Intelligence Agency News StoriesExcerpts of Key Intelligence Agency News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of intelligence agency news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
As part of an ongoing effort to “exploit medical intelligence,” the National Security Agency teamed up with the military-focused Defense Intelligence Agency to extract “medical SIGINT” from the intercepted communications of nonprofit groups starting in the early 2000s, a top-secret document shows. Medical intelligence can include information about disease outbreaks; the ability of a foreign regime to respond to chemical, biological, and nuclear attacks; the capabilities of overseas drugs companies; advances in medical technology; medical research, and the medical response capabilities of various governments, according to the document and others like it, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. One of the more prominent examples of focused medical spying came in 2010, when the agency crafted a plan to stow tracking devices with medical supplies bound for an ill Osama bin Laden in order to locate the terrorist leader. One article from August 2003 identifies an NSA project to keep an eye on the evolution of biotechnology in various countries. “Can we ... determine the specific features that would distinguish a Bio Warfare Program from a benign civilian pharmaceutical production effort?” the author wrote, identifying a “suspect Iranian [biological warfare] facility” as a target for inspection. Medical intelligence gathering has continued since then, according to the so-called “black budget” proposed for the 2013 fiscal year, published in February 2012.
Bechtel - a behemoth among closely held companies - has been the world’s builder, benefiting from vast government contracts for engineering and infrastructure work in difficult places while it nurtured relationships with power brokers in Washington. In The Profiteers, journalist Sally Denton seeks to unravel the history of Bechtel. Her story is one of “how a dynastic line of rulers from the same American family conducts its business” and how its system of networking now pervades US capitalism. Anecdotes of Bohemian Grove, the secretive retreat that became an all-male “summer camp” for US corporate, political and military elites to toast marshmallows, skinny-dip in the river north of San Francisco and dress in drag for skits, elucidate the chummy nature of big business. As of 2014, [Bechtel's] reported revenue was $37bn, with projects and employees in 37 countries. The corporation’s embrace of Saudi Arabia as a lucrative client and its decades-long and contorted experience in Iraq also makes sense of some aspects of US foreign policy - as well as its intelligence-gathering operations. The life and times of John McCone, a former Bechtel executive who later served as CIA director in the US administrations of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, is chronicled deftly here. It is worth noting: McCone was and is critical to Bechtel’s dominance today. He devised the idea of “cost-plus contracts” for the toughest jobs sought by government. Contractors are guaranteed a profit in such deals.
Note: Bechtel was at the center of a major Iraqi reconstruction scandal in 2007. More recently, major defense contractors have been publicly congratulating themselves for steering US policy towards militarism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.
WikiLeaks published the DNC’s hacked emails. There has been a flurry of accusations – including from the Hillary Clinton campaign – that Russian president Vladimir Putin orchestrated both the hack and the leak, in an attempt to help Donald Trump win the presidency. It’s amazing how quickly the media are willing to forgo any skepticism and jump to conspiracy-tinged conclusions where Putin is involved. There is some circumstantial evidence that the hack may have originated in Russia, but there are also many questions that haven’t been resolved. As Adam Johnson detailed, when you look closely, the evidence is shoddy and often contradictory. The bulk of the “evidence” has come from the statements of cybersecurity firms FireEye and Crowdstrike, both of which have lucrative contracts with the US government. As FireEye’s CEO once made clear, his company has a financial stake in nation-state hacking tensions. As Edward Snowden pointed out ... with an accompanying NSA document, “Our government specifically authorized the hacking of political parties.” The US has also considered hacking and then releasing sensitive and embarrassing information in China in retaliation for cybersecurity attacks, as the New York Times reported last year. If the US wants to place blame at the feet of the Russians, they should do so transparently and in public, without leaving it to anonymous officials and cybersecurity firms to make claims without providing hard evidence.
In 1986, the director of Britain's premier domestic spy agency told Margaret Thatcher's cabinet secretary the risk of "embarrassment" from publicizing a politician's suspected child abuse was greater than the "danger" he presented. CBS News partner network Sky News reported the new twist in Britain's long and still-unfolding child sexual abuse scandal on Thursday, saying then-MI5 director Sir Antony Duff had told Prime Minister Thatcher's staffer "the risks of political embarrassment to the government is rather greater than the security danger." The name of the Member of Parliament Duff had been asked to investigate, over allegations he had a "penchant for small boys," has not been revealed, but Sky reported Wednesday that four former senior politicians were named in previously unseen government documents on abuse. All four have been dead for years, but they were senior members of Thatcher's cabinet. Over the course of several years the sex abuse scandal has snowballed, revealing - at best - a pervasive lax attitude among British law enforcement, politicians and celebrity culture toward the abuse of children during the 1970s and 80s. The ongoing police investigation has already landed some big names from British culture ... in jail for abuses committed during the height of their popularity. Others have been posthumously revealed as serial abusers. Sky's investigation, however, is the first time any suggestion of a possible cover-up of abuse by senior government officials has emerged.
Note: The Thatcher government was reported to have covered up a VIP pedophile ring. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
When you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun - they are lying. Read the 29 pages and ... remember that they were written during 2002 and 2003. President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq - not Saudi Arabia. So, 29 full pages that said “Saudi” and “Bandar” instead of “Hussein” and “Iraq” was a huge problem. There was a concerted effort by the FBI and the Bush Administration to keep incriminating Saudi evidence out of the Inquiry’s investigation. The Joint Inquiry was still able to write 29 full pages regarding Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks. No other nation is given such singular prominence in the Joint Inquiry’s Final Report. Not Iraq. Not Iran. Not Syria. Not Sudan. Not even Afghanistan or Pakistan. The 29 pages have been kept secret and suppressed from the American public for fifteen years - not for matters of genuine national security - but for matters of convenience, embarrassment, and cover-up. Instead of calling for an emergency session of Congress to immediately name the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism, President Obama continues to downplay, belittle, and ignore the truth leaving us vulnerable to terrorist attacks that are still to this very day being funded by our “ally”. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia provided operational and financial support to the 9/11 hijackers. That is a fact. And, the U.S. government has been covering up that fact for fifteen years - even to this very day.
Note: Read these pages that they didn't want you to see on this webpage and explore good commentary at this link. Check out also five key revelations of these documents. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
One of the most tortured men in the history of Guantánamo Bay has received clearance from the wartime prison’s quasi-parole board to leave after nearly 14 years of detention without charge. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian citizen whose harrowing account of his torture at Guantánamo Bay became an international bestseller in 2015, will soon leave behind the Cuban detention center where US military personnel contorted his body; bombarded him with noise; deprived him of sleep; stuffed his clothing with ice during a nighttime boat ride meant to to convince him he was headed to an even worse place; threatened his life; and threatened his mother with rape. A nonlegal panel representing various US security agencies tasked with assessing threats posed by Guantánamo’s 76 residual detainees, found Slahi to represent no “continuing significant threat to the security of the United States”. The consensus decision, reached on 14 July, was made public on Wednesday. A federal judge in 2010 [had previously] ordered him freed for lack of evidence untainted by torture to justify his detention, yet the US justice department appealed. In the summer of 2003, senior Guantánamo officials, believing Slahi was an important link to al-Qaida, sought and received permission from the Pentagon to torture him. US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally approved Slahi’s torture. In his book, Slahi recalled ... that he would tell his tormentors whatever they wished to hear. “I don’t care, as long as you are pleased,” Slahi informed his interrogators.
Note: By the time Slahi's bestselling book Guantanamo Diary was published, leaked documents obtained by BBC News had revealed that more than 150 innocent people were detained at Guantanamo after being rounded up for no reason. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists.
The Obama administration just released numbers suggesting ... that drone strikes in countries excluding Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria have resulted in between at least 64 and 116 noncombatant deaths during his administration. The president also issued an executive order effectively directing his successor to ... publish this data going forward. The new executive order means it will be harder for the next president to kill in total secrecy. Obama’s use [of drones] over the last seven years set a disastrous global precedent: using a new weapons technology as an excuse to kill in secret and without regard for international law. Today’s developments are an incremental but important step away from the notion that new technology is a license for secrecy. The downside, though, is that the drone data could be completely misleading – and provide a veneer of legitimacy to unlawful killings. There are reports of hundreds of unidentified people killed in apparent “signature strikes,” where targeting decisions were made on the basis of patterns of behavior rather than identification of a specific individual. Amnesty International and other groups have also documented so-called rescuer strikes, where the US killed or injured individuals who were trying to help the victims of an initial strike. The CIA, an agency with an extremely poor record of accountability to the public, is still conducting strikes. Its continued role is likely one reason we aren’t getting fuller answers to our questions about drones.
Note: Drone strikes almost always miss their intended targets and reportedly create more terrorists than they kill. Casualties of war whose identities are unknown are frequently mis-reported to be "militants". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Secret FBI rules allow agents to obtain journalists’ phone records with approval from two internal officials - far less oversight than under normal judicial procedures. The classified rules ... govern the FBI’s use of national security letters, which allow the bureau to obtain information about journalists’ calls without going to a judge or informing the news organization being targeted. Obtaining a journalist’s records with a national security letter (or NSL) requires the signoff of the FBI’s general counsel and the executive assistant director of the bureau’s National Security Branch. The Obama administration has come under criticism for bringing a record number of leak prosecutions and aggressively targeting journalists in the process. In 2013, after it came out that the Justice Department had secretly seized records from phone lines at the Associated Press and surveilled ... reporter James Rosen, then-Attorney General Eric Holder tightened the rules. The FBI could not label reporters as co-conspirators in order to try to identify their sources - as had happened with Rosen - and it became more difficult to get journalists’ phone records without notifying the news organization first. Yet these changes did not apply to NSLs. Those are governed by a separate set of rules. The FBI issues thousands of NSLs each year, including nearly 13,000 in 2015. Over the years, a series of Inspector General reports found significant problems with their use, yet the FBI is currently pushing to expand the types of information it can demand with an NSL.
Note: The aggressive pursuit of leaks and journalists that report them led BBC to recently ask: "Is the US government at war with whistleblowers?" Read more about the FBI's use of secret National Security Letters. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation and the disappearance of privacy.
The push by congressional Democrats to bar suspected terrorists from acquiring guns and explosives has focused renewed attention on the government’s secretive terrorist watch lists, which have grown exponentially since the 9/11 attacks. Since the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando on June 12, Democrats have endorsed various measures to get weapons out of the hands of people on the lists. The Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen, had been on the FBI’s terrorist watch list but was removed in 2014. His was one of approximately 800,000 names in that database, the most prominent of at least seven overlapping watch lists. The government does not release the exact number of watch lists or the specific criteria for getting on them. The no-fly list ... contained 16 people on Sept. 11, 2001. By 2014, it had grown to about 64,000 people. Civil liberties advocates [say] the watch lists are riddled with inaccurate and outdated information, nearly impossible to get off and stigmatize the people on them. The largest watch list is The Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center. As of August 2014, it contained about 1.1 million names. The FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center ... maintains what is known as the government’s "consolidated Terrorist Watchlist." It contains about 800,000 names. Last year, [a] federal judge ruled that the government’s lack of effective procedures for people to challenge their inclusion on the no-fly list was unconstitutional.
Note: A 2013 New York Times article further describes the rapid expansion of these mysterious lists, which are made according to secret rules. Some people have reportedly been added to watch lists by federal air marshals simply to meet quotas. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
Much has been made of Bobby Kennedy’s impossible burden following the assassination of his brother. A review of [documents released as recently as a few months ago] by the Globe, fortified by the work of historians and new interviews with former Kennedy aides, paints a picture of a brother responding to the assassination with equal parts crippling grief and growing suspicions. In the five years between his brother’s murder and his own assassination in 1968, Bobby Kennedy voiced public support for the findings of the Warren Commission, namely that a pathetic, attention-seeking gunman had alone been responsible for the murder of President Kennedy. Privately, though, Bobby was dismissive of the commission, seeing it ... as a public relations tool. After hearing the news out of Dallas, it’s clear that he quickly focused his attention on three areas of suspicion: Cuba, the Mafia, and the CIA. Crucially, Bobby had become his brother’s point man in managing all three of those highly fraught portfolios. And by the time the president was gunned down, Bobby understood better than anyone how all three had become hopelessly interwoven, and how much all three bore his own imprint. For while John Kennedy was the one gunned down, Bobby had reason to believe he may have been the ultimate target. Walking the grounds of Hickory Hill just an hour after receiving confirmation of his brother’s death, Bobby confided in an aide something truly unsettling. That aide, Edwin Guthman, would later recount it in his book “We Band of Brothers.” “I thought they would get one of us,” Bobby said, adding, “I thought it would be me.”
Note: In 2006, BBC reported that CIA operatives were directly involved in Robert Kennedy's assassination, and that Sirhan Sirhan may have been a programmed Manchurian Candidate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing assassinations news articles from reliable major media sources.
The F.B.I. has significantly increased its use of stings in terrorism cases, employing agents and informants to pose as jihadists, bomb makers, gun dealers or online “friends” in hundreds of investigations. Undercover operations, once seen as a last resort, are now used in about two of every three prosecutions involving people suspected of supporting the Islamic State, a sharp rise in the span of just two years. F.B.I. operatives coax suspects into saying and doing things that they might not otherwise do - the essence of entrapment. “They’re manufacturing terrorism cases,” said Michael German, a former undercover agent with the F.B.I.. Despite dozens of challenges to undercover terrorism cases brought since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, a judge has yet to throw one out on the grounds of entrapment. Not that some judges have not considered it. “I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here, except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition,” Judge Colleen McMahon of the United States District Court ... said in 2011 in a case involving four Muslim men in Newburgh, N.Y. The F.B.I. planted an undercover informant inside a mosque in Newburgh as part of what became an elaborate, nearly yearlong plot. The F.B.I. even built a fake Stinger missile and had it delivered to the men. Judge McMahon said she was troubled by the F.B.I.’s conduct, but she upheld the charges.
Note: For more, see how an FBI mole posing as a potential lover recently convinced a man to become a terrorist. If terrorism is such a grave threat in the US, why does the FBI have to manufacture "terrorist" plots and then exaggerate its anti-terrorism success?
Prime ministers, finance ministers, leading entrepreneurs and a former spy chief are among the attendees at this year’s influential Bilderberg conference ... which begins on Thursday in Dresden. The German military has been drafted in to oversee security. They’re working with corporate security from Airbus to make sure the politicians are kept safely away from the press for the entire three-day conference. Every year, a major corporation with links to the Bilderberg steering committee coordinates security for the event with the police. Which makes the whole conference even more obviously the corporate lobbying event that it is - with giant corporations handling everything from security to dry ice. And it makes the silence of the politicians who attend even more egregious. These high-level talks between policymakers and the heads of transnational oil companies ... take place in heavily guarded privacy, with no press oversight whatsoever. [This is] especially great if you’re on the board of BP. Like, for example, Sir John Sawers. As well as being a director of BP, the silken, Blairish former MI6 boss is a member of Bilderberg’s steering committee, and the chairman of Macro Advisory Partners, a global advisory group with heavy links to the transatlantic intelligence community, very much in the style of Kissinger Associates. And speak of the devil! The ageless 93-year-old former US secretary of state will be holding court at Dresden, croaking out his wisdom from the throne of bones he has shipped everywhere he goes.
Note: This entire article is a must read if you want to know how the power elite work together to manipulate global politics. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Bilderberg Group and other elite secret societies.
I have rarely seen the Commons so full and so silent as when it met yesterday to hear of the London bombings. Perhaps the loss is hardest to bear because it is so difficult to answer the question why it should have happened. We may be offered a website entry or a video message attempting to justify the impossible, but there is no language that can supply a rational basis for such arbitrary slaughter. In the absence of anyone else owning up to yesterday's crimes, we will be subjected to a spate of articles analysing the threat of militant Islam. Osama bin Laden is [not] a true representative of Islam. Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida ... was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west. The danger now is that the west's current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil.
Note: The above article was written by Robin Cook, who served as both the Foreign Secretary of the UK and the leader of the House of Commons. Less than one month after this article was written (which was also the day after the 7/7 London bombings), Mr. Cook died of a heart attack while taking a walk. For proof that the CIA developed a silent gun which shot a poison to mimic a heart attack in a way that was not traceable, watch this short video which presents the testimony of a former CIA secretary and Congressional testimony on this secret weapon.
President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the Japanese city that the United States nearly destroyed with a nuclear bomb in 1945. While the bombing ... killed as many as 150,000 people, Obama is not expected to apologize during his visit. After more than 70 years, why not apologize for Hiroshima? Countries in general do not apologize for violence against other countries. What else has America not apologized for? Here are a few ideas. During the Vietnam War, the United States sprayed about 12 million gallons of Agent Orange, a herbicide, over areas of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. About 1 million people were disabled or suffered health problems because of contact with the herbicide. There has been no apology for this or for other controversies of the war. In 1953, democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a coup [that] was carried out under CIA direction ... with the aid of the British Secret Intelligence Service. The United States and Britain have never apologized for [this], with the Obama administration recently stating that it had no plans to. The United States is also widely suspected of involvement in a bloody 1973 coup that ousted socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 and put dictator Augusto Pinochet in control. In 1977, Brady Tyson, deputy leader of the U.S. delegation to the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, did ... offer an apology for the U.S. involvement in the coup, but he was quickly disavowed by the State Department.
Note: Read a detailed description of how the New York Times suppressed and skewed the facts about the effects of the atomic bomb in order to forward the war-profiteering agenda. Although CIA involvement in the Iranian coup and the Pentagon's prolonged support for the Pinochet regime's torturers are now well-known, the intelligence community remains unapologetically corrupt.
June 6 will be the third anniversary of The Guardian’s publication of top-secret documents provided by [Edward] Snowden that showed that the National Security Agency was collecting the telephone records of tens of millions of Americans. Mr. Snowden [has been] denounced ... as a traitor. [Former Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton said in a Democratic presidential debate [that], “He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistle-blower.” Thomas Drake would disagree. Mr. Drake was a senior N.S.A. official who had also complained, 12 years earlier, about warrantless surveillance. He went up the chain of command [to] the Defense Department’s Office of Inspector General. Things did not go well. F.B.I. agents raided his house. He was forced to resign and was indicted on 10 felony charges arising from an alleged “scheme” to improperly “retain and disclose classified information.” He ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for “exceeding authorized use of a government computer” in exchange for the government’s dropping the other charges. He now works at an Apple store. Mr. Snowden followed the Drake case closely in the news media and drew the obvious conclusion: Going through [official] channels was worse than a dead end. [John] Crane, a former assistant inspector general in the Defense Department who oversaw the whistle-blower program, has now come forward alleging that Mr. Drake was persecuted by the very officials in his office who were supposed to protect him.
Note: John Crane was forced out of the Pentagon in 2013. His story is told in a new book, titled, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing In The Age of Snowden by Mark Hertsgaard. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
Edward Snowden has called for a complete overhaul of US whistleblower protections after a new source from deep inside the Pentagon came forward with a startling account of how the system became a “trap” for those seeking to expose wrongdoing. The account of John Crane ... appears to undermine Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and [others] who argue that there were established routes for Snowden other than leaking to the media. Crane, a longtime assistant inspector general at the Pentagon, has accused his old office of retaliating against a major surveillance whistleblower, Thomas Drake. Not only did Pentagon officials provide Drake’s name to criminal investigators, Crane told the Guardian, they destroyed documents relevant to his defence. Thomas Drake’s legal ordeal ruined him financially. His case served as a prologue to Snowden’s. In 2002, Drake and NSA colleagues contacted the Pentagon inspector general to blow the whistle on [a] tool, Trailblazer, for mass-data analysis. Crane, head of the office’s whistleblower unit, assigned investigators. For over two years, with Drake as a major source, they ... prepared a lengthy secret report [that] eventually [helped] to kill the program. As far as Crane was concerned, the whistleblower system was working. But after an aspect of the NSA’s warrantless mass surveillance leaked to the New York Times, Drake himself came under investigation and eventually indictment [for] hoarding documentation – exactly what inspector-general investigators tell their whistleblowers to do.
Note: John Crane was forced out of the Pentagon in 2013. His story is told in a new book, titled, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing In The Age of Snowden by Mark Hertsgaard. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
A CIA tip off to South Africa's apartheid regime which led to Nelson Mandela's arrest and 27-year imprisonment was condemned as a "betrayal of our nation" by the grandson and heir of the former president. Mandla Mandela called on US President Barack Obama to apologise and make a "full disclosure" of the events leading up to his grandfather's arrest in 1962 ... after a former CIA agent confirmed that he told the apartheid police how to find [Nelson] Mandela. "The USA put its imperial interests above the struggle for liberation of millions of people," said Mr Mandela, the former statesman's eldest grandson who is also an ANC MP. Donald Rickard said he and his handlers believed Mr Mandela was "the world's most dangerous communist outside of the Soviet Union" and he had no qualms about tipping the authorities off about his whereabouts in 1962, the height of the Cold War. The CIA's involvement in his detention after 17 years on the run has long been suspected but has never been confirmed until now. Mr Rickard ... broke his silence about his involvement in netting the "Black Pimpernel" as Mandela was known in an interview in March with researchers for a new film by British director John Irvin. Mr Rickard, who retired from the CIA in 1978 and spent the rest of his life in a remote spot in Colorado, died two weeks after the interview. Zizi Kodwa, a spokesman for the ANC, echoed claims by the ANC's secretary-general that the CIA was still interfering in South African politics.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Hidden microphones that are part of a clandestine government surveillance program that has been operating around the Bay Area has been exposed. Imagine standing at a bus stop, talking to your friend and having your conversation recorded without you knowing. It happens all the time, and the FBI doesn’t even need a warrant to do it. Jeff Harp, a ... security analyst and former FBI special agent said, “They put microphones under rocks, they put microphones in trees, they plant microphones in equipment. I mean, there’s microphones that are planted in places that people don’t think about, because that’s the intent!” FBI agents hid microphones inside light fixtures and at a bus stop outside the Oakland Courthouse without a warrant to record conversations, between March 2010 and January 2011. Federal authorities are trying to prove real estate investors in San Mateo and Alameda counties are guilty of bid rigging and fraud and used these recordings as evidence. The lawyer for one of the accused real estate investors who will ask the judge to throw out the recordings, told KPIX 5 News that, “Speaking in a public place does not mean that the individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy … private communication in a public place qualifies as a protected ‘oral communication.'”
For the first time, a federal judge is letting a civil lawsuit proceed against two CIA contract psychologists who designed and supervised brutal interrogation tactics that critics called torture. The ruling allows two former CIA detainees and the family of another who died in agency custody to try to win damages in federal court for the abuse they suffered at then-secret CIA prisons in the early 2000s. According to the lawsuit and a Senate Intelligence Committee report, the mistreatment included waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in small boxes, rectal feeding and beatings. As the lawsuit progresses, it may shed more light on the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that the CIA used in an effort to collect intelligence ... after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “It’s unprecedented,” [said] Dror Ladin, the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who argued the plaintiffs' case in court. “No CIA torture victim has ever taken this step toward accountability. Every previous lawsuit has been shut down before this stage. “It gives our clients a chance to ... finally get some justice,” he said. The Department of Justice had blocked previous lawsuits aimed at the CIA's now-barred detention and interrogation program on grounds that any case could reveal secrets and compromise national security. That changed after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report in December 2014 that exposed details about the program, including the role played by [psychologists Bruce] Jessen and [James E.] Mitchell.
Note: Read more in this ACLU article. For more along these lines, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists. For more, see this list of programs that treated humans as guinea pigs.
From 2013 to 2015, the NSA and CIA doubled the number of warrantless searches they conducted for Americans’ data in a massive NSA database ostensibly collected for foreign intelligence purposes, according to a new intelligence community transparency report. The estimated number of search terms “concerning a known U.S. person” to get contents of communications within what is known as the 702 database was 4,672 - more than double the 2013 figure. And that doesn’t even include the number of FBI searches on that database. A recently released ... court ruling confirmed that the FBI is allowed to run any number of searches it wants on that database, not only for national security probes but also to hunt for evidence of traditional crimes. No estimates have ever been released of how often that happens. The missing data from the FBI is of great concern to privacy advocates. The USA Freedom Act, passed in June 2015, “conspicuously exempts the FBI” from disclosing how often it searches the 702 database, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) wrote in a letter to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, in October 2015. “There is every reason to believe the number of FBI queries far exceeds those of the CIA and NSA,” POGO wrote. “It is essential that you work with the attorney general to release statistics on the FBI’s use of U.S. person queries.” The new report also leaves unanswered how many Americans’ communications are collected in the first place.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.