Terrorism News StoriesExcerpts of Key Terrorism News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of terrorism 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.
It was an innocuous e-mail, one of millions sent every day by spouses with updates on the situation at home. But this one was of particular interest to the National Security Agency and contained clues that put the sender’s husband in the crosshairs of a CIA drone. Days later, Hassan Ghul ... was killed by a drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal belt. Documents provided ... by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden confirm his demise in October 2012 and reveal the agency’s extensive involvement in the targeted killing program that has served as a centerpiece of President Obama’s counterterrorism strategy. The documents provide the most detailed account of the intricate collaboration between the CIA and the NSA in the drone campaign. [The] collection of records in the Snowden trove [make] clear that the drone campaign — often depicted as the CIA’s exclusive domain — relies heavily on the NSA’s ability to vacuum up enormous quantities of e-mail, phone calls and other fragments of signals intelligence, or SIGINT. To handle the expanding workload, the NSA created a secret unit known as the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to concentrate the agency’s vast resources on hard-to-find [targets]. Former CIA officials said the files are an accurate reflection of the NSA’s contribution to finding targets in a campaign that has killed more than 3,000 people [in] Pakistan.
Note: For more on the use of drones to kill abroad and spy at home, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A Department of Justice memo [distributed by the FBI] instructs local police, under a program named "Communities Against Terrorism," to consider anyone who harbors "conspiracy theories" about 9/11 to be a potential terrorist. The memo thus adds 9/11-official-story skeptics to a growing list of targets described by federal law enforcement [as] security threats, such as those who express "libertarian philosophies," "Second Amendment-oriented views," interest in "self-sufficiency," "fears of Big Brother or big government," and "Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties." A newly released national poll shows that 48 percent of Americans either have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, or do not believe it at all. The FBI memo entitled "Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Sleepers" says that people who should be 'considered suspicious' [for] possible involvement in "terrorist activity" include those who hold the "attitude" described as "Conspiracy theories about Westerners." The memo continues: "e.g. (sic) the CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands." "Sleepers" refers to "sleeper cells," in FBI jargon, which are terrorists awaiting orders to be activated into terrorist activity. According to the polling firm YouGov, 38% of Americans have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, 10% do not believe it at all, and 12% are unsure about it. Among well-known doubters of the official 9/11 account are many military officers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters, and pilots.
Note: We don't normally use Digital Journal as a news source, but this article is too important to not include, and no major media source is covering the story. For evidence that search engines are actively blocking 9/11 truth videos, click here. For more on the questions raised about the official explanation of the 9/11 events by highly respected professors and former government and military officials, click here and here.
The CIA has been subjecting operatives to monthly polygraph tests in an attempt to suppress details of a reported US arms smuggling operation in Benghazi that was ongoing when its ambassador was killed by a mob in the city last year, according to reports. Up to 35 CIA operatives were working in the city during the attack last September on the US consulate that resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, according to CNN. The television network said that a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels. Sources said that more Americans were hurt in the assault ... than had been previously reported. CIA chiefs were actively working to ensure the real nature of its operations in the city did not get out. So only the losses suffered by the State Department in the city had been reported to Congress. Frank Wolf, a US congressman who represents the district that contains CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is one of 150 members of Congress for a new investigation into the failures in Benghazi. "I think it is a form of a cover-up, and I think it's an attempt to push it under the rug," he said. "We should have the people who were on the scene come in, testify under oath, do it publicly, and lay it out. And there really isn't any national security issue involved with regards to that."
Note: For more on the hidden realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
[Seymour] Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as "the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist", ... is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth. Don't even get him started on the ... death of Osama bin Laden. "Nothing's been done about that story, it's one big lie, not one word of it is true," he says of the dramatic US Navy Seals raid in 2011. Hersh is writing a book about national security and has devoted a chapter to the bin Laden killing. He says a recent report put out by an "independent" Pakistani commission about life in the Abottabad compound in which Bin Laden was holed up would not stand up to scrutiny. "The Pakistanis put out a report, don't get me going on it. Let's put it this way, it was done with considerable American input. It's a bullshit report," he says hinting of revelations to come in his book. The Obama administration lies systematically, he claims, yet none of the leviathans of American media, the TV networks or big print titles, challenge him. He is certain that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden "changed the whole nature of the debate" about surveillance. "But I don't know if it's going to mean anything in the long [run] because the polls I see in America – the president can still say to voters 'al-Qaida, al-Qaida' and the public will vote two to one for this kind of surveillance, which is so idiotic," he says.
Note: For a powerful analysis by scholar David Ray Griffin of the years-long Osama bin Laden psyop, arguing that bin Laden probably died in December 2001, see his book Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?. For more on media cover-ups of important realities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The U.S. Capitol Police have launched an investigation into whether an elite tactical team was abruptly recalled from responding to [the] Navy Yard shooting massacre before D.C. Metropolitan Police officers confronted the shooter. Two Metropolitan Police officers entered the Navy Yard without the Capitol Police team and one was wounded by the gunman, Aaron Alexis. The elite Capitol Police Containment & Emergency Response Team [CERT] is based just a few blocks from the Navy Yard. A law enforcement source told WUSA-TV the unit was less than 30 seconds from the gate and responded as Metropolitan Police pleaded for help. A Capitol Police watch commander "wouldn't let them go in and stop people from being slaughtered," one officer told the Washington TV station. An officer told The Washington Post that the officers' union had filed a complaint. The Capitol Police have launched an investigation into the allegation "We were definitely the closest tactical team in the city," the unidentified officer told the newspaper. "[The team] was at the scene very early on, within a couple of minutes. They were ordered to disengage and turn back. For what reason, we don't know." The CERT, created in 1978, consists of three "cells" — two assault teams of at least six officers each, plus and a counter-sniper unit. Two teams were on duty [at the time of the shooting incident].
Note: How strange that the Capitol Police commander would order the CERT to go back to its base in such a situation! Could there be more than just an error of judgement here?
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.
Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are in the news constantly, but what about unmanned underwater vehicles? They could also be important in both war and peace, which is why the Defense Department's research arm, DARPA, is looking into a mobile submarine base from which to launch drones. The project, still in the earliest stages, is called "Hydra," after the mythical beast whose heads multiplied upon being cut off. The idea is to create a sort of underwater version of an aircraft carrier. The Hydra, itself an unmanned underwater vehicle, would be stocked with drones of various kinds and capacities: circling overhead, scouting underwater for mines, or listening on the surface.
Note: For more on the US military and police use of drones both abroad and in the US, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Over decades and diverse administrations, justifications for the use of force - limited and full scale - have constantly revolved around weapons of mass destruction. Protection against them, real and imaginary, has served [as] justification for government excess and a curtailment of our freedoms. We stop everything because it is WMD and we fret about the consequences of both action and inaction because it is WMD. We do so because of a little known and little understood entity that truly drives American national security practices: It's called the Program. Founded in the darkest days of nuclear threat during the Eisenhower administration, the Program began as a limited system given responsibility for survival of the government. The nuclear arms race ended, but the Program never completely went away. And since 9/11, like everything else about national security, its mission and focus have expanded. The Program exists through a system of sealed envelopes - four dozen formal Presidential Emergency Action Documents more secret than anything that has been revealed about the National Security Agency of late, arrangements that instruct a surviving entity of what to do if a nation-destroying calamity befalls Washington or the United States. Because Doomsday is now thought by the experts in government to be any day, and because the potential battlefield is anyplace and every place, the work of the Program, and its power, have dramatically expanded. A survival apparatus operates behind the scenes as if survival is perpetually and instantly at stake.
Note: The author of this analysis, William M. Arkin, has written American Coup: How a Terrified Government is Destroying the Constitution, and is co-author of the best-selling book and newspaper series Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State.
The New York Police Department has secretly labeled entire mosques as terrorism organizations, a designation that allows police to use informants to record sermons and spy on imams, often without specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Designating an entire mosque as a terrorism enterprise means that anyone who attends prayer services there is a potential subject of an investigation and fair game for surveillance. Since the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD has opened at least a dozen "terrorism enterprise investigations" into mosques, according to interviews and confidential police documents. Many TEIs stretch for years, allowing surveillance to continue even though the NYPD has never criminally charged a mosque or Islamic organization with operating as a terrorism enterprise. The documents show in detail how, in its hunt for terrorists, the NYPD investigated countless innocent New York Muslims and put information about them in secret police files. As a tactic, opening an enterprise investigation on a mosque is so potentially invasive that while the NYPD conducted at least a dozen, the FBI never did one, according to interviews with federal law enforcement officials. The revelations about the NYPD's massive spying operations are in documents recently obtained by The Associated Press and part of a new book, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit... The book ... is based on hundreds of previously unpublished police files and interviews with current and former NYPD, CIA and FBI officials.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Newly declassified documents obtained [by] Judicial Watch, are raising questions over the U.S. government's handling of Anwar al-Awlaki, and whether it [recruited] the radical American cleric as an intelligence source in 2002. Director Robert Mueller did not dismiss the possibility. "I am not personally familiar with any effort to recruit Anwar al-Awlaki as an asset -- that does not mean to say there was not an effort at some level of the Bureau (FBI) or another agency to do so," Mueller said. Fox's ongoing reporting ... shows that in 2002 he was released from custody at JFK international airport -- despite an active warrant for his arrest -- with the okay of FBI Agent Wade Ammerman. Within days of his re-entry, al-Awlaki showed up in Ammerman's counter-terrorism investigation in Virginia into Ali al-Timimi, who is now serving a life sentence on non-terrorism charges. None of the information about al-Awlaki's release from federal custody at JFK, a sudden decision by the Justice Department in October 2002 to rescind an arrest warrant for the cleric, nor the cleric's connection to Ammerman was provided to the defense during Timimi’s 2005 trial. Documents ... show the FBI Director was more deeply involved in the post-9/11 handling of al-Awlaki than previously known. One memo from Mueller to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft on Oct. 3, 2002 -- seven days before the cleric re-entered the U.S. and was detained at JFK -- is marked "Secret" and titled "Anwar Aulaqi: IT-UBL/AL-QAEDA." "Why would al-Awlaki get the attention of the FBI Director? Why would a warrant for his arrest be pulled when he's trying to reenter the country?" asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
Note: Al-Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and was a US citizen, died in a U.S. drone attack in Yemen nearly two years ago, the first American targeted for death by the CIA, by its own admission. With the confirmation that he had been an intelligence asset for the US government as early as 2002, his assassination takes on new significance. For more on the murky background of Al-Awlaki, click here and here.
Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, has invaded America’s television sets in recent weeks to warn about Edward Snowden’s leaks and the continuing terrorist threat to America. But what often goes unmentioned, as the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald pointed out, is that Hayden has a financial stake in keeping Americans scared and on a permanent war footing against Islamist militants. And the private firm he works for, called the Chertoff Group, is not the only one making money by scaring Americans. Post-9/11 America has witnessed a boom in private firms dedicated to the hyped-up threat of terrorism. The drive to privatize America’s national security apparatus accelerated in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, and it’s gotten to the point where 70 percent of the national intelligence budget is now spent on private contractors, as author Tim Shorrock reported [in Spies for Hire: the Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing]. The private intelligence contractors have profited to the tune of at least $6 billion a year. In 2010, the Washington Post revealed that there are 1,931 private firms across the country dedicated to fighting terrorism. What it all adds up to is a massive industry profiting off government-induced fear of terrorism, even though Americans are more likely to be killed by a car crash or their own furniture than a terror attack. Here are five private companies cashing in on keeping you afraid. 1. The Chertoff Group 2. Booz Allen Hamilton 3. Science Applications International Corp. 4. Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies 5. Security Solutions International.
Note: For more on government and corporate corruption in pushing the terror hoax, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
What if government officials have written laws that apply only to us and not to them? What if we gave them the power to protect our freedoms and our safety and they used that power to trick and trap some of us? What if government officials broke the laws we hired them to enforce? What if they prosecuted others for breaking the same laws they broke? What if the government enacted a law making it a crime to provide material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the government looked at that law and claimed it applied to a dentist or a shopkeeper who sold services or goods to a terrorist organization, and not just to financiers and bomb makers? What if the Supreme Court ruled that the law is so broad that it covers backslapping, advocacy and free speech? What if the law is so broad that it punishes ideas and the free expression of those ideas, even if no one is harmed thereby? What if FBI agents pretended to be members of these terrorist organizations and set out to find people in America who were willing to join? What if the FBI arrested the people it found and encouraged just as they were about to leave the U.S. and then charged them with providing material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the president boasted that in his mind these duped dopes were really terrorists and their arrests kept us all safer? What if offensive wars are illegal and morally wrong? What if killing is evil when not done in self-defense? What if those who kill not in self-defense are prosecuted and punished, except when they do so in large numbers and to the sounds of trumpets blaring? What do we do about a government that breaks the laws we have hired it to enforce?
Note: Andrew P. Napolitano, author of this opinion, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written seven books on the U.S. Constitution. His latest is Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom.
A former CIA officer has broken the U.S. silence around the 2003 abduction of a radical Islamist cleric in Italy, charging that the agency inflated the threat the preacher posed and that the United States then allowed Italy to prosecute her and other Americans to shield President George W. Bush and other U.S. officials from responsibility for approving the operation. Confirming for the first time that she worked undercover for the CIA in Milan when the operation took place, Sabrina De Sousa provided new details about the “extraordinary rendition” that led to the only criminal prosecution stemming from the secret Bush administration rendition and detention program launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The cleric, Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, was snatched from a Milan street by a team of CIA operatives and flown to Egypt, where he was held for the better part of four years without charges and allegedly tortured. An Egyptian court in 2007 ruled that his imprisonment was “unfounded” and ordered him released. Among the allegations made by De Sousa in a series of interviews with McClatchy: – The former CIA station chief in Rome, Jeffrey Castelli, whom she called the mastermind of the operation, exaggerated Nasr's terrorist threat to win approval for the rendition and misled his superiors [to believe] that Italian military intelligence had agreed to the operation. – Senior CIA officials, including then-CIA Director George Tenet, approved the operation even though Nasr wasn’t wanted in Egypt and wasn’t on the U.S. list of top al Qaida terrorists. – Condoleezza Rice, then the White House national security adviser, ... agreed to it and recommended that Bush approve the abduction.
Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Sharp disagreement over the future of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp dominated the first Senate hearing on the issue in four years. The meeting [on July 24] of a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee, held in the wake of a high-profile hunger strike by inmates ... made clear that deep partisan divisions remain over whether keeping the prison open is a threat to national security or a necessity. Opened at a U.S. Navy base in Cuba in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, Guantanamo was established by President George W. Bush to hold detainees suspected of connections to global terrorism organizations. Allegations of abuse and torture of inmates have led to repeated calls for Guantanamo's closure, and Obama has campaigned twice on the issue, though Congress has passed repeated measures to keep the prison open. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who is chairman of the panel, urged Congress to support Obama's efforts, which would end the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial and either release them or charge them in American courts. "The risk of keeping it open far outranks the risk of closing it." Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton, who trained the Iraqi armed forces from 2003 to 2004, testified that by continuing to violate human rights and American law, the practices at Guantanamo proved more harmful to the U.S. national security interests. "Guantanamo is a terrorist-creating organization," he said to a reporter after the hearing. "It's a terrific recruiting tool."
Note: Whether or not detainees were truly terrorists before they were imprisoned at Guantanamo, how do you think they feel about the US government after years there? You have to wonder if this isn't being done to create terrorists, just as many prisons become training grounds for criminals.
A Florida medical examiner’s office said [on July 16] that the FBI has ordered the office not to release its autopsy report of a Chechen man fatally shot by a Boston FBI agent in May. The medical examiner’s office said it completed the autopsy report on Ibragim Todashev, a friend of [a] suspected Boston Marathon bomber, on July 8 and that the report was “ready for release.” The agent shot and killed Todashev on May 22 in his Orlando apartment during an interrogation related to the Boston Marathon bombings. Critics have called for an independent inquiry, questioning the blanket of secrecy surrounding the case. The FBI and the Massachusetts State Police sought out Todashev after the Marathon bombings, but have refused to release details of the shooting. Media reports have provided conflicting accounts: Some said Todashev attacked the agent with a blade during an interrogation, while others said Todashev was unarmed. Another said he lunged at the agent with a metal pole or a broomstick. The agent shot Todashev multiple times, according to family members who released photos of Todashev’s dead body as part of their call for an inquiry into his death. Family members and advocacy groups have questioned the media accounts, pointing out that Todashev had repeatedly cooperated with the FBI. The Council on American-Islamic Relations and the ACLU have called for independent inquiries into the shooting. According to CAIR in Florida, which is conducting its own investigation into Todashev’s slaying, Todashev had spoken to the FBI at least three times at their offices after the Marathon bombings.
Note: What are they hiding here?
Members of a congressional committee [on July 10] accused the FBI of stalling an inquiry into the Boston Marathon bombings, saying the bureau had no grounds for withholding what it knew about Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the attacks. “The information requested by this committee belongs to the American people,’’ said Representative Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. “It does not belong solely to the FBI.” The frustrations, aired publicly after FBI officials rebuffed an invitation to appear before the committee, stemmed from the FBI’s unwillingness to detail how it handled a security review of Tsarnaev nearly two years before the Marathon bombings. “The FBI continues to refuse this committee’s appropriate requests for information and documents crucial to our investigation into what happened in Boston,” McCaul declared as he opened a committee hearing. Tsarnaev died after a firefight with police in Watertown within hours of being identified as a suspect. Members were particularly frustrated by a July 3 letter to the committee from the FBI. The letter, reviewed by the Globe, said the bureau would not be responding to all the committee’s requests for information. “The fact that the FBI is not sharing information with this committee with jurisdiction over homeland security I think is just totally unacceptable,” said Representative Peter King, a New York Republican.
Note: For more strangeness around the Boston bombing with a key witness being deported, click here. For more on the realities of intelligence agency manipulations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The top U.S. special operations commander, Adm. William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public. The secret move, described briefly in a draft report by the Pentagon's inspector general, set off no alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps also the U.S. Freedom of Information Act. The CIA, noting that the bin Laden mission was overseen by then-CIA Director Leon Panetta before he became defense secretary, said that the SEALs were effectively assigned to work temporarily for the CIA, which has presidential authority to conduct covert operations. The records transfer was part of an effort by McRaven to protect the names of the personnel involved in the raid, according to the inspector general's draft report. But secretly moving the records allowed the Pentagon to tell The Associated Press that it couldn't find any documents inside the Defense Department that AP had requested more than two years ago, and would represent a new strategy for the U.S. government to shield even its most sensitive activities from public scrutiny. "Welcome to the shell game in place of open government," said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, a private research institute at George Washington University. "Guess which shell the records are under. If you guess the right shell, we might show them to you. It's ridiculous."
Note: For a powerful analysis of the strong evidence that Osama bin Laden most likely died in Afghanistan in December 2001, long before he was "killed" by the SEALs raid in Pakistan, read David Ray Griffin's Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans. The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny. The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come. In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures. Unlike the Supreme Court, the FISA court hears from only one side in the case — the government — and its findings are almost never made public.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home. “Show all mail to supv” — supervisor — “for copying prior to going out on the street,” read the card. It included Mr. Pickering’s name, address and the type of mail that needed to be monitored. The word “confidential” was highlighted in green. “It was a bit of a shock to see it,” said Mr. Pickering, who with his wife owns a small bookstore in Buffalo. More than a decade ago, he was a spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As the world focuses on the high-tech spying of the National Security Agency, the misplaced card offers a rare glimpse inside the seemingly low-tech but prevalent snooping of the United States Postal Service. Mr. Pickering was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images. The Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program was created after the anthrax attacks in late 2001. It enables the Postal Service to retrace the path of mail at the request of law enforcement. No one disputes that it is sweeping.
Note: The exposure by whistleblower Edward Snowden of the NSA's massive domestic and global spying operations seems to have triggered a series of other revelations about surveillance of the US population, like this report on the US Postal Service's photographing all mail. Hardly a week goes by without another major revelation, such as a new digital photo-ID database utilized by the FBI and police forces, and the development by US police of a national DNA database on all "potential suspects". Since very few US citizens are terrorists, what is the real purpose behind this total surveillance?
Have you noticed anything missing in the political discourse about the National Security Administration's unprecedented mass surveillance? There's at least been some conversation about the intelligence community's potential criminality and constitutional violations. But there have only been veiled references to how cash undoubtedly tilts the debate against those who challenge the national security state. Those indirect references have come in stories about Booz Allen Hamilton, the security contractor that employed Edward Snowden. CNN/Money notes that 99 percent of the firm's multibillion-dollar annual revenues now come from the federal government. Those revenues are part of a larger and growing economic sector within the military-industrial complex - a sector that, according to author Tim Shorrock, is "a $56 billion-a-year industry." Yet few in the Washington press corps mention that politicians' attacks on surveillance critics may have nothing to do with principle and everything to do with shilling for campaign donors. For a taste of what that kind of institutionalized corruption looks like, peruse the Influence Explorer site to see how much Booz Allen Hamilton and its parent company, the Carlyle Group, spend. As you'll see, from Barack Obama to John McCain, many of the politicians publicly defending the surveillance state have taken huge sums of money from the firms. Simply put, there are corporate forces with a vested financial interest in making sure the debate over security is tilted toward the surveillance state and against critics of that surveillance state.
Note: Tim Shorrock, quoted above, is the author of Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing.
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.