News you may have missed #392

  • Soviet spy stood ready to poison DC’s water, says Ex-KGB general. A Soviet deep-cover agent, who was in the United States from around 1963 to 1965, had orders to poison Washington DC’s water and to sabotage its power supply if war with the United States became imminent, according to Oleg Kalugin, former chief of KGB operations in North America.
  • Two interesting interviews. George Kenney, of Electric Politics, has aired two interesting interviews, one with Dr. Thomas Fingar, former US Deputy Director of National Intelligence, touching on a variety of issues, and one with Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, who comments on the CIA drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Lawyers who won NSA spy case want $2.63 million. Eight lawyers, who managed to prove that Saudi charity al-Haramain was illegally wiretapped by the US National Security Agency (see here for previous intelNews coverage), are demanding millions of dollars in damages from the US government.

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News you may have missed #332

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Situation report on the al-Haramain wiretap case

NSA Headquarters

NSA HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Max Fisher of The Atlantic Wire provides an excellent situation report on the recent decision by a US district court, which faulted the US government for unconstitutionally wiretapping a US-based Saudi charity. The charity, al-Haramain, was taken to court in September 2004 by the US government, which accused it  of having links to terrorist groups. But the charity has now successfully demonstrated that the National Security Agency (NSA) engaged in illegal spying against it, under the Bush administration’s STELLAR WIND warrantless spying program. Drawing from articles by a number of commentators, Fisher explains why the case took five years to conclude, pointing to the difficulty the plaintiffs had to prove that the NSA spied on the charity. Normally, this is close to impossible, as the NSA is not in the habit of disclosing information on its operations. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #320

  • Wikileaks alleges US government surveillance. British quality broadsheet The Guardian is one of a handful of mainstream media outlets to seriously examine the allegation of Wikileaks, that its editor and co-founder, Julian Assange, became the target of “half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik”, by individuals who said they represented the US Department of State. The article, written by Joseph Huff-Hannon, also cites intelNews.
  • Saudi charity wins wiretap case against NSA. The Saudi-based charity Al-Haramain was taken to court in September 2004 by the US government, which accused it of maintaining terrorist links. But the charity has successfully demonstrated that the National Security Agency engaged in warrantless spying on it. However, the judge limited liability in the case to the government as an institution, rejecting the lawsuit’s effort to hold individual US government officials personally liable.
  • Kremlin accused of KGB-style honey-traps. The Kremlin has been accused of sanctioning a Soviet-style honey-trap campaign against opposition politicians and journalists using entrapment techniques based on money, drugs and women. The allegations follow the release of a string of videos on the web purporting to show an opposition politician, a political analyst and the editor of the Russian edition of Newsweek magazine in compromising situations.

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News you may have missed #0077

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News you may have missed #0024

  • Guantánamo prisoner asked to spy on homeland radicals. Umar Abdulayev, from Tajikistan, who has been held in Guantánamo for seven years, claims in court filings that he was visited by Tajik intelligence agents in Guantánamo, who asked him to spy on Tajik Muslim radicals in exchange for his release. Abdulayev has refused the offer and has asked for asylum at a third country.
  • We were not hacked, says NZ spy agency. A New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) spokesman has denied the agency’s website was hacked on July 9. Those visiting the GCSB website on that day were presented with an error message.
  • Saudi charity lawyers ask federal judge to outlaw NSA wiretap program. Saudi-based charity Al-Haramain was taken to court in September 2004 by the US government, which accused it of maintaining terrorist links. But its lawyers have managed to reverse the case, and may now be close to getting a US federal judge to rule against warrantless NSA wiretapping.
  • Cyber attacks came from 16 countries. South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) officials have disclosed that the cyberattacks that paralyzed major South Korean websites last weekend were mounted from at least 16 different countries. Earlier this week, NIS said it believed North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces were behind the attacks, which also affected US government websites.

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Obama lawyers employ “state secrets” clause again, despite assurances for openness

Judge Walker

Judge Walker

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Last week, US Justice Department officials employed a “state secrets” clause previously used by the Bush Administration, to block a lawsuit against CIA’s extraordinary rendition program. The move surprised many observers, as only days earlier the new US Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, had ordered “a review of all claims of state secrets used to block lawsuits” in an attempt to stop hiding “from the American people information about their government’s actions that they have a right to know”. Remarkably, last Friday the Obama Administration tried using the same “state secrets” clause again, this time to prevent a lawsuit filed by a now defunct Islamic charity against the Bush Administration’s post-9/11 warrantless wiretapping scheme. Read more of this post