News you may have missed #425 (US edition)

  • US Pentagon considering pre-emptive cyber-strikes? This is what The Washington Post is reporting, noting that military officials are “still wrestling with how to pursue the strategy legally”. If anyone in the DoD discovers a legal method of launching pre-emptive aggression, we’d sure like to know.
  • More changes in US FISA court. After a recent change of leadership, the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court is considering new compliance rules for handling surveillance requests by US counterspy agencies. The court authorizes requests by agencies for surveillance of foreign suspects operating inside the US.
  • Why do US officials want to deport Chinese defector? Washington wants to deport Li Fengzhi, a Chinese ex-intelligence agent who defected to the US in 2004, back to China, where he could be executed for treason. There are rumors that Li may have “oversold” himself to the FBI and the CIA.
Advertisements

News you may have missed #348

  • US knew Guatemalan Army was behind notorious 1982 massacre. Declassified documents released on May 7 show that US officials knew the Guatemalan Army was responsible for the 1982 Dos Erres massacre, one of Guatemala’s most shocking human rights crimes.
  • New presiding judge in US FISA court. Three years after he was first appointed to serve on the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), John D. Bates has taken over as the presiding judge. Last week, Judge Martin Feldman was appointed to serve on the secretive court, which reviews (and invariably approves) government applications for counterintelligence surveillance and physical search.
  • UAE security sector benefits from al-Mabhouh assassination. Business for security companies in the United Arab Emirates has been brisk, with some companies reporting a 40% increase in business, as hotels spend millions bolstering their security systems. Some attribute this to last January’s killing in Dubai of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, by a Mossad hit squad.

Bookmark and Share

News you may have missed #343

  • Taliban leader H. Mehsud reportedly not dead. Last February US and Pakistani officials claimed a CIA airstrike had killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the largest faction of the Pakistani Taliban. But it now appears that Mehsud is alive and well.
  • Analysis: Operation MINCEMEAT and the ethics of spying. The New Yorker‘s Malcolm Gladwell on operation MINCEMEAT, a World War II British deception plan, which helped convince the German high command that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943, instead of Sicily.
  • US DoJ announces FISA court appointment. Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, of the Eastern District of Louisiana, has been appointed to a seven-year term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, which reviews (and invariably approves) government applications for counterintelligence surveillance and physical search under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Bookmark and Share

NSA bugging more widespread than thought, says ex-analyst

Wayne Madsen

Wayne Madsen

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A former NSA analyst and US Navy intelligence officer has alleged that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic spying program was more widespread than originally thought, and that it was authorized by the Bush Administration prior to 9/11. Wayne Madsen, who authors the Wayne Madsen Report, says the NSA consulted with US telecommunications service providers about aspects of its STELLAR WIND program in as early as February 27, 2001, several months prior to the events of 9/11. STELLAR WIND was a massive domestic surveillance program involving spying on US citizens. Under the guidance of the office of the US Attorney General, the NSA was systematically allowed to circumvent the standard authorization process under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, composed of 11 federal judges, and thus conduct what is known as warrantless wiretapping within the United States, which is illegal. Read more of this post

Secretive US court to relocate in symbolic move

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In 1978, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, US legislators attempted to curtail the government’s spying powers by instituting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The court is supposed to handle requests by US counterintelligence agencies for surveillance of suspects operating inside the US. In reality, however, the court, which operates in total secrecy, has effectively become a rubber-stamp for the government, rarely turning down a request for a surveillance warrant. It usually rejects less than 1% of all requests each year; in 2007, the court denied only three of the 2,370 applications submitted to it by government agencies wishing to conduct surveillance operations. Even in rare instances when FISC does reject a warrant or two, another body, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR) re-examines the rejected cases and usually ends up granting them to the counterintelligence agencies that have requested them. Now, however, the secretive court has reportedly decided to take a symbolic step toward self-determination, by moving its headquarters from the US Department of Justice building to a newly built wing of Washington DC’s federal courthouse. Read more of this post

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

NSA whistleblower reveals routine spying on American media

Russell Tice

Russell Tice

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Russell Tice, an analyst with the National Security Agency (NSA) until 2005, was among several inside sources who in 2005 helped The New York Times reveal NSA’s warrantless spying program. A few months earlier, Tice had been fired by the NSA after he started to investigate a suspicious communications-monitoring program he was involved in. The last time Mr. Tice spoke publicly about his experience at the NSA was in 2006. He then waited until the Bush Administration was out of the White House before he made any more revelations. Hours after Barack Obama’s inauguration, Tice surfaced again, this time giving an interview to MSNBC’s Keith Olberman. Read more of this post