Cash register ringing for NSA’s corporate suitors

NSA Headquarters


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

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

John Brennan

John Brennan

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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