried out by government agencies but by private intelligence firms and that much of that work involves another common aspect of intelligence work: deception. That is, it is involved not just with the concealment of reality, but with the manufacture of it. Important insight into the world [of] these companies came from a 2010 hack by a group best known as LulzSec ... which targeted the private intelligence firm HBGary Federal. That hack yielded 75,000 e-mails. Team Themis (a group that included HBGary and the private intelligence and security firms Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and Endgame Systems) was effectively brought in to find a way to undermine the credibility of WikiLeaks and the journalist Glenn Greenwald (who recently broke the story of Edward Snowden’s leak of the N.S.A.’s Prism program), because of Greenwald’s support for WikiLeaks. The plan called for actions to “sabotage or discredit the opposing organization” including a plan to submit fake documents and then call out the error.
Note: For more on the games intelligence agencies play, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
America's private prison system is a national disgrace
2013-06-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Privatization [of government functions] often comes with a lack of oversight and a series of abuses. One particularly stunning example is the American prison system, the realities of which should be a national disgrace. Some of those realities are highlighted in a recent lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF). EMCF houses severely mentally ill prisoners, with the supposed intent of providing both incarceration and treatment. Instead, the ACLU contends, the facility, which is operated by private contractors, is rife with horrific abuses. The complaint lists a litany of such horrors, [including]: Rampant rapes. Placing prisoners in solitary confinement for weeks, months or even years at a time. Rat infestations so bad that vermin crawl over prisoners. Many suicide attempts, some successful. Denying or delaying treatment for infections and even cancer. Stabbings, beatings and other acts of violence. Malnourishment and chronic hunger. Officers who deal with prisoners by using physical violence. The [US] prison system is increasingly built and run by for-profit corporations, who have a financial interest in increasing the number of people in prison while decreasing the amount of money it costs to house them. Since 1980, the US prison population has grown by 790%. We have the largest prison population of any nation in the history of the world.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption and human rights abuses in prisons, click here.
NSA surveillance played little role in foiling terror plots, experts say
2013-06-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Lawyers and intelligence experts with direct knowledge of two intercepted terrorist plots that the Obama administration says confirm the value of the NSA's vast data-mining activities have questioned whether the surveillance sweeps played a significant role, if any, in foiling the attacks. The defence of the controversial data collection operations ... has been led by Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, and her equivalent in the House, Mike Rogers. The two politicians have attempted to justify the NSA's use of vast data sweeps such as Prism and Boundless Informant by pointing to the arrests and convictions of would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi in 2009 and David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programmes played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots. Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations. The Headley case is a peculiar choice for the administration to highlight as an example of the virtues of data-mining. The fact that the Mumbai attacks occurred, with such devastating effect, in itself suggests that the NSA's secret programmes were limited in their value as he was captured only after the event. Headley ... had been an informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration perhaps as recently as 2005. There are suggestions that he might have then worked in some capacity for the FBI or CIA.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
Connecting the Dots on PRISM, Phone Surveillance, and the NSA’s Massive Spy Center
2013-06-12, Wired Magazine
Long before Edward Snowden walked out of the NSA with his trove of documents, whistleblowers there had been trying for years to bring attention to the massive turn toward domestic spying that the agency was making. Last year in my Wired cover story on the enormous new NSA data center in Utah, Bill Binney, the man who largely designed the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping system, warned of the secret, nationwide surveillance. He told how the NSA had gained access to billions of billing records not only from AT&T but also from Verizon. I also wrote about Adrienne J. Kinne, an NSA intercept operator who attempted to blow the whistle on the NSA’s illegal eavesdropping on Americans following the 9/11 attacks. She [attempted and failed] to end the illegal activity with appeals all the way up the chain of command to Major General Keith Alexander. The deception by General Alexander is especially troubling. In my new cover story for Wired’s July issue ...I show how he has become the most powerful intelligence chief in the nation’s history. Never before has anyone in America’s intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world’s largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy’s 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
Note: James Bamford, the author of this article, was the ABC producer responsible for breaking the story on Operation Northwoods, which proved a level of deception almost beyond belief at the very highest levels of the Pentagon. For more on this, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
This is how to deal with armed forces' brutality
2013-06-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Baha Mousa was tortured to death in September 2003 while in the custody of the British armed forces in Iraq. The subsequent inquiry led to a report, published in September 2011, that leaves no doubt about the ... brutal illegality of the UK's current approach to the detention and interrogation of suspected insurgents. The training of interrogators used in Iraq involved blatant illegality: forced nakedness, screaming foul abuse into detainees' faces, sensory deprivation and [other forms of torture]. The list of unlawful killings is endless. And there are hundreds of Iraqis' cases before British courts in which allegations are made of egregious acts of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. A high court judgment in late May ... involves more than 1,000 Iraqi cases of unlawful killings and acts of torture. It establishes that whenever UK personnel abroad have authority and control over others – and commit what might be acts of unlawful killing and torture – there must be an "inquisitorial process" in public into each case. There must also be public scrutiny of the systemic issues arising from these cases. Take, for example, the case of Huda, an eight-year-old girl in a yellow dress playing with her friends one sunlit morning in Basra. A British rifleman in a tank, apparently perceiving her to be a threat to force security, shot her dead without warning at close range. Before this new judgment, the Ministry of Defence successfully shut the door on any accountability. Under the new system, the commanding officer would have to suspend the soldier and send in the military police to forensically examine the scene, interview witnesses and family, and send the results of a full investigation back to London to be examined independently and publicly.
Note: For more on atrocities committed by the US and UK military forces in their wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program
2013-06-07, Washington Post
The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio and video chats, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs. The program, code-named PRISM, has not been made public until now. It may be the first of its kind. Equally unusual is the way the NSA extracts what it wants, according to the document: “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” GCHQ, Britain’s equivalent of the NSA, also has been secretly gathering intelligence from the same internet companies through an operation set up by the NSA. PRISM was launched from the ashes of President George W. Bush’s secret program of warrantless domestic surveillance in 2007, after news media disclosures, lawsuits and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court forced the president to look for new authority. Congress obliged with the Protect America Act in 2007 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which immunized private companies that cooperated voluntarily with U.S. intelligence collection. Government officials and the document itself made clear that the NSA regarded the identities of its private partners as PRISM’s most sensitive secret, fearing that the companies would withdraw from the program if exposed. “98 percent of PRISM production is based on Yahoo, Google and Microsoft; we need to make sure we don’t harm these sources,” the briefing’s author wrote in his speaker’s notes.
Note: For graphs and lots more on the Prism program, see the Guardian article at this link. Technically, U.S. officials are not allowed to mine personal data from U.S. citizens. Yet if U.K. authorities mine data on U.S. citizens, they can share it freely with officials in the U.S. and vice versa. There is evidence that this happens quite frequently, thus circumventing privacy protections. For an excellent article which goes deep into this issue, click here.
Hacker who outed Ohio rapists faces longer jail time than the rapists
If it weren't for Deric Lostutter (aka KYAnonymous), the Steubenville High School rape scandal may not have received the national attention it did. Lostutter is responsible for exposing the suspects' tweets, videos and Instagram photos that had bragged about the incident and were circulated among other students. But due to his ties to other hackers who (he claims) compromised the school's football team fan page, the FBI raided his home. If convicted for the hacking, Lostutter could face up to 10 years behind bars. The football players found guilty of raping the 16-year-old victim? One player received a year in jail, the other received two years.
Note: For the full, revealing story on this, click here.