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Name: Kathryn
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Hometown: Virginia
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,647

Journal Archives

Politicians Discussing Global Warming...A Sculpture In Berlin


Microsoft Looked Through Reporter's Hotmail And MSN Chat Accounts To Identify Windows 8 Leaker

you'd think that for a company who's main marketing strategy these days is all about how it protects the privacy of your email account wouldn't then break into a user's email account. But that's exactly what Microsoft apparently did in tracking down the guy who leaked Windows 8 to a reporter. Alex Kibkalo, a software architect for Microsoft, sent a French blogger some Windows 8 code and the way to get around its anti-piracy measures. The French blogger posted screenshots and also emailed Microsoft for comment -- and that's when Microsoft apparently decided to throw its privacy promises out the window:

The engineer was caught after the blogger emailed Microsoft to confirm the authenticity of the leaked Windows 8 code. Investigators at the firm then reportedly looked through the blogger’s hotmail account and instant messenger chats to identify the source of the leak, and found an email from Kibaklo.

Of course, Hotmail today has morphed into Outlook.com, and the current ad campaign about it states: "Outlook.com prioritizes your privacy!" and "Your email is nobody else's business." Oh really? I guess Microsoft considers it their business. It's kind of astounding, first, that Microsoft did this, and second that they appear to openly admit that you have no privacy at all in your email if Microsoft suddenly decides it wants to dig through and dig up something.


NYT (Breaking) Snowden Docs: "Raw Take," Rampant Sharing of Domestic, "Unminimized" Wiretap Content

How a Court Secretly Evolved, Extending U.S. Spies’ Reach
NY Times
MARCH 11, 2014 (March 12th Edition–Pg. A1)

WASHINGTON — Ten months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the nation’s surveillance court delivered a ruling that intelligence officials consider a milestone in the secret history of American spying and privacy law. Called the “Raw Take” order — classified docket No. 02-431 — it weakened restrictions on sharing private information about Americans, according to documents and interviews.

The administration of President George W. Bush, intent on not overlooking clues about Al Qaeda, had sought the July 22, 2002, order. It is one of several still-classified rulings by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court described in documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

Previously, with narrow exceptions, an intelligence agency was permitted to disseminate information gathered from court-approved wiretaps only after deleting irrelevant private details and masking the names of innocent Americans who came into contact with a terrorism suspect. The Raw Take order significantly changed that system, documents show, allowing counterterrorism analysts at the N.S.A., the F.B.I. and the C.I.A. to share unfiltered personal information.

The leaked documents that refer to the rulings, including one called the “Large Content FISA” order and several more recent expansions of powers on sharing information, add new details to the emerging public understanding of a secret body of law that the court has developed since 2001. The files help explain how the court evolved from its original task — approving wiretap requests — to engaging in complex analysis of the law to justify activities like the bulk collection of data about Americans’ emails and phone calls.

“These latest disclosures are important,” said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “They indicate how the contours of the law secretly changed, and they represent the transformation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court into an interpreter of law and not simply an adjudicator of surveillance applications...”

For all intents and purposes, once readers realize this program, as reported in this story, was expanded to include the National Counterterrorism Center, in 2012, this pretty much blows the lid off of the ongoing government lies propaganda that our government has not been capturing massive quantities of domestic call content of its citizens, all along.

This is "the" story, IMHO. The cat's all but officially out of the proverbial bag.

# # #

Critical background for readers, regarding what we already "knew," from reports in August of last year...

NSA, DEA, IRS Lie About Fact That Americans Are Routinely Spied On By Our Government: Time For A Special Prosecutor
By Jennifer Stisa Granick and Christopher Jon Sprigman
Forbes Magazine
8/14/2013 @ 2:45PM

It seems that every day brings a new revelation about the scope of the NSA’s heretofore secret warrantless mass surveillance programs. And as we learn more, the picture becomes increasingly alarming. Last week we discovered that the NSA shares information with a division of the Drug Enforcement Administration called the Special Operations Division (SOD). The DEA uses the information in drug investigations. But it also gives NSA data out to other agencies – in particular, the Internal Revenue Service, which, as you might imagine, is always looking for information on tax cheats.

The Obama Administration repeatedly has assured us that the NSA does not collect the private information of ordinary Americans. Those statements simply are not true. We now know that the agency regularly intercepts and inspects Americans’ phone calls, emails, and other communications, and it shares this information with other federal agencies that use it to investigate drug trafficking and tax evasion. Worse, DEA and IRS agents are told to lie to judges and defense attorneys about their use of NSA data, and about the very existence of the SOD, and to make up stories about how these investigations started so that no one will know information is coming from the NSA’s top secret surveillance programs.

“How does a foreign intelligence agency which supposedly is looking for terrorists and only targets non-U.S. persons get ahold of information useful in IRS investigations of American tax cheats?” To answer that question, let’s review this week’s revelations…

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation, last August, here’s more on the highly-publicized NSA-DEA connection, pretty much laid bare with the “missing link” provided in today’s NY Times article…

DEA and NSA Team Up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations
Hanni Fakhoury
Electronic Frontier Foundation
August 6, 2013

UPDATE: Add the IRS to the list of federal agencies obtaining information from NSA surveillance. Reuters reports that the IRS got intelligence tips from DEA's secret unit (SOD) and were also told to cover up the source of that information by coming up with their own independent leads to recreate the information obtained from SOD. So that makes two levels of deception: SOD hiding the fact it got intelligence from the NSA and the IRS hiding the fact it got information from SOD. Even worse, there's a suggestion that the Justice Department (DOJ) "closely guards the information provided by SOD with strict oversight," shedding doubt into the effectiveness of DOJ earlier announced efforts to investigate the program.

A startling new Reuters story shows one of the biggest dangers of the surveillance state: the unquenchable thirst for access to the NSA's trove of information by other law enforcement agencies.

As the NSA scoops up phone records and other forms of electronic evidence while investigating national security and terrorism leads, they turn over "tips" to a division of the Drug Enforcement Agency ("DEA" known as the Special Operations Division ("SOD". FISA surveillance was originally supposed to be used only in certain specific, authorized national security investigations, but information sharing rules implemented after 9/11 allows the NSA to hand over information to traditional domestic law-enforcement agencies, without any connection to terrorism or national security investigations.

But instead of being truthful with criminal defendants, judges, and even prosecutors about where the information came from, DEA agents are reportedly obscuring the source of these tips…

Using the NSA-DEA relationship as just one example of the many interagency information-sharing/surveillance protocols that the public's recently learned are in place in our country, here's a report on the results of a FOIA response provided to MuckRock.com, from just a few weeks ago, regarding how the DEA internally instructs its agents to obfuscate the source of its (NSA) intelligence data...

DEA teaches agents to recreate evidence chains to hide methods

Trainers justify parallel construction on national security and PR grounds: "Americans don't like it"

by Shawn Musgrave
Feb. 3, 2014, 10:30 a.m.

FOI Requests: DEA policies on "parallel construction"

Drug Enforcement Administration training documents released to MuckRock user C.J. Ciaramella show how the agency constructs two chains of evidence to hide surveillance programs from defense teams, prosecutors, and a public wary of domestic intelligence practices.

In training materials, the department even encourages a willful ignorance by field agents to minimize the risk of making intelligence practices public.

The DEA practices mirror a common dilemma among domestic law enforcement agencies: Analysts have access to unprecedented streams of classified information that might prove useful to investigators, but entering classified evidence in court risks disclosing those sensitive surveillance methods to the world, which could either end up halting the program due to public outcry or undermining their usefulness through greater awareness.

An undated slide deck released by the DEA to fleshes out the issue more graphically: When military and intelligence agencies “find Bin Laden's satellite phone and then pin point [sic] his location, they don't have to go to a court to get permission to put a missile up his nose." Law enforcement agencies, on the other hand, “must be able to take our information to court and prove to a jury that our bad guy did the bad things we say he did...”

Now, multiply the NSA-DEA relationship by another 12+ Federal agencies (IRS, etc., see above), plus countless local law enforcement organizations and big business security departments, and you'll begin to understand that all of these entities work in unison with the NSA/NCTC at those 78 Fusion Centers, noted in the first paragraph of this post. And, as we're learning from the NY Times, today, they're all--either directly or indirectly--maintaining some level of access to the "unminimized," "Raw Take" wiretap data disclosed in the latest Snowden document leak.

Daily Kos

Has NSA Wiretapping Violated Attorney-Client Privilege?

The first time Adis Medunjanin tried to call Robert C. Gottlieb in mid-2009, Gottlieb was out of the office. Medunjanin was agitated. He had to speak to an attorney. Gottlieb’s assistant told him he would be back soon. When he spoke to the lawyer a little later, he told him he might need legal representation. He thought he might be under investigation.

Over the next six months and over forty-two phone calls, Medunjanin sought legal advice from Gottlieb. When he was arrested in January 2010 on charges that he tried to bomb the New York subway, it was Gottlieb who defended him, receiving security clearance to review government documents pertinent to the case in the process.

Gottlieb was preparing his defense when a federal officer in charge of information distribution emailed him that there was new classified information he needed to review at the US Eastern District Court in Brooklyn. “I went over to the Brooklyn Federal courthouse, went up to the secured room, gained entry with the secret security codes, opened the file cabinet that is also secure and in the second drawer was a CD,” Gottlieb told me. On that CD were recordings of every single one of his forty-two phone calls with Medunjanin before he was taken into custody and indicted on January 7, 2010.

Such calls are normally sacrosanct under the principle of attorney-client privilege, the ability to speak confidentially with your lawyer. But a leak to The Guardian last summer of National Security Agency (NSA) procedures that are supposed to protect privileged calls showed that some attorney-client privileged calls are not subject to internal rules that detail the instances when a wiretap should be turned off. A later version of the procedures declassified by the NSA last August contains the same language.


Now that President Obama has delivered the State Of The Union, the Republicans are...

delivering the State Of The Confederacy.


Governor "I Don't Know" Christie: A Case Study of Leadership (Video)

I was inspired to create a video after seeing this poster on DU's Facebook page:


That Darn Socialism...Survivor Benefits For My Son's Wife & Childen

As most of you probably know, my youngest son passed away in his sleep this past November, leaving behind a wife and two young children. He was only twenty nine.

My daughter-in-law just left the local Social Security office with the guarantee of survivor benefits that equal close to what my son was earning each month. This is such a relief for our family, knowing she and her children can remain in their home and maintain their dignity.

I'm writing this to serve as a reminder that Social Security isn't just for retirees. Our mothers and fathers before us agreed to a social contract that would protect widows and children from falling into poverty should the major breadwinner in the family die. That's what civilized and humane people do...protect our most vulnerable.

Thank you Social Security and its participants for maintaining this covenant through the decades, and helping to provide a dignified life for millions of our fellow citizens. My story proves the system works the way it was intended. Let us continue to support and protect it.

Last Month, Christie Complained to Cuomo That His Appointee Was Pressing Too Hard for Answers

We saw the press conference today and Christie was just shocked...shocked I tell you, that his staff was capable of lying to him about their involvement in the GWB scandal. So why was he twisting Cuomo's arm last month in an effort to keep this story quiet? If you don't believe Christie is involved in this, I've got a bridge to....

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to complain about a Cuomo appointee's handling of a growing controversy over traffic pattern changes on the George Washington Bridge, a person familiar with the matter said.

Mr. Christie, a Republican, complained in a private phone call to Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, that Patrick Foye, the executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, was pressing too hard to get to the bottom of why the number of toll lanes onto the bridge from Fort Lee, N.J. was cut from three to one in early September, according to this person. The lane closures occurred without notice to local authorities, officials have said, and snarled traffic for a week in the small borough on the Hudson River bluffs.

Wall Street Journal

I buried my youngest son yesterday

He died in his sleep early Monday morning of what we suspect was a massive heart attack. He was only 29 and in, what we thought, good health. Autopsy report is not in yet, but everything points in that direction.

There are no words to express the depths of our sorrow. In a split second, our lives have changed forever.

Fortunately, there are no regrets for any unspoken words that we meant to share with each other, but never did. His last words to me were, "I love you, Mom," as he always said at the end of our conversations, and those words I will hold in my heart forever. He lived his life with such great integrity, and understood intensely the meaning of love for his family and friends. He was truly an old soul that taught me more about life than I was ever capable of teaching him. It's an honor to be known forever as his mother, and today we will be giving thanks for the profound joy he brought to our lives.

Rest in peace, my dear, sweet son. I love you too.

There are a few of you who may remember him. He joined some of us at the second major antiwar protest in D.C. during the Bush nightmare.

On edit: Adding a photo he recently posted on his Facebook page...

Thank you everyone for your very inspirational words. They mean so much. :hugs:

Remarks By Obama To The WSJ CEO Council...We Need To Cut SS & Medicare Benefits

Last Tuesday, top global CEOs gathered in Washington, D.C., for the annual meeting of The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. Obama shared with these corporate CEOs, his fondest dream of cutting our earned benefits. This is just one more example we can add to the list, and we must remain vigilant on this issue.

For the deniers:

Now, one way to do that is just to make health care cheaper overall. That’s I think the best way to do it, and that’s what we’ve been doing through some of the measures in the Affordable Care Act. There are some other provisions that we could take that would maintain our commitment to seniors, Medicare, Social Security, the disabled, and Medicaid, while still reducing very modestly the costs of those programs.

If we can get beyond the tactical advantages that parties perceive in painting folks as extreme and trying to keep an eye always on the next election, and for a while at least, just focus on governing, then there is probably 70 percent overlap on a whole range of issues. A lot of Republicans want to get infrastructure done, just like I do. A lot of them believe in basic research, just like I do. A lot of them want to reform entitlements to make sure that they’re affordable for the next generation; so do I. A lot of them say they want to reform our tax system; so do I.

If we do those things, that solves our real fiscal problem, and we could take some of that money, a very modest portion on the front end, and invest in infrastructure that puts people back to work, improve our research and development.

So the idea would be do some things in the short term that focus on growth; do some things in the long term that deal with the long-term debt. That’s what my budget reflects. That’s what a multiple series of negotiations with John Boehner talked about, the so-called Grand Bargain. We couldn’t quite get there in the end, mainly because Republicans had a great deal of difficulty with the idea of putting in more revenue to balance out some of the changes that were made on entitlements.

If someone rejects an offer and you propose it again and again, it is not a concession: it is what you want.

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