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Tag: NSA

FBI Director Doesn’t Want New Barriers Placed On NSA Surveillance Program

Christopher Wray (File photo)

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The constant battle over privacy and the need to access information for national security is playing out in Washington.

Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post reports:

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Friday that changing the rules of a soon-to-expire surveillance program could create new barriers to preventing terrorist attacks, similar to those that existed before 2001.

In defending his agency’s information-sharing program with the National Security Agency — which civil liberties groups have criticized as a threat to privacy — Wray said his agents get just a small piece of the NSA’s intelligence gathering.

“The FBI only receives collection for a very small percentage of what the NSA does. It’s about 4.3 percent of the targets under NSA collection. But that 4.3 percent is unbelievably valuable to our mission,’’ Wray said during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. He did not say how large that database is.

NSA Leaker Reality Winner Says ‘I Screwed Up Royally’

Reality Winner

Reality Winner

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Accused National Security Administration leaker Reality Winner revealed she “screwed up royally” when she smuggled classified information — hidden in her pantyhose — out of an NSA facility in Georgia and sent material to the media, according to documents of her FBI interview, ABC News reports.

A transcript of Winner’s FBI interview was made public in a court filing on Wednesday night.

Winner, 25, faces charges of leaking government information to the media outlet The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election, including information on hacking into a voting machine software supplier, ABC News reports.

She admitted in the FBI interview she had read reports of Russian efforts to compromise voter data and wondered why the information she possessed wasn’t public.

“I saw the article and was like, ‘I don’t understand why this isn’t a thing,'” she said. “It made me very mad. I guess I just didn’t care about myself at that point. Yeah, I screwed up royally.”

She faces up to at least 9 years in prison if convicted at trial.

Suspected NSA Leaker Accused of Writing, ‘I Want to Burn the White House Down’

Suspected NSA leaker Reality Winner.

Suspected NSA leaker Reality Winner.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Suspected NSA leader Reality Leigh Winner is accused of writing in a journal, “I want to burn the White House down.”

Investigators found the journal insider her home in Georgia, the USA Today reports. 

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Winner held without bail after she was charged with leaking classified U.S. intelligence documents to the website Intercept.

Winner is accused of writing, “I want to burn the White House Down … find somewhere in Kurdistan to live. Ha-ha!” assistant U.S. attorney Jennifer Solari told a federal judge.

Winner, 25, is a former Air Force linguist.

How FBI Easily Tracked Down Leaker of Top Secret Russia Document

Reality Leigh Winner, via Facebook.

Reality Leigh Winner, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators often struggle to uncover national security leakers, but not in the case of Reality Leigh Winner, a government contractor arrested for allegedly sending a top-secret document to a news outlet.

The Washington Post reports that Winner was easy to track down – it took just a few days – because the 25-year-old Georgia woman left behind plenty of clues. 

An unidentified news outlet, presumably The Intercept, called federal officials for a comment on one of the “most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.” The news agency, seeking comment for a story, showed authorities a copy of the printed materials, according to an affidavit.

“The U.S. Government Agency examined the document shared by the News Outlet and determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded and/or creased,” the affidavit reads, “suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space.”

Authorities determined that six people had printed out the top-secret materials, and one of those was Winner, who worked for Pluribus International at a facility in Georgia.

A review of Winner’s work computer revealed that she had searched the agency’s classified system for the report and printed it on the same day. 

A reporter who received the documents said they were mailed in an envelope postmarked “Augusta, Georgia.”

“The Contractor informed the Reporter that he thought that the documents were fake,” the affidavit reads. “Nevertheless, the Contractor contacted the U.S. Government Agency on or about June 1, 2017, to inform the U.S. Government Agency of his interaction with the reporter.”

After Winner was arrested Saturday, the FBI said she admitted “removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet,” court documents read.

President Trump Asked Top Intelligence Officials to Help End FBI Investigation of His Campaign

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After President Trump repeatedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to swear loyalty to the president during a one-on-one meeting in the White House in February, the Republican is accused of trying to get two top intelligence officials to intervene.

The Washington Post reports that Trump asked the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency to help him stop a FBI investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia. 

Trump wanted the top intelligence officials to public deny the existence of evidence of collusion during the 2016 presidential election.

The requests, which were denied by both men, happened during two separate meetings that could be used to help build the case that Trump was obstructing justice.

Public Advocate Objected to FBI’s Unrestricted Access to NSA Data

Photo: Depositphotos

Photo: Depositphotos

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In 2015, in her first appearance as a “friend of the court” representing the American public, Amy Jeffress, a former federal prosecutor, argued before the very secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that the FBI was violating the Fourth Amendment by giving agents “virtually unrestricted” access to data from one of the NSA’s largest surveillance programs that included untold amounts of communications involving innocent Americans, reports Alex Emmons of the the website, Intercept.

One big problem is that while the program is supposed to target foreigners, it ends up capturing a large number of communications from Americans.

“There need be no connection to foreign intelligence or national security, and that is the purpose of the collection,” Emmons told Thomas Hogan, then the chief judge of the court. “So they’re overstepping, really, the purpose for which the information is collected.”

The ACLU released this information on Friday after obtaining it through the Freedom of Information Act, Intercept reports.

The peek behind the curtain shows the ongoing battle between keeping America safe and protecting peoples’ privacy and Constitutional rights.

 

Trump Sticks to His Unfounded Surveillance Claims Despite FBI, NSA Remarks

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

FBI Director James Comey, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Donald Trump and the White House are sticking to their unfounded claims that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election, despite zero evidence from the FBI and NSA.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers both told the House Intelligence Committee that they’ve seen no evidence to back up Trump’s claims, which were first made in a March 4 tweet.

“There’s a lot more questions that need to be asked about what was being done in terms of surveillance,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at a press briefing today. “Who was being surveilled? Why were they being surveilled? What were the techniques? I get that you guys want to know the end of the book right now, but we’re in the first chapter of this process.”

Hours earlier, Comey said, “The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

Trump continues to show little faith in the country’s intelligence agencies, repeating unfounded claims.

“I’ve seen nothing on the NSA side that we’ve engaged in such activity nor that anyone ever asked us to engage in such activity,” the NSA director said.

FBI’s Comey on Trump’s Claims About Obama: ‘I Have No Information That Supports Those Tweets’

FBI Director James Comey testifies Monday

FBI Director James Comey testifies Monday

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director James Comey on Monday confirmed what everyone had been saying: The FBI and Justice Department has no information supporting President Donald Trump’s claims that President Barack Obama wiretapped his campaign.

“I have no Information that supports those tweets,” Comey told the U.S. House Committee on Intelligence.

The statement is likely to further embarrass and undermine the credibility of the president and his administration, which has often relied on media reports as a source of intelligence rather than turning to the U.S. intelligence agencies.

Adm. Michael Rogers, head of the National Security Agency, who sat next to Comey, also testified there was no evidence that British intelligence helped Obama wiretap Trump.

Earlier, Comey confirmed that the FBI is investigating concerns about the Russians meddling in the presidential election.