Cash register ringing for NSA’s corporate suitors

NSA Headquarters

NSA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The decision by the US National Security Agency to build 5.8 million square feet of data-storage and office space by 2029 has drawn mixed reactions by intelligence observers. But for businesses in northern Utah, where the NSA is preparing to build a million-square-foot facility, at Camp Williams, it’s party time, in the middle of a crippling word-wide economic recession. The gigantic government Agency, which is tasked with worldwide communications surveillance, as well as communications security, will build the billion-dollar facility within the next two years, and is already consulting with building contractors. But how does one do business with the notoriously secretive NSA? Read more of this post

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Controversy over head of Obama’s terrorism watch-list review

John Brennan

John Brennan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A veteran CIA official appointed to review the US government’s defective terrorism watch-list system, was actually involved in designing it, and later helped sustain it through a lucrative private-sector contract. John O. Brennan was appointed by President Barack Obama on Sunday to head a “comprehensive interagency review” of travel security measures, after it was revealed that the father of Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, the Christmas Day airline bomb plot suspect, had notified the CIA about his son’s activities. It turns out, however, that not only was Brennan part of the US National Counterterrorism Center team that designed the terrorism watch-list system, but he also helped sustain it while heading the Analysis Corporation, a scandal-prone private contractor charged with overseeing the watch-list system. Politico’s Carol Lee and Laura Rozen are among the very few reporters who have connected the dots on Brennan. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0231

  • Chinese honey trap methods net another victim. This time it was M.M. Sharma, an Indian diplomat posted with India’s mission in China, who reportedly had an affair with “a Chinese female spy”. She managed to gain access to his personal computer and “peruse [classified] documents without any restraint”. London’s ex-deputy mayor, Ian Clement, must feel better knowing he is not alone.
  • NSA’s $1.9 billion cyber spy center a power grab. Extensive –if a little ‘light’– analysis of the US National Security Agency’s planned new data storage center in Utah, by Chuck Gates of Deseret News.
  • Connecticut police spying on Democratic Party activists? Kenneth Krayeske, a political activist and free-lance journalist is suing the Connecticut State Police, claiming that officers engaged in “political spying [by using] cloaked Connecticut State Police addresses [to] subscribe to e-mail bulletin boards and lists [...] that contain political information relating to the Green Party, the Democratic Party” and independent political activists.

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News you may have missed #0210

  • Turkey arrests secret service officials over coup allegations. The head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) branch in the city of Erzincan, identified only as Ş.D., and two other regional MİT officials, are under arrest in connection with the ongoing investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine network charged with plotting to overthrow the Turkish government.
  • European Union gives CIA access to Europe bank records. Some have condemned the agreement, due to come into force in two months’ time, because it contains no reciprocal arrangement under which European authorities can easily access the bank accounts of US citizens in America.

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News you may have missed #0178

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News you may have missed #0172

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News you may have missed #0168

  • 1,600 suggested daily for FBI’s terrorist watch list. Newly released data show that, during a 12-month period ending in March this year, the US intelligence community suggested 1,600 names daily for entry on the FBI’s terrorist-watch list. The ever-churning list is said to contain over a million entries and more than 400,000 unique names, of which around 5 percent are US citizens or legal residents.
  • German spies keep files on leftist politicians. Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, a domestic intelligence service, has kept tabs on 27 elected German lawmakers since 2005. All of those targeted are members of Germany’s Left Party. The news, disclosed during an internal German parliament investigation, is certain to upset members and supporters of the Left Party, which holds 76 seats in the country’s 662-seat federal parliament.

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News you may have missed #0155

  • NSA confirms rumors of new Utah data center. IntelNews readers have known about this since last July. Despite the new center, NSA still cannot process all the information it intercepts. But officials told a press conference on Friday that the Agency “has no choice but to continue enhancing its data processing efforts”.
  • UK intel agents to train West Bank security forces. Britain is sending intelligence officers from MI5 and MI6 to the West Bank, to train the Palestinian Authority’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency. According to The Daily Mail, the move is aimed to “stop a wave of brutal torture by Palestinian security forces”. How ironic is it, then, that both MI5 and MI6 are currently under investigation by British police for complicity to torture?

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Analysis: NSA emerging as the world’s most powerful spy agency

James Bamford

James Bamford

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Regular readers of this blog know that the US National Security Agency is in the process of renovating its soon-to-be-unveiled Texas Cryptology Center, a 470,000-square-foot facility that will cost “upwards of $130 million” and be used primarily to store intercepted communications data. They also know that the gigantic Agency, which is tasked with worldwide communications surveillance, as well as communications security, is also building a 1 million square foot data center at Utah’s Camp Williams. Finally, as we reported last August, the NSA is currently laying out a 20-year plan to construct 5.8 million square feet of new working and storage space on its Fort George G. Meade headquarters in Maryland, and staff it with 11,000 people. What does all this mean? Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0085

  • How the ACLU got the CIA agents’ photos. As intelNews reported earlier this week, the ACLU has been trying to identify CIA agents who participated in torture of detainees, by taking surreptitious pictures outside the operatives’ homes. It is worth noting that uncovering the identities of CIA officers is legal, so long as it is based on publicly available records.
  • Russian espionage case is bigger than initially thought, say Czech officials. Intelligence authorities in the Czech Republic say the two Russian agents who were recently expelled from the country last week were not primarily interested in the US missile defense shield.
  • US spy community builds Wikipedia-style database. Intellipedia, the intelligence community’s version of Wikipedia has grown markedly since its formal launch in 2006. It now averages more than 15,000 edits per day and is home to 900,000 pages and 100,000 user accounts.

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