Democrats Prepare Sell-Out on Telecom Immunity

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, May 6, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

House Leaders to Give White House a Blank Check to Spy on Americans

As revelations of the Bush administration’s illegal surveillance programs continue to expose the criminal nature of the regime in Washington, new reports suggest that House Democrats are preparing to capitulate to the White House on warrantless wiretapping and amnesty for lawbreaking telecoms.

When the Orwellian “Protect America Act” expired in February, Republicans and right-wing Democrats argued that unless the state’s covert alliance with giant telecommunications companies were not shielded from congressional oversight or public scrutiny, “Americans would die.” Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell made this threat explicit last August when he told the El Paso Times:

Now part of this is a classified world. The fact we’re doing it this way means that some Americans are going to die, because we do this mission unknown to the bad guys because they’re using a process that we can exploit and the more we talk about it, the more they will go with an alternative means and when they go to an alternative means, remember what I said… (Chris Roberts, “Transcript: Debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act,” El Paso Times, August 22, 2007)

But as Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists told The New York Times, “If we’re to believe that Americans will die from discussing these things, then he is complicit in that. It’s an unseemly argument. He’s basically saying that democracy is going to kill Americans.”

But with “Blue Dog” Democrats on-board with the Bush administration, its more a case of Americans killing (their own) democracy.

As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald reports,

Numerous reports — both public and otherwise — suggest that [Steny] Hoyer is negotiating with Jay Rockefeller to write a new FISA bill that would be agreeable to the White House and the Senate. Their strategy is to craft a bill that they can pretend is something short of amnesty for telecoms but which, in every meaningful respect, ensures an end to the telecom lawsuits. It goes without saying that no “compromise” will be acceptable to Rockefeller or the White House unless there is a guaranteed end to those lawsuits, i.e., unless the bill grants amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms. (Glenn Greenwald, “What backroom conniving Are Steny Hoyer and the Chris Carney Blue Dogs up to on FISA?,” Salon, May 2, 2008)

According to Alexander Bolton’s article in The Hill, right-wing and freshman congressional Democrats “are growing skittish,” and that House Speaker Nancy “impeachment is off the table” Pelosi (D-CA), “has stepped back from the FISA talks and let Hoyer spearhead House talks with the Senate and executive branch.” Translation: give the White House what it wants.

And what the White House wants is the ability–and legal cover–to spy at will.

As AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein revealed in 2006, NSA gained access to “massive amounts” of internet data after the company allowed the spy agency to hook into its network in San Francisco and other cities. The retired technician described how the NSA created a system that vacuumed up internet and phone-call data with AT&T executives as the agency’s willing accomplices.

Despite administration claims that its so-called “Terrorist Surveillance Program” is aimed solely at overseas terrorists, Klein demonstrated that a vast proportion of the data swept up by AT&T and forwarded to NSA was purely domestic. Klein told The Washington Post,

…the NSA built a special room to receive data streamed through an AT&T Internet room containing “peering links,” or major connections to other telecom providers. The largest of the links delivered 2.5 gigabits of data — the equivalent of one-quarter of the Encyclopedia Britannica’s text — per second, said Klein, whose documents and eyewitness account form the basis of one of the first lawsuits filed against the telecom giants after the government’s warrantless-surveillance program was reported in the New York Times in December 2005. (Ellen Nakashima, “A Story of Surveillance: Former Technician ‘Turning In’ AT&T Over NSA Program,” The Washington Post, November 7, 2007, Page D01)

Klein’s story of flagrant lawlessness by the Bush regime and the telecoms was seconded by Babak Pasdar, a security consultant and CEO of Bat Blue Corporation, who provided a signed affidavit to the Government Accountability Project describing the FBI’s “Quantico circuit.”

Last month The Washington Post reported that FBI investigators “with the click of a mouse” have the ability to “instantly” transfer data along a computer circuit “to an FBI technology office in Quantico.” Verizon is the company named by the Post in its report as having provided “unfettered access” to its data stream, a charge denied by the company.

Despite these revelations, the Bush administration continues to illegally target the American people. As Ryan Singel reported last week,

2007 might have been a rough year for U.S. home prices, but growth in government wiretaps remained healthy, with the eavesdropping sector posting a 14% increase in court orders compared to 2006. In 2007, judges approved 4,578 state and federal wiretaps, as compared to 4,015 in 2006, according to two new reports on criminal and intelligence wiretaps. …

It’s unclear how many people these orders applied to since they can name more than one target, and in January 2007, the Bush Administration began getting so-called basket warrants from the secret court, in order to reduce the political heat over its warrantless wiretapping program.

Those orders, which the administration described as “innovative,” likely covered many individuals or entire geographic regions and required periodic re-authorization from the court. Sometime in spring 2007, one judge on the court ruled that the orders were unconstitutional, prompting a summer fear-mongering campaign to get Congress to expand the government’s warrantless wiretapping powers. (Ryan Singel, “Court-Approved Wiretapping Rose 14% in ’07,” Wired, May 1, 2008)

We don’t know, and the administration won’t say, how many Americans have been swept up by so-called “basket warrants.”

None of this however, trouble congressional Democrats. As the administration continues to eviscerate the Constitution, it should be clear that like the Republicans, the Democratic party completely accepts the overall framework of Bushist “national security” and the specious argument that it is waging a global “war on terrorism.”

Since taking control of both house of Congress in 2006, the Democrats–like their Republican “adversaries”–have refused to hold hearings on domestic spying nor have they sought to expose the scope of the illegal NSA program. Lost in the shuffle, are the obvious–and growing–dangers posed by these intrusive programs.

In a time of systemic crisis for the capitalist system as a whole, the massive intelligence being gathered by the Bush regime, and by future administrations–Democratic or Republican, take your pick–will be deployed as tools for wholesale repression under conditions of growing class polarization, economic crisis and mass opposition to war.

Telecom immunity? “There’s nothing to see here, move along.”

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8905

see

Spying on Americans: The FBI’s “Quantico Circuit” – Still Spying, Still Lying

FBI Prepares Vast Database Of Biometrics By Ellen Nakashima

Spying on Americans: The FBI’s “Quantico Circuit” – Still Spying, Still Lying

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, April 9, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

Tuesday’s Washington Post reports that FBI investigators “with the click of a mouse, [can] instantly transfer key data along a computer circuit to an FBI technology office in Quantico.”

Last month I wrote that evidence of the Bureau’s massive spying operations on Americans had been uncovered and “that a new FISA whistleblower has stepped forward with information about a major wireless provider apparently granting the state unrestricted access to all of their customers’ voice communications and electronic data via a so-called ‘Quantico Circuit’.”

According to whistleblower Babak Pasdar, a telecom carrier he worked for as a security consultant, subsequently named as Verizon by the Post, said the company maintained a high-speed DS-3 digital line that allowed the Bureau and other security agencies “unfettered” access to the carrier’s wireless network, including billing records and customer data “transmitted wirelessly.”

Verizon denied the report that the FBI has open access to its network; a denial belied by documents obtained by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation describing the Bureau’s Digital Collection System.

When these allegations first surfaced they were stonewalled by major media. Nevertheless, the reports continued and we now have learned that electronic connections between major telecom firms and FBI personnel scattered across the country provide the Bureau with real-time access to who is speaking to whom, the time and duration of each call as well as the locations of those so targeted.

Despite half-hearted protests by Congress, the FBI’s budget for these operations have increased significantly. According to Post reporter Ellen Nakashima,

“The bureau says its budget for the collection system increased from $30 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2008. Information lawfully collected by the FBI from telecom firms can be shared with law enforcement and intelligence-gathering partners, including the National Security Agency and the CIA. Likewise, under guidelines approved by the attorney general or a court, some intercept data gathered by intelligence agencies can be shared with law enforcement agencies.” (Ellen Nakashima, “FBI Transfers via Telecoms Questioned,” The Washington Post, Tuesday, April 8, 2008; A03)

But who’s “watching the watchers,” or in this case, the listeners?

Since 1994, under rules mandated by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), passed by the “liberal” Clinton administration, federal rules are in place “to make clear a telecommunications carrier’s duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes.” [emphasis added]

These rules specify that telecom carriers and manufacturers design their equipment, facilities and services so as to guarantee they have the necessary surveillance capabilities. This onerous piece of legislative flotsam specifies that common carriers, broadband internet access providers and providers of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service are designated “telecommunications carriers” under federal law and thus, are capable of interception by the state’s “security” bureaucracies. (For an historical analysis of CALEA’s civil liberties implications see: “Big Brother in the Wires: Wiretapping in the Digital Age,” ACLU, March 1, 1998)

The FBI has since created a network of links and electronic hubs for collection purposes amongst the nation’s largest telecom carriers and internet providers “and about 40 FBI offices and Quantico, according to interviews and documents describing the agency’s Digital Collection System,” according to the Washington Post.

These revelations mirror those of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed that the super secretive National Security Agency had been given access by AT&T management to install “splitters” for the Agency hard-wired to an NSA “secure” room in the company’s central office in San Francisco. According to Klein,

“In short, an exact copy of all internet traffic that flowed through critical AT&T cables–emails, documents, pictures, web browsing, Voice over-internet phone conservations, everything–was being diverted to equipment inside the secret room. In addition the documents reveal the technological gear used in their secret project, including a highly sophisticated search component capable of quickly sifting through huge amounts of digital data (including text, voice and images) in real time according to pre-programmed criteria.

It’s important to understand that the internet links which were connected to the splitter contained not just foreign communications but vast amounts of domestic traffic, all mixed together. Furthermore, the splitter has no selective abilities–it’s just a dumb device which copies everything to the secret room. And the links going through the splitter are AT&T’s physical connections to many other internet providers (e.g., Sprint, Qwest, Global Crossing, Cable & Wireless, and the critical West Coast Internet Exchange Point known as Mae West). Since these networks are interconnected, the government surveillance affects not only AT&T customers but everyone else–millions of Americans.

I also discovered in my conversations with other technicians that other “secret rooms” were established in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego. One of the documents I obtained also mentions Atlanta, and the clear inference in the logic of this setup, and the language of the documents, is that there are other such rooms across the country to complete the coverage–possibly 15 to 20 or more.” (Mark Klein, “Reject Amnesty for Telecoms,” Electronic Frontier Foundation)

As a key networking hub of the national security state’s electronic driftnet, the “Quantico circuit” enables the FBI and their CIA and NSA partners in crime to literally target any one or any group with highly-intrusive and silent monitoring of all electronic communications. Under the Bush administration’s repressive “public-private” police state architecture, privacy rights join Geneva Convention prohibitions against torture as yet another “quaint” notion, a “phantom of lost liberty,” in the memorable phrase uttered by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2001.

While the Bureau claims that the content of a phone call or e-mail must be authorized by a court order showing “probable cause,” as with other abusive FBI practices such as the issuance of so-called “national security letters” to obtain financial or other private records, the legal bar undoubtedly is set very low.

These latest revelations of FBI abuse of Fourth Amendment protections, follow on the heels of new initiatives undertaken by the Department of Homeland Security to utilize U.S. spy satellites for domestic “law enforcement and counterterrorism” investigations.

According to Nick Juliano,

“DHS plans to create a new office that would expand law enforcement and other civilian agencies’ access to data gathered by powerful intelligence and military satellites orbiting the earth. The National Applications Office [NAO] will oversee who can access such satellite data, which is typically used to monitor climate change and track hurricane damage, among other uses.

DHS still has not laid out legal frameworks or standard operating procedures for the office, according to a letter from three members of the House Homeland Security Committee.” (Nick Juliano, “DHS Ignores Civil Liberties in Domestic Spy Satellite Plan, Lawmakers Say,” The Raw Story, Monday, April 7, 2008)

First floated last August, then delayed over civil liberties concerns, DHS is now moving full speed ahead with the project. In a letter to DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, Reps. Bennie G. Thompson, Jane Harman and Christopher P. Carney wrote, “merely mentioning Posse Comitatus and other laws in the NAO Charter does not provide needed assurances that the Department will not transform NAO into a domestic spying platform.”

Tepid protests by congressional Democrats who have systematically enabled these repressive measures by granting unlimited budgetary increases to Bushist spymasters, will have virtually no effect on an administration hell-bent on turning the entire country into a “free spy zone.”


Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by
AK Press.

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Tom Burghardt, Antifascist Calling…, 2008
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8622

Another Milestone on the Road to Serfdom By Scott Horton

Dandelion Salad

By Scott Horton
ICH

08/03/08 “Harpers

This weekend, the darkness continues to descend in Washington, the powers of the state continue to grow and the mechanisms of accountability rot away unused. Americans are focused on the selection of a new president. Many of them share the naïve assumption that on January 20, 2009, when a new leader takes the oath of office from the south steps of the Capitol Building, the Founders’ constitutional order will once more be set aright and the extra-constitutional excesses of the Bush years will be but a bad memory. But whoever is installed as the new guardian of presidential power will not likely part with many of the rights that Bush claimed and was allowed to use, unchallenged.

And this weekend, we should regard the three remaining candidates from a more skeptical predicate. This weekend, the curtain of tyranny descends further in Washington. The Bush regime, bolstered by a surging 17% public acceptance in one poll, moves more closely towards a façade of legality for its national surveillance state. It acknowledges its abuse of other legislation and will suffer no consequences for that abuse, and in a symbolic coup de grâce, Bush will veto the latest Congressional prohibition on torture–for indeed, torture is the very talisman of his unchecked rule and his arrogant indifference to the rule of law. And in the midst of this, where, this weekend, are the three presidential finalists? They busy themselves with the accumulation of delegates for their march on the White House. They will mutter fine sounding words on the campaign trail—sentences will glimmer with “freedom” and “liberty”—but they will offer no action that shows those words have content.

The FISA Farce

In 2006, a Democratic Congress was elected with a mandate to hold Bush’s excesses in check—indeed to roll many of them back. But this, it appears, was little more than campaign sloganeering. When it comes to the gravest challenges, the Democratic leadership knows only surrender. Here is Glenn Greenwald’s glance behind the scenes at the planning of the Democratic leadership:

The current draft does not contain telecom immunity (solely for temporary strategic reasons — see below), but incorporates every substantive warrantless surveillance provision of the Rockefeller/Cheney bill passed by the Senate, with several small and worthless exceptions that they’ll try to sell to what they obviously think is their stupid base as some vital “concessions”:

-The House bill has a 4 year-sunset provision rather than the Senate’s 6 years;

-It provides for an audit by the DOJ’s Inspector General of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (the only change that I would describe as something other than worthless);

-It contains a provision stating that the bill is the “exclusive means” by which the President can conduct electronic surveillance (the same provision that FISA has now which the President violated, and which the Senate refused to insert into its bill); Nancy Pelosi was trying just yesterday, lamely, to sell this provision as some sort of vital safeguard;

-The bill mandates some minimal re-review of some of the provisions in 2009; and,

-It contains some mild changes to some of the definitions (the specifics of which I don’t know).

The plan of the House leadership is to pass this specific bill in the House, send it to the Senate (where telecom immunity will be added in by the same bipartisan Senate faction that already voted for immunity), have it go back to the House for an up-or-down-vote on the House-bill-plus-telecom-immunity (which will pass with the support of the Blue Dogs), and then compliantly sent on to a happy and satisfied President, who will sign the bill that he demanded.

The bill was drafted with the participation of, and input from, Nancy Pelosi and Silvestre Reyes, at the very least. Reyes, of course, was last seen on CNN meekly pleading with Wolf Blitzer to give him a few more days to come up with a capitulation plan, and is now making good on his commitment to Blitzer (while violating all of the tough, defiant statements he had been making when pretending to take a stand against warrantless eavesdropping and for the rule of law).

So the bill is not far removed from the White House’s request, and even the telecom immunity provision will emerge through some carefully choreographed maneuvers (the main object will be, of course, to obscure exactly how it got into the legislation—the Democratic leadership is conscious of the strong grassroots opposition to this provision, and keen to avoid a backlash. Not, of course, that this will do more than slow them down a few weeks in catering to the interests of their telecom friends.)

And all of this occurs as another engineer has come forward to blow the whistle on the lawless surveillance of telecommunications by the Bush National Surveillance State.

Babak Pasdar, a computer security consultant, has gone public about his discovery of a mysterious “Quantico Circuit” while working for an unnamed major wireless carrier. Pasdar believes that this circuit gives the U.S. government direct, unfettered access to customers voice calls and data packets. These claims echo the disclosures from retired AT&T technician Mark Klein, who has described a “secret room” in an AT&T facility.

The name of the wireless carrier that collaborated in the installation of the “Quantico Circuit,” allowing the Bush Administration to spy on every phone conversation, text message and other communications it transmits, with no warrants or prior approval? Verizon.

Michael McConnell will of course insist that the intelligence community is looking only at foreign communications involving suspect terrorists. And that statement is a lie. In fact the technology employed allows the indiscriminate filtering of all communications of all types. And as to what portion is actually examined with any particularity, on that particular point, we’re told “trust us.” But why? I suggest we repose our trust elsewhere, namely: in the Constitution.

Surveillance is not outlawed. But it is bound to a system of constraints and checks. The Administration must justify its targets and must be subject to the oversight of a magistrate. That is what the Founding Fathers provided. And there is no reason to move from this system; what has transpired over the last six years provides only more evidence of its wisdom.

The NSL Scam

One of the extraordinary powers expanded in the USA PATRIOT Act relates to a device called a “National Security Letter” by which the Justice Department was effectively granted the power to issue its own warrants, unchecked by courts, cloaked by immense secrecy, and divorced from the duty to account. It was a formula for abuse, and indeed, the abuse has been rampant. First, Attorney General Ashcroft insisted that secret warrants had only ever been used a handful of times, and never with respect to libraries. That, of course, was untrue. Ashcroft knew even as he uttered those words that the number of uses had stretched into the thousands. He was counting on a Congress that no longer took its oversight function seriously, and he was right.

Then, FBI Director Robert Mueller came forward to correct Ashcroft’s “mistake” and to insist that the problems had since been cleaned up with internal accountability mechanisms. That also sounded like a silver-tongued lie.

And on Thursday, Mueller again came before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and again acknowledged that abuse was widespread. Here’s how the Washington Examiner reported it:

The FBI improperly used national security letters in 2006 to obtain personal data on Americans during terror and spy investigations, Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday. Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the privacy breach by FBI agents and lawyers occurred a year before the bureau enacted sweeping new reforms to prevent future lapses.

Details on the abuses will be outlined in the coming days in a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general. The report is a follow-up to an audit by the inspector general a year ago that found the FBI demanded personal data on people from banks, telephone and Internet providers and credit bureaus without official authorization and in non-emergency circumstances between 2003 and 2005.

Mueller, noting senators’ concerns about Americans’ civil and privacy rights, said the new report “will identify issues similar to those in the report issued last March.” The similarities, he said, are because the time period of the two studies “predates the reforms we now have in place.” He added: “We are committed to ensuring that we not only get this right, but maintain the vital trust of the American people.”

Mueller offered no additional details. Several other Justice Department and FBI officials familiar with this year’s findings have said privately the upcoming report will show the letters were wrongly used at a similar rate as during the previous three years.

So, more promises unkept. The abuse festers, and indeed, there is not even a down-turn in the rate of abuse. And how do the argus-eyed guardians of the public weal in the Senate Judiciary Committee react to all of this? Condemnation? Demands for new hearings? No. They react with total silence. They don’t even venture a few extra questions.

The Torture President

And all this simply clears the path for Bush’s shining act of glory set for later today. He will veto the intelligence authorizations act of 2008 because it clarifies, for the third or fourth time now, that acts of torture are a violation of the law. But George W. Bush is the law, and he will not hear any differently from this Congress. Indeed, Bush’s claim to be the law is manifested in one thing above all others, and that is his power to torture. By defending and upholding this right, Bush shows that unlike generations of predecessors in the White House, he is King. He sets the law, and his will determines how it will be enforced and against whom. That is his own, very personal vision of “justice,” measured in terms of personal prerogative and power. Torture is the measure and definition of his authority as a President with monarchical pretense.

So Bush will veto the latest anti-torture legislation, and it will have no effect. Or rather, his veto will be cited as yet another instance in which his personal will triumphs over the Law.

The curtain continues to fall over American democracy. Americans understandably are sickened by the tragi-comedy that spreads itself across this stage. But their faith in another presidential election and another leader is misplaced. They need to reserve their faith not for the new, but for the old: for the constitutional model that the Founders left. It needs to be forced to work. And all those who undermine it must be held to account. That includes the should-be watchdogs, who slobbering at the prospect of a few drug-drenched sirloins hurled their way, are failing in their duty to protect their true masters: the American people.

We live in the age of the Great Betrayal, in an age in which too few are willing to state the obvious. There is still time to check the progress of tyrannical power, but the hour grows late, and the sounds of alarm no longer seem to register with a somnolent populace

© The Harper’s Magazine Foundation


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US drafting plan to allow government access to any email or Web search

Dandelion Salad

RAW STORY
Monday January 14, 2008

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is drawing up plans for cyberspace spying that would make the current debate on warrantless wiretaps look like a “walk in the park,” according to an interview published in the New Yorker‘s print edition today.

Debate on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “will be a walk in the park compared to this,” McConnell said. “this is going to be a goat rope on the Hill. My prediction is that we’re going to screw around with this until something horrendous happens.”

The article, which profiles the 65-year-old former admiral appointed by President George W. Bush in January 2007 to oversee all of America’s intelligence agencies, was not published on the New Yorker‘s Web site. (It can be read here in pdf).

McConnell is developing a Cyber-Security Policy, still in the draft stage, which will closely police Internet activity.

“Ed Giorgio, who is working with McConnell on the plan, said that would mean giving the government the autority to examine the content of any e-mail, file transfer or Web search,” author Lawrence Wright pens.

“Google has records that could help in a cyber-investigation, he said,” Wright adds. “Giorgio warned me, ‘We have a saying in this business: ‘Privacy and security are a zero-sum game.'”

A zero-sum game is one in which gains by one side come at the expense of the other. In other words — McConnell’s aide believes greater security can only come at privacy’s expense.

McConnell has been an advocate for computer-network defense, which has previously not been the province of any intelligence agency.

According to a 2007 conversation in the Oval Office, McConnell told President Bush, “If the 9/11 perpetrators had focused on a single US bank through cyber-attack and it had been successful, it would have an order of magnitude greater impact on the US economy.”

Bush turned to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, asking him if it was true; Paulson said that it was. Bush then asked to McConnell to come up with a network security strategy.

“One proposal of McConnell’s Cyber-Security Policy, which is still in the draft stage, is to reduce the access points between government computers and the Internet from two thousand to fifty,” Wright notes. “He claimed that cyber-theft account for as much as a hundred billion dollars in annual losses to the American economy. ‘The real problem is the perpetrator who doesn’t care about stealing—he just wants to destroy.'”

The infrastructure to tap into Americans’ email and web search history may already be in place.

In November, a former technician at AT&T alleged that the telecom forwarded virtually all of its Internet traffic into a “secret room” to facilitate government spying.

Whistleblower Mark Klein said that a copy of all Internet traffic passing over AT&T lines was copied into a locked room at the company’s San Francisco office — to which only employees with National Security Agency clearance had access — via a cable splitting device.

“My job was to connect circuits into the splitter device which was hard-wired to the secret room,” Klein. said “And effectively, the splitter copied the entire data stream of those Internet cables into the secret room — and we’re talking about phone conversations, email web browsing, everything that goes across the Internet.”

“As a technician, I had the engineering wiring documents, which told me how the splitter was wired to the secret room,” Klein continued. “And so I know that whatever went across those cables was copied and the entire data stream was copied.”

According to Klein, that information included Internet activity about Americans.

“We’re talking about domestic traffic as well as international traffic,” Klein said. Previous Bush administration claims that only international communications were being intercepted aren’t accurate, he added.

“I know the physical equipment, and I know that statement is not true,” he added. “It involves millions of communications, a lot of it domestic communications that they’re copying wholesale.”

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2007 in Review: Power, Politics and Resistance Part 2 (videos)

Dandelion Salad

Democracy Now!

Jan 2, 2008

transcript

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2007 in Review: Power, Politics and Resistance Pt. 2

Today, part two of our special look back at 2007, including the Jena Six, the Petraeus report, the trial of Jose Padilla, Alberto Gonzales’s resignation, Alan Greenspan v. Naomi Klein, Michael Mukasey on waterboarding, Blackwater’s Massacre in Baghdad, Jimmy Carter on apartheid in the Palestinian territories, Al Gore and IPCC win the Nobel Peace Prize, the pro-democracy uprising in Burma, the firing of Norman Finkelstein and Ward Churchill, New Jersey abolishes the death penalty, the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and more.

Featuring the Voices of:

Joseph Wilson, Alan Johnston, Robert Bailey,
Caseptla Bailey, Marcus Jones, Helen Thomas,
President Bush, Rep. Dennis Kucinich,
Ward Churchill, Sen. Barack Obama,
Marjorie Cohn, Nydesha Foster, Angela Hegarty,
Amira Baraka, Nir Rosen, Camilo Mejia,
Grace Paley, Alberto Gonzales,
Sen. Larry Craig, Norman Finkelstein,
President Jimmy Carter, Sen. Robert Byrd,
Gen. David Petraeus, Rev. Al Sharpton,
Alan Greenspan, Naomi Klein, Mark Canning,
Rep, Danny Davis, Erik Prince,
Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jeremy Scahill,
Katie Redford, Yoko Ono, Bill McKibben,
Maher Arar, John Tanner, Jonathan Paul,
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Michael Mukasey,
Desiree Anita Ali-Fairooz, Mark Klein,
Evo Morales, Asma Jahangir, Wayne Barrett,
John Edwards, Noam Chomsky. Desmond Tutu,
Mitt Romney, John McCain, Nelson Mandela,
Lou Dobbs, Mohamed ElBaradei, Michael Ratner,
Mark Benjamin, Rev. Jesse Jackson,
Rajendra Pachauri, Al Gore, Jon Corzine,
Benazir Bhutto, and more. [includes rush transcript]

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Democracy Now’s Year In Review (videos)

AT&T Whistleblower Speaks Out Against Retroactive Immunity (video)

Dandelion Salad

[replaced video Dec. 29, 2009]

videoselectiontv
November 08, 2007

AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein speaks out against retroactive immunity for telecom companies. Continue reading