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Tag: NSA

NSA Contractor Charged with Stealing Highly Classified Information

The NSA headquarters in Maryland.

The NSA headquarters in Maryland.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former NSA contractor was secretly arrested in August by the FBI and is being investigated for possibly stealing and disclosing highly classified information.

Investigators are trying to determine whether the contractor, Harold T. Martin III, stole computer code the enables the agency to hack into the networks of foreign governments, the New York Times reports.

Martin was a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton, where Edward Snowden also worked when he stole and disclosed a trove of documents that exposed surveillance programs.

Martin, who is from Glen Burnie, Md., was charged with theft of government property and the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents.

The FBI arrested the 51-year-old at his home on Aug. 27.

The Times wrote:

According to court documents, the F.B.I. discovered thousands of pages of documents and dozens of computers or other electronic devices at his home and in his car, a large amount of it classified. The digital media contained “many terabytes of information,” according to the documents. They also discovered classified documents that had been posted online, including computer code, officials said. Some of the documents were produced in 2014.

But more than a month later, the authorities cannot say with certainty whether Mr. Martin leaked the information, passed them on to a third party or whether he simply downloaded them.

Yahoo Conducted Surveillance for Federal Government by Scanning Emails

computer-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Yahoo searched hundred of millions of incoming emails for the federal government in 2015, the Associated Press reports. 

Citing three former Yahoo employees, the report states that the NSA or FBI demanded that the internet company search for a string of letters, numbers or other characters.

To conduct the surveillance, Yahoo built a software program.

Google said Tuesday that it has not received similar surveillance demands, and if it did, the response would be, “No way.” Microsoft said it has “never engaged in secret scanning of email traffic.”

Twitter and Facebook also responded that they have not received similar requests.

Documents Show Feds Tried to Discredit Snowden Using His Own Email

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Newly declassified documents show that Edward Snowden first raised concerns with the NSA before he leaked the information.

In one letter, Snowden questioned whether an presidential executive order allowing the spying program could supersede federal law, the Daily Mail reports.

 “I’m not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply Executive Orders have the same precedence as law,” Snowden wrote in the e-mail. “My understanding is that EOs may be superseded by federal statute, but EOs may not override statute. Am I incorrect in this? Between EOs and laws, which have precedence?”

The new documents lend credibility to Snowden’c claims that he repeatedly tried to raise concerns about the NSA’s surveillance of Americans.

Other Stories of Interest

Feds Ramp Up Searches of U.S. Citizens’ Data without a Warrant

nsa_sealBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The feds are increasing searches of U.S. citizens’ data, a new transparency reports shows.

The report says 4,672 surveillance queries were made on citizens, a two-fold increase since the 2013 report.

The report includes queries made by the CIA and NSA, but not the FBI.

Those agencies are able to access the database without a warrant.

Some critics have suggested the warrantless access amounts to a violation of privacy of U.S. citizens.

Also included in the report is the revelation that more than 48,000 were targeted by National Security Letters.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Cyber Division Chief Advises Companies Not to Pay Ransom

http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2016/05/04/fbi-cyber-division-chief-advises-companies-not-to-pay-ransom-for-release-of-data/

Justice Department Program to No Longer Use Terms ‘Felons,’ ‘Convicts’

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/may/4/justice-dept-no-longer-use-terms-felon-convict/

Justice Department: North Carolina’s Bathroom Is Discriminatory

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/05/04/north-carolinas-bathroom-law-discriminatory-justice-department-says/83938546/

Border Patrol Agents Rescued a 2-Year-Old Abandoned Toddler

http://www.kvue.com/news/local/border-patrol-agents-find-abandoned-toddler/170282724

Ex-Secret Service Agent Reveals Why JFK Didn’t Want Wife Photographed in Bikini

https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/exclusive-former-secret-service-agent-clint-hill-133532738.html

 

Ex-CIA and NSA Director: Trump’s Rhetoric Has Made U.S. ‘Less Safe Already’

Michael Hayden

Michael Hayden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The former director of the NSA and CIA criticized Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, saying his rhetoric is compromising Americans’ safety.

Michael Hayden said Trump’s statements on barring Muslims from entering the country were particularly “detrimental.”

“It’s made us less safe already,” Hayden said.

Hayden said the rhetoric “reinforces their narrative” that America and Islam are incompatible.

Other troubling statements involved Trump’s call to bring back torture to get information from suspected terrorists.

Other Stories of Interest

Former White House Official Said NSA Could Have Unlocked iPhone

nsa_sealBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former White House official Richard Clarke said the NSA “would have solved this problem” of unlocking an encrypted iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter.

But the FBI never asked for the NSA’s help and instead is fighting Apple in court to open the phone.

Clarke, a counterterrorism expert, said Monday on NPR that he would have asked the NSA to unlock the phone and suspects the FBI didn’t so that it could set a legal precedent to force tech companies to decrypt smartphones in the future, Newsweek reports.

“Every expert I know believes the NSA could crack this phone,” Clarke says. “[The FBI and the Department of Justice] want the precedent that the government can compel a computer device manufacturer to allow [them] in.”

NSA Whistleblower Snowden Said FBI’s Claim That Only Apple Can Unlock iPhone Is ‘Bulls—‘

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said the FBI could have easily unlocked an iPhone and called the bureau’s fight with Apple a sham, CNBC reports. 

“The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’,” to unlock the phone, Snowden said during a discussion at Common Cause’s Blueprint for Democracy conference in Washington on Wednesday.

“Respectfully, that’s bullshit,” Snowden said.

Snowden explained that the FBI could have bypassed the iPhone’s auto-erase function but failed to do so.

Other technology experts backed up those claims, but said the FBI made a big error by trying to reset the iCloud password.

CNBC wrote:

Even so, security researchers say there are other options, like “de-capping” the phone’s memory chip to access it outside the phone (which Snowden has also mentioned), or resetting the phone’s internal counter so that you can guess the passwords as many times as you want. Those techniques are hard and expensive and could destroy the phone, experts say — but have worked in the past.

FBI, CIA, NSA: No Credible Threat of Terrorist Attack in America on Anniversary of 9/11

World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks via Wikipedia.

World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal agencies in charge of keeping America safe from a terrorist attack said there is no credible threat to America’s homeland on today’s 14th anniversary of Sept. 11.

The Washington Times reports that directors of the FBI, CIA and the National Security Agency said Thursday that they have no reason to believe a terrorist attack will occur today, despite increasing concerns over ISIS and al Qaeda.

The directors made the statement at an intelligence community conference in Washington, saying improvements in communications between the agencies have greatly reduced the threat of terrorism on the homeland.

“Compared to where we were 14 years ago, that intelligence work is light years ahead of where it was,” CIA Director John Brennan said. “And, in addition, strengthening the defenses of this country from 2001 to now — this is a much more difficult environment for terrorist groups to operate in.”